The greater Altai territory is an amalgamation of region bordering on China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Diving deeper you will find the Altai Republic, a sparse and widespread region in Siberia which is home to snow-capped mountains and thousands of lakes which come together to make this area one of the natural wonders of Russia.
Even though it is accessible to tourists today, Altai is still relatively unknown to the rest of the world which makes a trip out to the region particularly intriguing. Here, in this post, I’ll introduce the top 5 places you can visit when traveling to Altai, Russia.
- 1. Lake Teletskoye
Lake Teletskoye is known as being the largest lake in the Altai mountains. With a depth of 324 meters, it is also one of the deepest lakes in Russia. With a high level of water visibility, travelers will enjoy the crystal-like appearance of the water which comes together with the surrounding views to create magnificent photo ops.
Due to its sheer beauty, Lake Teletskoye is one of the most popular areas in Altai. It is a great place to do some hiking, camping or simply enjoy the beauty of nature.
- 2. Mount Belukha
Mount Belukha is perhaps the main reason why tourists go to the Altai. Rising high at a staggering 4,506 meters, Mount Belukha is Siberia’s highest peak.
This is not a mountain to climb for first timers but casual hikers can still explore the base of the mountain which has some of the best views and landscapes in the Altai. If you are a hardcore hiker, there is a bit of a process in gaining the necessary permits to hike Mount Belukha but a bit of planning will go a long way as this is one of the best mountains you can venture up.
- 3. Chike-Taman Pass
The Chike-Taman pass is a part of the road called “Chuysky trakt”. It may not be the highest point in the mountains, but the Chike-Taman pass is beautiful in a different way. The road is comprised of miles upon miles of mind blowing scenery, but don’t get too caught up in the views as the road is extremely windy and steep at times.
While it is a bit of an adventure to navigate the unexpected twists and turns of the road, it is definitely worth it as the view of the surrounding mountains are one of a kind.
- 4. Chulyshman Valley & Katy-Yaryk Pass
A gate to the valley is Katu-Yaryk pass, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in Russia.
The valley inherited its name from the Chulyshman River that sits in a massive canyon, which compares in size with the Grand Canyon in the United States. For those who enjoy open sizes, glacial lakes, and large waterfalls, a visit to the Chulyshman Valley in Altai is a must.
If you do make the trek, then a visit to the Unchar falls, Siberia’s largest falls is a given. Not that you need another reason to hit the valley, but out there you will also find the Stone Mushrooms of Akkurum which is a series of boulders which have been formed through erosion and weathering and now take the appearance of giant rock mushrooms.
- 5. Kobru Waterfall
When you cross Lake Teletskoye, you will most likely stop at the Kobru waterfall. While the waterfall itself is not worth bragging about, the ambient of the surrounding area is magical.
It is a ten-minute climb to reach the waterfall from where the boat docks and you will have plenty of opportunities to pick up souvenirs from Russia and local snacks along the way. It might have a bad reputation for being a bit touristy but this little waterfall is well worth the visit, if only just for a quick glimpse into the local culture.
At the end, I recommend you to watch this awesome video with some amazing views of Altai from the helicopter.