Jeti Öguz is one of the most popular destinations for a day trip from Karakol, a starting point for multi-day hikes or a weekend away in the mountains. Tourists, as well as locals, come to visit the area at the north slope of Teskey Ala-Too mountain range close to the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kul. The area is not only popular for hikes, barbecues, and its thermal springs. There also many legends growing around the mountains. So there is a lot to discover!
The Seven Bulls
One of the most famous sights to see are the Seven Bulls, a bright red sandstone formation that. gave the valley its name. Especially in the early morning or the late afternoon, when the sun is hitting the sandstone, the colour of the rocks is a bright red. The rocks resemble seven (others say eight or even nine) bulls lying on the ground. There’s a small village at the foot of the mountains, and a sanatorium that was even visited by Russian presidents (Boris Yeltsin spent some time there, for example). There are a number of little shops where you can buy refreshments, and locals sell honey by the road – it is delicious (and I wish I could have taken home more of it).
On the way to the Seven
In the Valley of Flowers
While many tourists just go to Jeti Ögüz to see the Seven Bulls and Broken hearts, I recommend taking the time for a hike through the valley of flowers. There is a path leading to the valley, that starts right behind the village. You have to cross five bridges to reach the valley. Even though I have to admit that we did not see that many flowers there (maybe the cattle already ate them all?), the valley is very picturesque and you have stunning views of the mountains, the lush green meadows and endless skies when you walk all the way through the valley. You will pass by many yurt camps where many locals spend their weekends, encounter numerous horses and we were lucky to see many prey birds as well, who seemed to live in the trees of the valley.
Devechi Kosy Waterfall
Hidden in the forrests of hte mountains behind the alley of flowers there is a beautiful waterfall. The trail there is not marked but fairly easy to find (or just ask one of the locals, who all know where to find it). The path winds uphill into the forrest and can get quite steep, but the views from up the hills are beautiful and most of the trail lies in the shade so it is not too strenous to get there.
Tip: The basin below the waterfall is a popular bathing spot among locals in summer. Bring a bathing suit and a towel, and you can reward yourself with a refreshing bath at the waterfall!