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Ergaki Nature Park


     Ergaki Nature Park is blessed with unparalleled mountain scenery nestled in the heart of the magnificent Wester Sayan mountains. Each year thousands of visitors come to Ergaki to see wonderful pristine nature, to marvel at flower-filled heavens and crystal clear lakes at valleys, enjoy striking set of peaks, stunning rock formations and sweeping vistas. With diverse scenery packed into a compact area Ergaki Nature Park is a brilliant place to experience hiking, trekking, climbing, snowboarding, cross-country and mountain skiing. People come to this fabulous Park in search of harmony and serenity. A trip to the Ergaki nature park will inspire you to make a lot of wonderful pictures and give unforgettable impressions.

     Here you will find gorgeous sights that form a unique image of Ergaki. These celebrated features are true hallmarks for hiking and trekking. One of the leading destinations of Ergaki is the massif ‘Sleeping Sayan’ – a range of peaks resembling a lying on the back giant visible from the main highway R-257, which transects the park. You can see a calm proud profile, long hair, arms crossed over his chest, legs and feet. This majestic and mysterious symbol of Ergaki is famed in legends and sung far and wide by locals, travel associations and visitors from around the world. Ancient legend says, “Sleeping Sayan keeps his treasures for people, obeying the wills of gods”.

     Another wonderful creation of nature is the rock formation ‘Brothers’. It looks like two brothers with joined hands. The second name of this remarkable rock is ‘Parabola’. It has a form of a parabola, consisting of two peaks of different size and height, connected by a stone bridge. ‘Parabola’ has a very smooth “polished” surface therefore some researchers discuss artificial processing (if not the origin) of this amazing rock. Next to the ‘Younger Brother’ there is an emerald lake in the form of an almost perfect rectangle with rounded edges. It's called the ‘Lake of Mountain Spirits’. According to the legend, Mountain Spirits turned two boys to stones to guard their fabulous treasures. A picturesque 20-meter high waterfall brings its waters into the Lake.

     The Khudozhnikov (Artists’) Pass is known for its exotic natural beauty. It offers panoramic vistas of the Central part of the Ergaki mountain ridge, ragged Ptitsa (Bird), Zvezdniy (Starry) and Zub Drakona (Dragon Tooth) peaks looming over the horizon and captivating views of Parabola down in the valley.

     One more fascinating hallmark of Ergaki is Hanging Rock (Visyachiy Kamen’)– an enormous block of granite-syenite rock (150–200 tones, about 50 m2) which lies on the top of one of Ergaki's peaks defying the laws of gravity. This huge rock stands on the very edge, overhanging Raduzhnoye (Rainbow) Lake. When seen from aside it seems unstable as if any push can make it slide into abyss. Hanging Rock is only 4-hour hike from the Visitor Centre. Located between two mountain lakes:  the Raduzhnoye (Rainbow) Lake and Karovoye (Cirque) Lake and giving a magnificent view of Sleeping Sayan, Hanging Rock is a must-see destination of the park.

     The abundance of splendid streams and crystal clear glacial lakes nestled in a colorful blanket of flowers make the gorgeous scenery of Ergaki unforgettable. One of gems of Ergaki Nature Park is Svetloye (Light) Lake located 1500 m above sea level at the foothill of Ptitsa (Bird) and Zvezdniy (Starry) peaks.  It is often called the Great Lake as it stretches 1.5-2 km from north to south and 1 km from west to east. The lake is surrounded by majestic hills covered with coniferous taiga.

     Ptitsa (Bird) peaks is one of the most memorable peaks of the Ergaki ridge. It resembles a giant Eagle spreading its wings to protect baby birds from evil.

     The neighboring Zvezdniy (Starry) peak (2265m) looks like a great ocean liner, which furrows the spanless ocean of taiga.  This rock formation is particularly popular with climbers which come from different parts of the country.

     One of Ergaki Nature Park’s most popular scenic attractions is Mramorniy (Marble) waterfall. Falling from 30-40 meters, it forms several roaring cascades and steep rapids between them. The bed of the waterfall is made by huge granite blocks which are red due to microorganisms on the rocks. This majestic mighty waterfall cascading down mossy green valley is beautiful from any angle. The waterfall is located between Mramornoye (Marble) Lake and Razbitoye Serdtse (Broken Heart) Lake at about 1600 meters above sea level. The complex of waterbodies creates the perfect tranquil environment.

     The rock Zub Drakona (Dragon tooth) is one more terrific sight of the region. It really looks like a giant fang of some beast of prey. One of the faces of this peak is a 1000-meter-high overhanging wall a challenge for climbers and BASE jumpers.