Demanding: Significant expedition style camping or family stays. May include full-day hikes (up to 6 hours) or rides over challenging terrain, long driving distances over rough unpaved roads, or challenging weather conditions, including extremes of temperature.
This is a suggested packing list, which you should feel free to adjust to suit your needs. Please refer to our travel guide for more detailed information.
See our packing tips for detailed information.
Day 1. Arrival (D)
Arrival to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to hotel. Depending on time of arrival, you may have a short city sight-seeing tour. Evening welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2. Ulaanbaatar Ulaangom/ Uureg Lake (B,L,D)
After breakfast we will catch a flight to Ulaangom where we meet our 4X4 vehicles and we begin our exploration of Western Mongolia. From Ulaangom we will drive west to Uureg Lake, a brackish lake which is a major stopping point for migratory birds. Near the lake are several examples of bronze age burial mounds. Camping overnight next to Uureg lake.
Day 3. Uureg Lake/ Shaazgai Lake/ Hovd Village (B,L,D)
Today we continue our drive to the starting point of our trek. On the way we will pass by Shaazrai Lake, surrounded by large outcroppings of granite in a setting of semi-arid steppe. We continue to a camping spot near Hovd village, where we will meet with our local guides and the pack camels. We will prepare our equipment and packs for the trek which begins on the next morning. Camping overnight.
Day 4. Hovd Village/ Gojurin Waterfall (B,L,D)
In the morning we load our pack camels and start up the southern slopes of the Kharkhira range. The camels will carry our luggage and tents and we will carry only our day packs, our lunches, and water. On this first day we will hike to Gojurin Waterfall, where we camp overnight. On the trek we will hike between 15 and 18 kilometers per day on moderate terrain, with a few challenging sections.
Day 5. Gojurin Waterfall/ Damjig Canyon (B,L,D)
Leaving the waterfall, we will go to visit an ancient grave marked with a human shaped gravestone. From we continue down to Damjig canyon, and have lunch next to the little wooden bridge that spans the Dund River. After lunch we climb back out of the canyon and hike along the Shiver River until we reach a good camping spot where we spend the night.
Day 6. Damjig Canyon/ The 108 Lakes (B,L,D)
Today we continue along the Shiiver River until we reach the home of Dashdavaa, one of the 9 rangers that take care of the nature reserve. We will spend the afternoon with Dashdavaa's family, learning about the unique way of life of the nomads in this part of Mongolia. Camping overnight next to Dashdavaa's home.
Day 7. The 108 Lakes/ The 3 Colors Lakes (B,L,D)
Leaving Dashdavaa's home, we will enter an area known to the Mongolians as The 108 Lakes. After lunch we will go see the 3 Colors Lakes, three lakes formed from the melt waters of a mighty glacier which overlooks them. Camping overnight next to the 3 Colors Lakes.
Day 8. The 3 Colors Lakes/ The Kharhira Pass (B,L,D)
Today we will cross the Kharhira Mountain Pass, lying at 3000m above sea level. The pass is located between the Harhira and Turgen glaciers, both over 4000m high. As we pass between the glaciers you will have spectacular views of both valleys on either side of the pass, and of the stunning white glaciers. Camping overnight below the Harhira Pass.
Day 9. The Kharhira Pass/ The Magnificent 5 Lakes (B,L,D)
Today we do not break camp, but we take a side trip to the slopes of the Turgen glacier, to visit the Magnificant 5 Lakes, the source of the Kharhira River. In the afternoon we meet with Delger’s family for a traditional Mongolian dinner before returning to our campsite.
Days 10-11. Along Kharhira River (B,L,D)
For two days we will follow the course of the Kharhira River down through a rocky valley until we reach a large open valley. We will pass near ancient burial mounds, on our way to the fertile pastures where we will see many gers, yak herds, and birds of prey. Camping overnight.
Day 12. Kharhira River/ The Blue Lake (B,L,D)
Today we will follow a dirt track through some small mountain passes, stopping for a rest on the shores of Yellow Lake. After our rest we continue to Blue lake, one of the highlights of the trek. This crystal blue lake in it’s spectacular mountain setting offers amazing views from almost every point on the lake shore. The rocky peninsula that almost cuts the lake in half is formed of multicolored stone. Camping overnight next to the lake.
Day 13. The Blue Lake/ Khudag Ulias – Trek’s End (B,L,D)
Today come down off the Kharhira Range following the course of a beautiful small creek. At the bottom of the creek our 4X4 vehicles will meet us and we will leave our pack animals. Tonight we will make camp at Khatag Ulias next to the creek, and pack and organize our gear for the next day’s flight back to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 14. Back to Civilization (B,L,D)
After breakfast we will drive into Ulaangom where we catch our flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Depending on the flight time, we may be able to visit the local museum and the World Wildlife Fund visitor center to learn about their activities to protect the environment in this region. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar we will check in the hotel for some rest time and meet up for dinner in the evening. Overnight in hotel.
Day 15. Ulaanbaatar (B,L,D)
We begin the day with a few hours exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian might need, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers. Goods brought from all corners of Mongolia are here for sale. A visit to the market is a colorful experience which gives the visitor an insight to the everyday life of the people of Ulaanbaatar. After lunch we will visit the Bogd Khan Palace museum, the palace of the last Mongolian king, who was considered a living god. Free shopping time in the afternoon. Mongolia is world renowned for its fine cashmere and you will find this and many other souvenir items in the city. Overnight in 4 star hotel.
Day 16. Departure (B)
Transfer to the airport for your departing flight.