Trails Near Almaty

21st April 2024

13 Best Hiking Trails Near Almaty: Uncover Spectacular Hikes (2023)

If you are looking for the best hiking trails near Almaty, you’ve come to the right place.

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we’ve uncovered the hidden gems and breathtaking routes that’ll leave you in awe.

Almaty is a paradise for hikers, and in this blog post, I can’t wait to spill the beans on the most epic trails that will take you on an unforgettable journey through nature’s wonderland.

So, buckle up, fellow wanderers, as we embark on a hiking escapade like no other!

Get ready to experience the beauty of Kazakhstan in its purest form and create memories that will stay with you forever. Let’s hit the trails and let the adventure begin!

Best Hiking Trails Near Almaty

1. Kokzhailau Camp Trail

The Kokzhailau Camp Trail is a mesmerizing hiking adventure located near Almaty, Kazakhstan. This scenic trail offers nature enthusiasts a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the region.

The journey begins at the foothills of the Zailiysky Alatau mountains and gradually ascends to the Kokzhailau campsite, situated at an impressive altitude.

As hikers traverse this trail, they are greeted with a tapestry of lush alpine meadows, fragrant wildflowers, and panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. The trail’s varying terrain caters to both novice and experienced trekkers, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

At Kokzhailau camp, adventurers can savor the simplicity of life in nature while reveling in the company of like-minded individuals. The campsite offers basic amenities, allowing visitors to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and find solace in the tranquility of the wilderness.

The Kokzhailau Camp Trail is more than just a hike; it’s an opportunity to forge unforgettable memories and reconnect with the natural world.

Whether you seek solitude or camaraderie, this trail promises an unforgettable experience that will undoubtedly leave you yearning for more adventures in the heart of Kazakhstan’s stunning landscapes.

  • Length: 8.5 KM
  • Duration: 4 Hours

2. Akbulak to Kok Jailau

The Akbulak to Kok Jailau hiking trail is a hidden gem nestled in the picturesque mountains surrounding Almaty, Kazakhstan. This exhilarating trek offers intrepid explorers a chance to bask in the untouched splendor of nature while traversing a route less traveled.

The journey commences in the quaint village of Akbulak, where hikers are immediately captivated by the warm hospitality of the locals and the quaint charm of the rural setting. From there, the trail meanders through dense forests, revealing captivating vistas at every turn.

As hikers ascend higher into the mountains, the scenery transforms into a breathtaking display of alpine meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers and crystal-clear streams gushing through the valleys.

The trail presents a moderate challenge, requiring a decent level of fitness but offering rewards that surpass every ounce of effort exerted.

Arriving at the Kok Jailau destination, adventurers are greeted with an awe-inspiring panorama of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The serenity of this remote location, far away from the distractions of modern life, allows visitors to savor the beauty of the present moment and foster a deeper connection with nature.

The Akbulak to Kok Jailau trail is a must-visit for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure that promises unforgettable encounters with the untouched wilderness of Kazakhstan.

  • Length: 14.8 KM
  • Duration: 6 Hours

3. Medeo – Furmanov Swing

Nestled amid the scenic wonders of Almaty, Kazakhstan, the Medeo to Furmanov Swing trail offers an enchanting fusion of natural beauty and historical significance.

This captivating hike takes you on a journey through time, where the remnants of the past blend harmoniously with the breathtaking landscapes.

The adventure commences at Medeo, renowned for its world-famous ice-skating rink and surrounded by the imposing Zailiysky Alatau mountains.

As hikers make their way along the trail, they encounter historical landmarks and ancient relics, including the revered Zenkov Cathedral and the majestic Ascension Cathedral.

The trail also leads to the iconic Furmanov Swing, a beloved spot where locals and visitors alike come to revel in the sweeping vistas of the city below.

The swing, perched on the edge of a cliff, provides an adrenaline-pumping experience as one swings high above the landscape, creating cherished memories and unforgettable photographs.

Beyond the historical allure, the Medeo to Furmanov Swing trail immerses hikers in the region’s diverse flora and fauna.

The journey unfolds through lush forests, tranquil streams, and charming meadows, offering glimpses of local wildlife and a respite from the stresses of urban life.

Overall, this trail is a delightful blend of history, nature, and adventure, allowing hikers to embrace the best of both worlds in one unforgettable trek.

  • Length: 6.8 KM
  • Duration: 3 Hours 38 Min.

4. Kolsai Lake 1

Prepare to be enchanted by the ethereal beauty of Kolsai Lake 1, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the Tian Shan mountains near Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Known as the “Pearl of the Northern Tien Shan,” this picturesque lake beckons adventurers with its pristine waters and awe-inspiring alpine surroundings.

The journey to Kolsai Lake 1 commences with a gentle hike through dense fir forests, where the air is filled with the soothing scent of pine.

As hikers ascend, the trees give way to stunning meadows adorned with a vibrant tapestry of wildflowers, inviting nature lovers to pause and take in the serene landscape.

The trail continues its ascent, and soon the shimmering blue waters of Kolsai Lake 1 come into view, reflecting the majestic snow-capped peaks that stand guard over its tranquil beauty.

The lake’s surface mirrors the surrounding mountains, creating a surreal and breathtaking sight that captures the imagination.

Visitors to Kolsai Lake 1 can indulge in a variety of activities, from picnicking by the water’s edge to fishing in its crystal-clear depths.

Adventurers looking for a more challenging hike can explore the trails leading to higher-altitude lakes, such as Kolsai Lake 2 and Kolsai Lake 3, where the vistas are even more awe-inspiring.

For those seeking an unforgettable escape into the lap of nature, Kolsai Lake 1 offers a serene sanctuary that nourishes the soul and leaves an indelible mark on every traveler lucky enough to experience its splendor.

  • Length: 14.8 KM
  • Duration: 5 Hours 31 Min.

5. Kolsai Lake 2

Hidden amidst the captivating landscapes of the Tian Shan mountains near Almaty, Kazakhstan, Kolsai Lake 2 awaits to transport hikers into a realm of ethereal beauty and unspoiled serenity.

The journey to this mesmerizing destination is an adventure in itself, filled with breathtaking vistas and nature’s enchanting surprises.

The trek to Kolsai Lake 2 commences at the base of the mountains, where hikers are surrounded by lush meadows and the invigorating scent of alpine flora. As the trail ascends, the views become increasingly captivating, offering glimpses of distant peaks and valleys that stretch beyond the horizon.

Arriving at Kolsai Lake 2 is a moment of pure wonder. The turquoise waters of the lake reflect the majesty of the surrounding mountains, creating a scene that seems straight out of a fairy tale.

This idyllic setting beckons travelers to pause and bask in the tranquility, savoring the sights and sounds of nature at its finest.

Adventurers can indulge in various activities at Kolsai Lake 2, from leisurely walks around the water’s edge to capturing the breathtaking scenery through photography.

For the more adventurous souls, the trail continues to the third lake, Kolsai Lake 3, offering even more extraordinary panoramas and rewarding challenges.

  • Length: 25.6 KM
  • Duration: 9 Hours 37 Min

6. Boutakovski Vodopad

Boutakovski Vodopad, also known as Boutak Waterfall, is a hidden gem nestled amidst the captivating landscapes near Almaty.

The name “Vodopad” translates to “waterfall” in the local Kazakh language, and this natural wonder lives up to its name, offering a breathtaking display of cascading water.

As you embark on the trek to reach the falls, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

The trail leading to Boutakovski Vodopad is a moderate-to-challenging hike, making it an ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts seeking a rewarding challenge.

The journey will take you through dense forests and along the gushing Boutak River, teasing you with the enchanting sound of the approaching waterfall.

Upon reaching the falls, prepare to be mesmerized by the sheer beauty and raw power of nature. The water plunges from a considerable height, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that is a true feast for the eyes.

Many visitors find the experience of standing in the spray of the waterfall invigorating, offering a refreshing escape from the bustling city life of Almaty.

  • Length: 4.3 KM
  • Duration: 2 Hours

7. Mynjylky Plateau

The Mynjylky Plateau, a captivating expanse of highland beauty, awaits hikers seeking an otherworldly adventure near Almaty. Nestled amidst the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains, this unique geological formation is a feast for the senses.

The plateau’s name translates to “singing dunes” in Kazakh, alluding to the mystical sounds produced when the winds dance through the sand.

Hiking through the Mynjylky Plateau is a surreal experience. The undulating landscape, sculpted by millennia of wind erosion, showcases a tapestry of colors and textures.

As you traverse the sandy trails, you’ll encounter breathtaking vistas of rolling hills and distant peaks. The silence and vastness of the plateau create an atmosphere of serenity and introspection.

Explorers will delight in the opportunity to witness unique flora and fauna that have adapted to this arid, yet enchanting, environment. Spring brings a burst of colors when wildflowers bloom, creating a stunning contrast against the golden sands.

As the sun sets over the plateau, the changing hues of the sky create a painterly canvas that leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those who venture here. Mynjylky Plateau beckons adventurers seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience and a connection to nature’s timeless beauty.

  • Length: 11.7 KM
  • Duration: 5 Hours 12 Min.

8. Terra Field – Maiden Tears Falls

Terra Field, also known as Maiden Tears Falls, is a picturesque natural wonder tucked away in the tranquil vicinity of Almaty.

This stunning destination is a testament to the diversity of Kazakhstan’s landscapes, showcasing a breathtaking fusion of cascading waterfalls and verdant meadows.

The journey to Terra Field begins with an invigorating hike, leading you through lush forests and blooming meadows.

The trail is adorned with wildflowers during the spring and summer months, painting the landscape with vibrant colors and infusing the air with a sweet fragrance.

As you approach the Maiden Tears Falls, the sound of gushing water grows louder, building anticipation for the awe-inspiring sight that awaits.

Upon arrival, you’ll be captivated by the sight of multiple cascades, forming a beautiful curtain of water that gracefully descends into a crystal-clear pool below.

The name “Maiden Tears Falls” is derived from a local legend, adding an enchanting touch to the natural spectacle.

According to the tale, the waterfalls were formed from the tears of a lovelorn maiden, creating a poignant and romantic allure to the place.

Terra Field and the Maiden Tears Falls offer a serene retreat from the city, inviting nature enthusiasts and romantics alike to immerse themselves in the beauty of this idyllic escape.

  • Length: 3.2 KM
  • Time: 1 Hour 23 Min.

9. Charyn Canyon – Valley of Castles

Charyn Canyon, often referred to as the “Valley of Castles,” is a geological wonder that will transport you to a world of unparalleled grandeur.

Located a short distance from Almaty, this awe-inspiring destination showcases the power of nature’s artistic prowess, sculpting striking rock formations that resemble ancient fortresses.

The journey to Charyn Canyon takes you through a diverse landscape, from the city’s outskirts to vast plains and eventually, the awe-inspiring canyon.

As you approach the canyon’s edge, you’ll be met with an astonishing sight: deep ravines, steep cliffs, and towering rock spires, all formed over millions of years by the Charyn River.

The Valley of Castles is a photographer’s dream, with the interplay of light and shadows creating dramatic scenes at different times of the day. The colors of the rocks shift subtly, painting the landscape in various hues, from warm oranges to deep reds.

Hikers exploring Charyn Canyon will encounter a variety of trails catering to different levels of experience. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll along the rim or a more challenging descent into the canyon depths, the experience promises to be unforgettable.

As you stand amidst the majestic rock formations, you’ll feel humbled by the forces of nature that shaped this awe-inspiring landscape.

Charyn Canyon’s “Valley of Castles” is a testament to the earth’s raw beauty, and visiting this natural wonder is a journey into the heart of Kazakhstan’s breathtaking landscapes.

  • Length: 5.6 KM
  • Duration: 1 Hour 53 Min.

10. Shymbulak Peak Panorama Trail

The Shymbulak Peak Panorama Trail offers an unforgettable alpine adventure, providing hikers with panoramic views of the stunning Zailiysky Alatau Mountain Range.

Situated within easy reach of Almaty, this trail is a must-visit for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

The ascent to Shymbulak Peak begins at the foothills, where verdant forests and alpine meadows greet explorers with a burst of natural beauty.

The trail gradually ascends, guiding hikers through diverse terrain, ranging from dense woodlands to rocky outcrops.

As you trek higher, the air becomes crisper, and the scenery transforms into an alpine wonderland. Towering peaks adorned with snow and glaciers create a striking contrast against the azure sky.

This breathtaking landscape attracts adventure enthusiasts, mountaineers, and photographers from all corners of the world.

Upon reaching Shymbulak Peak, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of the surrounding mountains. The sense of achievement, combined with the awe-inspiring views, is an experience that leaves an indelible mark on every visitor.

Shymbulak Peak Panorama Trail offers not only a physical challenge but also an emotional journey as you connect with the untamed beauty of the Kazakh wilderness.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time adventurer, this trail promises an unforgettable and exhilarating escape into the heart of nature’s grandeur.

  • Length: 2.9 KM
  • Duration: 1 Hour 40 Min.

11. Gorelnik Gorge

Gorelnik Gorge is a mesmerizing natural wonder tucked away in the picturesque landscapes near Almaty. This hiking trail promises an unforgettable adventure for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.

The gorge is renowned for its rugged terrain, lush vegetation, and imposing cliffs that tower over crystal-clear streams.

As you venture deeper into the gorge, the trail presents a harmonious blend of challenging ascents and tranquil valleys, offering a diverse experience for hikers of all levels.

The journey through Gorelnik Gorge is a feast for the senses, with the sights and sounds of native wildlife adding to the allure.

The trail leads through dense forests of pine and fir, opening up to breathtaking panoramic views at various vantage points. Photographers will find themselves captivated by the ever-changing vistas, making it a perfect spot to capture some truly stunning moments.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking the thrill of conquering steep cliffs or a soul in search of serenity amidst nature’s wonders, Gorelnik Gorge beckons you with its raw beauty and untamed allure.

Embrace the spirit of adventure and immerse yourself in the enchanting wilderness of this unique hiking trail near Almaty.

  • Length: 13.5 KM
  • Duration: 7 Hours

12. Big Almaty Lake Loop

Situated amidst the majestic Tian Shan Mountains, the Big Almaty Lake Loop offers a captivating journey through some of the region’s most breathtaking scenery.

This popular hiking trail presents a delightful fusion of mountainous grandeur and serene lake views, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and avid photographers.

The adventure begins with a moderate hike through lush alpine meadows, where vibrant wildflowers carpet the landscape, creating a kaleidoscope of colors.

As the trail ascends, the air becomes crisp, and the landscape transforms into a rugged yet awe-inspiring panorama of snow-capped peaks and rocky ridges.

The pièce de résistance of the Big Almaty Lake Loop is, of course, the stunning glacial lake itself. The shimmering turquoise waters reflect the surrounding peaks, casting a magical spell on all who visit.

This jewel-like oasis provides the perfect backdrop for a well-deserved rest and a moment of contemplation.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-timer, the Big Almaty Lake Loop promises an unforgettable experience.

It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of Kazakhstan’s wilderness and connect with nature in a profound and meaningful way.

  • Length: 10.3 KM
  • Duration: 4 Hours 20 Min.

13. Kairak Waterfall Trail

Nature enthusiasts seeking a delightful escapade need to look no further than the Kairak Waterfall Trail.

This enchanting hiking route is a hidden gem in the vicinity of Almaty, promising a captivating journey through verdant landscapes, culminating in the breathtaking spectacle of a cascading waterfall.

The trail starts with a gentle meander through picturesque woodlands, where the symphony of birdsong provides a harmonious soundtrack to your adventure.

As you continue, the terrain gradually becomes more undulating, adding a touch of excitement to the hike.

The highlight of the Kairak Waterfall Trail, undoubtedly, is the stunning waterfall that awaits at the trail’s end.

Fed by melting snow from the surrounding peaks, the waterfall’s pristine waters tumble gracefully into a crystal-clear pool below, inviting weary hikers to refresh themselves in its cool embrace.

The trail offers ample opportunities for nature enthusiasts to embrace their surroundings fully. From spotting native wildlife to discovering the vibrant flora that adorns the landscape, every step on this trail promises an enchanting experience.

  • Length: 8.4 KM
  • Duration: 2 Hours 49 Min.

Conclusion – Best Hiking Trails Near Almaty

In conclusion, Almaty’s hiking trails offer an extraordinary blend of adventure and serenity.

From exploring Kokzhailau Camp Trail’s lush meadows to witnessing the breathtaking Charyn Canyon “Valley of Castles,” each trek reveals the untamed beauty of Kazakhstan’s landscapes.

Immerse yourself in nature’s wonders, embark on unforgettable escapades, and create cherished memories in Almaty’s captivating wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-timer, these trails promise a journey of a lifetime.

So lace up your hiking boots, embrace the spirit of exploration, and let the magic of Almaty’s nature unfold before you.

Discover the hidden gems, marvel at the panoramic vistas, and savor the solitude or camaraderie offered by these remarkable trails.

Almaty’s allure lies not only in its captivating cityscape but also in the untouched splendor of its hiking havens.

Embrace the call of the wild and embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Kazakhstan’s most mesmerizing landscapes.

FAQs – Best Hiking Trails Near Almaty

What are the best hiking trails near Almaty?

Almaty offers a treasure trove of hiking trails for all adventurers. From the Kokzhailau Camp Trail’s breathtaking beauty to the unique geological wonder of Charyn Canyon “Valley of Castles,” there’s something for everyone to explore.

Are these hiking trails suitable for all experience levels?

Absolutely! Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a newbie, Almaty’s trails cater to all. Choose from moderate hikes like the Akbulak to Kok Jailau or challenge yourself with the Shymbulak Peak Panorama Trail. Options aplenty!

Which trail offers the best alpine views?

For jaw-dropping panoramas, the Big Almaty Lake Loop is a winner. Surrounded by Tian Shan Mountains, you’ll be mesmerized by the glacial lake’s turquoise waters reflecting the snow-capped peaks.

What’s the unique feature of Kolsai Lake trails?

Kolsai Lake 1 and 2 are like stepping into a fairy tale. These lakes, known as the “Pearl of the Northern Tien Shan,” boast enchanting turquoise waters nestled amidst alpine meadows and vibrant wildflowers.

Can you recommend a less-traveled trail for an off-the-beaten-path experience?

Absolutely! The Akbulak to Kok Jailau hike offers a hidden gem experience. Traverse the quaint village of Akbulak and venture through dense forests, uncovering captivating vistas and tranquil streams.

Which trail is perfect for capturing Instagram-worthy photos?

If you’re an avid photographer, Medeo to Furmanov Swing has got you covered. Discover historical landmarks, ancient relics, and, of course, the iconic Furmanov Swing with stunning cityscape views.

Do any trails offer a mix of adventure and serenity?

You bet! Gorelnik Gorge promises both raw beauty and untamed allure. Venture through dense forests, conquer challenging ascents, and reward yourself with panoramic views and moments of tranquility.
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