We offer guided horseback riding expeditions through the cultural and wilderness landscapes of two of Mongolia’s premier parks, Gobi desert tours, hiking trips and herder family ger (yurt) stays. Our team of experienced trip leaders and guides is made up of Mongolian and international personnel who have worked in conservation, tourism and wilderness travel.
Mongolia Wilderness Conservation Adventure
Protecting the Wilderness Destinations we travel to
Our horseback expeditions venture into wilderness areas of great scenery. The Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area is important wildlife habitat, holds historic and spiritual sites, and protects the watershed for the nation’s capital city. The lake we travel to lies like a jewel deep in the Khentii Mountains. Visitation is increasing and wilderness values are in need of protection. We work with park authorities to help with that. Protecting the wilderness destinations we travel to is part of our commitment to put responsible travel into practice. Reflecting a core value of Stone Horse Expeditions, its a continuation of our lifelong work in conservation.
July 31 – Aug 13 2021, 5 spots open
July 31 – August 13, 2022, open
Join our annual Mongolia Wilderness Conservation Holiday Adventure! This is a special expedition – as on other trips, we ride through Gorkhi Terelj National Park and enter the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. There, we spend two days at the Black Lichen Lake, a scenic lake deep in the mountains.
Camped at this lake with a sand beach for several days, there will be ample opportunity to relax, swim and explore the beautiful forest surroundings. During the time at the lake, the Stone Horse team works with park rangers who join this special expedition, as part of our contribution to protect the wild places we travel in. Guests have opportunity to join the effort.
It’s a great adventure and at a great time of year for a swim in the lake. With some luck, you’ll see moose grazing at the lake shore at dusk, as we did previously.The horses get a nice break too here and head to their favorite meadows for the days we spend at the lake.
National ENERGY GLOBE Award Mongolia 2017
Our Wilderness Conservation Adventure was awarded the National ENERGY GLOBE Award Mongolia 2017.
With more than 178 participating countries and over 2000 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today’s most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.
Energy Globe’s recognition explains that “The Wilderness Conservation Holiday Adventure Expedition protects the environmental management of one of the largest wilderness areas in Asia by supporting eco-tourism”.
Previous Wilderness Conservation Adventures
For four seasons now, this horse trek with a purpose has seen us working with rangers of the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area around the ake in the Khentii wilderness. Stone Horse team and guests cleaned up campsites and erected back country toilets – carried in by our pack horses in prefabricated pieces. Rangers worked on signage for waste and camping management at the lake. Still, there is enough time to relax, hike, and enjoy the scenery. In 2017, we explored more tracks on foot around the lake and in the surrounding mountains, placing wildlife cameras and catching great views from higher elevations – panoramas of forest clad mountains, and more lakes to the North.
The “Wilderness Conservation Adventure” takes place once a season as we continue to work with the administration of the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area to improve wilderness conservation and visitor management. On previous trips, we placed signs and interpretive information boards at campsites and we are discussing expansion of our conservation activities with the park authorities.
The Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area
The Khan Khentii wilderness is one of Mongolia’s most treasured parks and enjoys the highest level of formal protection – as a “Strictly Protected Area”. The conservation values of the Khentii Mountains include important ecological functions, outstanding historical and spiritual significance – and inspiring scenic beauty.
Pick up at the airport and transport to Hotel, orientation and repacking for the ride.
Drive to Baruunbayangol Valley, (about 2 hours), where we meet the horses and saddle up for the day’s ride and ride up to the head of the valley where we’ll camp for the night below a high pass.
We leave the cultural landscape of the Baruunbyangol valley and make our way over a high pass with the horses and pack horses and down into a wild valley that is true wilderness to camp for the night next to a beautiful small river. We take lunch at the top of the pass before descending on foot leading the horses.
We pack up the horses as usual with the materials and camping gear and head over to another small valley leading to the Hongoriin Gol (Honey colored River), where we’ll make a crossing and head up the wild and beautiful Hongoriin Gol valley. We’ll stop for lunch along the way. After lunch, we continue up the valley and to Hagiin Har Nuur (Black Lichen Lake), where we’ll spend a couple of nights and undertake the conservation work around this remote and beautiful lake setting.
We will rendezvous with the rangers here at the lake and begin with the conservation work for the next two days. This varies from year to year, but could entail placing signs, building a wilderness toilet, trail maintenance and campsite cleanup. We’ll also place wildlife cameras around along the lake to see what wildlife may pass by over the days we’re there. There will be plenty of time for exploring the area, hiking around the lake, photography, swimming (great beaches) and just relaxing.
With the work and exploration done, we say farewell to the lake and ride along the eastern side to the south end, where we will begin a climb over another pass, taking lunch at the top to some great views. We then make our way down an interesting trail and into the upper Tuul River valley, where we’ll camp near the Tuul river in a wide open valley. A favorite of the horses, as there is plenty of great grass to feed on.
Leaving the upper Tuul River camp, we follow the Tuul river valley to the confluence with the Hongoriin Gol, crossing the river a number of times throughout the day. The scenery is spectacular along this route. Before the end of the day, we re-enter the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and into the wide open Tuul river valley and cultural landscape this park is famous for. We’ll camp next to the river among large poplar trees.
On this day we leave our riverside campsite and continue down the Tuul River valley as it opens up even more. We’ll begin to see herders who may at this time be cutting hay for winter. We’ll take lunch along the river and head further down valley to an ancient campsite used by early nomadic horsemen.
Leaving this ancient campsite on the lower Baruunbayan Gol, we ride up a long valley to cross over two low passes and camp near the Terelj River for the night. These are open valleys with many herder winter camps along the way and we may see the first herders beginning with hay making around their camps.
In the morning, we follow the Terelj River valley upstream for half a day crossing the river several times. Near our last crossing, we’ll take lunch. After our “last lunch”, we’ll head up a small valley, over a pass and down into the Gachuurt River valley and back to our staging area where we’ll finish the trip. We’ll have snacks, drinks (beer, soda, juice, water) waiting for us at trips end. From here you’ll repack from the horse trip into your travel luggage and return to Ulaanbaatar and the hotel for the evening…..unless you want to do it all again.
Departure to airport. If you’re flight is later in the day or evening, you will have time to see some of the city or do some shopping. We will provide a guide to help find your way around.