Nalychevo Nature Park was established on August 18, 1995 and the next year was included in the “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Covering a total area of 706,721 acres, Nalychevo has a complex geological construction and fascinating history of volcanic and hydrothermal activity. A microcosm of Kamchatka’s ecosystems, Nalychevo is situated in close proximity to the main cities of Kamchatka, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Yelizovo. The park’s diversity of volcanic and coastal landscapes present visitors with an image that is both breathtaking as well as somewhat intimidating. Nalychevo Nature Park has great ecotourism potential due to its accessibility.
Nalychevo Park combines stunning mountain scenery with vast expanses of tundra and coastal seascapes. The presence of volcanic and ancient glacial landscapes, together with the specific microclimatic conditions of the valley of the Nalycheva River, produce a unique richness and diversity of flora and fauna. This richness of natural phenomena in Nalychevo make it possible to observe the great Kamchatka brown bears and Steller Sea Eagles, or fish in the Nalycheva River or climb an active volcano, or more.
The main part of the park is formed by a bowl of active and extinct volcanoes. The four highest volcanoes are still active--Koryaksky (3456 m) last erupted in 1956; Zhupanovsky (2927 m) in 1957; Avacha (2741 m) erupted in 1991, and Dzendzur (2156 m) is active but there are no records of its last eruption. In this compact area, many rare geological activities are concentrated providing visitors with a unique opportunity to observe and study volcanoes.
This volcanic activity gives rise to formation of tremendous geothermal and cold mineral springs, concentrated near the headwaters of the Nalycheva River. The thermal springs range in temperature from 14 to 75 degrees centigrade. The best known are Nalychevskie, Talovye, Shaibnye, Kraevedcheskie, Dzendzurskie, Shumninskie thermal springs and the Aagskie, Koryakskie cold mineral springs. The death of vegetation on sizable areas from periodic volcano eruptions, make it possible to study plant regeneration on different aged lava fields and flows. Vegetation that appears on the hydrothermal altered soils near hot mineralized springs is of special research interest. The Erman’s birch (stone birch) forests around the hot springs have a variety of wildflowers including the rare Lady’s Slipper orchid.
While there is no road access it is possible for good hikers to cross the mountain pass in two days blessing them with incredible vistas. Otherwise access to the park is by helicopter on a 30-minute spectacular flight.
Nalychevo Park can be visited year round and offers many hiking and winter skiing, dog sledding, and snow machine opportunities. Hikers can trek into and out of the park from June through early October but likely will meet snow in the mountain passes. The best skiing is in March through April and even in early May. Hiking trails into the park are shown in maps available at the Parks Visitor Center in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
The park center has an eco-educational center where visitors can obtain information about the park’s flora, fauna, geothermal, and volcanic activities. Also in the park center is the main ranger cabin, toilets, and a small visitor’s center. Several cozy cabins and covered cooking areas may be reserved in advance. Sometimes one can watch brown bear across the Nalycheva River.
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