Taganai National Park
Taganai National Park is a vast protected area covering 568 km². Taganai spreads on the spurs of the Southern Urals, in the western limits of the Chelyabinsk Region. The park owes its name to the ridges of the same name that cross it, stretching from the city of Karabash to Zlatoust, where the routes of hiking in the protected mountain forests begin. Fans of eco-tourism expect difficult steep paths, crossings of turbulent rivers, ascents to the tops of the South Ural Mountains. You will be rewarded with marvelous landscapes, communication with wild nature, romantic evenings by the fire in mountain shelters and tent towns.
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Video: Taganai National Park
The introduction to Taganai National Park begins at the Central Homestead. From here, distances to natural attractions and tourist bases are counted down. There is a parking lot in the complex, and there is an information visit center for tourists. The farmstead is open Nature Museum, dedicated to local flora and fauna, here is a geological collection of South Ural minerals. There are also guest cottages, Russian bathhouses, a spring with drinking water, arbors with barbecues, and a souvenir store.
The natural beauty and sights of the reserve attract travelers both in winter and summer. Over 80 thousand tourists visit Taganai Park every year. Hiking trails take visitors to picturesque mountain peaks, mines hiding rare minerals, rivers and lakes hiding in mountain valleys.
Experienced tourists, before the exciting journey through the Taganai National Park, go to its official site, where you can download a free guidebook on your iPhone or tablet, showing the routes, coordinates of parking lots and shelters, rivers and mountain peaks. Online is updated with information about weather conditions in the region and the weather forecast for the coming days.
Geography of the national park
Taganai National Park, established in 1991, is located at the geographic line separating Europe and Asia. The main entrance to its mountainous territory is near the northeastern outskirts of the city of Zlatoust. From the complex of the Central Park Estate begins a hiking trail, branching out on specific routes. The total length of hiking trails reaches 180 km. The reserve extends for 52 km in the direction from north to south and for 10-15 km from east to west.
A dozen and a half rivers start in the mountains of Taganai Ridge. The most full-flowing of them is the Bolshoy Kialim, it flows into the Miass River near Karabash, 46 km to the northeast. The rivers are home to 9 species of fish, including the taimen, which belongs to the salmon species, and there are colonies of otters.
The islands of the South Urals ecosystems – mountain meadows, tundra, century-old spruce forests, groves of relict trees, there are several botanical endemics – are preserved in their pristine form in the park. Swampy lowlands with succulent motley grasses occupy 19 hectares; there grow cranberries and blueberries; there are snakes. Moose, brown bears, wolves, and ermines live in the mountain forests. In total, there are 56 species of mammals in the Taganai.
The climate in the southern Urals is continental with significant temperature variations throughout the year. Long-lasting winter comes here at the beginning of November, already in the first decade of the month the rivers in Taganai Park are frozen, during the winter storms and snowstorms are typical. In January the air cools down to -16. In January air cools down to -16 to -14 °С, frosts down to -20 °С are not rare, and temperature indexes in mountains are 3-5 degrees lower. According to the local weather station the highest temperature in the park was +38 ° C, and the record frosty weather lowered the thermometer to -50 ° C.
Spring comes to Taganai in the middle of April. Rivers are opening, alpine meadows are cleared from snow, but dense spruce forests still show unmelted snowdrifts. By the middle of May air temperatures reach +12. +15 °С. The sun burns in the valleys, but the climate is different in the mountains. In June, in the middle of a clear day there can suddenly appear gusty cold winds that bring snowfall. The temperature drops rapidly by 8-10 degrees. In a few hours it is already drizzling rain, and then the clouds disappear, and the sun looks out again. In spring and fall hiking trails get soaked, it is difficult to move around the park due to the thaw. The best time for hiking in Taganai is July and August, when the air temperature reaches comfortable +18. +20 °С. You can go skiing here from October to March.
Natural Sights of Taganai
One of the highlights of Taganai Park is the Big Stone River. It takes you 2 hours to make a non-tiring hike to this natural wonder along the Lower trail, which is 5 km long. Here you will find “Vesely Klyuch” shelter, which offers a view of Dvuhlavy Sopka. The Big Stone River is a winding hollow between Taganay ridges, where huge boulders of sparkling stone are scattered. This is aventurine, a multicolor rock with inclusions of quartz crystals and mica sparkles. Inclusions of different metals and minerals imbue aventurine with yellow, red, blue, and green hues. Millions of boulders, smoothed by the ancient glacier, cover the broad hollow that cuts through the woody slopes for 6 kilometers. They really look like a frozen violent stream of a fossilized river. There is no vegetation among the boulders, only patches of brown lichens and moss.
In fact, many mountains of Taganai consist of varieties of aventurine, so there is a second name for it among geologists – “taganait”.
Avanturin belongs to the group of valuable ornamental stones. In ancient times, it was used to make jewelry and amulets. In China, it was valued at the same level as nephrite; imperial seals carved from aventurine can be seen in the museums of the Celestial Empire. In 1825, at the foot of the Dvukhlovaya Gora mountain a block of golden TAGANAYA aventurine was found by stone-cutters. The engravers made a huge 4-ton vase from the stone and sent it to St. Petersburg. This bowl still stands in the center of the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace. In 2000 at the request of the Chuvash president several picturesque blocks from Taganai Park were transported to Cheboksary. They decorated the main pedestrian street and became a landmark of the city under the name “Taganait – a stone of sun and love, goodness and happiness. Similar compositions made of Taganai stones are installed in Penza and Kuznetsk.
The more complicated tour lasts 7-8 hours and is offered to the Dvuhlavaya Sopka. From the foot to the observation platform at an altitude of 500 meters leads steep metal stairs of 200 steps, and then there is a two-kilometer serpentine trail to the “Peak of Light”. From there you can see the whole Stone River. The southern summit of Dvuglava aptly called “Feathers” – that’s how the rocks protruding from it look.
Between the Far Taganai Ridge and the Reflective Ridge you can see Kruglica Mountain, which looks like a huge nomad’s yurt. This is the highest point of the park – 1178 meters. Russian philosopher and mystic Nikolai Roerich, who had visited these places, believed that Kruglica was a portal of esoteric energy. The mountain is only 25 km from the Central estate, but a hike with climbing will take 4-5 days. At the foot you can stay overnight at the “Taganai” shelter. The surroundings of Kruglitsa are swampy, the slopes are covered with stalked junipers and low-growing tundra bushes. All picturesque mountain side of Taganay within the radius of 100 km can be seen from the top.
At the foot of the southern slope of Kruglitsa there is a saddle with fancifully weathered relics, called the Valley of Fairy Tales. Between the rocks are groves of stunted firs, meadows dotted with bushes of blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, scattered with berries. Two kilometers to the south, the horizon is obscured by the spiky ridge, which resembles the back of a dinosaur. Desperate adventurers climb it with climbing equipment.
The longest route in Taganai National Park stretches for 65 kilometers. It is designed for endurance travelers. The way lies along the Old Kialimsky road to the picturesque 40-meter rocky relics “Three brothers”, formed about 330 million years ago. Then the travelers will visit relict forests on the slopes of the Dalny Taganai Ridge, ascent to the peak of Itzyl Mountain, and crossing the mountain rivers Kialim and Bolshaya Tesma.
3 km to the south of Magnitka village are Akhmatovsky mines. With the guide from the Central estate here you can reach by car along the road, bordering the park, and then walk 300 meters on foot. From the beginning of the century before last, mines have been operating here. Since 1981, mining operations in these mines have been stopped. The mines were declared a geological museum, where nature itself collected about 30 rare minerals. The most impressive are the deposits of dark green noble serpentine, layers of blue marble, honey garnets. Samples of minerals from the unique Akhmatova Mines are demonstrated in geological museums of Moscow, St. Petersburg and foreign capitals. The crystals and geodes – quartz formations which have grown in cavities in the rock – are of particular value for collectors.
You have to pay 100 rubles for the entrance to Taganai National Park. Children under 12 years old and pensioners are allowed free of charge. To keep track of visitors and safety, tourists should register at the 24-hour reception desk of the Central Manor or online. It is necessary to specify personal data, supposed route, places of overnight stays, duration of stay and term of end of the hike, contact phone number. In case of any trouble this information will orient the rescuers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
There are no dining places in Taganai Park. Tourists are to carry food in their backpacks. You will also need a minimal set of travel essentials, so called by the travelers as “CLMN”: a mug, a spoon, a bowl and a knife. Suitable hatchet and kettle, dry alcohol tablets to kindle the fire. If possible, take a gas burner. It is desirable to have a waterproof raincoat, a warm sleeping bag and a mat. Be sure to put a first-aid kit, bandage, mosquito repellent and a flask with drinking water in your backpack – many springs in the park dried up in summer and froze in winter.
There is no mobile communication on a large part of the reserve. Mountain shelters, guides, and rescuers on duty use radio communications. Due to the unstable operation of Internet and mobile communications bank cards are not accepted here, payment for rent and services – only in cash.
Movement of tourists is organized along the trails indicated in the trail map, for parking certain locations. You are not allowed to camp in other places. You’ll pay 1500 rubles for renting a closed barbecue pavilion on the territory of the Central Manor from 10:00 to 22:00. At the parking place “Black Rock” the sheds with the barbecue stuff are rented for 4 hours for 4,000 rubles, the next hour will cost 700 rubles. It’s prohibited to chop branches, to fish, to pick mushrooms and berries.
For tourists who came to see the sights of Zlatoust and stay in city hotels, there are one-day walking tours around the nearby territory of Taganai Park. Transport is not allowed here.
The northern slopes of the Far Taganai and Yurma Mountain are a closed biosphere reserve, and tourists are not allowed to enter there.
Travellers who came to Zlatoust by train can buy food in the nearest to the railway station supermarket “Krylatko” (180 Anosova Street). Large selection of camping equipment, durable clothing and shoes you will find in a specialized store of sporting goods on the street 40 years of Victory, 13.
There is a souvenir shop on the territory of the Taganai Park’s Central Estate. There is not much choice here: ceramic mugs and cups with images of remarkable peaks of the Taganai mountains, magnets with the Reserve’s logo, metal flasks in a set with shot glasses. On their plain background stands out beautiful hunting knives with patterns and engravings made by Zlatoust gunsmiths. The price for the blades starts at 6,000 rubles.
A variety of articles from Taganay aventurine are sold in souvenir stores of Zlatoust. Chess figures, decorative vases, beads and pendants are carved from the stone. Mystics buy aventurine amulets. This stone is said to bring good luck in risky business projects.
Where to Stay
On the territory of the park there are 6 shelters (tourist bases) with guest houses. All of them are equipped with a minimum of necessary furniture, there is a furnace heating, the rooms are connected to the electricity. You can buy a bundle of firewood for 50 rubles. Bunk bunks with mattresses are available for overnight accommodations. You can take bedding with you. The cost of renting a cottage is 2000-3500 rubles per day, depending on the number of beds.
The central part of the homestead welcomes tourists with guest cottages, bathing complex and gazebo for picnics. You’ll need to reserve rooms at the homestead in advance because it is often visited by locals.
There are two shelters on Dvuglava Sopka: White Key on the eastern slope and Rattlesnake Key on the western slope (6 km and 8 km from the Central Manor respectively). At the foot of Kruglitsa Mountain there is a shelter “Taganai” (14 km from the Central homestead). On the top of Taganai Mountain (1108 m) tourists can find the shelter “Taganai Meteorological Station”. The most remote tourist camp “Kialimsky Cordon” is situated near the Dalny Taganai Mountain, in 28 km from the Central estate. It is also possible to spend the night in the hospitable Taganaysky forestry.
Besides, there are some places where travellers are allowed to pitch their own tents and make fire. The nearest camping site “Vesely Klyuch” is situated near the Lower trail, on the right bank of the Big Stone River, 5 km from the trail’s starting point at the Central estate.
There are a few more places for intermediate rest stops for short rest periods. You can have a snack here, but camping and making fire is prohibited.
All the rest spots are marked on the hiking route cards, which are given at registration.
In the middle of Taganai mountain forests you can find log huts, built by the local hunters. According to the old custom in these places you usually have some wood for the stove, and here you can often find cereals, crackers, preserves, tea and salt. The doors are not locked, and travelers can use the shelter of the forest mini-hotel: you can make a fire, get warm, wait out the rain or snowfall, dry your shoes and clothes. When leaving the cabin you usually replenish the used wood and supplies and take the litter with you.
You are not allowed to use the park by other vehicles. Administration provides paid services to deliver cargo and passengers on ATVs to the campsites you choose. The weight of backpacks, camping equipment, and food boxes is limited (up to 200 kg). The cost of delivery varies from 1000 to 7000 roubles, depending on distance. Departure of transport from the Central Manor is from 07:00 to 17:00.
Along the southwestern cordon of Taganai Park there is a dirt road from Zlatoust to the village of Magnitka. It is not allowed to turn off from it and go deeper by car into the park. There are no fences, but the patrolmen and park rangers can write a heavy fine for violators.
How to get there
Trains from Moscow go to Zlatoust through Samara and Ufa, trains leave from the platforms of the Kazan railway station. It is convenient to use the branded train 014E “Southern Ural” on the route Moscow – Chelyabinsk. The train will deliver travelers to the station Zlatoust in 28 hours. Ticket prices and schedules are presented on Tutu.ru.
From the railway station to the Central Manor of Taganai Park run buses number 15 and minibuses number 28 and 29. The fare is 18 rubles. You should get out on the bus stop “Beliy Klyuch” and then walk 600 m along unpaved road to the estate.
The nearest to park the airport “Balandino” is under Chelyabinsk, in 173 km to the east of Zlatoust. He accepts planes from many cities in Russia. The flight from Moscow takes 2 hours. 30 min. From the regional city to Zlatoust you can get by bus or train.
If you are going to visit Taganai Park, take the federal highway M5 “Ural”. Approaching Zlatoust, on the pass of the Ural-Tau ridge you will see a stele, set on the geographical border between Europe and Asia. You need to cross Zlatoust to the foothills of the northern outskirts of the city and enter Peschanaya Street. It turns into the regional highway 75K-014, leading to the village of Magnitka. In 500 m you will see the sign of the right turn to the Central estate of Taganai National Park.
Taganai National Park
The South Ural “Taganai” National Park is located on the group of ranges of the same name in the west of Chelyabinsk region, near the city of Zlatoust. The national park was established in the beginning of 1991, and has allowed the unique natural systems, including relict forests and mountain tundra, to be fully preserved in their pristine condition.
Taganai Park represents kilometers of taiga: mountain ranges, stone rivers, alpine meadows. The national park has routes for tourists with different levels of training: from one-day hike to multi-day hikes. Taganai gives the opportunity to see the incredible landscapes of the Ural Mountains and visit different climatic zones.
Due to its beautiful views, Taganai Park attracts a huge number of tourists every year.
Taganai National Park stretches from the south to the north for 52 km, and from the west to the east for 10-15 km. The total area of the park is 568 km² (i.e. 56.8 thousand hectares).
Prices in Taganai National Park
The cost of visiting the park:
- 100 rubles – per person for a single visit (regardless of the number of days spent in the territory).
- Free of charge – for children under 12 years old, pensioners, disabled persons of 1 and 2 groups, persons accompanying disabled persons of 1 group, veterans, Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of Russia, volunteers, employees of reserves and national parks.
- 50 rubles – to disabled people of group 3, large families with three or more children under 16 years, students of educational organizations of general and secondary vocational education (over 12 years); residents of the Chelyabinsk region.
- 10 rubles – residents of the Zlatoust urban district and Kusinsky municipal district.
Routes in the Taganai National Park
There are 7 special automobile and pedestrian routes in “Taganai” National Park, which allow you to see all the beauty of the park and enjoy its landscapes.
Below are the excursion routes:
- The route “To the Center of the Pomegranate Crown” has a length of 32 km and is about 4-5 hours in time.
- The hiking one-day route “To the top of the world” has a length of 15 km and is 6-8 hours long.
- The walking multiday route “To the foot of the Ripheus” is 55 km long and lasts from 2 to 3 days.
- The route “To the Big Stone River” is 10 km long and lasts about 4-5 hours.
- The route “Taganai for 600 steps”: length: 19 km and duration: 2 hours.
- The route “On the edge of the forest”: length: 1 km, duration: 1 hour.
- Multiday hiking route “To the eternal wind” is 65 km long and its duration is from 3 to 4 days.
A full description of the routes, excursions and their map can be seen on the official website at the link below.
Cabins in “Taganai” national park
In “Taganai” National Park there are guest houses, where you can have a rest, spend the night and just stay for a while.
In total, there are 6 guest houses in the park:
- Meteostation, located on the northern summit of Mt. Far Taganai.
- Kialimsky cordon, located in the valley of the Kialim river.
- Taganai, located at the intersection of the Upper and Lower Trails, three kilometers from the foot of Kruglitsa Mountain.
- Rattlesnake Key, located on the northern slope of Dvuglava Sopka.
- White Key, located on the eastern slope of Dvuglavy Sopka, 6 kilometers from the Central Estate.
- Central Homestead, located near the entrance to the park.
Full information about the lodges, as well as reservations, can be viewed by following the link to the official website.
Attractions of Taganai
Taganai National Park is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Big Taganai Range has four peaks: Dvuhglavaya Sopka (1034 meters), Kruglitsa (1178 meters), Otliknoy Ridge (1155 meters), and Dalny Taganai (1117 meters).
Along the territory of Taganai there are kurums – stone rivers that flow down from the slopes of the Taganai Ridge. On the eastern slope of Dvuglivaya Sopka mountain, there is the White Key spring, the water from which has been flowing for several million years. Reclaimed Ridge is one of the most beautiful mountains of Taganai, which is more than five kilometers long.
From the northeast the ridge is adjoined by the Devil’s Plateau, beyond which is the Gorge of Fairy Tales, whose rocks resemble fairy tale characters. On Kruglica Mountain is the Well of Eternal Youth. It is said that whoever can drink from it, will be forever young.
The animal world in “Taganai” Park is very diverse, because the park itself is located in different geographical areas. In the Park there is a mix of Siberia and Central Russia, the South and the North fauna.
Today there are 56 species of mammals, 181 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 4 amphibians, and 9 fish species in Taganai.
Among the flora you can see the European mink, wood marten, tufted tit, river cricket, green woodpecker, blackbird, and others. Siberian fauna in the park is represented by the chipmunk, thrush, green warbler, wood cuckoo, Moscow tit and others. Also on the territory of Taganai live forest species: grouse, quail hawk, squirrel, marten, bear and wild boar.
Mammals are represented by the following insectivores: hedgehog, European mole, small white-toothed cat, squirrel. Among the hares there are the following representatives: Arctic hare, marmot. Among the cloven-hoofed mammals: moose, roe deer, wild boar. Among carnivores: weasel, ermine, badger, otter, wolf, fox, raccoon dog, brown bear, lynx.
Among the birds in the park you can see a waxwing, tapeworm, grouse, grouse, wood grouse, tit, woodpecker, snowy owl, and bullfinch. There are not so many reptiles in the national park: the viviparous lizard, the jumping lizard and the viper. Among the fish there are trout, common taimen and grayling.
The ancient Turks called this place “God’s support”, while other ancient tribes passing through this area called the area “Stone of Light” or “New Born Light”. It is here that nature has combined the beauty of forests, tundra, numerous rivers and crystal clear water of lakes. Numerous berries grow in the forests.
Taganai Park annually attracts a lot of tourists, who strive to discover the amazing natural beauty, which turned out to be far away from the widespread urbanization, to get acquainted with the local mythology, which offers a lot of mysterious legends and tales, with a clever weaving of truth and fiction.
The fortunate location on the border between Europe and Asia, as well as on the border of two major water systems (Volga-Kama and Ob-Irtysh) has made “Taganai” a place where cultures, trade and industrial interests of different peoples met for many centuries. In spite of this, the inaccessibility of the area has made it possible to preserve the natural complex intact. The forests, swamps and mountain tundra here are practically in their original form.
Fans of fishing go to the upper reaches of the Bolshoi Kialim where trout are found in great numbers. The Valley of Fairy Tales offers bizarre stone statues created by nature over thousands of years. Everyone can find something familiar and close to them. The Kruglica Mountain, towering above the surrounding countryside, has a rounded top covered with a blanket of snow all year round. Interesting will be a tour to Akhmatova mines, called “Pomegranate Crown” for the abundance of this natural mineral, which can be found walking around the area.
A lot of stories you can learn and about the lake Turgoyak, on the shores of which there are dolmens, created presumably about 5 thousand years ago. Shrouded in the mystery of antiquity, they tell a lot of legends and myths about the inhabitants who inhabited these places for many thousands of years before us. There are still popular beliefs about the otherworldly forces living around “Taganay”, so it is not recommended to travel independently to the most secluded areas of the national park. Nevertheless, there are always brave men willing to visit the wilds, where is the grave of the elder Zosima, who has always been considered holy by the Old Believers.
How to get there
You can get to the Taganai National Park by the following transport:
- Bus: №388, which goes straight to the park, get off at the terminus “NP Taganai”.
You can see the scheme of bus traffic by following the link.
You can also take a bus or a marshrutka:
- Bus: № 14k, 15, 33.
- The route cab: № 25, 27, 28, 29.
Get out on the bus stop “Beliy Klyuch (Pushkinsky)”. Then go on foot about 600 meters along unpaved road in the direction of Magnitka to the National park “Taganai”. You can look up the scheme of these routes by the link.
The panorama of the national park “Taganai” and its environs: