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HomeHiking in Oleshky Sands: Everything you Need to Know about a Hike in the Ukrainian Desert

Hiking in Oleshky Sands: Everything you Need to Know about a Hike in the Ukrainian Desert

Article content:

  • Oleshky Sands – hiking routes
  • What you need to know before hiking
  • Places to stay

Hiking means a small trip on arranged trails and safe routes. Simply put, these are educational and recreational tours. Ukraine has always attracted backpackers with its views. But hiking in the desert is an oddity even for Europe.

Desert Oleshky Sands
Oleshky Sands in winter

As you arrive in Oleshky Sands, you want to immediately go forward, to walk around all these beauties and not miss anything. Thank the staff of the National Park: they have developed routes to explore every last grain of sand. And recently in the desert there is a special track for a ride on ATVs. You will not disturb wild animals, damage the ecosystem, or stumble upon a military training ground. The main thing is to stick to the route!

Oleshky Sands – hiking routes

"Oleshky Desert" eco-trail

It is suitable for children and the elderly. The distance is 2.2 km.

The trail passes through the ‘control’ stop points:

  • Comfort. This is a hill overlooking the sand dunes. The hills reach 15 meters in height. There is a gazebo and a WC.
  • Birch grove. Here, you will be surprised to see shrub, bog, and forest representatives of fauna among the dunes. The largest birch massif in the Lower Dnipro region is located at this point. By the way, Dnipro birches are listed in the Red Book and grow only in this area.
Rest in desert
In this place you can relax and have a picnic
  • Pine grove. Take a look at 150-year-old pines: despite atypical environmental conditions, they have perfectly struck roots here. You have an opportunity to meet hares and foxes here. There are benches with tables.
  • Lake in the sands. Everything as it should be – an oasis in the desert. Here is also a place for a halt. In the lower reaches, find a wild apple tree that grows here in spite of everything.

It takes a couple of hours to walk the circular route slowly. Follow the yellow-green signs.

"Wonderful world of Oleshky Sands" eco-trail

The length of the trail is 2.5 km. It is suitable for both children and adults. The route introduces natural complexes of the desert, the animal world of the sands to the tourists.

Here are 8 stop points:

  • Gazebo. Here, you can gain strength before the hike, have a snack, and take care of your needs.
  • View point. This is the greatest hill overlooking the entire reservation. This beauty is breathtaking!
  • Oasis. This is a place for a halt in a birch grove. Dnipro birch, listed in the Red Book of Ukraine, grows here.
  • Apple tree in the desert. This place is extraordinary and exotic. This is still unknown, how a wild apple tree has grown here. It blooms beautifully in spring and bears fruit in summer. Here, you can hear a loud magpie and a sparrow.
Fun in desert
It doesn't matter if the winter is without snow
  • Unusual neighborhood. Oleshky Sands have unusual flora and fauna. Only here, you can find a sacred scarab and a marsh frog in the same area. You may run into hares, foxes, and even wolves.
  • High hill of the desert. This is the highest point, where the height of the dunes reaches 15 meters. The lowlands of hills and mounds are filled with water.
  • In the pines. Two types of pines grow in this small grove – Scots and Crimean pines. The air here is just incredible! This is a great place to rest.
  • Birch grove. Here, you may have a snack, discuss what you have seen, and just relax. You will not believe it, but you may go mushroom-hunting at this location even in winter. Such miracles happen due to the climatic features of the region: winters here are mild and humid.
Bright moments in desert
Be sure to make an angel in the desert

Information signs and boards are installed along the entire path.

"Birch Grove" eco-trail

The length of the route is 2 km 350 m. The landscapes during the hike change from a sandy forest steppe to small lakes with sedge and reeds. An oasis with meadows, ponds and trees was preserved here.

There are the following stops along the route:

  • Birch grove. This is the starting point of the path. It is equipped with a gazebo with tables and benches, a water well, and a campfire site for a picnic. Don't forget to clean up! Information boards contain data about the plants and animals of the National Park.
  • Feather-grass field. Moving to the south of the grove, you will pass a field with fragrant herbs and feather grass. Here, you can meet lizards, rabbits, raccoon dogs, and hedgehogs. In winter, you can explore the trails of wild animals following their tracks in the snow.
Picnic in desert
Picnic in desert
  • Green lake. The feather-grass field is replaced by swampy terrain to the north-east. During the rains and snowbreak season, there appears a lake. In drought conditions, this part of the route looks like a field of sedge and reeds. You can meet foxes, hares, and such birds as a pheasant, a grey partridge, and a crow here. Here, you can find lizards, grass snakes, and large whipsnakes.
  • Fox hole. There are sand dunes and steppe plants all around. You can see the fox holes everywhere. The territory is preserved in its natural state.

The hike along the trail takes 2.5 hours. The route is circular. The tourists are guided by signs and markings.

The best friend in desert
Take your pets with you

The hiking trails in the desert are not difficult, so you can walk them all in one day. To make hiking in Oleshky Sands even more fun, take sleds to ride them down the dunes. You can take a pet (dog), as your friend is also curious about the world and the wild nature. Book a guided tour to learn more about the Ukrainian desert.

What you need to know before hiking

How to book

You have to sign up for the excursion in advance. There is a military training ground nearby. Therefore, the park is sometimes closed. If you want to take a walk with a guide, book a weekend excursion. Call for reservation and information on the park opening hours by phones: +38 (068) 660-01-86 or +38 (066) 465-81-44.

Schedule your time well to go through all the trails. It gets dark quickly in winter, so you can be on the routes from 8:30 to 16:00.

What to take with you?

Hiking in Oleshky Sands is not an easy walk in the park. Here, you can get lost, and the mobile signal here is bad. Don't be lazy to take with you:

  • comfortable shoes with a thick, grooved sole, snugly fitting your feet but not too tight;
  • waterproof clothes to protect you from snow and rain. Your clothes should not constrain movement. Wear thermal underwear in winter. It is advisable to take a spare set of clothing;
  • gloves, a hat, a buff, or balaclava. Wear thermal socks as well;
  • put a first-aid kit, a raincoat, a compass, a knife, a rope, food and water supplies in a backpack, and a thermos with tea in cold weather. You can grab a blanket and tarp.

Don't forget to bring your camera. The locations here are incredible!

Learning in desert
Winter photo in desert

Tips for travelers

The desert is ruthless to the tourist who doesn't follow the rules. Think carefully about your hiking trips. Park employees register everyone at the entrance and exit, but there may occur different situations. Tell your relatives about the place and time of your camping. Even if you are hiking with a company, tell your family about that.

Important: adequately assess your strength for the hiking distance you expect to cover. Build your health and stamina. Learn to set fire, use the compass and improvised means in an emergency situation. Who knows what skills could come in handy in the journey!

Places to stay

NameAddress/phonesDescription
Zolotyi Fazan" eco estateKherson region, Chernianka village, 1A Stavky Str.
+38 (050) 315-43-20
+38 (098) 315-43-20
The cost of a room starts from UAH 1,000. There are comfortable rooms, a large territory for entertainment.
"Kazka Oleshshia" green estateKherson, Nechaievo settlement
+38 (050) 49 49 110
The cost of a room starts from UAH 700. The rooms have all the amenities including a bathroom.
"Chaika" recreation centerKherson region, Hola Prystan, 78 Dniprova Str.
+380679971239
The cost of a double room starts from UAH 850. There are cozy houses and numerous activities in the territory.

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