The Kolsai Lakes
The Kolsai lakes are one of the treasures of the Northern Tien-Shan. These three mountain lakes, set among steep pine-clad slopes, nestle in a spur of the Kungei Alatau. This is a wonderful place for camping, hiking, pony-trekking and mountain biking. The nearest village is Saty (320 km from Almaty). The lowest lake, at a height of 1818 m, stretches for 1 km. It is accessible by road and there are comfortable guesthouses and campsites. The middle Kolsai lake (2252 m), the largest and most beautiful, is 5 km from the first lake. The highest of the Kolsais is 4 km further and 600 m higher up. After another 6 km you reach the Sary-Bulak Pass (3278 m) on the Kyrgyzstan border, with superb views over the blue Lake Issyk-Kul. The whole 25-km trail can be covered in a day on horseback or three days on foot. The lakes are teeming with trout.