Imagine a vast land of seemingly endless plains and plateaus, stretching out for thousands of miles. The south being mostly open steppes, changing into an ever more densely forested landscape as you travel north, and eventually ending in tundra bordering on the northern coast. Impressive mountain ranges of the Caucasus run along Russia's southwestern border with Georgia, featuring Mt.Elbrus (5642m), highest mountain of Russia, and of Europe for that matter.
Further east are the mighty Ural mountains running from north to south across the country, marking the border between European and Asian Russia. Beyond are more plains until you reach the Siberian plateau in Russia's far east. To the south the Altai mountains rise up, followed by a whole series of less well-known but equally awesome mountain ranges from west to east, until you reach Lake Baikal, the world's deepest freshwater lake.
And this isn't all. Continue northeastwards from Lake Baikal to encounter still more mountain ranges with mysteriously ringing names like Synnagyn, Stanovoy, Verkhoyansk, Kolymsk, Cherskogo and Dzhugdzhur. Then at last, you will look across the Sea of Okhotsk, towards the Kamchatka Peninsula with its volcanoes and geysers, and south towards the island of Sakhalin and Primorski region.
Although the Russians themselves tend to be hunters rather than hikers, there are obviously great opportunities for long distance hiking in Russia. There are numerous trails in the Caucasus, Karelia, the Ural mountains, the Khibiny (northern Ural) mountains located north of the polar circle, the Altai mountains, Kamchatka, and in the Siberian taiga. Also there is the Great Baikal Trail planned to fully circumvent Lake Baikal. It is still under development, but over 500km is ready.
Russia's climate is decidedly continental. Spring and autumn are very brief, summers are very hot and winters extremely cold. However, be prepared for sudden weather changes and drops in temperature even in summertime. Of course climate in the polar regions is arctic: mild summers and freezing cold and dark winters.
Keep in mind that remote areas in Russia are true wilderness, and trails are generally not marked if visible at all. Reliable maps and documentation are hard to come by, non-existant or in Russian only. Mountain huts are an exception and very basic. Villages can be many days hiking apart, so you will need to carry compass, camping gear, clothes, food and sometimes water for several days. It can be risky to venture out on your own. It is not uncommon to hire a local guide. Ascending some of the higher mountains such as Mt.Elbrus may require a special permit. In short: hiking in Russia can be truly exploratory, and all the more adventurous.
- Rate 9
- Positive The Baikhal region (the only one I am familiar with) is breathtaking and well worth a visit before it gets too crowded.
- Thauwald, Pia: Kreuzfahrt zu den Metropolen der Ostsee
- 2., aktualisierte Auflage. Read more
- Heinze, Thomas;Dünkel, Nico;Gunkel, Stefanie: Bis an die Grenzen Europas
- Eine Reise entlang der europäisch-asiatischen Kontinentgrenze Read more
- Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkistan, and Beloochistan
- With Historical Notices of the Countries Lying Between Russia and India. ... Translated from the Original Unpublished [French] Manuscript by ... W. Jesse. Read more
- Kaliningrad street plan at 1:20,000 with an enlargement of the city’s central districts including the port, plus a road map of the environs. All place names are in Cyrillic only. Map legend and all information are in Russian.On one side is a street plan at 1:20,000 covering the city within its administrative boundary, accompanied by an index.... Read more
- Krasnaya Polyana (50K)
- Krasnaya Polyana and its environs on a detailed, contoured topographic map at 1:50,000 with on the reverse side a street plan of the resort and a regional map at 1:200,000 showing access from Sochi and Adler.The main map has contours at 40m intervals with spot heights plus colouring and additional graphics to show different types of woodlands,... Read more
- Street map of Arkhangelsk with an enlargement showing the town centre in greater detail, plus a road map of the city’s environs. All place names are in the Cyrillic alphabet and map legend is in Russian only.On one side the city is shown at 1:20,000; on the reverse the town centre is presented in greater detail at 1:10,000. On both plans... Read more
- Street map of Irkutsk with an enlargement showing the town centre in greater detail and with highlighting of its historic buildings and monuments, plus a road map of the city’s environs. Most place names are in the Cyrillic alphabet, but with names of districts and selected streets also transliterated; map legend includes English.On one side... Read more
- Street plan of Omsk with an enlargement showing the town centre in greater detail, plus a road map of the city’s environs. All place names are in the Cyrillic alphabet and all the information, including the map legend is in Russian only.The main map covers Omsk at of 1:20,000l the enlargement of the town centre at 1:10,000. Both show streets... Read more
- Mount Fisht and the surrounding area including Sochi and the resorts along the Black Sea coast on a detailed topographic map at 1:100,000 with contours at 40m intervals, spot heights plus colouring and additional graphics to show different types of woodlands, exposed rocky area, glaciers, etc. The map shows local roads and paths, as individual... Read more
- Finland - Karelia
- Een echte trektocht in het noordoostelijke grensgebied tussen Finland en Rusland. Langlauf in dit verlaten taigagebied, waar slechts hier en daar een boerderij ligt, over een vers getrokken loipe van Hossa langs de Russische grens naar het zuiden. Ervaar de weidsheid en de wildernis van de winterse Finse bossen, meren en veenmoerassen.... Read more