Big Almaty Lake

Big Almaty Lake is one of the most beautiful places near Almaty located in the mountains on height of 2500m.

Location description:

Big Almaty Lake (BAL) is located in Zailiyskiy Alatau mountain ridge (part of Tian Shan mountains) 15 km south of Almaty city on the height of 2500m. The lake attracts many local citizens and coming guests by its natural beauty. The size of the lake is about 1,5 km by 1 km with depth of 40m. The water level can significantly change depending on supply of water to the lake from melting glaciers. The lake is well known for its unique color of water which changes through the year from light green to turquoise-blue. During the winter lake is completely frozen and ice may persist until mid-May. The temperature of water doesn’t exceed 8°C even during summer. There are several mountain peaks of more than 4000m surrounding the lake. Lake is used to supply city with drinking water and it is prohibited to come close to water.

Trip description:

Preferable season for the trip to Big Almaty Lake: MAY – OCTOBER. Total tour time is about 4-6 hours.

See the interactive map of the tour below with waypoints described below.

  1. On agreed time you will be picked up at your place of stay in the city. Usually it’s preferable to start trip in the morning (8:00-10:00) during working days, so that there will less cars on the roads and at destination point. The driving time to the lake without stops usually takes 1-1.5 hours from the city. The road out of the city goes up into the mountains (to the south-east) along the Big Almaty Valley for about 25 km.
  2. After passing the entrance to Ile-Alatau National park you will find yourself surrounded with steep hills covered with multiple trees. The road will continue going along the river.
  3. Further on the road will split going forward to Alma-Arasan valley and LEFT(across the bridge) to Big Almaty Valley. There is a water spring where people come to take clean water.
  4. Trip continues along multiple small valleys going sideways. At one of such valleys a small stop can be done to make several photos with bears statues and look at national urt houses.
  5. At the last 10 km of the way, after bridge cross of Big Almatinka River the road starts steep climb with multiple serpentines. Along the road you can see nice looking birch grove on the hill.
  6. Later on the road will pass high mountain Alpine Rose hotel. A small hike to Moon Glade-small waterfall or walk trail to Lake can be performed from it.
  7. The first stop at destination place is at the footsteps of the lake (2500 m), so the photos can be done from the dam.
  8. The second stop is kilometer further along the road with good observation point which attracts many people.
  9. In case of going forward the border control post to be passed, where you will need to show your passports. The road will go up for additional 7 km and pass Astronomical Observatory
  10. The final destination point is an old Space Research station on Zhosalykezen pass (3300 m). From this point many people start their trails to Turist (3954 m) and Big Almaty Peaks (3682 m).

On your desire small hike can be done aside of the road at any stop point. On the way back  stop for a lunch can be done in one of the multiple cafes along the road in the valley providing tasty food for decent price. For some tourist hunter birds farm “Sunkar” as well as First President Park can be an interesting place to visit on the way back to the city.

Interactive map tips:  Use button on the up-left corner to customize visible layers. Click on any icon on the map to get more information about the place – linked to google maps.  

Prepare yourself:

Weather in mountains can change rapidly, so check weather conditions in advance to take appropriate clothes and shoes. Temperature is usually 5-10°C lower than in the city. General recommendations for comfortable and safe journey:

  • Passports – necessary to cross boundary post on the way to Astronomical Observatory
  • Hat or cap – to protect yourself from sunstroke in summer / cool wind in autumn and spring
  • Sun glasses –  to keep your eyes safe from bright sunlight
  • Sun protection cream – more exposure to ultraviolet higher in the mountains
  • Light windproof jacket – for sudden cool wind
  • Sport shoes – good sports boots are recommended for better traction
  • Water/snacks – to be energized
  • Photo camera – to get  memorable pictures

Service cost:

For a company of less than 4 adult people (+2 kids) the trip will cost 50,000 tenge. For larger group you need to contact in advance for price information.

Service cost include:

  • Transportation – 4×4 SUV with possibility of utilizing 3rd raw seats for kids.
  • Guidance – provided on English language
  • Fees – entrance to the national park

General Information:

Please, for booking a tour try to contact in advance (at least 1 week before) especially if you are planning your trip on holidays. Trip description is given for general information and can be altered based on your preferences and desire. In case you have used our services, you are kindly asked to leave your feedback on a trip in comments.