Kanas Lake is located in the center of the forest belt of the Altay Mountains. Kanas Lake (Kanasi Hu), which means "beautiful, rich and mysterious" in Mongolian, can be found 1374 meters above sea level, in the deep forests and mountains of Altai. Kanas Lake is the core of the national natural reserve there. The lake was formed through strong exaration by glaciers. The lake surface is 1,375 m above sea level. It covers an area of 44.78 sq kms, 10 times bigger than Tianchi on Bogda Mountain. The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcaps and tree-covered mountains, inverted on the lake's surface. During autumn especially, there is a picturesque landscape of forests in a riot of colors with gold, red, blue and green thrilling the senses.
Looking like a moon, the lake is 24.5 km long, averagely 1.9 km wide and 90 m deep. As one of the deep lakes of our country, it is 188.4 m deep at the deepest point, and covers an area of 69,000 mu, and holds 4-billion-m3 water. Around the lake are thick and green therophyte that integrates with grasslands in mountains.
In spring, various flowers are in blossom in the grassland, and grass is thick and green. Standing in the grass, you can see that cloud and mist near look like white ribbons round mountains. In the distance are snow-capped mountains on which thick forests grow.
In July or August, standing Fish Viewing Pavilion that is 2030 m above sea level, and looking down at the view below you, you will be attracted by the beautiful lake and mountains. You can find that under the blue sky and white cloud the lake surface is just like a beautiful large color palette, whose color varies: some part is heavy in color, some is light, some is blue and some green.
The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcaps and tree-covered mountains, inverted on the lake’s surface. During autumn especially, there is a picturesque landscape of forests in a riot of colors with gold, red, blue and green thrilling the senses.
There are also some fun legends about Kanas Lake. It is said that huge lake monsters live in the lake's depths. In recent years, others claim to have seen four-meter long blood red fish in the lake. The "Emei Spectacle," which lights up the clouds after a morning rain, adds an air of mystery to the lake too. The practices of the Tuwa and local Mongolian ethic minority, and Altai Mountain rock-paintings have been attracting explorers and travelers to this area for decades.
In Kanas Lake, tourists can view "Treasure Light", which is called by local people "Buddha Light". It, integrating with the beautiful Kanas Lake view, the white glaciers, the green grassland, the boundless forest, and the mist in mountains, will make you feel as if you were in a fairyland. When the sun rises in the morning or at the time it is getting dark after sunset, on a boat on the lake or standing on the platform at the lake center, if you are luck, you can see the mysterious "lake monster" like a small boat, appearing or disappearing.
Kanas Lake is a part of European eco-system, which is very rare in our country. In this natural reserve, there are 798 kinds of plants, of which 30 kinds are rare plants, 39 kinds of animals, 117 kinds of birds and 7 kinds of fishes. Of these animals, 5 kinds are under Grade I protection of the State, 13 kinds are under Grade II protection of the State, 9 kinds are other rare animals, and the number of record for new species of insect and eubacteria is not less than 60.
The beautiful and unique natural view of Kanas Lake won the praise of national leaders, experts, scholars and tourists, who are all of the opinion that it is the most beautiful place in China. Kanas is the only outstretched belt of Siberian tayga forest in China, the only distribution area of Siberian plants in China, the largest branch river head of Etix River--the only water system to the Arctic Ocean in China.
China tours inclusive of visiting Kanas Lake