Katun Biospheric reserve is nature reserve of national significance was founded 25 June 1991, it became Biosphere reserve in 2000. Territory which is adjoined with Katun reserve became National park Belukha. Both of them are included into list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage under the name "The Golden Mountains of Altai" together with Altai national nature reserve, Plateau Ukok and Belukha Mountain. Katun Biosphere Reserve is located on the Katun Ridge, the most mountainous part of the Altai. The reserve area is 151 thousand hectares. Belukha Mountain, the highest peak of Siberia adjoins the Katun reserve. The reserve is located at altitudes from 1300 to 3280 meters where high mountains with large glaciers, snowfields and rock streams and midlands with tundra, alpine and subalpine meadows dominate. Deep forest is prevalent in deeply incised river valleys and lower slopes.
Landscapes of reserve has been changed by ancient and active glaciers which formed high-shared peaks and trough-shaped valleys with many lakes. One of the most active glaciation is on the territory of Katun biosphere reserve. Inside the border of reserve there are 148 glaciers feeding numerous rivers of Altai region. Rivers which originated on the slopes of the ridges, are mainly tributaries of the Katun and form large and complex network of rivers and streams. There are more than 135 lakes of glacial origin mostly. The biggest is Taimenye Lake, located in the north-western part of the reserve, one of the tourist favorite attractions as well as well-known Multa Lakes. The Top Multa Lake is in the protected area.
The vegetation is represented by a wide variety of steppe, meadow, forest and mountainous communities, regularly changing each other and forming the characteristic structure of altitude zones. Despite the highland location of the reserve, biological diversity should be considered as high level. It is found 663 species of vascular plants, 215 species of mosses, 793 species of lichens, 264 species of mushrooms. The fauna of mountain taiga forests is represented by deer, bear, sable. The reserve is inhabited by 51 species of mammals, 132 species of birds, 3 species of reptiles, 1 species of amphibians, 8 species of fish, including Russian snow leopard protected by the Red Book, black stork, osprey, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, black vulture. In general, it is quite comparable to biological diversity of majority of Russian reserves.
Contiguous territories (Belukha mountain Park and Katon-Karagay National Park of Republic of Kazakhstan), despite the ongoing economic activity, are genetically. Total area of the reserve and territories which slightly altered by human activities is over 400 thousand hectares, which is sufficient for preservation of natural complexes in indefinitely future.
- Passing and travelling on the reserve is allowed only with a pass given by administration of reserve. Passes shall only be taken in the central manor of reserve in Ust-Koksa Village.
- Do not go off the trail, parking is allowed on special areas only.
- Campfires are allowed on specially provided parking space only.
- Cutting and damaging trees and shrubs in the reserve is prohibited. Use dead wood and fallen trees for campfires and camping.
- All combustible garbage shuld be burnt in fire, metal objects must be left at special place in the parking.
- Picking flowers is prohibited.
- Hunting and fishing is prohibited.
- Professional photo and video require a special permit.