Driving The Wild Road to Song Köl
Song Köl is an alpine lake at an elevation of 3.048m (10,000ft) above the sea level, located in northern Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan..
Set high in the Tian Shan mountains, the road to the lake, also known as Son Kul, Songköl, Song-Köl, is unpaved. The “road” (a dirt trail, with sand, rocks, and broken in many sections) to access to this lake can be reached by 4x4 vehicles or bikes only. Fed by the glacier water of the surrounding mountains, it is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan (18x29km wide, 13 meters deep) after Issyk Kul Lake.
The road to the lake is 75.1 km (46.66 miles) long starting at Bashkaingdy. The trail crosses many gorges and tops out by Kara-Keche Pass, at an elevation of 3.384m (11,102ft) above sea level. It is surrounded by a broad summer pasture and then mountains. Its beauty is greatly praised, but it is rather inaccessible.
Make sure you get your vehicle and yourself well-prepared before driving this road. Snow cover in the lake basin persists for 180 to 200 days a year. In winter the lake surface freezes, the ice becoming as much as 1-1.2 m thick. The ice on the Song Köl begins to thaw in the middle or at the end of April, and completely disappears by late May. There are no facilities on the lake, but local herders will provide supplies and rent yurts. The area is inhabited and safely accessible only from June to September.