Orkhon waterfall, Ulaan Tsutgalan

Orkhon waterfall

After a strong rain this magnificent seasonal waterfall, also called Ulaan Tsutgalan (Улаан Цутгалан), is one of the best sights in central Mongolia. About 25m downstream from the waterfall you can climb down to the bottom of the gorge; it’s 22m deep and dotted with pine trees.
Ask your tour operator about the status of the falls. The water doesn’t run all year and will only start to flow after the first good summer rain. Late July and August are the best times to see it. If it’s not running you could consider rearranging your travel schedule to visit later in the summer. If you arrive when the waterfall is not in flow, take solace in the fact that the region is still gorgeous, and a fine area for camping and horse riding.
There are a few different ways to approach the waterfall; all of them involve rough travel on very rocky roads. Coming directly from Ulaanbaatar, most traffic will go on the road via Khujirt. The road from Kharkhorin is longer but by taking this route you can stop at Tuvkhun monastery on the way. From Arvaikheer, it’s possible to take a remote backcountry road via Zuunbayan-Ulaan and Bat-Ulziit; but you’ll need an experienced driver and a very sturdy 4WD to attempt it.