Lavra Trail: Russian Pilgrim’s Way
The route starts at the heart of Moscow and finishes at the Trinity Lavra of St.Sergius, a 14th-century Orthodox monastery. The footpath is the successor to the historic road to the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, traveled by countless pilgrims since the monastery was founded.
Trinity-Sergius Lavra is the largest monastery in Russia with about 200 monks and 50 buildings from different epochs. There is also a Seminary and the Patriach's residence. The monastery is on the UNESCO Heritage List.
The first ruler to make a pilgrimage to the Trinity Lavra was the Great Prince Dmitry of the Don, a contemporary of St Sergius. He founded a tradition: the tzars would visit the Lavra before any important undertaking. These frequent and sumptuous processions, the royal pilgrimages, were especially spectacular in the 17th century.
The Road to the Lavra is more than 100 km of both paved roads and foot-paths. For a beginner the distance would be too long to walk in just one day, although there have been athletes who did it.
The route starts at Kilometer Zero, near the Kremlin, with its first part passing towards the north of Moscow. On your way, you’ll see numerous churches, a mosque, and an aqueduct. During the next 25km outside Moscow, you’ll be walking along parks, forests and fields, crossing rivers and creeks. The third part of the route lies from the town of Pushkino to the town of Sofrino. The fourth part includes old country estates, Muranovo and Abramtsevo. On the final part of the route, you’ll pass by some of Moscow region’s most important religious points: Khotkovo monastery, Radonezh, and Trinity-Sergius Lavra.
The route organizers offer three options to cover the distance:
1. Completing the walk in stages, coming back to spend each night in Moscow
This is particularly convenient for those who live in Moscow. It means you can do the hiking on weekends or your days off. You can catch a train or a bus back to Moscow pretty much anywhere along the route.
The recommended distance for a day is 20-25 km.
This is the easiest option, and most suitable for novice hikers.
2. Doing the whole route from start to finish, staying at hotels along the way
This way you can really immerse yourself in the walk and enjoy the route to the full. At the same time your backpack stays quite light as you do not need to carry any camping equipment. For the list of recommended hotels and hostels, please contact the project leader (see below).
3. Doing the whole route from start to finish, camping
Doing the whole route from start to finish, camping.
This option is for very experienced trekkers who have been on longer hikes and who have the equipment and the skills for camping and outdoor cooking.
Recommendations on gear for each of the options are available on the route website. The website also has a detailed downloadable trail map. For more information, please visit the Russian version of the website, which has more details.
At the start of the route, in Iver Chapel in Moscow, you can get a ‘gramota’ (a paper), in which you can add stamps along the road. Travelers who get all the stamps along the way can show it at the finish (Tourist Information Centre in Sergiev Posad) and get a certificate for completing the route.
Eldar Orudzhev is in charge of the project. You can contact him via WhatsApp, +79167551975. Eldar can offer you free advice on the trip options, routes, and accommodation. You can also contact him during your trip.