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A guide to the best routes for trekking in Kyrgyzstan

by Visagov | May 3, 2022
nomadic camp in mountains in Kyrgyzstan

Blessed with a mountainous terrain that surrounds the entire country, Kyrgyzstan is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia. With lush green prairies and snowy mountains, the country is a goldmine for nature lovers. And what better way to explore the country than trekking?

Trekking is an activity that thrills many people. It’s a great way to bring together your love for nature and activity that exercises your body. There are quite a few destinations to trek, but Kyrgyzstan is one place where trekking becomes more than just an outdoor activity.

Just imagine trekking somewhere where the blue sky joins breathtaking mountains and the climate is cool and calm. Honestly, trekking in Kyrgyzstan is one of the best things you can do. Let’s talk about all the beautiful trekking spots this country holds:

Kyzart to Song Kul

Song Kul is an extremely gorgeous alpine lake in the northern region of Naryn in Kyrgyzstan. Popular for mind-blowing views and an ethereal beauty that no place can beat, the Kyzart to Song Kul trek is something that you’ll only find in fairy tales.

Since the lake is at a high altitude of 3061 m high, the trek can take at least two days to complete, or three to four days, depending on your pace. But with views as stunning as this route, you won't mind.

Kol-Tor Lake

Another gorgeous alpine lake, Kol-Tor Lake, is only 90km from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. This trek is probably one of the most popular ones in Kyrgyzstan because it passes through the Kyrgyz-Ala-Too Mountain range, one of the greenest and lushest areas in the country.

The trail also comes across a pristine gorge which you’ll have to cross to reach the other side. The trail can take at least three hours depending on your speed.

Traveller’s Pass near Peak Lenin

A scenic viewpoint, Traveller’s Pass is one trek that demands the strength and expertise of an advanced trekker. But you can also make the hike with a guide. The viewpoint starts at 4130m of the Lenin Peak near Tulpar Kol and comes with the breathtaking views of foggy and snowy mountains and a gorgeous serenity.

Kol-Ukok Lake

Kyrgyzstan does not hold back when it comes to gorgeous lakes and Kol-Ukok Lake is yet another example. Marked by its distinct position between two slopes of the Terksei-Ala-Too mountains, the lake is dubbed “Lake in a Chest” and gives you an enthralling trek. The trek itself takes two days and you can choose to camp in yurts along the way.

Kol-Ukok Lake in Kyrgyzstan, best routes for trekking in Kyrgyzstan

Ak-Sai Glacier in Ala Archa

Within the Ala Archa National Park is an alpine landscape that takes you to the magical Ak-Sai Glacier, a gorgeous place that you can reach in a day.

But don’t underestimate the duration of the trek for its simplicity; the fact that the Ak-Sai trek takes only a day means it can also be relatively challenging. But don’t you worry because you’ll definitely have a lot of fun.

Khan Tengri via Enlycheck Glacier

Get ready for this one because the Khan Tengri via Enlycheck Glacier is a trek that demands strength, agility, and lots of time. The trek itself is 100 km, but you can reduce it to 75km with an optional helicopter ride. Of course, with a distance as long as this, the trek takes about two to three weeks to be completed.

Thus, this trek isn’t recommended for anyone who’s looking for a light run; but if you plan on spending the days surrounded by serene mountains, then there’s nothing better than this route.

Day Hike in Jyrgalan Valley

A charming valley with beautiful landscapes, Jyrgalan Valley looks like it was drawn straight out of a Christmas storybook. With mighty mountains and surrounded by lush greenery, Jyrgalan Valley has a rich terrain and an even richer history.

Once a mining village for the Soviets, the valley is surprisingly calm and peaceful, and the trek is even better. It takes a few days, but you can choose your own pace. Of course, spending a night in this mystical valley is a dreamy experience.

lake with mountains in Kyrgyzstan, best routes for trekking in Kyrgyzstan

Archa Tor Pass

A three-day trek, Archa Tor Pass is an underrated route that demands your attention. With astonishing views that will make you gasp, Archa Tor Pass is surprisingly quaint when it comes to tourist rush. But that’s what makes the trek even more enjoyable.

The trek oversees the Elcin Peak and crosses Flower Valley before making its way to Archa Tor and Jeti Oguz Valley. Honestly, with a trek as beautiful as this, you’ll be trying to drag it for at least a few days.

Hike to Elcin Peak

If you’re a beginner trekker and can’t really hike to the difficult trails, then the hike to Elcin Peak is perfect for you. If you start from Jeti Oguz Valley, then you’ll easily reach your destination within five hours. This level of difficulty combined with the ethereal views along the way makes Elcin Peak one of the most popular trek routes in Kyrgyzstan.

You will also spot horses along the way and if you’re looking for a place to camp, this gorgeous peak has plenty of space to offer.

Aksu Traverse

Aksu Traverse, like the Khan Tengri trek, is one route that’s fit for those who love long hikes. The trek takes approximately eight days if you travel at a moderate pace, but you can reduce it to six or extend it to ten days if you like.

The Aksu Traverse gives you a glimpse into an exquisite landscape: grey clouds mark the blue sky and make for very pleasant weather; dark mountains with snowy peaks meet lush green landscapes and the Aksu river passes through. With views like these, you’ll be glad to make the hike.