This azure lake surrounded by the Altai Mountains and coniferous forests awaits those who manage to overcome the challenging trail to it.
Radon Lake, also called Podbelkovoye Lake, is one of the most fascinating destinations of East Kazakhstan Province. It is located at the foot of the Voroshilov Peak, about 30 km (19 mi) away from the town of Ridder and 11 km (7 mi) away from the village of Poperechnoye.
In 1975, after the discovery of gold-bearing ore, a gold mining facility was built here. At the depth of two thousand meters workers came across a strong stream of water. The work had to be stopped, and the mine was shut down. This underground water happened to be rich in minerals and radon (an inert gas), which is believed to endow the water with healing properties. It is the presence of these minerals that gives Radon Lake its azure color.
The stream that feeds the lake flows out of the mine and… seemingly disappears. It seeps through the stones and flows into the lake underground. The second stream that flows out of the lake also disappears underground and then re-emerges further down.
The hiking route to the lake begins from the village of Poperechnoye and goes along the road once constructed by geologists. Two-thirds of the hike is quite simple, although you will have to wade a stream seven times. This is the very same stream that flows out of the lake. By the way, its water is drinkable, so quench your thirst here in preparation for the final leg of the hike. The last third of the road is the most difficult, both for hikers and those who ventured to drive off-road vehicles to the lake. Here the serpentine road begins, and there is no water.
After walking some length along this challenging path, a picturesque view will appear before your eyes! On one side of the lake there is a stream and a waterfall, flowing in cascades, while on the other side there is a cedar forest where you will find a tourist base camp. If you want to summit the Voroshilov Peak (2776 m – 9108 ft) or approach the waterfall, you should be accompanied by a guide. Hiking there may be unsafe for those who don’t know the area.
It is better to visit the lake in summer (from late July to late August). The water temperature reaches a maximum of 12oC (54oF), but you can still swim!
Video about the Radon Lake
Useful tips for 2020-2021
How to get there
You can take a taxi from Ridder to the village of Poperechnoye. From there, you will find a hiking trail. We recommend you to hire a local guide. The hike to the lake will take an untrained hiker about six hours, and the road back will take about three hours. You will need to bring a portable gas stove with you to cook. Making bonfires is strictly prohibited.
If you prefer driving to hiking, then contact the local travel agencies. They have SUVs available to rent.
Food and accommodation
Be sure to take enough food with you. You can buy supplies in Ridder or in Poperechnoye. There are also guest houses in the village and hotels in Ridder where you can spend the night.