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Kyrgyzstan — bikepacking in the wild east

Niko Holder

Kyrgyzstan — bikepacking in the wild east

Mountain Biking Collection by komoot

7

Tours

30:05 h

220 mi

25,775 ft

Kyrgyzstan — the former Soviet state tucked away between China and Kazakhstan— is a breathtaking jewel along the old Silk Road. Dominated by the Tian Shan mountains, the country is home to wild and rough peaks, immense mountain lakes and incredibly hospitable locals. And it's a place bursting with raw adventure.

Here, in Kyrgyzstan, innumerable mountaineering, climbing and backpacking trails make the country a true gem for adventurers. Based on its growing reputation as a hiker's insider tip, Niko and his mountain biking buddies decided to pack up their bikes, head to the country — and to check out what Kyrgyzstan has to offer.

On arrival, it quickly became clear that this was a place few mountain bikers ventured to. And while this got the adventure off to a rather puzzling start, it meant that the diverse landscape, the endless flow trails and the 13,000-foot (4,000-meter) high peaks that dominated this MTB playground came as an even greater surprise. They had truly entered a mountain bike eldorado that is comparable to the more famous haunts of Utah and the Alps. Combine that with a type of charm you only find in these former Soviet republics and the hearty food that will leave you full for days, and you've got the perfect mountain biking adventure.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    03:26
    9.80 mi
    2.9 mph
    5,700 ft
    5,700 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Bishkek, a continuous good road leads into the heart of the Ala Artscha National Park. There you can even book hotel rooms, you should not be traveling with a tent. These should however be booked with sufficient time interval, since they are often quite overcrowded. If you've brought your camping gear with you, you can set up your dwelling in one of the many meadows completely free of charge.

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  • Difficult
    05:00
    17.0 mi
    3.4 mph
    7,650 ft
    7,650 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    To the west extends a special cream piece of the Ala Archa National Park. Although the route is very lonely and rarely undertaken, a consistently good walkable and drivable path leads up to a nameless summit that marks the end of the river valley. The raging stream, which sometimes has very strong currents, must be crossed again and again, which is quite an adventure with the bike on the back.

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  • Intermediate
    02:27
    14.0 mi
    5.7 mph
    2,600 ft
    25 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Before you rush into the Kyrgyz wilderness, there are two things to do in Karakol: Once you should go to Asman and try out all sorts of Kyrgyz specialties. On the other hand, you should visit the big market and get your supplies there for the upcoming tour. The ascent of the Alaköl lake will take three days for conditionally fit bikers.

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  • Intermediate
    01:32
    2.84 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,825 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The ascent from the base camp is very long, very steep and very exhausting. The bike must be shouldered here predominantly. The path is virtually impossible to miss, since there is only one leaked track. As a result, he is also extremely good to commit. However, should the forces wane, halfway there is an old refuge, which can be used for another overnight stay.

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  • Difficult
    03:04
    26.8 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,000 ft
    7,375 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Once you've made it to Alakul Lake, the hardest part of the climb is over. Now there are only two climbs to overcome before reaching the Alakul Pass, which you climb almost unnoticed as the incredible mountain panorama detracts from all the hardships. In between even waiting for a short descent, which is extremely steep and technical. You almost feel like rushing into the lake.

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  • Difficult
    05:42
    60.3 mi
    10.6 mph
    2,425 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The stage from Balyktschy to the Keckek-Bel Pass can be done well in one day from the distance and the elevation meters, but on some days a violent wind blows over the Yssykköl Lake, which can cost a lot of strength. Otherwise, the route is characterized by many lonely, beautifully situated roads, which are interrupted only by very small, rudimentary …

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  • Difficult
    08:54
    88.8 mi
    10.0 mph
    2,625 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A stage can not start better than a descent. From the 2109 meter high Keckek-Bel Pass, it goes down in no time down to the Yssykkul Lake, where you can best enjoy a breakfast directly on the beach. As luck would have it, this is the best bakery on Yssykköl Lake. Inconspicuous, but recommended by many locals, is served every …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    220 mi
  • Duration
    30:05 h
  • Elevation
    25,775 ft

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Kyrgyzstan — bikepacking in the wild east