The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a 7-day trek that takes you through the heart of the Kashmir Himalayas. The trek passes through five valleys and six alpine lakes, offering stunning views of snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, and crystal-clear waters.
The trek starts in Sonamarg, a small town located 90 kilometers northeast of Srinagar. The first day of the trek is a relatively easy walk to Nichnai, a small village located in the Lidder Valley. The next day, the trek ascends to Vishansar Lake, the first of the six lakes on the trek.
The next few days of the trek involve a series of ascents and descents as you pass through the Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar, and Gangabal Valleys. The final day of the trek is a steep descent to Naranag, a village located on the banks of the Jhelum River.
The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a moderate-to-difficult trek that requires a good level of fitness. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, but there are some steep ascents and descents. The trek is best done during the summer months (June-August), when the weather is warm and sunny.
The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a great way to experience the beauty of the Kashmir Himalayas. The trek is also a good opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the region. If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding trek, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a great option.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation: 7 Nights of Tented Accommodation on a triple-sharing basis.
- Meals: All veg meals from day 1st Dinner to day 8th Breakfast.
- Snacks: Morning / Evening Tea / Coffee with light snacks.
- Camping logistics: Tent, Sleeping bags, Mattresses, Dining tent, Toilet tent.
- Trek Leader: Qualified and Experienced Trek leader and support staff.
- Permits: All necessary fees and permits.
- Safety Equipment: Basic First Aid kit with Oximeter and Oxygen Cylinder.
- Guide ratio: 1:10
What is NOT included in the tour
- Transportation from Srinagar TRC – Sitkari / Naranag – Srinagar TRC
- Any expenses of personal nature.
- Meals during transit.
- Insurance of any kind.
- Any fees and permits (for non-Indians).
- Unscheduled delay due to a landslide.
- Cost Escalation due to “Force Majeure and Evacuation charges”.
- Anything not mentioned explicitly in the above program.
- Note: The pick-up from Srinagar TRC will be at 11 AM. We will arrange the transportation from Srinagar TRC to Sitkari and Return from Naranag to Srinagar TRC at an additional cost of approx. Rs. 3500 per vehicle one way. The amount would be paid directly to the driver and participants are expected to share the cost of the vehicle (One cab can accommodate 5-6 trekkers). You can apply for travel insurance prior to the trek.
- The group will assemble at Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar at 11 AM.
- Afterward, we'll start driving from Srinagar to reach Sonamarg where Shitkari village serves as the ideal base camp for the Kashmir great lakes trek.
Note: It's important that you carry your ID proof, original as well as 2 photocopies as you will need to submit these documents at the army check post.
- After early morning breakfast, we will head out towards Nichnai which is our campsite.
- The entire trail gives you a slice of paradise that is Kashmir. Maple and pine trees line the trail and as you gradually ascend, the stunning landscape of the entire Sonamarg Valley comes into view. Streams of water flow relentlessly, giving way to lush green meadows of Shekdur, adorned by small peaks and surrounded by Bhoj trees, making it a breathtaking stop to take a breather and marvel at the wonder of nature.
- Following the flow of water of Nichnai stream, we will reach our campsite where we will have dinner and spend the night.
- After early morning breakfast, we will head towards the scenic Vishansar lake. The lake holds utmost importance for Kashmiri pandits and its surrounding landscape of alpine forests and gorges filled with small glaciers make it a fascinating spot for trekkers.
- The Nichnai pass lies behind the twin peaks that stand proudly in the backdrop of your campsite. Nestled at the foot of the mountains, you will see a lake coming into view. As you ascend gradually into the meadows, the pass will finally come into the view providing you with a stunning view of Sonamarg valley.
- After witnessing the magic of this pass, you will start your descent with the view of flowery meadows and rivers in the backdrop. Soon, you will see a waterfall cascading from a mountain cliff and after trekking for a while a new stream will come into view. We will set up our camps in the open space with the Vishansar lake in the backdrop.
- The rest of the day is at leisure but you can indulge in any fun activity you like. Dinner followed by an overnight stay at the campsite.
- Since the weather near Kishansar lake is unpredictable, we proceed with caution. If the weather doesn't permit movement, we will spend our day here in the campsite.
- If the weather is clear, we move towards Gangbal camp site.
- After morning tea and breakfast, we will embark on to our next stop.
- Nestled at an altitude of 500ft, the Kishansar lake lies just above Vishansar lake. The blend of stunning landscapes of green meadows and crystal blue lakes makes this a sight to behold. Soon, you will see the ridge that is Gadsar Pass coming into view. After strolling for a while longer, you will see a small lake which would be the Yamsar lake which has a mythological significance associated with the god of death, Yama in Hinduism. As you move forward and the base of snow-covered cliffs come into view, you would see a pristine lake and that would be Gadsar lake.
- After enjoying the beautiful view, we will walk a bit further and then set up our campsite,
- Dinner followed by an overnight stay in camps.
- After having our morning tea and breakfast, we will leave the campsite to head towards our next stop Satsar camp which is nestled s at 12,000ft and is a collection of seven lakes, the majority of which you can see depending on the season.
- You will be traversing through lush green forests with rivers and valleys below you. After traversing through terrains with majestic mountains in your view, you will soon see a ridge that is the gateway to Satsar, beyond which lies the 3rd line of defense from the LOC as well as the Satsar Army camp.
- We will set up our campsite a few meters away from here and enjoy the serenity and peace.
- Dinner followed by an overnight stay in camps.
- Post-breakfast, we will head out for our trekking expedition that consists of ascends and descends.
- The trail is full of surprises, with countless ridges and nameless lakes. After traversing through all of them, you will finally reach the biggest lake among them all which is Gangabal with Nundkol just by its side. The Nundkhol lake is nestled at the base of the Harmukh peak where the Harmukh glacier hangs on the edges of the mountain.
- We will set up our campsite here at Nundkol and spend the night after having dinner.
- Post breakfast, we will start our descent from the Gangabal campsite. You will see green canopies lining the trail and you will start to see traces of civilization.
- The meadows give way to wooden huts and Naranag slowly comes into sight at around 8500ft giving way to Naranag road. We will drive back to Srinagar from here.
- Upon reaching Srinagar, the group will dissemble.
- End of Tour.
Note: It's important to submit your Travel Insurance and a copy of your ID Proof (Aadhar card) before the trek for the permits.
Short summary of your Kashmir great lakes trek:
In this Kashmir Great Lakes trek, you first make your way from Srinagar to Sonamarg and witness the beauty of the paradise that is Kashmir and get a glimpse at the pristine Himalayan lakes with lush green meadows and forests lined with maple and pine trees.
Each pass has its own charm, from the lush green canopies of Shekdur to the pastures of Nichnai and silver streams of Vishnusar grasslands, there isn't any view that doesn't leave you mesmerized.
The more you trek further during the Kashmir great lake treks, the more captivated and enthralled you become. The Gadsar valley with its maple trees and the occasional glimpse of horses running in the field makes you feel as if you are a part of a cinematic film. The valley of Satsar is equally bewitching and exquisite.
When you witness the vast expanse of Gangabal grasslands, the entire valley with Nandkol and many lakes come into view. The special thing about these lakes is they seem to keep changing their colors throughout the day. From shades of blue to green, they embody the colors of nature quite beautifully. It's a shame that many people are unaware of the beauty that our country has to offer.
The best time to do the Kashmir great lakes trek is from the months of June to September. These months though come with rain showers, and they also bring the blooming flowers with them, covering the valleys of Kashmir in all colors of the rainbow.
Just like the lakes, the valleys that you traverse while on the Kashmir great lakes trek also keep changing colors, from blushing pink to ivory white and even sunny yellow depending on the flowers and their dominating presence.
Nevertheless, it's important to note that though the trek is beautiful, it imposes many challenges. One has to trek around 72 kilometers to complete the circular journey and the maximum altitude that can be attained while on the trek is around 13750 feet. The Kashmir Great Lake trek requires good physical fitness so that one can accomplish it and take the most out of the experience.
The actual starting point of the trek is a village called Shitkadi, which is just 3 Kilometers from Sonamarg on the Srinagar highway. Here one can get food and refreshments from the Dhabas which are available here.
In a nutshell, Kashmir great lake trek is easily one of the best Himalayan treks our country has to offer but only if one is willing to face all the hardships that it has to offer before rewarding you with the beautiful views.
- Where is the basecamp for the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek?
- Shitkari, a small village, situated at a distance of approximately 3 Kilometers from Sonamarg serves as the ideal basecamp for the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. It is accessible via a short drive from Sonamarg.
- Is Kashmir Great Lakes trek difficult?
- The Kashmir Great lakes trek is an 8-day trek and you get to traverse through 7 different valleys each day. The trail consists of steep ascents and descents, where you’ll have to walk on grasslands, boulders, steep inclines, and more which will test your endurance. This is why the difficulty level of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek comes under the moderate category. Because it requires strenuous hours of walking on diverse trails.
- How long is the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek?
- The Kashmir Great Lake trek stretches up to a vast expanse of 74 Kilometers where you get to traverse through different valleys. The distance that you cover is major when compared to other Himalayan treks and partly contributes to the difficulty of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
- What is the best time for the Kashmir Great Lakes trek?
- The best time to do the Kashmir Great lakes trek is from the months of July to early September. Monsoon is the ideal month for the trek and although many Himalayan treks should be avoided during the rainy months, the Pir Panjal ranges of the Himalayas acquire a whole new charm under the rain showers as the flowers in the valley of Kashmir bloom beautifully.
- Is Kashmir Great Lakes Trek worth it?
- The Kashmir Great lakes trek is undoubtedly the most beautiful Himalayan trek with its pristine lakes, enchanting valleys, and lush green meadows. It is an experience that every trekker must tick off their bucket list. The fact that it offers such diverse trails and unfolds a different landscape with every step is just one of the reasons that make the Kashmir Great Lakes trek absolutely worth it.
- How do I prepare for the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek?
Kashmir Great Lakes trek is considered to be a moderate trek that gradually becomes difficult as you traverse the many steep ascends and descents throughout the trail. There are a few basic fitness tips that you can follow when preparing for the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
1) Run for 30 - 45 mins at least twice a week.
2) Stair climbing. Skip the elevators and take the stairs instead.
3) Keep your body active by doing regular exercises. Jogging, Skipping and other cardiovascular activities help build endurance which would help you when you're trekking.
4) Train with your backpack before your trek.