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Best Hiking Trails in Mongolia

Overview

Mongolia is a vast, wild nation, bordered by Russia, China and Khazakstan, and is sparsely populated.  It is certainly not overrun with tourists, but has spectacular mountain scenery to explore.  Some of the known trekking regions include: Gorkhi Terelj National Park near Ulaanbaatar; Tavn Bogd National Park and the Altai Mountains, Khosvgol Lake, Gobi Desert, the Khangai Mountains and the Khan Kentii Mountains. Horse trekking is also popular here.  The best months to go trekking in Mongolia are June to September.  Read on for more information on where and when to go hiking/trekking in Mongolia. 

Capital: Ulaanbaatar

When To Hike in Mongolia?

June – September: July and August for some regions
October – May: Too cold; for northern regions, this could be from September – June
Climate: Strongly continental – long cold winters and short summers.  Partly affected by Asian monsoon, therefore rain falls in summer (August can be quite rainy).  Strong winds in spring, can bring dust storms.  Snowfall is light in winter.  

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: Almost no marked trails and little tourist infrastructure outside of Ulaanbaatar.  While some people do independently trek, most hire a guide.  It is especially wise considering the long distances between settlements and the conditions of the roads – need good vehicles and good drivers.  There are numerous tour companies operating in Mongolia. 

Transportation required: Public transit to places close to Ulaanbaatar; Sturdy vehicle required for everything else

Where to stay in Mongolia for hiking:

  • Artybash
  • Chemal
  • Tariat
  • Tsetserleg
  • Ulaanbaatar
  • Dadal

Top Places to Hike in Mongolia

There are mountains in different parts of Mongolia, including the Altai Mountains, Khangai Mountains and the Khentii Mountains. Highest Mountain: Tavan Bogd – Khüiten peak (4374 m) in the Altai mountains, bordering China & Russia. Aimag refers to an administrative region, like a state or province. Gers are yurts.

Filter out hiking places of Mongolia by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Gurvan Saikhan National Park

  • In the Gobi Desert
  • Mountainous terrain, sand dunes
  • Khongoryn Els (Singing Sands) 

Eastern Mongolia

  • Khan Khentii Mountains
  • Eastern Mongolia is most remote, independent travelling requires a lot of planning
  • Around Dadal

Khangai mountains

  • Not as high as Altai and other areas
  • Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park; Tariat is a good base
  • Tsetserleg is a good base for the region (capital)
  • Gangin Gol (river) has  a lot of hiking potential

Hustai National Park

  • Near Ulaanbaatar

Gorkhi Terelj National Park

  • Near Ulaanbaatar, accessible by bus, popular place

Khövsgöl Nuur National Park

Uvs aimag

  • Karkhiraa Uul and Türgen Uul

Tsambagarav Uul National Park

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

  • Touted as a great hiking area
  • Around Khoton Nuur (Lake)

Mongolia's Long Distance Trails

  • Many treks in Mongolia are multi-day
  • Chulut Sum to Tariat – 120 km

Mongolia's Walking & Hiking Resources

Mongolia Hiking Books: No hiking specific books

  • Lonely Planet Mongolia, by Trent Holden, Adam Karlin, Michael Kohn, 2018, Lonely Planet Publications  – good source of information (ie. Tour operators) 
  • Several independently published travel guides which could be useful 
  • The Secret History of the Mongols – for reading pleasure

 

Mongolia Hiking Associations/Clubs:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Mongolia:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from trail maps/apps, websites, and tourist offices:

  • Mount Malchin – Tavn Bogd National Park
  • Mongol Bichigtey Uul to Bogd Khan – Ulanbaatar
  • Khovsgol Lake
  • Altai Mountains trek
  • Khongoryn Els – Gobi Desert
  • Khangai Mountains trekking
  • Khan Khentii Mountains – eastern Mongolia
  • Gorkhi Terelj National Park trails

 

Mongolia Hiking Websites:

 

Mongolia Weather Websites:

 

Mongolia Official Tourism Site:  

 

Mongolia Hiking Apps: 

 

Mongolia Hiking Maps:

What Else To Do

  • Naadam – games involving wrestling, horse racing, archery 
  • Gobi Desert
  • Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) 
  • Eagle hunters
  • Horse riding – huge sport here
  • Fossils
  • Fishing
  • Monasteries

Other Important Points

  • There are often different names for the same place
  • Beware of mosquitoes and midges in spring and early summer, flies in general 
  • Make sure you get necessary permits, which are often required
  • In winter, Ulaanbaatar can have very bad air pollution due to coal burning for heat