Freshwater lake of Sary-Chelek is located at the altitude of 1878 meters at the territory of Sary-Chelek Biosphere Reserve, in a midst of Chatkal and At-Oinok mountain ranges, at western Tien-Shan. Lake lies 500 km away from Bishkek and 300 km from Osh.
Shoreline is very sharp and entirely covered by forests. Only few largest bays possess shallow waters. Sary-Chelek hosts numerous amount of rivers, subterranean waters and Sary-Chelek river itself. Runoff from the lake goes through river Tuskual.
Name Sary-Chelek translates as a “Yellow Ladle”. There is an ancient legend about a beekeeper, who placed the hives on the lake shore. Once, when he was gathering honey, he was so much fascinated by the quality of the honey and its color, that he decided to call the lake “Yellow Ladle”. Many also suppose that lake has given its name because during the fall all trees in the region get dressed in gold yellow color, and water reflection makes lake look beautiful and shining with golden patterns.
You can reach the lake through Talas passage and stiff gorges at the north, or through Arkyt village in 20km at south. Also you can reach the northern shore by boat, or by horse from national park’s base, which surrounds the lake.