Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Ellen
Armchair travelers can enjoy the scenery of central Turkiye’s wild landscapes with the fantastic photos on this post. Real-time travelers can get current and accurate info on the Pigeon Valley hike in Cappadocia starting from Goreme.
Most tourists go from Uchisar to Goreme because it’s downhill. But if I can do this extremely easy hike, you probably can, too. I’m 52 years old, in OK shape, and went wearing old sneakers. I went slow in a few spots, and it was totally fine. (Note: some apps like AllTrails mark this hike as moderate, but there weren’t too many tricky spots if you stay on the main trail.)
Young, fit tourists combine this walk with Love Valley, but as a budget slow traveler in early retirement, I spread these out over two days.
Make sure you turn around once in awhile on the Pigeon Valley hike to take in the views behind you. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Pigeon Valley hike in Cappadocia starting from Goreme
The trailhead is at the end of a street in Goreme – Uzun Dere Cadessi. The signs will be in Turkish: “Guvercinlik Vadisi” means Pigeon Valley.
The entire route from Goreme to Uchisar is slightly uphill. There are a few places where the incline gets your blood flowing, but it’s really easy.
There are several side trails, so leave yourself time to explore the caves, the fairy towers, the vistas.
If you start your Cappadocia Pigeon Valley hike in Gerome, you will eventually come to a split. More about that — after some of the sights from this fantastic trek.
Uchisar Castle is in the background of the above picture. Also, there are some stray dogs on the trail, but their ears are tagged and that means they’ve been ‘fixed’ so they are generally not aggressive.
Three options on Pigeon Valley hike starting from Goreme
Once you get closer to towering Uchisar Castle (seen above), you will have three options.
First choice: turn right and go straight up towards Uchisar Castle. A lot of people peel off here so they can get to the Uchisar Castle and start the Love Valley hike back to Goreme.
Second choice: turn left, then bend right, and go up the pleasant walkway around Tiraz Castle. You could also walk half way up the castle and then back down for option three.
Third choice: turn left at the sign, then go straight and finish the trail all they way to the end. The trail will become more narrow with trees overhead and caves on either side.
You’ll also see the pigeon holes carved into the cliffs, from which the valley gets its name. It is actually easier to see the pigeon holes from the top of the canyon on your final ascent.
One bad part about the end of the Pigeon Valley hike when you start in Goreme and go all the way to the end: sewage running down to the bottom of the valley from a gift shop at the top of the hill.
There is parking lot up top where buses take tourist groups for pictures. And, there’s a bathroom everyone uses.
I was surprised and saddened to see this, including nasty clumps of toilet paper covering the trail!
I had to walk way around to avoid the mess. I might’ve even missed it with all of the fall leaves on the ground but thankfully, I smelled the coming shit storm right after I heard voices floating down into the valley from the top.
Once past the nastiness, the final ridge offers an unobstructed stunning view of Uchisar. The tourists delivered by buses to the top don’t have quite as good a view.
When you’re done with this spectacular trek, the last cafe at the tourist cluster is a nice place for a snack and cup of tea. Its bathroom is not discharging down onto the trail.
Pigeon Valley or Love Valley?
Both! However, I prefer the Pigeon Valley hike to the Love Valley hike (except for the nasty — probably illegal — sewage output at the end of the Pigeon Valley trail).
If you’re younger and fit, or older and fit, you could do this trail and Love Valley in the same day. Or spread it over two afternoons, like me. I went of the main trail on both hikes – so it took me longer anyway.
I don’t rush too often these days as a budget slow traveler in early retirement. Enjoy whatever you decide – because Life is now!