Son Kul Lake is a large alpine lake located in the Tian Shan mountain range, north-west of Naryn.
It’s a great destination go hiking or horseback riding and to discover breathtaking landscapes, inhabited only by a few Kyrgyz nomads who come with their herds in the sunny days.
Discovering the Son Kul Lake
The Son Kul Lake is a high-mountain lake located at around 3,000 m (9,842 ft) above sea level. It stretches over 275 km² with a maximum depth of 15 m (49 ft).
Frozen for more than half of the year, the lake and its arid surroundings welcome nomadic shepherds and their herds only during the warm season, usually from June to September.
Son Kul Lake is encircled by mountains with peaks exceeding 4,000 m (13,123 ft). The landscape is astonishing and its colors vary depending on the season: in spring, you will be welcomed by various tones of green; in summer, the valley is white with edelweiss flowers; and in autumn it is dry with orange, yellow and red colors. The region is home to many bird species, as well as mammals such as wolves, foxes, marmots and snow leopards.
Hiking to Son Kul lake
Son Kul is a must-see in Kyrgyzstan. Surrounded by mountains and great plains where herds graze, the lake has a stunning blue color that sometimes reflects the snow-covered mountains in the background. Devoid of any urbanization, time seems to stop in Son Kul.
It does not only offer a beautiful panorama and a look inside nomad life, but is also a great destination for hikers. In the summer, nomads install their yurts and a yurt camp to host tourists. You can spend a few days with them, to understand the shepherd way of life, help them in their chores, get to know Kyrgyz culture and meet other guests.
The night is always clear and starry; you’ll even be able to observe the Milky Way. There’s no electricity in Son Kul and nomads turn off generators at night, so nothing will come between you and nature.
Son Kul is a mysterious place, where you can witness four seasons in one day, rainbows and snowfalls… You can go for a short hike on the lake shore, or climb up on a mountain to have a beautiful view of the valley. Some families may invite you for a boat ride on the lake. You can of course rent horses to explore the area as well.
How to go there?
You can leave for Lake Son Kul from Naryn, Kochkor or Kyzyl Oi. You can reach the lake on foot or on horseback. The trail is just as splendid as the lake yourself and worth all of your efforts. You can also get there by car during the summer.