Language: English  


Kazakhstan Greenland Trekking Tour (6 days)

February 21, 2020

Trekking & Hiking | We invite you to visit a unique corner of Kazakhstan nature – upper reaches of Turgen gorge, where wonderful alpine landscapes, moraine lakes, moss thickets and impressive glaciers are hidden. There are almost no visible paths over traces of human presence, only wild fauna around and breathtaking panoramic views.

Route: Almaty region (Kazakhstan)

Season: June-October   

Distance: 70 km.

Duration: 6 days.

Heights difference: absolute gain: 2860 meters. Highest point: glacier of Mining Institute 3830 m.a.s.l. Absolute loss: 2860 meters. Lowest point: Batan village 1700 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 – Turgen gorge - Batan village - upper reaches of Turgen river – Batan village - Almaty



Day 1. Almaty – Turgen gorge - Batan village – inflow of Kairak river – Temirtas river – glade in the forest.

Meeting group in the hotel at 8 o’clock in the morning. Transfer to Batan village, located in Turgen gorge (about 90 km). Preparing and beginning of trekking route. Crossing Turgen river and hiking up along the river. After getting Kairak inflow we will make stop for lunch and having rest. Crossing Turgen river again by bridges and feet. Camping will be put up in the forest on wide and quiet glade. Dinner near the fire, rest, overnight in tents.

Turgen Gorge located in the Ile-Alatau Natural Park, 90 km far 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, there are lots of places where Tien Shan white-claw bears find their food. But you will go towards the highest waterfall among seven waterfalls situated in Turgen gorge – Kairak. It’s height is about 55 meters. On the way to Kairak waterfall you will also have a chance to visit Chinturgen moss spruces. Their uniqueness is in growing on the moss which thickness is about 40 cm. Sun rays reach this narrow gorge very seldom and because of this fact foci of permafrost were kept here from times of Ice Age.   

Distance: 11,5 km.
Heights difference: +800 meters.
Hiking time: 6-7 hours.
Camp will be set up at an altitude 2500 m.a.s.l.

Day 2. Upper reaches of Turgen gorge – river spill – moraine of Mining Institute glacier. 

Early awakening, at 7 a.m. Breakfast. Pack up tents and camping stuff. We continue to move up along Turgen gorge. Crossing Turgen river again by wooden bridge. Then, the forest will end, and snow-white peaks become visible in a distance. Trail will lead us through green meadows, in one section through fairly extensive juniper thickets. Then we will get to the spring with clean water, where we will stop for a halt. Later we’ll find ourselves in a vast valley “zhailau” - an old pasture. After short ascent, we will make stop for lunch near Turgen River. After lunch we will continue moving uphill along slight slope with multi-colored alpine meadows around. Snow peaks will be closer and closer to us. After passing small lake which usually appears here in the lowlands we will get to the upper stream of Turgen River. Here is place for our camping. Dinner on the gas stove, rest, overnight in tents.   

Distance: 10,5 km.
Heights difference: +920 meters.
Hiking time: 6-7 hours.
Camp will be set up at an altitude 3420 m.a.s.l. 

Day 3. Campsite – Moraine Lake - glacier of Mining Institute – lake between two branches of the glacier - campsite. 

Awakening at 7 o’clock in the morning. Breakfast. Today we will do radial hiking to the Moraine Lake and glacier. The way to the lake will take about 2 hours. It’s quite big and surrounded from opposite side by glacier of Mining Institute. There is fantastic place for admiring the beauty of landscape and taking pictures. During the active melting of glacier you can see big pieces of ice floating on the surface of the lake, like icebergs. We will continue ascending, get round the lake from the left side and by climbing on the stone shaft getting the glacier. There will be lots of unknown summits and glaciers around. The highest one is Turgen peak with an altitude 4407 meters. Our walking will be finished near the lake located on interglacial or frontal moraine. This lake was formed recently as a result of glacier retreat. If the glaciers will continue to melt, this lake can disappear soon. Here is nice place for rest and having lunch among the arctic landscapes. Descent to the campsite by ascent line. Dinner on the gas stove, rest, overnight in tents.  

Distance: 9 km.
Heights difference: +410/-410 meters.
Hiking time: 5-6 hours.
Camp will be set up at an altitude 3420 m.a.s.l.

*For hiking on the glacier special equipment is not required. The slope is not steep and having proper trekking shoes is enough. 

Day 4. Chon-Turgen pass №1 – Chon-Turgen river - Chon-Turgen pass №2  – Chon-Turgen alpine plateau. 

Early awakening, breakfast. This day hike from upper reaches of Turgen valley to the upper reaches of its largest confluent - Chon-Turgen river. Hiking during this day will be not difficult with minimum elevation gain and without long descents from the pass №1 and №2. First part of hiking will pass ancient moraine, overgrown with vegetation where the small lake is located. We will make descent from the pass №1 and get to the valley of East Chon-Turgen river. Then we will take the way towards the pass №2, where the high alpine plateau of Chon-Turgen with altitudes 3600-4000 meters will be visible. The main summit of Chon-Turgen has height 4277 meters. Here you will see why this mountain area is called “Kazakhstan Greenland”. The glaciers on the summits seem very flat which is not typical for Trans-Ili Alatau mountains of Almaty. Not far from moraine lake we will make stop for lunch. Here we will also set up our campsite. In the afternoon we will hike to “Blue Lake”. Moraine lakes of this color are rare in the period of strong melting of glaciers. Water is not crystal clear, but even in cloudy weather it is blue. As if someone is dyeing it. Depending on the weather, the lake changes its color. In calm weather, the nearest snowy peak is reflected in it. There are many different species of rare plants on the plateau which are put in the Red Book of Kazakhstan and protected by the Government, such as edelweiss, primrose, alpine poppies, alpine roses and etc. Coming back to the campsite. Dinner, rest, overnight in tents.

Distance: 7,5 km.
Heights difference: +395/-100 meters.
Hiking time: 5-6 hours.
Camp will be set up at an altitude 3715 m.a.s.l. 

Day 5. Chon-Turgen pass №2 – East Chon-Turgen river - Chon-Turgen pass №1  – Sphagnum Lakes – Turgen gorge -  Temirtas river. 

Awakening, breakfast. Packing up campsite. This day we will hike back to Turgen gorge by ancient moraines and green alpine meadows. Sphagnum vegetation grows on them and forms soft pillow with thickness 20-30 centimeters. It usually appears in the places with eternal frost. When you step on such terrain it seems that you’re walking by mellow snow. There are four lakes with medium size among green meadows. Near these lakes we will make a halt. In good weather it’s possible to see reflection of “Three Lakes” (4160 m) peak on the lake’s surface. Maximum temperature in the lakes – 10-12 degrees Celsius. Those who are brave enough can swim in this super cold water. Then we will reach place which we have passed on second day and cross Turgen river. Moving uphill towards the right plateaus of Turgen gorge which are named Oi-Karagai. Getting Temirtas river, the translation is “Iron Stone”. This river takes its origins from Glaciologists glacier. Campsite arrangement, dinner, overnight in tents.

Distance: 15,5 km.
Heights difference: +270/-1150 meters.
Hiking time: 6-7 hours.
Camp will be set up at an altitude 2835 m.a.s.l.

Day 6. Oi-Karagai plateau – Kairak river gorge – Kairak waterfall – Turgen gorge -  Batan village - Almaty. 

Awakening, breakfast. Packing up campsite. The way to Oi-Karagai plateau will be changed, from uphill to downhill parts. Before reaching Kairak river descent will be a bit steep. There is one small lake located here. After we will cross the river and continue hiking along the dirt road. Near the waterfall we will take path, cause the road has been destroyed. Descent to the waterfall. Rest and lunch. Height of Kairak waterfall is 40 meters. There is special observation view point for enjoying view of the waterfall. The last part of the way we will descend by steep road and get to the big Turgen gorge. Then we will get to the start point of our route. End of trekking part. Transfer to Almaty city. Hotel check-in. Free time.   

Distance: 15,5 km.
Heights difference: +65/-1200 meters.
Hiking time: 6-7 hours.
End of trekking – Batan village, altitude is 1700 meters.


 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
- Extra warm gloves or mittens
- Head-torch 
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Personal dishes: fork, spoon, cup, plate
- Water container or camelback
- Thermos for hot tea
- Trekking poles
- Sleeping bag with temperature -5 degrees Celsius in comfort zone
- Personal AID kit
- Energy bars, muesli or other special mountain food and snacks

Individual Tour Price: 

 1472 USD per one person
   873 USD per person, provided for 2 people travelling together
   640 USD per person, provided for 3 people travelling together


1. Hotel pickup/drop-off
2. English-speaking trekking guide services
3. All admission and environmental fees
4. Lunch and dinner in Day 1, full board in Days 2-6.
5. Tourist equipment: 2-pax tent, sleeping bag, pad.
6. Diner in café in Day 6.


1. Porter services (~65 USD per day, max 25 kg)
2. Food not indicated in the program
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

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