Big Almaty Lake
Set in a valley high above Almaty in the Alma Arasan Gorge of the Ile Alatau National Park is the vivid turquoise Big Almaty Lake at 2,510m above sea-level. 1.5km long and 35m deep, the alpine lake is a destination in itself and a good place to begin one of the many hikes in the area. Being so close to the border with Kyrgyzstan, there are sometimes guards blocking certain hiking routes but the area is still worth a visit purely to see the lake itself. Situated a few kilometres before the lake is Alpine Rose, a hotel run by Alpina XXI, and just beyond the lake is the Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory where you can also stay and, on a clear night, watch the stars through the Observatory’s large telescope.