Kel Suu Lake

Beach of Kel Suu Lake Kol Suu Island Cave opening at base of Kol Suu Lake River near Kol Suu Lake Yak at Kelsuu yurt camp Lake Kel Suu cave corner River crossings to get to Kol Suu Lake Kyrgyz horses fording river near Kol Suu View from Kol Suu Pass Bridge crossing Lake Kol Suu beach Jyrgal's yurt camp View of Kel Suu

Kol Suu Lake (or properly called Kol Teckeri) is quickly becoming one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. Secluded high up in the mountains that skirt along the Chinese border, Lake Kel Suu offers breathtaking views both on the steep climb up to the lake as well as at its shores. The water in the lake Kol Suu is fresh and has a greenish tint. In winter it drains out and a top layer of ice is all that remains; once the ice melts the lake can disappear like it has here. The lake is around 12 km (in 2015 it grew to 18km!) long from the beginning of the valley and can be reached within an hour with the help of a fascinating horse riding trip or steep hike. Kol Suu Lake is an interesting and unexplored place for diving and makes for excellent kayaking! You can check out someone’s youtube kayaking experience here and here.

Kel-Suu is an alpine lake in the At-Bashi District of Naryn Province of southeastern Kyrgyzstan. It is located at 3500 m elevation in the Kurumduk Valley which means “the preserved valley” of the Tian Shan mountains. Lake Kel-Suu is straddled by sheer cliffs on one side and the Sary-Beles mountain (4,726 meters high) to the east. It was only recently formed by a landslide in the 1980’s. It varies in width from approximately 800 meters down to only a 100 narrow meters in places. The lake is fed and drained by the Kurumduk River, a left tributary of the Kok-Kyya River.

Because the elevation of this region is so high, snow is possible at any time of the year (even August!) so be prepared for cold, wet, extreme temperature, and weather conditions. Kel Suu Lake is located in the border zone of the Naryn region, 150 km from Naryn City, is an excellent and fascinating place – the Kok Kiya valley. Getting to Köl-Suu is a true adventure all in itself which involves crossing two manned military checkpoints with gates to check visas & passports, 6 hours of off-road driving over sketchy bridges and multiple river crossings, then a further 3 hours horse trekking with locals who live high up in this incredibly remote region of Kyrgyzstan. The road to even get to the yurt camp goes through at least one difficult river crossing which can vary greatly depending on recent weather conditions. The rough dirt road does go all the way up to the lake but may not be passable depending on erosion and water levels. About a one hour horseback ride up to the lake from the local yurt camp is a nice alternative to the 2-3 hour hike from Jyrgal’s.

NOTE! Permit papers are required before driving to the region of Озеро Коль-Суу. As Köl-Suu lake is located in the patrolled border area, we need to get approvals from several regulatory authorities which will take at least one day. We may submit papers with payment and copies of passports beforehand or immediately upon arrival to Naryn City. There is basically no cell phone service or much in the way of food in the isolated region so enough prior confirmation of availability, road conditions, and supplies/food is a good idea before booking a tour here.