Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)
Season: May - September
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty - Turgen Gorge - Assy Plateau
Breakfast in the hotel. Depart from Almaty at 07:00 to the starting point of cycling route in the Turgen Gorge. Upon arrival - preparations to the start and starting the route.
Turgen Gorge located in the Ile-Alatau Natural Park, 90 km from Almaty and is famous for its coniferous and mixed forests, relict fir moss, which is creeps along the ground and forms a solid spruce carpet, alpine and subalpine meadows, lakes and springs, hot springs, medicinal plants and berries, as well as for its waterfalls. The most easily accessible one is Bear waterfall, having height of 28 meters. Even on a hot day water temperature does not exceed 12 degrees, that is why the waterfall mist refreshes and invigorates. The name of the waterfall is not accidental. Here, in zone of mixed forests, lots of places where Tien Shan white-claw bears find their food.
Stop for lunch upon arrival. Excursion to waterfalls. Continue cycling to Assy Plateau through Turgen Gorge. Setting a camp upon arrival. Dinner around the campfire. Overnight in tents.
Day 2. Assy Plateau - Bartogai Reservoir
Breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and starting cycling route through picturesque Assy Plateau at 09:00.
Assy Plateau is a vast plain at an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level, surrounded by mountain ranges with height over 3000 meters. On the southwest side the valley is closed by snow-capped peaks, from which the glaciers "flow down". Along the river the forests are stretching, consisting mainly of the Tien-Shan spruces. The plateau stretched for 40 km and a width in some places reaches 15 km. Assy Plateau – a traditional summer grazing since ancient times, now turned into a pasture of national importance. Along the river Assy there are ancient burial mounds and rock paintings, which are ones of the most high mountainous concentrations of petroglyphs in Kazakhstan. Besides, the well-known in Kazakhstan mountain observatory also located at Assy plateau. transfers
Stop for lunch. Continue cycling to Bartogai Reservoir.
Amazing in its beauty Bartogai Reservoir located in the gorge of the same name on the Chilik River, which is blocked by the rock-bulk dam, with height of 60 meters, length of 330 meters and with a set of culverts. The reservoir was created to store water in winter, and feed the fields in the summer along the channel of 160 km length. Release of water through the dam at the Chilik River takes place from June to September for irrigation. In this time the spillway capacity reaches 100 cubic meters per second, due to which the height of the fountain reaches more than one hundred meters. Streams of water under great pressure get out into the open, and breaking into small particles form a cloud of sprays glittering in the sun.
Setting a camp upon arrival. Dinner around the campfire. Overnight in tents.
Day 3. Bartogai Reservoir - Ash-tree Grove - Charyn Canyon - Kolsai Lakes
Breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and starting cycling route to relict Ash-tree grove on Temirlik river. Stop for picnic on the way. Further - transfer by car to the Ash-tree grove. Sightseeing at the grove upon arrival.
In the lower reaches of the Charyn River and its tributary Temirlik there is a unique place, where relict species of Sogdian Ash-tree are growing. According to a legend, another 5 million years ago a wind blew a winged seed of Sogdian Ash-tree in this so-called "Valley of Yurts”. The millions of years have passed, mountains and climate have changed, the ancient era has sunk into oblivion and the mammoths have disappeared with it. But Ash-tree is still exist... In 1964 the Ash-tree Grove has been given the status of the monument of nature. The four trees of about the same age are fenced off in the grove. It is some kind of open-air museum. Botanists believe that these trees are over a thousand years old.
Continue cycling to Charyn Canyon on a dirt road. Lunch (picnic) upon arrival and sightseeing.
Charyn Canyon is a natural complex, unique in its kind not only in Kazakhstan but also worldwide. It was formed during Paleogene and reminds the Grand Canyon of Colorado River in North America, although inferior to it in size. The height of the steep slopes of the canyon is up to 150-300 meters. Extraordinary dissection of the terrain is striking: the numerous ravines form a dense, chaotic network. Wind and water have created the beautiful "Valley of Castles", where you are always surrounded by the fancy towers composed of sedimentary rocks. The length of the valley - more than 2 km, width - 20-80 meters. For millions of years the nature has been creating a unique architecture, erecting magnificent castles carefully and slowly. You can spend hours walking among the strange towers and columns, being surprised by the wild imagination of the nature.
Transfer by car to Kolsai Lakes (Satty village). Accommodation in the guest house upon arrival. Sauna, dinner and overnight in the guest house.
Day 4. Kolsai Lakes
Breakfast in the guest house. Starting cycling route to the lake Kolsai-1 at 08:00.
Kolsai Lakes - "Pearls of the Northern Tien-Shan" - represent a cascade of three lakes. The largest lake is accessible for all visitors. It is the most beautiful lake, having a lack of civilization and the abundance of mushrooms. Horse lovers can order horseback tour to this place. The highest lake is small. It is located on the border of fir-wood and the alpine meadows and amazes by its harsh alpine beauty, as well as the rich flora and fauna. Vertical drop between the three lakes is about 700 meters. The lowest lake can be reached by car. But you should walk few kilometers along mountain trails to see the second and the third lake. Without doubts the tourists are expected to have a wonderful vacation in these places - berries, mushrooms and fishing. The water in the lakes is cold and clean and is home for the rainbow trout - a fish that lives only in the running or spring water. In the around mountains you can see Marals, mountain goats, wolves and even bears.
Lunch and rest upon arrival to the lake. Return to Saty village by bicycles. Dinner, rest and overnight in the guest house.
Day 5. Kolsai Lakes - Kaindy Lake
Breakfast and starting cycling route to Kaindy Lake at 08:00. Photographing and rest upon arrival.
Kaindy Lake (birch lake) is situated among magnificent pine forest at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level and is famous for its origin. It was formed in 1911 due to the powerful earthquake that triggered the landslide blocked the alley by the natural dam, and the water has flooded the valley. The water of the lake is very cold, that is why the needles of the flooded trees are well preserved and clearly visible through the transparent surface of the water, and dry stems of fir trees overlook the water surface, like the masts of the submarine squadron. It is impossible to describe in words all this mystical splendor of the lake – it is necessary to go there and see everything with own eyes.
End of cycling route upon arrival to Saty village. Dinner, rest and overnight in the guest house.
Day 6. Kolsai Lakes - Almaty
Breakfast and starting cycling route in picturesque environs of Kolsai Lakes at 08:00. Lunch (picnic). Return to Saty village. Rest and departure to Almaty.