Explore the Valley of Volcanoes - Trekking in the Shadows of Giants
Written by 56th Parallel
Valley of Volcanoes Lake Baikal tour will deliver you with many experiences you are already looking for but did not know it yet, and another excuse to travel to Lake Baikal. It is located in the Eastern Sayan Mountain Range, which stretches across 800 km from the southern extremity of Lake Baikal to the Yenisei River in the Northwest. Deeply incised valleys separated by mountain ridges and low-level saddle-shaped passes characterise this extensive and fascinating mountain system.
The majority of the passes can be traversed on footpaths, allowing you to hike from one river basin to another. The Valley of Volcanoes consists of one of Siberia’s spectacular views of taiga forests, whitewater streams, impassable swamps and incredible waterfalls. The most recent lava outflow from cracks and volcanic craters dates back to 8000 years.
On the first day of the tour, we meet at Irkutsk airport for a long 500km transfer to the Republic of Buryatia. Your first stop – the village of Kultuk, from the observation point here, you’ll be amazed by stunning views of Lake Baikal and Khamar-Daban Mountain Ridge.
We will also pop into the unique museum of minerals in Slyudyanka village, numbering in the collection of more than 10 000 exhibits from around the globe. Then we head to the Eastern Sayan Mountains. Having entered the Tunka valley, you will arrive at the republic of Buryatia. Here, we will stop at the road cafe and try delicious Buryat dish – “buuzy“.
We head further to the Gornaya Oka river, en route we will do several stops in the sacred Buddhist and shamanistic places, for acquaintance with Siberian indigenous people – Buryats whose religion and culture differs from Russian Orthodox. In the evening we will set up our first camp at the beautiful area of Sentsa River.
4WD Adventure through the Valley of Volcanoes
Day 2 starts off with an off-road 4WD trail adventure, passing through Lake Baikal, taking photos of beautiful scenic landscapes. Your route leads along Sentsa river valley through swamps, rivers and taiga forests.
Relax in hot springs
After fun-filled day of 4wd adventure, you reach to Khoyto-Gol Hot Springs and engross yourself in a night of relaxation soaking up in the warm natural springs water pool. These springs are known for their unique sulphur and salts elements which can heal various body organs and helps in increasing metabolism.
Trek Sayan Mountains
This day is going to be one of the most active days in your expedition, as we trek 18 km towards the Cherbi pass (2420 m). On the way, you’ll savour the beauty of frozen peaks and emerald mountain lakes.
From the top of the Cherbi Pass, we will enjoy a spectacular view of one of the volcanoes. Very soon we entering Volcanoes Valley. Picture time!
Next day will be completely devoted to exploring the valley, which consists of three volcanos – Kropotkin, Peretolchin, Stary and a huge lava field Hi-Gol.
On the next day, we will return via familiar road, traversing Cherby Pass to the Khoyto-Gol hot springs and then back on the off-road journey, while watching and enjoying the splendid landscapes surrounding the Oka River. Oka River is a Siberian river in the left tributary of the Angara River. Oka originates in the Sayan Mountains in western Buryatia and flows for 630 km through Irkutsk region. Following the river further down, we stop at the Zhombolok waterfall. This waterfall is 15 meters of crystal clear stream falling from gigantic lava field, where you’ll get to set up a camp and spend a night.
Following day, you will depart on a 200 km drive to the White Irkut River which is in the Buryat Republic. Irkut flows for 488 kilometres, consisting of 15,000 square kilometres of basin area, you will explore this stunning river, hiding in the between two mountains. You get to take a scenic walk to the famous arched rock called Nuhu. It is bold and beautiful complimenting the pleasant environment, landscapes and nature, which exactly the reasons to stay for an overnight camp.
On the last day, we head back to Irkutsk for your flight back home.