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Nature Reserves and National Parks.

Barguzinsky nature reserveBarguzinsky Biosphere Nature Reserve.This is the oldest nature reserve in Russia. It was founded in 1916 and primarily aimed at the protection of sable. The initial goal of preservation of the sable was successfully carried out by the middle of the 1930s. Today the nature reserve includes a huge territory that is protected and much research is carried out.. Eco-system of the reserve have never been affected by any manmade factors except for local people’s hunting, which was unregulated until 1916. In some areas there were no economic activities except for hunting. The nature reserve is located in the northern part of the Republic of Buryatia, on the northeastern shore of Lake Baikal. The total area of the reserve is 374 thousand ha. 15 hectare is occupied by a coastal area and 111 sq. km have the status of a biosphere polygon.

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Baikalsky Biosphere Nature Reserve.The Baikalsky Nature Reserve is situated on Baikal’s east shore on its southern part. It was founded in 1969 and covers an area of 165,700 thousand hectares of the Khamar-Daban mountain chain. The reserve borders go along the Mishykha and Vydrinnaya rivers. The research area of the reserve is the taiga and the Khamar-Daban mountain chain on Baikal’s shore.

Baikalo-Lensky Nature Reserve. It was founded in 1986 on the western shore of Lake Baikal. The total area is 659,919 hectares. It is the largest nature preservation zone in the Baikal area and 14th largest in Russia. The Nature Reserve includes 110 km of coastal line from the river Heirem to Elokhin Point, as well as the Baikal mountain chain and the headstream of the great Russian river Lena with its tributaries. The Lena is the longest river in Russia (4400 km) and the tenth longest in the world. There is a border between the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia along the Elokhin cape.

The Reserve is inhabited by 50 species of mammals and about 240 bird species. It is famous for its bear population. There is even a forestry called "The Coast of Brown Bears". In the Reserve one can come across various rare bird species such as thewhite-tailed eagle, black stork, scoter, roody sheldock and gray crane.

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Dzherginsky Nature Reserve. It is located in the Republic of Buryatia in Kurymkansky region. The reserve is unique due to its location in the eastern part of the northeast shore of Lake Baikal, where the three huge mountain ridges Barguzinsky, Ikatsky and south Myisky cross. The heart of the reserve is the delightful, sacred relic glacial hollow Amutskay, in which crystal clear lakes are located. The reserve area is 238,000 hectares; 0,894 thousand hectares are occupied by water. The Dzherginsky Nature Reserve occupies 19 % of the area of Kurymkansky region. Dgerginsky Nature Reserve was set up on August 14, 1992 with a total area of 238,700 hectares.

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Zabaikalsky National ParkZabaikalsky National Park. The park was founded in 1986 in the Republic of Buryatia, on the eastern bank of the Lake Baikal. The park’s area covers Chivyrkuyski Bay, the Holy Nose Peninsual and and archipelago of the Ushkany I(slands. The Ushkany Islands are famous for having the largest rookery (colony) of Baikal seals. The total area of the park is 270,000 hectares.

About 40% of the park’s area is protected as a reservation, which means that all types of economic or recreational activities are prohibited in the area. There are several tourist trails in the park including a path to the highest peak of the Holy Nose Peninsula, with the spectacular view of the Holy Nose Isthmus, Chivyrkuysko and Barguzin Bays, and the Ushkany Islands.

Mineral springs such as Zmeiny, Kulinye Bolota and Nechaevsky are very popular among local people and tourists.

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Pribaikalsky National Park. The Pribaikalsky National Park was established in 1986 on Baikal’s west shore. The park spreads for about 400 km along the southwestern coastline of Baikal, from the Kultuk settlement to the Kocherikovsky point, and it is 1 to 8 km wide. The park borders on the Baikalo-Lensky national park. The largest island, Olkhon, is a part of the Pribaikalsky National Park. The total area of the park is 418,000 hectares. It is one of the five largest national parks in Russia by area. More than 300,000 hectares of the park’s territory (about 70%) is occupied by forests, 22,000 of which are cedar.

The park protects natural and cultural resources on its territory. There are more archeological monuments in the area than any other place on Lake Baikal. Olkhon Island alone has 134 such monuments (remains of old settlements, stone walls, stone graves). The Rock sights (petroglyphic drawings) in the Sagan-Zaba rockface are world famous. The drawings depict shamans, running deer, and swans. The drawings’ age is approximately 2500 years. There are a few petroglyphic drawings in the Aya Bay caves, Sarminskoye Gorge and Burkhan Point.
In the park 52 natural monuments and 700 ethnographic monuments of the Paleolithic age and later periods have been recorded.

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Tunkinsky National Park.The Tunkinsky National Park is located in the Republic of Buryatia. It was established on May 27,1991 to cover an area of 1,183,662 hectares. It occupies the Tunkinsky Valley with the adjacent mountain ridges of the Eastern Sayans and Khamar-Daban. 150,836 hectares from the whole territory are in agricultural use. The Tunkinsky National Park is well developed; alarge part of the Tunkinsky Valley is cropland, hayfields and pastureland. The Tunkinsky Valley is famous for its mineral springs. Among the most famous are Arshan, Nilova Poustyn and Zhemchug (pearl) mineral springs health resorts. There are good roads to the health resorts.

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