Overview of the route
- Length: 8 kilometers
- Duration: 4h (2 hours + 2 hours)
- Difficulty: easy
- Start and finish: Medeu ice skating rink (getting there)
- Height difference: 1.200 m (600 m up)
- Best time: April – October (winter is possible too: the waterfall is frozen: very pretty!)
Goal of the hike is the 15m high waterfall of Butakovka. For those wanting to see something of Almaty’s surrounding nature without having to pass a fitness test, this is the easiest walk: simply picturesque. The route is littered with wild apple trees and raspberry plants, with many small passerines flittering between the treetops.
We start at Medeu (1.609 m) and go northeast in the direction of the Kim-Asar (Kommisarovka) Valley. From where the bus stops, go down a little bit and turn right in the first street. Follow the road around the blue gate and along the canal.
At the end of the canal, don’t keep following the road into the forest, but turn left between the last 2 wooden villas into the little pathway that leads to the Kim-Asar pass (2.060m).
From here, you need to head northeast into the Butakovka valley. It gets confusing as there are many different trails. If you don’t have a smartphone or gps, try to orient high enough, so that you don’t end up below the settlement of Butakovka.
Arriving in Butakovka valley, the route follows Butakovka river eastward along the Butakovka pass, until a little pathway turns left in northern direction to a little hut in a side valley. There are signs pointing to the waterfall from here on out. Another 15 minutes of scrambling and you reach the waterfall. July sees numerous wild raspberry bushes bear fruit.
To get back to Almaty quickly, you can walk back to the settlement of Butakovka, where frequent buses will take you back into the city.