The Komi Republic

Yugyd Va National Park

The Subpolar Urals is really the edge of the world: one might say that this place is harsh, unpredictable and beautiful because the nature here is primordial, untamed by civilisation. This primordial nature is protected within Yugyd Va National Park. Its name in Komi means 'clear water'. This is the largest national park in Russia, with almost two million hectares of protected land. Primordial taiga, mountains, wooded tundra and open tundra, pristine rivers, countless lakes, rocky buttes of the most bizarre forms, alpine meadows, rich flora and fauna, and the complete absence of permanent modern human settlements.

Once upon a time, judging by the findings of archaeologists, including sacred sites that had been either built or hidden away, a people lived here who had fled in terror from others. This happened not only in ancient times. Until the middle of the last century, radical Old Believers hid from persecution in remote corners of the taiga, 'sealing' the sacred books in wooden logs. Besides, until the end of the eighties, before the creation of protected areas, workers of the Pechora guild used to look for gold along the banks of the Kozhim River and other mountain rivers. The free life of miners living by their own laws attracted many, including Vladimir Vysotsky, a friend of Vadim Tumanov, the legendary head of the guild. According to a legend, in the year of his death, Vysotsky had already bought a ticket here, to his 'edge of the world', the current Yugyd Va reserve.

Address: 169570, Komi Republic, Vuktyl, Komsomolskaya st, 5
Phone number: +7 (82146) 2-10-57
+7 (82142) 3-45-34
+7 (82145) 6-20-93
Site on the map

The national park was officially established in 1994. Its goal is to preserve the unique coniferous forests and the so-called primary boreal forests, the oldest on the continent. Nowhere else in Europe has such a virgin taiga been preserved.

The Virgin Komi Forests were the first Russian natural site to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. They occupy half of the territory of the Yugyd Va reserve. Forests are the Earth's living memory, these ancient trees still 'work', providing the planet with oxygen and supporting the global ecosystem.

The other half of the territory of the national park is occupied by mountains that have been attracting climbers and hikers for a long time. One of them is Mount Národnaya (the stress is on the first 'a'), the highest point in the Urals. Despite its record height, Narodnaya (1,895 m) is not considered the most interesting peak for climbing. In those terms, it is surpassed by the exceptionally beautiful Mount Manaraga (1,663 m), which takes the form of a ridge with six 'teeth', or Mount Yorkusey (1,099 m), also called Shaman Mountain. As the abode of spirits and local gods, these peaks are also celebrated for their distinctly mystical atmosphere. Tourists listen intently to the legends saying that the difficulty of climbing depends on the location of the supernatural forces. The two-headed mountain Telposiz, or Telpos-Iz ('wind nest'), the highest peak of the Northern Urals (1,617 m), is especially revered in this sense. The Mansi believe that the god of cold and winds dwells on it, so you shouldn't make noise near the mountain, otherwise, you may experience the full force of his anger.

There are also more than a few bodies of water on this territory of 'clear water’ that have become favourites of tourists who pursue aquatic activities. All the rivers flow directly to the Pechora or to its tributaries. They are all mountainous, turbulent, with rifts and rapids of varying degrees of difficulty: in the north, in the sub-polar Urals—Kozhim, with its tributary Balbanu, Kosyu, with its tributary Vangyr, Bolshaya Synya; in the south—Shchugor, its with tributaries Bolshoy Patok and Podcherem. The shores are very picturesque, with bizarre rocks and weathered pillars that form natural sculptures.

The pristine nature of the national park is correspondingly abundant in flora and fauna. Deer, bears and wolverines roam the taiga and mountains, endemic plants make you feel like you are in a fairy tale by their names alone: Urals peony, roseroot, lady's slipper, and candle larkspur. Salmon and taimen are found in the rivers, and the even rarer char and grayling are found in the lakes. In autumn, northern berries ripen, and the land is covered with lingonberries, blueberries, crowberries and cloudberries. However, you have to pay a price for this abundance: a desperate battle against the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are only part of the unforgettable primordial elements of the Sub-polar Urals. The most dangerous of them are winter avalanches and summer 'dry thunderstorms' without rain, after which forest fires begin. During the fire season, visits to the National Park are prohibited.

The national park has a network of hiking trails and routes for trekking, skiing, boating, and in some places driving as well. Tent camping sites have been set up, as well as tourist hostels, bases with cabins and bathhouses, gazebos and sheds, garbage bins and toilets. The old camps are being restored and improved; there is a plan to create new hostels in the style of traditional Komi huts for 7–10 people. Remember that it is prohibited to set up camp or light fires outside of the designated areas, or to cut down trees, gather mushrooms or plants, hunt or fish. Unauthorised actions and excursions pose a serious danger.

Tourists should choose one of the routes offered by the national park in advance and send an application to the administration after having read all the rules.

Details are available on the park's official website. Entry to the park costs RUB 300 per person, except for the categories entitled to discounts, as listed there.

You can reach Yugyd Va Park in three ways: from the city of Vuktyl, you can get to the southern area of the park, from Pechora, you can reach the central area, and from Inta—the northern area. The south and centre are mainly taiga, while the north is wooded tundra, and further, open tundra. The routes to the mountain lakes and Mount Narodnaya start in the north.

The phone number of the Vuktyla office of Yugyd Va National Park: +7 (82146) 2-10-57
Phone number of the Pechora office of Yugyd Va National Park: +7 (82142) 3-45-34
Phone number of the Inta office of Yugyd Va National Park: +7 (82145) 6 20 93.