Kok-Zhailau: route, waterfall, photos and videos, Almaty mountains

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12.8 км



Elevation gain

823 м


3-4 hours

Today we are hiking to the favorite place of all Almaty residents – Kok-Zhailau!

Make yourself comfortable in front of the screen, take popcorn, pour yourself something delicious, as there are many, many photos from the campaign and a new vlog waiting for you ahead!

📹 Kok-Zhailau full video

⛰️ What is Kok-Zhailau

Kok-Zhailau is a plateau on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National Park. The tract is located between the Bolshoy and Maly Almaty gorges.

Kok-Zhailau is located 10 km from the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Previously, this place served as a pasture for animals, but now it is a favorite place of recreation for Almaty residents who lead an active lifestyle.

🥾 How to get to Kok-Zhailau

It’s very simple! There are several ways to get to the beginning of the route.

By bus. Perhaps the easiest way, unless you are going to go out at night.

Take the 12th route at any stop on Dostyk Ave. (former Lenin), and for 80 tenge (or 150 tenge, if you do not have a “Onay” card) you reach the stop “Prosveshenets”.

By car. By car, everything is just as simple: there is parking, you do not need to pay for the entrance to the national park (almost in all other gorges, a fee of about 400 tenge per person is charged for entry).

We reach the stop “Prosveshenets”, turn sharply to the right and go all the way. You can leave the car at the end of an asphalt road.

Do not forget to fill all the containers with mountain, cool water from the Akbulak spring.

указатель на Кок-Жайляу

Then we go up the road to this sign. Did you see this sign? So we are going right. If it is not there, then we go through the village uphill.

📷 Photos of Kok-Zhailyau

указатель на Кок-Жайляу

Next, we again encounter a pointer. This time, you can go left through a birch grove (a route for more experienced walkers) and right, along a more gentle path.

Маршрут на Кок-Жайляу

We turned right, walked about 200 meters and we got this view. You can see the road below.

березовая роща на Кок-Жайляу

And this is a birch grove, where we did not go, but we went down through it.

Пик Комсомол (пик Нурсултан)

After walking a little more, we came to the “ridge” – the place where both routes meet and where the ascent begins.

To the right of the ridge, you can see Komsomol Peak (now called Nursultan Peak), its height is 4376 m. (in the photo, there is a snow peak in the middle).

🐻 Kok-Zhailau Fauna

Обитатели Кок-Жайляу

On the way to Kok-Zhailau, you can find such stands with a description of the flora and fauna of the area.

Many animals, birds, insects and plants live on the territory of Kok-Zhailau.

Among the animals here are found:

  • maral,
  • brown bear,
  • groundhog,
  • snow leopard or snow leopard,
  • porcupine,
  • manul,
  • boar and others.

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Деревянная скамейка на Кок-Жайляу

There are also benches with a stunning view of the city of Almaty.

🌪️ The 2011 hurricane in Almaty

Поваленные деревья на Кок-Жайляу

In 2011, the strongest hurricane passed in Almaty. More than 90,000 trees were damaged, many of which were uprooted.

Most of the trees are still lying, although large funds were allocated from the budget for their cleaning.

The trails themselves were cleared of dry fallen trees, but they continue to lie on the slopes and along the trail and create a fire-hazardous situation.

Тропа на Кок-Жайляу

We continue on our way.

Вид на Талгарский Перевал и Чимбулак, Шымбулак

In the photo, you can see the Shymbulak ski resort, which is located in the Small Almaty Gorge.

Вид на пик Кумбель

View of the Kumbel peak, whose height is 3200 meters. In July – August, there is usually no snow on the top.

Вид на город Алматы с Кок-Жайляу

View of the city of Almaty. You can see a little smog, but compared to the winter period, this is nothing.

Рюкзак на дереве

Has anyone left their backpack in the mountains?:)

Панорама гор Алматы

At the bottom of the gorge you can see a path, you should not go along it – you will run into a steep slope. It is important to follow the signs at the very beginning of the path, and not along the bottom of the gorge.

Ренат на фоне панорамы гор Алматы

Well, here’s a minute of posing.

Ренат на фоне панорамы города Алматы

How can you pass by such a view?

Горы Алматы, Иле-Алатайский национальный природный парк

The first part of the route is quite steep, but then you can relax and walk along a gentle path.

Горы Алматы в тени

When clouds hide the sun, the mountains seem gloomy.

Указатель и горы Алматы

We found a meaningless sign.

Привал по дороге на Кок-Жайляу

And next to it is a place for a short stop.

Пик Комсомол, пик Нурсултан

View of the Komsomol peak, which Ruslan and I went to a few years ago.

Маршрут на Кок-Жайляу

A pleasant trail where you can meet animals in the form of mice and huge black leeches.

Поваленные деревья в горах Алматы

Look at how many fallen trees there are. Many of them are more than 100 years old!

Цветы в горах Алматы

We met such beautiful yellow flowers that grew right on a fallen tree. Who knows what they are called?

Небо в горах Алматы

Beautiful view of the mountain sky.

Панорама города Алматы, Казахстан с гор

View of the Almaty city.

Панорама города Алматы с Кок-Жайляу

You can try to find your home:) Visibility is excellent.

Водопад на Кок-Жайляу, Алматы

And here is the same waterfall that we are going to. Watch the video (at the beginning of the article), there we went down to him.

Кок-Жайляу фото плато

And this is already Kok-Zhailau or “heavenly pasture”.

Кок-Жайляу фото плато, пастбище

As I have already said, this is a favorite place of Almaty residents. We met a lot of guys while walking. There were musicians, runners, foreign tourists, families, groups of people. And on the pasture itself there was a crowd of children who were playing football. We still didn’t understand who they were there with.

Стенд с описанием растений и животных

Another stand with a description of plants and animals of the Ile-Alatau National Park.

Тропа на Кок-Жайляу в сторону пика Кубмель

Trail to the waterfall and Kumbel peak.

Указатель на Кок-Жайляу

And also on the “Three Brothers” – these are 3 rocks near the top of Kumbel (you can see it in the photo). Although in fact, the rocks are not 3, but more.

Тропа на панораму Кок-Жайляу

We turned in the opposite direction and went to the hill, which offers a view of the city of Almaty.

Вид с Кок-Жайляу

The city is at a glance. View from Kok-Zhailau.

Облако в виде ядерного взрыва.

A cloud in the form of a nuclear mushroom.

Кок-Жайляу вид на Большое Алматинское ущелье

Kok-Zhailau is located between two gorges-the Big Almaty (pictured) and the Small Almaty Gorge.

You can go from one gorge to another through Kok-Zhailau.

Кок-Жайляу вид на пик Кумбель

Panorama of Kok-Zhailau.

Панорама города Алматы с Кок-Жайляу

Panorama of the city of Almaty.

Наша команда

The perfect place for a well-deserved and long-awaited lunch.

Вид Кок-Жайляу, фото

The clouds continued to change the colors and shades of the mountains and the forest.

Ренат на фоне Кок-Жайляу
Тропа на Кок-Жайляу

Along the trail you can go to the Big Almaty Gorge.

Маршрут на Кок-Жайляу с большого алматинского ущелья

The photo shows the Big Almaty peak (BAP), the height of 3680 m.

Указатель Кок-Жайляу.

Kok-Zhailau sign.

Растения на  Кок-Жайляу
Растения на  Кок-Жайляу
Растения на  Кок-Жайляу
Ренат на  Кок-Жайляу

We went up the trail and started looking for a descent to the waterfall. I’ve been to Kok-Zhailau so many times, but I haven’t been to the waterfall yet!

Фото Кок-Жайлау, Алматы

View of the Big Almaty Gorge.

Водопад на Кок-Жайляу

Well, here is the waterfall itself on Kok-Zhailau. In fact, there are several of them. Now I will show you the second one (you can also watch the video yourself).

Ренат на фоне водопада на Кок-Жайляу
Руслан на фоне водопада на Кок-Жайляу


Ренат на водопаде Кок-Жайляу
Водопад Кок-Жайляу

And here is the second waterfall. How we went down to him is a separate story, look at the log.

Водопад на Кок-Жайляу
Водопад на Кок-Жайляу

And how we got out of it – that was another story. My shoes were soaked through.

Цветущий шиповник

The rosehip in the mountains is still in bloom.

Вид на Чимбулак и Талгарский перевал.

View of the Chimbulak and Talgar pass.

Вид на город Алматы.

View of the city of Almaty.

Вид на город Алматы.

In the photo at the very bottom on the right, you can see the former ecopost and the rock “Lesnichestvo”, where we often train, climb the rocks.

🧭  Route diagram and GPX, GPS track

The beginning is the stop “Prosveshchenets”, the height is 1536 meters.
The final point of Kok-Zhailau, the height of 2239 meters.
The journey time to the top is 2 hours and 50 minutes.
The complexity is non-categorical, a little preparation is required.

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🗺️ Route map to Kok-Zhailau

Схема маршрута на Кок-Жайляу и GPX
Схема маршрута на Кок-Жайляу и GPX

🏐 Activities

The list of possible entertainment is large, but it is worth remembering that it is forbidden to burn bonfires in the forest.

The main entertainment activities include:

  • overnight stay with a view of the night city,
  • hiking,
  • trekking,
  • bird watching (birdwatching or birding),
  • picking berries and mushrooms,
  • visit to the waterfall,
  • games on the pasture itself,
  • – blogging,
  • stargazing,
  • and others.

🪓 The Kok-Zhailau Tragedy

The leadership of the city of Almaty and the Republic of Kazakhstan decided to build a world-class ski complex on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National Natural Park, where Kok-Zhailau is located.

The construction of the resort meant cutting down dozens of hectares of relict coniferous forest or “lungs” of the city of Almaty.

The news quickly gained a public response. The largest organizations, including NABU, WHC UNESCO, IUCN WCPA, and residents and guests of Almaty themselves opposed the construction of the resort and deforestation.

Construction has stopped, but it is unknown what will happen next.

The following hashtags are actively used in social networks in support of Kok-Zhailau:

– #SaveKokZhailau
– #SaveKokZhailyau
– #СохранимКокЖайляу
– #SaveKZh

🎒 Other routes

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