This beautiful Alpine valley is the most accessible option for those wanting to savour Bishkek’s fabulous mountain backdrop with a picnic rather than a serious trek. The valley has a relatively open aspect with curtains of spiky white-tops rising from a partly grassy meadowland valley. Views begin just five minutes’ walk from the end of the road, less than 1km beyond the dowdy Soviet-era mineral-water swimming pool, Tyoplye Klyuchi. Almost as soon as you leave the final little car park there’s a choice of routes: you can descend, cross the river and follow the left bank pastures towards a waterfall that’s tucked away in the third side valley (around 1½ hour’s walk one way); or stay on the right bank for somewhat finer views. However, after around an hour’s walk, when your reach a large grassy area, the right-bank path peters out amid thorn bushes and crossing the river there is not recommended unless the water level is very low.