Hike to Furmanov peak – Day hikes around Almaty

Posted: 26/05/20 | May 26th, 2020

Last modified on: June 23rd, 2020 at 11:36

Hike to Furmanov Peak, a great day hike from Almaty. Explore the Zaili Alatau mountains around Almaty, go up to high altitudes, and enjoy spectacular views.

If you are looking for hikes around Almaty, then look no more! The Furmanov hike is a perfect day hike from Almaty. It takes you up to 3050m altitude and gives you spectacular views. Even as an inexperienced hiker you will feel like a pro in these beautiful mountains. Just pack a bag of lunch and a lot of water and be on your way! This post will tell you all about how to get there, what to bring and what route you should take, read below for all the info 🙂

About the Hike to Furmanov peak

The hike to Furmanov peak is one of the more popular day hikes around Almaty. And it is one of many things to do in Central Asia.  It is ideal because it is so close to the city and very accessible, doable without a guide, and affordable. It is a bit challenging (especially if you aren’t used to a lot of hiking like we were, at that point) but it is doable for everyone and the rewards are amazing. The peak was named after Dmitry Furmanov, a Russian poet and writer – in a true soviet manner.

Views on the Furmanov Peak day hike.
Views on the Furmanov Peak day hike.

Facts about the hike:

Hike to and from Furmanov Peak: 14km (about 7km each way)

Difficulty: Moderate

Lowest point: 1609m (Medeu)

Highest point: 3050m (Furmanov Peak)

How to Hike to Furmanov peak:

Before you start the hike to Furmanov peak from Almaty, make sure you have downloaded the offline map of the area on Maps.me.  The whole trail is on there, the starting point is very well marked. If the signs are a bit unclear, then just follow the route on maps.me and you’ll be on the right way. All of the interesting points are also marked on there, making it very convenient.

Day hikes around Almaty
Medeo skating ring, the start of the hikes.

The hike itself starts in Medeo, an outdoor skating arena that is turned into a go-kart track in the summer (more on that later). This is only about 30minutes bus ride from Almaty.

Hike to Furmanov peak
Sign indicating way towards Furmanov Peak.

Walk downhill from the bus station at Medeo and take a right (sign above). The trail begins with a walk along a canal on a paved road. You walk along this canal and after about a kilometer the trail forks out.

Hike to Furmanov peak
Signs to Furmanov peak

Now, they both lead to the same place, just depends on what you want. If you go to the left you go into the forest where there is more shade – ideal for the hottest months – but if you go right then you will be much more in the sun.

Hike to Furmanov peak - day hike Almaty
Views on the way to Furmanov Peak.

We took the left side trail because we did not want to melt in the sun. This trail is more challenging and is way steeper. But, it is completely up to you, whether you want left or right, either way, it will be amazing.

Don’t forget to look back while hiking, the views are spectacular! 🙂

Swing and Ski-lift:

You will come across remains of an old ski lift, hand-built by soviet engineers who brought it up piece by piece. From here, you can see Furmanov peak in all its glory!

Hike to Furmanov peak - Day hikes around Almaty
Ski lift remains

Continue on uphill and follow the trail to the swing! This is a very fun feature of the hike, a giant swing. You can jump on it and feel like you are flying in the mountains. I am not sure why this swing is there and who keeps it up. This is a  great spot to eat your lunch before continuing. 🙂 It took us 2,5 hours from Medeo to reach to lift.

Hike to Furmanov peak - Day hikes around Almaty
Lunch at the swing, you can see Furmanov Peak in the distance.

From there you can go on to Peak Furmanov which is another 2km. But, since we ran up the trail until now (we have a hard time going slow) our bodies were empty. So, we called it quits there. You can, of course, do the same and go back at this point, or continue to the Furmanov peak. Now looking back, we should have just continued to the peak, next time!

Note: The peak itself is 3050m in altitude, so quite some altitude if you are not used to it at all. The altitude makes a difference when you are hiking, just keep that in mind before going forward.

Hike to Furmanov peak - Day hikes around Almaty
Downhill towards Medeo

We turned back at the swings and took the other path back (not trough the forest) and ended the day in Medeu. Remember that go-kart track I mentioned? Well if you need a bit more adrenaline after the hike, then doing a few laps on the go-kart track is a must.

The 4 peak hike:

It is also possible to end this hike on the Shymbulak peak and then take a gondola down. This way you will be hiking across 4 peaks: Furmanov peak, Panorama Peak, Bashuta peak, and Shymbulak Peak. From Furmanov Peak you can continue towards the other 3 peaks and end at the gondola. We did not hike these, but from what we have heard it is a very very nice hike, but a challenging one. Wiciloc has a guide on how to hike the 4 peaks, we will be doing this hike from Almaty when we go back to Kazakhstan!

Hike to Furmanov peak - Day hikes around Almaty
Views at Shymbulak peak!

Note: The route on Wiciloc starts at the top and then goes down. But in our opinion walking downhill is probably worse than uphill and less rewarding. We would recommend hiking up to the 4 peaks and taking the gondola down. Make sure to check the opening hours of the gondola. 

Want to do more day trips from Almaty? Read about the little sister of the Grand Canyon, a day trip to the Charyn Canyon, and a trip to a beautiful blue alpine lake, a day trip to the big Almaty lake.

How to get Hike to Furmanov peak from Almaty?

Bus: 

Taking a bus to Medeu is the best option for this hike. It is so easy and cheap,  take bus Nr12 from the city and up into the mountains. At the end of the hike, just catch the same bus back. There are no specific time tables (like all the buses in central Asia) but the bus goes fairly regularly.

Cost: 150 KZT or €0,33 per person one way.

Top tip: Use the App 2GIS for public transport in Kazakhstan. It shows all the busses, stops and times. 

Taxi:

It is possible to hire a taxi or find a Yandex. But it is much cheaper just to take the bus. Do as the locals do and stay within your budget!

Own transport:

If you are lucky enough to have a car in Kazakhstan, you can drive up towards Medeo and park your car there.

Driving a car in Central Asia is awesome, we did it in the Pamir Highway. Read about our epic adventure on the Pamir Highway here; Pamir Highway part 1 and Pamir Highway part 2.

Where to stay?

We stayed at the wonderful Alma Cinema hostel. It is in a convenient location and is close to the bus stop for the bus that goes to Medeu.

It is possible to wild camp along the trail, we do not know anyone who has done this. But we saw lots of places where camping would be ideal. If you do camp, just make sure not to leave any trash or marking behind! You can find a few places marked on Maps.me that people have put in for camping.

What to bring on the Hike to Furmanov peak?

  • Good pair of hiking shoes
  • Lots of water
  • Lunch and snacks (we recommend Snickers)
  • Maps.me

Tip: Eat a big breakfast before you go, so you won’t have to carry too much food.

When to go to Hike to Furmanov peak?

The winters are harsh in the mountains, so just be aware of the weather before you go, especially in wintertime. Check out the website of Shymbulak for weather forecast and their cameras for the latest weather conditions.

We were there in August and the weather was super nice and mild.

More about Central Asia:

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What is your favorite trek in Central Asia? Tell us in the comments below!

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