Dena Protected Area
Dena Mountain Chain of Zagros Range

Dena Protected Area



Dena Protected Area is one of Iran’s most preserved environmental regions managed by the Iranian Environmental Organization. There’s also a special ecodiverse zone inside this protected area called Dena National Park. The park was registered on the list of biosphere reserved regions of UNESCO in 2010. Dena Protected Area is nestled in the Dena Mountain Chain, one of the longest chains of the Zagros Range.

Iran Landscape Photo



Dena location and how to reach it

Dena Protected Area, situated in the south-west of Iran, is approximately north of Shiraz province. This protected area with 255,537.00 ha (2555 square kilometres) is located in the two provinces of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad and Isfahan. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive of 200 km from Shiraz city on a beautiful mountain road.  You can also reach Dena from the north of Isfahan city, a drive of about 310 km taking about 4.5 hours and passing through a network of tunnels.

Mount Dena - Iran Map
The location of Dena Mountain Chain in Iran Map


Dena Geographical specification

Dena Protected Area is situated in a specific geographical location of the Zagros Mountain range which has different terrains. The lowest part of the Dena Protected Area is located in the agricultural area and starts at an altitude of 1300 m. The land goes up to an upper altitude reaching the forest close to the Dena Mountain foothills. This region has an altitude between 1800m to 2500 m covered mostly with oak trees with a wide range of flora and fauna. The upper part of Dena protected land is a mountainous region which is above 3000 m. In this area you will find a lot of canyons, waterfalls, and glaciers, making it an exceptional place for wildlife. These three different ecosystems have created a unique destination for those of you who would like to experience the extra-special diversity of Iran and its spectacular landscape.

Mount Dena chain map
The location of Dena Mountain Chain in Iran Map


A Sanctuary for Wildlife

Dena Protected Area has a rich variety of flora and fauna.  There are wild goats, brown bears, and eagles plus the very rare Persian leopards and Asiatic cheetahs.  The park’s diverse habitats provide shelter and sustenance for a wide range of species. It’s a birdwatchers’ paradise as it gives the possibility to spot endemic and migratory birds.

Iran mountains of Zagros


Spectacular Scenery

In the rugged terrain of Dena Protected Area you can see towering peaks, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls, offering breathtaking views wherever you look.  Mount Ghashmastan in the Dena chain, is the highest peak in the Zagros Mountains.  It dominates the landscape with its snow-capped summit.  It will be most appealing for hikers and mountaineers seeking a true adventure.  The park’s lush forests, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear streams change colour with the seasons.

Iran Landscape mountain Photo
Highest mountain of Dena mountain Chain


Type of activity in Dena Protected Area

You may choose from various travel itineraries, and even the type of activity you wish to have in Dena Protected Area. Trekking, mountain biking, landscape photography, mountaineering, wildlife and bird watching are some of your many options for the Dena region. If you have limited time during your stay in Iran, (apart from visiting the cultural and historical sites,), you could add a soft adventure by having a one-day short hike inside the park.  Take a good camera for this purpose to capture really great photos of the stunning landscape of Dena Mountains during sunset.


Dena best tourist highlight

Generally, the best tourist highlight of Dena is the diversity of the region and ecosystem of the park. Therefore, the most popular activity in Dena Protected Area is hiking, which allows you to feel and experience different types of terrain in your continuous multi-day trek. There is no official trek in Dena Protected Area. Adventure Iran has created a couple of trails which have well defined difficulty grades. Your hike could be moderate, about 5–6 hours, a hike with 400-500 m ascend/descent per day, or a challenging trek of 8–9 hours per day with 900-1000 m total, up and down. In the lower part of the park, you can see the beautiful green fields and pass through the local villages and farms. In the highlands of Dena, your trek passes through an oak forest where you can see a wide range of plants, many of them endemic plants that cannot be found anywhere else.  After finishing the trek in the foothills of Dena and the valley in the national park, you continue your hike to reach the ridge line where you are able to visit most of this protected zone from the summit. The Dena Mountain chain is about 80 km in length with around 50 peaks above 4000m. There is no peak with the name of Dena in the Dena chain. All peaks have specific local names, but many travellers mistakenly call the highest peak Dena.  Ghashmastan, also called Bijan 3, with 4459 m altitude (14629 feet), is the highest mountain in the Dena chain. This peak is the highest in the entire Zagros Mountain range. Both Dena Protected Area and the Dena Mountain chain are one of Iran’s natural tourism highlights for adventure travellers.

Dena national park trekking tour - IRAN


How to include Dena in our Iran Travel itinerary

It’s easy to include the Dena region in the middle of your Iran travel itinerary. Dena Protected Area is conveniently located approximately between the two important tourist cities, (Isfahan and Shiraz). If you are visiting Iran for the first time and would like to do the Classic Route, there are two options:

Mount Dena - Iran Map
The location of Dena Mountain Chain in Iran Map
  • The first one is for those who are travelling from the north of Iran, (Tehran), towards the south, (Shiraz). You could include Dena after visiting Isfahan and then continue your trip towards Yazd or Shiraz.
Esfahan to Mount Dena distance - Iran Map
Esfahan to Mount Dena distance – Iran Map
  • The second is for those who would like to start their trip from the south and travel towards the north of Iran. For this purpose, the best travel plan would be travelling to Dena after visiting Shiraz or Yazd. You could continue your trip towards Isfahan and then, afterwards, Tehran.
Shiraz to Mount Dena Distance - Iran Map
Shiraz to Mount Dena Distance – Iran Map


Tour Guide for Dena region

Based on the type of your activity, you could hire a different guide for Dena Protected Area. Please bear in mind that your guide must have a certificate from the tourism board. Depending on your trek, or type of activity, you might need to have a local guide along with your English-speaking guide in this region.

Iran Off the beaten track tour
Dena Mountain chain, Zagros Range


Lodging and accommodation in Dena Protected Area

Yasuj is the capital of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province. This city has a few tourist hotels, but it doesn’t have many special tourist attractions. Most travellers prefer to stay in small towns which are closer to the Dena region where there are a few hotels and traditional guest houses. These small towns also have better access to the starting point of the trek. There are some shops and markets available to buy food, snacks or any necessary items before starting your hike to the Dena region. There’s no hotel, mountain lodge or guest house inside the Dena Protected Area or the park. If you have a long trek, you can lodge in some houses located in villages in the park. There is also a possibility of making a camp inside the park.


Best time to visit and travel itinerary

Depending on your trip type, the region and the altitude, it’s necessary to choose the right season for your trek.

For those travellers who are willing to have a moderate trek, we advise you to do the trek in the foothills of Dena mountains, which covers the most important part of the Dena Protected Area in the park. The altitude of this region is lower than 3000m.  This season starts in April and finishes at the end of November. The best travelling time is actually April and May for this part. Take a look at Dena Foothill Trek, which is one of Adventure Iran’s short trips. It covers the most interesting highlights of Dena.

For adventurous hikers who are looking for a strenuous trek and would like to ascent one of Dena peaks above 4000m, summer is the best travelling time. In spring, the upper part of the mountain above 3500 m still has snow and temperatures during the night are freezing. Dena Mountain’s High Peaks Ascent is a very short tour only climbing two of the 4000+ peaks of Dena’s high mountains.

For those of you who have more time and are able to take on a challenging trek, we would recommend you to discover two different regions of Dena foothills. You could start with a moderate hike at the lower altitude (1500-3000 m) of the park. That would be a very good warm up and prepare you for the high mountains. Then you will be acclimatized and able to climb the Dena high peaks (+4000 m). The season for this special trek is between mid-May to mid-September. The best traveling time is June, which is approximately perfect for both regions. Dena Long Trail is one of the best tours we could offer you for this purpose, which is a one-week trek starting from Shiraz and ending in Isfahan.

Iran Hike Trek


Enter to Dena Protected Area

You should get permission from the Iran Environmental Organization to enter the Dena Protected Area.  You need a printed official entrance letter to cover everywhere you would like to visit in this area which includes both the National Park or ascending one of Dena Mountain’s Peaks. For this purpose, all travellers should send their detailed personal information to one of the tour operator’s companies at least one month in advance.  The company then needs to prepare a detailed travel itinerary with the clients’ information about all the places they would like to visit. Then the agent will submit this document, along with the information of your official guide, to the Iranian Environmental Organization. This process generally takes a few weeks.


Dena National park



Dena Mountain Chain


Dena National Park


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