Samarskaya Luka National Park (reserve) is in the immediate vicinity of the city of Samara. It acquired its name from a big bend of the river Volga, which it makes near Samara. This river bend begins near the city of Togliatti and ends at the village Perevoloki, where the neck between the two riverbeds is only 2 kilometers.
Within the bend of the river Volga is the territory of 150 thousand hectares. In the 80th of the past century all this territory was declared a reserve. Most part of the Samarskaya Luka is wooded steppe with low hills, which may be interesting only for specialists in ornithology and zoology. The most interesting places of Samarskaya Luka are the Zhigulevsk Mountains. It is there that one can see the abandoned tunnels, where limestone was mined in the 19 century, and the most picturesque landscapes.
The easiest and most interesting way to visit the Zhigulevsk Mountains at the Samarskaya Luka is a trip to the village Shiryaevo. Having crossed the dam of the Volga GES (hydroelectric power station), you should turn to the left and go along the bank of the Volga. In the environs of Shiryaevo you can ascend the observation platform located close to the dumps of limestone, which had been accumulated on the slopes of the Zhigulevsk Mountains for two centuries.
Four kilometers away from the village of Shiryaevo is located mount Camel, where you can enjoy very beautiful views of the Zhiguli mountains. The road, where you can go from Shiryaevo until Camel mount is very bad quality. You can use it by car only in dry weather. The other possibility – to walk until mount by feet 4 kilometers.
From the observation deck of mount Camel, you can see the Volga and two rocks on different banks, which are called the Volga Gate - one of the attractions of Samara Luka. This narrowest point of the Volga in its middle course is formed by mountains Tip-Tyav and Sokol. The Tsar`s mound is visible nearby.
Several kilometers before reaching the village of Shiryaevo there is a turn to the mountain Strelnaya. A staircase was built here, which is convenient to climb to the top of the mountain. There is a very beautiful view of the Volga.
If you turn right after the hydroelectric power station, you can get to Molodetsky Kurgan.It is located on the Bank of the Volga reservoir