The Kanas Lake is located in the heart of the Kanas Nature Reserve,120 kilometers away from Buerjin County - Xinjiang 's Altai Region. Its name, Kanas, is a Mongolian word that means“a beautiful and mysterious place". About 1,375 meters above sea level,25 kilometers long and 1.6-29 kilometers wide, the crescent-shaped alpine lake takes up an area of 37.7 square kilometers. It reaches about 188.5 meters at the deepest point, making it the deepest alpine freshwater lake in China, and offering good quality water.
Under the blue sky and the fluffy white clouds, the lake water is as limpid as a mirror decorated with the reflections of the snow-capped mountains and dense forests. A notable feature of the lake is that the water changes its color with the changing of the seasons and weather Within a single day, the water's color may turn from green to blue.gray or white.
Kanas Lake was formed through severe glacial erosion by glaciers. The lake is estimated to be 200,000 years old and is China's deepest fresh water lake (184 meters in one spot). Kanas Lake Comprehensive Natural Reserve, a golden zone bordering four countries of Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and China, is the only drainage basin of the Arctic Ocean in China. In Xinjiang, the reserve, minimally influenced by mankind, preserves the completeness of a primitive state with the largest number of tree species of coniferous forest and wildlife species.
Besides, the famous legends about "Kanas Monster" , the "Emei Spectacle”, which lights up the clouds after a morning rain, adds another air of mystery to the lake. The practices of the Tuwa Tribe and Altai Mountain rock-paintings have been attracting explorers and travelers to this area for decades.
Fish Watching Pavilion
Kanas Lake Fish Watching Pavilion was built on the top of Harakat (In Mongolian means Camel Peak) at an altitude of 2030 meters. It is more than 600 meters away from the lake. Because it is in the best position to observe the "lake monster", it is named Fish Watching Pavilion.
There are two ways to reach the fishing pavilion:
one is to take a bus at the back of the mountain to the mountainside; the other is to climb up the mountain on foot via the stone steps built for climbers at the lake outlet. The "fish watching Pavilion" on the west side of the lake can view the overall beauty of Kanas lake. One of them can have a bird's eye view of Kanas lake, and 3/4 of the lake has a panoramic view.
Tuva Village in Kanas
The Kanas village is close to the Kanas Lake.The local villagers are Tuva people.It is said that Tuva people are offspring of the old,weak, sick and disabled soldiers left by Genghis khan when he Ied his troops to attack the West.Tuva people have kept their unique custom and language.Their language falls into the Turkic language group of the Altaic language family and is closely related to the Kazak language.They hold their primitive costume, focusing on Pasturing, fishing and collecting.Meanwhile they still keep worshiping the heaven, water and mountains.The Kanas Lake and Tuwa people, in a harmonious union, constitute a unique view and folk culture at Kanas.
The Legend of Kanas Lake Monster
The legendary lake monster gives Kanas more mystery and color. It is said that an enormous monster has been living in the lake since ancient times,which often stirred high water sprouts.In recent years,scientists and explorers have been lured here in search of the truth about the monster but no hard evidence has yet been collected.Some scientists assume that the monster could just be a rare,if outlandish, species of fish.
Animals and Plants
Embraced by snow-capped mountains, the Kanas Lake area is covered with dense forests and is the only region where animals and plants of South Siberia species can be found in China. There are 798 kinds of plants,of which 30 kinds are rare plants,34 kinds of animals,75kinds of birds.124 kinds of insects,8 kinds of fishes and 7 kinds of amphibians.The Kanas Nature Reserve is the home of Siberian larches, spruces,firs and birches,snow leopard, stone marten, silver foxes and Altai frogs.More over, Kanas is also a treasure for scientific research.
A glorious stretch of primeval forest rings the lake, and the river which feeds it. Larch, red pine, spruce and birch, the classic continental trees still grow in profusion here, where they make a home for all manner of noble creature too self-respecting to linger near human settlements.
A thousand plant species, three hundred kinds of animals and a hundred of birds, big numbers that do little justice to an area of teeming biodiversity unique for being the southwest tail of the Siberian taiga.
Tourists are fascinated by the enchanting primitive beauty of its undulating mountains,crisscrossing ravines and gullies (water-made ravines),luxurious forests and grasslands, clear waters, and fresh air. Hemu River, opposite to the Kanas Lake, is surrounded by mountains and birches.Remaining its primitive beauty, the river becomes a hot scenic spot in recent years.
Warm Tips for Kanas Tourism
1. The temperature difference between day and night in Kanas area is very large. The temperature at sunrise in the morning is about - 5 C, and it can reach 27 C when sunshine is strong at noon. When you watch the sunrise, you must wear down clothes, sweaters, etc. Because of the strong ultraviolet radiation and dry climate in Xinjiang, it is strongly recommended to prepare enough sunscreen and pay attention to moisturizing.
2. The temperature difference between day and night in summer and the region is very large, and the climate is dry in Xinjiang. Drink plenty of water, wear caps, and sunscreen; even in midsummer weather, pants and jackets must be prepared. In autumn and winter, you need to bring cold-proof clothes, especially in Kanas, Narati, Swan Lake and other places. Wind and snow may occur at any time. If you are a photographer, you need to be prepared for the cold weather in advance.