Seasons, Weather and Water Temperature at Baikal Lake

Author: Dmitry Paranyushkin (on 02 Jun 2015)

Baikal Lake is relatively cold, but with some practice you can swim there just fine. You won't be able to spend too much time in the water, but it's so magic and refreshing that you will want to get in even if it's a little bit cold. The quality of the water is quite good. With more tourism and industrial development it's getting worse, but it'ss still one of the most pristine lakes you'll ever find. In some areas you could even drink water directly from the lake while swimming, but this, of course, is not recommended (we've done it though). Be careful when walking into the water because if you're not used to the cold you might get a shock. So it's always good to put a splash of cold water on the back of your neck and breathe fast and deep while entering into the water.
 
Olkhon Island, Burkhan Cape (Shaman Cave) photo by Konstantin Malanchev @ FlickR
 
The outside temperature in summer is quite OK, staying at about 18-20 degrees Celcius. The water is about 15 degrees Celcius in July and August – these are the two best months to travel if you want to experience Baikal to the fullest. The sun can sometimes get super hot (it's continental climate, after all), so during the day you can easily wear just a t-shirt or just be naked. During the night the temperature may fall to 5-10 degrees, so if you're camping make sure you have a sleeping bag that can hold temperatures down to zero degrees. You might also need it if you stay at a yurt (traditional local house) that does not have heating.

Average Temperature at Baikal Lake:     
Mon:
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Celc
 -21
-18
-9
1
9
15
18
15
8
1
-10
-18
Fahr
 -6
0
16
34
48
59
64
59
46
34
14
0
Water
ice
ice
ice
ice
ice
5
13
15
10
5
3
ice
Average Rainfalls:      
mm
12 
8
9
15
29
83
102
99
49
20
17
15
days
3
3
2
4
8
7
9
11
8
6
4
4
 
Most of the travelers visit the lake during Summer time. However number of tourists who wish to check what is Siberian winter and how transparent ice of the lake looks like is increasing. Most of the standard tourist activities can be done at the lake. You can go in for hiking, biking, camping, mountain climbing, fishing, etc. Meanwhile the context of the wild and untouched Baikal nature turns these activities to be something really fresh. Number of agencies provides the winter activities like skiing, dog-sledging, ice-fishing, diving. The mountains around the lake are not high enough to develop mountain skiing infrastructure. Thus, there are several small stations with T-bar lifts near Baikalsk town. Don’t forget to explore the Siberian sauna (banya) – it will be useful at any time of the year.
 

 

Baikal Lake Seasons

Summer (15 June-15 August)
The busiest season on the lake because it is warm and there are few rains. The “hot spots” of Baikal (Maloe more on Olkhon island, Chivyrkuiskiy bay near Ust-Barguzin) are overcrowded with tourists. The bays accessible by
car are transformed into the real tent towns. So, don’t hesitate to walk several kilometers out of the busy place and road and you will find the deserted beach or hidden glade.

Autumn (15 August-15 November)
End of August is usually rainy. September seems to be warm enough to travel to the lake, however the water of the lake will be already to cold to swim. Trips during October and November definitely not recommended due to the bad weather conditions.


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Winter (15 November – 15 April)
From November to January Baikal is getting colder and freezes completely at the end of January. Up to February it can be really cold and snowy, there are few sunny days. March seems to be the best time if you want to explore the winter activities at the lake as there will be much sun and it will be getting warmer. You can do skiing, snow riding.

Spring (15 April – 15 June)
April and the beginning of May is a bad time to go to the lake as there will be unstable weather conditions and the ground roads around the lake will be blocked with the tons of dirt. End of May and the beginning of June is a perfect time if you want to feel yourself the lonely explorer. The lake is deserted, most of the tourists are still afraid of the cool days and you can be the only traveller for hundred kilometers.
 

Olkhon Island photo by Konstantin Malanchev @FlickR 
 



 

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