Khuvsgul Lake

Younger sister of Lake Baikal


Khuvsgul Lake

Khuvsgul Lake, located in northern Mongolia, is a stunning natural wonder that is often referred to as the "Dark Blue Pearl" of the country. The lake is Mongolia's fresh water lake in Mongolia, and it is also one of the deepest and purest lakes in the world. Lake Khuvsgul is known as one of the most pristine lakes in the world.

Lake Khuvsgul - Mongolian Largest Fresh Water Lake

The most scenic destination of Northern Mongolia, Khuvsgul Lake (Khovsgol Nuur, also spelled 'Hovsgol', or lake khövsgöl) is the largest freshwater lake in Mongolia by volume and second largest by area holding 2% of the world's fresh water. One of the world's most ancient lakes, Lake Khuvsgul is more than 2 million years old.

Lake Khuvsgul and surrounding area in Mongolia

Read our blog the Mongolian Travel Guide.

Located near the Russian border, at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountain range, it is nicknamed "Younger sister of the Sister Lakes (Lake Khuvsgul and Lake Baikal)". The area of Khuvsgul Lake, raised well above sea level, is 2760ms. Its length is 136 km and width is 36.5 km, and up to 262 m deep.

Read also The Ultimate Mongolian Roadtrip.

Lake Khovsgol and Lake Baikal - Sister Lakes

The Khuvsgul Lake just like most lakes is known for its beautiful scenery, with forests, mountains, and meadows surrounding the crystal-clear waters of the lake. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, who come to enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.

Lake Baikal in Mongolia

The second lake of the two lakes is Lake Baikal. A large, deep lake located in eastern Russia, near the border with Mongolia. It is the world's deepest lake and is known for its unique ecosystem, which includes more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else on earth.

The lake is also a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming to enjoy the beautiful scenery and take part in activities such as boating and fishing (requires a fishing permit). The surrounding region is home to several small towns and villages, where visitors can learn about the local culture and history. Learn more about Mongolian Culture.

Lake Khuvsgul National Park

Lake Khuvsgul National Park was established in 1992 to protect the lake and its surrounding 70,000 sq km area. The park encompasses parts of four sum territories - Alag-Edene, Renchinlhumbe, Hankh, and Chandmani Undur - as well as Hatgal village in Khovsgol province.

Cows grazing in Lake Khuvsgul national park Mongolia

The park is home to 63 species of mammals, including Argali wild sheep, ibex, brown bear, wolverine, sable, moose, snow leopard, lynx, musk deer, Siberian moose, and wild boar. The lake itself is home to nine species of fish, including Omul, Lenok, Umber, Siberian roach, Eurasian perch, sturgeon, and Taimen.

Learn more about National Parks in Mongolia.

The Hovsgol Lake area is a large national park that is strictly protected and regarded as a transition zone between the Central Asian Steppe and the Siberian Taiga. In 1997, the Hovsgol Long-Term Ecological Research Site was established and an extensive research program on the lake began.

Pine Trees

Heading through the endless pine trees and into the open valleys dotted with the white Gers and grazing herds, you'll be wondering if you haven't set foot back in 19th-century Montana.

Khuvsgul Lake

In total, 244 species of birds have been recorded in the park, many of which are migratory waterfowl that spend the summer in the park's wet meadows and lagoons.

People and Culture

The highlight of the area is the ethnic reindeer herders called Tsaatan. These ethnic groups of Turkic origin related to the Tuvans are the most exotic and mystical people with small numbers, inhabit in the amazing beautiful taigas.

Nomad Reindeer Herders

Tsaatan people worship "the Eternal Blue Sky and Mother Earth" and retained an ancient, unusual culture based on shamanistic rituals and forest-based reindeer-herding. Shamanism, rather than Buddhism, is the religion of choice in these parts.

Things to Do at lake Khuvsgul

By Mongolian standards, Khuvsgul Lake is touristy, but this ensures good facilities, and once you go on overnight trips from the main town, you will likely have the place all to yourself. Lake Khuvsgul offers a range of activities to enjoy, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


The forests and mountains surrounding the lake provide ample opportunities for hiking, with trails of varying difficulty levels to suit all abilities. The lake is also home to many species of flora and fauna, so there is always something new to discover along the way.

Khuvsgul lake and forest



The crystal-clear waters of Lake Khuvsgul are home to a variety of fish, making it a popular destination for anglers. The lake offers a range of fishing opportunities, from boat-based fishing to shore-based fishing, so there is something for everyone.

Learn more about Fishing in Mongolia.

Since the lake houses an endangered species, you need to be careful or probably hire a trip guide or go on a guided tour. The lake is full of fish, such as lenok, salmon, and sturgeon, and the area is home to argali sheep, ibex, bear, sable, moose, and a few near-sighted wolves.

Ibex sitting on a grey rock

It also has more than 200 species of bird, including the Baikal teal, bar-headed goose, black stork, and Altai snowcock.

Want to learn more? Read our Ultimate Fishing Guide in Mongolia.


The lake is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely boat ride. Visitors can rent boats or kayaks to explore the lake's stunning scenery and spot wildlife.

People sitting on a boat in lake Khuvsgul

Horseback riding

The park offers the opportunity to explore the surrounding forests and mountains on horseback. Horseback riding is a popular activity in the park and is a great way to experience the region's stunning natural beauty. Read Horse and Camel Riding in Mongolia to learn more.

People riding horses on the shore of lake Khuvsgul


The surroundings of the lake offer a range of campsites, so visitors can enjoy the outdoors and experience the true wilderness of the region. Camping is a popular activity there and is a great way to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Are you a fan of wild camping? Read our blog Wild Camping in Mongolia and have a look at our rental camping set.

Wildlife Watching

The lake and its surroundings are home to a variety of flora and fauna, making it a great place for wildlife enthusiasts to spot a range of species. The destination is particularly known for its birdwatching opportunities, with many migratory waterfowl spending the summer in the park's wet meadows and lagoons.

Read our travel guide to the Altai Mountains.


The stunning scenery and abundant wildlife make it a perfect destination for photographers. It offers a range of scenic spots and photo opportunities, from the crystal-clear waters of the lake to the rugged peaks of the surrounding mountains. Looking to discover Mongolia on a photography tour? Read our Mongolian Photography tour guide.

Explore and read about our Photography Tours to Mongolia:

Cultural experiences

It is located in a region known for its rich nomadic heritage, and visitors can learn more about the region's culture and history through a range of cultural experiences. These can include visits to local nomads and opportunities to interact with local nomadic communities and learn about their traditional way of life.

Read our blog about the Naadam festival in Mongolia.

Winter activities

Lake Khuvsgul is also a popular destination in the winter, with a range of activities available, including skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. The park's frozen lakes and snow-covered forests provide a beautiful winter wonderland for visitors to explore.

This is a place in Mongolia where one can get a sense of total unspoiled wilderness. The area is a paradise for outdoor travelers and there is plenty of room for activities like hiking, birding, fishing, horseback travel, and kayaking.

Ice festival

The Ice Festival at Lake Khuvsgul is an annual event held in the Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia. The festival typically takes place in February or March, when the lake is frozen over and covered in snow.

It is a celebration of the local culture and traditions and features a variety of activities and events that showcase the unique way of life in this part of Mongolia.

The Ice Festival at Lake Khuvsgul is a popular event among locals and tourists alike. The festival typically features a number of traditional activities, such as ice fishing, ice skating, dog sledding, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

There are also performances by local musicians and dancers, and traditional foods and handicrafts are available for purchase. Learn more about Mongolia foods.

How to Reach Khuvsgul Lake from Ulaanbaatar?

Lake Khuvsgul is located in the northern part of Mongolia, about 270 kilometers (168 miles) from Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital. To reach the lake from Ulaanbaatar, there are two main routes you can take.

  1. The first route involves traveling north on the Mörön Highway, which is the main road connecting Ulaanbaatar city with the northern part of the beautiful country. This route will take you through the Ulaanbaatar Highway Darkhan, Erdenet, Murun, Hatgal, and finally Khuvsgul province, where the lake is located. From there, you can take a local road to the lake.
  2. The second route involves traveling from Ulaanbaatar to Lun, Bulgan, Murun, and finally to Hatgal. From there, you can take a local road to the lake.

Both transport routes are paved and will take you through some of the most beautiful and scenic parts of Mongolia, with plenty of opportunities to see the country's unique flora and fauna along the way.

What Are The Nicest Hotels, Camps, Lodges, and Ger Camps Around Khuvsgul Lake?

Khuvsgul Lake Ger Camp

The accommodations and nice hotels & camps at lake Khuvsgul are:

  • Mongol Ujin Tour Camp
  • BL Guesthouse
  • Leona resort
  • Nature's door
  • Toilogt tourist camps


How deep is Khuvsgul lake?

Lake Khuvsgul is the largest and deepest lake in Mongolia, with a surface area of approximately 2,620 square kilometers (1,011 square miles) and a maximum depth of 262 meters (860 feet). It is located in the Khuvsgul province, in the northern part of the country, and is a popular destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts.

Can you drink water in lake Hovsgol?

The water in Lake Hovsgol is generally safe to drink, as it is relatively clean and free of pollutants. However, it is always a good idea to take precautions when drinking water from natural sources, such as lakes, rivers, and streams.

This is because there may be bacteria or other contaminants present in the water that can cause illness. If you are planning to drink water from Lake Hovsgol, it is recommended that you first treat it to make it safe to drink. There are several ways to treat water to make it safe to drink, including boiling, filtration, and chemical disinfection.

What is the best time to visit Khuvsgul lake?

The best time to visit Lake Khuvsgul depends on what you are looking to do and see while you are there.

If you are planning to visit Lake Khuvsgul for outdoor activities, the best time to go is during the summer months, from June to August. This is when the weather is warm and sunny, and the lake is at its most beautiful. The water is also warm enough for swimming during this time of year.

If you want to see the wonders of the lake when it is frozen, you must visit in the winter season. However, the climate and weather in the Khuvsgul province are very cold during the winter, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing. This makes outdoor activities, such as hiking and boating, difficult or impossible.

What can you do at Khuvsgul Lake?

Some activities that visitors can enjoy at Khuvsgul lake include:

  • Hiking and exploring the surrounding forests and mountains.
  • Horseback riding through the countryside.
  • Fishing for a variety of fish, including pike, perch, and taimen.
  • Boating and paddling on the lake.
  • Visiting nearby cultural and historical sites, such as the Darkhad depression and the reindeer people.
  • Enjoying the local cuisine and staying in a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt).
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  • khuvsgul
  • northern-mongolia
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