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Best Hiking Trails in Kazakhstan

Overview

Despite the size of Kazakhstan, a large Central Asian country (the ninth largest in the world), the mountainous regions are concentrated to a couple of small areas in the southeastern part, bordering on Kyrgyzstan and eastern part bordering on China.  Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, has mountains right on it doorstep. Some of the main hiking areas and best hikes are: Kolsai Lakes National Park, Altyn Emel National Park, Ile-Alatau National Park, Charyn Canyon National Park, Sairam-Ugam National Natural Park, Big Almaty Lake Loop, Furmanovka Peak. The best months to hike in Kazakhstan are June to September.  Read on for more information on where and when to go hiking in Kazakhstan. 

Capital: Nur-Sultan

When To Hike in Kazakhstan?

June – September: Driest months; higher altitudes would be July – August
May; October: Could be ok for lower altitudes
November – April/May: Cold; snowy
Climate: Arid continental (cold winters and very hot, sunny summers)

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: There aren’t many resources available for planning a hiking trip.  Advisable to go with a guide.  

Transportation required: Public transit can take you to some trailheads; car required for other areas

Where to stay in Kazakhstan for hiking:

  • Almaty
  • Shymkent

Top Places to Hike in Kazakhstan

The main areas for hiking are in the far east of the country (Altai range) and in the southeast (Tien Shan range), bordering on other countries. The Tien Shan range is by far the most popular out of the two areas in the country for hiking. Highest Mountain: Khan Tengri (7010 m), sits on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan.

Filter out hiking places of Kazakhstan by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Burabay National Park

  • Small mountainous area near Nur-Sultan

Sairam-Ugam State National Natural Park

Charyn Canyon National Park

Altyn Emel National Park

Kolsai Lakes National Park

Ile-Alatau National Park

Kazakhstan's Long Distance Trails

Kazakhstan's Walking & Hiking Resources

Kazakhstan Hiking Books: 

  • Lonely Planet Central Asia, 7th Edition, by Stephen Lioy, Anna Kaminski, Bradley Mayhew, Jenny Walker, 2018, Lonely Planet Publications
  • Kazakhstan: A Bradt Travel Guide, 3rd Edition, by Paul Brummell, 2018, Bradt Travel Guides
  • Outside Almaty: A Guide to Hiking, Climbing and Camping in the Mountains of Southern Kazakhstan, by Matthew Kregor, 2015, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

 

Kazakhstan Hiking Associations/Clubs:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Kazakhstan:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from trail maps/apps, websites, and tourist offices:

  • Kolsai Lakes
  • Big Almaty Lake Loop
  • Gorelnik Gorge
  • Pik Durakov
  • Mynjylky Plateau
  • Furmanovka Peak
  • Bukreev Peak
  • Kok Zhailau Plateau

Easy Hiking Trails in Kazakhstan:

  • Charyn Canyon – Valley of Castles
  • Lake Kaindy
  • Shymbulak Peak Panorama Trail

 

Kazakhstan Hiking Websites: There are travel blogs related to hiking in Kazakhstan

 

Weather Website:

 

Kazakhstan Official Tourism Site:  

 

Kazakhstan Hiking Apps: 

 

Kazakhstan Hiking Maps:

What Else To Do

  • Caspian Sea

Other Important Points

  • Visitors from many countries do not require a visa for visits less than 30 days but best to check with official agencies before travelling
  • Since many of the mountainous areas border on neighbouring countries, you have to be aware of border permit requirements as well as areas that are closed off to foreigners
  • Could be different names for places (ie. Nur-Sultan used to be Astana)