One-week mtb tour for those who like pedaling among totally wild and inaccessible places. Wild and insanely beautiful mountains and valleys with wide strong rivers are waiting for us! Salt Lake and exciting view to Khan Tengri peak!
Season: June - October
Best period: May – June, August - September.
Route complexity: such route will be interesting as for beginners as for experienced mtb riders. Almost whole route will be going along well-groomed ground road with small elevation and dropping. Sometimes you will have to ride down the hill for many kilometers!
Height difference: 500-700 meters per day.
Day 1. Almaty – Bartogai reservoir – Charyn – Kurmety settlement.
Departure from Almaty at 7 a.m. Transfer to the start point of cycling part of the route. About 20 km we will ride by asphalt road, withour traffic, usually only 1-2 cars pass this road, sometimes nobody is met here. This road is going to Bartogai reservoir.
Amazing in its beauty Bartogai Reservoir located in the gorge of the same name on the Chilik River, which is blocked by the rock-bulk dam, with height of 60 meters, length of 330 meters and with a set of culverts. The reservoir was created to store water in winter, and feed the fields in the summer along the channel of 160 km length. Release of water through the dam at the Chilik River takes place from June to September for irrigation. In this time the spillway capacity reaches 100 cubic meters per second, due to which the height of the fountain reaches more than one hundred meters. Streams of water under great pressure get out into the open, and breaking into small particles form a cloud of sprays glittering in the sun.
We will make stop for the rest and picnic on the shore of the lake. Then transfer to Charyn national park where we continue cycling. Descent to “Valley of Castles” on bicycles. Rest near the river, back way to the start point in bicycles.
Charyn Canyon - a natural complex, unique of its kind not only in Kazakhstan, but also throughout the world. It was formed in the epoch of the Paleogene and reminds Colorado Grand Canyon in North America, though inferior to him in size. The height of the steep canyon slopes is 150-300 meters. The extreme ruggedness of relief impresses: numerous gullies and ravines form a dense, disordered network. Wind and water have created the beautiful "Valley of Castles", where you all the time are surrounded by bizarre towers, built of sedimentary rocks. Valley length is more than 2 km, the width - 20-80 meters. Over millions of years the nature has been creating a unique architecture, carefully and deliberately erecting magnificent castles. You can spend hours wandering among the strange towers and poles, marveling at the lush imagination of nature.
Transfer to Kurmety settlement. Dinner and night in the guesthouse.
Day 2. Kurmety – Kaindy – Kurmety.
Breakfast at 9 a.m. Transfer to the beginning of the road leading to the gorge of Kaindy river. There will be very interesting and the most difficult part of our mtb route – ascent to the lake Kaindy.
Kaindy Lake (birch lake) is situated among magnificent pine forest at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level and is famous for its origin. It was formed in 1911 due to the powerful earthquake that triggered the landslide blocked the valley by the natural dam, and the water has flooded the valley. The water of the lake is very cold, that is why the needles of the flooded trees are well preserved and clearly visible through the transparent surface of the water, and dry stems of fir trees overlook the water surface, like the masts of the submarine squadron. It is impossible to describe in words all this mystical splendor of the lake – it is necessary to go there and see everything with own eyes.
Dinner on arrival to the lake. Walking around the lake along it’s shores. Evening cross-country is waiting for us then, descent back to the settlement Kurmety. Night in the guesthouse. Bath-house, shower, dinner.
Day 3. Kurmety – valley of Chilik river - Kurmety.
Breakfast at 9 a.m. Packing stuff, exit to the cycling route, it will be very interesting and quite easy. Not long ride along the plain valley of Chilik river.
Chilik river is the biggest river in Zailiski Alatau range (northern Tien-Shan). It total length is about 450 km. Average annual quantity of water is 32,7 cube meters a second. The river-head is situated on the eastern slope of Chilik-Kemin mountain bulkhead at height of 3350, the river starts from Jangyrak, Bogatyr’, Korjenevskiy glaciers. Before the river enters Jalanash valley it flows under the name Tauchilik (Mountain Chilik). After the glacier valley, which is 40 km long the river enters a deep impassable canyon. At the entrance to Jalanash valley, the river abruptly turns to the north, here the depth of the canyon reaches 100 meters. In this part the river has several big tributaries: Jenishke river from the left, Saty and Kolsai rivers from the right. The upper part of the river is the most interesting, there is something to see. Wide meadows, on which the cattle of local residence peacefully graze. Small groves of water-loving poplar. Thickets of barberry, sea buckthorn and many other berry bushes. In some places it seems that in these places there are no footprints of tourists. So it is, the upper reaches of Chilik, are accessible only for hikers or cyclists.
Rest and lunch on one of the picturesque meadows. Back way to the guesthouse. Bath-house, shower, dinner and night in the guesthouse.
Day 4. Kurmety – Bistyubinsk reservoir – Tekes.
Breakfast at 8 a.m. Packing stuff and transfer to the next cycling part of the route, about 40 km. Then we will ride along the asphalt road's serpantine. This road is very picturesque and deserted. The mosrt interesting adventures are waiting for us then. Asphalt road is finished and the real cross-country cycling will be started. We will make stop near the mountain lake – Bestyubinsk.
History of this reservoir was started many years ago. Building of Moinak hydroelectric power station was started in 1985. The process of building was moving in a rapid pace. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union caused an economic crisis, so the construction financing was finished. And in 1992, when almost 10% of all work was done, the construction of the hydroelectric power station was frozen. Many years passed after that. The economy of the country began to recover, money appeared. And in 2005 it was decided to resume construction of the hydroelectric power station. It took another 6 years, and on September 27, 2011, the filling of the Bystyubinsk reservoir began. Now the reservoir is completely filled. And Moynakskaya hydroelectric power station itself was launched by the Independence Day of Kazakhstan - December 16, 2011.
Short rest on the shore of the lake and having snacks. Unfortunately, the shores of the lake are steep and it will be not possiblw to come closer to the water, but we could enjoy the panorama. Then transfer to the next point – Kegen settlement. We will have late lunch over there in local cafe and walking around local market. After we will move to the last point of this day – valley of Tekes river.
Tekes river is the main source of Ili river, a quite large river in the region. Tekes river originates an altitude 3535 meters above sea level, at the foot of the main massif of Khan Tengri mountain group. The soil in the lower valley is fertile, the pastures and meadows along the stream are abundant. The whole Tekes valley is picturesque, each turn of the gorge is keeping the wild beauty of nature and nice surprises.
Arranging the campsite, dinner near the fireplace, night in tents.
Day 5. Tekes – Kainar – Tuzkol.
Breakfast at 9 a.m., packing stuff, exit to the cycling part of the route. Today almost the whole day will be spent on bicycles. The road will be quite easy. The first part of the route goes down to the gorge of Tekes along the bank of the river. Then not long uphill and getting the shores of lake Tuzkol. We will make several stops on the way for the rest and lunch.
Tuzkol lake is dead and salty. Salt density in the lake changes several times throughout the year and can reach 300 g/l. For example, the salt concentration in the Dead Sea about 340-350 g/l. It is noteworthy that no river flows into the lake, and it is undrained. Locals say that it is fed by underground mineral springs, and the mud of the lake is curative. In ancient times, when the Mongols lived on these lands, this lake was called Doban-Nor. From Mongolian it is translated as Windy Lake. On a clear day, Khan Tengri peak, the seventhousander, is visible from the lake.…
Arranging the campsite, dinner, rest. Night in tents.
Day 6. Tuzkol – Shalkodesu – Ketmen – Chundzha.
Breakfast at 9 a.m., packing stuff and beginning of the last part of our cycling route.
Mountain valley of Shalkodesu has one more name which is mostly used by local residents – Kegen valley. Shalkodesu is on of the largest mountain valleys of Kazakhstan, according to some data it surpasses in size even the Assy plateau. Valley is surrounded by high mountains, some of them have altitude 3730 m.a.s.l. Of course, that the most frequent "fellow travelers" in these places - peacefully grazing sheep and looking with surprise at a rare tourist shepherds.
We will overcome about 60 km up to the valley till the beginning of ascent to Ketmen pass.
Ketmen ridge separates the two valleys. The highest points of the ridge are offering impressive views of the Northern Tien-Shan peaks: Khan Tengri, Pobeda Peak and other majestic mountains peaks. Apparently not for nothing since ancient times people lived here - followers of Tengrianism. The ridge also has two names, better known and used by locals - Uzynkara. Once upon a time on the slopes of these mountains lived an unthinkable size, a steppe bison.
We will go to the pass by cars because the ascent is quiet steep and difficult and it will take a lot of time to get to it by bicycles. When we get the altitude 3200 m.a.s.l. we will be able to enjoy breathtaking scenery if the weather lets. At the lunch time picnic will be arranged in suitable picturesque place on the route. Descent from the pass, ride to the recreation resort with mineral hot-springs. Dinner, rest, night at the resort in comfortable rooms.
Day 7. Chundzha – Almaty.
Breakfast at the resort at 9 a.m. Packing stuff and departure. The way to Almaty will take about 3-4 hours along the new highway. Lunch in the uyghur village Baiseit. Arrival to Almaty approximately by 4-5 p.m.
The cost of the tour is per person in a group of 4 people. Discounts are granted for group applications.
The cost of the program is INCLUDED:
1. Moving along the program on a comfortable minibus or SUV
2. Accommodation in the guest house, at the recreation resort
3. Guide and excursion services according to the program
4. Environmental fees and entrance fees along the route
5. Meals: lunch and dinner on Day 1; breakfast and lunch on Day 7, three meals a day on other days
6. Drinking water
7. All necessary camping equipment (except sleeping bags)
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.
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.