The hiking part of a tour starts at a confluence of Turgen and Kishi Turgen rivers, near Batan place in the upper reaches of the famous Turgen gorge. A good, wide path follows up the Turgen stream: it was initially designed to be used as a National Park’s road but the main bridge in Batan has been washed away by the mudflow, so now everyone can enjoy this nice walk to the Big Kairak waterfall!
There are 8 kilometers in total from Batan (start point) to the waterfall, and there is no significant difference in height thus no any any ascents, steep slopes and dangerous points. All you need is to enjoy the amazing wild nature around – deep pine groves (local Schrenk pine) paved with endemic mossy grasses, ash-tree shrubs, colorful meadows full of flowers, dragonflies and butterflies…Having crossed 11 old bridges, you finally come at a confluence of Turgen and Kairak rivers where you should turn left and hike up for another 20 minutes through the spruce grove, following the Kairak river. Even there, inside a forest you can hear the voice of the falling water: Kairak waterfall appears suddenly, just around the last corner.
The Kairak waterfall is one of the biggest in the region: it’s height is more than 55 meters (70 in total) and it never dries. Thanks to the location, it still remains clear and untouched by civilization – in Kazak language its name is associated with bear (sometimes people meet brown bears here in early Spring). Besides bears, that are really rare of course, the Turgen area is rich in deer, wild pigs, lynx and different kinds of birds.
A way to the waterfall takes 2,5-3 hours of walking. Normally we spend another 30-40 minutes near the fall to take pictures and lunch. Way back takes another 2 hours, so you should consider 5-6 hours of walking in total.
The itinerary of a day tour from Almaty looks like:
08.00 – 10.00 drive Almaty – Batan (Turgen gorge)
10.00 – 13.00 hiking to the Kairak waterfall
13.00 – 13.30 break, photo-session
13.30 – 15.30 hike back
16.00 – 18.00 drive to Almaty