Spot amazing reflections
Discover local traditions
Enjoy stunning sceneries
Nature & Wildlife
Start & Finish
min. 4, max. 12 participants
Day 1. Welcome
In the morning we will meet you at the airport in Gorno-Altaisk.
First, we will get acquainted and then transfer you to the hotel. You will have time to rest as we do understand that the night flight is quite exhausting. In the afternoon you will have a short city tour in Gorno-Altaisk and visit the National Museum of the Altai Republic. It exhibits the famous “Siberian Ice Maiden” and other interesting items about the past in the Altai Republic. We will end the day with a dinner together in a national yurt and will enjoy a concert of kaichi.
Night: hotel | Meal: 3 times | Driving: no | Walking: in the city
Highlights: excursion to the museum and around the city, kaichi concert
Day 2. Gorno-Altaisk – Inegen
Today we will travel along the famous road – Chuiskiy Tract – which connects Russia with Mongolia. The National Geographic magazine named Chuiskiy Tract as one of the world’s most beautiful roads. We will stop at the Seminsky pass and the Chiketaman pass and some other interesting places to enjoy the beautiful views. You will notice how significantly the landscape changes just after a new turn.
After looking at the confluence of 2 great Altaian rivers – Chuya and Katun (this place is considered sacral among Altaians) – we will leave the Chuyskiy tract and drive along Katun river to a small village called Inegen. Here we will stay for a night in the guesthouses of a local lady.
Night: houses and ayils (rooms for 4-5 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 290 km asphalt road | Walking: moderate
Highlights: mountain road passes, viewpoints, Chuya and Katun confluence
Day 3. Inegen-Kurai
Today we continue driving to our main destination and will have a lot of interesting places to visit, enjoy the views and make outstanding pictures. You will have an excursion around the famous Kalbak-Tash rocks with petroglyphs, and observe how the unique Geyzer lake makes its paintings.
In the afternoon we will enter the Kurai steppe, a very beautiful intermontane basin where you can admire, depending on the weather conditions, impressive views of the mighty North-Chuyskiy Ridge with eternal snow and glaciers. We will accommodate in the guesthouses in the middle of the Kurai steppe for 2 nights.
Night: houses (rooms for 3 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 126 km asphalt road | Walking: moderate
Highlights: Kalbak-tash, Geyzer lake, North-Chuya ridge
Day 4. Jangyzkol lake
This day we will devote to exploring the Kurai steppe – the only place in Altai where the ridge with 4000 meters high mountains arise just from the steppe. We will cross the steppe, full of ancient kurgans and burial mounds. Besides, we will observe some interesting geological phenomena – the giant current ripple marks.
Our main aim is Jangyzkol lake. Here we can make beautiful pictures of the lake with huge summits in the background which reflect in the lake surface. We will drive further on Plateau Eshtykol till another lake and you can notice how the view of the North-Chuya ridge changes. You will be able to see other summits of 4000 meters and huge glaciers.
Night: houses (rooms for 3 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 60 km mountain road| Walking: moderate
Highlights: Jangyzkol lake, view to mountain peaks and glaciers
Day 5. Kuektanar lakes
After breakfast we pack everything and have a short drive (about 30 minutes) to another destination. We will accommodate in the guesthouses and start out our daytrip to the Kuektanar lakes. The Kuektanar lakes are a whole system of lakes which flow from one into another, forming rivers, waterfalls or even disappearing under the huge stones. The first two lakes are surrounded by beautiful forest and taiga. Higher, a zone of bold mountains starts (more than 2000 meters high). It will take about 2 hours to get to the first and second lake. The path is rather steep, but views will compensate everything.
In the evening we will return to the guesthouses and will enjoy the banya (Russian sauna).
Night: houses (rooms for 2-4 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 40 km asphalt| Walking: intense (10 km)
Highlights: mountain lakes
Day 6. Mars, Moon and Beltir
Today we will have an early start as we drive to Kyzyl-Chin for the sunrise (Mars-1). Some people call this place “Mars on Earth”. Clay layers of yellow, white, orange, red and burgundy colours make the hills really fantastic. We are allowed to explore Mars walking up the hills and going down in tiny canyons. After that we will drive to Mars -2 (it is a light version of the rainbow mountains). We continue our path through the mountains where we will see so-called Moon – areas covered with white clay. After a nice offroad drive we will visit the abandoned village Beltir which was damaged very badly by an earthquake in 2003.
For the night we will return to our guesthouses.
Night: houses (rooms for 2-4 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 60 km offroad | Walking: average
Highlights: sunrise in the coloured mountains, offroad driving, abandoned village
Day 7. Kamtytugem valley
After breakfast we pack and head for another destination – Kamtytygem Valley. The name Kamtytugem is translated as shaman larches’ valley. Very special larches, which are used by shamans for the rituals, grow in this valley. Besides this, the valley itself is really beautiful. Not long ago locals found a sarcophagus with very well preserved items in one of the caves. There were a uniquely decorated quiver and arrows with iron tips, utensils made from the roots of trees and the remnants of silk ribbons.
Kamtytygem Valley is the habitat of a very rare animal – a snow leopard.
On our way to the valley we will visit a horse farm. You can observe the pretty complicated process of milking a mare and try the national drink – koumiss – mare’s milk prepared in a special way.
Night: houses (rooms for 4-5 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 56 km asphalt, 40 km mountain road| Walking: moderate
Highlights: horse farm, koumiss
Day 8. Daytrip in Kamtytugem valley
Today we have a day trip to the upper reaches of Kamtytygem river. We will hike up to the mountainous lake and beautiful waterfall where the zone of bald mountains already starts. People are rare guests in this area. You will search for scratches on the trees made by snow leopards – through territorial marking methods they communicate with one another.
We will also check wildcams which are installed on the snow leopard’s paths and maybe will be lucky to have a new picture or video of this gorgeous animal.
Night: houses (rooms for 4-5 persons)| Meal: 3 times | Driving: no| Walking: intense 9 km
Highlights: wildcamera, lake, waterfall
Day 9. Chuya steppe
We start the day driving across the Chuya Steppe to the next destination. We are heading to the south of the steppe, to the Sailugem national park, the center of wildlife tourism of the region.
On our way you will visit the local museum in Kokorya village. Here you will get to know the history of the area and look at very interesting archeological findings, including those from Kamtytugem valley.
Besides we will visit a stunning viewpoint of another “Red mountains” and find ancient hidden petroglyphs.
We will spend the night in the visitor’s center of the Sailugem national park in Chagan-Byrgazy.
Night: houses (rooms for 4-5 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 80 km mountain road| Walking: moderate
Highlights: Kokorya museum, red mountains
Day 10. Sailugem national park
This day you will travel on the territory of the Sailugem park towards the Bayan Chagan valley where you again have the possibility to see beautiful landscapes and wildlife. The park is the habitat of many wild animals. You have a great chance to observe and take pictures of argali, marmots, ground squirrels and birds of prey. You will also have an opportunity to hike to several points with fantastic views of rivers, lakes and mountains. Together with a ranger of the park we will check one of the wildcams. It is a unique opportunity and we are allowed to watch the pictures. We will spend night in the visitor’s center in Chagan-Byrgazy.
Night: houses (rooms for 4-5 persons)| Meal: 3 times | Driving: ~50-60 km mountain road | Walking: intense (7 km) |
Highlights: meeting wild animals and birds of prey, stunning viewpoints
Day 11. Tarkhata megalith
Sorry to say – but our way home begins. But we have a consolation, we will drive along a very beautiful road and still have enough interesting places to stop.
You will visit the Tarkhata megalithic complex. The megalithic complex is a place where huge rocks are put in a circle with a diameter of 60 meters. Some of them are engraved with petroglyphs. Most of the scientists consider it as an ancient astronomic observation and sacral place.
Night: houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 190 km mountain road | Walking: moderate |
Highlights: Chuyskiy tract, Tarkhata megalith
Day 12. Back to Gorno-Altaisk
Today we continue the drive along the Chuiskiy trakt back to Gorno-Altaisk. There we will enjoy the last dinner of this trip together.
Night: hotel| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 330 km asphalt road |
Highlights: botanical garden, dinner in the restaurant
Day 13. Farewell
After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport for your flight home or your next destination.