Kanas Nature Reserve boasts a beautiful natural ecosystem formed by lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests, and grasslands. The highlight of the Nature Reserve would probably be Kanas Lake. Kanas Lake is one of the most impressive sights in the North Xinjiang Region. It is located in one of the most remote border areas, where China converges with Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Originating from the Kanas Glacier in Altay Mountain, the Kanas River runs through the mountains for about 125 kilometers (77.7 miles) and the lake is like a pearl shining on the beautiful river. The "treasure Light" integrates 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.
The mountains surrounding the lake are covered with dense alpine forests filled with spruce, birch, elm, and Siberian larch. This is the only area where Siberian species animals and plants can be found in China. In the Fall, the forests provide a vivid backdrop of colors, an unspoiled dazzlingly beauty rarely found throughout the rest of China. There are six bays along the lake and each of them holds a marvelous tale. A 'roche moutonnee', bedrock corroded by glaciers, can be found in the first bay. It looks like a sleeping sheep appreciating the beautiful lake and welcoming visitors from outside world.
The second bay is the deepest point of the lake and also the place where monsters are often 'spotted'. It is said that some local livestock have been dragged into water by these monsters! The third bay is a nature platform for enjoying the marvelous lake, the fourth bay holds a lovely isle covered by trees, and a hill of magpies exists in the fifth bay. The sixth bay, which is at the end of the lake, is admired as a natural wonder by all visitors. Gathered here is a 2,000-meter-long (about 6,562 ft) bank of dead trees. No one can explain why these trees did not float downriver, but people say that it is because even the trees don't want to leave the beautiful lake. There is a pavilion named Fish Watching Pavilion on the other bank of the lake.
Because it is located on a hill, visitors can look down on the beautiful scenery of the whole area.
In the valley two to three kilometers south to Kanas Lake is a village of the Tuwan tribe. Tuwa is a branch of the Mongolian ethnic group. Believers of Lamaism, they live in their traditional houses and practice their centuries-old traditions. If you are interested in local culture, you can visit the village or even stay with hospitable families. But prepared for the accommodations in the village, which are primitive. The village is on the way from Bu’erjin to Kanas National Reserve.
Visitors can fully enjoy the harmony of nature and human as well as the splendid scenery of the nature reserve. Besides, the area around Kanas Lake offers a couple of refreshing hiking routes. The most popular trip is to Guangyu Pavilion (Guangyu Ting), where you can enjoy a bird-eye's view of the lake, the snow-capped friendship Peak, and nearby grasslands.