Ala-Archa gorge - Hiking to the Ak-Sai waterfall
Ala-Archa gorge

Hiking to the Ak-Sai waterfall

Ala-Archa gorge
(Hiking to the Ak-Sai waterfall)

The valley of the Ala-Archa River is one of the main attractions in the vicinity of Bishkek. It flows in a picturesque gorge of the same name, which is located in the central part of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Ridge 40 kilometers south of Bishkek. The length of the gorge is more than 35 kilometers and it is the largest of all in the Kyrgyz Ridge. Here, in a narrow valley of the usual at first glance mountain river there are so many beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and unusual rock forms and such a rich flora and fauna that many consider this region to be a symbol of the Kyrgyz Range.

Here you can find more than 1,100 plant species, about a third of the flora of Kyrgyzstan, including 70 species of trees and shrubs. The name of the gorge is translated as “colorful archa”. Archa is a juniper, which can be both tree like and hemispherical.

The Ala-Archa Gorge is a Mecca for climbers from around the world. For people, who are not interested in climbing the mountain tops, there are also a lot of interesting things, such as the waterfall located at an altitude of 2,700 meters in the Ak-Sai side gorge. You will hike with pleasure to it. You can make a lot of beautiful photos. If you are very lucky, you will see a herd of ibexes, peacefully grazing on the slopes, or boldly jumping on the cliffs, overfed marmots, nimble funny pikas and other living creatures.

Trip details

Intensity Level 2
Season All season
Begins in Bishkek
Ends in Bishkek
Airport Аэропорт Манас (FRU)
Airport out Airport Manas (FRU)

Price: $ 60 (≥ 2 people)

Great for Individuals Families Couples

Ala-Archa is one of the nearest gorges to Bishkek. In only forty minutes you will find yourself at an altitude of 2,200 meters and you will be able to admire the snow-white peaks and tall spruces that go high into the sky, inhale the aromas of mountain flowers. In the Ala-Archa National Park it grows about 1,000 different plants, including herbs. You can find Ivan-tea, wild rose, bells, edelweiss and other plants along the trail. Fauna is also diverse. If you are very lucky, you will see a herd of ibexes, peacefully grazing on the slopes, or boldly jumping on the cliffs, overfed marmots, nimble pikas and other animals.

What's Included:

  • Transfer
  • Ecological fee
  • Guide

What's not included:

  • Lunch box (on request): $ 6 per person
  • Personal expenses
  • Alcohol drinks
  • Any changes to the program
  • Other excursions not included in the program
  • Insurance

On-day excursion. Our tour will start from Bishkek. The best departure time is 8-9 a.m. It is necessary to take a snack with us, or we will include ready-made lunch boxes in the tour package, manager to be warned about in advance. We will drive 40 kilometers to a place called Lower Ala-Archa (alpine camp) at an altitude of 2,100 meters, leave our vehicle in the parking lot, check gear again and hike to the Ak-Sai Gorge with a good mood, inhaling the fresh crystal-clear air.

Depending on the time of the year, it is either completely dry or covered with snow with ice parts, so it is important to choose the right shoes for the season. The trail passes through the forest of Tien Shan firs with “interspersed” juniper, dog rose, honeysuckle, sea buckthorn, barberry, and currant. You can also find 50 types of medicinal herbs: golden root, St. John's wort, thyme, Issyk-Kul root, yarrow and others.

You can make photo-stops on the way, as the views are beautiful. You can see the tops of Corona, Boks, Ratsek peaks; Ak-Sai glacier. We will walk by the Broken Heart rock, which has a characteristic shape, and will emerge on the small plateau of Tepshi. Here you can take a break, drink water. Then, we move on, gaining altitude. We have to descend to the Shyrkarytma River in the side gorge of the same name and cross over its fast waters. In summer, the water level rises significantly by dinner, so it is important to make the crossing as early as possible, and on the way back, exercise maximum caution.

After the ascent from the river, the path becomes flat and leads to the site where tourists and climbers usually rest before further ascent. From this site we will move to the left and will climb steeply up to the foot of the waterfall, which height is 20 meters. At this point you need to be careful and cautious. But here we are on the spot! Waterfall’s streams rush from rocky ledges, giving a life-giving coolness on particularly hot days. You can even bath in it, although the water temperature even in summer is only 10 degrees. Some daredevils are capable to do that. We will have a picnic, admiring breathtaking views of the gorge, at an altitude of 2,700 meters. After the picnic we will have to descend and return to Bishkek with wonderful impressions and emotions.

In case of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, the time spent on the route can be reduced.

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«Asia Mountains»
720021, Kyrgyzstan
Bishkek, Lineinaya str. 1a