An excursion to the Barskoon gorge starts from the Tamga village. There is a road leading over the pass Barskoon (3,754 m) to the highland valley of the Inner and Central Tien Shan called Arabel valley. The purpose of the excursion is to visit four magnificent waterfalls. One of the most famous is "Tears of the Leopard."
Barskoon gorge is located in 6 km from the Tamga village. Its length is more than 30 km. Along the gorge goes good road that leads to the gold mine. There are two passes on the way to Arabel valley – Sary-Moinok pass (3442m) and Barskoon pass (3819m).
At the beginning of the gorge, the slopes are covered with a green veil of steppe vegetation, as well as sparse bushes. Then begins the zone of spruce forests which densely covers both slopes of the gorge. In many places slender high spruce trees form picturesque park-type groups. Tien-Shan fir trees, numerous colorful bushes of barberry, mountain ash, sea buckthorn, currant, raspberry, dogrose, honeysuckle, combined with the blue sky and whiteness of snow peaks, create a unique beauty. This impression is intensified by looking at the lake, which seems like a huge lapis lazuli enclosed in an emerald setting of mountain slopes. At a height of 2800 m, the spruce forests disappear. Here you will see more and more juniper trees, which sometimes form groves.
Above the forest zone are the gentle green alpine meadows with numerous rock outcrops. The lawns of the Alpine vegetation alternate with high rocks and wide plumes of stone talus of purple and dark brown color. The road to the Barskoon pass goes nearby of the glaciers and there are more than 20 serpentines of the mountain road. In the ravine belt of the ridge from the gorge you can see a lot of sparkling snowy peaks, hung with ice dumps and glaciers.
A breathtaking sight is represented by waterfalls located in a picturesque forest zone near the road, against the third, fourth and fifth bridges across the Barskoon River. One of them - the waterfall "Barskoon" - is a state monument of nature. Water getting off the sheer wall of the left slope of the gorge 100 meters high falls into a narrow gorge and breaks into a myriad of splashes. The noise of the waterfall completely drowns out the human voice. It is nice to stand and admire the pristine beauty of the sparkling in the rays of the sun a stream of cool water.
Clothing and Equipment
Sunscreen (at least 20SPF)
Chapstik or equivalent lip balm
Sunglasses with UV protection
Telescopic trekking sticks poles (optional)
Fleece jacket or pullover
Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
Down vest and/or jacket (optional)
Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex) with hood
Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex)
Warm fleece hat or light balaclava
Trekking/Hiking boots with spare laces