Big Skies Trail-yak carts supported


This horseback journey is a trail ride you can enjoy without having to squeeze yourself into a sleeping bag or a tent. The maximum group size is half of that of our regular horseback journeys, and all riders overnight in gers (Mongolian yurts) which are being moved by yak cart caravan to a new location every two days. This way you will be able to stay in the basic comforts of a bed (sturdy cot) with full linens, and a ger heated by a stove. This horse ride will cover the southern fringes of the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area and the scenic interior of Gorkhi Terelj National Park, both situated in the forest steppe and mountain taiga zones of Northern Mongolia. This is as a truly ”Nomadic Journey”, covering wild terrain without any vehicle support. We are however supported by local nomads who move our caravan to the next scenic night stops, while we will ride in big daily loops across forested mountains, steppes, meadows and rivers. To travel with Nomadic Journeys means a shared adventure with horses and yak carts in the great outdoors, choosing the life of the nomad.

Itinerary & Map

Day 1:  Ulaanbaatar
Arrive at the Mongolian capital and transfer to your hotel. There will be a tour briefing followed by a welcome dinner.

Day 2-3: To Bosog Meadows
In the morning we visit the Gandan Lamasery, the center of the Buddhist revival in Mongolia. Mongolians follow Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism), with the Dalai Lama being the supreme theocratical leader. We then drive out of the city, and gradually the wide open Mongolian landscape unfolds before our eyes. By the time we come to the Hadan Hoshuu steppes valley, there are no more traces of so-called civilization. We enter the world of pastoralist nomads, making use of this summer pasture with their horses, gers and livestock. We will have a picnic lunch en route, crossing the forested Zamtiin Pass into the Upper Tuul River Valley. Here we will meet the yak carts and the horses at Bosog Meadows on the banks of the river. After a night under the stars in our luxurious wilderness camp, we will make a full day trial ride on the southern bank of the Tuul River, up into the valleys, forests and on to the ridges with stunning panoramic views of the southernmost fringes of the vast East Siberian taiga, marking the transition to the Mongolian steppe zone.

Day 4-5: To Baruunbayan Valley
Our support structure does not use any motor vehicles. All our provisions, camping equipment, and luggage will be loaded on to yak carts. We will ride north towards the Khentii Mountains, across a forested ridge into the next valley, the Baruunbayan, where we will set up camp for the next two nights. We will soon leave the caravan and ride on in a most scenic loop. The next day we will leave our new base camp at Baruunbayan river after breakfast for a full day riding excursion to Gunjin Sum, a temple ruin hidden deep in the forest.

Day 6-7: To Zuunbayan Valley
Our mobile luxury lodge is again packed up and loaded onto the yak carts for a last time. We set out leaving the caravan and ride up the partly forested ridges. The trees here are mostly larch, however some of the ridges are covered with larger patches of pine. There is a good chance to come across the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) or even the rare Black-billed Capercaillie (Tetrao urogalloides). Our ger camp for the next two nights will be built next to the Zuunbayan River, a tributary of the Tuul River. One full day we will ride up towards the treeline of the Khentii Mountains, with spectacular scenery and great views in all directions.

Day 8: To Jalman Meadows
Today we say good bye to the herders and their yak carts caravan, and head on horse back to the Sharbulag Valley, crossing the uppermost parts of the Tuul River. We reach the small ger camp at Jalman Meadows mid afternoon and stay there for the night.

Day 9: Jalman Meadows
We have a full day to enjoy the beautiful setting of the Jalman Meadows Ger Camp. You may use the day for an additional half or full day ride or lean back in the library ger with good reads on Genghis Khan, contemporary Mongolia or horses for that matter. If you like you can replace the saddle with a seat on a Russian cataraft floating downstream on the Tuul River. The inflatable rafts will be loaded onto a yak cart and taken to the river side for you. There is also the possibility to thoroughly relax in a river side ger sauna.

Day 10: To Ulaanbaatar
We return to Ulaanbaatar and check into the hotel. See the capital city on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can by reached by foot. Your guide is standing by to assist you in your shopping or sightseeing activities. We will have a farewell dinner in local restaurant and entertainment.

Day 11: Departure
Transfer out to fly home or on to your next destination.

Download the Itinerary as a PDF


Dates and Prices

PRICE 2017 ex Ulaanbaatar:         
USD 3600 per person (2/6 riders)

Supplement for sgl room in UB /sgl ger in Jalman Meadows (4n): USD 380

Sgl ger outing supplement (6n): USD 1500

Private trip supplement:
USD 500 per trip for 2/4 riders
for 5/up no supplement

Naadam: There is a Naadam Festival extension included/mandatory for BST02 for the Ulaanbaatar Naadam Games (July 10th-12th) at additional USD 720 per person.

Includes: English speaking guide, breakfast every day in Ulaanbaatar, welcome and farewell dinner, all meals outside Ulaanbaatar, all accommodation in hotels (2n) in shared double gers (8n), all camping equipment and all local transport, all activities according to itinerary.

Excludes: Drinks, laundry, lunch in Ulaanbaatar, air or train tickets in and out of Mongolia, visa fee.

DATES 2017 ex Ulaanbaatar:
BST01: 03-13Jun (Sa/Tu)
BST02: 09-21 Jul (Su/Fr) Naadam ext
BST03: 02-12 Aug (We/Sa)

Nomadic Journeys Style:
Transport: Apart from the short drive to the starting point of our horse riding adventure and back to the city we will not rely on any motor vehicle support. Instead we utilize traditional wooden carts, that Mongolian families still frequently use, when moving from one pasture to another (Although increasingly small trucks are being used). Animals prevalent in the region pull these carts. Here we will use yaks, or rather yak-cow crossbreeds called hainag. The services of local herdsmen will be employed by the expedition, and they will provide us with their animals.

Accommodation:  For this exclusive trip we carry with us a fully collapsible ger camp, including showers and compost toilets. The gers are each equipped with cot beds (including full linen), chairs and a table, and a wood burning stove. For two nights we stay at Nomadic Journeys own low-impact ger camp at Jalman Meadows. In Ulaanbaatar you will stay at the Bayangol Hotel in Deluxe Rooms. All accommodation in double occupancy.

Staff: An English speaking Mongolian guide will accompany the group at all times. For the expedition ride, our guide will be assisted by an English speaking camp manager until Jalman Meadows. A cook will also accompany the caravan. In addition, the services of several local herdsmen will be employed along with their animals. The horsemen follow a traditional lifestyle in the areas where we will be riding. If the group consists of four riders or more, we will also have a Mongolian doctor accompanying us as part of the crew.

Meals: Our cook will prepare all the meals (except when we are at the Jalman Meadows Ger Camp). We pride ourselves in having cooks adept at both western and Mongolian cooking on our trips. There are always vegetables available, and we have no problem accommodating vegetarians on this trip..

Minimum riding ability: You should be a competent rider, fit and capable of riding at all paces confidently. We will cover varying terrain, and will be in the saddle for several hours on most days.


Trip Combination

You have the choice to stay another day or two in Ulaanbaatar or transfer out to your next international destination. We offer hotels in downtown at current online rates as well as outbound railway tickets to your first point in Russia or China.

  • Our low-impact ger camp in the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in East Gobi offers a greatly contrasting wilderness experience. The area consist of dry steppe and dramatic rock formations and is among the best in the Gobi for wildlife watching. Upon your return to Ulaanbaatar you may take the TransMongolian Railway to the East Gobi the next morning. It is also possible to pay a private transfer supplement and drive there directly without passing Ulaanbaatar. If you continue to China, you may continue by overnight train from Choir, instead of returning to UB, and flying the next day.
  • More riding opportunities are available at Arburd Sands, on the Gobi grasslands. Minimum stay at Arburd Sands Ger Camp is two nights. You may go there directly or via Ulaanbaatar in one day.
  • Hustai National Park, re-introduction site of Przewalski’s Horses. It is a one day drive via Ulaanbaatar. There is a simple ger camp in the park. Should you want a more luxurious experience you may stay at HS Khaan Ger Resort, not far from the national park. From there it is also possible to transfer directly to Ulaanbaatar airport or railway station.

Please enquire for any of these combinations. We can provide you the seamless travel solution.



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