Guide-book: Tuzkol Lake and Komirshi

Khan Tengri peak view from Tuzkol Lake

Tuzkol is a unique salt lake in the southeast of Almaty region. It is located in the upper reaches of the Charyn River at an altitude of 1950m above sea level, and is fed by underground sources. Lake's water mineralization is close to the Dead Sea's one. In good weather, the magnificent panorama of the mountains of the Central Tien Shan with its seven-thousanders Khan-Tengri (7010m) and Pobeda (7439m) peaks appears from the shores of the lake.
Komirshi gorge is another attraction of this area. It is located in the western tip of the Ketmen range, not far from the village of Saryzhaz. To get to the gorge, one has to pass the so-called Komirshi Gate, which is the entrance to the stunning world of white rocky bastions, overgrown with spruce. Rare fossils were found in these chalk canyon, such as the skeleton of the pliosaurus.



  • April: +10°...+20°C daytime; -5°...+5°C in the night
  • July: +23°...+33°C daytime; +8°...+15°C in the night
  • October: 0°...+10°C daytime; -8°...+2°C in the night
  • January: -10°...-20°C daytime,  -15°...-25°C in the night

Snow cover:

  • April 0.5-1 m
  • July ---------
  • October 0.2-0.5 m
  • January 0.3-0.5 m


Roads: there is a good asphalt road from Almaty to Karasaz village. The last 10km to the Lake is smooth ground trail, good for any type of vehicle. Ground track in Komirshi gorge requires 4-wheel driving. Try to follow rolled roads.

Trails: all trails are cattle-running

National Parks: --------

Petrol stations: last good one is in Kegen village (240km from Almaty)

Shops and cafes: there is a small shop in Saryzhaz village. Few shops and cafes in Kegen village.

Water: salty water in Tuzkol lake is not drinkable, there are fresh springs around. There are clean springs in Komirshi gorge.

Cellular coverage: is good along the asphalt roads and in villages. No connection in gorges and around the Lake.


Guest houses

• there are guest houses in Kegen village


• there are good places for camping at a lakeshore, and there are ground trails to those glades. In Komirshi there is a great choice for tent camping along the river. Permissions are not required.


Drive east from Almaty by Kuldja tract (new Khorgos highway). When passed Chilik town, turn right in a direction of Baiseit village. Then follow the road through Kokpek gorge and move straight to Kegen (do not turn left to Chunja on the crossroads). Drive through Kegen and  Saryzhaz villages, in a direction of Karasaz. In Karasaz, follow the main street, which then becomes a ground trail heading to Tuzkol Lake.


Natural attractions: in a good weather, there is a stunning view of the Central Tien Shan mountains with its 7-thousanders Khan Tengri (7010m) and Pobeda (7439m) peaks.

Wildlife: the Lake is great in terms of bird watching.

Activity options:

  • hiking, camping, caravanning
  • mountain biking
  • rock climbing in Komirshi (traditional routes only, free climbing)
  • wildlife and bird watching


In Tuzkol area it is colder, than in Almaty. Also consider that road inside Komirshi can be muddy in mid-season.

Activity options:

It is better to plan at least 2-3 days to explore the area of Tuzkol' Lake and Komirshi gorge. If have more time, then can also visit nearby Shalkudysu valley (move up along Shalkudysu river).
Important notice: described area is a border zone. In order to avoid violation of the Law on the State Border of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Chapter 5, Article 40), do not forget to bring identification documents (if you're a Kazakhstan citizen) and special frontier zone entrance permission+passport (if you're a foreigner).
Non-Kazakhstan citizens must get a special permission to enter the border zone at a Ministry of Internal Affaires, and present it along with passport when inside a zone.

Download the map in original size (6Mb) 

Tuzkol and Komirshi area map

 Download the map in original size (2Mb)

map of Almaty region and Tuzkol area