Travel to Siberia and Visit the Ergaki National Park
South of Siberia, in Krasnoyarsk Krai’s lower end, you can find the Sayan Mountains, an important mountain range that extends for nearly 1500km along the border between Russia and Mongolia. It’s in that scenery that you can visit one of the best destinations in Russia, ideal for lovers of nature and adventure: Ergaki National Park (Ергаки in Russian, which is pronounced “Yergaki”).
Founded in 2005, this park occupies around 75km in the territory that leads to the western Sayan Mountains, and even though it’s well known amongst Russians, it’s still an unknown destination for most international travelers.
Its isolated location together with the legislation that has been implemented for the area’s protection since Soviet times has helped maintain the park’s mountain taiga ecosystem quite intact. Ergaki’s multiple lakes and streams are some of the least polluted in the world and its freezing waters, produced by the winter snow’s thaw, are refreshing and safe for drinking. Besides, the 342,873 hectares on which the National Park extends are a sanctuary for diverse animals –some in danger of extinction– such as snow leopards, brown bears and small deer among others.
Siberian Natural Park
The incredible views make Ergaki a must-see for adventurers who visit Siberia. Also, it’s a paradise for landscape and nature photographers.
At the park, there are many trails that lead to the lakes, the mountain peaks, the overlooks and camping areas. One of the main attractions is the so-called Hanging Stone, which is a huge rock located near a cliff that seems to be precariously hanging at the risk of falling into the abyss at the slightest movement. You’ll also discover many notorious mountains like the Parable, which consists on two peaks joined by a perfectly smooth curve that was produced by the raging strength of the glaciers that covered the area thousands of years ago. There’s also the Sleeping Sayan, a mountain whose hills resemble a sleeping giant’s profile, while Zvezdny (Star) is the park’s tallest mountaintop with a height of 2,265m.
The Best Time to Travel to Russia
Ergaki’s nearest important airports are located in the cities of Abakan (200km away) and Krasnoyarsk (600km away). DINKtravelers recommends camping at the park for at least two nights, although you can also take a one-day tour that, trust us, will be really worth it. The best time to visit the park is, without doubt, during summer because that’s when you’ll find a warmer weather (in winter you can find up to 3m of snow and temperatures below -40ºC), although it’s advisable to check the weather forecast before traveling because southern Siberia is famous for its electric storms during summer.