Mongolia Horseback Riding Tour

About the Experience

On this memorable ride through the sweeping landscapes of Gorkhi Terelj National Park, we’ll cross snaking rivers and follow tracks through open grasslands coloured with wildflowers, forested slopes and expansive valleys into the dramatic rock formations and granite mountains of Mongolia.

Stay in remote tented camps and traditional yurt-like nomadic ger tents. Buddhist shrines, stone cairns and ancient ruins pepper the trail. During this horse trek we’ll experience the nomadic herder lifestyle and witness the seasonal shift of communities and their herds to summer pastures and vital water sources. 

Our ride will cover some spectacular terrain, intriguing ancient and historical sites and intimate visits with nomadic families to share stories and meals in communal ger tents.

This adventure is both otherworldly and an out of this world experience for riders seeking a culturally-steeped journey into Mongolia. 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Mongolia Horseback Riding Tour

About the Experience

On this memorable ride through the sweeping landscapes of Gorkhi Terelj National Park, we’ll cross snaking rivers and follow tracks through open grasslands coloured with wildflowers, forested slopes and expansive valleys into the dramatic rock formations and granite mountains of Mongolia.

Stay in remote tented camps and traditional yurt-like nomadic ger tents. Buddhist shrines, stone cairns and ancient ruins pepper the trail. During this horse trek we’ll experience the nomadic herder lifestyle and witness the seasonal shift of communities and their herds to summer pastures and vital water sources. 

Our ride will cover some spectacular terrain, intriguing ancient and historical sites and intimate visits with nomadic families to share stories and meals in communal ger tents.

This adventure is both otherworldly and an out of this world experience for riders seeking a culturally-steeped journey into Mongolia. 

DAY ONE: WELCOME TO MONGOLIA

From Chinggis Khaan National Airport (UBN) also referred to as New Ulaanbaatar International Airport, we’ll transfer to the Springs Hotel in Ulaanbaatar City. After a refresh and rest or wander, we’ll meet our Wild Women guide for a group introduction over dinner. The hotel is a walking-friendly distance to the central city square, museums, shops and restaurants. Your Wild Women Guide will be able to  recommend places and offer support if you need to locate any essential items for the trek.

Meals Included: Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Springs Hotel

 

DAY TWO: TERELJ RIVER VALLEY

After breakfast, we’ll travel by vehicle to the horse trek staging area in the Darkhid Valley located 1.5 hours northeast of Ulaanbaatar City. The last 30 to 45 minutes of our transfer can be rough as we’ll be traveling on  bumpy dirt and gravel roads. At the staging area, we will re-pack for our horse trek, match horses and riders and become familiar with our horses and tack.

After lunch, we’ll begin our adventure in this rural area on a 1-hour ride which will lead us to the high pass before entering Gorkhi Terelj National Park and a descent into the Terelj River valley.

We’ll set up camp near the Terelj River or near one of its downstream tributaries. This decision will be dependent on water levels and the pace of the group. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (tented camp)
Time in the Saddle: 4 hours
Driving Time: 1.5 hours

 

DAY THREE: FOREST TRAILS, WILDFLOWERS AND OPEN GRASSLANDS

After breakfast, we’ll set out for today’s ride traversing two forested passes before riding down a wide valley in the grasslands to reach our campsite at the banks of a small river. As we follow the meditative forest trail to the first pass, we’ll be sure to stop and smell the wildflowers along the way. The ride to the next pass is through fields coloured with blooms. Our lunch break will be near the pass in the shade of the forest where the saddle and pack horses can graze and rest with us.

In the afternoon, we can travel at a slightly faster pace, trotting down a wide valley. We’ll pass by the winter campsites of nomadic herder families that have left the area for summer pastures. When we reach the Tuul valley, we’ll turn north to make our way to our campsite for the night. There will be an opportunity to take a rejuvenating dip in the river (brace yourself, it’s chilly!), before enjoying a peaceful riverside dinner together.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (tented camp)
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours

 

DAY FOUR: TO THE PRINCESS CAMP

We’ll set out for the scenic surrounds of the Princess Camp after breakfast. The morning ride will take us through fields of wildflowers before we travel up the wide open valley with the high mountains and plateaus of the Khentii Mountains ahead in the distance. Before lunch, we’ll ride up a ridge leading to a site marked by both a stupa (Buddhist shrine) and an ovoo (stone cairn). From here, we’ll turn higher into the hills and ride past a winter camp and onward (and upward) to a canyon with high rock walls. We’ll find our perfect lunch spot among the startling rock formations. 

Our ride will continue through the mesmerizing landscape of undulating hills of grasslands and mighty rock formations of Gorkhi Terelj National Park. After crossing the expansive valley we’ll take a hidden trail through dense brush. It involves a bit of bushwhacking but the horses appreciate the scratching and brief insect deterrent. This track will eventually bring us up and over the hills to the valley of the Princess Camp. 

The smiley, hospitable Princess Camp team will be anxiously awaiting our arrival. The eco-friendly camp is the only ger camp in this remote area of the national park. Gers are portable, circular yurt-like accommodations that are favored in Central Asia, particularly Mongolia. If the sun cooperates, solar heaters will permit us to have a hot shower. In the  ger accommodations there are usually three single beds per tent. Dinner will be served in the larger communal ger. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Princess Camp, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours

 

DAY FIVE : RIDE TO THE RUINS

Today the pack team and riders will split. The packers will take the pack horses to tonight’s  campsite via a shorter route, while the riders will head out to visit the ruins of the Princess Temple. Afterwards, we’ll take a ride across the enchanting hills and enjoy a long lunch break at a high point with the dazzling rock formations as a backdrop.  

After lunch, we’ll descend a canyon through high grasses and wildflowers before reaching the valley below. Purple, pink and white pasque flowers abound with sprays of Russian spirea, tiger irises and butter yellow poppies.

We’ll ride back through rolling grasslands and cross the valley floor to head up to another lookout and rest spot. Here, we’ll have a total panorama of the  landscapes we have traveled over the last few days. We’ll also be able to spot our tiny tents below, near the Blue Rock Creek. 

Our tented camp will be a short ride away. Tables set up with snacks and drinks await! We can also choose between a refreshing cold plunge in the creek or request a camp shower which will be set up behind a privacy screen at the camp. 

Dinner in this outdoor setting is a memorable one with views of the grasslands crowned by rock formations. The serenity of the horses enjoying evening grazing on the nearby slopes sets the mood!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (tented camp)
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours

 

DAY SIX: HIGH RIDGES RIDE

Today we’ll split up again so riders can explore the high ridges east of the Baruun Bayn Gol Valley while the pack team will set up camp near the river. 

Leaving our Blue Rock Creek basecamp, we’ll travel together into and down the Baruun Bayn Gol Valley and take a break after the river crossing. Riders will then head east, ascending onto the high ridges for stellar views of the grasslands and valleys that we’ve covered. To the north and east we’ll see the high mountain ranges and barren plateaus of the Baga Khentii mountains that hide the Khan Khentii Special Protected Area that unfolds behind the range.

We’ll ascend to the highest ridge for lunch before circling back, traveling down a scenic route back into Baruun Bayn Gol Valley by late afternoon. We’ll turn south at the memorial monument dedicated to a local park ranger before reaching our tented camp where we’ll spend the next two nights. Alternatively, we may drop over a small pass and explore the undulating grasslands and rock formations, and see the hidden winter camps of the nomadic families and herders.

This site is a favorite with both horses and guests as it’s set back into the shade and shelter of the forest. Surrounded by meadows of wildflowers, verdant forested slopes, rising rock formations and high mountains, this campsite is an easy one to ease into.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (tented camp)
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours

 

DAY SEVEN: VISIT NOMAD FAMILIES

We may coincidentally meet local herder families while we are traveling on horseback through the national park. Several members of our team have grown up in the park, in the very areas that we ride and camp in. Today will be dedicated to visiting local families to learn more about their daily life and nomadic livestock husbandry practices. We’ll also share a meal and stories together in one (or more) of the family gers. 

It’s a short distance from our camp to reach the Tuul River valley. We’ll follow the Tuul River downstream to the confluence with the Terelj River. Near a stupa (Buddhist shrine) marking the area, we will be met by one of our horsemen in a traditional greeting ceremony. His extended family will be spending the summer here with their herds. 

Continuing up the Terlj River valley, we’ll ride  past family gers and herds sharing summer pasture here near the vital water sources of the Tuul and Terelj rivers. This is characteristic of Mongolia in summer—nomadic families enjoy the season together as a community, tending to their herds, following the good grass. 

We’ll reach our host family and share a hearty, traditional lunch. Depending on their schedule and daily tasks, we might be able to try making milk products or help with other chores. On our way back, we’ll stop at our horseman’s summer home for more snacks and genuine nomad hospitality. We’ll arrive back at our tented camp in the late afternoon and have a light meal (snacks) in the evening. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (tented camp)
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours

Note: Depending on weather and pasture conditions, the locations of the nomad families’ summer camp sites may change, so we cannot predict the exact distance and locations of today’s ride.

 

DAY EIGHT: RETURN TO THE TERELJ  

Today we’ll have the opportunity to ride at a faster pace (for those who wish), trotting or cantering up a broad valley. There will be forested sections and open grasslands with pops of yellow poppies and Mongolian asters as well.

In the afternoon, our trek continues over another small pass before we drop down into the big open valley of the Terelj River. Many herder families will be camping in summer pastures. Passing their gers, we will move along at a nice trot with our whole herd of saddle and pack horses. After one final break in a stand of cottonwood forest, we will travel a short distance to our last shaded campsite near a creek.

We’ll have time to relax and revel in one last trek dinner together.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (tented camp)
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours

 

DAY NINE: EASY RIDER

Today’s ride will take us into the upper valley of the Terelj River. It will be easy riding along well-established tracks with mostly even terrain and several river crossings. Our last picnic lunch will be near the river under the shade of old larch trees before we head up to cross another pass. From the top of this pass, marked by a colorful, traditional ovoo (stone cairn) adorned with many hadags (strips of blue silk or cotton used as a greeting gift among Tibetans and Mongolians), it’s another hour ride to the Darkhid Valley, home of the herd and the cabins where revitalizing snacks and drinks will be waiting.

While the pack horses are unpacked and gear is sorted by our crew, we’ll begin to repack our belongings too when we receive our left-behind luggage. The horses, after a quick check-up, are set loose down the valley to join the rest of the herd that stayed behind. It’s a wonderful sight to watch them roll around and trot off for their week’s break. After clinking celebratory drinks, we’ll take a shuttle back to the city. We should arrive at our accommodations at the Springs Hotel around 8 to 9 p.m. Our farewell dinner will be at the hotel. Sigh.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Springs Hotel
Time in the Saddle: 6 hours
Driving Time: 1.5 hours

 

DAY TEN: DEPARTURE

After breakfast there will be a group transfer to Chinggis Khaan International Airport (UBN).  For those who have another day in the city, the hotel staff can assist with arranging local guided tours or offer directions to museums, historic sites and souvenir shops.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Note: This itinerary can be subject to change. Weather conditions may alter daily distances and routes, and the overall route. Rainfall amounts can also delay river crossings. Nomadic herders’ movements depend on seasonal conditions as well. However, if changes to this itinerary are necessary to ensure a safe journey, all efforts will be  made to ensure that the trek will include the experiences, sites and landscapes as described above.

 

 

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