Ala Archa gorge
One of the most famous place for weekend tours is Ala Archa gorge. This gorge is situated on the Kyrgyz range that is 400 km long. The range is very close to the capital of Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek city. And during one hour drive you will rise from 750 to 2100 meters above sea level.
The translation of Ala-Archa means Bright Juniper. This kind of trees grows everywhere there. For many years it was a sacred tree for nomads that they used almost in all their rituals. When a child was born it had a cradle made of juniper, when he was ill adults burnt it nearby saying special words, when the child became adult already and wanted to merry - again a woman with burning juniper would go inside his new yurt to protect it from bad spirits. And when the man died his grave would be also made of this sacred tree.
This place is good for both kinds of weekend - for active and passive. You can have a track (5 hours) to Ak Sai waterfall or just to have a walk along the mountain river that flows in the gorge.