9 Days Hiking, Rafting & Fishing: the Gulag Mine Route

This is one of the most beautiful summer trips that we offer, combining some of the most interesting hiking and rafting routes in the area. The walking portion of the trip gives you beautiful views of the mountain passes, and once you get onto the rivers you’ll really appreciate how stunning the valleys are.

The Indigenous Nenets people often camp along this route during the warm weather and will welcome us into their homes if we meet them. It’s a really wonderful opportunity to experience the life of these reindeer herders at a time of year where they’re able to settle for longer periods of time.

During our time rafting, we can explore the canyons of the river and you can try many different forms of fishing. If you’re feeling particularly brave then you can even have a swim – we should warn you that most of the rivers are supplied by snowmelt though!

This trip runs in July and August.
Contact us via email or phone if your preferred dates are unavailable.

Gulag Mine Trip Route

Day 1 – Arrive in Salekhard

Arrive at Salekhard airport and transfer to the hotel where you’ll check-in before having an arrival briefing about what to expect in the days ahead. Our local guides will check that your gear is suitable for the expedition. 

In the afternoon we can organise a tour of Salekhard (the only city in the world directly located on the Arctic Circle) or you can explore by yourself. We suggest visiting the Shimanovsky museum, with its exhibitions of Nenets ethnology, archaeology and natural history, or the reconstructed wooden Obdorsky jail. 

Accommodation: Salekhard hotel (twin-share)

Meals: D included

Day 2 – Salekhard to Sob and commence hiking route

After breakfast we’ll pick you up from the hotel and head to the local train station where we’ll take the train to Sob for the start of our hike. From the station it’s a gentle 10km hike to the spot where we’ll set up camp for the night.

There will be plenty of time to stop for photos and snacks along the route. If we come across the Nenets camping on this portion of the route then we’ll stop to share some food and drink with them and you might be able to meet their reindeer!

Activity: Hiking 10km

Accommodation: 2-4 person tents

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 3 – Hiking in the Polar Urals

Following breakfast we’ll break down our campsite and get underway on our next portion of the route. Today is one of the most picturesque portions of the journey, and we’ll walk 20km to our next campsite. It’s possible that we will encounter the Nenets today if we didn’t meet them during our trip yesterday.

Activity: Hiking 20km

Accommodation: 3-4 person tents

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 4 – Arrival at the abandoned Gulag mine

Once again we’ll pack up our camp and set off for the final stage of the hiking portion of our trip. Today we arrive at an abandoned molybdenum mine, which is a fascinating place to explore. Once we arrive we’ll set up our camp for the next couple of nights.

Activity: Hiking 15km

Accommodation: 2-4 person tents

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 5 – Rest Day

It’s time for a well-earned break after your hiking efforts before we get started on the rafting portion of the trip. You’ll spend today at our site near the source of the Harbei river. This is your opportunity to spend some more time exploring the mine, taking photos, enjoying some fishing or simply relaxing.

We’ll have a briefing today so that you’re prepared for the start of rafting tomorrow, and then we can arrange a camping banya to complete your day of relaxation.

Accommodation: 2-4 person tents

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 6-7 – Rafting

We’ll pack up our campsite before loading the rafts and starting the second part of our adventure. We can go as quickly or slowly as you like since there is ample opportunity for fishing and photography along the route.

Activity: Rafting

Accommodation: 2-4 person tents

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 8 – Return to Salekhard

Today we’ll meet the end point of our rafting adventure and transfer you back to Salekhard. After checking into the hotel you can enjoy a hot shower before heading out into the city or simply relaxing in your room. We can also arrange for you to enjoy a banya in the city before meeting the group for dinner.

Activity: Rafting

Accommodation: Salekhard hotel (twin-share)

Meals: B/L/D included

Day 9 – Transfer to airport

After breakfast at the hotel we’ll take you to the airport in time for your departure.

Meals: B included

Costs & Services


  • Accommodation: 2 nights in Salekhard hotel (twin-share), 6 nights camping
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Russian Arctic Travel English-speaking guide
  • Tour of Salekhard if desired
  • All transfers in Salekhard
  • Vehicles and fuel on expedition
  • Arctic safety/security equipment
  • Rafting equipment including wetsuits and life vests
  • Fishing equipment
  • Tents, sleeping bags and cooking equipment for camping
  • Permits and visa invitation letter
  • Return flights from Moscow or St Petersburg to Salekhard

Not included

  • Personal expenses such as drinks, tickets, phone calls, etc.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Individual clothing, backpack, cold-weather clothing, (contact us for advice)
  • Use of banya/sauna in Salekhard if desired

Please note: The final route and activities may vary slightly, as the weather can be unpredictable here in Yamal. Your guide may need to adapt the program depending on the group, prevailing conditions and available options at the time. There is no cook on this trip, but you’re welcome to help the guides prepare meals and learn how to become a fantastic camp chef! During the expedition the cooperation of all participants will be crucial – you‘re always welcome to lend a hand.

Fitness and dietary requirements

  • A basic level of fitness is required for this trip, as the days are very active. You do not need prior experience in rafting.
  • Dietary requirements must be discussed prior but can usually be catered for with advance notification.

Recommendations for Clothing and Equipment

  • Will be sent at the time of booking

Visa Information

  • Russian Arctic Travel will provide visa invitation documents for you to apply for your Russian visa overseas

Price is based on double occupancy: a single supplement of €200 will apply if you are a single traveller and are not happy to share a twin room.