Mongolia Wild


September 14, 2024 - September 29, 2024




Aprox. $15,500/ person. Minimum of 6



September 14, 2024 - September 29, 2024




Aprox. $15,500/ person. Minimum of 6

From the brilliant cold of the Altai Mountains to the warmth of traditional Nomad’s tea shared with new friends, our journey in Mongolia mixes a horse and camel trek, hiking, wilderness, culture, and wildlife with lots of room for spontaneity and adventure.

This trip explores three different areas in western Mongolia with a trek in the Turgen Mountains, a weekend at the famed Eagle Festival, and two camps with Kazakh herders in the Altai Mountains.


Western Mongolia is a land of broad valleys and towering peaks. Herding families and wildlife drift across the landscape with the seasons. Glaciers hang above ancient pastures whose waters flow past wild Argali sheep and the gers of Mongolian herders who have been part of this rugged land for 3,000 years.

We start our adventure in the high country, an intermontane plateau at 6,000 ft elevation dotted by aqua colored lakes surrounded by 12,000 ft peaks. Local camel and horse packers will caravan a cozy camp into the mountains in anticipation of our arrival. We can ride or hike as desired into this remote camp to bask in the splendor of the mountains.

From here we will ride and/or hike closer to the glaciers to a multi-night camp, while our newly made friends move our camp with camels to meet us at the base of Mt Harkhiraa. It will be an impressive caravan of animals and gear!

We will explore each day and camp each night in a warm ger camp hosted by locals who spend summers in these high pastures. These rugged mountains and intermountain pastures are home to our guides. We will savor not only the grandeur of the landscape but the long history of the people who are part of it, a wonderful introduction to the life of the nomad.

Argali sheep, Siberian ibex and snow leopards inhabit the high country and we will be on the lookout for them. Our four nights in the mountains give us ample time to explore, hike, and search for wildlife.


The contrast of the mountain solitude with the bustle of the eagle festival and the dust of a frontier town will be striking. But the opportunity to witness a competition to test and honor those who hunt with trained eagles should not be missed. It is a unique window into the Kazakh culture and who doesn’t love a camel race or tug-of-war on horseback?

When we have had our fill of the colorful chaos for the annual eagle festival, we depart Ölgii and head south. Our next destination is the southern Altai Mountains where we will get to know our Kazakh hosts and learn about their ancient connections to the land. By day, we will travel amongst the herding families, learning about their history, culture and religion while basking in their hospitality and plan to explore the rugged Altai Mountains towards the border with China where snow leopard hunt argali sheep and ibex. Wolverine have been seen in the area and we will keep our eyes peeled for wildlife. The area is not often visited by outsiders and our contacts in Mongolia are eager to explore a new area with us.

Wildlife researchers, eagle hunters, and Kazakh herders share their stories and knowledge with us as we explore the high and dry mountains on foot, horseback, and by vehicle (and perhaps camel). Learning about the region’s history, cultural traditions, and wildlife. Where exactly we will explore will be determined by the weather, the movements of the nomads, and your desires. With five nights in the area in two different camps we will have time to settle into the rhythms of the herders lives while getting to know the wildlife of these dramatic mountains.

This trip is planned and operated by our friends at 360° Mongolia

Last updated: November 30, 2023


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

Sept 14

On arrival at the new international airport, Chinggis Khaan, you are met by your guide and driver.  Welcome to Mongolia!

The drive to the hotel in Ulan Bator is about 1 hour depending on traffic. Once settled, we suggest a walk to nearby Sukhbaatar Square to see the parliament buildings and Genghis Khan statues. If you prefer to arrive a day or more early, additional activities can be arranged. (highly encouraged)

Accommodation: Shangri-la Hotel /Meals on your own.

Sept 15

Mongolia is huge, the population small, and the infrastructure for travel fairly modest. This day is devoted to flying across the nation from the capital to the western region. Details of this flight are uncertain but are predictable successful.

The most likely departure time for our scheduled commercial flight is early morning but airline schedules are not yet known. We will furnish details when they are.

The flight is two and a half hours to Ölgii, a largely Kazakh community and the furthest west airport in the country.

From here we drive east to Altantsögts, where a herding family will host us for the night and introduce us to the life of a nomad. In addition to being exceptional hosts they are eagle hunters and will give us an introduction to the art of falconry. This background will be important at the eagle festival later in the week.

Accommodation & meal plan: Homestay Ger / BLD

Sept 16

The adventure continues. Into the high country we go!

A few more hours by vehicle and we meet new hosts and their herds of bactrian camels camped in the shadow of the glacier carved peaks of Turgen and Harkhiraa. We join them here and will start to understand the cultural diversity of the region as we integrate into this buddhist camp.

Time for our first of many hikes in the mountains.

Accommodation & meal plan: Camp/BLD

Sept 17

Packing up a ger (yurt) camp is a sight to behold. Kitchen boxes, ger frames and colorful fabrics are ingeniously lashed to camels and horses. Before you know it our cozy camp is headed down the trail, around the lake and towards the cascades and canyons of the high mountains.

We have the day to hike and/ or ride to the next camp always scanning the mountains for wildlife while visiting with our guides and learning about the life which bonds people and wildlife to these mountains.

Accommodation & meal plan: Camp/BLD

Sept 18 - 19

We have two full days to explore the area with no need to break camp. There are excellent hikes both north and south of our camp and lots to do and see closer to “home” too.

With multiple guides we can split into smaller groups, some hiking further and longer, some riding horses, some relaxing. The time is yours, the landscape spectacular, and the chances of finding wildlife excellent.

Accommodation & meal plan: Camp/BLD

Sept 20

We descend. Hike and ride across the high plateau, rich with autumn scent, grasses dun and mountains white with fresh snow.

We meet the vehicles mid-day for the 4 hour drive to Ölgii, where we check into our hotel, clean-up from our “camping” trip, and watch the eagle hunters arriving from the country-side.

Accommodation & meal plan: Makhsum Hotel / BLD

Sept 21

The Altai Eagle Festival starts mid-morning with opening ceremonies. Eagle hunters will ride on horseback across the field dressed in traditional clothing with enormous eagles on their arms. One hunter would be impressive. When 50 of them ride together it is quite a sight!

Various competitive events follow with eagles released from the hills, hunting for a fox skin in tow behind a horseman. and later a horseback tug-of-war with a goat carcass! Games put riders skills to the test, like picking up objects from the ground in full gallop. It can be quite wild at times.

We will experience the eagle hunters’ traditional customs and culture and are made to feel welcome. This is an event not to be missed.

Accommodation & meal plan: Makhsum Hotel / BLD

Sept 22

If we want to spend more time amongst eagle hunters we can return to the Eagle Festival. Eagles fly, camels race. When we’ve had our fill of the fascinating chaos and dust of the festival grounds, we head south towards the Altai Mountains to immerse ourselves in the local culture and rugged landscape.

It is about 3 hours to Delüün Village where we leave the well traveled track and head into the wilds of Chigertei National Park. After another hour of bumping through pasture and prairie the vehicles park at our ger (yurt) camp in the company of nomads. Depending on the weather, the amount of snow in the high country, and the movements of nomads we may camp high in the mountains, or more likely near Chigertei Lake at the base of the mountains at about 8,000 ft.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

Sept 23 - 24

The nomads here are Kazakhs, likely camped on the autumn pasture at the lake itself. They are Sunni muslims and unlike in Kazakhstan proper, here they remain as nomadic pastoralists and we will learn of their life-ways and migratory patterns.

Chigertei National Park, where we are camped, borders KekeTuoHai National Park in China. On the Mongolian side of the border there is ongoing carnivore research, including camera traps deployed for wolverines.  The habitat supports Asian species such as the Pallas’s cat and snow leopards. In addition, there are lynx and grey wolves. The high country is little visited and we will explore the area with the aim to see some of the elusive wildlife of the region.

We have two full days to hike and/ or ride horses in the high country and/ or get the know the locals.

On one of our days, we have an opportunity to explore along the China frontier lands border zone where with luck we can see hundreds of Siberian ibex. Argali sheep are less numerous, but the largest wild sheep in the world. Both are key prey animals to snow leopards, wolves and lynx. We have arranged for a borderline permit ahead of time. The area is little visited and we will see what we will find!

With luck, there has been snowfall on the elevations of the surrounding ridges, which forces game downwards allowing another excursion into the heart of the best wildlife habitat. It is a 7 km hike to arrive at the inner sanctum, which is prime snow leopard habitat.

In addition to wildlife and great hiking there are numerous archeological sites in the area and we will have a chance to learn about the long human history in these high mountain valleys.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

Sept 25

Today we will break camp and move deeper into the Altai to the Blue Goat Mountains. Our gers will be disassembled and transported by truck to the new location, then reassembled prior to our arrival.

We will spend the day making our way slowly north by land cruiser looking for (and at) wildlife including Siberian Ibex. With ample opportunity to hike and explore during the day we will arrive at our next camp in the evening ready to settle into the new surroundings in our now familiar ger camp.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

Sept 26

Our last day in the Altai offers a memorable hike to the inner sanctum of the Ikh Yamaat valley, which is prime Snow Leopard habitat. A four mile hike brings us into an area with dense wildlife and we will keep our fingers crossed and binoculars handy in hopes of seeing animals in the steep and rocky landscape.

A final day in the wilds and a memorable hike not to be missed or forgotten.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

Sept 27

A long day. We depart the mountains early with a fond farewell to our hosts, the sounds of livestock, and the stunning views of the mountains.

We then drive about 4 hours east across the vast Gobi plains. Then back into the modernity of the airport at the regional capital of Hovd. And eventually a 3 hour flight to the bustle of Ulan Bator. (Details of this day are likely to change depending on flight schedules and routes including the possibility of spending this night in Hovd.)

Accommodation & meal plan: Shangri-La Hotel / BLD

Sept 28

After making the adjustment to the city, we will find there is a lot of interest in Ulan Bator and plenty to do, especially that we know more about the country and it’s people.

The National Museum, the impressive Gandan Monastery with massive buddhas, and visits with renowned traditional craftsmen will fill a day which we end with traditional music and a private dinner.

Accommodation & meal plan: Shangri-la Hotel /BLD

Sept 29

International flights home.

Michael listened to our descriptions of what we wanted in a trip and investigated the possibility of making that sort of trip happen. Unlike some other guide services, he was attuned to what we were saying and did not outright say he could not accommodate us because Arctic Wild only provided trips like X, Y, or Z. In my opinion, the major difference between Arctic Wild and the 4 other guide services I talked to was that Michael tried to design a trip meeting our trip objectives and wishes.

- Rochelle , Missouri, USA



English and Mongol speaking guide

Hotels, Ger Camps, and other accommodations as indicated in daily descriptions

All transport within country

Meals as indicated in daily descriptions

Park Fees


Lunch & dinners in Ulan Bator


Visa fee and international flight tickets

Cancellation insurance

Global Rescue insurance and rescue (mandatory)


Cool days and cold nights are typical in September. And though overcast days are common rainfall is not. Expect snowfall in the Altai and frost at night. But you can also expect sunny mild days for hiking, and riding.


"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
client client client client client
Eileen - Canning River