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Darhad Nomad Trail

Ride the herder’s migration trails through the Horidal Mountains between Lake Hovsgol and the Darhad Valley.

  HOVSGOL     15 DAYS IN MONGOLIA     10 DAYS RIDING     From $3750*     JUNE-SEPTEMBER  

 

 “What I love most about this ride is that it tells the story of the Darhad Nomads as we travel their seasonal migration routes. We meet nomads on the trail and out hay cutting at their winter corrals, then visit their families at their summer camps in the Darhad Valley.” – Andy Parkinson

 
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Mongolia’s northernmost region, Hovsgol Aimag, is where the rolling steppes give way to Siberian taiga. The region is renowned for the 100 mile long Lake Hovsgol, the cherished Blue Pearl of Mongolia. The lake is overlooked by the Horidal Saridag Mountains, a designated protected area that is habitat to Argali sheep and Ibex, and some of the most impressive alpine scenery in the country. Beyond the Horidal Mountains lies the Darhad Valley, and bowl of grassland, marshes and rivers ringed by mountain wilderness.

This route is designed to showcase the best of the region’s landscapes, including Lake Hovsgol, the Horidal Mountains and the Darhad Valley. Its a loop ride of some 250km that circumnavigates a large portion of the Horidal protected area through mostly excellent riding country with only a few more rugged sections of trail. The plan is to get out on horseback, camp in the wild, visit Darhad herders, enjoy the company of our local wranglers, and get a sense of this fascinating region.

The trails we ride are used by local herders to migrate between seasonal pastures and in fact many are very ancient routes perhaps even ridden by Chinggis Khan himself.

Join our next group ride from 1st to 15th August 2020.

This is a join in trip for 4 to 8 participants, see details below or get in touch to learn more. We can also run this ride as a private group trip during the June to September season.

 
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Trip highlights.

  • Travel through some of the best scenery of northern Mongolia
  • Ride hardy Mongolian horses in the company of local horsemen
  • Visit nomadic herders at their gers to experience the Darhad way of life
  • Enjoy wild camping with camp fire evenings and starry nights
 

Outline itinerary.

  1. Day 1Arrive Ulaanbaatar. Overnight at Hotel.
  2. Day 2Fly on a domestic flight to Muron Airport, and then drive to Hatgal at the southern end of Lake Hovsgol (2 hrs drive). Overnight in a tourist ger camp close by the lake.
  3. Day 3 Saddle up and commence the ride, heading west through nomad’s summer pastures to the southern boundary of the Hordial Saridag protected area. Camping in tents.
  4. Day 4-11 Riding from 20-30km per day (generally 5 or 6 hours in the saddle). First crossing to the Darhad Valley on a seldom used trail, then skirting the impressive ‘front range’ of the Horidal mountains, before heading into the mountains to cross the dramatic Horidal Pass. Camping in tents.
  5. Day 12 Ride back to the shores of Lake Hovsgol, overnight at a ger camp by the lake.
  6. Day 13 Fly to Ulaanbataar.
  7. Day 14 Sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar. This is a buffer day in case of flight delays or schedule changes returning from Hovsgol.
  8. Day 15 Onward travel.

Join our next group ride from 1st to 15th August 2020. We can also run this ride as a private group trip during the June to September season.

 
 

Cost details.

2020 rates: 

15 day itinerary: USD $3750 per person* 

- based on join-in departure with group size 4-8 participants, please enquire for private trip pricing.

plus Ulaanbaatar Hotels from $95 per room per night 

- generally one night before and two nights after the ride required as per the itinerary.

What is included +

  • All in-country ground transportation,
  • Round trip domestic airfare Ulaanbaatar > Muron rtn
  • Special protected area permits,
  • All camping equipment and trip support ,
  • Accommodation as per itinerary,
  • All meals outside of Ulaanbaatar

What is not included +

  • International airfare;
  • Personal laundry;
  • Alcoholic beverages;
  • Travel insurance; medical evacuation costs;
  • Excess baggage charges;
  • Visa fees;
  • Gratuities;
  • Photography and video fees (e.g. at museums);
  • Any other item not mentioned as included

Notes +

We’ll add the hotel nights that you need to your invoice on a single or shared room basis as required. You are welcome to arrive earlier or depart later than the start/end dates in the itinerary, or change/upgrade Ulaanbaatar hotels

Trip details.

This trip is solidly focussed on the riding. We’ve chosen a route that offers good riding country on trails used by local nomadic herders. Mostly these trails rarely see a non-local, only the route back through the Horidal range is a well established tourist riding trail, and the scenery is simply too good to miss.

Please note that this is a remote wilderness expedition: while we intend to follow this itinerary as outlined, conditions and circumstances may require some flexibility and changes at the discretion of the trip leader.

Trip Style +

We’ll need to travel relatively fast and light, but take what camp comforts we can. The wranglers will have a string of packhorses to carry all the gear. We’ll sleep in mountain tents, couples can share and individuals will get their own tent. There will be a large tipi tent as a group shelter, this is heated with a stove for fall trips when the nights start getting cold. Food will be a combination of hearty western meals, like dutch oven cooked shepherd’s pie, and local dishes such as steamed dumplings. alt text

Saddles +

Saddles we use on these rides are locally made saddles based on the historical cossack saddle. The saddle tree comprises two wooden boards connected with iron bars at cantle and pommel. This is then strung with raw hide over which is placed a leather cushion stuffed with wool. Over our years of riding in Mongolia we’ve found our own made-to-order saddles to be comfortable for both rider and horse, and suitable for the riding and terrain we cover. alt text

 
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Download more info.

Our Darhad Nomads Trail PDF contains more detailed information on this ride, download it here.

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Let’s start the conversation.

Please get in touch to request more details and start planning a trip.

Explore more riding options.

Read about horse riding in Mongolia.