Yugyd Va National Park (Russian: Югыд ва) is in the remote, mountainous southeast of the Komi Republic of Northwestern Russia, near the border with Khantia-Mansia. Together with the Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve, it comprises the Virgin Komi Forests, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and largest virgin forest in Europe.
Yugyd Va is the largest national park in Europe and the second largest in Russia. Translated from Komi, the name of the park means "bright water." In the south, the national park borders the Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve. It was established in 1994 to preserve the unique, untouched nature of the Subpolar and Northern Urals.
This is a vast wilderness area of about two million hectares. The length from north to south is about 280 km, and from west to east, 120 km. The eastern boundary follows the high watershed of the Ural Mountains and therefore the boundary between Europe and Asia. West of this boundary, water flows to the Pechora river. To the east, water flows to the Ob river.
Yugyd Va stretches from the steep Urals highest peak Narodnaya in the east to the gentle hills of the lowland taiga in the west. Major rivers include the Kozhim, Kosyu, Vangyr, Bolshaya Synya, Schugor, and Podcherem. The Podcherem and Schugur rivers have their full watershed protected from the source until they empty into the Pechora river. The Kozhim, Kosyu, and Vangyr rivers are protected down to their crossing of the Pechora-Inta railway. The Bolshaya Synya watershed is protected only in the mountain area of the park.
Flora and fauna
The Vuktyl office:
2 Vuktyl (Вуктыл), Комсомольская улица, д.5, ☏ .
3 Inta (Инта), улица Дзержинского, 27. 9-13, 14-17.
There are three roads into the park. None of those roads are accessible by a regular passenger car, and the cities they connect to are not reachable by all-weather road from the regular Russian road network, so driving into the park is not a realistic option for most people. If you do drive, you need a very high clearance all wheel drive vehicle capable of fording deep rivers, and you need to know how to drive it. Car transportation companies use TREKOL.
The road from Inta (north of the park) to the mountain hut at Zhellany (near Gora Narodnaya) is the most popular entrance to the park. The 120 km trip takes about 4-6 hours depending on conditions. The road will ford the Kozhim river, which is an adventure in itself. Shared taxis are offered by the Zhellany company based in Inta:
The price for a shared taxi from Inta to Zhellany is (as of 2020): 18,000 ruble (up to 6 people) or 23,500 ruble (up to 20-25 people) each way, shared between all occupants. It is also possible to get off at other destinations, such as база Орлиный or база Санавож. Departures from Inta are either from the Zhellany base office in Inta or from the Inta train station. The office can be reached with bus line 3 from central Inta for 22 ruble (get off at Инта птицефабрика).
There is also a road from Ust-Schugor (which holds the record for Europe's lowest temperature ever recorded at -58°C, as well as a privately owned road in the south of the park for maintaining the Siyaniye Severa gas pipeline.
The Manaraga hut can be reached by helicopter taxi from Pechora.
It is possible to ski or walk into the park. There is a hiking trail from Aranets (which can be reached by boat from Pechora), southeast of Pechora along the Pechora river, leading south of the Sablya mountain, through the Sedyu river, along the Ozernaya base into the Vangyr valley, then reaching the Kosyu valley near the Manaraga hut. It should also be possible to walk into the park from Siberia, such as from Saranpaul.
Fees and permits
You need a permit to enter or stay in the park. In 2019 this was 1430 ruble per person for 2 weeks. Organise your permit with the park office in advance. The park office in Inta takes cash or card and also sells souvenirs, books, and some maps (but not maps that are good enough for wilderness navigation).
There are few roads in the park, and you can only reach them with a very high clearance all wheel drive (see warning above). To get around in the park, your realistic options are hiking, skiing, or rafting.
- River rafting
- Hiking and cross-country skiiing
- National Park Museum
In the park visitor centres:
- Large hardcover book with many full-size photos: Национальный парк "Югыд ва " : светлые воды, священные горы, девственные леса / авт.-сост.: Горбатовский. - 2-е изд., испр. - Вуктыл : Нац. парк "Югыд ва", 2019. - 239,  с. : ил., цв. ил., карт.; 30 см.; ISBN 978-5-7934-0798-4 : 500 экз. 1400 ruble
- Overview maps of the park
You will need to bring your own food. The huts in the park do not sell any food. If you know where to look and come in the right time of year, you may find delicious cloudberries (морошка). Blueberries are also common throughout the park.
The water in the park is safe to drink. There is no need to filter water from flowing streams or rivers.
Source for this section: Данько В.Ю, Ерёмкин М.А «Базы, избы. Дороги и тропы. Стратегия и тактика походов. Топонимия.», (work in progress).
The staffed base at Zhellany has hostel-style accommodation and cabins for rent. The hostel is well-equipped with electricity, heating, shared kitchen, showers, TV room, wifi, and even a sauna. In 2019 the price was 2500 ruble per person per night. Luggage storage is available here for a small fee (in 2019: 100 ruble for two weeks).
- 1 Baza Zhelannaya (База Желанная) (120 km by primitive road from Inta, shuttle available from company), ✉ email@example.com. hostel-style accommodation offering beds, showers, kitchen, sauna, electricity, heating, and wifi. 2500 ruble per night.
- 2 (база Санавож) (Self-catering accommodation along the road in the Balbanju valley). 360 ruble/person, 3000/night for a group of up to 10, 4000/night for a group of up to 15.
- 3 Baza Tavrota (база таврота) (Along the Kozhim river). Primitive self-catering accommodation near the road in the Kozhim valley, see photo 180 ruble/person.
- 4 Pereprava shelter (приют Ререправа) (Along the primitive road from Inta at the Kozhim river crossing, high-clearance all-wheel-drive essential, shuttles available). 300 ruble/person/night or 5000/night for the whole building.
The huge wilderness is a camping paradise, but there are some limitations in where you can camp. Inform with the park office for the latest restrictions. Please employ leave no trace practices.
There are primitive wilderness shelters at various locations in the park. Some are old whereas others are recently maintained. Some are unlocked, unstaffed, and free to use, others may need to be booked with the park office; check before your depart for the latest information.
- 5 Manaraga shelter (Приют Манарага) (In the Kosyu valley, just downstream of the confluence between the Kosyu and Manaraga rivers. 4-day hike from Zhellany, 1 week hike from Aranets, or helicopter ride from Pechora.). Free hut, staffed year-round by employees of ООО СПАСФ «Природа» offering bunk beds, gas stoves, pit toilets, as well as electricity and free wifi when the employees switch on the power generator for some hours in the evening. Built in 2016 by a company cleaning up oil spills. A great place to recharge your batteries with a couple of nights of luxury before continuing into the wilderness. free.
- 6 Baza Orlinii (база Орлиный) (Along the Kozhim river, about 12 km downstream from the confluence with the Balbanju river.). Backcountry accommodation, see photos.
- 7 Kordon Kayuknird (Кондон Каюкнырд) (Along the Kozhim river, 2-3 km downstream of the confluence with the Palnikshor/Пальнпкшор river). Backcountry hut, reportedly has a sauna 180 ruble/person.
- (Избы на озере Малое Балбанты).
- (Изба Еркусей).
- (База Каталамбию).
- (Две землянки на озере Радежаты).
- (Изыа б/н).
- (Балок Становой).
- (Балок на р Дурная).
- (База Обеиз).
- (База Сывъю).
- (Изба Тёнлый исторник).
- (Изба б/н).
- (Изба Седбёль).
Since most tourists visit the park to go rafting, most of the infrastructure is located along the rivers. There are several shelters located along the various rivers in the park, including the Podchere complex.
This is a large wilderness area. If you venture into the wilderness, make sure you are equipped and skilled to do so. It can snow any time of year and temperatures in winter can drop well below -50°C. The rivers can be dangerously wild.
There are bears in the park, and some areas of the park are closed to tourists due to a high density of bears. In other areas the risk of encountering a bear are low.
Cross the mountains and head into Siberia.