THREE DAYS TREKKING IN SARY-CHELEK RESERVE
Sary Chelek lake is located 500 km from Bishkek and 300 km from Osh, in the territory of the Sary Chelek State Biosphere Reserve. The lake lies on the boundary of At-Oinok and Chatkal ranges, at an altitude of 1940 meters. The lake covers an area of 507 hectares, has a length of 7.5 km, and a depth of 234 meters. It is the second and third deepest lake in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, respectively. The coastline is covered with dense forests and rocky places in some areas. Sary Chelek is fed by several mountain rivers.
The water temperature in summer does not
exceed 19 °C and in winter ranges from 0 °C to 4 °C. Sary Chelek in Kyrgyz means 'yellow barrel.' According to legend, there was once an old beekeeper who, one spring, decided to place hives on the shores of an unusually beautiful lake. When the time for harvest had come, the beekeeper was so mesmerized by the golden color of honey, he named the lake Yellow Barrels referring to the barrels full of honey on the shore. Additionally, there is also another explanation to the name of the lake. As autumn rolls around, the golden color of the trees on the coastline reflected in the water form a fabulous whole golden landscape. The Sary Chelek State Biosphere Reserve (area 23,8 ha) is included in UNESCO’s international network of nature reserves. It was established to preserve the flora and fauna of the walnut forests and alpine landscapes.
Duration: 3 days horseback or 3 days trekking
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Best season: May 15 – September 30
Requirements: trekking boots, weatherproof warm clothes, hat, sunscreen, torch, sleeping bag, tent, and sleeping pad.
Itinerary: Kara-Suu village – Kara-Suu Lake – Kotormo Pass – Sary-Chelek Lake and Reserve –Kara-Suu or Arkyt Village
Day 1: Welcome to your guesthouse in Kara-Suu. Dinner.
Day 2: Breakfast, setting off northwards to Kara-Suu Gorge, crossing the river by wooden bridges. The gorge becomes rather narrow and the slopes are covered with a beautiful silver fir forest. Further on the track passes below a waterfall and then climbs over a pass to Kara-Suu Lake (1,800 m, 13 km, 4 hours). Have lunch and then relax and experience the real way of life on the jailoo (mountain pasture). Enjoy supper by an open fire.
Day 3: Breakfast, then continue the trek to Kotormo Pass-2446m. On the descent from the Pass, stop for a picnic lunch in a field. (7km, 3 hours) After lunch cantinue the trek and see the 5 lakes of Sary-Chelek. Have supper and camp overnight in tents (10km, 3 hours).
Day 4: Breakfast and relax near Iri-Kol Lake, followed by lunch at 11.00. After lunch continue trekking among the nut forests and get a panoramic view of Sary-Chelek. Descend from the Pass to Kara-Suu or Arkyt village for dinner in a guesthouse (20 km, 5-6 hours).
Day 5: Breakfast. Morning departure.