The Best Hikes in Central Asia

Thanks to some gorgeous scenery, Central Asia is slowly getting a name as one of the most fascinating trekking destinations in the world. From hiking among the soaring mountain peaks of Kyrgzstan to passing through the many scenic lakes in Tajikistan, hiking in this part of the world is wonderful.

Add to it the excellent ground support put in place by some reputed trekking agencies and the new establishment of well laid out hiking routes, it is no wonder that walkers are beginning to flock to Central Asia to experience an unparalleled outdoor adventure. So if you are a dedicated hiker who is looking for something special, these selected treks will leave you amazed and enthralled.

The Best Hikes in Central Asia

Jailoo experience with Song-Kul Lake-Kyrgyzstan

Photo via Flickr by Ninara

A part of the great Silk Route, Kyrgyzstan lies bang in the middle of Central Asia. The Jailoos, or pastures, where the shepherds tend their flocks here, are home to a stunning lake of sparkling clear water located at an altitude of 3016 m. The route traversed to reach this scintillating body of water, passes through remote roads and off beaten paths and allows the traveler to enjoy a Jailoo journey to the fullest.

Moving from one Jailoo to another, spending time with the different families of shepherds staying there since generations, being a part of their simple life and sharing the local produce, is an unbelievably humbling experience. This trek should be at the top of your adventure holidays wishlist!

Pamir Hills-Kyrgyzstan

Photo by llee_wu via Flickr

This is said to be the ultimate nature and cultural discovery trek, passing through the Pamir Alai mountain ranges. The best season for this hike is between July and September, when the rivers are flowing at their fullest and the air is clean and filled with the aroma of the juniper and pine trees.

Apart from a moderate level of fitness, there are no other special requirements to undertake this journey which takes roughly 12 days to complete, beginning from Bishkek and terminating at Tashkent.

The highlights of the hike are the walks around the Aksu and Sabah peaks which offer unparalleled views of the surroundings. The hospitable locals you meet along the way, make it a point to allow visitors to get a glimpse of their day to day life in the friendliest manner.

South Inylchek Glacier- Kyrgyzstan

This incredible but rather rigorous trek takes the extreme hiker through wild glacial terrain against a stunning backdrop of snow-covered peaks rising up to 7000 m and more, located right in the heart of the Tien Shan Range. The trek allows you to explore the valleys and glaciers which lead to these mighty peaks, along the Inylchek river banks located in the stunning At Jailoo gorge.

Tajikistan trekking tour

Photo by Photo via Flickr

Tajikistan has only been recently on the trekking tourist map and the lucky few who have experienced it have been rewarded with some of the most incredible sights on this planet. Not only does one get a deep insight on the culture of the Central Asian people, but the biggest bonus is the countryside which has remained untouched. A ten day trip beginning from the capital Dushanbe goes through Penjikent (seven lakes), Hazorchashma and Tovassang passes, Duoba Voru Zimtut, Chukurak Lake, Artuch Bibijana, Alauddin Lake, Iskanderkul and back to Dushanbe.

Fann Mountain Lakes-Uzbekistan, Tajikistan

From July to September, the scenic lakes of the Fann Mountains offer the best time to trekkers to experience an adventure unparalleled. While the Iskanderkul lake enjoys a lot of prominence, a three-day trek to the secluded seven lakes is far more authentic.The trek is easy and requires no special training, and is home to scores of small villages, all full of friendly and generous locals. A hike in this part of the world is extremely rewarding for those seeking adventure mixed with local culture.

Ugam-Chatkal National Park-Uzbekistan

This 668350 hectare state national wild nature park was created in 1992 as a part of the Chatkal biosphere. Between May and July is considered to be the best time to visit this park. Hikers can get views of valleys blooming with flowers as they make their way to the artificial Charvak Lake.

Other interesting places for trekkers is the climb to the Pulatkhan Highland Plateau, a 3000 m high tectonic formation. Extreme hikers can try to access the deep extended cave system, known to hold rich treasures. Some easy routes include a walk through the canyons of Akbulak, Karacha, Gulkam and Nurekata. The park is a paradise for birdwatchers, riding enthusiasts and heli skiers, who ski down the snowy slopes after being dropped by a helicopter.

Boz Uchuk Lakes-Kyrgyzstan

During the months between July and September, countless tourists go trekking in Kyrgyzstan. The hike to the two high altitude Boz Uchuk Lakes, in the Tian Shan mountains, is an amazing experience. Trails are not marked, so to avoid getting lost it is better to hire a guide. The hike can be completed in four days and covers a distance of about 41 km. If you really want to enjoy the trek, opt for the offbeat route from Jyrgalan, in the eastern part of the country.

Peak Lenin Base Camp- Kyrgyzstan

Picture by Gustavo Jeronimo via Flickr

Trekking to the Peak Lenin Base Camp is like a walk in an untouched piece of paradise. The peak itself is 7134 m high and shares its boundaries with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and is the second highest in the Pamir range. Tulpar lake is a popular spot on the way to the base camp and provides awesome views of Lenin Peak. As you walk towards the base camp you will get close to massive glaciers and some of the most striking scenery ever seen. Summer is the best season, although late spring and early autumn are also good for Tulpar and the base camp.

Trekking in Central Asia

Trekking anywhere in the world, especially Central Asia, is a demanding undertaking. The high mountains, valleys and the rugged landscape can all be very taxing, even to the avid trekker. A high quality of physical and mental preparation, as well as purchasing proper trekking gear is required to complete the trek. But, provided that you are well prepared there are so many beautiful places in Central Asia waiting to host you. The wild pristine landscape, creates a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, that draws trekkers to these parts from every corner of the globe.

One thought on “The Best Hikes in Central Asia

  1. Nurgul says:

    Hi Claire!
    Loved the article. Can you please advise where the main photo is from? Thanks!

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