Throughout history Osh has stood as the gateway to the incredible Pamir Mountains, one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. Surrounded by the Himalayas on one side, the Hindu Kush on another, and blending into the Tian Shan range that stretches across Kyrgyzstan, chains of impressive snow-capped peaks within the Pamir-Alay mountain range have beckoned travelers for millennia
Trek the same mountain passes, peaks, and valleys that merchants once traversed along the storied Silk Road. Currently, a trek and overnight in a base camp at the base camp of Peak Lenin is the most popular trek in the region. However, Osh’s location means a vast array of trekking possibilities. So if you venture further afield you’ll never find trails crowded or busy. The Pamir-Alay region offers a perfect way to trek into wild, wonderful nature with views that will blow you away
Below is an overview of the main treks in the region. The most difficult trails for intrepid trekkers climb to more than 4,300 meters, while a number of single- and multi-day treks (and horse treks!) suit adventurers of any style and time-frame. No matter the route you choose, every trek offers unspoiled nature, authentic hospitality as you meet nomadic shepherds in the high jailoo (summer pastures), and a chance to hike in one of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges. This Lonely Planet article shows we're not the only ones with an opinion on the matter!
Choosing a Trek
Choosing an appropriate trek for your personal situation is an important part of the trekking experience in Kyrgyzstan. The Pamir Mountains offer an abundance of routes to various sites, but more importantly, each route includes unique topography and thus unique technical and physical challenges. It’s crucial that you not only choose a trek that you’d like to experience visually, but you also select the trails and routes best suited to your personal fitness level, energy, and health. Key considerations include the altitude changes on each trekking day, distances covered, and average hours of hiking expected per day. For those of any fitness level, select treks are also available as horse treks, which can make certain vistas and viewpoints more accessible. In addition to the horse treks listed below, please enquire directly if you wish to arrange a customized horse trek in the region
Guides are recommended for the longer and more difficult trails, but travelers up to the challenge can certainly trek solo on well-marked trails. Thanks to a trail-marking project by the USAID Business Growth Initiative, detailed GPS data is available for the vast majority of popular trekking routes across the Osh and Pamir-Alay corridor. Ultimately, you should choose a trek that is challenging (strenuous, even), but that offers you the chance to also enjoy the beautiful mountainscapes.
If you are unsure about the trek that's best for you, or if you'd like to purchase trekking maps, stop by the Destination Osh office
June to September is the high season for trekking in Kyrgyzstan, but Osh’s location right on the edge of the Pamir-Alay mountain range ensures that a selection of lower-altitude routes open earlier and later in the year, weather permitting. Trekking season guidelines exist to help you avoid inclement weather and harsh temperatures, and to make your trekking experience as smooth as possible
Renting Trekking Gear
Osh is a full service destination, offering both experienced guides and a full range of trekking gear. For soft adventurers, most one-day treks only require that travelers bring their own sturdy hiking shoes, daypack, and water. For the multi-day treks listed below, travelers can easily rent sleeping bags, tents, cooking equipment, and trekking backpacks while in Osh. Visit Alay (aka Osh CBT, +996-555-077-621) offers a full range of trekking gear rentals. All guided treks include the gear necessary for the trek, while independent trekkers can rent gear from Visit Alay as needed. Sary Mogul CBT also offers trekking gear for rent, but it is best to double check with them in advance to be sure they have the right gear you need when you need it
Osh’s strategic location as the gateway to the Pamir Mountains and neighboring countries also affords travelers the chance to trek near border regions. As such, one trek from Ozgorush Village in Batken requires a permit. For this trek, you must book your permit one month in advance via a local partner in Batken city. If you have booked with a tour operator or the local CBT (there is Visit Alay in Osh and one coming soon to Batken), each one can help you secure your trekking permit before you arrive. If you need any assistance, you can always contact Destination Osh and we’ll help you find the information and resources you need for a successful trek
Recommended One-Day Treks in Osh Region (Pamir-Alay MountainsKoshkol Lakes Trek
Distance: 17km Max.Elevation: 3,602m
Duration: 1day Min.Elevation: 2,560m
Season: June-September Difficulty: Easy-Medium