Sary-Chelek Biosphere Reserve is included in the UNESCO international network of nature reserves. It is located in the valley and on the slopes Chatkal and At-Oynok ranges.
The reserve covers an area of 23.9 sq. km. It was created in 1959 to preserve the flora and fauna of the walnut-fruit forests and alpine landscapes. In the reserve there is a beautiful lake Sary-Chelek, which is the third largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. Freshwater lake covers an area of about 5 sq. km and has a maximum depth of 246 m.
The lake’s name translates as "a yellow bowl." It is very beautiful in autumn when the trees around become yellow and orange and is reflected from the water surface, they color the lake. In the valley there are also six small lakes and a wide river net. The location of Sary-Chelek Reserve causes its mild climate: warm summers and winters with little snow. A significant part of the reserve occupy walnut, apple and pear forests.
You can find various animals in the reserve. It is a habitat of red deer, fallow deer, porcupine, marten, argali, wild boar, ibex, and 157 different species of birds.