Hiking to Lake Ala Kul in Kyrgyzstan. How to hike to Lake Ala Kul from Karakol. A beautiful 3 day hike, or do it in 2 days.
Kyrgyzstan is perfect for hiking. The 3 day hike to lake Ala Kul was definitely my highlight in Kyrgyzstan.
Almost 90% of the country lies above 1500m altitude. This is lake Ala Kul at 3560m, the highlight of my 3-day hike in the Tien Shan mountain range
Dangerous weather change at lake Ala kul
During my drone flight at the summit, I got some electric shocks from the remote controller in my hands.
The connection with the drone got lost for a bit. When I got more electric shocks, I decided to get the drone down.
A few minutes later a strange smell pulled up. It started raining, in the distance we heard thunder and saw some lightning. Then out of a sudden we got electric shocks in our feet! You could hear it crackle!
We both decided to hike down as this was quite scary. I never went down so quickly.
With my video camera I tried to capture the storm, but the electric shocks started to go through my hand. Not a good idea.
During the scary and steep hike down it was raining crazily and the thunder was threatening, but luckily the shocks disappeared.
What caused the shocks? No idea. Something with the thunderstorm I guess. It was scary!
How to hike to lake Ala kul from Karakol
Karakol is a good place to start for your hike to Ala kul. But how to hike to lake Ala kul from Karakol. Well it’s not that difficult, but the hike is quite tough.
Hike to Ala Kul facts:
- Highest point: 3600m
- Lowest point: 1670m
- Total Elevation Gain: 1930m
- Total Elevation Loss: 1930m
- Level: medium/hard
- Distance: 56km
- Days: 2 or 3 (2 for the experienced hikers)
Day 1 – Start with a bus and hike to camp 1
From Karakol take bus nr. 101 and get off at the final stop. This is where you pay entrance for the national park.
Entrance fee national park Ala Kul: 250kgs per person and 150kgs per tent.
Use the application MAPS.ME to navigate yourself. Just enter lake Alakul as your destination first. If you start hiking around 9am, walk relaxed, take photos and breaks, then you’ll arrive around 3 or 4pm at the first camp.
Yurt camp nr. 1
This camp is super simple. The Yurts are low quality (holes in it), but the sleeping bags are warm and the food is good. Including breakfast, dinner and sleeping you’ll pay around 15 dollar per person.
This camp is located after you cross the river for the second time (over the second bridge), then it’s about an hour climbing before you reach the camp.
Day 2 – Camp nr.1 to Altyn-Arashan
Start around 8am in the morning, hike two hours up to the lake. Enjoy the lake and eat some snacks before you’ll conquer the high pass behind the lake. From this pass the views are again amazing.
After you reached the lake, you can change your MAPS.ME destination to Altyn-Arashan.
If you hike relaxed, take photos and breaks then you’ll probably arrive around 6pm in Altyn-Arashan. There are several guesthouses. Even some with hotsprings, which is great after two days of hiking.
The guesthouses are around 10 dollar per night. Hotspring is around 2 dollars for half an hour. Food
Day 3 – Easy walk to Ak-Suu
The last day is the most easy one. It’s about 3 hours descending to Ak-Suu. That’s the village you can set as destination in MAPS.ME.
From Ak-Suu you’ll easiliy catch a bus to Karakol.
Optional: Ala Kul hike in two days without a tent
If you want to do the hike in two days instead of three. Then you can decide to hike further directly to the lake on day 1. At the lake you can rent tents and sleeping bags (walk to the middle of the lake).
The second day you’ll go on to Altyn-Arashan and end your hike in Ak-Suu. From there you can easily to a bus bag to Karakol.
Hike Ala Kul with a tent
You can also decide to hike Ala Kul with your own tent. This will definitely keep if cheaper. You can pitch you tent pretty much everywhere on the track.
Make sure to bring warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag. Also bring enough food. At the above mentioned first camp you’ll find a lot of other tents. Optionally you can pitch your tent for free and eat in the camp.