The Central Pamir comprises the most untamed and highest part of Tajikistan’s Pamir Mountains. In this region of the country, you’ll find the longest non-polar glacier in the world as well as the bulk of Tajikistan’s Great Valleys. Countless trekking and expedition adventures await in this icy gnarl of peaks.
A large swath of the massive Tajik National Park encompasses the wild Central Pamir, a place that we can arrange several unique expedition-style trips within.
Central Pamir Highlights
Leading northward from the famous Pamir Highway the exciting trip up the Vanj Valley will bring you through verdant villages and to the endpoint of its valley road at Poi Mazar. From here it’s possible on foot to reach the toe of the longest non-polar glacier in the world, Fedchenko Glacier.
For those looking for a true expedition, it’s possible to continue on to the east to cross the even less-visited Yazghulom Valley to reach the villages of Bartang Valley in a little over a weeks’ time. Another long trek to the west of Vanj Valley will bring you to the Khingob River Valley’s beautiful Sangvor area.
Mountain Lakes of Bachor
Accessible from the main Pamir Highway, veering off the road at the village of Shazud will bring you across the Gunt River and to the tiny village of Bachor where it’s possible to do a loop trek to several dazzling mountain lakes in about a weeks’ time. Along this loop, one popular variation is to continue on up to Lake Sarez and a second popular variation is to continue over a high pass and onto the village of Badara set in a side valley off of the Bartang River. Other possibilities from Bachor include a trek to the east to reach Yashilkul.
Bulunkul & Yashilkul
Reachable by dirt track or on foot, the gorgeous lakes of both Bulunkul and Yashilkul are popular stop-offs for those taking on the Pamir Highway. Beautiful Bulunkul has a tiny village of the same name sitting off the shore from where you can watch the abundant birdlife that visits the lake. Bulunkul is also the coldest place in all of Tajikistan with temperatures exceeding -40ºC in wintertime.
Neighboring Yashilkul gained its name from its stunning greenish waters. Yashilkul is a common starting and ending point for several treks in the Central Pamir.
The Bartang Valley is a common diversion from the Pamir Highway where it’s possible to make a loop road trip of both the Pamir and Bartang Highways. The valley cuts through stark earth, flanked by the towering Academy of Sciences Range. Bartang Valley is also one of the most culturally fascinating parts of Tajikistan with a local dialect known as Bartangi that is spoken all the way up the valley.
To truly get to know the Bartang Valley, the best way to explore it is by taking various treks that begin from the villages that dot the river valley. There is a highway that cuts through the entire valley and continues on into the Tanymus Valley to eventually reach Karakul Lake near the Kyrgyz border, though the word highway is a bit misleading as it is mostly a rough dirt track that becomes ever more exhilarating the further northeast you travel on it. At certain times of the year the highway can become impassible due to the flooding of the Bartang River.
Academy of Sciences Range
The Academy of Sciences Range rises from the earth, forming the backbone of the Pamir Mountains. The crest of icy pinnacles is home to Tajikistan’s highest peaks, the tallest of which is Peak Ismoil Somoni formerly Peak Garmo, followed by Peak Stalin) at a staggering 7,495 meters in elevation.
If a mountaineering expedition is what you’re aiming to take on, you’ll find Tajikistan’s biggest challenges in this range.
Pastkhuf & Khuf
Just a short trip south of Rushon along the Pamir Highway as you approach Khorog is a road winding upward to reach the villages of Pastkhuf and Khuf. This is a great place to stop off and spend a night in a traditional homestay and to hear the unique spoken language of
Khufi, a Pamiri language that is only spoken in these two villages. Khufi shares a lot in common with the Pamiri language of Shughni but is different enough to be considered a language all it’s own.
Cut by the raging Yazghulom River, this valley is one of Tajikistan’s wildest, sat between the Great Valleys of Vanj and Bartang. A road does partially go into the valley but beyond is a wild adventure waiting to happen.