Visit North of Sary-Chelek and Local Shepherd
Sary Chelek lake is located 500 km from Bishkek and 300 km from Osh, in the territory of the Sary Chelek State Biosphere Reserve. The lake lies on the boundary of At-Oinok and Chatkal ranges, at an altitude of 1940 meters. The lake covers an area of 507 hectares, has a length of 7.5 km, and a depth of 234 meters. It is the second and third deepest lake in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, respectively. The coastline is covered with dense forests and rocky places in some areas. Sary Chelek is fed by several mountain rivers.
The water temperature in summer does not
exceed 19 °C and in winter ranges from 0 °C to 4 °C. Sary Chelek in Kyrgyz means 'yellow barrel.' According to legend, there was once an old beekeeper who, one spring, decided to place hives on the shores of an unusually beautiful lake. When the time for harvest had come, the beekeeper was so mesmerized by the golden color of honey, he named the lake Yellow Barrels referring to the barrels full of honey on the shore. Additionally, there is also another explanation to the name of the lake. As autumn rolls around, the golden color of the trees on the coastline reflected in the water form a fabulous whole golden landscape. The Sary Chelek State Biosphere Reserve (area 23,8 ha) is included in UNESCO’s international network of nature reserves. It was established to preserve the flora and fauna of the walnut forests and alpine landscapes.
Duration: 4 days horseback or 5 days trekking
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Best season: May 25 – September 30
Requirements: trekking boots, weatherproof warm clothes, hat, sunscreen, torch, sleeping bag, tent, and sleeping pad.
Itinerary: Kara-Suu village – Kara-Suu Lake – Makmal Pass – Sary-Chelek North Lake – Ashuu Pass – Sary-Chelek Reserve – back to Kara-Suu village
Day 1: Welcome to your guesthouse in Kara-Suu. Dinner.
Day 2: Breakfast. Setting off northwards from Kara-Suu to the Kara-Suu Gorge, along the banks of the Kara-Suu River, crossing by wooden bridges as necessary. The gorge becomes rather narrow and the slopes are covered with a beautiful silver fir forest. Further on the track passes below a waterfall and then climbs over a small pass to Kara-Suu Lake (1,800 m, 17 km, 4 hours).
Day 3: Breakfast, then continue the trek along the Kara-Suu river where the slopes of the mountains are covered with silver fir forests. The stony road winds through inhabited jailoos (mountain pastures) where you stop for lunch below the Makmal Pass. After lunch you cross the Makmal Pass (2700m), and descend into the Kojo-Ata River valley and on to Sary-Chelek Lake where you will have dinner and camp overnight in tents.
Day 4: Breakfast, followed by crossing the Ashuu Pass (2600m) where you are surrounded by fir forests and have a panoramic view of the infinite ridges of the Tien-Shan Mountains stretching to the far horizon and beyond. During the descent from the pass you will have lunch and then continue down through the Ashuu Gorge to the bottom part of Sary-Chelek Lake where you will have dinner and camp overnight in tents (25 km, 6 hours).
Day 5: Breakfast followed by a sort excursion to the 5 small lakes of Sary-Chelek (10km, 2,5 hours) till noon. Have supper and camp overnight in tents near the lake Iri-Kol
Day 6: Breakfast and relax near Iri-Kol Lake, followed by lunch at 12.00. After lunch continue trekking among the nut forests and get a panoramic view of Sary-Chelek. Descend from the Pass to Kara-Suu or Arkyt village for dinner in a guesthouse (20 km, 4 hours).
Day 7: Breakfast. Morning departure.
Attention:above description is given for trekking is 5 days!
Date & Prices
*Price include: prices are set per person and include guide and cook services, meals during tour, horse rent, accommodation B&B and supper in Kara-Suu village, entrance fee to Sary-Chelek state reserve.
* Price does NOT include: overnights in Bishkek; transport from Bishkek to Kara-Suu village, the return journey from Kara-Suu to Bishkek and meals underway;