©Istock/Ukususha
©Istock/Ukususha

The surreal Putorana Plateau east of the Yenisei River

3 minutes to read

One of the most unknown and least traveled to places in Eastern Siberia is the Putorana Plateau. If you look at the pictures of the plateau, you will think that it is Binn Ghulbain Mountain in Ireland. But Putorana Plateau is located in Russia. Ours is a vast country, and by traveling to distant and unknown places like the Putorana Plateau, you will have the chance to see the humble beauty of the biggest country on earth! The starting point of your journey to the plateau can be Krasnoyarsk. This Siberian city can provide you with many attractions, for example, you can visit its only island on the Yenisei River. However, a journey to Putorana Plateau - a more challenging and demanding experience -  will leave you breathless. I am going to warn you that this place east of the Yenisei River, no matter how fantastic and surreal its beautiful scenery is, can only be reached if you are a very experienced hiker. The trip there presents some complications, but it is undoubtedly worth it!

©Istock/Zastavkin
©Istock/Zastavkin

A place of thousand lakes and waterfalls

If you are going on a trip to Putorana Plateau, bear in mind that, geographically, it is located in the North-West of the Central Siberian Plateau. People often call the plateau “a place of thousand lakes and waterfalls” because, indeed, Putorana is second to none in Russia in the number of those things. Putorano’s fantastic and untouched scenery attracts travelers from all over the world. However, you have to be prepared to spend several days on this trip. You will need reliable hiking equipment, warm clothing (even when you travel in the summer), and the excellent company of fellow-travelers. It is a bit reckless to go to the plateau alone. So bring a great team and off you go to see the least traveled part of Siberia!

©Istock/Sergunt
©Istock/Sergunt

Putorana in numbers

The majority of the Putorana territory is taken by the Putorana National Reserve, which was founded in 1988. It includes around 25.000 fjord-like lakes, some with 400-meter depth. These lakes have almost the same depth as the deepest Siberian lake Baikal. Other natural decorations of the plateau are the waterfalls. Russia's biggest waterfall is located here, having a height of 108 meters. Thirtyfour kinds of animals inhabit the plateau. Many of these animals are nationally protected. Putorana has birds like no other place in Russia too. Many of them prefer to build their nests here, where it's more secluded.

©wikipedia/Vitaly Repin
©wikipedia/Vitaly Repin

Why visit the mysterious territory of the Putorana Plateau

If you are a traveler who values calm natural places where the hectic life of the city can not reach you, then Putorana is ideal for you! The only sound you will hear at the plateau is the silence of the woods, and the only things you will contemplate are the untouched paths and the unconquered hills. Your travel here should start in Krasnoyarsk; then, you will have a four day trip on a ship down Yenisei River. The ship ride can be considered an adventure itself; you will see amazing sunsets and sunrises like in Ergaki National Park in Krasnoyarsk. You will pass along the confluence of many Siberian rivers. Curiously, the ship makes some stops in villages of old-believers, like Khor Tagna in Irkutsk Oblast, named the last citadel of such people. This trip can be exciting, and you can prepare adequately for your arrival at Putorana.

©Istock/Sergunt
©Istock/Sergunt

If you go to Putorana during the summer, you will experience arctic days, which means that the sun does not set at all. Arctic days usually last from May till July. There is no difference between day and night. Putorana is doubtlessly beautiful, but the conditions here are harsh. Winters last for seven long months; summers are short and cold. The snow can fall in the summer too. However, during this short period of relatively warm weather, Putorana undergoes some transformations: various Siberian flowers start blooming, which is beautiful to witness. You can go hiking and see the plateau from above, or you can just set up your tent in the middle of the forest and try living in nature for a couple of days. It’s up to you to choose the way you wish to explore the surreal Putorana Plateau east of the Yenisei River

Putorana Plateau, east of the Yenisei River
Putorana Plateau, east of the Yenisei River

The author

Oksana Vasilieva

Oksana Vasilieva

Hi, I am Oksana from Irkutsk, Siberia. I am a linguist and passionate traveler. Being born in the deep Siberian forest, also known as taiga, I thought I would be happier if living in a warmer place. So, I traveled the world, but I always came back to my Siberia. I am excited to share its unique culture with you. Whether you fancy a ride on a dog sled or a dive in winter Baikal waters, follow my stories.

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