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September 2011
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A Bit of Canyonlands in Kyrgyzstan

Red Rock Canyon Near Bordunskiy

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Bordunskiy/Krasnyy Most area near Boom Canyon on the road to Issyk Kul Lake. I’d been told to expect a Grand Canyon-type experience. Well, that’s a bit of an exageration, but the area is gorgeous, anyway, and pretty unspoilt. Definitely worth a day trip, and I’d love to go back sometime to camp up there.

There may be various roads to get into this area from different directions, but the one I took is simple, and the road is pretty good. It was easy to drive it in my RAV4, and I expect a sedan would do fine, as well. The only question is about width. The road is pretty narrow in places, with a deep chasm on one side and a sheer wall on the other. I was definitely happier in my RAV4 than I would have been in a wide-based Land Cruiser or Hummer, for example.

The Road, Narrow, But Not Too Bad

I got out of the car and went hiking without getting to the end of the road, so I don’t know where it gets to in the end or what wonders I left still unexplored. Have to go back there soon, I guess. The area I hiked in, though, was gorgeous. I started down one of the many slot canyons, but as is usual, didn’t get far before coming upon a 15 foot cliff. I could have gotten down without too much difficulty, I expect — but I’m afraid I’d still be there. Serious hiking in this kind of terrain requires some rope and some climbing skill — not to mention a lot of caution. Still, camping in the area would certainly be rewarding.

View Down One of the Wider Canyons

    Getting There

The route is easy. Take the road to Issyk Kul. At 78 miles (from the turn off of Almatinskaya) turn right onto a dirt road across some railroad tracks. Don’t worry too much when the road runs right into the bed of a small stream. The ground is stony and you won’t likely sink in (this trip is not recommended in the rain!). You just keep following the road, from which there are no turnoffs. Remember, when you get to the gates, to leave them as you found them. Here’s a .gdb file you can use in Google Earth or your GPS.

View Larger Map

Scroll a bit to the left and down to see the green arrow at the place where I stopped along the road.

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