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Kazakhstan - Charyn canyon in Almaty: photos, map, how to go?

CHarynskij kanon v Alma-Ate

Charyn canyon is a unique monument of nature, with a history spanning several million years. It looks fantastic Martian landscape in the city and in 1904 was established the national Park with an incredibly large territory, comparable to the size of any of the countries of Eastern Europe.

Natural wonder on the map

prirodnyj obekt na karte

Charyn canyon – one of the most beautiful places on the planet, which year after year attracts hundreds of tourists. With its convenient location, the access is difficult.


This is a unique place located in Kazakhstan – about 200 km East of Almaty city. It is part of the national Park and has a length of about 150 km Through it flows the river Charyn, due to which it was formed.

On the background of the river one can see the magnificent mountains of Tien-Shan, inferior in height and beauty but only the Pamirs.

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How to get there?

The real way to get to Charyn canyons of the cities of Russiato go by plane to Alma-ATA. Every day here take passengers airlines such as Aeroflot, Air Astana and S7. Flights follow directly or with transfers. Travel time is about 4.5 hours. The journey by train will take about 2.5 days.

A plane ticket you can buy through this search form. Enter the city of departure and destination, date and number of passengers.

From Almaty to Charyn canyon can be reached in several easy ways:

  • Public transport. There are regular buses from the bus station Sayakhat and follow in Kegen and Narynkol. Along the way, the drivers stop near the turn of the nature reserve. This place will have to go 10 miles across the steppe or to hitchhike;
  • Own car. The journey by own car will take about 3-3. 5 hours. From Almaty you must go to Kulja road and drive 110 miles to the fork, located near the village of Chilik. After passing the pointer, you should turn right and continue to the fork with a pointer to the Charyn canyon;
  • Tour bus. The easiest and most inexpensive way to travel from Alma-ATA – order a minibus for 7 passengers or use the services of travel agencies that offer tours of the day on this route. Very comfortable tour bus guide is attached and a full program of walking;
  • Hitchhiking. Many tourists travel to Charyn canyon this way. It is especially useful in the weekend, because from Alma-ATA should be a lot of tourists who decided to see the wonder of nature with my own eyes.

Charyn canyon with photos

foto kanona

Being an ancient place with a rich history, Charyn canyon is a natural world with beautiful and various landscapes, as well as a place where there are rare species of flora and fauna.


According to scientists, Charyn canyon was formed about 12 million years ago, where once was located the ancient ocean Paleottithat existed during the Paleozoic era.

Here you still find the remains of the animal world, pieces of coral and rare species of trees, which has a decent number of years.

In particular, we found the remains of mastodons, elephants, horses Strona – animals that lived in the canyon about 350 million years ago. In the rocky breed of Charyn, there are several layers related to the Neogene, Carboniferous, Paleozoic and Riphean. Here you can find rare ash grove, from the ice age. Due to this fact, these green spaces were recognized as the most valuable monument.

About 400 million years ago this region was a numerous Islands. Most of them were formed as a result of collision of East Gondwana and Eastern Europe. After 20 million years the ocean floor began to rise. In its place aroseThe Junggar sea, which finally retreated around 250 million years ago.

After the sea remained flat drying, and subsequently appeared in the Ili lake is an ancient body of water which occupied a large territory. During its existence, its bottom was covered with hundreds of meters of sedimentary rocks, and they, in turn, cut the river, creating Charyn canyon. Today, the river changed its course and runs close to the gorge, and its proceedings come to see tourists from all over the world.


Charyn canyon occupies a vast territory with a total length of 150 km, and the depth of the canyon in some places reaches 300 meters. It is a rare place where you have the option to walk or to drive there, where over millions of years formed the unearthly landscape.

opisanie mesta

The route through the canyon is about a hundred miles long well-trodden path, which on both sides is decorated with sediment brick red with the most unusual shapes and patterns on their surface.

Thanks to these features, many tourists compare Charyn canyon to the American Grand Canyon.

For tourists there are available a few fantastic places. First, interest is the Valley of castles , a scenic tourist route, the length of which is about 2 kilometers. This part of the canyon named so romantic because on both sides from the route it is surrounded by high cliffs, which resemble ancient temples with colonnades, cornices, columns, galleries.

Walking along the route of the Valley of castles, you can find some grottoes, caves, huge cracks, forming intricate patterns. On the remains of the rock are seen the folds of the oldest and youngest layers, breaks the earth's crust and landslides.

The structure of these rocks are porous and fragile and the tops of some of them periodically fall off, falling below. For tourists, they are not dangerous, because the employees of the national Park actively monitors changes in its landscape.


Often the walking tour begins from Valley of castles, but also includes visits to other places:

  1. The Gorge Of The Dragon;
  2. The Jaws Of The Devil;
  3. Witch's Gorge;
  4. Asian poplar grove.

The tour ends at the refreshing banks of the Charyn river, which plays a significant role in the organization of a favorable climate for the local flora. It contributes to the supply of moisture, prevent blockage of the floodplain and creates the conditions for forest growth of the rare species of ash.

This type of ash is found only on two spots on the planet – in Charyn canyon and in North America.

On the banks of the river for tourists include canopies with tables and benches, and in warm weather, the water warms up to +16 degrees, which gives you the opportunity to cool off after a long walk in the heat of the Kazakh summer. Its length is about 343 kilometers, and it originates on the southern slope of the Ketmen ridge.

Near the river built a tourist "Eco-Park"where there are cafes, yurts, bungalows, where you can spend the night. It's incredibly convenient, because the most fantastic views of Charyn canyon opens at sunrise and sunset. In such special moments of the gorge's cliffs shimmer with bright colors, from fiery red to a Golden tone.

If overnight is not expected, for tourists provides a return route, leading along the upper edge of Charyn canyon. From the viewing platforms, equipped here, you can admire the gorge. It offers a spectacular view of the ancient riverbed of the ili lake. Overall, the tour at the Charyn canyon is 13 hours including the road.

Travel tips

sovety nachinaushim turistam

Charyn canyon is one of those unique places where one only of the stunning views from all visitors is breathtaking.

In such a place you should definitely traveling, because here everyone feels a real grain of sand on the background of large-scale nature of the Earth.

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When is the best time to go?

The perfect time to visit Charyn canyon – spring (late March-may) or autumnbecause at this time in Kazakhstan is not very hot, and in summer the air temperature in the daytime reaches +38 degrees. But if the heat is not terrible, you can go here in the summer.

What to bring?

Since you are planning a long trip that can take more than half a day, tourists, first and foremost, you should care about clean drinking water (minimum 2 liters) and food. The gorge has its own café, but it is not always open. Also a journey with me need to grab a headdress, comfortable shoes, sunscreenglasses and a camera.

Sharyn reserve itself is an interesting place, visiting which you can learn how to form the nature of the Earth for many millions of years. A trip here can be combined with other equally attractive places offered by Kazakhstan, such as hot springs in the Kostanay or Bartogai reservoir.

Watch video about Charyn canyon: