Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park is announced as a National Park in 1994 comprising Khorgo extinct volcano, which was started to be protected by state in 1965. Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake as well as its surrounding area make up the national park of 76,893 hectares land. The National Park is located in the territory of Arkhangai province, 180km away from the central town Tsetserleg of the province.
Khorgo-Terkhiin National Park is situated 2100-2500m above sea level. It is located between main mountain range of Khangai Mountain range and Tarvagatai Mountain range. The place is unique because of its earth surface with moraine steppe and mountains that made bizarre and extraordinary landscapes and the lake which was created by a volcano eruption (Terkh White Lake). Magmatic or volcanic activities took place in the area during the Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene.
Terkh White Lake is fresh-watered lake and located 2060 m above sea level, covering 61 square kilometers, which its length is 16km and width is 6km. Suman river originates from Terkh White Lake and joins Chuluut River. The Khorgo extinct volcano is located in the eastern part of the Terkh White Lake and situated 2178m above sea level and surrounded by strange rock formations.
Khorgo Volcano in the National Park
According to experts’ research, the Khorgo volcano erupted during the Holocene (11,700 years ago) and its hot lavas streamed through its wide valley and halted a stream of a river in the valley, which formed the Terkh White Lake in the end. There are about 33 small extinct volcanoes in surrounding area of the Khorgo and Terkh White Lake. The Khorgo extinct volcano is about 200m tall and its crater depth is approximately 100m with diameter of 400m.
The National Park Formation
For geological formation, the Khorgo-Terkh National Park is comprised with traps or basalts of Cretaceous period, granites of Devonian period and igneous rocks of Quaternary period. Central part of Khangai Mountain range is belonged to very ancient crystalized sedimentary (granites) layer which was formed deep in the earth. These rocks are considered to be formed in the result of process which hot liquid lavas penetrated the earth surface and cooled down there creating hard boulders. Later the boulders were lifted up and created surrounding mountains. The mountain sedimentary is mostly rhyolite, porphyry, andesite, breccia, sandstone, limestone, and argillite, etc., of middle period of Paleozoic era.
Soil around the lake area is quite humid and composed of dark brown soil and with knoll landforms. Mountain steppe area is covered with humid dark soil. The most of the area of national park is quite humid. It is because of ancient glacial accumulation which creates pleasant environment for plants and trees to grow. In the northern area of the mountains Siberian larches (Larix sibirca) and Siberian cedar (Pinus sibirica) forests are common. Spruces and cedars grow in mountain skirts and mountain sides where there is plenty of humidity. For the plants, marshy and aquatic plants are common around the Terkh White Lake.
Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park Wildlife
The Khorgo-Terkh National Park is occupied with numerous mammals. There are about 22 species of mammals registered in the area, namely, wild boar (sus scrofa), red deer, Siberain musk deer, Siberian roe deer, red fox, corsac fox, grey wolf and Mongolian marmot. For amphibians, the area has Mongolian toad (bufo raddei) and Asian viper (Gloydus Halys) snakes. You should stay away from the snake for it is venomous.
As for being a paradise of birds, the Terkh White Lake is abundant with birds and fishes. Endangered birds in the world such as swan goose, Cinereous vulture, saker falcon and great bustard live here. For migratory birds, bar-headed geese, great cormorants, ruddy shelducks, common goldeneyes, tufted ducks, common mergansers and northern lapwings stop by the lake. Islands in the middle and in the west of the lake become a home for birds to lay their eggs.
Activities in Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
Once you’ve reached to the Lake you can have a relaxing walk alongside the lake. If you have time you can surf around the lake on a boat. There are a few boats you can rent.
To see the volcano you’ll have to drive by car to the east for few minutes. Then hike up to the volcano shortly about 15 minutes. Locals fixed the path up to the top and built small concrete steps. It is not that hard to hike up but you need to be careful. There are its slippery loose rocks on some point. Once you’re up on the top you can walk around the edge of the crater. You will see the surrounding area covered with magmatic rocks. The hot lava streamed through 100kms over the Valley below. You’ll see the Terkh White Lake in the western horizon.
Tourist Ger camps
Tourist camps and guest houses are mostly located around the Terkh White Lake.
When to visit Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
The most favorable month to visit here is July and August. The weather will be warmer and pleasant than other months. The air of big lake and glacial remains of surrounding mountains cool down the weather.