Kolsay Lakes – one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan. These lakes are located at heights 1800, 2250 and 2700 metres above sea level. They are distinguished by the unique mountain watershed consisting of three natural zones and amazing variety of rare plants and animals. Kolsay Lakes are considered a pearl of Northern Tien-Shan located in 300 km from Almaty city.
The river Kolsay originates on a ridge of Kungey-Alatau and runs in turns into three lakes: Top, Mynzholki and Lower. Water in lakes is fresh, rigid and contains sulphate of sodium. A bottom of the lakes in places is flat, without rocky ledges. During the summer period the water temperature is + 10 degrees. The triad of high-mountainous lakes as if a thread strung with pearls decorates northern Tien Shan.
At the height of 1800 metres the grassy cover is presented by high meadow grasses. Fir forests of Tan-Shan occupy basically Northern slopes. The fur-tree does not form the considerable areas of large forests and more often grows in big groups. The tan-Shan fur-tree reaches in height of 40-50 metres and up to 2 metres in diameter. The coniferous wood belt reaches 2700-3000 metres. Characteristic inhabitants of all three natural zones are: a bear, a wolf, a lynx, a hare, the Siberian goat, a snow leopard, a wild boar, a badger.
Kolsay lakes are very deep: the deepest place in the first lake is 80 m, in the second – nearly 50 m. The warm season proceeds since April till the end of September. Kolsay lakes are a main goal of many travellers. A track to Kolsay lakes is one of the easiest ones. During travel from Kazakhstan to Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan enjoy the beauty and a variety of the nature in these countries.
Vicinities of Kolsay Lakes are very good for camping, trekking, horse riding and mountain bicycles. The nearest village is Saty, which is in 320 km from Almaty.
The first lake, which is located at the height of 1818 metres, has the length of 1 km, and width about 300 metres.
The middle lake is located at the height of 2552 metres, 5 km higher from the first lake. It is big and extraordinary picturesque, and looks like a bowl from turquoise crystal in palms of mountains. Top Kolsay Lake is 4 km further and 600 metres higher than the middle lake. Behind it, 6 km further, there is a border with Kyrgyzstan through pass Sary-Bulak (3278м) from which you can enjoy the view to a blue Issyk Kul.
A route from the lakes to the pass and further to Issyk Kul on horses can be overcome in one day, trekking will take about 2-3 days. Horses can be rented in village Saty at the local forester. Here tourist routes are developed and guest houses are functioning. On lake Kolsay-1 tourists take places in the guest house «Zhibek Zholy», and on lakes Kolsaj-2 and 3 in tents.
On the shores of the lakes, there are small guest houses, which are always ready to accept those, who wish to have a rest at lakes, which have crystal-clear water reflecting unapproachable mountain tops and slopes. From windows of guest houses you can enjoy the view to extraordinary beautiful landscape of lake, and the evenings spent at a fireplace will be remembered to you for a long time.
Those, who at least once visited these places, will never forget their magnificence and calmness around. When the water smooth surface is absolutely quiet, the sky and a bewitching panorama of a mountain landscape are reflected in it. Surrounded with rocks, woods, the Alpine meadows and the whole glades of gentle-olive mountain colours – edelweisses, lakes bewitch you literally