Hiking the Tuva and Sayan Mountains - A Remarkable Journey

The Tuva and Sayan Mountains are virtually unspoilt as not many tourists are adventurous enough to visit the location. The mountains are located in the southern part of Siberia and on the verge of the northern side of Mongolia Tuva. The capital is Kyzyl and has erected a monument to declare Kyzyl the exact centre of Asia. Also located in these parts are the Taiga forests to the north extending to the Steppes in the south. The landscape in Tuva is varied and is overflowing with endless meadows, medicinal springs, beautiful mountain rivers and sparkling lakes. The mountains vary from snow capped to semi desert areas.

To visit the Tuva and Sayan Mountains is an extraordinary experience, and hiking this Russian attraction is worth every effort. The south west of Tuva is home to the high peaks and the Sayan Mountain alpine lakes. The mountains isolate and protect this area and are seen as the natural border. The main reason that hiking the Tuva and Sayan Mountains is do special is that the Soviet Union had kept this area in seclusion and cut off from everyone for over half a century. This area was, therefore, not explored by many and getting to the area is also extremely difficult as it is very remote. Tuvan people are mainly nomads who breed cattle. Their lives have predominantly revolved around tending to their herds that range from cattle, sheep, yaks, camels and goats. They are of a mixed heritage and it is believed that Ghenghis Khan was born here, and that his mother was of Tuvan decent.

The easiest way to reach the Tuva and Sayan Mountains is to fly to Kyzyl from Moscow. Kyzyl is the best starting point, as there are good roads from this point. After arriving from Moscow, you can take in the customs and traditions if you choose, or start on your way. It is, however, not advised to attempt hiking these parts on your own. As previously mentioned, the area is unexplored by tourists, and there are no clearly marked hiking trails. Some parts, such as the low valleys and rapid rivers, require the assistance of horses to cross or you will need to know where to find a bridge. If you are wanting to hike in this area, you are advised to contact a tour group or company. The Tuva and Sayan Mountains are surrounded by ridges, eroded sections and very steep slopes. Clothing including ankle supporting hiking boots and waterproof jackets are advised, as are walking poles. The mountains average a temperature of 20 degrees, but late evenings and nights are known to be chilly.


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