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Day hikes at Sary-Chelek

A day trip to the lake is all too brief but it is possible to make a short circular hike close to the lake that passes some of the smaller lakes in the reserve and gives a good flavour of the various landscapes contained by the park.

Starting at the car park by the lake, head right from the keeper's house to follow a track that leads gently uphill to the east past some beehives in a meadow. Climb to the top for a great view of the lake then return to the track that skirts around the back of the hill and descends slightly to a meadow, before climbing again, passing some dead trees on the left to follow a ridge above an eastern inlet of the lake. The path goes gently uphill through meadows that have large, scattered boulders and then continues towards an enormous scree slope and corrie on the other side of the valley and descends almost to the valley floor.

Follow this until, just beneath the scree slope, the path, which is quite well- defined at this point, veers to the right (south) and downhill. The path descends to a meadow and then leads north again across meadows and around a spur, and then east following a ridge. After approximately 2 hours' walking a small lake (Iyri-Kol) conies into view and the path leads along its shore to the left. At the end there is an orchard and a 4x4 track. Follow this to the right to reach a much smaller lake that is more like a pond.

At the southern end of this lake there is a small path that climbs off right from the main track. Climb this up to a steep wooded ridge then continue along the path on the east side of the ridge, which rises and falls with superb mountain views, before descending more steeply through hay meadows. Lake Sary-Chelek suddenly comes into view again and then, shortly afterwards, another lake by the road to Arkyt (Kula-Kol) is viewed. The path stays high above the lake before eventually descending to a small jailoo and honey farm. The path continues above the north side of the lake before descending to the road by a bridge just to the south of the starting point. The entire walk should take between 3,5-4 hours in total.