Without any sense of hyperbole, the Fann Mountains are wholly and utterly magnificent. We spent eleven days trekking and camping in the region – it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. With high altitude lakes of dazzling blues and greens, welcoming locals, spectacular mountains, and dramatic river valleys, the Fanns are a trekker’s dream. Yet they remain largely undiscovered.
Jutting out of the north-western corner of Tajikistan, just across the border from Samarkand, the Fann Mountains are often overlooked in favour of the country’s most famous road trip, the Pamir Highway. But for those who linger longer, or prefer an adventure on two feet to four wheels, you’ll discover the true jewels in Tajikistan’s crown of jaw-dropping scenery.
While there are multiple trekking options in the Fann Mountains we settled on an 11 day itinerary taking in the most popular lakes and passes, as well as less trodden routes. We trekked independently, carrying all of our camping gear and food, however it is possible to hire guides and pack donkeys. While we’ve trekked at altitude before in Nepal and embarked on self-sufficient multi-day hikes in Korea, this was our first experience combining the two. It was challenging at times, and we changed our plan on numerous occasions along the way to adapt to our comfort levels. But it was also breathtakingly beautiful, every tough ascent rewarded with incredible vistas and picture-perfect camp spots.
What follows is an account of our trek, with practical information, tips and hints to help you plan your own Fann Mountains adventure. As you make your way through, check out each day’s Relive videos to get a sense of the landscape, and click into the pictures to read the captions.
Watch the behind the scenes version of our Fann Mountains trek on our Instagram Stories Highlights
Read through the whole guide or click the links to jump to a particular section below
Day 1: Dushanbe to Haft Kul
Day 2: 7th Lake to Camp Below Tavasang Pass
Day 3: Camp Below Tavasang Pass to Sarymat River
Day 4: Sarymat River to Zimtut Village
Day 5: Zimtut Village to Chukurak Lake
Day 6: Chukurak Lake to Kulikalon Lake via Alplager
Day 7: Kulikalon Lake to Bibidzhonat Lake
Day 8: Bibidzhonat Lake to Dushakha Lake
Day 9: Dushakha Lake to Alauddin Lake via Alauddin Pass
Day 10: Rest Day at Alauddin Lake
Day 11: Alauddin Lake to Vertical & Drive to Iskanderkul
This map shows our trekking route from Haft Kul (Seven Lakes) to Vertical Alauddin, plus all of our camp spots, mountain passes crossed, and so on. Tap the menu button at the top left to see more details, toggle routes on and off, and switch between satellite and terrain view.
HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP (ONLINE VERSION)
To save this map to use online on desktop or mobile just tap the star symbol at the top. When you open Google Maps on your phone, navigate to ‘Saved’ at the bottom, then swipe along to ‘Maps’ at the top. You’ll find this map in your list of maps. On desktop, click the three lines at the top left, select ‘Your Places’, then ‘Maps’. Click the map, then scroll down and select ‘Open in My Maps’ to access the interactive version. Alternatively, just tap the rectangle symbol at the top right of the map in this blog post to view the My Maps version larger on desktop. Note that this map is best viewed on desktop, using the ‘My Maps’ version instead of the mobile Google Maps version (which is less interactive).
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to view this map offline, but we’ve created a similar version for offline use as per below, and provided GPX and KML track downloads for each day in the itinerary breakdown.
HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP (OFFLINE VERSION)
To use an offline version of this map with all the same pins and routes marked, first download Maps.Me (iOS/Android), then download our Fann Mountains Haft Kul to Alauddin route map and select open with Maps.Me.
You can easily plan your trekking route in Maps.me by tapping the bookmark for your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tap your end point bookmark and select ‘route to’. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Maps.me, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’. You can use Maps.me offline, which is ideal when you’re out on the trail.