Siberia tourism in the Altai Mountains is as diverse as Altai. Any kind of active adventure tours are available: auto travels, horse riding, rafting, climbing, mountain hiking, bicycle trips, fishing and hunting, photo tours, caving, esoteric tours, ethnographic tours. Everyone, who visited the Altai Mountains once, returns again and again to enjoy the unique areas of wilderness, clean mountain air and plunge into the unknown world of pristine.
Siberia tourism as travelling across the Altai Mountains can be different- walking, skiing, riding a horse or a camel, and a helicopter, and even under the shadow of the hang glider and para-glider, on light sport boats across the wild rivers, skiing on steep slopes or by a car or a bike through the mountain passes, with special climbing equipment for ice falls and cliffs, reaching to transcendental tops of the highest mountains in Siberia or in the bottomless abyss of the deepest caves or scuba diving to the bottom of clear lakes, or with a gun in pursuit of expensive hunting trophy in the deep forest - it's hard to imagine kind of tourism that would have been impossible in the Altai Mountains. Apartments during a trip in Altai can be different. If you prefer high level of comfort, there are hotels of European level. If you would like to plunge deeper into pure nature we can offer a camp tent near river or double wooden house on the shore. The best way to feel this land is active tours such as trekking, riding or auto travelling.
It is said that all Altai rivers connected together can circle the Earth for 1.5 times. There are 20 thousand rivers in Altai . They are very various due to the complexity of landscapes. Many rivers have waterfalls, particularly numerous and diverse in Central Altai: Tekelu (60 m), Chinook (10 to 70 m), hard-to-reach waterfalls “Rassypnoi”, on the southern slope of Belukha and many others.
Diversity of Altai rivers allows to arrange rafting tours of any complexity and duration. Many of Altai rivers are rugged and have mountainous terrain. The most common variety of options for rafting is on the Katun River and its right tributary – the Chuya. The Biya River, the Sandy, the Charysh are interesting for the families and companies with lack of experience. Such Rivers as the Argut, the Bashkaus and the Chulyshman are for rafters with enough professional level of skills.
Horse trekking Altai tour will make you forget hassle of city life, feel unity with nature. Horse riding tourism is an opportunity to get experience the feeling of flying above the ground, not looking up from it. The Altai horses will be your loyal assistants. These amazing, noble animals, considering their endurance and ruggedness are the best means of transportation on the mountain-taiga paths of Altai midlands.
In the Altai mountains time loses its linearity, it is a completely different life, which almost has not been changed in the past thousand years. You can see that straight through the car window.
It is impossible to count all amazing wonders of the Altai Mountains as it is impossible to put into words all colors, smells and sounds of the country. So come to Altai and see this truly fabulous place where you will want to return again.
AUTO tours in the Altai Mountains
Despite the fact that the Republic of Altai is quite remote from civilization, Altai region is represented by a well-developed network of roads, which creates excellent potential for the development of car tourism. Auto tourism in the Altai Mountains is available at any season, but country roads can be limited because of winter or floods in spring time. Having off-road minibus you can reach the most beautiful and important sights of region. Karakol lakes, Ukok plateau, Chulyshman valley, Belukha mountain will impress you as nothing ever. If you are attracted to off-road passage, you will need to choose Jeep auto tour specialized on passing really difficult routes which are widely represented in the Altai Mountains. Auto tourism in Altai provides comfortable traveling and maximizes a journey through wild nature excluding physical stress. If you are traveling with children, this kind of active tours will allow you to see the magnificent beauty of Gorny Altai and visit museums and cultural monuments in relatively short time without any risk. Tourist infrastructure, including hostels, camps and stores in villages, is widely accepted in Altai making your traveling as comfortable as possible. But if you aspire to a combination of the speed of movement and an immersion into untouched nature, you might consider spending the night in a tent under open sky. The advantage of auto tourism in Altai is possibility to adjust the itinerary depending on your wishes at any time you want. If you don’t like exact plan, this option is the best for you. Altai-Travel Company offers “Altai review tour“, around the Altai Mountains and including visiting of the most significant places. Many of these places can’t be accessed without experienced instructor and reliable transport. You can see the beauty of the nature of the Altai Mountains with your own eyes. You will visit waterfalls and caves, you’ll reach places where snow never melts, see cave paintings of primitive men, drive along the road above clouds. You will visit lake Teletskoye with pure water, located in mountains covered by impassable taiga, visit grand Chulchinsky Fall. Our jeep tours present an opportunity to see boundless steppes, grazing herds of sheep and yaks, ancient burial mounds and stone sculptures, pure lakes, wild rivers and the incredible beauty of mountain peaks.
The main transport highway of Altai is Chuya highway crossing the mountainous part of Altai from the north-west to the south-east up to the border of Mongolia. It starts in Byisk, goes along the Republic of Altai till Tashanta country before the border with Mongolia. The length of Chuya highway is 617 kilometers. You can travel across this area on any car, because all the way down the track is maintained in good condition. Chuiya highway is very impressive and picturesque, you reach unsettled wild places of Kuray steppe and Chui steppe. It seems as if time has stopped here. Life flows steadily and slowly, with no rush, and things get their original meaning. Here, far away from noisy world, people follow traditions and ceremonies unchanged for hundreds years and has been passed from generation to generation. Traveler falls into another temporary space.
There are many interesting and beautiful places along Chuya highway. Yet, according to travelers, the view from the Chuya highway in the north-ridge near Kurai – is the most fascinating and unique spectacle. This place makes a soul feel the beauty and majesty of the surrounding world. A man asks eternal questions about meaning of his life, about his place in the world and understanding of harmony of nature and a man makes himself quiet, calm and inspired.
Altai is considered to be one of the main centers of boating in Russia. The basin of the Katun River has a full range of categories of complexity of routes (from 1 to 6). More than 10 thousand people are involved in the river rafting on the middle and the lower Katun every year. The Katun River is main water artery of the Altai Mountains. Katun (Kadyny) means a “woman”, translated from the ancient Turk. The Katun is included in ten best rafting rivers list in the world. It originates in the glaciers of Belukha, then rounds Katun ridge, flowing in different streams, and then unites together in a single channel named “Akkem tube”. It is 15 kilometers of white water, compressed by cliffs. Rafting along the Katun River is final destination for the majority of water routes in the Altai Mountains. The Katun is divided into three sections: the upper Katun, flowing from its origin to the river Cox, length 210 km, the middle Katun from the mouth of the Cox to the river Sumulta, length 200 km, the bottom Katun lying from the River Sumulta to the confluence with the Biya, length 280 km. You and your friends will remember rafting on the rough and unpredictable Katun river for a long time. The upper and the middle Katun are relatively difficult parts of the river to pass, suitable for men and women with higher physical endurance. You can book initial level tour of the bottom Katun for your family, the safest and the quietest part of the river. It will be the vacation that your children will never forget!
The Biya and The Peschanaya rivers flowing in a beautiful countryside are calmer than the Katun, they are appropriate for beginners. The Biya begins from Lake Teletskoye, and then merges with the Katun and flows into the Ob. The Peschanaya River has amazing beautiful shores and a variety of landscapes, it is ideal for beginners and family groups rafting.
Rafting on the Chuya and the Argut Rivers is also very popular. The Chuya is the right inflow of the Katun. It originates in the glaciers of South-Chui ridge. The Chuya River is stormy and rapid, so only experienced rafters can overcome it. Also the Argut River (5-6 level of complexity) originating in the confluence of the Jazator and the Ak-Alah Rivers is considered dangerous and quite difficult for rafting. But if you are fully confident of your ability and have years of experience in rafting you can choose the dazzling Argut.
The Bashkaus is left tributary of the Chulyshman. It originates in northern slopes of south-eastern spurs of Kurai Ridge at 2210 meters height. Then it flows to north-west across plateau Ulagan.
The Bashkaus is one of the most hazardous Altai Rivers passed by tourists. Most dangerous rapids are concentrated in 7 canyons and rugged "lower gorge”. Total number of extreme obstacles is 214 with the 195 km length of floating part. Sport catamarans and rafts, certified in accordance with union state standards are used for rafting. Also all necessary personal equipment for rafting and security is provided.
The Ursul River is the most popular, frequently ordered and inexpensive route. The river merges with the Central Katun. The Sumulta River with its clear water is also good for fishing. The route has rapids of 4-5 grade, it is fit for experienced rafters only. Route can be mixed with horse riding to get to start of the route, it may take several days. The Simulta merges with Central Katun. The Chulyshman is river flowing into Teletskoe Lake. The upper part has rapids of 6th grade and waterfalls passing 3-5 meters height. It is passed by sport tourists only. The lower part of the Chulyshman has steady flow, beautiful, picturesque shores, it is perfect for fishing and relaxing.
Variety of Altai Rivers allows to make rafting tours for many days. The majority of rivers has rugged mountainous character, but you can easily find a route for the beginner level tourist. Rafting Altai Rivers will give you an unforgettable experience and adrenaline cheerfulness.
Trekking Altai is rich, cognitive hiking, surprising you by delightful natural and historical sites. A foot hiking as nothing else exposes wild life of mountains, plants, birds and animals. Mountain trails will lead to the bizarre world of nature and show a variety of colors and paints of Altai.
Perhaps the most popular route is trekking to magnificent Belukha. You will see unmatched beauty of Lake Ak-Kem, Jarlu gorge, where whole stone city is built by people, who has come from all over the world to meditate at foot of sacred Belukha. In daytime, Jarlu slopes are painted in light blue color, it is changed into soft pink color in the evening. Gorge Jarlu has another name - "Valley of edelweiss." There is a huge number of these mysterious flowers, which are associated with many legends and invented stories. Ak Oyuk Mountain (3670 m) rises above "Valley of the Seven Lakes". The amazing beauty of lakes, numerous waterfalls, blooming alpine meadows, snow-white peaks fascinate the most demanding audience.
One of the most exciting Altai routes is trekking to Lakes Multinskiye. The route passes through Ust-Koksinsky District - one of the most amazing and mysterious places of Altai, having fantastic alpine terrain. Multinskoe lake with its pristine beauty is surrounded by high mountains and wild taiga. The name they got from the same river. The river forms a series of three lakes: Top Multinskoe, Middle and Bottom Multinskiye. Lakes are a result of moraine dammed in mountain glaciers. There are a lot of berries, such as blueberries, currants, raspberries in the vicinity of lakes. Local rivers are full of gray-lings. Fascinating fishing is provided for fans of that activity.