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Almaty circular trek (4 days)

July 16, 2019

Trekking & Hiking | This route has absorbed all contrasts and beauties of Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. You will visit high mountain Shymbulak resort, have lunch in traditional Kazakh yurt, cross the glacier, see the impressive Big Almaty Lake and relieve fatigue after trek by swimming in Shukur waterfall.


Season: June – October

Best period: July – September

Distance: 50 km.

Duration: 4 days.

Heights difference: absolute gain: 2220 meters. Highest point: Tourists pass 3980 m.a.s.l. Absolute loss: 3184 meters. Lowest point: Left Talgar gorge 2200 m.a.s.l.

Route complexity: moderate trekking, available to any physical healthy person who has the experience of hiking in rugged terrain. Manifestation of altitude sickness can happen (general malaise, nausea, headache, weakness).

Route: Almaty –Medeu – Shymbulak – Left Talgar gorge – Tourists pass – Big Almaty Lake – Shukur waterfall – mountain resort Alpine Rose.


Day 1. Almaty – sport complex Medeu – mountain resort Shymbulak – Talgar pass – Small Talgar pass– Left Talgar gorge – Alpine Rose glade.

Departure from Almaty at 9 a.m. Transfer to the sport complex Medeu. Ride by cable car to Talgar pass. Lunch in the national Kazakh yurt on the pass. Beginning of the route. Descent along the chairlift to the Small Talgar pass. Here you will enjoy a magnificent panorama of peaks with eternal snow, Til’ and Ayak glaciers, as well as Chkalov and Athlete peaks. Further, the descent continues towards the river in Left Talgar gorge. Getting to the river we will make a rest and have a snack. Next, we move up the gorge along the river, gradually gaining height. Camp will be set up in a wide glade Alpine Rose near the spring. Camp setting. Rest. Dinner near the fire. Overnight in tents.

Distance: 8 km.

Heights difference: - 915 meters/+200 meters.

Hiking time: 4 hours.

Camp will be set up at an altitude 2450 m.a.s.l.

Day 2. Alpine Rose glade – valley of Left Talgar gorge – Solar glade – Tourists river gorge – Tourists glacier moraine.

Early get up at about 7 o'clock. Breakfast. Packing camp stuff and backpacks. At 9 am you will start to move up the gorge. Almost all the time you will go by a good path, with the exception of one part, where you will have to overcome a small debris flow. After passing this difficult part you will reach a small picturesque lake formed after powerful spillway occurred in 2003. Next, you will continue to move to the Solar Glade, where you will see a magnificent view of the four thousand mountains with snow-ice tops – Pushkin and Constitution peaks. For lunch you will stop near the confluence of Tourists and Left Talgar rivers. After rest, you will have a long climb up the valley of Tourists gorge. Camp will be arranged on the glade near foothills of SGU peak, very beautiful and massive mountain, with it as a background you can take amazing shots on your camera. Cooking dinner. Rest. Overnight in tents.

Distance: 12 km.

Heights difference: +1150 meters/-50 meters.

Hiking time: 7-8 hours.

Camp will be set up at an altitude 3550 m.a.s.l.

Day 3. Tourists glacier moraine – Tourists pass – upper reaches of Kyzylsai river– Lake gorge.

Early get up, about 7am. This day, you will start very early to be able to overcome the Tourists Pass - the highest and most difficult part of entire route. After breakfast you will pack your stuff and start to move up the gorge by partly visible path. After passing moraine lakes you will see another beautiful snowy peak - peak of Soviet Mountaineers with a height of 4,380 meters. Then Tourists glacier begins, in summer time it can be overcome simply by foot without problems, there is almost no snow on it anymore. When you reach the pass, you will have a small halt for rest, eating snacks and taking photos of gorgeous peaks – Soviet, Lake, Young Guard, all of them, more then four thousand meters. Also from here, when the sky is clear, you can see the highest point of Northern Tien-Shan range - Talgar peak with height of 5017 meters. After break, enjoying plenty of views, you will continue to move down to the valley. From the pass to the valley of Kyzyl-Sai river there will be a quite visible rocky path. We will need to loose almost 900 meters of altitude and arrange camping at the confluence of two rivers - Kyzyl-Sai and Ozyornaya (Lake). Rest, free time. Walking around. In the evening, dinner and overnight in tents.

Distance: 11 km.

Heights difference: +430 meters/-880 meters.

Hiking time: 6-7 hours.

Camp will be set up at an altitude 3100 m.a.s.l.

Highest point of the day – Tourists pass (3980 m).

Day 4. Lake gorge – Big Almaty Lake– Shukur gorge – Shukur waterfall – mountain resort “Alpine Rose” – Big Almaty gorge – Almaty.

Getting up at 7 am. Breakfast. Packing stuff. You will start to move down to Lake gorge in the direction of Big Almaty Lake. Before reaching the dam on the lake, you will turn to the right and begin to hike up to the ridge separating Lake gorge and Shukur. On the way, you will find equipped recreation spots - arbors and benches, where you can stop and have a snack. Further the trail will lead down to the Moon Glade. Waterfall is near by, only 20 minutes by walk. You will pass a small forest with glades for camping and picnic, and then begin to climb up the narrow rocky gorge of Shukur river. Further you will see small waterfall and feel it’s fresh breath and coolness. Swimming in the waterfall upon your wish. Rest, recovery, snacks. Descend along the ascent line to the Moon Glade and then to the mountain resort “Alpine Rose”, where the car will be waiting you. Coming back to Almaty city by car,

Distance: 14 km.

Heights difference: +533 meters/-1380 meters.

Hiking time: 7-8 hours.

Highest point of the day – Tourists pass (3980 m).

Finish point of the route – mountain resort “Alpine Rose” (2275 m).

* During all days of program, having passport is required. Part of the route passes in the border area with Kyrgyzstan Republic.

Private Tour Price: 

770 USD per one person
470 USD per person, provided for 2 people travelling together
380 USD per person, provided for 3 people travelling together


1. Hotel pickup/drop-off (for private tour only).
2. Professional English-speaking guide service.
3. All admission and environmental fees.
4. Dinner in the yurt in Day 1, three meals in Day 2 and 3, breakfast and lunch in Day 4.
5. Sleeping place in the tent.
6. Tickets for cable car from Medeu to Talgar pass.


1. Hotel pickup/drop-off (for group tours)
2. Food not indicated in the program and/or not included in program price
3. Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program
4. Accommodation in Almaty before or after the tour
5. Visa support and registration in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, if required
6. Insurance policy

Required Equipment: 

- Clothing that will not restrict movements: shorts, pants, leggings and t-shirt or light shirt with long sleeve
- Cap or panama hat for sun and heat protection
- Trekking boots or similar with a good protector sole and high lacing
- Gore-tex or other membrane water and wind resistant jacket and pants
- Light puff or down vest
- Extra set of warm clothing for spending nights in the tent
- Extra warm socks
- Beanie or warm hat
- Gloves
- Head-torch 
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Personal dishes: fork, spoon, cup, plate
- Water container or camelback
- Thermos for hot tea
- Trekking poles
- Personal AID kit
- Sleeping bag with temperature -5 degrees Celsius in comfort zone
- Energy bars, muesli or other special mountain food and snacks


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