This route for real adventure lovers, who want to ride further and higher! Totally wild places, where you will have many chances to meet wild animals, including bears. The cherry on the cake of this route is mountain lake, which shores only a few tourists visited.
Best period: July – September
Route complexity: suits for experienced tourists who have a confident level of horse riding. There are long ascents and descents on the route, a lot of wild trails and dangerous parts. You need to be prepared for physical activity and have a good experience of a mountain horse riding. *It is highly recommended to have an inoculation against tick-borne encephalitis.
Height difference: lower point on the route 1000 m.a.s.l. Highest altitude on the route about 3000 m.a.s.l.
Day 1. Almaty – Taldykorgan – Koilyk – Cherkassky Defense – Lepsinsk
Departure from Almaty not later then 7 a.m. Arrival to Taldykorgan about 10 a.m. Visiting historical museum of Almaty region. Lunch. Moving to Sarkand (about 159 km). During 2-hours trip we will make 2-3 stops near interesting and memorial places.
Sarkand was mentioned for the first time in Shokan Valikhanov’s articles about Semirechye study. These references date back to 1857 of the last century. Initially, Sarkand was a village, based by Siberian Cossacks. The first solid settlements appeared on the banks of Sarkand river in 1858, when 22 families relocated from Kopal and Lepsinsk counties. In 1872, there was opened the first school. In 1928 Sarkand District was formed. It was composed of Cherkassk and Lepsinsk counties. Since 1964, Sarkand was urban-type settlements, and in 1968 it was transformed into the city. Today it is a small but very pretty town. The main activity of the locals is agriculture, production of excellent wines. There is even a small brewery and a cheese production plant.
After we will move towards the village with the name Koilyk. There we will have a look at the remains of the ancient settlement.
Koilyk settlement was the largest trade, industrial and cultural centre in the north-east of Semirechye in XIII-XIV centuries, the headquarters of Karluk Jhabgu. The area is surrounded by a fortified wall of height up to 4 meters. North-east wall has a length of 1200 meters, south-west – 750 meters, adjacent to the foot of the mountains. The city was famous for its bazaars, and, except for the Muslims, the Christians also lived there and had their church. Archaeological research of the site was carried out in 1964. Unfortunately, the settlement is abandoned today, but it is worth to come closer and walk a little bit.
Transfer to Memorial of Cherkassky Defense, situated in Cherkassk village. Visiting of museum and battlegrounds.
Cherkassky Defense (1918-1919) – fighting of peasants from 12 Russian villages of Lepsinsk county in the rear of the White Guard troops, which took place in an atmosphere of the fierce struggle between the peasants-new settlers on the one hand, and Semirechensk Cossacks, peasants-old-timers and rich Kazakhs on the other. In June 1918, the peasants of Lepsinsk county created self-defence units to protect their villages from the local White Cossacks and Alash-Horde, as well as from the White Guards, advancing from the north. After the capture of Sergiopol city by White Guard troops, all the Northern Semirechye was covered with counter-revolutionary rebellion. Peasant villages were attacked by White Cossack and Alash Orda troops.
Moving to Lepsinsk village. Staying in the guest house of locals. Dinner. Rest. *The total automobile run on this day is about 500 km.
Day 2. Lepsinsk – valley of Karbushka river
Breakfast at 9 a.m. Packing stuff and beginning of horseback route.
According to artefacts, it can be said that Lepsinsk area was already populated in the XII century. This is evidenced by the finding of burial stone – Bal-Bal, dating from XII-X century. According to the stories of old-timers, there were three mounds in Lepsinsk with the Turkic stone sculptures of granite. The first was lying at the steps of the village council, the second stands at the house of a local resident, the third, according to the stories, is buried in an area of Amur spring. In 1390, during a campaign deep into Moghulistan, Amir Timur has piled mounds on Uygentas pass near Lepsinsk. By such mounds, he designated the boundaries of his empire. On the personal things, he set his mark in the form of three rings. This sign was found in 1994 at the foot of Kok-Tobe mountain, near Lepsinsk. The modern history of Lepsinsk begins in 1822. Abolishment of Khan’s power gave rise to the petition of joining of the Kazakh clan of Usun to Russia. But the first attempts were unsuccessful. Only in 1846, an agreement on the inclusion of the Semirechensk region into Russia and the appointment of Lepsinsk was signed. This is only a small part of the interesting history of this small village. The rest you will hear from the local old-timers.
Horseback walk is waiting for us along quiet simple paths in deciduous forests with not big differences in altitude. We will make several stops for the rest and lunch among wild-growing apple gardens. Finishing point of this day is situated in a picturesque area on the bank of a mountain river. Setting up the campsite. Dinner. Night in tents. *Horse-riding part in this day about 15 km.
Day 3. Valley of Karbushka river – Zhylsai gorge
Breakfast at 8 a.m. Packing stuff and preparation of horse’s equipment. This day we will make long tough descent with altitude elevation about 1500 m. On the way, we will make a few stops for having the rest and enjoying view of Lepsy valley surroundings. Then long way along a hilly plateau. We will make a stop near one of the springs with pure water. Ascent on the highest point of the plateau, rest and watching panoramic view to Dzungarian Alatau mountains. After halt, we will make a descent to the valley of Zhylsai river. Setting up the campsite, dinner, night in tents. *Horse-riding part in this day about 18-20 km.
Day 4. Zhylsai gorge – a panorama of the high Zhasylkol lake – Agynykaty river
Breakfast at 8 a.m. Packing camping and personal things. To see the panorama of the upper lake we will go light, just take with us water and snacks. Fast horseback ride to the observing point. Rest, having snacks and pleasure of stunning view to the snow peaks of Dzungarian Land.
The lake is located at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level, on Kyzylauyz river – the side tributary of Kikozen river. It was formed as a result of a powerful earthquake. The collapsed right slope has blocked the gorge by the powerful dam of rock debris. The length of the lake is 3.3 km and the average width – 300 meters. Its shape resembles Central Asian Salamander (an endangered species, tailed amphibian, that lives only in the mountains of Dzungarian Alatau). The lake has blue-green hue reminiscent of the surrounding green slopes, covered by alpine meadows and sparse, stunted shrubs. Due to the remoteness, the lake is seldom visited, although its attractiveness and beauty in no way inferior to the lower lake.
After observing lake from the top we will make a descent to the valley of Agynykaty river. The descent will be made by a wild slope. Then a short ride to the valley where campsite will be set up. Dinner, night in tents. *Horse-riding part in this day about 15 km.
Day 5. Zhasylkol Lake
This day we can sleep much, breakfast will be late because we will not have to walk a lot. After breakfast short but very interesting walking part of the route is waiting for us. We will overcome a stone blockage which serves as a natural dam for the lake, then get one of the shores of the lake, where we will have rest, snacks and will able to admire the insane beauty of Zhasylkol lake. After break, we will go back. Dinner near the fireplace and night in tents.
Day 6. Agynykaty river – Zhylsai gorge – Ak-Tas plateau
Early breakfast and packing camp stuff. The way back is waiting for us this day. This part of the route will be, perhaps, the most difficult. We will have to make ascents and descents by very hard and wild, but already known slopes. During the day there will be many stops for the rest for the horses. Near one of the spring with pure water, we will make a halt for the lunch. By the evening we will make a descent to the spring where we will stay for the night. Dinner, night in the tents. *Horse-riding part in this day about 20 km.
Day 7. Ak-Tas plateau – lower Zhasylkol lake – apiary house
Breakfast at 8 a.m. Packing campsite and start the next part of the route. Almost all day we will be dropping altitude. In some places, paths will be steep and wild. Somewhere there will be deciduous forests that’s why maybe we will have to walk by feet in some places. But surrounding landscapes compensate all difficulties. By the lunchtime, we will get to the lake, where halt will be arranged in a cosy summer house on the shore of the lake.
Zhasylkol lake is located on the northern slope of the Dzungarian Alatau ridge, in the valley of Agynykatty river, at an altitude of 1640 meters above sea level. The maximum length of the lake is 2,070 meters, maximum width in the northern part – 751 meters. Until the 80s of the last century, this place was practically untouched by humans and is not surprising as this is an area of the state border. Due to Agynykatty river which flows into the lake, and numerous streams in summer which originate from glaciers of Dzungarian Alatau, water of Zhasylkol lake is almost always muddy, saturated blue and green shades. The lake has long been visited by proud handsome deer. Travel here is a great opportunity to visit the unspoiled nature and enjoy the magical views.
After lunch, we will follow a picturesque path, which leads us to the apiary house where we will stay for the night. Setting up the campsite, night in tents. *Horse-riding part in this day about 15 km.
Day 8. Apiary house – Lepsinsk – Almaty
Early breakfast and packing the campsite. Then ride to Lepsinsk where our route has been started. The back way will be passed along the river Agynykatty with a very beautiful trail. Last several kilometres we will overcome through the gardens and valley where you should be prepared for the hot sun. Bathhouse, lunch in the guest house on arrival. Departure to Almaty. We will come back to the city very late, about midnight. *Horse-riding part in this day about 12 km. Total automobile run is about 500 km.
Tour price for 8 days/7 nights: 1980 USD per person, provided 2 persons traveling together. For the group requests discounts will be provided.
- Transportation according to the program by comfortable minivan or 4WD car
- Accommodation in the guesthouse in Lepsinsk village
- English-speaking guide services and excursions according the tour program
- All environmental fees during the tour
- Meals: lunch and dinner in Day 1; three-times meals in the other days
- Drinking water 1L per person per day
- Horses rental
- Horse groom services, for the big group
- All necessary equipment for the organization of the camp (tents, sleeping bags, carimats, etc.)
- Accommodation in Almaty, if required
- Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price
- Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
- Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program
- Introduction horse-riding lesson in the mountains (30USD)
RECOMMENDATIONS for clothing and equipment:
Given that in the evenings and at night can be quite cold, take with you:
- Waterproof membrane jacket/storm, trousers made of gortex material
- Windproof jacket, warm fleece sweatshirt or Polartec jacket
- Several sets of underwear, several pairs of socks, one warm socks
- Several T-shirts with short and long sleeves, shorts, cap
- Good high-altitude trekking boots, change shoes for the camp, best light sneakers
- Headlamp with adjustable brightness and beam range, several sets of batteries
- Thermos for 1-1.5 liters, or another water tank
- Personal hygiene items, personal first-aid kit, sunglasses, sunblock, ticks.
Contact us using the booking form. Thank you!