Komirshi gorge — Tuzkol lake — Shalkode valley — Ketmen pass


3 days




800 km

total distance
длина велочасти

120 km

cycling distance

Route description

The route runs through remote areas of the Almaty region, which is rarely reached by tourists and almost never by cyclists.

We will visit a mystic Komirshi gorge, which is a pilgrimage site for local nationals. We will also visit a saline lake Tuzkol, which in fine weather offers views over Khan Tengri peak, the highest point in Kazakhstan. We will cycle along Shalkodesu river valley and through a huge pass of 3,100 meters. The descent from the pass will be over two kilometres!

Komirshi gorge is on the southern side of Ketmen ridge (Uzynkara). This place is very popular among local nationals because of its sacred spring in the gorge, which is little-known among tourists. The gorge can be recognised from the Kegen valley by its huge white rocks on both sides of the gorge. When approaching the white rocks, it becomes obvious that it is a natural gateway to another — completely unique — world of mountains. The rocks overhang the narrow gorge, and in some areas it narrows to the width of the road along a small river.

Shalkodesu river valley, also known as Kegen valley, is the most extensive valley in the Kazakhstan part of the Tien Shan. Its size is almost twice the size of the Assy plateau. The Shalkode valley is more than 100 km long and up to 30 km wide. The upper point of the valley is located at an elevation of 2,700 meters above the sea. The Shalkodesu river flows through the center of the valley, giving rise to one of the largest waterways of the Almaty region, which is the Charyn river.

The final chord of the bike trip will be a vast valley in the very heart of the country, as well as travel over a rough mountain pass bordering China. We will cycle to the border with China at a distance of less than 30 km. There are also many pastures and a lot of nomads’ tents (yurts) in this region. This area is almost never reached by tourists because of its remoteness.


Day one
Almaty — Komirshi gorge

On a bicycle: up to 12 km
Terrain: short cycling route inside the gorge

05:00 — 11:00: Travel by car from Almaty to Komirshi gorge
11:00 — 14:00: Installation of the field camp, lunch. Preparation for the cycling route
14:00 — 16:00: Start of the cycling route, cycling along a short, but picturesque route up the gorge
16:00 — 19:00: Leisure activities. You may walk along the cliffs
19:00 — 20:00: Dinner

Day two
Komirshi gorge — Tuzkol lake — Shalkode valley

7:00 — 08:00: Breakfast
08:00 — 09:00: Decamp and preparation for the cycling route
09:00 — 17:00: Cycling route from the camp to the overnight stop before the pass. Visiting of Tuzkol lake on the way.
17:00 — 19:00: Installation of the field camp. Leisure activities
19:00 — 20:00: Dinner

Day three
3,100 metres mountain pass — Almaty
Cycling distance of 40 km
Terrain: cycling through a pass of 3,100 metres above sea level, and the descent of over 2,000 metres

07:00 — 08:00: Breakfast
08:00 — 09:00: Decamp and preparation for the cycling route
09:00 — 13:00: Cycling route
13:00 — 14:00: Lunch after the descent, loading of bicycles on cars
14:00 — 16:30: Driving to a cafe in Chilik village
16:30 — 18:00: Dinner in a cafe
18:00 — 20:00: Travel by cars to Almaty


  • Lead car

    1 590 €
    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus (4 WD) with six seats in the passenger compartment, equipped with THULE bike racks
  • Additional car

    1 020 €
    Mitsubishi Delica minibus (4 WD) with seven seats in the passenger compartment, equipped with THULE bike racks


  • Transportation of participants and bicycles to the start of the cycling route and back to the city
  • Full car support along the route
  • Bicycle mechanic with an extended set of tools
  • Cycling guide accompanying the participants along the cycling part of the route
  • Cook’s services and meals along the route (except for cafes)
  • Environmental fees at the entrance to the national parks
  • General tourist equipment: tables, chairs, dishes, tent, canteen tent, washbasin, gas burners
  • Two-person tents (double occupancy), sleeping pads (to be placed in tents)
  • Accommodation in guest houses and recreation camps that are included in some routes
  • Meals in cafes during scheduled stops
  • Services not provided along the route, such as horseback riding, which is available at certain stops along the routes
  • Bike rent in case you do not have your own bike

You can rent a bike with us. You can also travel along the entire route in a minibus. It’s a bit more boring than on a bike, but you will see all the same places and landmarks.

Bike rental price:

  • Hardtail

    80 €
  • Full suspension

    110 €
  • Bicycle
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad
  • Helmet, cycling gloves and other safety equipment if you like
  • Individual medical kit (if you have any diseases)
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Cycling backpack
  • Windbreaker, raincoat
  • Clothes according to the weather for the active part of the route and for evening hours in the camp
  • Proper shoes for the active part of the route and another pair of shoes for the camp
  • Passport or other ID (you should always have one at hand, as many routes run across border areas, and there may be random checks)
  • Simple carbohydrates to consume while cycling