Darhad Nomads Trail

Southern Passes & Horidal Saridag.

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*     MAY - OCTOBER  

 “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


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.


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.

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


Download more info.


Our 15 page Hovsgol horse riding PDF contains more detailed information on all these rides, download it here.


The Darhad Valley

The Darhad Valley (also spelt Darkhad) is home to the Darhad Tribe, nomadic herders with a cultural identity and dialect distinct from the majority Khalkh Mongols. Their summer pastures are located in the grasslands of the Darhad basin, while many migrate through the Horidal mountains to their winter camps close to Lake Hovsgol. They are famous for their white horses, and many traditions and skills such as the making of raw-hide horse tack are well preserved in the community.


Let’s start the conversation

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