Excellent day-trip during any season, especially in autumn and late summer
6 km one-way
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Be aware of ticks and bears
About this trail
6 km one-way
Easy to moderate
Yes, there are several free campsites and one camping with touristic facilities
Water from Olkha river is clean
How to get there
You should take a train from Irkutsk to Orlyonok station. It's a regular suburban train and there is no need to book tickets in advance. It usually takes 1.5 hours to get there. You can find the schedule here, just set the right date: https://irkutsk.tutu.ru/rasp.php?st1=6538&st2=8338.
From Orlyonok to the start of the trail: find the stairs and then turn right. After some time, passing several houses, turn left to the river and go over the bridge. Here begins the trail to Olkhinsky skalniki.
At the first fork, just after the bridge, the 'lower trail' (about 6 km) goes straight to the plateau. It is simple, mostly passing along the old logging road. If you turn right, there is a so-called 'upper trail' that is more picturesque, but slightly more difficult. In the beginning the trail goes uphill, then after the power line becomes more flat and goes to the forest road. In the end of both trails there is a camping site where you can stay in yurtas or in your own tents. There is a brigde over Olkha river near the camping. After the bridge, the trail separates. Here you should take the right one that leads to "Idol" and "Turtle" cliffs.
No permission needed.
No equipment needed, but it's good to have hiking shoes.
There are no shops in this area.
The Olkha plateau is a taiga massif famous for its granite cliffs. The unique stone statues on the plateau were formed as a result of weathering of rocks for hundreds of thousands of years. These natural monuments, not less wort visiting for their historical and cultural value than the famous Krasnoyarsk Stolby, are only 60 km away from Irkutsk.
There are many popular hiking, biking, climbing and skiing routes in this area that are suitable for people with different physical abilities and for families with children. The plateau can always be easily reached by a suburban train. The route to the cliffs of the Olkha plateau can be made one day or with an overnight stay. Due to its availability, this route can be recommended as an excellent small trip on a day off in any season, but especially in autumn because of the vivid colors.
The most popular cliffs are called Vityaz, Idol and Starukha. There are many other ones, not so famous and not so easily accessible, as paths to some of them disappeared after forest fires or are just overgrown by plants. 'Vityaz' is a 40-meter cliff. If you look at it from the south, you can clearly see the warrior's face with a helmet pulled over his eyes. It's very popular among rock climbers, there are routes of various difficulty almost all over the surface. In the Soviet times many climbing competitions took place on this cliff. The view from its top allows you to grasp the entire plateau and see the surrounding cliffs. 'Idol' cliff is 20 m tall and resembles a statue from the Easter Islands - it has a shape of a stone pillar made of separate blocks.