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Baikal trek with locals

On the top of the cliff

Everybody knows that the best way to know about culture of the country is to talk and to know people. Siberians are associated with serious, strong character, open, friendly, simple, and very hospitable people. This tour allows you not only enjoy the beauty of our nature and spend 3 days trekking along the Baikal shore, but also to get acquainted with the local people which will accommodate you in their houses.

Available: from April to October; Summer; Spring; Autumn;
Duration: 3 days
Places: Baikal lake;
Activities: Trekking;

Day 1. Transfer by speed boat. Start of the trekking

Near the Bolshie Koty village

The tour starts early in the morning from the central pier “Raketa” in Irkutsk. There you’ll get on the speed boat which will take you along Angara river for 70km right into Baikal water! From the window or top of the boat you’ll observe shaggy forests on both sides of the shore and little Russian villages together with summer houses along the riverside. You will get off the boat in Bolshie Koty village – an old Russian village which was founded here at Siberian Gold Rush time. There are only about 40 locals who live there all year around, others come here only in summer. Your route lies through the village northwards. At the end of the village we start hiking along the shoreline of the Lake. It is safe for us to drink water right from the lake, it is still pure fresh water! After a short hike we’ll stop for lunch in one of the cozy bays and this is the time when you can relax and may wash your hands or even a swim on a hot day - crystal-clear waters of Great Lake are so attractive! Lunch will be prepared for you over campfire near the Lake.

After the rest we continue hiking along the shore line. Today your route lies partly in the shadow of taiga forest and climbs to the top of the cliff which has a name – Screeper. This cliff has unique geological structure very rare at Baikal region - Yurk conglomerate. It is made of sandy rock with shingle. Going up is long and steep, but a stunning view at the top will be a worth reward to you! From the top of the cliff you’ll see fantastic view of the vast expanses of the Lake and transparent turquoise colored waters of Baikal, as well as near-by village – Bolshie Koty from where we started. The next sight we’ll pass is Devil’s Bridge. This place was called so because locals more than 100 years ago have build hand-made pass on a steep slope of this rocky cliff, avoiding long way around it. This impressive trail goes on the altitude of 15-20 m over the lake level and makes way through this cliff much shorter. Our trekking distance today is about 20 km. In the evening well reach Kadilnaya Bay, where we will be accommodated at the National park forester’s base. Dinner will be prepared for you there. You may enjoy listening to splashing waves or silence of the lake by sitting near the shore. Overnight in the wooden house.

*This tour must be booked in advance in order to buy tickets for the speed boat, which can be difficult at the middle of the tourist season.

Trekking in the forest Bolshie Koty village In the Black valley Before the trekking day in The Black valley Trekking along the shore of Baikal to Screeper rock Trekking to Screeper rock, Baikal lake

Day 2. Trekking to Bolshoe Goloustnoye village

Trekking along the shoreline to Goloustnoye villag

After breakfast we’ll pack our camping equipment and have a short walk until we get to the small Kadilnaya bay. This place is famous for caves. Here we’ll have a stop and walk deeper in the valley (for about 1.5 km) to discover the caves. The cave we are going to visit is about 20 meters high and has a reach-through hole on the top. Archeologists have found marks of the fireplace and different household items of the Iron Age, bones of the skeleton of man and teeth of some animals. We’ll go back to the Lake and continue hiking along the shore. Today the landscape is more calm and smooth; there will not be very high climbing as previous day. Lunch will be prepared for you over the fire with Baikal water. Today our destination is Bolshoe Goloustnoye village.

This is a settlement on the western shore of Baikal which was founded in the 17th century. The name “Goloustnoye” characterizes “steppe, naked, woodless delta of the river, which used to be called Idin-Gol. The history of the village is closely associated with the water trading route between Russia and China. Merchant’s sailing-rowing boats came here from Irkutsk along Angara river and Baikal. The special pier was built on the cape which lies far cutting the waters of Baikal. The settlement which grew near the cape was called Bolshoe Goloustnoye. From there the ships crossed Baikal lake to the opposite shore where they reached the delta of Selenga river and then to Udinsk and Selenginsk.

When we arrive to the village you’ll be accommodated in one of the houses whose owner is local. You can listen to the stories about the life and history of this place while enjoying the home-made food prepared specially for you by the hospitable mistress of the house. Banya - Russian steam sauna in the evening can be prepared for you (optional).

Overnight in a wooden house. Total trekking distance is 23 km.

After the rain on the way to Goloustnoye village Drinking the clearest Baikal water Morning after the storm Curved window with the lady Trekking in the blossoming meadows Blossoming flowers in May

Day 3. Sightseeing Bolshoe Goloustnoye village

Local Buryat lady

Today you’ll have an opportunity to walk along village streets and see the everyday village life of local people – the houses they live in, the cattle they have, transport they ride, shops, etc. There you will also have a possibility to buy smoked Baikal fish. Most of the locals in Bolshoe Goloustnoye village are Buryat people. They are one of the natives of our region. They are Mongolian physical type and friendly people. Today the population of the village is about 600 people. Optional walk to the nearest hill. The route climbs up the hill in the near-by forest from where you’ll have observational view to the surroundings – Baikal lake from one side and the valley of Goloustnoye river from the other. It is better to take some water with you as you won’t have any water source during the trek. Returning back to the village. Transfer back to Irkutsk, which is 140 km away, and it will take about 2.5 hours to get to Irkutsk as the road is partly gravel and partly paved. Our tour will finish in Irkutsk. Enjoy your beautiful pictures and memories!

NOTICE:

We may adjust the program individually for you according to your interests and demands. We may shorten, longer the program depending on your time, change the speed boat on the 1-st day for trekking Listvyanka – Bolshie Koty (about 20km), then accommodation 1-st night at Bolshie Koty locals, prepare vegetarian food, etc. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know your demands.

The inside of a house in Bolshoe Goloustnoye On the streets of Bolshoe Goloustnoye A wooden village house Morning silence in Goloustnoye Bolshoe Goloustnoye village Bolshoye Goloustnoye village

Please contact us for the tour price and available dates.

Comments from our guests

Daniela and Monica from Switzerland

Dec. 9, 2012, 9:57 a.m.

 Hi Svetlana! Travelling with you along the Baikal in 2010 was a great adventure. We will never forget all the fascinating scenery and moments with you especially. You made this trip unforgettable for us. Still talking about you and missing you too. Hope to come back one day and do another trip with you only, of course. Big Hello from Switzerland Daniela and Monica

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