Ala-Kul (also Alakul, Ala-Kel, Ala-Köl) is a large high-mountain glacial lake, located in the eastern part of the Terskey Ala-Too Range 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 Canyons and has no runoff. The name of the lake from Kyrgyz translates as “a motley lake” which fits perfectly to this place. Ala-Kul really amazes with its colors: bright turquoise water adjoins with mountains, snow, green grass and flowers.
In addition to the lake, tourists are also attracted by the trekking route that leads to the lake. There are two routes to the lake: through the picturesque Karakol Gorge or amazing Altyn-Arashan Gorge, but in this case it is necessary to overcome the Ala-Kul pass (altitude 3900 meters). Many tourists use the circular route with an entrance to one gorge and an exit from another.
How to get to the Ala-Kul lake?
Ala-Kul is one of the most remote sights in Kyrgyzstan. Despite the fact that the lake is located very close to the city of Karakol, it is very difficult to reach it by car, due to the bad quality of roads in the gorges. Another option is to go all the way on foot. The way from the entrance to the Karakol Gorge to the lake is about 30 kilometers. The same applies when going through the Altyn-Arashan Gorge, an interesting option for a multi-day hike.
Ala-Kul lake on the map
No mobile network
No cafes, groceries or guest houses near the lake but there are guest houses in the Altyn-Arashan gorge
Many springs and streams
Many places for camping