Close to Karakol is the stunning alpine Arashan gorge. This area offers some of the finest hiking in Kyrgyzstan, ranging from the pleasant four to five hour hike up the wooded valley from Ak Suu to the Altyn Arashan plateau, to six-day mountaineering expeditions to the summit of glacial Mt Palatka (4,260 m).
For the less energetic a rocky road, navigable only by four or six-wheel drive vehicles, leads to the scenic Altyn Arashan plateau at 2,700 m, home to a rickety hotspring resort with rustic guesthouse and the picturesque Yak Tours guesthouse and yurt.
As with the other countries in the region, spotting wildlife is a difficult prospect. Much of the wildlife that there is notoriously elusive — snow leopards or bears.