Yolin Ice Field


The ice field surrounded by cliffs.
Even in summer, you will feel the chill of winter!

The city of Dalanzadgad is like many typical cities you would see in Mongolia. It is the capital of the Southern Gobi Province and meets many needs of the surrounding areas and towns. Driving into this mining hub your first glance taken will draw your attention to the ever-present background of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains, with their ever-changing beauty from the reflection of the sunlight. I wonder what hidden gem awaits us in these prestigious standing mountains watching over the city in its ever embrace.

After Meeting some locals and having some milk tea, it is off to our destination in our four-wheel-drive across the countryside. You will see a familiar theme appear from any previous travels you have done as you stop at Gers for directions or your driver will ask to stop at a Ger to say hello to family or friends. This just adds to the richness of our journey and the culture you will be able to immerse yourself in. After our 50km rough ride through a winding road of sharp bends we arrive. We are greeted by overarching cliffs of a gauge, with a feeling of isolation and protection. Our arrival is in earlier summer but flowers and wild grass abound.


As we start our adventure down the trodden path it is easy to see why this place would be cherished by the locals. If you stop and listen you will have a sense of tranquillity as you hear the wildlife. Take a moment to take in your surroundings and you won’t be disappointed as you see the abundant wildlife present and the skittering small rodents disappear as you advance along the trail. While it is great to take in what’s around you be sure to look up as well to be dazzled by the unique rock formations and who knows you may be surprised by what you see. The journey along the trail will feel longer as you immerse yourself in the surroundings but it is well worth it!


What was a 15-minute walk through the gauge suddenly changes abruptly from a sunny vibrantly coloured landscape to an erring feeling of a stack difference. The cool air and stark contrast in the landscape hit us as the gorge narrows and we see what we have come for. There in front of us is a field of ice. It feels like winter as you crutch down and run your hand along the ground, as the numbness sets in your fingertips. You have just been transported to a different place in time. But the best is yet to come. Now we navigate on the ice realizing we were not prepared for how slippery it is, falling over multiple times in laughter and amusement to each other. As we shuffle along the layers of ice become more apparent and then the real fun begins as we find opens that lead down to the below layers to tunnels under the ice, which are selfie worthy of your time. With care, acknowledging how precious this place is we investigate some of these opens, which could amuse any child for hours in bewilderment. But after a time we press on to the end of the gorge to the climax.


There stands the ice coming down the face of the slope, marking its dominance in this narrow space. There is a sense that its glory days are past and we understand that it is an impressive sight to see such a great sculpture of ice present even in summer. One can’t but wonder how breathtaking the sight would be in the depths of winter’s cold grasp. After some photos portraying our small size in comparison, we head back down the trail, welcomed back to the bring uplifting landscape and warmth feeling fulfilled in our purpose. As you walk back it will be easy to pick up any stray piece of trash as payment for being able to see such a place for free and to help preserve it for others to see.

Glacier in summer.
Even in summer, you will find ice!
Street 27 coffee shop.
Donate an English book!

After what feels like a quick walk back to the entrance we drive back to Dalanzadgad, leaving this white gem in our rearview mirror. Now it’s time for a well-deserved coffee and you will be able to find it! Park up and make your way into Street 27 Café. The warm welcoming atmosphere will convince you that you are in the right place for a warm cup of your favourite beverage. As you wait for your coffee try talking to a young local you will no doubt see socialising or browse over their oh so cute library selection available to read. Even better why not bring a book of your choosing and donate it to their library selection as a way of saying thank you for all you have been able to experience.


Overall here at Gobigoldi, we could not recommend this location enough and we are certain it is worth a visit more than once if it is convenient. There will be a contrast depending on when you visit but either way you will be able to take in nature in all its glory and be the envy of your friends who wished they had come as well. We would also recommend that you put this location at the top of your bucket list if you are thinking of visiting as there is no guarantee it will be there forever as the climate changes. So what are you waiting for take a trip to the South Gobi and see this amazing place while it lasts!

  • Bring a drink bottle-it can get quite hot as you are enclosed in the gorge with the sun beating down on you.
  • Bring a light jacket-you may not think you need it but it may get colder than you think real quick!
  • Bring some solid footwear with good grip-you will be thanking me later.
  • Use the bathroom at the entrance before you start, you won’t find one anywhere else.
Want to learn some Mongolian before you go? Check out our courses here!

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