Overview of the route
- Length: 32 kilometers (10 kilometers with shortcut)
- Duration: 16h (9 hours + 7 hours)
- Difficulty: medium to hard
- Start and finish: GES Hydropower station or dam of Big Almaty Lake (getting there)
- Height difference: 4.522 m or 2.281 m
- Best time: mid-May – mid-September
The first part is rather boring. Follow the big road for about 3 hours until you come to a hydropower station. A big tube leads up along a steep flank: it brings water from Big Almaty Lake down to the power station.
Leave the car road and follow the pipe. It is another 2 hours to get to the lake, about 12 kilometers in total from the entry of the park, with 1.100 m altitude difference.
If you would rather skip this first part, there is a perfect road going up all the way to Big Almaty Lake. Drive, take a taxi or hitch a ride (possible in the weekend). Big Almaty Lake, the observatory and its surroundings are a great place for birdwatching or pick-nicking.
From the dam, keep following the road that leads to the observatory at 3.336 m. From here, follow the mountain trail on your right hand side to the north.
You are now walking directly onto the southern flank of Big Almaty Peak. After about 600 m, the trail bends east onto a little steep flank that leads to a little pass underneath the southern flank of the mountain.
This is the route to the top, whereby little stone pyramids guide the way. Be sure to plan in some time to take in the beauty of Big Almaty Lake and surrounds, but beware: it gets busy on summer weekends.
Camping directly at the shore of the lake is not permitted (there are guards). A bit further off is ok, though.
You can also join a 1 day trekking tour to the peak from a local tour company.