Although this place is mostly known for its ski slopes, you’ll quickly realize one very important thing: it doesn’t matter whether it’s the summer or the winter, the Chimgan Moutains will provide you with umpteen things to do.
Photo Credit: Caravanistan
Just 80 kilometers away from Tashkent you’ll find the vast Chimgan Mountains, a favoured ski destination of people from the city. The word “Chimgan” stands for “green grass,” or “green valley,” indicating the vast amount of grass fields that you’ll come across here. Also called the “Uzbek Switzerland” for its beauty and health-enhancing features, the slopes are a part of the Chatkal range of western Tian-Shan located in Uzbekistan. The Greater Chimgan Mountains’ peak is 3309 meters high above sea level, and the mountains tower over the Valley of Chimgan (around 1200-1600 meters high), a serene space where you can trek and find your piece of mind.
Spots that everyone must check out include the Gulkam canyon, where the long hike through amazing stone pathways and hidden routes in the forest leads to the most beautiful waterfalls you have even seen. The most thrilling part of the hike is going through the Gulkam Narrow, an exciting pass that will make you feel like you’re an extreme sports athlete. In rainy weather, however, you have to be cautious through this passage – it is best to go when the precipitation levels are low.
Beldersay is another spot, but it is more ideal for winter sports lovers; it is the largest ski resort in Uzbekistan. You’ll find health complexes, spa resorts, lush forests and all sorts of ways to entertain yourself and your friends. The Beldersay ski resort is also famous for having the longest ski track in Uzbekistan, and a cableway that is 3 kilometres long.
A hike that you have to take runs from the Urta Kumbel Pass (1850 meters high) to the Chet Kubmel Pass (1880 meters high) and then to the Kumbel Pass (2550 meters high). Huge conifer forests will be scattered along the way, transporting you into the remote and mystical world of untouched nature. After you’ve climbed the Urta Kumbel Pass, you’ll find a slope which leads to the Marble River, a favourite spot for adventurous tourists. The river used to be the ocean thousands of years ago; you’ll find that seashells litter the stream all the way. Walking downwards along the river’s shore, you’ll soon see a 15-meter high waterfall. The Beldersay Gorge has a historic significance, because in its upper reaches, you’ll find rock paintings depicting ancient hunters and animals that the ancient people domesticated (like dogs and cats.) This area is also protected (as a part of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park) to preserve its natural and mineral resources, so you’ll have the chance to experience nature in all its beauty.
The Chimgan Mountains are the perfect place to spend a holiday; tourists adore the resorts and cottages where they can stay close to Mother Nature and the cable railroad that helps them further explore this mystical mountain and lakes all around. The wonderful thing about this place is that if you’ve grown tired of hiking all day, you can go into town, do some shopping, eat a nice meal in the many restaurants, or just drink a coffee on the terrace of a charming café. During the summer, there are a lot of summer camps that are centred on sports and generally getting to know the Mountains.
Chimgan is most popular during the spring and winter – naturally, during the winter (December until March), people come here to ski and snowboard on the lengthy slopes. In the spring, rock climbers, sky surfers, alpinists and other sporty, nature-loving individuals come here to enjoy the scenery and hidden passages of the mountains. Fret not – you’ll have plenty of things to do here in the summertime, too: horse-riding, hiking, paragliding are all on the menu!