Mountains, rivers and lakes

Kyrgyzstan consists of 90% mountainous landscape whose mountain peaks rise to 7500 meters and sees at the same time a change of landscape. from green mountain pastures to a lunar landscape with its colourful cliffs. Almost the whole area is surrounded by mountains, many reaching 3000 meters. The most mountain ranges belong to the Tien-Shan mountains. It is an unforgettable experience to walk along the hundred unique mountain lakes, the many hot springs, and the lush alpine pastures and see the shepherds or herdsmen and the century old nomadic culture. Besides the spectacular mountain peaks and lakes there are “Kaska Suu” silver rivers, quiet villages, carpets of Edelweiss alpine flowers and red cliffs. At one time the Silk Road ran though’ and joined East’ to West.

Hiking on any level

There are mountain walks and hiking trips in the Tien-Shan for almost every level of walker. A day trip through the Grigorevka gorge or a two day trip, e.g. through the Grigorevka gorge and back through the Semyonovka gorge, staying overnight in tents, is good to do for the average walker. During the walking trip you can see many birds of prey, yurts,shepherds and horses and you can of course enjoy the very diverse flora of the area. Also for the advanced walker there is a lot to experience. If necessary we can arrange for carriers – to bring the tents and sleeping bags- or, or we can arrange carriers or rent a tent, sleeping bag and mat . The overnight package tours include a guide.

Two-day hikes

Grigorievka-Semyonovka Gorges

Route: Grigorievka-Semyonovka- Kichi Aksu kloof-Chon Aksu Gorge-Grigorievka

  • ☼Duration: two days
  • ☼Level: easy
  • ☼Height: 2400 m
  • ☼Overnight stay: a night in a tent (or option 2: a night in the tent and a night in the dacha)
  • ☼Bring: warm cloths, hiking shoes, hat, sleeping bag and mat, sunscreen, raincoat, flash light
  • This trip is suitable for novice hikers. You can see the daily life of the local population who try to earn money in the Gorge with their horses, raptors, yurts where you can eat trout and lamb shanks, .. You also see the beautiful, Kyrgyz pristine mountain scenery. Close to Bel-Zhan, there are two mountain gorges: the Grigorievka and Semyonovka Gorges. They are known for their endemic flora species, huge number of bird species and several species of mushrooms. The two-day trip starts at the top of the Semyonovka (or Kichi Aksu) Gorge. The first day we walk through the Jailoo, and pass the ridge that connects the two gorges . Here you can see the beautiful, unsoiled Kyrgyz mountain landscape. We walk over the pass to the Grigorievka side and camp in the vicinity of the first lake at about 2500 meters height. The following day we will descend by the Grigorievka (or Chon Aksu) gorge back to the village. The first day is 5-6, the second day 3-4 hours of walking. The guide cooks for the hikers. Option 2 – an additional overnight stay in the dacha in the Chon Aksu (Grigorievka) gorge and day three in about 2 hours walk back to Grigorievka.

    Semyonovka gorge – Ananevo

    Route: Grigorievka-Semyonovka- Kichi Aksu gorge-Ananevo-Grigorievka

  • ☼Duration: two days
  • ☼Level: easy
  • ☼Height: 2400 m
  • ☼Overnight stay: a night in a tent (or option 2: a night in the tent and a night in the dacha)
  • ☼Bring: warm cloths, hiking shoes, hat, sleeping bag and mat, sunscreen, raincoat, flash light
  • The Semyonovka gorge is almost as beautiful as the Grigorevka gorge, but much more quiet. Also this trip is suitable for novice hikers and offers the experience of the pristine Kyrgyz mountain scenery. We go by car to the entrance of the gorge and spend the night in the top of the Semyonovka gorge on about 2300 meters height. The next day we walk down to the village Ananevo. There is time to explore the village. With a minivan we drive back to Bel-Zhan. The first day it is 4-5 hours walking, the second day 3 hours. The guide cooks for the hikers.

    Altyn Arashan

    Altyn Arashan is located near Karakol, two hours drive to the east. After the transfer by minibus we walk to the hot springs of Altyn Arashan. We spend the night in a tent in the Valley Arashan, overlooking the Palatka (tent) peak of 5260 m. The next day we visit the hot springs and walk quietly back down, where the bus is waiting for us. Suitable for mountain hiker who hikes regularly. The first day it is 5-6 hours walking, the second day approximately 4. The guide cooks for the hikers.

    Four- and five-day hikes

    Three Lakes hike

    Route: Grigorievka-Semyonovka -Chon Aksu gorge-Kurumdu-Grigorievka

  • ☼Duration: five days
  • ☼Level: average
  • ☼Height: 3000 m
  • ☼Overnight stay: 4 nights in tent
  • ☼Bring: warm cloths, hiking shoes, hat, sleeping bag and mat, sunscreen, raincoat, flash light, towel
  • This four-day tour starts in the Semyonovka gorge. The first day we walk through the gorge to the top, Through the valley we pass the Grigorievka gorge. We spend the night at the first lake on 2500 metres. The next day we walk along the river where nomads with their herds camp in tents, walk to the second lake and then continue towards the pass that leads to Almaty and then steeply up towards the third lake, where we set up camp for the third night (3000 metres).

    From there you have a beautiful view of the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of Chon Kemin. The following we descend through wooded slopes and along a rocky path to mid-Kurumdu where we will have our third camp. Day four we will complete the descent to Kurumdu, west of Grigorievka. In Kurumdu we camp on the beach at Issyk-Kul lake. The next morning, after a dive in the lake, we go by car back to Grigorievka. Each day we will average 5-6 hours walking.

    Chon Kemin glacier hike – five days

    Route: Semyonovka -Chong Aksuu gorge- Chon Kemin river – Ak-Suu pass – Chon Kemin – Grigorievka

  • ☼Duration: five days
  • ☼Level: difficult
  • ☼Height: 4050 m
  • ☼Overnight stay: 4 nights in tent
  • ☼Bring: warm cloths, hiking shoes, hat, sleeping bag and mat, sunscreen, raincoat, flash light
  • This five-day tour is packed with snow, rough mountains, glaciers, green meadows and wild flowers. It starts in the Semyonovka gorge, where we will go by car. We cross to the Grigorievka gorge and walk to the first lake. We camp near the lake or along the river, where nomads with their herds from their camps. The next day we follow the Chong Aksuu river to alpine meadow Ayuluu-Tor; there we put the tents.. Day three is a tough day, as we cross the Ak-Suu pass at 4.050 m. height. There you will see the glaciers. We descend along a rocky mountain trail and camp at the Jisyl mountain lake. Day four we will hike along the Chon Kemin river along the foot of the pass that leads to Almaty. There we spend the last night in tents and the next morning, a car takes you back to Grigorievka.

    Ala-Kol en Altyn Arashan

    This hike starts just outside Karakol, a two hour drive from Belzhan. The first day we walk through the Karakol gorge through small villages and yurts firmly upwards, to the wooden hut on the Karakol river, at 3000 meter, nestled in the wooded area.

    We continue our journey along fairly steep cliffs towards the Ala-Kol mountain lake. The lake looms in her sky-blue splendor between the peaks of the Ala-Too Mountains, once you get over the 3800 meters high pass. After the second night we climb further on the last pass, which leads to the beautiful vast Kel'deke valley , with green meadows and fresh streams. The descent to Altyn Arashan can begin. In Altyn Arashan we stay for the last time and the next morning there is the opportunity to visit the thermal baths: a boon for the tortured muscles! in the Afternoon we descend further, and then drive back to Belzhan.

    South coast – Bokonbaevo

    The mountains along the south coast of the Issyk-Kul are even more unexplored and uncharted than those on the north coast. They are less wooded and lush than near Grigorevka and less rugged than around Karakol. Here you will find endless green meadows: jailoos where the Kyrgyz shepherds graze their sheep and live in yurts. You can also encounter hot springs , a salt lake and waterfalls . The slopes are not so steep and therefore this hike is good for the average mountain hiker. But these are no small mountains : Bokonbaevo is surrounded by peaks 3700-4000 metres. Visiting a shepherd is part of the program. On this hike you will encounter several panoramic points, from where you will have a breathtaking view of the lake, the valley and the snow-capped peaks. We stay overnight in tents or alternately in a yurt. Each day we walk an average 6 hours. This hike is good to combine with an overnight stay at the Bel-Tam yurt camp on the shore of the Issyk-Kul lake in the town called Ton.

    Round trip Issyk-Kul

    Instead of a hike, you can also make a round of Issyk-Kul by car. Via the regional main town Karakol on the east and an overnight stay in the yurt camp Bel-Tam, we will bring you back to the airport Bishkek for your return flight. The yurt camp Bel-Tam is run by Aida Kydyrgycheva. Her five yurts, fifty meters from the beach, are situated on the southern side of the Issyk-Kul lake.

    Bel-Zhan is a foundation in Kyrgyzstan, founded by Jacobiene Ritsema and Ludmila Gromova.
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