Chatyr-Kul is one of the beautiful alpine lakes of Kyrgyzstan. It is situated in Naryn province in the Tian-Shan mountain range. The name “chatyr kul” means celestial or heavenly lake. The literal translation is “roof lake”. It got this name probably because of its high location. It is at an altitude of more than 3500 meters above sea level. This is the third largest lake in Kyrgyzstan after Issyk-Kul and Son-Kul.
The lake was discovered in 1859 by Shokhan Valikhanov, who was a Kazakh researcher and traveller. He was the first overseas visit of the lake.
The climate of Chatyr lake is continental and known to be the coldest in Kyrgyzstan. The average temperature here is -5°C. In summer it reaches 24°C and in winter to -54°C. Most of the time of the year the lake is covered with ice. The water in the lake is clean and transparent.
The lake is part of the Karatal-Japyryk State Nature Reserve. There are different types of birds and animals living in the area: marmots, mountain goats, mountain geese, vultures, snow leopards, etc. There are also some hot springs near the lake.
One of the most popular hiking trails is from Tash Rabat Caravanserai to the lake, which is a 7 hours round trip. You can hike alone or with local guides. The horse trekking is also possible. As the lake is situated near the border zone with China there is a need for a border permit for the night stays.