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Zhasylkol Lakes Tour (8 Days)

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Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan) Season: June - October Best Period: August - September Complexity: Average Complexity Trekking Height Difference: 760-2800 m.a.s.l. DAY BY DAY ITINERARY Day 1. Almaty - Taldykorgan - Sarkand Departure from Almaty at . .
Country: Kazakhstan
City: Almaty
Duration: 8 Day(s) - 7 Night(s)
Tour Category: Trekking Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99
Package Itinerary

Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)
Season: June - October
Best Period: August - September
Complexity: Average Complexity Trekking
Height Difference: 760-2800 m.a.s.l.


Day 1. Almaty - Taldykorgan - Sarkand

Departure from Almaty at 07:00. Arrive at Taldykorgan at 10:00 and visit to the Local History Museum of the Almaty Region. Lunch and transfer to Sarkand (approx. 159 km). During the 2-hour trip, there are expected 2-3 stops near interesting and memorable places, as well as visit to the central office of Zhongar Altau National park.

Sarkand was mentioned for the first time in Shokan Valikhanov’s articles about Semirechye study. These references date back to 1857 of the last century. Initially, Sarkand was a village, based by Siberian Cossacks. The first solid settlements appeared on the banks of Sarkand river in 1858, when 22 families relocated from Kopal and Lepsinsk counties. In 1872, there was opened the first school. In 1928 Sarkand District was formed. It was composed of Cherkassk and Lepsinsk counties. Since 1964, Sarkand was an urban-type settlement, and in 1968 it was transformed into a city. Today it is a small but very pretty town. The main activity of the locals is agriculture, the production of excellent wines. There is even a small brewery and a cheese production plant.

Arrival in Sarkand at 18:00 and accommodation at the hotel. Dinner, free time, and preparations for the route. Overnight in the hotel.

Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 400 km

Day 2. Sarkand - Koilyk Settlement - Cherkassky Defence - Lepsinsk

Wake up at 09:00, breakfast. Transfer to Koilyk settlement.

Koilyk settlement was the largest trade, industrial and cultural center in the northeast of Semirechye in the XIII-XIV centuries, the headquarters of Karluk Jhabgu. The area is surrounded by a fortified wall of height up to 4 meters. The Northeast wall has a length of 1200 meters, southwest - 750 meters, adjacent to the foot of the mountains.

The city was famous for its bazaars, and, except for the Muslims, the Christians also lived there and had their church. Archaeological research of the site was carried out in 1964. Unfortunately, the settlement is abandoned today, but it is worth coming closer and walking a little bit - you can find a lot of interesting.

Lunch in a local cafe and transfer to the memorial of Cherkassky Defence.

Cherkassky Defense (1918-1919) - fighting of peasants from 12 Russian villages of Lepsinsk county in the rear of the White Guard troops, which took place in an atmosphere of a fierce struggle between the peasants-new settlers on the one hand, and Semirechensk Cossacks, peasants-old-timers and rich Kazakhs on the other. In June 1918, the peasants of Lepsinsk county created self-defense units to protect their villages from the local White Cossacks and Alash-Horde, as well as from the White Guards, advancing from the north.

After the capture of Sergiopol city by White Guard troops, all the Northern Semirechye was covered with counter-revolutionary rebellion. Peasant villages were attacked by White Cossack and Alash Orda troops.

Transfer to Lepsinsk. Accommodation in a local guest house. Dinner, rest. Overnight in the guest house.

Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 75 km

Day 3. Lepsinsk - Lower Zhasylkol Lake

Breakfast in the guest house then visits the local history museum of Lepsinsk village.
According to artifacts, it can be said that Lepsinsk area was already populated in the XII century. This is evidenced by the finding of the burial stone - Bal-Bal, dating from the XII-X century. According to the stories of old-timers, there were three mounds in Lepsinsk with the Turkic stone sculptures of granite.

The first was lying on the steps of the village council, the second stands at the house of a local resident, and the third, according to the stories, is buried in an area of Amur spring. In 1390, during a campaign deep into Moghulistan, Amir Timur piled mounds on Uygentas pass near Lepsinsk. By such mounds, he designated the boundaries of his empire. On the personal things, he set his mark in the form of three rings. This sign was found in 1994 at the foot of Kok-Tobe mountain, near Lepsinsk. The modern history of Lepsinsk begins in 1822.

Abolishment of Khan's power gave rise to the petition of joining the Kazakh clan of Usun in Russia. But the first attempts were unsuccessful. Only in 1846, an agreement on the inclusion of the Semirechensk region into Russia and the appointment of Lepsinsk was signed. This is only a small part of the interesting story of a small village, all the most interesting you will hear from the local old-timers.

Transfer to the highest apiary of Jungar Alatau, which sent honey to the table of the last Russian tsar. Lunch in the apiary, honey tasting. After lunch, trekking to the lower Zhasylkol lake (4 km). Setting a camp, dinner, rest. Overnight in the tent camp at the lake shore.

Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 30 km

Day 4. Lower Zhasylkol Lake - Ak-Tas Plateau - Sorokonozhka Pass - Upper Zhasylkol Lake

Early wake-up, breakfast, and disassembling of the camp. Climbing Ak-Tas plateau along the hill, overgrown by tall grass. Trekking through Ak-Tas plateau to the specular spring. Trekking through the plateau will deliver a lot of pleasure and pleasant experiences. Wherever you look - you will see the endless expanses of alpine meadows and bizarre granite rocks, and in the distance - almost all the vertices of Jungar Alatau are clearly visible.

Rest and lunch in the spring. Then, trekking to Sorokonozhka (Centipede) pass and descending into the valley of Agynykaty river. This fancy name to the pass is given knowingly: its vertical drop is about 1000 meters, and the trail along the slope has 40 serpentines with a length of approximately 5 km.

The descent from the pass takes a lot of strength. After the descent, we are moving along the wide valley, overcoming several rivers in the ford. Setting up a camp on the lake shore, dinner, rest. Overnight in the tent camp on the lake.

Total trekking distance in this day approx. 24 km

Day 5. Upper Zhasylkol Lake

A day of rest at the lake. Walking around the neighborhood. Overnight in the tent camp on the lake.

The lake is located at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level, on Kyzylauyz river - the side tributary of the Kikozen river. It was formed as a result of a powerful earthquake. The collapsed right slope has blocked the gorge by the powerful dam of rock debris. The length of the lake is 3.3 km and the average width - is 300 meters.

Its shape resembles the Central Asian Salamander (an endangered species, tailed amphibian, that lives only in the mountains of Jungar Alatau). The lake has a blue-green hue reminiscent of the surrounding green slopes, covered by alpine meadows and sparse, stunted shrubs. Due to its remoteness, the lake is seldom visited, although its attractiveness and beauty in no way inferior to the lower lake.

Day 6. Upper Zhasylkol Lake - Sorokonozhka Pass - Ak-Tas Plateau - Lower Zhasylkol Lake

Breakfast, disassembling of the camp. Trekking to the confluence of Agynakaty and Ekiasha rivers. The trail to that place passes through a wide alpine meadow, sometimes over the river spills. Before the confluence, we are overcoming the Agynakaty river in the ford and continue to go along its right bank to the Tersai gorge. After fording the Tersai river we'll have lunch and rest. After the rest, we are awaited by the assault of Sorokonozhka pass.

After climbing, rest on the Ak-Tas plateau with views of the lower Zhasylkol lake. Then, trekking through the Ak-Tas plateau to the specular spring and descending to the lower Zhasylkol lake. After descending, trekking to the lake shore, setting a camp, dinner, and rest. Overnight in the tent camp at the lake.

Zhasylkol lake is located on the northern slope of the Jungar Alatau ridge, in the valley of the Agynykatty river, at an altitude of 1640 meters above sea level. The maximum length of the lake is 2,070 meters, maximum width in the northern part - is 751 meters. Until the 80s of the last century, this place was practically untouched by humans which is not surprising as this is an area of the state border.

Due to the Agynykatty river which flows into the lake, and numerous streams in summer which originate from the glaciers of Jungar Alatau, the water of Zhasylkol lake is almost always muddy, saturated blue and green shades. The lake has long been visited by proud handsome deer. Traveling here is a great opportunity to visit the unspoiled nature and enjoy the magical views.

Day 7. Lower Zhasylkol Lake - Zhalanash Cordon - Lepsinsk

Breakfast, disassembling of the camp, and trekking to the highest apiary of Jungar Alatau. Lunch in the apiary, honey tasting. Transfer to Zhalanash cordon and further to Lepsinsk. Accommodation in a guest house, dinner, sauna, rest. Overnight in the guest house.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 30 km, trekking distance - 3 km

Day 8. Lepsinsk - Sarkand - Taldykorgan - Almaty

Breakfast and departure to Almaty at 07:00. Lunch on the way in Taldykorgan. Arrival to Almaty at approx. 21:00.

Total automobile mileage on this day approx. 700 km

TOUR PRICE: On request


1. Transportation according to the program in comfortable off-road vehicles
2. Sightseeing according to the program
3. Accommodation in a hotel in Sarkand and guest house in Lepsinsk
4. Meals: Lunch and dinner on Day 1, full board on Days 2-7, breakfast and lunch on Day 8
5. Environmental and entry fees, pass to the border zone
6. Camping equipment for common use (cooking utensils)
7. Rent houses for hiking to the lakes
8. Insurance


1. Accommodation in Almaty before/after the tour, if required
2. Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included in the tour price
3. Rent of personal camping outfit (sleeping bag, сaremat, personal utensils, etc.)
4. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
5. Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program


Taking into account that in the evenings and at night can be quite cold, be sure to take with you:

1. Waterproof membrane Gore-Tex jacket and pants
2. Windproof jacket, warm fleece jacket, or Polartec jacket
3. Several sets of underwear, several pairs of socks, and a pair of warm socks
4. Several T-shirts with short sleeves, shorts
5. Appropriate hiking boots, and shoes for camp (lightweight sneakers)
6. Head torch with adjustable brightness and beam distance, several sets of batteries
7. Thermos for 1-1.5 liters, or another water container
8. Personal hygiene items, personal first aid kit, sunglasses, sunscreen, anti-acarid remedy
9. Tent, sleeping bag, care mat, utensils for personal use, backpack (not smaller than 90L volume), trekking poles

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