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Trekking Volcanoes in Kamchatka

Hike up some of Kamchatka’s active volcanoes for thrilling shots of steaming vents and breathtaking panoramas of snow-capped mountain peaks.

Millions of years of volcanic activity have carved Kamchatka into a place of strangely prehistoric, undulating landscapes. Seen from the air, stark lava fields, gaping craters and mountainous tundra contrast with lush forests and shimmering lakes and rivers and the endless blue depths of the Pacific Ocean. 

Trekking volcanoes in Kamchatka will suit the active and adventurous traveller. We’ll climb several volcanoes during the trip, although all are easy to moderately strenuous hikes, with no special climbing gear involved. This guided Kamchatka trekking tour involves a mix of hotel stays, camping, off-road driving and trekking, with an average height of 1,200m above sea level.

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Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Mixed (hotels, cabins, tents)

Duration

Action rating

Group size

14 days / 13 nights

     

4-10 people

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Kamchatka

Meet and greet at the Petropavlovsk airport and embark on a city tour of the Kamchatka's capital. Enjoy discovering Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the administrative, cultural and industrial centre of Kamchatka and home to around 180,000 people. A remote poor city with limited infrastructure, in a dramatic and beautiful setting; built on a series of high hills on the Pacific harbour of Avachinskaya Bay, surrounded by a chain of five towering volcanoes, two of which are still active.

After a city tour, you head to Khalaktyrsky (Black) beach, which stretches about 30km and is formed of ash and volcanic send from Avachinsky volcano eruption.

Rest in a hotel, and meet your team members on a group dinner in a city restaurant.

Day 2:Transfer to Klyuchevsky Nature Park

Today begins with a full day journey to a typical Russian village of Kozyrevsk. Along the way, we pass the old Cossack village of Milkovo where we stop for lunch and a stroll around the village to get a feel for typical Russian rural life.

From here we head further to the wilderness along the banks of the Kamchatka River, Kamchatka's largest river, which runs northward through the central valley of the peninsula.

On arrival to Kozyrevsk, we will stay for overnight in very basic wooden cabins or tents (depending on weather). Enjoy real Siberian sauna (banya) and a stunning night starry sky.

Day 3:Tolbachik volcano: lava fields

After a drive from Kozyrevsk we arrive at Klyuchevsky Nature Park.

Set up our base camp at the foot of Tolbachik volcano, we stroll above its solid lava flows of 2012-2013 eruptions, lava formed various beautiful shapes, many slag cones around, moon-like sceneries.

Klyuchevskoy Nature Park was registered into the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 1999. It covers an area of 376,000 ha with Eurasia’s most grand and active Klyuchevksaya group of volcanoes in its centre. It consists of 13 volcanoes, including 4 active ones and 9 extinct ones.

Travelling further from where we stayed overnight, we arrive at our first base camp located on a slope of Tolbachik volcano plateau where we will stay for next 3 nights.

After the camp is set up (in the volcanic desert at the altitude of 1,300m), we will enjoy walking along solid lava flows from the 2012-2013 eruption. Here you’ll have a chance to capture iconic images of crackling red liquid lava streams oozing around the freshly cooled black volcanic rock. The primordial glowing magma takes on a fierce, hypnotic character as night falls.

Day 4:Tolbachik volcano: Dead Forest

Today we explore the "Dead Forest" – an area that was destroyed by enormous eruption between 1975 and 1976.

The territory around turned into a burnt desert, lakes and rivers disappeared, and the animals that had survived left the area for the best. Devoid of life, the ancient larch trees here are now eerie skeletons of their former selves, surrounded by a burnt desert landscape and set against
the backdrop of the magnificent Tolbachik.

Day 5:Ascending Plosky Tolbachik volcano

Today we ascend Plosky Tolbachik (3,082m). Physically tasking and long ascending, about 15 kilometres there and back, across frozen lava flows and slag fields.

A picturesque panorama of Klyuchevskaya group of volcanos opens from the top. You will be captivated and mesmerized by the lunar landscapes. No wonder, in this area the Soviet lunar vehicles were tested.

As an alternate program, we may hike along solid lave fields to new lava caves and slag cones.

Day 6:En route to the village of Esso

Be ready to jump to our 4/6wd truck as we are heading to Esso settlement in Central Kamchatka, home to the Evens, one of the four indigenous peoples of Kamchatka.

Here we will check into the hotel, finally take a hot shower and relax in the thermal pool.

Esso is a charming village of about 1,500 residents nestled in the Central Mt. Range and inside of the Bystrinsky Nature Park, the largest of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka’s Nature Parks. This village’s spectacular setting and unique population of Russians and Kamchatka aboriginal people welcome visitors to a cozy accommodation, warmed by natural geothermal waters.

Day 7:Esso village tour

Take a stroll around the village and visit the local museum to immerse in local culture. Enjoy a slow pace rafting and tranquillity of the area.

Esso is famous for local aboriginal culture sights, it is a unique chance to get acquainted with the culture of the indigenous people and their ancient history and traditional way of life; breeding reindeer herds, staying away from any signs of civilization and close to the exquisite mother nature.

The native population is mostly made up of the Evens. You will learn about their original traditions in the Museum of Local Lore and a walking excursion around the village.

After lunch, we enjoy a slow pace rafting on the waters of Bystraya River and maybe, if we lucky enough we will meet some bears fishing on the banks of the river.

Day 8:Transfer to Paratunka

On route to the hotel in Paratunka with a pit-stop at Milkovo village. Transfer to the hotel and rest.

Having spent a week in the wilderness, it’s time for a brief return to civilization. We embark on a full day’s drive back to the city. Along the way, we’ll make another pit stop at Milkovo village.

Retire for a well-earned rest at our hotel’s thermal pool in Paratunka village.

Day 9:Russkaya bay cruise

We leave Petropavlovsk sea port early in the morning to embark on a marine adventure in Russkaya Bay. Try your skills in sea fishing and enjoy the abundant marine wildlife, watching orca whales, sea lions and otters.

We’ll spend this day cruising the marine wildlife-rich waters of the bay (approx 10h), a remote and spectacular cove on the south-western side of the Avachinsky Gulf.

Regarded as one of the most pristine natural areas in the region, Russkaya Bay resembles an Arctic fjord, with crystal clear waters ringed by forested hills and snow-dusted mountain peaks. As well as taking in the scenery and serenity of the bay, we’ll be on the lookout for Russkaya’s wild inhabitants in the air and sea, including seals, sea lions, otters, Steller’s sea eagles and an abundance of fish and birdlife. With a little luck, we might even be able to witness orca whales and dolphins breaching the surface.

You’ll try fresh-caught fish, crabs and sea urchin on board and why not to finish this day with a glass of champagne? After a full day on the water, we’ll head back to our vehicle and drive back to the hotel.

Day 10:Gorely volcano trekking

Today, we travel to another volcano - Gorely. Here we set up tents camp and ascend Gorely volcano.

After breakfast, we’ll embark on another adventure. Today’s destination is Mount Gorely (1,829m), one of the most active volcanoes in Kamchatka. 4 hours en route and we will find ourselves on the plateau of Gorely Volcano (1,000m), where we set up our camp for next 2 nights.

From our campsite, the 4/6WD truck heads north around the edge of a large lake that lies in the unfilled eastern crescent of the Gorely caldera. From the lake flats, the walk up the huge shield volcano, we’ll cross a mix of grassy tundra with dwarf willows and bare strips of basaltic lava and lava flow formations.

Our picnic lunch will be laid out on the shelf just below the top. The magnificent panoramic view in front of us looks out over a sudden, vertical descent into the active crater.
Over 100m down, a hot acidic lake has active fumaroles around its margin and beneath the surface, thanks to Gorely’s recent steam eruptions.

Afterwards, we’ll return to the campsite via the outward route. Dinner will be enjoyed back at the camp.

Day 11:Mutnovsky volcano trekking

After breakfast at the camp, we set out for a full day trek up the Mutnovsky volcano (2,939m). Near Mutnovsky’s summit is a nest of merged craters, among the most beautiful volcanic phenomenon in Kamchatka.

We hike to the rim of the craters via a crack in the volcano’s side. With a bit of courage, you can climb to the crest of the craters. Standing at the top, at the edge of a deep cavity, gazing down upon glittering glaciers, the torches of sulphur spewing fumaroles far below and the columns of vapour rising from the active funnel crater.

Day 12:Journey back to Paratunka

At the foot of the volcano, sculpted by eruptions and shifting glaciers is one of Kamchatka’s hidden jewels – the Mutnovsky ice cave. If we are lucky enough and the entry to the cave has opened after winter, our guide will lead you deep inside an extraordinarily beautiful and rarely seen ice cave, where dazzling rainbow hues appear to light up the walls, created by reflections from an underground river.

Next we head to the “Mini Valley of Geysers” or Dachnye hot springs, which located at the bottom of Mutnovsky volcano. Actually the Mini Valley of Geysers is an active fumarole field. Hot gas from the ground heats cold water of a mountain brook, resulting fountains of water and steam. They really seem like erupting geysers.

We examine the surroundings of the station during a short and easy hike. Watch the pillars of steam escaping from the bowling of the Earth, explore mud pots and admire steam-water fountain erupting at the mouth of the hot stream.

We re-join our vehicle and hit the road, rambling back to Petropavlovsk.

Day 13:Optional helicopter tour to Kuril Lake

Today the choice is yours to either enjoy free day exploring Petropavlovsk at your leisure, or join an optional* scenic helicopter flight to Kurilskoye (Kuril) Lake for brown bears watching.

Kuril Lake is without a doubt one of the best places on earth to observe these mighty mammals as they hunt the salmon that gather here in their millions during the summer months.

One-hour flight gives you bird’s-eye views of volcanoes Gorely, Mutnovsky and Vilyuchinsky and lands on the shores of Kuril Lake, where we observe the salmon run, get to know the ecosystem of the lake, visit the fish counting fence and will enjoy watching the bears fishing and playing.

For 1 h and 30 min we’ll use a mix of motorboat and walking excursions with experienced local wardens in order to maximise our chances of seeing bears up-close and observing different behaviours. The bear viewing platform is located at the mouth of the many rivers that drain into
the lake, providing awesome opportunities to take Nat Geo worthy photos of the bears fishing for migrating salmon. After lunch, jump into the helicopter for a 15 min flight to Ksudach Volcano, where we land and Klyuchevskoye lake. We’ll take a short walking excursion along volcanic hot springs, which create a ‘hot beach’ on the lake’s shore.

Our next stop - the banks of Goryachaya River, where we bathe in the thermal hot water springs – the largest in Kamchatka. The water bubbles out on to a section of tundra located just under the Khodutka Volcano, forming a small stream. Further, from the source, the water slowly cools, so bathers are able to find a location where the temperature is just right for a warm, soothing swim.

We board the MI-8 once more and set out for a 40-min flight back to the city. Approximate tour duration is 6-7 hours, you’ll be back to the hotel at about 5:30 pm.

Day 14:Departure

Today marks our final day in Kamchatka! After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport. Hotel check out at 12pm, so please have it mind when planning your departure.

For those who depart late in the evening, an optional* tour to the foot of Avachinsky volcano with trekking (4km) Camel Mount can be organised. For late departures a private airport transfer
should be paid additionally.

Inclusions

Accommodation

  • 3* hotel accommodation in Paratunka and Esso villages
  • base camps (tents) on  the slope of Tolbachik and Mutnovsky volcanoes

Meals

Full board (B,L,D)

Transportation

Airport arrival and departure group transfers, all transportation on tour (coach, 6wd truck, boat)

Guides

Local English-speaking guide, helper, chef, experienced drivers

Activities and sights

All activities indicated in the itinerary (except optional helicopter flight to Kuril Lake)

Other

  • Camping equipment (except sleeping bag, can be rented on spot)
  • Russian tourist visa support document/voucher

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
31 Jul - 13 Aug 2018
Guaranteed Departures
Limited spacesUS $3,760US $550Reserve
14 days
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
from
$
3,760
USD
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