Top 5 Hiking Routes in Xinjiang
Hiking in Xinjiang, you can expect desert of hundreds of miles vast, sky-blue lakes, snow leopard, bayanbulak swan and brown bear. This land of Gobi desert and incredible grasslands is as mystical as it is unmissable.
Each year, thousands of trekkers are appealed to this mystical land with large scope of ancient city ruins, fascinating culture and picture perfect scenes in every direction.
One of the most challenging hiking across the world's second biggest desert- Taklamakan Desert starts in Yopurga, which is the last village before the Desert, then start the adventure for the oasis.
When you have met your curiosity to the local wild livestock markets and mosques, venture into Nan Shan near Urumqi in Xinjiang for a view of grasslands spotted with sheep and herders' huts.
From Urumqi, your trekking may continue south to Xinjiang's most iconic scene-- the second biggest desert in the world. Touch and feel Taklamakan Desert along the desert highway.
Vast, deep yellow and surrounded by mountains, Taklamakan Desert is situated at Tarim Basin, south of Xinjiang province. The south part of the desert is ideal for trekking, camping or exploring from Yopurga, the last village before the Desert.
Taklamakan Desert is also known as the "Sea of Death", where many adventurers lost their lives during their adventure travel to the desert.
Trekking in the Taklamakan Desert requires a major shift in perspective. The scene is so vast that it's impossible to judge its distance. And the intense sunlight reflecting off the sand tricks the eye into seeing things that don't exist. One mistake and you could vanish forever. Follow a tour group.
Route: Get to Yopurgha from Kashgar, trekking and camping for about 5 days, then get back to Kashgar.
In the valley in Altai Mountains, coiling Kanas Lake can be seen from the summit of Altai Mountain. The lake lies at the very northern tip of Xinjiang, and in autumn is a fabulous shade of deep yellow. Far in the southeast distance is the beautiful Hemu Village.
Hemu is a peaceful village surrounded by silver birches, snow mountains and Kanas River. It is the famed beauty of Xinjiang and a paradise to photography lovers.
A short walk from Hemu brings you to the summit of the hill near the village, get your camera ready in early morning and then wait for the excited moment when the first rays of light move on this peaceful village.
Route: Driving from Burqin to Jiadengyu, start the trekking from Jiadengyu to Hemu to Black Lake to Kanas Lake. It is about 65 km and 3 days trekking.
Tian Shan Hiking from Bogda to Heaven Lak
This rugged valley and untamed forests are probably as off-the-beaten path as you can get away from rush tour groups in Xinjiang.
Bogda Peak is the highest peak of the eastern Tianshan Ranges and Bogda trekking route ranked No. 1 among the top 10 Xinjiang trekking routes. It's nearly impossible to take a bad picture en route to Bogda -- beautiful alpine sceneries, densely forested valleys, multi-coloured lakes and pristine glaciers.
Route: Driving from Urumqi to the village at the foot of Mountain close to Daban, follow the valley to Bogda base camp, Heaven Lake, and then back to Urumqi. It is about 55 km route and takes about 3 to 4 days.
Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata Hiking
Trekking to Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata through the eastern Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang, combines grassland hiking, glacier exploration and a rare glimpse into Kyrkiz nomads' life.
It meets seekers who want a taste of rugged far west of China. This adventure tour starts from sparking glacial lake Kalakul at 3600m, and then continues onwards around the perimeter of the lake to Kyrkiz nomads' villages and ends at the 4400m base camp of "Father of the Ice Mountains"-Muztagh Ata, alongside majestic snow-capped mountains, vast grasslands dotted with camels and yurts, and towering glaciers.
Route: Bus from Kashgar to Karakul Lake, and trek around Karakul Lake and Muztagh Ata for about 5 days, then back to Kashgar.
Hiking to K2(Qogir) Base Camp
The second highest peak in the world, altitude from 3445 meters to 4785 meters, over 10 days strenuous trekking, makes it one of the hardest trekking routes in this world.
K2 lies on the China-Pakistan border. Hikers can plan their trip to start from Kashgar, vehicle to Kargilik. 14 days of strenuous trekking will brings travelers to Chinese Base Camp.
Considering the high altitude and long-time trekking, well prepared before start the adventure.