The best one-day hikes in Southern Kyrgyzstan
In many ways, the South of Kyrgyzstan is very different from the North. It’s not just because of the culture, population and language, but also because of the landscapes that strongly contrast with those of the North. A trip to Kyrgyzstan is a great opportunity to discover very different worlds and to be amazed by the diversity of landscapes… Between canyons, forests, lakes, cliffs, mountains, and pastures, you’ll have a great choice of where to go to for a one-day hike to enjoy the calm of nature. Here are a few of our favorite one-day hikes in the South of Kyrgyzstan:
In the Naryn region
If you think you can hike almost anywhere in Kyrgyzstan, you’ve guessed right! The region of Naryn isn’t an exception to this rule, with its high multicolored mountains, its splendid jailoos (summer pastures) like Son Kul and Tash Rabat and its dry landscape. Here are our favorite hikes in this region:
The Tash Rabat Valley, at the border with China, is known for its caravanserai inherited from the Silk Road. But it’s a great destination mostly for its very wild nature. Tash Rabat is in an isolated, little explored region of Kyrgyzstan and demonstrates some of the country’s prettiest landscapes. You’ll be amazed by its virgin mountains, green in the summer and yellow in the autumn, its herds of yaks and horses, its hundreds of marmots… Enjoy this spectacular nature by going for a hike. If you’re a good hiker, one of the best trails is the one that leads to the Chatyr Kol Lake (count around 9 hours to and back).
Approximately 40km away from the city of Naryn, the valley of Eki Naryn offers all the best of the region: barley fields, endless forests, flower meadows, red cliffs, and of course the beautiful Naryn River. Visiting this valley is also a great opportunity to discover small traditional villages, yurt camps and the local culture.
In the Jalal Abad region
In the south of Kyrgyzstan, where landscape strongly contrasts with the rest of the territory, there’s nothing better than a hike in the Arslanbob forest to travel to another world…
Don’t miss out on Arslanbob while traveling through Kyrgyzstan. This small village nestled high in the mountains and on a slope looks like no other in the country, and even its population is more than 90% Uzbek. In addition to this cultural diversity, Arslanbob offer splendid and very unique landscapes. It shelters the largest walnut forest in the world! This picturesque place is ideal for a one-day hike. You’ll be able to discover the forest, two waterfalls, including Kyrgyzstan’s highest, and many sacred places.
The Sary Chelek Natural Reserve is a wonderful place in Kyrgyzstan. A real paradise for trekkers and nature lovers, Sary Chelek was closed to the public under the Soviet Union and still today remains one of the wildest and most isolated places in the country. A huge pine forest nestled in the mountains shelters seven lakes. Their turquoise color is just breath-taking! Although you’ll have to spend a few days there to enjoy the whole park, you can also go for a one-day hike to the main lake.
In the Osh region
Southern Kyrgyzstan has some of the tallest mountains of the country, including Peak Lenin (7134m).
The Alay and Pamir mountain ranges are fabulous with their green and alpine landscapes. Very isolated, this region of Kyrgyzstan is little visited because it’s hard to access. But it’s without doubt one of the best places to travel to. The Alay counts only a few very small and traditional villages as well as nomad shepherds living in yurts. It’s a great place to enjoy nature and observe animals, and, of course, to go on hikes. You can hike around the base camp of Peak Lenin to admire the view on this giant white pyramid, or to the magnificent Koshkol lakes.