The Kanas Lake is located in the heart of The Kanas Nature Reserve, 120 kilometers away from Burqin County - Xinjiang’s Altay 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.
The Kanas village is close to the Kanas Lake. The local village are Tuva people. It is said that Tuve people are offspring of the old, weak, sick and disabled soldiers left by Genghis khan when he led 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 Tuva people, in a harmonious union, constitute a unique view and folk culture at Kanas.
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.
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.
The Kanas Nature Reserve is best known for the picturesque landscape, covering 2,500 square kilometers, 155 kilometers away from Burqin County, bordering Mongolia and Russia. Kanas is the only outstretched belt of Siberian Taiga Forest in China, the only distribution area of Siberian plants and animals in China. There are 798 kinds of plants, of which 30 kinds are rare plants, 34 kinds of animals, 75 kinds of birds, 124 kinds of inserts, 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. Moreover, Kanas is also a treasure for scientific research.