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Kyzylaus Pass - Kolsai Lake.

Walking tour to Kolsai lakes.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” 

Augustine of Hippo.

Hiking tour to Kolsai nature park.

Brief description of a jeep tour in the mountains of Northern Tien Shan:

Almaty - Issyk settlement - Turgen gorge - Asy plateau - Asy-Turgen observatory - Kyzylaus pass - Zhenishke gorge - Chilik river - Kolsai natural park - Kaindy lake - Aktogay canyon - Charyn canyon - Baiseit village - Almaty.

The distnace of the route: 593 km.
The distance of the active part of the route: 16 km.
Season: from July 10 to September 1.
The best time for tour: July, August.

3 days, 2 nights.

Day 1. Almaty - Kolsai Nature Park (245 km).
Transfer: Almaty - Issyk burial mounds (53 km). Our way after Almaty will lie along the old Kuldzhinsky tract. After the Avat village, the road turns to the southern slope of the Zailiskiyi Alatau Mountains and the Issyk Village. On the way visit the Issyk Sak burial mounds, in the vicinity of which, in 1970, during archeological excavations, the Golden Man was found.
A visit to the Issyk Historical and Archeological Museum exhibits, which tell about local burial mounds and finds of Kazakhstani archeologists.
Transfer: museum "Issyk" - settlement Issyk - Turgen gorge - valley Batan - Asy plateau (45 km). After visiting the museum, our path lies through the Issyk village through which the Issyk River flows. Soon the road goes to the Turgen gorge, stopping at the ecological post of Ile-Alatau National Park. Scenic views of the Turgen gorge open up to us.
The road is paved along the fast and transparent Turgen River. The road winds and soon leaves the gorge and gradually rises on the Asy plateau. Stop on a hill at the river Turgen. Walk on the precipice of the river with a view of the surrounding mountains and the river Turgen.
Further transfer: Asy Plateau - Asy Pass 2510 meters above sea level (8 km). Stop at the Asy Pass. From the pass, there are beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the valley of the river Asa and Jailau, which stretch from west to east. In the south and west the snow-covered mountains of Zailiysky Alatau rise.
Transfer: Asy Pass - Asy-Turgen Observatory (3 km). From the pass on the road we drive to the south-west and soon we face a wide plateau in the center, which is the observatory Asy-Turgen. Magnificent wide panoramas of the Asy plateau open to the north and north-west, and the snowy southern ridge of the Trans-Ili Alatau rises in the south. Walking around the observatory.
Transfer: Asy-Turgen observatory - Asy pass - Asy river - Kyzylaus pass 3200 meters above sea level (24 km). Along the way, we will see Kazakh nomads who camped with their yurts in small gorges and on the banks of small rivers. Here you can see the Kazakh "Jailau" (translated from Kazakh - high in the mountains, an open place where grazing horses, sheep, cows).
On our way we will often meet yurts of shepherds, tents, grazing horses and sheep. We move around the Asy river, ahead of the low Koktobe mountains, from here begins the ascent to the Kyzylaus pass, which is located in the Sary Tau ridge, the ridge is the eastern continuation of the Zailiisky Alatau ridge. From the Kyzylaus pass to the south there opens a majestic panorama of the Kungei Alatau mountain range, in the east you can see the Toruaigyr mountains.
Transfer: Kyzylauz pass - Zhenishke village - Algabas village - Chilik river (48 km). After the Kyzylaus pass, we will descend along the southern slope of the Sary Tau ridge, down to the river and the village of Zhenishke. In the village of Algabas we will stop at the bridge over the Chilik River, walk in the vicinity.
Further transfer: Algabas settlement - Zhanatalap settlement - Akaya Nusipbekova settlement - Karabulak settlement - Saty settlement - Kolsai park - Malik hotel (64 km). Arrival at the hotel, accommodation and overnight.
Day 2. Lake Kolsay - I - Lake Kolsai - II (32 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: hotel "Malik" - Lake Kolsai I 1819 meters above sea level (8 km). Today we will take a walk to the lake Kolsay - II located at an altitude of 2252 meters above sea level (8 + 8 = 16 km). This lake is located nine kilometers from Lake Kolsai - I. The trail runs along the left bank of the lake from the trail offering magnificent views of Lake Kolsai and the surrounding mountains. In the lake Kolsay - I live fish - the royal trout.
From the south, the Kolsai River flows, the lake is more than two kilometers long, the depth of the lake is up to 80 meters. The most beautiful lake Kolsay ah - II is surrounded by high mountains, on the south side the river Kolsai flows into the lake. Lunch on the lake Kolsay - II. Return to the lake Kolsay - I.
Transfer: Lake Kolsai I - hotel "Malik" (8 km). Dinner and overnight at the guest house.
Day 3. Hotel "Malik" - Almaty (316 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: hotel "Malik" - Saty village - Kaindy lake (20 km). Walk around Kaindy lake.
Transfer: Lake Kolsay - Aktogay Canyon on the Charyn River (73 km). Arrival at the canyon Aktogay, walk around the canyon.
Transfer: Aktogay canyon - Charyn canyon (23 km). Walk along the Charyn canyon. Charyn canyon is a whole ensemble of palaces, towers and minarets. Approximately the look of the gorge was about half a million years ago. Thus arose the “Valley of Castles” - one of the masterpieces of natural architecture.
On the slopes there are numerous remnants of fossil fauna, dating back to the lower Carboniferous about 300 million years ago. Since prehistoric times, the Charyn waters, the largest tributary of the Ili River, have made their way among rocks, grinding stone and forming a huge passage in the rocks. The end of the walk.
Transfer: Charyn canyon - Almaty (200 km).

Turgen gorge.Turgen gorge. Falls Medvezhiy.Turgen gorge.Asy plateau.Asy plateau.Asy plateau.Asy plateau. Visiting the shepherd.On the plateau of Asy.Observatory on the plateau of Asy.Kaindy lake.In environs pass Kyzylaus.Observatory on the plateau of Asy.Kaindy lake.Environs on the plateau of Asy.Kolsay lake.

Author program of Alexander Petrov. Copying and introduction -  from the sanction of the author  petrovsra@mail.ru

Photos by
Alexander Petrov