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Trekking Around Jyrgalan

Immerse yourself in the Tian Shan Mountains.

There’s a pristine beauty in the Jyrgalan Valley that is a rare find in this world. Unspoiled is how the locals describe their slice of the Tian Shan, a mountain range in eastern Kyrgyzstan that translates as Mountain of Heaven. The name fits.

During the summer trekking season — June through September — seven snowcapped mountain peaks break along the horizon. Thick green forests give way to open hillsides awash in a riot of colorful wildflowers whose reds, yellows, and purples shimmer in the sunlight.  It’s not a question of if you should trek the valley’s miles of marked and trails, but of which day trek or multi-day trek could possibly encompass all that you wish to see.

Be sure to check out our most popular trekking tours. These tours provide you with a local guide, horse porters, food and camping gear to allow you to focus your attention on the experience rather than logistics and finding your way.

Boz Uchuk Lakes Trek, Jyrgalan
Catching the early morning light on the Boz Uchuk alpine lakes.

Why Jyrgalan

Planning a trek from the Jyrgalan Valley is a natural choice for trekkers of any level or style who are looking for an off-the-beaten path trek that has all the gorgeous views — clear alpine lakes, gushing rivers, and panoramic passes — minus the crowds. Locals in Jyrgalan will understand your purpose. They are there to help you plan a trek that meets your goals, skills, and time-frame.

Jyrgalan offers travelers the opportunity to embark on nearly a dozen guided or self-guided trails and treks that leave from the village. These treks range from half-day soft adventures to challenging multi-day treks that climb to almost 4,000 meters. The best part: once you’re in the charming Jyrgalan village, you’re already at your trek’s starting point, no need for long bus or car rides — you’re right in the heart of the Tian Shan range the moment you step from your guesthouse door.

Trekking Season

The high season for trekking in Kyrgyzstan runs from June through September. That said, lower-altitude routes are open earlier and later in the year, weather permitting. If you’re traveling in the shoulder season, contact Destination Jyrgalan to plan a trek that is suited to the season — we’ll help you avoid inclement weather and harsh temperatures so you have a smooth and memorable trekking experience.
Jyrgalan trekking
Trekking in Jyrgalan Valley.

How to Choose a Trek & Find a Local Guide

To choose the best trekking route, start by assessing your overall health and fitness level. All treks are rated by difficulty level, which considers the distances trekked, altitude changes, and hours of hiking required each day. Some trails are also offered as horseback riding and trekking combinations, and afford travelers a greater range of options depending on preferences, experience, and health/fitness.

 

Destination Jyrgalan can provide trekking maps for solo trekkers — the trails are well-marked and the maps provide GPS and topographic data. However, we recommend using guides for the longer and more difficult trails. Contact Destination Jyrgalan to find the right guide for your trek. Our local guides are highly experienced in these mountains, ensuring that you have the maximum level of expertise and care during your journey. You can also hire pack horses and/or chefs to assist on longer treks. We are a full service destination, so don’t hesitate to get in touch about how we can help plan your trek.

Boz Uchuk Lakes Trek
Horse porters and a guide lead the way on the Boz Uchuk Lakes Trek.
Guiding Services for TreksPrice per Day in Kyrgyz SomPrice per Day in USD*
Guide (Russian speaking, some English) for treks, horseback riding, mountain biking2500 KGS/day, 1,300 KGS/half day$37/day, $19/half day
Guide and cooking services together (for 1-2 persons)3000 KGS/day$44/day
Cook (for 3+ persons)2500 KGS/day$37/day
Horse porter (up to 60 KG/2 trekkers)2000 KGS/day$29/day
Guide or cook assistants (5+ people)2200 KGS/day$32/day
Food in mountains (3 meals/day)750 KGS/day$11/day
Kitchen kit rental 300 KGS/day$4.50/day

* estimated USD, depends upon actual exchange rate at the time

Renting Trekking Gear

No matter your skill level or planned trek, you can rent the gear you need from Jyrgalan Village. From camping essentials (2-person tents, sleeping mats and bags, and cooking equipment) to trekking gear (jackets, walking poles, and more), you can easily rent gear from Destination Jyrgalan offices, located at Alakol-Jyrgalan Guesthouse. Gear rentals are offered independently from guided treks and tours, giving you the opportunity to rent exactly what you need.

Trekking Gear AvailablePrice per Day in Kyrgyz SomPrice per Day in USD*
Tent (sleeps 2 people)250 KGS/day$2.70/day
Sleeping bag170 KGS/day$2.70/day
Sleeping mat70 KGS/day$1/day
Trekking poles (set of 2)150 KGS/day$2.20/day
Jacket70 KGS/day$1/day
Gas stove with cylinder (200 gram) 400 KGS/day$6/day
Kitchen tent250 KGS/day$3.70/day
Steel plate, bowl, mug, spoon, fork20 KGS EACH/day$0.30 EACH/day
Steel saucepan / teapot100 KGS EACH/day$1.50 EACH/day

* estimated USD, depends upon actual exchange rate at the time

Trekking in Jyrgalan Valley
Under the stars during the Keskenkija Loop trek. (Photo Credit: Nomadasaurus)

Trekking and Border Permits

The only trek that requires a border permit is the Echkili Tash trek. You must provide for 5 to 12 days to secure your permits prior to your departure. Destination Jyrgalan can assist you with this process.

Note:  Most of the treks below -- whether day treks or multi-day treks - can also be done on horseback. Check out our horse trek tours or get in touch with Destination Jyrgalan for more information.

Turnaluu Kol Lake Panorama

An easy-going day hike to the remote alpine lake of Turnaluu-Kol, an area often inhabited by cranes. The return features views across and down into the Jyrgalan valley. An ideal way to immerse yourself in the mountains for those with limited time in the region.

Distance:

13.3 km 

Duration:

1 day

Season:

June - September

Max. Elevation:

2,862 m

Min. Elevation:

2,205 m

Difficulty:

Easy

Kok-Bel Waterfall

Set off from Jyrgalan to the east, past pasturing flocks of sheep and bands of horses across the mountain jailoo (high pasture). The journey continues through a narrow canyon, on to the 20-meter Kok-Bel Waterfall and completes the loop with fine views of Jyrgalan village.

Distance:

12 km

Duration:

1 day

Season:

May - October

Max. Elevation:

2,659 m

Min. Elevation:

2,251 m

Difficulty:

Easy

Eki-Chat Yurt Camp

A leisurely half-day trekking experience from Jyrgalan village to a friendly yurt camp at the junction of two valleys. Options are also available to stay overnight in a yurt with local shepherd family, returning to Jyrgalan the following day.

Distance:

16.6 km

Duration:

1 day

Season:

May - October

Max. Elevation:

2,621 m

Min. Elevation:

2,258 m

Difficulty:

Easy

Robber's Canyon

This 19 km loop serves as a prime option for those looking for an arduous day long trek which will return them to a comfortable setting in Jyrgalan village by nightfall. Highlights include engaging with summer shepherds at the popular grazing grounds of Eki Chat Valley (2610m), followed by a steep ascent through Uuru Tor (aka Robber's Canyon). Famous amongst locals as a preferred hiding spot by Kyrgyz horse thieves, this panoramic location allows you to take a moment to collect your breath and gather your courage before ascending to 3,117m and Emil's Peak. From the peak, enjoy vista views down the valley before traversing the ridge on return to the village.

Distance:

19 km

Duration:

1 day

Season:

June - September

Max. Elevation:

3,117 m

Min. Elevation:

2,265 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Kesenkiya Loop

A challenging but accessible multi-day hike that features three mountain passes and the rhythm and hospitality of Kyrgyz shepherds in the jailoo (high pasture) above 3,000 meters. Includes the possibility of a river fording adventure on the Tyup river (season depending). Head straight out your door in Jyrgalan and into one of Kyrgyzstan's favorite new ecotourism experiences.

Read more about this trek: The Ultimate Guide To The Keskenkija Loop Trek and Trekking in Kyrgyzstan: A How-To Guide For The Keskenkija Trail

Distance:

53 km

Duration:

3 nights/4 days

Season:

June - September

Max. Elevation:

3,375 m

Min. Elevation:

2,239 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Boz-Uchuk Lakes

A multi-day hike featuring a sunrise climb from Jyrgalan, panoramic views of the Terskey-Ala-too Range, two challenging passes and a handful of panoramic alpine lake side trips. Before setting out on this trek, inquire locally about the state of the river bridge at Tiorgen Ak-Suu.

Read more about this trek:  Breaking Trail on the Boz Uchuk Lakes Trek in Jyrgalan Valley and The Boz Uchuk Lakes Trek in Jyrgalan Valley: A Beginner’s Guide

Distance:

46 km

Duration:

2 nights/3 days

Season:

June - September

Max. Elevation:

3,471 m

Min. Elevation:

2,124 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Ailampa Glacier Loop

A landscape and culture experience that follows a winding river up the Ailampa Valley — passing yurt camps, nomadic herders and their grazing animals along the way. Featuring the panoramic blue waters of Ailampa Lake and Ailampa Glacier, it’s one of Jyrgalan’s most picturesque routes. (Photo credit: Snell Media)

Distance:

41 km

Duration:

2 nights/3 days

Season:

June - September

Max. Elevation:

3,530 m

Min. Elevation:

2,251 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Glacier Valleys (Jergez – Ak-Suu)

Ascend from Jergez, one of Kyrgyzstan’s most attractive yurt camps, through peak-ringed valleys and past two mountains lakes to the Ailanysh Pass. Top the experience off with views of Tashtambek Tör Bashi Peak (4,463 m), before returning along the Ak-Suu Almaluu valley and enjoying the sweeping glaciers of the Ak-Suu wall.

Distance:

47 km

Duration:

2 nights/3 days

Season:

July - September

Max. Elevation:

3,671 m

Min. Elevation:

1,875 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Bulak Heights

A mid-to-high alpine adventure featuring nights under the Terim-Tor Bulak Pass and a side trip to a trio of alpine lakes. After returning to Jyrgalan, continue the journey by linking to the Boz-Uchuk Lakes trek.

Distance:

51 km

Duration:

2 nights/3 days

Season:

June - September

Max. Elevation:

3,441 m

Min. Elevation:

2,266 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Ak-Suu Transverse (“The Double-J”)

A peak adventure experience encompassing the entire Ak-Suu region. Begin near the Kazakh border in Jyrgalan and finish just beyond Karakol amidst the red rock canyons of Jeti-Oguz. En route, enjoy a host of mountain panoramas, including several glaciers, mountain lakes and pristine alpine valleys. The crown jewel of Eastern Kyrgyzstan’s trekking offer.

Read more about this trek: An Excessively Detailed Guide To The Ak-Suu Traverse Trek and How to Hike in Kyrgyzstan

Distance:

115 km

Duration:

6 nights/7 days

Season:

June - October

Max. Elevation:

3,886 m

Min. Elevation:

2,034 m

Difficulty:

Medium

Echkili-Tash (“Triple Pass Trek”)

A rugged trek across three alpine passes of the Tian Shan. Navigate high mountain pastures, Sary-Jaz valley and Jyrgalan and Ashu-Tor passes. The adventure tops out with a finish that includes Echkili-Tash and a scramble leading to views of Peak Khan-Tengri, the third-highest peak in Kyrgyzstan at 7,010 meters.

Distance:

63 km

Duration:

4 nights/5 days

Season:

July - September

Max. Elevation:

3,723 m

Min. Elevation:

2,260 m

Difficulty:

Medium/Difficult

Other Recommended Treks in Kyrgyzstan

  • For even more stunning treks and landscapes in the area, check out Karakol and its wide selection of treks in the Tian Shan mountains just outside the city.
  • A few hours away on the South Shore of Lake Issyk-Kul you can find day and mutli-day treks, that often include views of both the lake and the mountains.
  • If you are traveling to the south of Kyrgyzstan and love other worldly landscapes, alpine lakes and undiscovered trails, then check out the day or multi-day treks in the Pamir-Alay Mountains.

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