The Chemal River starts on a hillside Tamanels, on "Kuminskie Belki" ridge from small lake, which is located at an altitude of 2078 meters. Length of the river is 54 kilometers. The name “Chemal” means "ant". The reason of that is sheep and goats grazing on this fertile territory. From a top of adjoining hills, animals looked like swarming ants in the grass. The River flows into the Katun River near Chemal village.

In winter, the water is frozen, and flooded in spring as when snow melts, the water goes over the ice destroying everything on its way. Chemal village is considered to be found in 1842 when peasants from Byisk were settled here from the permission of local nomads. And already in 1849, the temple of the Apostle John the Theologian in Patmos was built. Chemal village is located in the most favorable climatic zone of Altai region. Winter is soft, summer is sunny but not exhausting hot. The air is dry tempered, it can cause salubrious effect on the lungs and the skin. Yet in the late 19th century, Chemal was known as a resort, many scientists (Shishkov, Sapozhnikov, Potanin) came here. In the 30's. of the 20th century the government resort was organized here.