Dzhungarian Alatau

Dzhungarian Alatau is the traditional name of the Semirechensky (Jetysu) Alatau mountains.

The Dzhungarian mountains are the longest of the Semirechye mountain ranges. Their length from west to east is 450 km, width - from 50 to 90 km. In the central part of the ridge the tops reach heights of more than 4500 m (the highest point is the Semyonov-Tian-Shansky peak, 4622 m).


The western spurs of the Dzhungarian Alatau form the northern and western borders of the Altyn-Emel National Park.

This is a part of the Koyandytau ridge, the Altyn-Emel ridge and the Matai, Degeres and Sholak ranges (from east to west, with a gradual decrease in height).

Koyandytau and Altyn-Emel Ridges

The Koyandytau ridges (3459 m) and Altyn-Emel (2928 m) have an alpine relief type. The steppificated southern slope of the Altyn-Emel ridge is distinguished by deep rocky gorges, and the watershed of the ridge is characterized by rocky domed peaks. The Koyandytau ridge has a more severe appearance with characteristic features of the Dzhungarian highlands.

The Altyn-Emel pass separates the ridge of the same name from the Matai ridge.

Altyn-Emel Mountain Pass

Matai, Degeres and Sholak Ridges

The Matai (2880 m), Degeres (2280 m) and Sholak (1785 m) ridges do not reach the snow line and do not have permanent glaciers. They are characterized by steep stepped relief forms with narrow deep gorges.

Sholak (Chulak) Mountains

Kara-Espe, Taigak and Terekty Gorges

The gorges of Kara-Espe, Taigak and Terekty in the Sholak (Chulak) mountains are known for their numerous rock paintings, among which the Tanbaly Tas petroglyphic complex stands out, a unique monument of the history and culture of ancient nomadic tribes.

Taigak Gorge in Sholak Mountains

Kyzylauyz Gorge

The Kyzylauyz gorge in the Sholak (Chulak) mountains is relatively small. At the entrance, the rocks have a pinkish tint, that is why the gorge got its name, Kyzylauyz ("red mouth" in Kazakh).

Here, during the period of rains and snowmelt, you can see the Akbulak waterfall.

Kyzylauyz Gorge in Sholak Mountains

At the entrance to the national park via the village of Basshi, tourists pass through the beautiful Altyn-Emel pass in the mountains of Dzhungarian Alatau.

See also:

Altyn-Emel Roads and Nearby Sights >>>

Altyn-Emel Mountain Pass
Altyn-Emel Mountain Pass in Winter

At the entrance to the national park via Checkpoint 1 from the village of Shengeldy, the road goes along the Sholak mountain range, the western end of Dzhungarian Alatau, which comes close to the shore of the Kapchagai reservoir.

Altyn-Emel Checkpoint
Sholak Mountains and Kapchagai

The Tanbaly Tas petroglyphs and the "Taigak" hotel are located in the Sholak mountains.

See also:

Hotels and Campsites >>>

Tanbaly Tas Petroglyphs
Taigak Hotel in Altyn-Emel

The ancient historical and cultural monument, the Saka mounds of Besshatyr, is located between the Ili river and the Degeres mountain range of Dzhungarian Alatau.

See also:

Tourist Route 2 >>>

Besshatyr Mounds
Besshatyr Necropolis
Arba Travel

Arba Travel offers tours from Almaty to the Saka mounds of Besshatyr and the petroglyphs of Tanbaly Tas in the mountains of Dzhungarian Alatau.

Arba Travel

Your Guide to Altyn-Emel National Park

© 2023, Arba Travel

Arba Travel Contact Info:

Phone: +77772266560 

Contact by WhatsApp >>>