Just 45 minutes' drive from Bishkek lie the spectacular glacial canyons and rugged peaks of Ala Archa state nature park. Towering over the park are the highest peaks of the Kyrgyz Alatau Range, including Peak Korona (4,860 m) and Semenov Tian Shansky (4,895 m), both higher than anything Europe has to offer.
From the park entrance and car park there are numerous hiking options, from gentle strolls along the Ala Archa valley floor to serious mountaineering. Three of the most popular options are the Ala Archa valley walk (easy, approximately four hours), the hike up the Ak-Say valley to the waterfall (a little more strenuous with around 700 m ascent, approximately five hours), and the full day climb to the foot of the Ak-Say Glacier. The latter follows well-trodden paths but has long, steep and rough sections as you ascend the final section toward the glacier, so is recommended only for serious hill-walkers. The total time required is around 7 hours, with approximately 1,200 m of ascent.