Season: June – October
Best period: July – September
Distance: 55 km.
Duration: 5 days.
Heights difference: absolute elevation gain is about 2000 meters. Highest point: «Basmatchiy» pass 2870 m.a.s.l. Lowest point: «Tekeli Stupa» stone 1110 m.a.s.l.
Complexity: this route does not require special mountaineering equipment and skills, but the participants should be well-trained and fit enough to overcome long distances with heavy backpack.
Route: Almaty –Tekeli – Tekeli Stupa – Kora river gorge – Burkhan Bulak waterfall – Tau Bulak tourist base– Basmatchiy pass – Kapal village
Mountains of Jungar Alatau serve as a natural border with China and have a length of 400 km. One of the most picturesque gorges of Zhetisu – Kora Gorge lies in these mountains and stretches for 90 km. At the bottom of the gorge Kora River is flowing, which is born high in the mountains, in a kingdom of age-old glaciers. In winter and early spring waters of the river is calm and transparent, but when the snow covering the mountain slopes begin to melt away, the river becomes turbulent and rigorous and easily rolls over the huge boulders and breaks like a match the age-old trees. The road, winding along the river, accessible for good cross-country vehicles only and delivers a lot of emotions to all those who dare to go through it. Around, as far as the eye can see, the forests are. Spruce and fir alternates with a lacy greenery of birch trees, and meadows are covered with colorful flower carpet. The road goes higher and the nature becomes more severe: gay birches give way to high mountain plateaus, and dozens of large and small waterfalls rush down from the majestic rocky peaks. Inaccessibility of this area as a border zone for decades helped to keep here a brown bear, deer, mountain goat, as well as the wolf, fox and the hare, which are quite frequent met by travelers. The clear mountain streams originating from glaciers are inhabited by Osman fish.
Burkhan Bulak waterfall, the highest in Kazakhstan, situated at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. The height of its three tiers is 112 meters. Tons of ice-cold water falls down as a noisy stream, irrigating all around with millions of spray. In clear streams on the background of reddish rocks covered with emerald moss, the sun is playing with its rays. Dozens of colorful rainbows complement the fascinating picture painted by the great artist - Nature. And when winter comes the waterfall fades in its icy garment. But to see the true nature of the Burhan-Bulak Waterfall you need to come in July, when there is a maximum volume of water. Water rushes down as a huge stream, hiding ledges.
The route starts from the entrance to Kora gorge near the «Tekeli stupa» stone. Then it passes along the bottom of the gorge to the Burkhan Bulak waterfall. Ascent along the gorge is quite gentle and easy enough for hiking. The route runs through very picturesque places, such as «Mirror spring», «White Yar» landfall, «Zhailau» mountain meadows, «Asylbay» glade, holy stone «Auliye Tas» and much more. There are two alpine apiaries on the route, where there are all conditions for relaxation and a lovely small bathhouse. Near Burkhan Bulak waterfall there is a well-equipped camp site where you can stay for the night. The highest point on the route is «Basmatchiy» pass, 2870m high. Descent from the pass runs by very old path which was used by «barymtachy» for carrying stolen cattle. The route ends not far from Kapal village.
Day by day itinerary:
Day 1. Almaty – Tekeli – “Tekeli Stupa” stone – gorge of Kora river – 5th apiary.
Meeting with a guide and departure from Almaty at 7 am. Arrival to Taldykorgan city approx at 10 am. Visiting the museum of locar lore of Almaty region. Lunch in local cafe. Transfer to Tekeli town and then to «Tekeli Stupa» stone. Beginning of trekking part of the route up to Kora gorge towards apiary. Stops will be made on the way for the rest and taking pictures. Upon arrival to apiary campsite setting up, walking around. Dinner will be cooked on fire or on gas stove. Overnight in the tents.
Distance: 11 km.
Heights difference: +340 meters.
Duration: ~ 4-5 hours.
Campsite will be set up at an altitude 1450 m.a.s.l.
Day 2. Gorge of Kora river (5th apiary – 10th apiary)
Breakfast at 8 am. Packing campsite and personal stuff. Starting to move further along Kora river up to the gorge till another apiary. Stops will be made on the way for the rest, lunch and taking pictures. Upon arrival to apiary campsite setting up, walking around. This day it will be possible to preapre evening bath-house upon request. Dinner will be cooked on fire or on gas stove. Overnight in the tents.
Distance: 10 km.
Heights difference: +150 meters.
Duration: ~ 4-5 hours.
Campsite will be set up at an altitude 1600 m.a.s.l.
Day 3. Gorge of Kora river (10th apiary – «Asylbay» glade)
Breakfast at 8 am. Packing campsite and personal stuff. Starting to move further along Kora river up to the gorge till “Asylbay” glade. Stops will be made on the way for the rest, lunch and taking pictures. Campsite setting up, walking around upon arrival. Dinner will be cooked on fire or on gas stove. Overnight in the tents.
Distance: 11,5 km.
Heights difference: +260 meters.
Duration: ~ 4-5 hours.
Campsite will be set up at an altitude 1860 m.a.s.l.
Day 4. Gorge of Kora river («Asylbay» glade – “Burkhan Bulak” waterfall – tourist resort “Tau Bulak”)
Breakfast at 8 am. Packing campsite and personal stuff. Starting to move further along Kora river up to the tourist resort “Tau Bulak”. Upon arrival accommodation in the wooden shared houses. Lunch. Light walking to Burkhan Bulak waterfall. Coming back to the resort, rest. Dinner in the dinning room on the territory of the resort. Overnight in the houses.
Distance: 8,5 km.
Heights difference: +240 meters.
Duration: ~ 4 hours.
Campsite will be set up at an altitude 2000 m.a.s.l.
Day 5. «Tau Bulak» resort – «Basmatchiy» pass – Kapal village – Taldykorgan – Almaty.
Breakfast at 8 am. Packing campsite and personal stuff. Starting to move down the gorge along Kora river till the beginning of path going to Basmatchiy pass with altitude of 2870 meters. Stops will be made on the way for the rest, lunch and taking pictures. This day will be the longest and the most difficult. Finish on the road near Kapal village, where the car will be waiting. Transfer to Taldykorgan, dinner. Return to Almaty at about 11 pm.
Distance: 12 km.
Heights difference: +900/-1000 meters.
Duration: ~ 7-8 hours.