Kharkhiraa Uul & Türgen Uul
The twin peaks of Kharkhiraa Uul (4037m) and Türgen Uul (3965m), which dominate the western part of the aimag, are vital sources of the Uvs Nuur and the mountains are also part of the Uvs Nuur Strictly Protected Area. In summer, the area has some excellent hiking opportunities and the chance to meet Khoton nomads who graze their flocks in here.
Large and beautiful Üüreg Nuur, at an elevation of 1425m, is surrounded by stunning 3000m-plus peaks, including Tsagaan Shuvuut Uul (3496m), which are part of the Uvs Nuur Strictly Protected Area. The freshwater lake has some unidentified minerals and is designated as ‘saltwater’ on some maps, so it’s best to boil or purify all water from the lake.
Khyargas Nuur National Park
Khyargas Nuur National Park, based on a salt lake amid desert and scrub grass, provides an attractive summer home for birds but sees little tourist traffic. On the northwestern side of Khyargas Nuur, there is a cold spring that dribbles out of the mountain – locals say drinking from it has health benefits.
This pretty alpine lake is surrounded by mountains and makes a great destination on foot or horse from Tarialan; the trip is about 15km up Davaan Uliastai (one valley north of the Kharkhiraa Gol). It’s possible for a car to reach the lake in a very roundabout manner (120km) and only an experienced driver could do it.
The largest freshwater lake in Uvs, Achit Nuur is on the border of Uvs and Bayan-Ölgii aimags, and is an easy detour between Ulaangom and Ölgii. It offers stunning sunsets and sunrises and good fishing. The lake is home to flocks of geese, eagles and other birdlife. One drawback is the absolute plethora of mosquitoes during the summer.
Uvs Nuur is a gigantic inland sea in the middle of the desert. The lake’s surface occupies 3423 sq km, making it Mongolia’s largest lake, though it’s very shallow at an average depth of 12m. (Still, legend has it that the lake is bottomless.) Uvs Nuur is five times saltier than the ocean and devoid of edible fish. It has no outlet, so a lot of the shoreline is quasi-wetland.
Khar Us Nuur
Another freshwater lake in the region is Uvsiin Khar Us Nuur (literally 'Khar Us Nuur of Uvs Aimag' to distinguish it from the more famous lake of the same name in Khovd). You can swim and fish here, and it makes a logical camping spot if travelling between Ulaangom and Khovd City. The lake is 102km south of Ulaangom.