It is one of the largest tributaries of the Ili River.
The Chilik River flows in the valley between the northern ranges of the Tien Shan - Kungey and Ile Alatau. The total length of the river is 420 km (261 mi).
Near the Kairakty Gorge, there is a natural dam formed as a result of a mountain collapse from the right slope of the gorge.
In the highlands, Chilik has more than 45 tributaries. However, on the plains there is none. Chilik is the most muddy river of the Ile Alatau. Its average annual turbidity at the foot of the mountains is 571 grams per cubic meter, which is similar to such rivers as the Terek and the Nile.
Chilik River has great hydropower capabilities and is used for irrigation in the foothills of the Ile Alatau.