Waterfalls of Baikal
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December, 02

Waterfalls of Baikal

Around 336 rivers and streams flow into Baikal, and only Angara flows out. There are many waterfalls along the length of this complex system of water flow. The exact number is difficult to determine, as it is more than a hundred.

The most famous waterfalls are the Ukovsky, Small Zhombolok, Skazka, and waterfalls on the Kyngarga river.

The Ukovsky Waterfall

This natural monument of federal scale is 18 kilometers from the city Nizhneudinsk, near the confluence of the Uda River with mountain stream Uk.

For millions of years a gorge of basalt has been forming here. Its walls reach 50 meters, and the height from which the water of Uk is dropped is 20 meters. The speed of falling water is fascinating.

The waterfall is known as one of the most powerful and beautiful waterfalls in Central Sayan. 

The water flows down the ledges to form a small lake with a canyon in the background. The view is particularly wonderful on a sunny day, when thousands of drops in the air create a rainbow. In winter, the waterfall freezes and becomes a solid ice sculpture of unprecedented size.

There are many legends surrounding this place. In the 70s, soldiers of a military unit under Nizhneudinsk carried out an explosion at the site of the waterfall to lengthen the flow, but due to a mistake it all went wrong (because of many differences in the height, the solid stream of water began to fall in stages, with delays). It is said that the wife of one of the officers fell off a cliff and died, and the explosion was kind of a revenge on nature. There are also stories about the girl who threw herself at the boulders out of love, and about a photographer who stumbled... Many stories are just that – made-up stories. However, they are not far from the truth: the monument in the lower reaches of the waterfall is an indication that at least one person died here. The local views are spectacular, and the people are sometimes too reckless and careless in pursuit of them.

Small Zhombolok

The waterfall is located in a prairie 542 kilometers from Irkutsk, where the Zhombolok river flow merges with Oka.

The flow, directed into the round valley, falls from a 22-meter basalt ledge with a diameter of 40 meters. The stream is named Bulun or Small Zhombolok, and is a distributary of the Zhombolok river.

The waterfall is most beautiful in spring, when the high water arrives and the stream of melt water is really impressive. During the low tide, you can see only a weak stream. In place of Zhombolok fall a small lake was formed.

In the 60s of XX century in Irkutsk, and then in Moscow, there was talk of a waterfall in Sayan similar to the Niagara Falls. The Siberian department of the Russian Geographical Society decided to launch a search for it, and the expedition was headed by Academician P.N. Kropotkin. Thus the first description of the East Sayan nature appeared, and the waterfall of the Oka plateau in particular. It turned out to be Small Zhombolok.


In the mountains of Khamar Daban two kilometers from Lake Sobolinoye, you can find Skazka, a well-known waterfall in the Baikal region.

It brings down powerful masses of water on the bottom of a dark gorge. When high water arrives, the force flow is even stronger. The river in the valley is shallow, and you can walk over it directly under the dome of water produced by Skazka. If you go with the flow above, following the direction of flow of the Krasnaya river, you can see several smaller waterfalls. For example, Boroda (Beard). The waterfall is so named because of the fragmentation of its flow on a large boulder into small streams. No less interesting is Grokhotun, which is hiding from tourists behind the turns of the gorge:  the noise of falling water mutes the small rapids. And when the foaming jets are revealed to the eyes, the picture of sunlight playing on the water canvas drop-down is breathtaking in its beauty.

Waterfalls of the Kyngarga River

Arshan village is one of the favorite resorts of the residents of the south of the Irkutsk region. It is known largely due to its proximity to the waterfalls of the Kyngarga river flowing through the marble canyon of Tunkinskaya Valley. A lot of tourists come here every year to enjoy the wonderful views of the Eastern Sayan.

The mountain stream stretches for 27 km, and its name is translated from the Buryat language as "drum". Waterfalls are cascading in its upper reaches, the highest of them reaching ten meters.


The first waterfall is located one and a half kilometers from the village. A comfortable and spacious path along the left bank of the river leads to it. Half a kilometer up the path, there is gorge formed by stone walls. The bottom of the canyon is covered with yellow-pink marble polished by water - this segment of the channel was named appropriately: Marble Bottom. Just a kilometer further, there will be seven-meter waterfall in front you, with a bridge thrown opposite of it. You can use it to get to the right bank of Kyngarga.

The second waterfall is a ladder-shaped flow. Water cascades down the stone, with each step not exceeding three meters. To get here, you will need to climb the rocky trail, its length of about 300 m.

The river has about 12 small waterfalls, all of which are located above the first and can be easily reached via the 11km-long path along the Kyngarga.

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