Stolby Nature Reserve is the true highlight of Krasnoyarsk. Situated only 20km away from the city, the 17,000 hectares of spiky volcanic rock pillars poking out of a sea of green forest is a great way to get up close to Russian nature.
We took a private full-day hike tour with Anatoliy, our SibTourGuide hostel’s owner. Under perfect blue skies and warm temperatures, we hiked nine hours through beautiful pine, cedar, birch, fir and spruce forests. The place is well set up for local tourists with excellent timber steps and walkways, clear defined walking trails, signs and information boards (all in Russian). It was busy today too.
Anatoliy was friendly, informative and a great guide. We followed a loop to four main rocks (notably called First, Second, Third & Fourth Rock) with awe-inspiring views of the expansive reserve and Krasnoyarsk far below.
After a hard morning’s slog, we stopped for a picnic lunch at Anatoliy’s Hard Rock Café (literally).
During our hike we visited some of the locally named formations such as Feathers Rock, Grandfather Rock and Lion’s Gate. Some actually resembled their name quite well, others needed a bit more imagination.
Stolby is popular amongst locals as some of the best rock climbing in all of Russia. Most famous for solo rock-climbing without safety gear. We could see families scrambling up the impossibly steep rocks.
On the way back, we passed a memorial for locals who had lost their lives climbing these dangerous rocks. There was also a carved wooden monument to Yelena Kratovski, who had rescued wild animals many years ago and eventually founded the (reputedly good) Krasnoyarsk Zoo.
What a memorable day out in Stolby Nature Reserve, a must-see in Krasnoyarsk, and worth getting off the train for.
Visited 25th August 2014.