After over 44 hours on the train we could not wait to get off. That was about the maximum we could endure on the trains in one go. It was good that we ended up in Krasnoyarsk as this city is right next to a beautiful national park, which offers plenty of great hiking. We had booked a hostel only a few hundred meters from the train station which was cheap and cheerful. Sadly just after check in trouble started. They decided that the price we had booked it for was for one night instead of two. The receptionist rang the manager and we spent 45 min arguing with him that is was his fault if the price online was incorrect and not ours. As he would not move a millimeter and refuse to barter we demanded our money back and left furious about them not honoring the contract. In the end we stayed in hostel Vozduh which was more expensive than the first booking (but cheaper than the actual price), had a much better location and very friendly staff. They gave us plenty of useful tips for our time in Krasnoyarsk. We had timed it well as on weekends bus number 80 went from outside the hostel straight to stolby national park, which was the main reason we stopped in this city.
Stolby national park is located just at the south western tip of Krasnoyarsk. It’s main attraction are about 60 rock formations of various sizes standing mostly on top of small hills. Some of them are easy to climb but others require climbing gear. We got an early bus to make the most of the good weather forecast. Since it was a weekend there was a bus going straight from the hostel to the nature park. The first 6 kilometers we had to walk along a tarmac road with a few streches of planked wooden walkways parallel to it. We stopped often to watch siberian chipmunks, tree creepers and tits around the bird feeders and picnic areas. It was surprisingly busy with locals walking and running. The visitor center at the end of the road was busy with about 80 people participating in a 360 minutes event. They are organised in Russian national parks once a year and people volunteering spend 360 minutes clearing up litter, maintaining paths or carrying out repairs. In stolby we met a few groups of people scrubbing grafiti from rocks.
The only maps in this park are at the main entrance so we recommend taking photos of them. There are three colour coded walking paths but no information about their length or approximate walking times. Overall there are many information boards about the park, plants and animals but they were all in Russian and therefore of no use to us. We could have used Google Translate but it doesn’t work very well with longer texts. After reading about it online we opted for the blue and the yellow paths. Blue was a circular walk in the center and the yellow path lead us back towards the city and terminated at a ski and sports center. The blue route was busy thanks to it’s easy access and featured some nice and big rock formatiions. We found a picturesque lunch spot on one of them overlooking a forest valley but were stopped by the incoming hail just as we sat down. Thankfully it was only short so we stopped again soon after; this time without any view.
Snow and the chilly wind were probably the main reasons for us arriving at the top of the ski lift over an hour and a half earlier than expected. Towards the end of the yellow route were two lookout points offering great scenic views over the surrounding hills and forest. Fit as we were we didn’t take the lift but took a shortcut down a steep ski slope. Back in the city we treated ourselves to coffee and cake after a very enjoyable day out.
The next day turned out to be much nicer and sunnier than expected but since we had seen most of the national park instead we decided to walk along Yenitsei river towards Tatyshev island. The promenade was quite nice and the river wide and very fast flowing. It was dotted with stalls, benches and (restaurant) ships. The island is roughly 3km wide and 8-9km long. It features a dense network of paths and roads and many people go there for skating, cyling , running and walking. We spent about an hour of strolling around and sitting on a sunny beach we had to head back to catch our train. There was still enough time for an ice cream and a lunch treat at an Italian restaurant.