Hiking over Kok Zhailau from Small Almaty gorge to Big Almaty

Hiking over Kok Zhailau pass

 Kok Zhailau hike

This route is perhaps the most favorite among Almaty residents and guests of the city. Proximity to the city, stunning views and wildlife makes the Kok Zhailau track very popular. The path passes from the Small Almaty (Maloalmatinsky) gorge to the Big Almaty gorge, crossing over the Kok Zhailau plateau at an altitude of 2230m. The trail is rather comfortable, ascent and descent are almost everywhere smooth.

It is better to start from the Maloalmatinsky gorge at the Ak Bulak bus stop (thee last before Medeo). From this side the path is steeper so we consider it is better to rise by, and leave the gentle part for descent (towards the neighboring gorge). Once the plateau (pass) is reached, the Kumbel peak become visible. It is possible to climb to the top of Kumbel, but it may take another 2-3 hours.

The Kok Zhailau area is located on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National Park. People come here for trekking, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, camping, skiing and sledding in winter. There are good rock climbing routes not far away.

In the lower part of the route you will be passing through the deciduous forest, wild apple and apricot gardens. In upper areas there are pine thickets with endemical Schrenk spruce-trees.

Access from different sides is possible both by regular bus and by car.

You may also refer to our Kok Zhailau guidebook with maps.

 Season   all year round
 Distance one way  14.3km
 Ascent/eleveation     780m
 Descent   1000m
 Highest point  2330m
 Lowest point   1330m
 Trekking time  4-6 hours
 Difficulty  easy

Kok Zhailau hiking map