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Altai Circumnavigation - 9 Days

Altai Circumnavigation 

One of the most popular Altai itineraries. A route goes through Lake Teletskoye, Chuyskiy Trakt and Chulyshman River valley.

Day 1
Meeting Lake Teletskoye

Our tour starts when we meet you in Biysk or Gorno-Altaysk. From there, we’ll take you in the van along the scenic road to Artybash urban settlement (260 kilometers from Biysk, 170 km from Gorno-Altaysk). The settlement is located on the shore of Teletskoye Lake – the biggest and cleanest lake of Altay. You will see a place where Biya, the beautiful Siberian river, begins its journey. The same day, after accommodation, lunch and some time to rest, we can give you a walking tour of the surroundings of Artybash. You’ll get to see a wonderful mountain valley and the “Third river” cascade of waterfalls. A walking trail will guide you through a fabulous forest, a perfect place for selfies and landscape photos.

Day 2
On the ferry through the lake

In the morning, we’ll take our minivan with us to the ferry all across Teletskoye lake to the south. The route is 80 kilometers long, we’ll go ashore on the Kyrsai bay and spend the night in a hotel.

Day 3
Chulyshman river valley

Today we drive along the Chulyshman valley – the valley of one of the biggest Altai rivers. The difficult-to-access Chulyshman River has formed a stunningly beautiful canyon between Chulyshman Highland and Ulagan Plateau. The valley, with its fantastic beauty and primeval ambience, would amaze the most experienced traveler.

We’ll have lunch on the campsite where we will also stay for two nights in the log cabins. After lunch, we’ll walk on foot through the Karasu gorge to Tract Akkurum and its “stone mushrooms”. It's also the place where Chulyshman and Chulcha rivers confluence. Every art photographer would envy the photos taken in this wondrous and unique tourist site.

Day 4
Chulyshman river valley (day 2)

Today in the morning we will begin what is probably our hardest and most interesting excursion – a walking tour to the Uchar cascade waterfall, the biggest in the Altai Mountains, also known as “Big Chulcha waterfall”. Translated from Southern Altai language, the word “Uchar” means “Unapproachable”. It’s true: the waterfall is in top-5 of the hardest to access tourist attractions in Russia. The excursion will take all day and a lot of effort. We’ll have to make a crossing over the Chulyshman River, then eight kilometers long hike on foot along the Chulcha River, mountain streams and narrow trails along the rocks. For your efforts you will be rewarded with an unforgettable and magnificent spectacle! Tourists from all over the world travel thousands of kilometers and cross several borders to see this unique place in its pristine charm.

Day 5
Katu-Yaryk pass

We’ll say goodbye to our campsite and continue the journey. Our next destination is Aktash settlement. The road leads through the Katu-Yaryk mountain pass, difficult but enjoyable, with its famous serpentine mountain roads with an average slope of 10° and the observation deck on the top – we’ll make sure to stop there! Even those who have already seen the landscape from the crest of the pass are still left speechless, so how must it feel to those who are here for the first time? We, Selfi-Tour team, have been there and consider it one of the most beautiful easily accessible places in Altai!

You’ll have an opportunity to take the most amazing and unique photos, selfies and panoramic pictures. Below the crest of the pass the valley of the emerald Chulyshman river can be seen, on the opposite side of the canyon there is a view of the Chulyshman Highland, which descends into the valley with its steep cliffs, and a waterfall rumbling down from a 100-meter height. You’ll see another valley today – the world-famous Pazyryk Valley, archaeological site of the Iron Age ancient culture. We will tell you about the most interesting discoveries and artifacts found by archaeologists.

From there, in our van, we’ll come down through the Ulagan pass to the natural monument “The Red Gate” – an artificial canyon between the rocks (they are red because of the cinnabar ore, brownish-red mercury sulfide mineral). We’ll stay for the night in wooden houses once again.

Day 6
Lake Geizernoe

That day, after breakfast, we’ll take you to Lake Geysernoe – the lake of turquoise color, non-freezing in the winter and stunningly beautiful. The water of the lake is crystal clear, and mysterious round-shaped spots at the bottom of the lake can be seen. These spots are created by underwater geysers that burst from the bottom of the lake and spew blue clay into the water. Maybe you’ll be lucky to see this exact moment with your own eyes and record it with your camera! Then, we’ll take a look at the panorama of snowy peaks of the North-Chuisky mountain range, then go up the Chuya Steppe to the unique picturesque colored mountains of the Kyzyl-Chin. We’ll spend a night, once again, in log houses of another campsite.

Day 7
The merge of the two great rivers

After breakfast and morning coffee, we’ll take a little scenic roundtrip to the waterfalls of Chuya valley.

Today you will take a closer look at Chuyskiy Trakt – one of the most picturesque roads in the world according to National Geographic. There are so many books written and movies filmed about it – and we can tell you about them! One of the most striking places you’ll see today is the confluence of Katun and Chuya rivers. We will visit Adyrkan, the archaeological complex with petroglyphs – ancient images carved in stone. We’ll observe Chuya river rapids of a class 5 of difficulty, named “Behemoth”, for the most experienced rafters. We’ll eat our lunch at a cafe, and have dinner and overnight stay in the wooden houses of the campsite on the shore of Katun.

Day 8
Mountain passes of Chuyskiy Trakt

We continue our journey along Chuyskiy Trakt. We'll get to visit the place of confluence of the two big rivers – Big Ilgumen and Katun. The place is famous for its rapids, turbulent and beautiful. The Russian Rafting Championship is held here annually. Next you’ll see two more famous Altai mountain passess – Chike-Taman and Seminskiy. We will stop for lunch at a cafe. You will have the opportunity to take photos and buy Altai souvenirs, local honey, edible Siberian pine nuts, Altai herbs. This evening on the campsite, we’ll throw a farewell party with a banya (sauna) visit, big dinner and disco!

Day 9
Goodbye, Mountain Altai!

Your journey through Altai has come to an end. The bus will take you to Gorno-Altaisk airport or to the railway station in Biysk.

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FAQ

What you need to take with you?

It is necessary to have personal equipment: trekking shoes, warm jacket and ski pants (for tours in spring and summer), windproof suit, bill cap, woolen hat, warm wool socks, individual dish kit (cup, spoon, dish), sweater, fleece suit, thermal underwear, raincoat, cotton gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, personal care kit.

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Trip Facts

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  • 9 days
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