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The Ghostly Sunken Forest of Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan

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Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

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Home » Ancient & Remarkable Trees » The Ghostly Sunken Forest of Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan

Nestled high in the mountains of Kazakhstan’s Kolsay Lakes National Park, Lake Kaindy is a masterpiece crafted by the unexpected forces of nature.

Situated over 6,600 feet above sea level, this 400-meter stretch of water tells a story of dramatic origins and enchanting transformations.

Ghostly Sunken Forest

The tale begins in 1911, when a powerful earthquake shook the region. The tremor dislodged a massive amount of limestone, which cascaded down into a gorge, acting like a clumsy giant inadvertently creating a dam.

As mountain river waters rose, they filled this new basin, giving birth to Lake Kaindy.

The Sunken Forest of Lake Kaindy

But the drama didn’t end with its creation. The lake is famously known for its submerged forest. The cold waters of the lake have preserved the trunks of spruce trees, which now protrude from the surface like the masts of a fleet of ghost ships.

These trees, once thriving on the riverbank, now stand as pale sentinels in a watery grave, their branches stripped away, leaving bare, white trunks.

Bare trunks of the Schrenk's spruce trees in Lake Kaindy
Bare trunks of the Schrenk’s spruce trees in Lake Kaindy

The lake itself is a performer, changing colors with the light and weather.

From a distance, its waters display a stunning bluish-green, thanks to the limestone and minerals dissolved within. Up close, the water is crystal clear, offering views of trout that weave between the tree trunks.

Despite its chilly waters, Lake Kaindy has become a favored spot for daring divers and winter fishers who come to explore its underwater forest and try their luck at catching trout.

Thus, Lake Kaindy remains a natural wonder, a beautiful accident that combines history, science, and a touch of mystery—all wrapped in the stunning scenery of the Kazakh mountains.

It’s a place where nature’s unpredictable creativity is on full display, inviting visitors from around the world to marvel at its beauty and its stories.

Digging Deeper

Location

Lake Kaindy is situated in the Kolsay Lakes National Park in the south of Kazakhstan, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of Almaty, perched at an altitude of 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level.

Type of Tree

The submerged forest within Lake Kaindy consists primarily of Picea schrenkiana trees, also known as Schrenk’s spruce.

Schrenk’s spruce trees around Lake Kaindy
Schrenk’s spruce trees surrounding (and within) Lake Kaindy

Is The Forest Still Alive?

No, the forest is not alive; the cold waters of the lake preserve the dead spruce tree trunks, which protrude above the surface like the masts of sunken ships.

Descendants

While the original trees are preserved in their watery grave, the area around the lake continues to support a vibrant ecosystem, likely including descendants of the original spruce trees growing along the shores.

Can You Visit It?

Yes, Lake Kaindy is a popular destination for tourists and is accessible for those interested in hiking, diving, and experiencing its unique natural beauty.

Conservation

The lake is part of the Kolsay Lakes National Park, which helps protect and manage the area to preserve its natural environment and promote sustainable tourism practices.

Legacy

Lake Kaindy is loved for its striking visual appearance and the eerie beauty of its sunken forest, making it an iconic natural landmark and a symbol of nature’s power to create beauty from disaster.

Eerily beautiful Sunken Forest of Kazakhstan
The eerily beautiful Sunken Forest of Kazakhstan

Want More?

Are you captivated by the story of the Sunken Forest in Lake Kaindy?

Take a look into the mysteries of the Crooked Forest in Poland, discover the stoic Major Oak, explore Australia’s historic Prison Boab Tree, look up at Hyperion — the tallest tree on Earth, revere the ancient Olive Tree of Vouves, respect the venerable Methuselah, and wander the majestic Avenue of Baobabs.

Each of these natural wonders tells a unique story, merging beauty with history, and invites you to reflect on their lasting influence in our world.

Source – Wikipedia

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Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!