Picturesque Jeti-Ögüz (Жети-өгүз) gorge is located 25-kilometres to the South-west of the town of Karakol. Its name is translated from Kyrgyz language meaning “Seven Bulls”, a 35-kilometres long wall of seven huge red-brown cliffs resembling 7 furious bulls standing together. Underneath this rock formation, there is a very tiny village and also where the valley trail begins, leading you to where nomads live in the rolling hills.
Getting to Jeti-Ögüz
From Karakol’s Big Bazaar bus station, take marshrutka #371 or #355 to Jeti-Ögüz village. The journey is around 30-minutes and costs 30 KGS (US$0.40) per seat. After arriving at the village, you will have to take a shared taxi for a further 12-kilometres to the red rock formation that should cost no more than 50 KGS (US$0.70) each person.
Alternatively, you may take a shared taxi from Karakol straight to Jeti-Ögüz rock formation for 150 KGS (US$2) per seat.
The Seven Bulls
The Seven Bulls is the main thing to see in Jeti-Ögüz gorge. The red color of the boulders in the middle of the green grass make them stand out a lot and make the surroundings look very impressive. For a better view of the Seven Bulls, hike up the trail from the village leading up the hill on the opposite side of the road. From the top, you’ll be able to get some extraordinary views of Jeti-Ögüz.
Trek Around Kök Jaiyk
As the name suggests “the Valley of Flowers”, this area is said to be blanketed with wildflowers in Spring, though even in late summer when we were there, the pasture blooms are replaced by simple shades of green. It does not has a clear path when you arrived, just follow the river and you’re on the right way. Among the green fields surrounded by pine forests, like an image of Swiss countryside rather than a remote valley in Kyrgyzstan. There are several yurts set up along the Valley of Flowers that you can rent a bed for the night.
You also don’t have to worry about running out of water along the way as there are freshwater springs everywhere! This adds into the feeling of being in a fairy-tale landscape in Kyrgyzstan. The water in these springs is useful for the treatment of rheumatism, gastric and nervous diseases. If you are spending the night in the village out here, it is recommended getting up early to watch the sunrise from the top of the hill.
Hike to Devechi Kosi Falls
Winding uphill from the Valley of Flowers, a narrow and dusty trail leads through a alpine forests to the cool, shaded area of Devechi Kosi waterfall. You can reach the falls in less than an hour by foot, or opt to go by horse offered by the nomads at the bottom. The trail isn’t marked but once you’re on it, you can’t go wrong. You can always ask the nomads around to direct the correct direction.
It is definitely possible and advisable to do this lovely day trip without a guide. If you are in some doubt, head to Destination Karakol to ask them for advice and they will help you.
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!