Charyn canyon

Charyn Canyon which is considered to be the largest canyon in the world after the famous Colorado one in America. The first time driving up to the canyon, you understand why he is credited with mystical features. The majestic appearance of the earthly fault could not but generate in the minds of our ancestors’ various superstitions and conjectures.
More than 12 million years ago, the Charyn River, flowing from the northern Tien Shan, formed a canyon. Layered massifs, with a height of 150-300 meters, stretched for 154 km. Red clay walls are covered with deep wrinkles and gorges. Numerous beams and ravines form a dense, disordered network. From the top of the canyon, there are picturesque landscapes of snowy Alatau mountains, wide Ili and Syugatinsky valleys.

Kaiyndy lake

In 1911, on January 4, there was a strong earthquake in the mountains of Kungei Alatau. A huge landslide created a dam and blocked the mountain river. The gorge and the centuries-old Tianshan firs that grew on its slopes were flooded with water. That’s why nature created this beautiful lake at an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level. At the first time, Kaiyndy may seem like a real cemetery of ships! A turquoise surface of the water,  sharp peaks sticking out like the masts of sunken ships…

You may wonder what secrets do Kaindy Lake hide in its depths? In fact, the peaks sticking out of the water are the dry tops of the birches. The trees themselves, as you might guess, were “drowned” in a mountain lake. In any other place, they would have rotted long ago, but the cold water of Kaiyndy (even in July, not higher than 6 ° C), literally keeps them preserved.

Birches are perfectly visible through the water on sunny days. Braves can even walk along the paths of this fabulous underwater.

The name Kaiyndy in Kazakh language means that there are birches. 

Kolsai lakes

Three picturesque mountain lakes, located in the northern part of the Tien Shan, are called the Kolsai. The two lower lakes are surrounded not only by firs, but also alpine meadows and mountain pastures. As a result, the upper lake is among the rocks.

At first, we will go to the Kolsay-1 lake. Lake Kolsai-1 is clamped in a narrow gorge. The firs here are not only higher than on other lakes but also water is much warmer. Here people can try mountain strawberries and go fishing.  The Upper Kolsai is at 2850 m above.

Kolsai-1 is the biggest out of the 3 lakes. We will trek around the lake in order to enjoy the beauty of the lake from all angles. We will trek at untrodden paths where hawthorn, wild strawberries grow. After trekking appr. 5 km around Kolsai lake we return to Saty village.

After several hours of walking along the western gorge, you will reach the second lake – Kolsai-2 (N-2252). This lake is heart-shaped. 

Activities there: picking mushrooms in the forests together with feasting your eyes on sunset, smell flowers and grass at the same time, also admire rainbow trout jumping out of the water. Additionally, you can take a walk as well as ride a horse, and it’s even nicer if your load carries a horse, you can walk alongside and enjoy the beauty of nature. 

Price includes: 

  • English speaking guide-driver during the whole tour
  • Accommodation: in the guest house in Saty village  for 3 days
  • 3 days jeep tour
  • Meals: Day 1 BLD, Day 2 BLD, Day 3 BLD,
  • All environmental and admission fees during the tour
  • Drinking water 1.5 L per person per day

Not included:

  • Domestic flight tickets or  train tickets
  • Visa support and registration on the territory of
  • Kazakhstan, if required
  • All personal and other expenses
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks
  • Rent personal clothes, shoes
  • Telephone calls, personal expenses
1

Day 1

Almaty – Charyn canyon

In the morning, after breakfast, we meet with our English speaking guide. We will depart from Almaty to the Charyn canyon ( 218 km) which is considered to be the largest canyon in the world after the famous Colorado one in America. The first time driving up to the canyon, you understand why he is credited with mystical features. The majestic appearance of the earthly fault could not but generate in the minds of our ancestors’ various superstitions and conjectures.
More than 12 million years ago, the Charyn River, flowing from the northern Tien Shan, formed a canyon. Layered massifs, with a height of 150-300 meters, stretched for 154 km. Red clay walls are covered with deep wrinkles and gorges. Numerous beams and ravines form a dense, disordered network. From the top of the canyon, there are picturesque landscapes of snowy Alatau mountains, wide Ili and Syugatinsky valleys.

Our first stop is Valley of Castles to which we will actually descend and then walk approximately 2km enjoying the views of this “Medieval castles”. But in order to know for sure that these fantastical walls accept you, we will pass through stone gates. Then continuing our route and taking photos at the Charyn river, it is here while listening to the birds signing you get an idea of eternity. During this tour, our Guide will tell you lots’ of legends associated with the canyon.

Lunch in a local cafe

We continue our route by driving to the Yellow canyon. We will stop at the panoramic site of the Yellow canyon where you will understand why it is also called the “Canyon of yurts”. We trek at the Yellow canyon for another hour while taking photos and then continue our route back to the Valley of Castles.

We arrive at the Valley of Castles but from the right bank of the Charyn river. And right here, we like taking a final batch of photos of amazing red towers, nature made 100m walls.  While standing on top of the rock stone and below you is a landscape of the Valley of Castles, you will feel that you might be the only person on this planet.

Departure to Saty village. Overnight at the guest house.

2

Day 2

Charyn canyon – Kolsai lakes

After breakfast we go to the Kolsai lakes. Walk around the lakes. Sightseeing tour.

Kolsai lakes are called the pearl of the northern Tien Shan. Three picturesque mountain lakes, located in the northern part of the Tien Shan, are called the Kolsai. The two lower lakes are surrounded by firs, alpine meadows and mountain pastures. The upper lake is among the rocks.

Trekking from the lake Kolsai-1 to the lake Kolsai-2.

Lake Kolsai-1 is clamped in a narrow gorge. The firs here are higher than on other lakes, the water is much warmer. Here you can try mountain strawberries, and lovers of fishing will find their favourite pastime. The Upper Kolsai – at an altitude of 2850 m

Here on Kolsai 1 which is also the biggest out of the 3 lakes, we will trek around the lake in order to enjoy the beauty of the lake from all angles. We will trek at untrodden paths where hawthorn, wild strawberries grow. After trekking appr. 5 km around Kolsai lake we return to Saty village.

Trekking from the lake Kolsai-1 to the lake Kolsai-2

After several hours of walking along the western gorge, you will reach the second lake – Kolsai-2 (N-2252), reminiscent of the shape of the heart. It’s always crowded, mushrooms are gathered in the forests, and at sunset, when the grass and flowers incredibly smell of honey, you can see how, when playing, rainbow trout jump out of the water. You can take a walk, walking on foot with a backpack, riding a horse, and it’s even nicer when your load carries a horse, and you walk alongside and enjoy the beauty of nature, and even life itself. This area is as if specially created for hiking

And ahead of you is the smallest and coldest of the three lakes-brothers – Kolsai-3 (H-2900). It is surrounded by magnificent rocky coasts, overgrown with luxurious bushes. This lake ends with a magnificent ensemble created by Nature itself. Not everyone can go to this lake and therefore it is the cleanest and untouched. (This tour doesn’t cover the trekking to the third lake but please refer to our Custom tour page if you would like to request Super trekking program to all three Kolsai lakes with the most magnificent view on All two left behind lakes)

In the evening we depart to Saty village. Dinner and Overnight at the guest house.

The one who is lucky enough to visit these places will never forget their splendour, silence and tranquillity around. When the water surface is calm, it reflects the sky and the enchanting panorama of the mountain landscape.

3

Day 3

Kolsai lake – Kaiyndy lake – Almaty

After breakfast, we depart to Kaiyndy lake. From Saty village we drive 20 km to Kayindy lake where we spend quality time trekking there.

Kaiyndy lake

In the distant year of 1911, on January 4, a strong earthquake occurred in the mountains of Kungei Alatau. A huge landslide created a dam and blocked the mountain river. The gorge and the centuries-old Tianshan firs that grew on its slopes were flooded with water. So nature and created this beautiful lake at an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level. Seeing Kaindy for the first time, it seems that this is a real cemetery of ships! After all, from the turquoise surface of the reservoir here and there, sharp peaks sticking out like the masts of sunken ships stick out. What is this? What secrets does Kaindy Lake hide in its depths? In fact, the peaks sticking out of the water are the dry tops of the firs. The trees themselves, as you might guess, were “drowned” in a mountain lake. In any other place, they would have rotted long ago, but in Kaindy such cold water (even in July, not higher than 6 ° C), that the trees were literally preserved.

So in clear weather they are perfectly visible through the water. Well, and divers can even walk along the paths of this fabulous underwater. In translation it means “abounding with birches”. But do not be surprised to look around the surrounding Tien Shan spruce – there are birches here too – 5 km from the pond stretches the birch grove. However, not only the beauty of the surrounding nature attracts tourists here – the “highlight” of the local landscape is the Kaindy lake itself, or more precisely, what is hidden under the water of this reservoir.

Picnic with lunchboxes.

Upon finishing trekking on Kayindy lake we depart back to Almaty.

charyn canyon