Kol-Ukok, meaning ‘The Lake in a Chest,’ is a picturesque lake nestled between two steep slopes in the North-Eastern Terskei Ala Too Mountains. It is known for its sweet and cold water and has a maximum depth of 17 meters. The lake is home to two main species of fish: a white fish and the Savan trout, which is a regal and multi-hued fish.
The lakeshore of Kol-Ukok offers a tranquil and serene environment. As you make your way to the lake, you may come across marmots and badgers, and you can hear the melodious songs of mountain birds or the cries of eagles, hawks, or griffins. The area is also inhabited by various wildlife, including wolves, jackals, foxes, hares, and mountain goats.
The surroundings of the lake are adorned with diverse and unique flowers, ranging from delicate forget-me-nots to the legendary edelweiss. The enchanting beauty of these flowers is sure to captivate you. Many plants found here, such as rhubarb and wild garlic, have served as a source of vitamins for the ancients.
One of the highlights of visiting Kol-Ukok is the warm hospitality of the local people, who are the descendants of ancient nomads. They bring their cattle to the area from May to October and lead a traditional shepherding lifestyle. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to observe their customs, family traditions, and the process of making traditional Kyrgyz milk products, such as kymyz (fermented mare milk), airan (Kyrgyz yogurt), and kurut (dried salty cheese).
In addition to experiencing the shepherds’ way of life, you can witness the milking of cows and horses and observe the preparation of bread, providing insights into the traditional food culture of the region. The combination of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and warm hospitality makes Kol-Ukok a delightful destination for those seeking a peaceful and authentic experience in the Kyrgyz mountains.
Season: July – end of September
Altitude above sea level – 3,600 m
Conditions: The path goes through mountains. It is necessary to bring waterproof trekking boots, raincoats, warm clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a torch.
Level of difficulty: medium
Walking: 5-6 hours per day;
Day 1: Commence your trek by embarking on the journey towards the Ukok River. The precise starting point may vary based on your location, but it generally entails a hike through the captivating mountain terrain.
Follow the marked trail, reveling in the unspoiled beauty and submerging yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the surroundings.
As your ascent continues, you will eventually arrive at the pristine Kol-Ukok Lake. Marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas of this lake nestled amidst the steep slopes of the Terskei Ala Too Mountains.
Establish your campsite near the lake, providing an exquisite backdrop for your overnight accommodation.
Indulge in a nourishing meal prepared at the camp, relishing the wilderness-infused flavors. Take advantage of this opportunity to unwind and bask in the serene atmosphere.
Spend the night in your camp, surrounded by the tranquility of the lake and the mountains.
Camping in the vicinity of Kol-Ukok Lake offers a complete immersion in the natural splendor of the region. It provides an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing you to truly appreciate the serenity of the mountainous landscape.
Day 2: Start your day by awakening to the serene atmosphere near Kol-Ukok Lake and relish a revitalizing breakfast at your campsite.
Embark on your trek by traversing the Sary-Bel Pass. As you ascend the pass, soak in the panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Upon conquering the summit of Sary-Bel Pass, commence your descent into the picturesque Mazar Ukok valley. The trail will guide you through diverse landscapes, showcasing the natural beauty of the region.
Persist in your trek, making your way toward the slope of the Kichi-Ukok Pass. Along the way, the trail will unveil fresh perspectives and breathtaking views.
Identify a suitable spot near the small river in the vicinity to set up your camping tent. Dedicate some time to relaxation and immerse yourself in the tranquility of your surroundings.
Indulge in a satisfying dinner prepared at the campsite, and unwind amidst the serene ambiance of the mountainous terrain.
Spend the night within the confines of your camping tent, enveloped in nature’s embrace, and rejuvenate for the adventures of the following day.
Camping beside the small river offers you the chance to connect with the unspoiled wilderness and savor the serenity of the Kyrgyz mountains. The scenic landscapes and tranquil atmosphere will undoubtedly render your camping experience truly unforgettable.
Day 3: Awaken to the crisp mountain air and relish a hearty breakfast at your campsite, nestled beside the tranquil river.
Today’s trek will encompass crossing the Kichi-Ukok Pass, a journey that promises both magnificent vistas and a profound sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit.
Embark on your ascent toward the pass, where you’ll be enveloped by the grandeur of snow-capped peaks and rugged terrain.
Upon conquering the Kichi-Ukok Pass, bask in panoramic views and take a moment to marvel at the natural splendor that surrounds you.
Descend into the serene Taldy valley, where you’ll establish your campsite for the night. This valley is renowned for its tranquil ambiance and captivating landscapes.
Once your camp is set up, seize the opportunity to explore the area and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.
As an optional activity, consider visiting the small ice lakes near the glacier, where you can witness the serene beauty of these natural formations. Embrace the peace and serenity offered by the snow-draped mountains.
Return to your campsite in the Taldy valley and spend the evening amidst the serene beauty of the landscape.
Indulge in a delectable dinner prepared at the campsite, and reflect upon the day’s experiences.
Spend the night in your camping tent, attuned to the gentle sounds of nature, and cherish the tranquility bestowed by the mountainous environment.
Exploring the Taldy valley and venturing to the small ice lakes near the glacier affords you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and witness the awe-inspiring sights of snow-crowned peaks. It’s a chance to truly appreciate the calm and serenity of this remote region.
Wake up in the morning to the peaceful ambiance of the Taldy valley and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your camping site.
After breakfast, begin your final day of trekking by embarking on an easy downhill walk along the river Tuura-Suu. This section of the trail offers a more relaxed pace and allows you to enjoy the surrounding scenery.
Follow the trail along the river for approximately 2-3 hours until you reach the bridge, which marks the end of your trekking adventure.
Once you reach the bridge, you will conclude your trek and say farewell to the picturesque mountain landscapes.
From the bridge, you will be transferred by car to Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. The drive will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on the experiences and memories gained during your trek.
Arrive in Bishkek, where you can continue your journey or make arrangements for accommodations or transportation to your next destination.
The final day of the trek offers a relaxed walk downhill, allowing you to appreciate the natural beauty and peacefulness of the surrounding river valley. It concludes with a transfer to Bishkek, where you can transition from the mountainous landscapes back to urban life.
Our Tours Begin Upon Your Request:
Our tours are designed to accommodate your schedule and provide you with the ultimate experience. We offer the flexibility to customize itineraries to suit your preferences, and we’re delighted to create bespoke tours tailored to your desires.
Seamless Booking Process:
Once all your questions have been answered, and your chosen itinerary is confirmed, we will promptly provide you with an invoice for payment. You have the convenience of making your payment via a bank transfer or in person upon your arrival in Bishkek, just before your journey commences. Your adventure starts when you’re ready!
Enhancing Your Trekking Experience: D
uring your trek, we offer the convenience of pack horses, allowing you to enjoy the journey with just your essentials. All the bulky items, including cooking equipment and your large backpacks, will be expertly transported by our trusty horses.
Authentic Camping Experiences Await:
While all overnight stays will involve camping, there may be opportunities, depending on the circumstances, to visit local shepherd’s yurts. In such cases, we’ll set up camp near these yurts, allowing you to immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals.
Hydration on the Journey:
We provide mineral water for your convenience, which can also be purchased at village shops during our vehicle travels. Specifically, we’ll supply bottled water for the first two days. However, during the entire trek, carrying a significant quantity of bottled mineral water isn’t feasible. Instead, we utilize water from springs and rivers for cooking and for making tea or coffee after thoroughly boiling.
For drinking water, we recommend bringing your own water purification tablets. In Kyrgyzstan, it’s customary to drink directly from rivers and natural springs, and water filters or purification tablets aren’t commonly used. As such, you may find it challenging to locate water purification tablets or portable filters in Central Asia. Your preparedness with water purification pills will ensure you have a reliable source of clean drinking water throughout your journey.
Essential Travel Guidelines: