Turgen Gorge: mountain sightseeing near Almaty
Let’s talk about a truly picturesque place located 80 km away from Almaty called Turgen Gorge, which amazing beauty attracts a huge number of tourists from around the world. The road leading to it is not too steep and has no hard climbs. However, you should still be careful in the winter as the road can be icy due to the location in the shadow.
Turgen gorge is one of the outstanding benefits of the Ile-Alatau National Park. The Turgen River gets its source high in the mountains. At any time of the year, the mountain slopes covered with lush vegetation delight the eye. There are Tien Shan pines, bushes of rosehip, barberry, blackcurrants and raspberries growing along the banks. The area is particularly beautiful in autumn when all the trees are covered in different colors. And the air is crystal clean and fresh.
The River Turgen is also endowed with amazing beauty. Its waters are swift-flowing and completely transparent. The river provides mountain trout. The water, like in any mountain river, has its own character. In the upper reaches it is calm, and towards its lower course it turns to a rapid hurricane. Depending on the weather it changes colour from turquoise to grey.
Along the Turgen River there was an ancient trade caravan route to Kyrgyzstan that lay through the Gorge, precisely, to Issyk-Kul lake and Turkestan. The first explorers of the Tien-Shan Range travelling that way, left a footprint about Turgen Gorge in their travel notes. The upper reaches of Turgen Gorge can’t boast of high mountain peaks, but it is there where you can see vast plateau rich with juniper and other herbs and flowers that grow there. The most recognizable landmark in the upper reaches of Turgen Gorge is the Assy Plateau, which captivates with its beauty. You can endlessly enjoy the horizon and all your thoughts are blown away behind the hills.
This is what Turgen Gorge attracts its visitors with. There are also several famous waterfalls. One of them is located 1 km from the main road. You can reach it following a path along the trees and a brook crossing a small but cute bridge on the way. The road to the waterfall takes very little time and anyone can take it. But having reached the waterfall, your eyes will be caught by the stunning beauty of the place. A mountain brook runs right between the rocky clefts and descends down the slope. Remarkably, the place is available at any time of the year. While visiting this natural sight again, you can always enjoy seeing something new. After all, admiring nature is never boring.
Another well-known waterfall in the Almaty region called Kairak is located a bit higher in the Gorge, behind the village of Batan. There is no driveway there. The ascent takes at least 4 hours. The walking part of the road is in fairly good condition, and there is green moss and pinewood growing on the both sides of the trail. This path is definitely worth taking because the waterfall in the final destination is much bigger than the Bear Waterfall. However, the beauty of those two sights are hard to compare, because everyone sees beauty in their own way.
But these are not all the surprises that Turgen Gorge has for you. At the entrance there is a trout farm. In its premises you can cozy up in a cafe, eat freshly caught and cooked trout. Besides, you can go fishing for mountain trout in a specially designated place. This place is great family holiday destination.
On your way back from Turgen Gorge, you can stop in a nearby ostrich farm. There, you can watch the life of ostriches, have a stroll and relax a bit from driving.
It is worth noting that near Almaty, there are a number of picturesque gorges, each with its unique environment and history. When visiting such places, tourists and locals will have great impression that stay for a long time. Nothing helps to escape from a busy city life better than splendid nature, fresh air and a group of friends.