Walk from Sagalassos to Gülcük crater lake

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The facts

Description The walk from the Sagalassos excavation site to the maar (volcanic crater lake) of Gülcük is not an easy walk. You'll find yourself climbing and descending a lot, most of the time on sandy surface (difficult to walk on). This walk should only be done by seasoned hikers. The trip could also be done by mountain bike (though, we have not done it).
The walk covers 5 rather distinct parts. The first part is the climb from the Sagalassos excavation site to the mountain pass gaining access to the northern part of the mountain ridge north of Sagalassos (4.3 km). The climb is gentle on a rocky path of which some sections have been collapsed. Walking around them is very easy though. The second part is the descent north of the mountain ridge to the foot of the old crater (4.7 km). The surface is partly rocky, partly sandy, but as the descent is gentle this part should not be too much of a challenge for most hikers. The third part of the route to Gülcük is definitely the hardest part: you start at the foot of the crater and climb to the top (2.7 km). Although the distance is rather short (compared to the other parts), the climb is steep and the surface is sandy and difficult to walk on. The temperature on this part of the route may also rise above average because of the hot underground. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or an occasional walker, you should take your time climbing up. The fourth part starts on the ridge of the crater and descents to the plane in which the lake is located (3.3 km). Halfway this part, you'll get your first glimpse of the crater lake in the distance. The flat part is not the most exciting one on your journey to the lake, walking on sandy surface between afforested woods of pine trees. The fifth and last part is the walk inside the crater towards the lake (3.2 km). The surface is still sandy but there is hardly a difference in height so this should not be a problem anymore. On the other hand, the plane is covered with a myriad of roads so carefully choose the right one heading for the lake. Otherwise, you may find yourself walking around in circles. Due to the dense fruit tree plantations bordering the lake to the south, you won't see the lake anymore until you are very close.
You're journey could end at the Gülcük Restaurant, north-west of the lake. It seems not possible to walk around the lake (on its shore, that is), but you can walk for about 1 km from the west to the north/north-east (the first half being on your way to the restaurant).
To get back to Ağlasun from the crater lake, you could take a taxi to go to Isparta (15 km, about 35 YTL) and from there you can jump on a dolmuş heading for Ağlasun (see also 'How do I get to Ağlasun?'.)
Distance From Sagalassos to the Gülcük crater lake: 18.2 km / 5 to 6 hours (one way). Walk around part of the lake: 1.1 km.
Difference in height You'll find yourself climbing and descending a lot. Please refer to the description above for more details.
Rating (difficulty) (hard walk)
Date 2009-07-31, 2009-08-15
Authors Eva Kaptijn, Ezgi Pehlivan and Joeri Theelen

The map

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Images taken walking from Sagalassos to the mountain pass (part 1)


Images taken descending to the foot of the crater (part 2)


Images taken climbing up the crater (part 3)


Images taken descending the crater (part 4)

Images taken in the plane towards the lake and at the lake (part 5)


Panoramic images