View of the Rose Valley in the evening in Kurortny Park in Kislovodsk.

© AlexStepanov/Getty Images/iStock

Kurortny Park

Top choice in Mineral Water Spas

Founded in 1823 and covering 1340 hectares, this hillside park is among the largest in Europe. It's riddled with walking trails past rivers, ponds, forests and formal gardens. The park ascends southeast from a plaza behind the semicircular Colonnade to the peak of Mt Maloe Sedlo (Little Saddle; 1306m). There are several other entrances including the grand Cascade Stairs.

It’s a two- to three-hour hike from the base of the park to the so-called Olympic Complex (1200m), where you'll find the upper cable car terminal. On the way you’ll pass various cafes, statues and other points of interest, including the luscious Valley of Roses. At 1065m you reach Red Sun Hill, where, on a clear day, there are great panoramas of the yawning valleys and green plateaus of the surrounding countryside, including Mt Maloe Sedlo to the west and, on clear mornings, Mt Elbrus to the south.

It’s another 45-minute walk from the Olympic Complex to the summit of Mt Maloe Sedlo. Trails also lead to Mt Maly Dzhinal (1484m) and Mt Bolshoe Sedlo (1409m); Kislovodsk maps show all the walks, most of which are numbered and signed.

For a speedier ascent, you can ride the cable car. The lower station, close by the viewpoint over the Valley of Roses, is within 10 minutes' walk of the Cascade stairs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mineral Water Spas attractions

1. Cascade Stairs

0.38 MILES

These broad steps, planted with flower beds, lead up into Kurortny Park. The colonnade at the top provides a frame for vistas across central Kislovodsk.

2. Yaroshenko Museum


The highlight of this museum, which is based in three attractive wooden houses in lovely gardens, is the 'White Villa' (Belaya Villa), housing a small but…

3. Valley of Roses

0.55 MILES

A highlight of Kurortny Park is this formal planting of roses. A long avenue of pines trees frame a huge ground design in the shape of a single rose –…

4. Chaliapin Dacha Literary Museum

0.55 MILES

The legendary Fyodor Chaliapin (1873–1938) lived in this palatial wood and stained-glass villa in 1917. Now a museum, it features paintings and photos of…

5. St Nicholas Cathedral

0.57 MILES

With five gold domes, this is a 1999 reconstruction of the original 19th-century orthodox cathedral destroyed during Soviet times in 1936. The interior…

7. Lermontov Monument

0.62 MILES

Near the Colonnade entrance to Kurortny Park is this multilevel monument to 19th-century writer Mikhail Lermontov. Caged in a grotto at ground level is an…

8. Colonnade

0.66 MILES

Marking the southern entrance to Kurortny Park is this broad white-washed colonnade. Next to it, when the weather is good, local artists and craftspeople…