How to get around Altai by car

Sights of Gorny Altai on the map

The Altai mountain-fold system began to form about 400 million years ago, but is still in the stage of growth. Each year, the ridges rise a couple of centimeters upward, and strong earthquakes occur at intervals of several decades. The main cause of seismic activity is the regular collisions of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The strength of tremors can reach destructive 7-8 points and higher.

The restless Altai Mountains on the map occupy a vast area of ​​1850x1350 km in the southern part of Siberia and Central Asia. Geographically belong to several states:

  • Russia - in the north and north-east;
  • Kazakhstan - in the north-west;
  • China - in the south-west;
  • Mongolia - in the south and southeast.

The most picturesque places, fantastic landscapes, exclusive natural monuments and high ridges are located in the Russian Federation. They have excited the minds of travelers for centuries and are desirable objects of tourism for people around the world.

Location of the Russian Altai Mountains

The massive mountain system is located at the same distance from all the world's oceans and has the status of the geographical center of the largest of the six continents on Earth - Eurasia. The Altai Mountains on the map of Russia occupy the southeastern tip of Western Siberia. Geographically, they cover part of the Altai Territory (the administrative center of Barnaul) and the entire Altai Republic (the capital of Gorno-Altaysk).

In the east, adjacent to the Western Sayan and Tannu-Ola mountain systems within the border with the Republic of Tuva. The western Russian-Kazakh outskirts run along the Koksuisky, Listvyaga and Katunsky ridges. On the slopes of the latter is the highest point of Altai and all of Siberia - Belukha Peak (4509 m). The southern end abuts the Ukok plateau, the Sailugem ridge and the Tavan-Bogdo-Ula mountain range, which has extensive relict glaciers, the second highest peak Kuyten-Uul (4374 m) and the point of convergence of the borders of the Russian Federation, China and Mongolia.

To make it easier to find the Altai Mountains on the map of Russia, use the GPS coordinates of iconic and most famous places (see table).

NameLocationCoordinatesBelokurikha resort town at the foothills51. 96060, 84.84004 Lake Ayagranitsa between steppe and mountain Altai51. 04923, 85.54362 Gorno-Altaysk Maiminsky district 51. 55962, 85.41378 Mount Belukha, Ust-Koksinsky district 49. 06943, 86.89739 Lake Teletskoye, Northern coast, Artybash (Turochaksky district) 51. 10289, 87.55396 Lake Teletskoye South coast, Chulyshman valley (Ulagansky district) 51. 47749, 87.77142 Confluence of the Chuya and Katun (Chui-Ooza) Ongudaysky district 50. 57086, 87.14688 Shirlak waterfall (Maiden's tears) Ongudai district 50. 43901, 87.20412 Ulagan Lakes (Cheybekkol) Ulagan District 50. 82030, 88.94216 Kurai steppe (Giant ripples of the current) Kosh-Agach district 50. 68575, 87 12236 Ukok Plateau Kosh-Agach District 49. 07644, 87.94915 Martian landscapes of Kyzyl-Chin Kosh-Agach district 50. 54470, 88.83286 Chuy steppe Kosh-Agachsky district 50. 05250, 88.66198 Glacier Ak-Trukosh-Agachsky district 50. 93447, 87.81358 Uchar waterfall (Bolshoi Chulchinsky) Ulagan district 51. 16559, 88.87005 Blue Lakes of Askat Chemal District 51. 66158, 85.99180 Katunskie terraces Ongudai district 50. 19440, 86.66909 Katu-Yaryk pass Ulagan district 50. 10423, 88.17566

The main transport communication connecting Gorny Altai with the flat territories of Russia is the legendary Chuisky tract, which is designated in modern road atlases as "Federal Highway P256" (the old name is M52).

General information

Altai mountains on the map of Russia

Sights of the Altai Republic

The main attractions of Gorny Altai are snow-capped peaks of ridges and viewing platforms on passes, natural parks and reserves with waterfalls, lakes, caves, archaeological complexes, mineral springs, museums and theaters.

The treasures of the Altai Mountain Republic are natural parks and protected areas that are part of the Golden Mountains of Altai Natural Monument, protected by UNESCO. The Altai Biosphere Reserve is the largest on this territory, its famous attractions and tourism centers are Lake Teletskoye, rock formations Stone mushrooms and the Big Chulchinsky waterfall, or Uchar. The second, relatively young, protected area of ​​the Golden Mountains of Altai, the Katunsky Biosphere Reserve, is also famous for its lakes. The specially protected area of ​​the Ukok Nature Reserve is no less impressive.

The highest peak of the Altai Republic and Altai Mountains - Belukha, 4509 meters. The ascent route starts from the village of Tungur. However, for beginners and tourists, another mountain is considered optimal - Sarlyk, 2507 meters, the top of the Seminsky ridge.

With excursion hikes, you can see Shavlinsky lakes (about 25-30 km of the way), Kamyshlinsky waterfall (1.5 km from the village of Barangol), Patmos island (about 1 km from the center of the village of Chemal, along the way it will turn out see Chemal hydroelectric power station) and other sights of the Altai Republic.

Altai sights: where to go and what to see

What to see in Altai by car

Many picturesque places in Altai remain accessible only for those who travel by car. Choosing where to go in Gorny Altai and what to see, tourists mark on their map viewing platforms on mountain passes along the Chuisky tract (R-256) - the main transport artery of the region. The most popular routes pass through the Seminsky pass and the Chike-Taman pass located almost 80 km from it.

Own transport makes it possible to get even further from Gorno-Altaysk - to the Kalbak-Tash tract at 723 km of the Chuysky tract. The place is famous for its petroglyphs - it contains about 3000 ancient rock paintings.

A universal option for a day or weekend trip - Lake Manzherok, 40 km from Gorno-Altaysk. You can drive up to the coast itself - through the village of Ozernoye. Fishing is allowed on the lake all year round; lifts of the resort complex of the same name operate nearby.

Location of Altai Mountains on the map of Russia, coordinates and optimal route. What to see on vacation: ridges and peaks, passes and steppes, glaciers and lakes.

Gorno-Altaysk is a fairly young city in the Altai Republic, founded in 1932. Its natural attractions are striking in their beauty. Gorno-Altaysk is also the main city of the Republic.

A little about Gorno-Altaysk

In a city with an area of ​​95.5 sq. km more than 660 thousand people live. Gorno-Altaysk is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests and borders on the Altai Territory. The climate is predominantly continental.

Gorno-Altaysk, the attractions of which are described in many tourist booklets, is the only city in Altai. The rest of the administrative-territorial units are represented by districts. Compared to Moscow, Gorno-Altaysk is 4 hours longer.

When is the best time to go to Gorno-Altaysk

The hottest and wettest month in Altai is July. During the day, the temperature reaches + 25 - +27, at night +11 - +13. The lowest temperatures are observed in January. During the day it can be frost up to - 20, and at night it can reach - 30.

For winter tourism, it is better to choose the period from November to April. At this time, there is snow on the slopes. For lovers of river rafting, it is worth choosing the summer months, when the weather will be more comfortable for the development of mountain rivers.

How to get to Gorno-Altaysk

The path to Gorno-Altaysk is not a short one. If we take the distance from Moscow, then it is about 3730 km.

Where to stay in Gorno-Altaysk

Gorno-Altaysk, the sights of which are difficult to see in 1 day, has several good and comfortable hotels. Here you can select hotels with a category of up to 3 stars.

Budget mountain view with 2 year old child

My husband and I have always dreamed of traveling on our own, so as not to depend on travel companies and avoid unnecessary expenses.

We started our first road trip in July 2018, as soon as we bought the car. We chose Altai because we live in Kemerovo, which is 610 km from Gorno-Altaysk. We decided to go with the child.

We liked the trip. We saw with our own eyes mountains similar to Mars, walked along the shores of Siberian lakes, went down to the grottoes and looked at the waterfalls. A year later, we came here again with the whole family.

Here's how to replicate our experience.

Spent a week for three - P


Altai is located in southern Siberia. Two neighboring regions are called the same word at once:

  • Altai Territory with its capital in Barnaul. The terrain here is mostly flat. Tourists come for a comfortable stay with a view of the mountain peaks or for treatment on mineral lakes. The most famous health resort is the resort town of Belokurikha on thermal springs.
  • Altai Republic, also known as Mountain Altai. It is here that immense mountains with snow caps are located, including the highest point in Siberia - Mount Belukha, 4509 m high. Tourism here is mostly independent and wild, it is difficult to find normal hotels, but this does not mean that you will have to spend the night in a tent. During the entire trip we lived in comfortable houses - I will tell you more about this later in the article.

We were interested in Gorny Altai. We did not make a clear travel plan. Before the trip, we studied the routes and sights on car forums. We chose the places that interested us in the reviews and where we could get there by car.

There were two limitations: the characteristics of the car and a small child. For example, we were not sure how safe it was for our sedan to descend and climb the steep Katu-Yaryk pass. In the end, we decided to go to the pass. But the Uchar waterfall, aka Bolshoy Chulchinsky, we excluded from the route: a friend said that a narrow path leads there over a cliff, and the road takes four hours one way. With a child, it would be too dangerous and difficult.

Usually our day looked like this: getting up at 8-9 o'clock in the morning, breakfast, packing and departure to a new place. On average, we drove 250 km a day. Closer to 5 pm we checked into a hotel or a house and built a route for tomorrow.

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