Chon AK-SUU GORGE (GRIGORIEVSKoe)
Chon Ak-Suu gorge is better known as the Grigorievsky or Grigoriev gorge. It is located next to Grigorievsky village at the north side of the Issyk-Kul Lake. Chon Ak-Suu gorge spreads along the Kungei Ala-Too ridge in the north part and runs parallel with the coastal line of the Issyk-Kul lake in the south and widens up to a large valley in the north. A crystal clear full-flowing river called the Ak-Suu (white water), runs along the bottom of Chon Ak-Suu gorge.
The full length of the Ak Suu river from the village of Grigoryevka to the slope of the Aksu pass, that located at an altitude of 4012 meters above sea level, is about 38 km. At the top of the gorge there are two snowy peaks: Kum Bel at the altitude of 4200 m and Eschenbulak reaching even higher to 4647 m. From the Ak-Suu pass, a stunning panorama of Issyk-Kul can be seen towards the south but it is very hard to use this route connecting the Grigorievka valley to the Chon Kemin valley. With a car it is impossible but some do venture there during the hottest summer time by horses and by foot.
The Chon Ak-Suu area has three beautiful lakes in the west side of the valley. In the first part of the gorge, lowest of the three called, the first lake. The second lake is situated higher, among the Jailoo (summer pastures) and is called “Gornoe ozero” which translates as the mountain laike. Six kilometers further from the middle one, is the most beautiful, furthest and highest of the three lakes. All lakes have high mountain trouts (forel) living in them. Behind the last lake, at an altitude of about 3500 m, forests are turning into beautiful alpine meadows and finally disappear totally due to the altitude.
In summer, many visitors drive to the gorge to enjoy the beauty of the first small lake. The fast flowing Ak Suu river is also very beautiful with raspberries, large black barberries and brown and green moss covering the rocks by the river.
The pride of not only the Chon Ak-Suu Gorge, but of most of the Kyrgyz mountain areas, are the blueish Tien Shan spruce trees, which can reach the height of 50 m here. Additionally, the mountain slopes of the Chon Ak-Suu Gorge are spread with a bright red mountain poppy in the spring time growing along the valley like a magnificent red carpet. The valley is also a common place for eagle hunting shows and horse games during the summer period.
Travel to Grigoriev gorge
You can take a shared taxi from Cholpon-Ata to the Grigoryevsky Gorge. If you are traveling by car along the highway between Balykchy-Karakol on the northern shore of Issyk-Kul, you need to turn north to the village of Grigoryevka after Cholpon Ata. The road to the gorge is of a rarely good quality for a Kyrgyz mountain road, on which you can drive even with a normal passenger car. There is an asphalted road which then turns into an unpaved road that you can follow to the valley.
Ak-Suu gorge is about 60 km east from Cholpon-Ata and one of the most visited destinations by the Issyk-Kul visitors. Locals offer yurts and camping tents in the fields where you can overnight in nature. You can also go for hiking or horseback riding and there are tourist routes to the neighboring Semenovskoye gorge, through the Kek-Bel pass and to the western part of the Küngey-Ala-Too and Zailiysky Alatau ranges.
East from the Grigoriev valley, there is another, a lately more known valley called Kyrchyn. It has gotten popular after it hosted many events of the World Nomad Games that were organized in in Issyk Kul in 2014, 2016 and 2018. There is a road over a rather low pass connecting these two valleys.
Sights near Grigorievsky gorge
Page updated 26.11.2023