Guide-book: Kok Zhailau

Kok Zhailau Almaty

Kok Zhailau is a name of a highland plateau (foothills of Zailisky Alatau ridge) located between the Maloalmatinsky and Big Almaty gorges, at 1600m-2200m ASL. «Zhailau» in Kazak language means «pasture» - the valley was used by local nomads as a summer feed for the hundreds of years. Being a green nature spot with clean air, Kok Zhailau became a favourite hiking/camping destination in Almaty region: there are just 30 minutes of driving from the centre of the city to the trekking start point. The most popular hiking route is over the Kok Zhailau pass - from Maloalmatinsky to Big Almaty gorge, though other activities like biking (downhill), Kumbel peak climbing and ski tour can easily be done here.



  • April: +2°...+12°C daytime; -5°...+5°C in the night
  • July:+15°...+25°C daytime; + 5°...+15°C in the night
  • October: -2°...+8°C daytime; -8°...+2°C in the night
  • January: -10°...-20°C daytime,  -15°...-25°C in the night

Snow cover:

  • April 1-2m
  • July --------
  • October 0.1-0.2m
  • January 0.5-1 m


Roads: there are 13km of good asphalt road from Almaty to Prosveshenetz rest home (before Medeo skating rink).

Trails: those marked on the map are comfortable and frequently used.

National Parks: Kok Zhailau is a territory of the Ili Alatau NP. No need to pay when enter from Maloalmatinsky gorge. Entrance fee is required (KZT 450 p/p as it was in 2018) when come from Big Almaty gorge: check in is at the Park's station located before the turn to Kumbel lateral canyon.

Shops and cafes: there is a variety of cafes and small shops in the Big Almaty gorge (along Dulati Street). No infrastructure along the trail (hiking part).

Water: there are few clean springs along the route, with drinking water

Cellular coverage: good cellular connection along the asphalt roads. On the trail and on the Kok Zhailau pass it is unstable.


Guest houses

• no guest houses in this area


• there are many good places (glades) for tent camping along the hiking trail. The most comfortable are the glades along Kazachka river (more water sources). Permission for tent camping is not required.


Drive to the south by Dostyk Avenue, following the gorge up to Prosveshenetz bus stop (1.000m before entering Medeo). Here turn right and follow the asphalt road for the next 600m along the river until the beginning of the trail (end of the road).


Nature: spruce and birch forests in the foothills of the Zailisky (Trans-Ili) Alatau

Summer activity options:

Winter activity options: ski tour, winter hiking


In March and April, due to warming and a large amount of snow on the slopes of the gorge, an avalanche situation may develop

Activity options:

Hiking over Kok-Zhailau pass
Starting in Maloalmatinsky Gorge: the trail begins in a small village, where the asphalt road ends. The path leads up the slope, through the birch groves to the crest. Then it follows the ridge up in a direction of Kok Zhailau pass, with a short traverse just before coming on the pass. All the way up is in the forest zone, the trail is wide and comfortable (few parts of 20 degrees slopes). A way up takes about 2 hours, with height difference of 1600m - 2240m above sea level. From the Kok Zhailau pass you may climb the Kumbel peak (3160m): descend back along the path of ascent.

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Kok Zhailau Almaty

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Kok Zhailau Almaty