Altai Tavan Bogd (ATB) national park has some of the most stunning scenery in Mongolia with towering mountains, glacier, deep lush valleys, and freshwater lakes. It sits in the westernmost region, bordering Mongolia with its two neighbours Chine and Russia. The name of the national park literally translates to “Five Saints of Altai” referencing the highest 5 peaks of the Mongolian Altai mountains. The highest peak is Mt. Khuiten, 4374 m (14,201 ft) above sea level.
ATB national park covers 630,000 ha area and home to endangered wild species of Argali sheep, ibex, brown bear, and the elusive snow leopard.
One of the remotest corners of the world, ATB national park is barely accessible during winter. Thus, summer brings an exciting opportunity for visitors to discover its beauty. The highest peaks Tavan Bogd that sit side by side become the main point of interest for many visitors. But, there are a lot more to explore in the national park If you can bare enough to the bumpy dirt road. From centuries-old petroglyphs to roaring waterfalls, one could simply spend days enjoying the active adventure and cultural experiences. Popular activities you might want to take part in involves multi-day trekking, horse trekking, mountain climbing, skiing, and mountain biking.
Petroglyphic Complex of Mongolian Altai
Apart from its beautiful scenery, the national park houses some of the fantastic examples of petroglyphs. Petroglyphs of Mongol Altai is highly valuable for understanding pre-historic communities in northern Asia. These rock carvings illustrate the development of culture in Mongolia over 12,000 years. The earliest images reflect the period of hunter-gatherer, and a later one shows the transition to herding as the dominant way of life. Petroglyphs can be found at Mt. Shiveet Khairkhan on the bank of river Tsagaan, valleys of Tsagaan Salaa, Baga Oigor rivers in Ulaankhus soum, and Aral Tolgoi near the lake Khoton. These three sites were registered in UNESCO’s World Heritage List under the name Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai.
Lake Khoton and Khurgan
The valley of the lake Khoton and Khurgan is getting popular among photographers as the combination of local eagle hunters and stunning scenery offers like-no-other photo opportunity. The lakes can be found in 110 km south from Tavan Bogd mountains. Fed by many fast-flowing streams, the lake Khoton and Khurgan resource river Khovd which later join with river Tsagaan (White River).
Baga Turgen Waterfall
Bagaturgen waterfall is found near the lake Khoton. Hidden well in the mountains, it offers great trail experience. The hiking path to the waterfall is rather short and partly challenging at the end, but the view along the way is just breathtaking.