Ala-Kol Lake, Kyrgyzstan
The alpine glacial lake Ala-Kol (Ala-Köl, also Ala-Kul), located in the Issyk-Kul region, is considered the pearl of the Terskey-Ala-Too mountain range. The lake is located between the Altyn-Arashansky and Karakol gorges. Snowy mountains frame the Issyk-Kul basin from the south side. This ridge is the second largest center of the Tien Shan glaciation.
Ala-Kol is translated from Kyrgyz as "motley lake". In cloudless weather it is turquoise, in rainy – gray. Depending on the time of year and even the day, the color of the water in Ala-Kol can be pink-gold, dark blue, purple and yellow.
The lake is located at an altitude of 3532 meters above sea level. It is 2.3 kilometers long and 700 meters wide. The depth of the lake has not yet been fully explored, but scientists say that it exceeds 70 meters. The length of the coastline is 7 kilometers.
The water in the lake – clean and transparent – is formed as a result of melting glaciers. Due to the proximity to the mountains, the lake freezes in the second half of autumn and thaws only in May. The water in the lake is very cold even in summer, but many tourists who have reached their destination and are tired of the heat, still bathe in icy water.
This lake is visited by everyone who travels on foot from Altyn-Arashan to the Jety-Oguz gorge. To get to the lake, you need to overcome winding rocky trails and small rocky embankments. Please note that the walking path through the pass will be about 30 kilometers. The road runs against the backdrop of picturesque forests and mountains. Often the nature of these places is compared with the nature of New Zealand.
You can also get to the lake by the so-called circular route. This 8-kilometer road from the Karakol Gorge is one of the most popular tourist mountain routes in Kyrgyzstan.
You can get as close to the lake as possible by car, but only an experienced driver in a roadster will pass. Also, part of the way can be overcome on horseback.
It is not worth going to the lake without a specially trained guide. However, if you like to take risks, keep in mind that it is easy to get lost in the mountains, despite the fact that tourists place stone markers at the right turns.