Here we present everything you need to know about visiting and staying in Yolyn Am known as Yol Valley in Gobi – places to visit, activities and tourist Ger camps.
Yolyn Am Valley is situated in the Eastern Mountain range of the Three Beauties in southern Mongolia. It was started to be protected as a national reservation since 1965 and became part of the national park in 1993. The Yolyn Am Valley is one of the Nine Wonders in Umnugovi province. It is 56 kms from the central town of Umnugovi to reach the valley. Yolyn Am Valley goes through between high rocky mountain massifs of the Eastern Beauty, which is formation of Paleozoic gabbros.
There is a narrow stream flows through the valley surrounded by high gorges, which will make your walking quite interesting and fun since you need to cross over the stream several times. This stream freezes forming huge amount of ice during the winter. The ice gradually melts until mid-July of summer, which most tourists find it astonishing to see ice in summer. The length of Yol valley is about 10 km if you walk till the end of the valley which requires 2-3 hours on one side.
Things to see
The valley is abundant with vegetation, mammals and birds. The reason why they call this place Yolyin Am is that this is the home of Yol vultures (Lammergier-Gypaetus barbatus) or bearded vultures, for having white feathers around their neck. They inhabit around high mountain ranges of Gurvan Saikhan national park. The Yolyn Am valley is the most appropriate place to see the biggest bird of prey in Mongolia. When the sun rises Yol vultures start their day, searching for a prey. Almost 70-90 percent of their diet is based on bone which what makes them special among other vertebrates.
There are many other rare birds inhabit around the valley such as an Altai’s snowcock, a very cautious bird and a wall creeper, a tiny yet beautiful bird. In high gorges of Yol valley, you might see ibexes and wild sheep. They are really cautious animals so they blend into the nature color. It is really hard to see them among the rocks and they are unreachable since they climb up through the cliffs so leisurely. Magnificent snow leopards live in the area of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan national park. Unfortunately it is impossible to see them for ordinary people since they are extremely cautious animals and prefer not to go around the area with human presence. While you’re walking through the valley you’ll see a lot of pallas pika, a small mammal, running from one place to another, collecting their food in their mouth.
The Provincial Museum
At the entrance of the Yolyn Am valley, there is a small museum of Natural history of the national park. You will see collection of stuffed animals, representing animals live in the national park and the archeological or paleontological discoveries which found in the park. The museum is small but sums up the whole national park. And there are also many ger shops, where you can buy souvenirs made by local people. You’re going to drive from the entrance 10 more km to the parking area and from there your hiking will start. At the parking area local people provide tourists with horse riding as well as souvenir stands.
With your supply of water, you can enjoy your two-hours hiking with impressive view of high gorges, display of big and small wild animals and birds.
When to Visit Yolyn Am
The most appropriate months to visit will be late May and early June. It is not so hot and the possibility to see the ice will be higher during this time. Everything will be new and fresh since it will be spring time. If you prefer to come around autumn, then September will be quite right time to come here. If you don’t mind a stream of other tourists, July and August will be fine to come as well. However it will be hot and often rains during July and August.
Activities you cannot miss:
- Hiking through the valley of Yolyn Am will be your priority.
- Try to spot rare birds and mammals, especially you cannot miss the bearded vulture ‘Yol’
- If you have time after hiking through the valley, you can do another hike in beautiful valley called ‘Mukhar Shivert’. This is 10m high wall of ice created by narrow streams flow down and stay there until mid-July. It is located in 7km from Yolin Am in the south. Rocks are naturally in interesting shapes which local people invented many names for them. After you reach the parking area, you’ll have to walk about 750m to the destination. Since it is the part of the mountain range where Yolin Am locate you’ll see the bearded vultures including other wild animals.
Tourist Ger camps
There are plenty of camps and guest houses reside near to the Yol Valley and provide camping services. Quality of the service varies depending on each camp. Recommended camps would be ‘Khanbogd’ tourist camp, ‘Dungenee’ tourist camp and ‘Gobi Mirage’ tourist camp. ‘Khanbogd’ tourist camp is located in 6km from Yolin Am Valley in the north. ‘Dungenee’ tourist camp is located in 30 km from Dalanzadgad city, which is the central city of Umnugovi province. ‘Gobi Mirage’ tourist camp is located in 50km from Yolyn Am Valley in the north. All camps provide tourists with meals in a restaurant, hot shower, and clean beds in private Gers.