Ala-Kul (also Alakul, Ala-Kel, Ala-Kel) is a large alpine lake of glacial origin, located in the eastern part of the Terskey-Ala-Too ridge on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, near the city of Karakol. The lake is located in a vast basin between the Karakol and Altyn-Arashan gorges and has no flow. The name of the lake is translated from Kyrgyz as “motley lake” and it perfectly corresponds to this place. Ala-Kul really impresses with its colors: bright turquoise water juxtaposes with snow that does not melt even in summer, green grass and mountain flowers of various shades.
The lake is located really high — at 3500 meters above sea level. Of all the high-altitude lakes of Kyrgyzstan, Ala-Kul is perhaps the most beloved among tourists, due to its extraordinary beauty and large size. The size of the lake, by the way, is almost 3 kilometers long and 500 meters wide. The total length of the coastline is 7 kilometers.
In addition to the lake itself, tourists are very attracted by the road to it — it passes through the picturesque Karakol gorge, which pleases tourists with majestic views of mountains and Tien Shan forests. You can also get to the lake through the picturesque Altyn-Arashan gorge, but for this you will need to overcome the Ala-Kul pass (altitude 3900 meters). Of course, the circular route option is also very popular, with entry into one gorge and exit from another. Ala-Kul is one of the most inaccessible sights of Kyrgyzstan. Despite the fact that the lake is very close to the city of Karakol, it is very difficult to get to it by car. First of all, this is due to the poor quality of roads in local gorges — it is possible to drive there only on a prepared SUV with an experienced driver.
Another option is to walk all the way. The path from the entrance to the Karakol gorge to the lake itself is about 30 kilometers. The same applies to the Altyn-Arashan gorge. An interesting option for a multi-day hike.
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