Losiny Ostrov National Park, Moscow, Russia: Complete Guide

Losiny Ostrov National Park is the first national park in Russia, located in the city of Moscow, in the oblast of the same name. It stands out as the largest forest in large Russian cities.

In 2001, the total area of the protected zone of Losiny Ostrov covered 116.21 square kilometers, with the forest occupying most of it, about 96.04 km², which represents 83% of the total area. Of this forested extension, 30.77 km² are within the limits of the city of Moscow. Additionally, the park includes 1.69 km² of water bodies and a marsh area of 5.74 km². An additional 66.45 km² has been reserved for future park expansions.

History of Losiny Ostrov National Park

Losiny Ostrov National Park has its roots in a long history dating back to ancient times when it served as a strictly controlled hunting zone for the grand princes and tsars of Russia. Since the 14th century, it has been mentioned in the wills of Russian princes such as Ivan Kalita, Dmitri Donskoi, and Vladimir of Serpukhov, who spoke of the plowed lands and forests in the region. During the Time of Troubles, economic activity decreased, and the former plowed lands were covered by forests.

Losiny Ostrov National Park, Russia

The importance of Losiny Ostrov as a hunting area peaked during the reign of Tsar Alexis. As the capital moved to Saint Petersburg, the value of this territory as a tsarist hunting ground diminished, but it remained under government protection. In 1798, the forests came under the management of the newly formed forestry department, and a forest dacha was established. Systematic forestry in the region began in the mid-19th century.

During World War II, a large part of the forest was cut down, and since then, the area has faced challenges such as land confiscation, overgrazing, and illegal logging. In the 1950s, the construction of the Moscow Ring Road divided the forest into inner and outer sectors. In 1979, Losiny Ostrov was designated a natural park, and in 1983, it was established as a national park by decision of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR.

Since 2002, the Elk Biological Station has been operational, offering opportunities to interact with elks and learn about their lives. However, the park’s history also includes tragic events, such as the murder of Shamil Odamanov in April 2007.

Losiny Ostrov Geography

Map of the geography of Losiny Ostrov National Park in Russia

Losiny Ostrov National Park covers a total area of 116.21 km², mainly forested with 96.04 km², which represents 83% of the total area. Of these, 30.77 km² are within the limits of the city of Moscow. It also includes 1.69 km² of water and 5.74 km², or 5%, of swamps. Additionally, 66.45 km² have been reserved for future expansions, complementing the total size of protected areas and national parks of Russia.

The park is divided into three functional zones: a specially protected area of 53.94 km², closed to the public; another for training and excursions, with 31.30 km² open to restricted visits through established routes; and a recreational zone of 29.81 km², open to mass entry.

Geographically, the park is located at the junction of the Meshchera lowlands and the Klin-Dmitrov area, in the basin of the Moskva and Klyazma rivers. The terrain is a slightly undulating plain, with altitudes ranging from 146 m to 175 m above sea level. The most picturesque part of the park is in the southwest, where the terraces of the Yauza River show steep slopes towards the floodplains.

The sources of the Yauza and Pekhorka rivers are found in the park. The natural course of the Yauza River underwent significant changes during the construction of peat bogs in the 1950s and 1970s, while the Pekhorka River experienced modifications with the construction of the Akulovo hydroelectric power station. The park is also crossed by the small Moscow ring railway, with Belokamennaya station located within the park. The parts of the park belonging to Moscow and the Moscow Oblast are separated by the Moscow Ring Road, a multi-lane highway.

Protected Areas within the National Park

  • Alekseevsky Forest Park.
  • Mytishchi Forest Park.
  • Yauzsky Forest Park.
  • Losinoostrovsky Forest Park.
  • Losino-Pogonny Forest Park.
  • Shchelkovsky Forest Park.
  • Sokolniki Park.

Fauna of Losiny Ostrov

Losiny Ostrov National Park hosts a rich variety of wildlife, with more than 200 species of vertebrates. Iconic species include elk, wild boars, mustelids such as weasels, martens, and stoats, as well as white hares and squirrels.

Animals of Losiny Ostrov National Park

In the past century, sika deer were introduced from the Far East, and currently, their population on Losiny Island numbers about two hundred individuals. Since 2018, comprehensive research on the sika deer has been conducted, focusing on their clinical condition and the factors affecting their population.

Regular biodiversity inventories are a common practice in the park, allowing for updated lists of animal and plant species, including rare species registered in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. In the latest edition of this book, published in 2020, 29 new bird species were included, three of which are spotted in Losiny Ostrov during their migration.

Rare species sighted in the park include the red-necked grebe, gray goose, and common turtledove. However, some of these species face challenges due to habitat loss and anthropogenic factors.

The largest colony of gulls in the Moscow region nests in the floodplains of Mytishchi on Losiny Island, adding significant environmental value to the area.

Despite being surrounded by cities with millions of inhabitants, the forest area is large, with abundant species. About 48 species of mammals, more than 160 species of birds, 5 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians, and 17 species of fish live in the park’s reservoirs.

The natural conditions of the upper Yauza River, with its water spills, channels, swamps, and floodplain forests, provide an excellent habitat for a variety of wildlife. Here, sika deer roam freely, muskrats build their huts, and beavers construct dams. The park’s original inhabitants, such as elk and wild boars, are also common. Additionally, many other species can be found, such as foxes, mountain hares, minks, squirrels, snakes, vipers, and lizards. Among the amphibians are frogs, toads, and newts, while the most common fish include pikes, crucian carps, perches, roaches, breams, and burbots.

Spotted Eagles in Losiny Ostrov, Russia

The park is a paradise for birds, with a wide variety of species inhabiting it. From warblers and tits to blackbirds and nightingales, the forest is filled with a chorus of songs in the spring. Additionally, the park hosts 13 species of diurnal raptors and owls, including hawks and spotted eagles, which are uncommon in the Moscow region.

The Verkhne-Yauza wetland complex is home to many aquatic and semi-aquatic birds, such as grebes, pochards, ducks, teals, and mallards. It is also possible to spot great herons, a rarity in the Moscow region. The wet and swampy meadows are the habitat of the corncrake, bittern, and water rail. In summary, Losiny Ostrov is a sanctuary for a wide range of wildlife.

Flora of Losiny Ostrov

Flora of Losiny Ostrov National Park

The vegetation cover of Losiny Ostrov National Park is varied and lush, composed of a diversity of plants. Among them are grasses, buttercup anemones, lungworts, goose onions, leaves, green herbs, sedges, and wintergreen. Additionally, berries such as lingonberries, blueberries, sorrel, and strawberries abound.

Forests predominate in the park’s flora, occupying approximately 89% of its surface. Coniferous forests are prominent, covering about 38%, followed by birch forests with 42%, and deciduous forests, which represent a little over 16% of the total area. Dominant trees include pine, fir, larch, birch, oak, and linden.

On Losiny Island, herbaceous plants are abundant, with species such as common goji berry, lily of the valley, peach-leaved bellflower, and European water plantain in the pine forests. In the deciduous forests, nettle-leaved bellflowers, green-flowered and two-leaved lyubka can be found, as well as plants like marsh bedstraw, spotted palm, and two-horned kokushnik near swamps and reservoirs.

A notable object in terms of flora is the Alekseevskaya Grove, which is nearly 250 years old and protected to preserve the ancient pine from logging.

Despite being located in an area of human activity, no plants have yet been recorded for inclusion in the Red Book of the Russian Federation on Losiny Island.

Climate of Losiny ostrov

Losiny Ostrov National Park experiences moderate continental climate conditions characteristic of the region. During winter, temperatures can drop to -10.2°C, while in summer, the air warms up to around +18°C. The average annual temperature is about 3.8°C. As for precipitation, the annual amount varies between 550 and 650 mm.

The influence of the Klinsko-Dmitrovskaya ridge contributes to the predominant wind direction, which mostly blows from the northwest and southwest. This climatic dynamic helps shape the park’s environment and contributes to its unique characteristics.

Best Time to Visit Losiny Ostrov

The best time to visit Losiny Ostrov National Park is during spring and summer, when the temperatures are warmer and more pleasant. During these months, which span from April to September, the weather is milder, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C. These seasons offer ideal conditions for exploring the diverse wildlife and enjoying outdoor activities that the park has to offer, such as hiking, bird watching, and strolling through the picturesque forests and wetlands. Additionally, during spring and summer, the vegetation is in full bloom, adding a touch of color and beauty to the visit. However, it is important to be prepared for possible rain, as precipitation can vary during these months.

What to See and Do in Losiny Ostrov National Park

Map of Losiny Ostrov National Park


Losiny Ostrov National Park not only offers impressive natural landscapes but also an exceptional paid fishing experience in a specially designated area. This aquatic sanctuary has flourished as a sought-after destination for anglers of various skill levels and experiences.

It is essential to highlight that fishing on Losiny Island is managed in strict adherence to environmental and safety regulations. Supervised by the park administration, paid fishing helps preserve the unique biodiversity of the water bodies and the natural environment. Anglers enjoy a tranquil setting, abundant waters, and the opportunity to catch various fish species while respecting natural and park regulations.

This cool and serene enclave has become a refuge for those seeking to connect with nature while enjoying fishing and the incomparable beauty surrounding this aquatic oasis.

Elk Pond

Elk Pond stands out as a unique gem within Losiny Ostrov National Park, increasingly attracting the attention of those longing to immerse themselves in Moscow’s waters. In a city where swimming spots are scarce, this pond presents a true blessing for those seeking aquatic activities and moments of outdoor serenity.

This small paradise offers the perfect refuge to escape the heat on summer days. With its crystal-clear water and lush surrounding nature, Elk Pond creates an atmosphere of unparalleled peace and tranquility. Thanks to strict environmental regulations, Elk Pond not only provides the opportunity to swim but also to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding it in its purest state.

Environmental Education Center

At the heart of Losiny Ostrov National Park, environmental education centers play a fundamental role in spreading ecological knowledge and promoting environmental awareness among visitors. These centers have become an indispensable part of the park, offering visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in natural wonders and expand their understanding of biodiversity and environmental conservation.

Through a wide range of activities, including excursions, workshops, and lectures, the environmental education centers provide an enriching experience for visitors. Excursions allow exploring the diverse flora and fauna on Losiny Island, as well as understanding the natural processes that characterize it. Workshops offer the opportunity to participate in creative activities while learning about the importance of preserving the environment.

The lectures given at these centers are a valuable source of knowledge about nature and ecology. They cover topics such as natural resource conservation, the crucial role of ecosystems, and how each individual can contribute to environmental protection. Together, the environmental education centers at Losiny Ostrov National Park create a unique educational environment that fosters greater awareness and responsibility towards nature.

See Elk at the Losiny Ostrov Biological Station

The Elk Biological Station at Losiny Ostrov National Park provides an exceptional opportunity to get up close to the mighty ungulates of the Moscow region: elk. Safe conditions for interaction have been established here, including observation towers, special enclosures, and trails, allowing visitors to observe and interact with the elk without disturbing their natural behavior.

Barefoot Trail (Босоногая тропа)

The Barefoot Trail in Elk Island State Park offers a unique walking experience. Stretching 3.6 km, this trail is distinguished by alternating surfaces and impacts on the feet: from hard to soft surfaces, from warm to refreshing temperatures, and from soothing to toning sensations. This variety creates a unique connection with nature, promoting health and active recreation.

River Terraces

The river terraces along the Yauza River are a prominent feature of both Moscow and Losiny Ostrov National Park. Located in some of the park’s lowest areas, these terraces offer stunning landscapes that combine the beauty of the river with the surrounding forests.

In the southwestern part of the park, some terraces rise from the floodplain with steep slopes. With the forest as a backdrop, this area stands out for its picturesque beauty, creating one of the park’s most impressive landscapes.

Moscow Railway

The Moscow Little Ring Railway is a 33.8-mile (54.4 km) circular railway line that runs through Moscow, including a section that crosses Losiny Ostrov National Park. Although it does not offer the same tranquility as walking through the park, taking the train through this area is a relaxing way to enjoy some of the nature the park has to offer.

Equestrian School

Losiny Ostrov National Park has equestrian facilities that offer various activities for horse enthusiasts. Here, visitors can enjoy horseback rides, both in groups and individually, accompanied by experienced instructors. A special experience is exploring the forest on horseback, which provides the opportunity to immerse oneself in the park’s nature and serenity in a tranquil and secluded setting.

Younger visitors also have the opportunity to ride ponies. This unique experience allows children to become familiar with the world of horseback riding and horses from an early age.


Within Losiny Ostrov National Park, you will discover charming spots ideal for organizing a picnic. For an even more comfortable outdoor experience, special tents are offered. These cozy areas provide an intimate and nature-friendly environment where you can enjoy pleasant company and delicious food while surrounded by the park’s lush landscapes.


In Losiny Ostrov, you can take walks and hikes to explore the diversity of the park’s nature, history, and cultural heritage. The park administration organizes a variety of tours, including ecological trails, arboretums, deer observation routes, as well as guided visits to the park’s history, among others. Take advantage of your free time to learn something new!

If you want to explore all the attractions of Losiny Ostrov National Park, one day is simply not enough. Stay at the Hanoi-Moscow aparthotel. This cozy and comfortable hotel allows you to fully experience the beauty and diversity of the park.

After a day full of activities and adventures, you can return to the relaxing atmosphere and comfort of the hotel’s apartments. Whether it’s a family trip, a romantic getaway, or an adventure with friends, the Hanoi-Moscow aparthotel offers the ideal conditions for a pleasant stay.

Hiking Trails

In Losiny Ostrov National Park, you have the opportunity to delve into an extensive network of trails that wind through its vast forests, offering an immersive nature experience without straying too far from the city. This park, famous for its abundant biodiversity and enchanting landscapes, features several hiking routes that traverse different parts of the protected area, allowing you to closely admire its diverse flora and fauna. Among the trees you can find on these routes are birch, oak, elm, linden, and poplar, along with wild fruits that you can enjoy in season.

The park is organized into different zones with specific functions, ranging from strictly protected areas to excursion zones with established trails and recreational areas open to the general public. This ensures you can engage in a variety of outdoor activities while preserving the natural environment. Although specific details about each hiking trail are not provided in the consulted sources, it is highlighted that the park has an extensive system of clearly marked trails and, in some cases, even prepared with walkways, facilitating exploration of the protected area.

How to Get There

To get to Losiny Ostrov National Park, you have several transportation options. One option is to enter via Roterta Street or Prokhodchikov Street. You can also access from the nearest metro stations, Medvedkovo and Babushkinskaya, walking from the "Los" platform of the Yaroslavskaya railway or from the VDNK metro station by taking bus no. 172 or 136. Additionally, from the Ulitsa Podbelskogo metro station, you can reach certain parts of the park using trams no. 36, 12, or 29.

When visiting Russia, you may also be interested in visiting the Alaniya National Park.