Hovsgol Lake (Hövsgöl Nuuris) is a lake of tectonic origin in the Baikal Rift zone and is thought to be several million
years old. As such it is one of the few lakes in the world this old, and of these, it is the most pristine. Hövsgöl Nuur is the
largest source of fresh water for Mongolia, containing almost 70% of the surface freshwater for the country. The lake is
large, 136 km long and between 20-40 km wide. The maximum depth of the lake is 262 m. The watershed of the lake is
virtually undisturbed by man's activities and retains a diverse and interesting terrestrial and aquatic biota. While many
rivers and streams flow into the lake, only one small river flows out and into Siberia.
Hovsgol Lake
One of the marvels of Mongolia is that most of the land belongs to the people. Accordingly, one can roam anywhere and
never see No Trespassing Signs. Another advantage is that one can pull up a vehicle anywhere and camp. This is
something that the Mongolians do a lot in the summer. Hovsgol Lake is a marvelous place to camp.
The two boats below are the two biggest boats in Mongolia. In talking with our driver who was an oil truck driver for 27
years, he told us that he had driven his trucks across this lake in the winter. The lake usually freezes by December and
does not thaw until May.
We spent a full day and two nights at
Hovsgol Lake.

In Mongolia, things seem to start late. Traffic
in Ulaanbaatar is very busy until mid-night,
but in the morning it is fairly quiet until at
least 10 a.m. So, we were usually ready to
get a decent start, whereas our guide
normally did not want to eat breakfast until 8
a.m. After breakfast we would move things
along by getting our luggage out to the car.
We thought we were finally underway this
particular morning, but a mile down the road
our guide said, "Sorry", she had to see the

This area is considered to be a very spiritual
place, and Shamans from this area are
particularly respected. The flying thing of hair
on the Ger signified that this was a Shaman
open to consultations. After a half hour, our
guide emerged from her consolation and we
continued south. A slightly frustrating delay,
but then I realized this was experiencing
Mongolia in a much more real way than if we
had been with a tour group.

South of the lake we encountered two boys
on a cart pulled by a Yak. They were going
to harvest grass to feed to the stock in the
Further south we came to
the most complete set of
Deer Stones in the world.
These stones are from the
Bronze age.  According to
a noted art historian,
about 1000 B.C. the
climate got colder and
wouldn’t tolerate herding
in place any longer, That
is when real mounted
nomadism probably
began. The deer stones
belong to the beginning of
this process.

In the very vicinity of these
stones, are large burial
mounds from the same
period (below).