Belogorka waterfall & borulu lake
Sokuluk or Belogorka gorge is located west from the famous Ala-Archa gorge in the same Tien Shan Kyrgyz Ala Too ridge, about 50 km southwest of Bishkek and begins from the Belogorka village towards south. The village is officially called Tösh Bulak (Foothill spring due to the high amount of springs in the area), but is still known to locals (and Google) by the Soviet era name Belogorka, which was once a flourishing collective farm village.
Sokuluk Gorge is a popular place for hiking along the Sokuluk river as it has beautiful nature with alpine meadows and forests, a big waterfall and a nice lake called the Borulu lake. Sokuluk Gorge also has a 4446 m high Vladimir Putin Peak.
Sokuluk gorge is mostly famous for its large 60 m tall Belogorka waterfall in the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Mountain Range. The waterfall is of snow-glacial origin and it has water from about mid-May to mid-September with the largest water amount in the spring time and early summer.
On your arrival to the waterfall, a beautiful panorama opens to a huge height of a waterfall with almost vertical cliffs that are notable for their unusual shapes. Water drops from the waterfall can be already felt about 200 m away, and it’s cold to stand near the waterfall even during the hottest days due to the low temperature of the water. Belogorka waterfall is not that hard to reach as it is possible to drive fairly close by a car and the terrain is easy to hike.
Borulu lake is also known as Kok-Kol lake (green lake from Kyrgyz) and is a tiny greenish colored dammed alpine lake, located at the altitude of 1900 m above sea level in a beautiful gorge. The lake appeared after the Belovodsk earthquake in 1885. The Kol stream flows into the lake but there are no visible outflows from the lake but there are several springs in the area that might be connected to the lake. The lake is clean and it is possible to swim in the cool water during the hot summer period.
Getting to Sokuluk gorge
If you are traveling by car you need to follow the Bishkek-Osh highway towards west from Bishkek. On the way there are several small towns that have bazars for stocking up with food and other supplies. After arriving to the center of Sokuluk village, turn west towards south and the mountains. From here drive straight south for about 23 km and you will reach the last village on this route called “Tösh-Bulak”. From here you continue straight to Belogorka waterfall towards south or towards southeast to reach the Borulu lake as they are located in different parts of the Sokuluk Gorge system.
Public transport does not go to the gorge and not all taxi drivers will be ready to take it due to the fairly poor quality of the road. It is however possible to find suitable cars and to negotiate the price with the driver. The easiest way to visit the Sokuluk gorge is to join a tour.
If you want to do a further hike from the gorge there is a trekking path between the Sokuluk and Ala-Archa gorges through the Ozerny pass located at an altitude of 3900 meters above sea level. The route is very demanding though and rarely used by amateurs and requires a good deal of experience.
How to get to Borulu Lake
Borulu lake is located approximately a 3,5 km hike away from the Tosh Bulak towards southeast with the height difference of about 450 m and reaching the height of 1900 m above sea level.
To get to the Borulu lake you need to turn left in the direction of the small village and drive about 4 km to the abandoned summer camp called Edelweiss on a good dirt road.
The hike is average level and requires elementary hiking skills. You can get to the lake in an hour or in few hours, depending on your pace and physical fitness. If you are a beginner it is better to try some easier ones before the Borulu lake, for example the Belogorka waterfall is a lot easier one to start with.
How to get to Belogorka waterfall
After driving 25 km south from Sokuluk village, along the straight dirt road, you can stop at the last old bridge over the Sokuluk River from where you can already see the Belogorka waterfall.
In order to reach the waterfall you need to walk deeper into the gorge along a clear path for about 3 km. The path is very easy and you can reach the waterfall in only 20-40 min along a flat rocky field.
For some reason the Belogorka waterfall is also often called Pigeon Falls, but we do not know the reason. On the way to the waterfall you will pass through wild bushes and meadows of flowers with hawthorn, wild currant, barberry, wild rose and even wild strawberries. You will also quite often meet a lot of sheep and goat that are grazing in the area.