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Introducing the Altaiskiy Reserve

 Established: 16 April 1932.

Total area:
881 238 ha, with Lake Teletskoye covering an area of 11,757 ha.

Main ecosystems: Siberian taiga, lakes, middle and lower taiga, subalpine and alpine middle hills and highlands, tundra-steppe highlands, middle and alpine tundra and glacial-nival highlands.

Location: The Altaiskiy Reserve is located in the north-west of the Altai Republic covering the territories of the Turochak and Ulaganskiy Districts. The Reserve’s central manor is situated in Yailu settlement and its headquarters - in Gorno-Altaisk, capital of the Altai Republic.  

Altaiskiy State Nature Reserve is Russia’s unique specially protected nature territory. A UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, the Reserve includes a part of the Teletskoye Lake water area – a true pearl of Gorny Altai, also known  as the “miniature Baikal” of Western Siberia. The Altaiskiy Reserve ranks among Russia’s top five reserves boasting exceptional levels of biodiversity.   

Conservation of the exceptionally beautiful and highly valued Teletskoye Lake and its landscapes, protection of cedar forests and critically endangered game animals – sable, moose, Siberian stag (maral) and others, as well as permanent environmental studies in the region were a basic catalyst behind the establishment of the Altaiskiy Nature Reserve. The Reserve also provides for the conservation and study of natural processes and phenomena, the genetic fund of flora and fauna, specific flora and fauna species and communities, typical and unique ecosystems. Geomorphologically, the entire territory of the Reserve refers to the Altai province of the mountain country “Mountains of Southern Siberia”. Numerous high ridges stretch along the Reserve’s borders: Abakanskiy Ridge in the north (2,890 m above sea level), Chikhachev Ridge in the south (3,021 m above sea level), Shapshalskiy Ridge in the east (3,507 m above sea level), and its western border is delineated by the valleys of the Chulyshman and Karakem Rivers and Lake Teletskoye.  



Altaiskiy Reserve is situated in the center of the Altai-Sayan mountain country. A vast territory with mountains, coniferous forests, alpine meadows and tundras, roaring rivers and beautiful lakes stretches for 230 km. The Reserve’s territory gradually elevates south-eastward.

Numerous springs and creeks bring their clear cold waters to the Lake. Watershed plateaus harbor high-mountain lakes. The largest of them  –  Lake Dzhulukul – stretching for over 10 km and overlooking the place from the height of 2,200 meters, is located at the mouth of the Chulyshman river. A unique reservoir of the Altaiskiy Reserve, Lake Dzhulukul is the habitat and the nesting ground for various bird species and also a spawning ground for the most valuable fish species of Gorny Altai.  All high mountain lakes of the Altaiskiy Reserve, covering a total area of 15,000 km
2, are very beautiful – with emerald-green waters and picturesque shores.


Forests of the Altaiskiy Reserve are predominantly made up of cedar, silver fir, larch, spruce, pine tree, birch. Alpine pure cedar forests are the crown jewel of the Reserve, with 400-500-year cedars reaching 1.8 m in diameter.  Rich and diverse flora of the Reserve harbors 1,500 higher vascular plant species, 111 mushroom species, 668 algae species and 272 lichen species, seven of which are listed in the Red Data Book: Lobaria pulmonaria, Lobaria retigera, Sticta limbata, etc. Composition of flora and fauna species is exceptionally diverse.

Complex terrain with heights up to 3,500 m coupled with various climatic and historic (natural) conditions determine the Reserve’s extremely diverse and motley vegetation cover. Vascular plants found in the Reserve total 1,500 species, with endemics and relicts among them.  A considerable part of the Reserve’s territory is situated at the junction of mountain systems of Altai, Sayan Mountains and Tyva. Complex historic conditions, biogeographic boundaries and various natural conditions contribute to the exceptionally diverse fauna of the Altaiskiy Reserve. Its territories harbor high latitude dwellers (reindeer, white grouse) alongside with animals inhabiting Mongol steppes (gray marmot) and numerous typical taiga dwellers. Teletskoye Lake basin is home to all game mammals of southern taiga. The dominant species are: sable and Siberian stag, musk deer, wild boar, moose, roe deer and others. Predators inhabiting the territory are: bear, wolf, chipmunk, wolverine, lynx and otter.

In summer numerous stunningly beautiful waterfalls carrying their waters to the Taletskoye Lake may be found on its shores.  The majority of waterfalls are prohibited to visitors. The Korbu waterfall, the main waterfall of Lake Teletskoye that invites and plays host to tens of thousands of visitors each summer, is the only exception. Altaiskiy Reserve’s visitor center in Yailu settlement familiarizes tourists with the traditional culture of indigenous minorities – Tubalars.



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