Visiting Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, attracting roughly 500,000 visitors annually, being most popular among Eco-tourists as well as those travelling the Trans-Siberian Railway. There are two main seasons for visiting Lake Baikal, with the winter ice and summer thaw marking two very distinct experiences. During the winter period, generally mid-January till mid-April, the surface of the lake is iced over. This ice cover, despite being quite thick, up to 1.4m (4.6 ft) in places, is uniquely clear, revealing a stunning lattice of veins beneath the surface and makes for a dramatic photo opportunity. This ice begins to melt around May, with the southern half being the first to thaw. In the summer months, generally from June till September, the area is a more pleasant temperature for local outdoor activities such as hiking, camping or horseback riding, it is also the ideal time of the year to spot some of the Lake’s endemic wildlife. Temperatures around Lake Baikal are generally warmer than the surrounding taiga, however the continental climate can still fluctuate widely throughout the year, with averages ranging from -25C in the winter to 25C in the Summer (-13 F to 76 F), so it’s best to pack accordingly.