Keskinkija Loop Hike

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5 Days
Jyrgalan, Kyrgyzstan
Tian Shan

Trek through the high passes of Kyrgyzstan into the Shepards life

Trek through the off-beaten paths into the wilderness of Tian Shan Mountains

Why this experience is unique?

  • Unexplored Trekking Route
  • Meet the Nomadic Herders
  • Path through sheppard camps
  • Cross high mountain passes
Experience Details

According to locals, Jyrgalan Valley is a region blessed by God. Seven nearby peaks surround the valley, offering beautiful views and weather that is perfect for year-round adventure activities. Jyrgalan was once a prominent cultural center during the ancient silk trade and the reminiscence of the culture can still be seen in traditions and lifestyle of local people.

The Keskenkija trekking route was resurrected in the year 2017. The entire trail is unexplored and marked by red arrows for easy navigation. Trek through the high mountain passes, meadows, and plateaus into the Tian Shan mountain ranges through several ancient nomadic silk routes of Kyrgyzstan and become a true nomad.

Your Day by Day Journey
Day 1: Arrive and Explore
  • Arrive in Jyrgalan
  • Manaschi- Kyrgyz Folklore Show

Day 1Arrive in Jyrgalan

The first day of the trip is pretty easy going. Immerse into the culture and get to know the families of Jyrgalan. Know more from the hosts about the history of the valley and do ask about the local food and traditions. In the evening, spend a couple of hours with the folk artisans of Kyrgyzstan. One of the most beloved traditions, the Kyrgyz folklore talks about songs of love, loss, and the history of the region. Retire into the night into your comfortable homestay for an adventurous expedition from the next day.

Day 2 and 3: The Adventure Begins
  • Trek to Eki Chat Valley
  • Cross the Tup River
  • Through the Jyrgalan pass (3332 m)

Day 2Eki Chat Valley

The route length on day one is 18 km, taking about 8 hours to cover for an average trekker. The first leg of the trek involves following the trail towards the end of the village, till you hit a wooden bridge, leading to a dirt road marking the beginning of the trail. Passing through pine forests and river to your left you will reach Eki Chat valley. Meet Dainik and his family for lunch and witness famous Central Asian ‘Yurt’. During the second leg, hike for about 9kms toward a fork which leads to Jyrgalan Pass (3332m) to your left and Tuz Gorge towards your right. Just before taking the turn towards the pass, look for flat land to camp and prepare for the next day. The first day of the trek is the most demanding yet the views soak up all the tiredness and are just awe-inspiring.

Day 3Through the Tup River

The second day of the trek takes you through the Jyrgalan pass and across the Tup River. The day’s trek is about 10 km and about 6 hours. The ascend and decent is easy-moderate. Once on top of the Jyrgalan pass, you will see nothing but a vast expanse of mountains all around. As you descend from the pass, meet the river Tup to your left side. It is recommended to cross the river on the horses to prevent being washed away by the strong currents of the river. Across the Tup River, one would reach a wide meadow that may be filled with wildflowers depending upon the time of the year. Find a good place to camp and retire for the day in the nearby jailoo

Day 4 and 5: Through the Nomad trail
  • Meet the shepherds families deep into the mountains
  • Trek through the Anvar pass
  • Conclude your trek towards Jyrgalan

Day 4Rendezvous with the shepherd

On the third day, trek through butterflies dancing between the flowers and birds chirping in the pine trees to your right. The trekking distance is about 13 Km and the average time taken is 5 hours. Follow the Tup River for 2 km before heading up towards a hill on your right to a plateau 3,000 m above sea level. During the summer months, you will get a chance to meet the shepherds, they will be happy to share food or a drink with you. This is a great opportunity to experience authentic Kyrgyz hospitality. Walking down the Jailoo, take a moment to bask at the reddish-brown colored canyon in front of you. A steep hike ahead reaches across a mountain pass (3380 m) into the sprawling Keskinja Valley. As you descend down the horse trail, look across the jagged peaks- this is Kazakhstan. Find a spot to camp at about 3240 m in the Keskinkija Valley.

Day 5Back to Jyrgalan

The last leg of the trek is the longest one and involves crossing several passes. A total of 20 km it takes about 8 hours. Though an easy walk, the trek takes quite some time. You will witness some old farmlands along the way where you may plan on having lunch. Just before thinking of descending, cross the last pass – Anvar pass (3310m) toward Jyrgalan. On your descend, you will come across marshy terrain as you hike along the Tup River into the Jyrgalan Valley. On the end leg of the trek see the cattle and nomads wandering around the place making it an excellent cultural sight. A pickup will be waiting for you to complete the last leg of the adventure. If you plan on completing the whole trek on your own, we recommend adding another day as it is another 15 km hike.

What it includes?

Cultural Experience
2 nights at the homestay in Jyrgalan
Local guide & cook
Porters (horse, up to 60 kg / 2 persons)
Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, poles, etc.)
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
First Aid Kit

What it excludes?

Travel visa and insurance
Any private expenses
Any extra demands during the trek

Is this Experience right for you?

Are you traveling because you need some time away from your urban life? Does living a village life in the mountains excite you? Are you ready to truly live the local lifestyle? If your answer is yes, take up this experience that will transport you to a different world. You might not get the internet here but you will also not feel the need for it as you will be busy exploring the unique sites, mountain views, and village life. The luxury here is living at the beautiful mountain destination, getting freshly cooked organic food at every meal, and having happy locals offering their warm hospitality.

Hear from communities

  • Guests like to eat our Ladakhi food. They say it is delicious, even when it is prepared by an elderly ama (mother) like me. I always make sure I serve them the cleanest and healthiest food. My husband is a copper artist. When guests leave us, they say ‘Julley’, and hug us. It makes us feel happy.

    Tsering Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Sumda Chun
  • I became a Mountain Homestay Host in 2018, and I have hosted many travellers since then. Running a homestay has helped me and my family a lot. Not only is the solar set up in our house useful for us, but even travellers prefer to stay in our homestay because of it.

    Rigzin Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Photolalok
  • The training we got in astronomy turned out to be a life-changing experience for our village. I felt happy and proud while mapping the position of the planets and sharing the secrets of the universe with the tourists. Tourists told me that even they didn’t know so much about the dark skies!

    Tsewang Dorjey
    Astropreneur - Maan
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