Charyn canyon, Kolsai lakes, Kaindy lake. Spring-summer

We will drive to Charyn canyon through Syugatinsk valley located in between Ketmen and Ulken-Boguty mountain ranges.

Watching the nature around you may think of the leftovers of some ancient Greek multi stage temples.

You will capture with your eyes multicolored overhangs, columns, pillars, towers, galleries developed by the ingenious sculptures– nature and time. You will be amazed by the wild pristine beauty of the places.

When you move to the east, you will have to turn left just before the ascent to the pass and you will hit the road of about 10 km. long to the Valley of Castles. You can walk to the wide riparian woodlands in the river floodplain hundred meters aside from the main road.

Here you can stay overnight. The torrent is pretty fast but shallow. Its bank lamination clearly shows ancient and contemporary layers, intracrustal discontinuities, faults etc.

The right slope bank contains vertical densely connected limestone layers constituting a bed for younger horizontal Pliocene layers of intercalating gravel and sandy-argillaceous deposits.
On the left side the rocks are broken by vivid fault formed by the uplift of carbonaceous volcanic rock block occurred in the Quaternary Period. The rocks are of various colors varying from straw-colored to purple and red.

Charyn “temples” is a real geological museum. The fault line walls are formed by solid rocks with the upper part formed by the glomeration yieldable to the powerful nature.

Kolsai lakes are one of the most magnificent representations of the nature in Kazakhstan. The lakes are called the “pearl” of the Northern Tien-Shan. The lakes are located at 1800, 2250 and 2700 meters above sea level. Warm season lasts from April till the end of September.

Kolsai lakes water is of dark-blue color reflecting high fir-trees. However water changes its color frequently. It is emerald-green and you walk for some thirty meters and the water turns into dark-blue. Blossoming alpine meadows, rocks, huge coniferous forest and Tien-Shan fir-trees surround the lakes.

The first Kolsai lake is stretched for 1km. in the gorge and is 400m wide. It is located at the height of  1818m. above sea level. The lake is 80m. deep. Here you will find comfortable luxurious houses as well as middle-level cabins, yurta camps and tents. Approaching the first lake you will see the quay berth with boats and double canoes. Some fishermen are fishing on the bank for rainbow trout.  Lake’s water temperature is 6-8 °С will cool down your desire to swim.

In order to see the second lake we will have to walk for 6km. up the gorge on the narrow steep path. It takes 2,5-3 hours of hiking.

The second lake is the most beautiful of all Kolsai lakes and it is located at 2252m. above the sea level. It is 50m. deep. Lots of fallen fir-trees make a natural dam which you will see right away approaching the lake. Moving further you will discover the beauty of the lake more and more. The green bank of the lake is covered with multiple alpine flowers including fragrant edelweiss.

The visit to the third lake requires 6km. ascend from the second lake. The height gain is 448 meters. It is the smallest lake. Water is very cold. It is surrounded by rocks and juniper. The climate here is typical for high-mountains zone: day temperature in summer reaches 30 degrees. Currently the Border Guards Service requires special permit to visit the third lake.

On the third day we will visit Kaindy lake. It is located on the northern slope of Kunghey Ala-Tau mountain ridge at the height of 1867meters above sea level in the dense coniferous forest.

The lake is 400 meters long, the deepest part is 30 meters. The name of the lake is translated from Kazakh language as “Birch tree” lake.  The name is explained by the presence of the large birch trees grove planted long time ago five kilometers downstream.

The lake was formed by Zhalanash-Tyup earthquake on March 25, 1978 of 7 point Richter scale. The mudslide descending from the eastern slope of Kaindy gorge obstructed Kaindy water course and formed the lake.

Water flooded the pothole flattened by the rocky arch in the middle. The fir-trees growing at the bottom of the pothole had been flooded. Its dry stems stick out from the cold lake waters giving a  miraculous and unmatched look.

Since 2012 water seepage from the lake increased. The washout of the natural dam resulted into the decrease of the of the water level almost by 1,5 meters. It attracts the tourists even more. The lake’s water is very cold and it preserves the fir of the trees very well and you can clearly see it through the clean water.

No words can convey the miraculous beauty of the lake. Take the chance and see it with your own eyes. From the top the cliffs the magnificent views of Kaindy gorge, Saty gorge, Chilik river valley.

Besides the lakes our tourists will be welcomed to the Kazakh national houses and culture, national cuisine, traditions of the local population. You are also welcome to visit the local sauna (banya).

The program includes: off-road drive to Charyn river canyon, accommodation in the local guest-house, trekking to the second Kolsai lake, trekking around Kaindy lake, lunch in the open air, Kazakh national cuisine dishes.

А. Trip plan by hours:

Day 1  

8.30       gathering together at the prescribed location;

13.00     arrival to the trail start point in Charyn canyon

14.00     descent to the river, lunch

15.00     ascent from the canyon, walk on uplands

16.00     departure to the guest-house for overnight

19.00     accommodation in the guest-house, dinner

Day 2  

8.00       breakfast

9.00       departure to the second Kolsai lake

14.00     lunch at the lake

18.00     return to the hotel, dinner

Day 3  

8.00       breakfast

9.00       departure to Kaindy lake

14.00     lunch at the lake

16.00     departure to the city

20.00     return to Almaty

Number of days: 3
Covered regions:
East Kazakhstan
North Kazakhstan
South Kazakhstan
West Kazakhstan
Included services:
Accommodation (Hotel/Guesthouse)
Accommodation (Homestay)
Entrance tickets (e.g. museums, parks etc.)
Beverages (non-alcoholic)
Car (with driver)
Fuel, Petrol
Bus/Train tickets
Domestic flight tickets
What to bring: 1. Warm clothing, trekking shoes, trekking poles; 2. Personal care products, medicine, personal tableware; 3. Sunscreen cream, sun glasses.
Transport: SUV 4x4
Tour season:
Tour categories:
Private tours
Cultural tours
Adventure tours
Offroad tours
Sightseeing tours
Winter tours
Special Event tours
Wildlife tours
Highlight tours
Photo tours
Hiking tours
Horseback riding tours
Circle tours
Short tours
Budget tours
Payment Method

For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.