Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
- 7 Days 6 Nights
- Difficulty - Moderate
- For 10+ years
- Best Season - June July August September
Kashmir is a destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers. From the stunning natural beauty of its snow-capped mountains, scenic valleys, and crystal-clear lakes to the vibrant culture and warm hospitality of its people, Kashmir is a destination that touches the hearts of visitors. Travelers can explore the region's rich history and traditions, savor its delicious cuisine, and take part in exciting outdoor activities such as trekking, skiing, and river rafting. Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, Kashmir is a destination that promises to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.
- Altitude: 2,730 m
- Time taken: 3 hours drive
- Drive from Srinagar to the base camp at Shitkadi Sonamarg. While driving you will get the best highlight of the Kashmir landscape. The drive winds through villages, farmlands and the road is between two mountain ranges. You will be driving beside the shimmering and ever flowing Sindh River. On the way, you can stop to feel the views of these mountains and pastures.
- You will spend the night camping at Shitkadi that is surrounded by a luring mountain peak. The reason to spend the night at Shitkadi is for acclimatization. You will be briefed by your trek leader about an entire trek, and you will be given all the details about the trek.
- By evening you will reach Shitkadi where you will be served with welcome drink and evening snacks, later you will be served dinner.
- Altitude: 2,730m to 3,505 m
- Time taken: 6.5 hours, 9 km
- This is the first day you will be taking your backpack and start ascending towards the next campsite.
- It is a gradual ascend. Your first stop will be at Tabletop, a beautiful plateau that is surrounded by jungle but opens wide towards the Thajwas Mountian Range. This gives a fascinating wide look of the entire Sonamarg area and its mountain range. You will be able to see the famous Amarnath Peak from here.
- Post this, you will trek towards Nichnai. You will be trekking beside the river canal that goes down, and after a patch of jungle, the trail opens up and gives way to tall mountains. There is a river crossing too, a small stream that cuts this valley. Your trek leader and guides will help you cross the stream.
- The view becomes more and more breathtaking as you trek further towards the campsite. The trail has rocky patches as well and is dotted with maple, birch, and pine trees.
- Altitude: 3,505m to 3,650 m
- Time: 5.5 hours, 13 km
- The gradient of the day is moderate with long hours of walk. After breakfast, you will be given the packed lunch as we will be lunching on our way to the next campsite.
- We will be taking our first rest spot at Nichnai Pass. The pass is after the river stream. Just before the top, crossing the ridgeline you will see the beautiful valley down that you just traversed. There is a steady ascent towards the pass, don’t forget to take regular water breaks, keeping your feet firm and pace steady.
- The pass has a steep and rocky descend towards the beautiful valley down. The meadow below is dotted with wildflowers. You will be walking in this quiet and serene meadow with joy and delight. In the surroundings, you will see a long stretch of mountains to both left and right sides of you. Towards the right, the mountain range is rugged, to your right the mountain line in contrast is snow peaked.
- After walking for a couple of kilometers you will cross the river and reach our campsite. The campsite is beside the river streams that originate at breathtaking Vishansar Lake. In the river, you will see a wide range of trout fish which are very much famous here. However, fishing and catching fish are forbidden here. You need to have a proper fishing license from the Fisheries authority of Kashmir.
- Altitude: 3,650m to 3,810m via 4,200m Gadsar Pass
- Time taken: 8 hours, 16 km
- This day is the longest and toughest day of the trek. The gradient is moderate to difficult. On this day, you will cross over the highest altitude of the trek that is Gadsar Pass standing tall at 4,200m.
- Your trek leader will guide you and start you early in the morning for the day. The first attraction and the best attraction of the trek will be visible within an hour of your trek. Behold the two gorgeous lakes cozily and calmly adjacent to each other: Vishansar and Kishansa Lakes. The lakes are famous for their blue water and abundant trout fish. You will see trout fish swimming around. The fish are of different colors. Both of these lakes have a religious significance, and they drain into the Kishanganga River that meanders through Gurez valley.
- After the lakes, starts the ardent steep ascend to Gadsar Pass. It has a narrow and sharp trail. Ascend carefully and steadily. It takes around 2 hours to reach the top of the pass.
- Most of the breathtaking pictures that you see of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek are shot from this pass. Take some rest here for some time. Click your videos and pictures here to cherish the memories later on.
- From the pass is a steep and a bit long descend. Place your steps carefully. The descend then finishes and merges into a long, lush meadow called Gadsar Meadow. The meadow is wavy breathtakingly placed between the two mountain stretches. It has lush grass and varied colorful flowers and herbs. The meadow is the most colorful of this trek.
- Shortly afterward, you will see on your left a soothing, blue-colored lake – Gadsar Lake. The lake is least visited and only by Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Since it is almost in the middle of this trek, this lake is least visited and explored and is one of the best alpine lakes that you will see on the trek. Legends say the water and fish from the Gadsar Lake have healing powers. The campsite is just a small walk from the lake.
- Altitude: 3,810m to 3,600 m
- Time taken: 5 hours, 12 km
- The gradient of this day is easy to moderate. Only for around one hour is an ascend until the trail opens on the Satsar Meadow. Then the walk turns into an easy walk on lush grass and trail.
- The trail is a mix of rocky and meadow and with some water-filled grass and land. The landscape of the mountain is mostly rugged and desolate. The valley in total holds seven alpine lakes and we will see going via its one of the lakes. The lake stands beautiful and is a nice resting place for the trekkers. The seven lakes are one of the sources of the famous Wangath River that you will be seeing on the way going towards Srinagar after finishing the trek. Afterward, shortly, we will reach our campsite which is in the vicinity of the river stream.
- Altitude: 3,600m to 3,587 m
- Time taken:5 hours, 9 km
- This day is moderate to difficult and starts with a patch of boulders and rocky terrain. The boulder section will dominate the day, with the hopping from one boulder to another. The trail goes up and reaches the Zajibal Pass. There is a sharp ascend towards the pass for about 3 hours and then an equally long descend. The trail then has a succession of ascends and descends until it goes into Gangabal Valley. On the way comes the biggest of the Satsar Lakes. The lake is bigger and gorgeous.
- After the ascend, one reaches the highest altitude of the day at the top of the ridge called Zajibal Pass. The pass stands at an altitude of 4000m. However, the best part of this pass and the treat to the eyes is the first look of the view you get of twin lakes of Gangabal Lake – Nundkol and Gangabal Lakes.
- After the descend from the pass, you will be walking in the narrow meadow and after which there are small ups and downs in the terrain until you reach the twin lakes of the valley.
- Both the lakes and glacial lakes and get the water from the melting of glacier that hangs on Mount Harmukh. You will be camping beside the Nundkol Lake that has this gorgeous Mount Harmukh in the background.
- Gangabal Lake is almost 25 minutes from Nundkol Lake. Both the lakes are abundant in tout fish.
- Altitude: 3,587m to 2,271 m
- Time taken: 6.5 hours, 13 km
- This gradient of this day is difficult. You will be leaving in the early morning after breakfast. The trek towards Naranag i.e the endpoint of the trek is first gradual descend and then sharp descend through the jungle.
- The gradual descend is through the meadow of Trunkhol. This is where you will see the government hut and wavy meadows in the middle of the surrounding mountains. The grass is lush and dotted with yellow flowers. And the land stretches far ahead of you. Take rest at Trunkhol meadow hut. You will see a lot of shepherd houses made of mud and brick. You can stop, if time allows, to sip the local tea here in the mud houses.
- Post-Trunkhol meadow, the trail immediately goes through the jungle. After walking for half an hour almost you will reach Butsheri Top, and it is from here a 3-hour steep descend starts. It is heavy on your knees. Make sure you tie your laces tight and ankle-high, if you have kneecaps wear that. The trail isn’t tricky or dangerous but hard on your legs. After descending halfway, you will begin to see the houses below. It further takes a hard descend to reach the end of the trek. At Naranag take some rest before leaving to your destination further.
- The trek ends here.
- All veg meals during the trek. Breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, dinner.
- Camp accommodation on all the nights in high-quality tents on a triple-sharing basis. Sleeping bags, sleeping mattresses, dining tents, and cutlery included.
- Mountaineering qualified and experienced trek leaders, guides, and experienced cooks.
- All the necessary mountain medicine includes first aid, oxygen cylinder, etc.
- Passes and permits.
- Lunch on the first day and last day.
- Personal expenses.
- Anything not specifically mentioned in the inclusion list.
Things to Carry
Things to carry for Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Kashmir Great Lakes is a summer trek and is done between July to October. The gradient of the trek is moderate to difficult. It is very much essential that you carry your personal stuff after a thorough understanding and care.
Here is the guideline of what to carry while you are preparing for this trek, we will be first starting with the trek essentials. The things that you must carry.
If you are a first-time trekker, you need to know that for a trek like Kashmir Great Lakes you need to take enough clothing and personal stuff. Now to carry that stuff, you must carry at least one backpack of 60 liters.
You need to have trekking shoes necessarily. The shoes must be sturdy and high-ankle with water proof. You can buy trekking shoes preferably from Decathlon which has a good series MH series for a good market price.
- Three T-shirts
Kashmir Great Lakes is a summer trek, the sun will be out most of the day while you are trekking so carry one full sleeve dry-fit T-shirt, and at least two other T-shirts. The full sleeves will prevent your arms from sun heat and sunburn. You can choose a T-shirt with a collar. Dry fit is essential as they dry quickly and are easy to wash. The material for the T-shirts can be synthetic.
- Three insulation layers:
Even if Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a summer trek, in the mountains weather can turn cold and it may start raining anytime. For that purpose and not allowing yourself to fall sick by cold, you are suggested to carry at least 3 insulation layers – 2 light fleece and one full sleeve sweater.
- One Outer layer:
You need at least one padded jacket to keep the cold and air insulated from your body. You do not need to carry the down jacket as it will not be freezing cold out there.
- Two trek pants
You need to carry two pairs of pants and that will be sufficient for your entire trek. As there are some river crossings and it rains at times, so pants should be of quick-dry nature.
This is one of the essentials of trekking. Trekking poles are very much helpful in giving you balance and stability while you trek. As in the mountains, there is no flat walk, you will have to traverse ascends and descends so you need poles to balance your walk. They also help you in descending and let you have less stress on your knees. Two trekking poles are always better than a single trekking pole.
On Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, it can rain anytime. You need to carry one good rain gear that can at least hold the rainfall of about 7 hours. A poncho is a good choice over jacket type raingear, as the poncho covers your entire body till knees down and you can keep your daypack bag inside it too.
Rain cover for your backpack
Backpack carry your all the personal essentials of the trek. You either give your backpack to ponies to carry, or you carry it yourself. In both situations, you would not want your belongings to get wet and drip in rain. Buy a good rain cover for your backpack to keep it dry and safe. It also helps to keep your backpack from wear and tear.
In case you offload your backpack, you need to carry the daypack – a small bag of around 20 to 30 ltrs to carry your essentials like water bottle, rainwear, headlamp, snacks, etc that you will consume while walking on the trail.
You need sunglasses for all kinds of treks. So do carry one to protect your eyes from glaring and UV radiation. You can drop wearing sunglasses on the days when the sun is not out and the weather is gloomy.
A suncap prevents you from getting sunstrokes, headaches, and dehydration. It also prevents you from losing stamina for trekking. You can either get the normal suncap or suncap with flaps which is preferred by most of the trekkers and is advisable by the experts.
Synthetic hand gloves
Most of the time they won’t be used. However, in case the temperature drops sharply they come handy to keep your hands warm. You can wear them during the evenings and mornings.
Woollen cap or Balaclava
Woolen caps are mostly used during winter treks. However, you can carry one in case the temperature drops and you feel cold during the evening or morning. The cap covers your ears, neck, and some parts of your face.
Three pairs of Socks
Take two pairs of sports socks and one pair of woolen socks. Depending upon the cold you feel, wear the type of socks accordingly. You need to get good quality socks as they will form a cushion to your feet and will make a lot more difference in your trekking experience. If you get comfy socks, they will help you in trekking smoothly.
You should always carry one headlamp, and always choose a headlamp over a hand torch. The headlamp gives you the freedom to keep your hands free. You will not be trekking during the night or in darkness, however, in your camping, you will need a headlamp. You might want to go to the loo during the night, or just sit and relax outside the camps, you need the headlamp
A toilet kit
Carry your toilet kit as per your requirements and hygiene. It should include things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant, etc. Women should carry their sanitary pads.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek has long walks every day. You will be trekking for around 6 hours every day, so carrying a water bottle is a must.
Carry a few plastic bags to keep your used clothes. Sometimes when it rains your clothes get wet, you can’t mix the wet clothes with new and dry ones. So carry the plastic bag to keep the wet or used clothes in it.
Personal medical kit
Please do carry all the essential medicine. If you are on any medicine, don’t skip that during the trek unless your doctor advises. Always consult your doctor if you have any diseases that can worsen in mountains or by altitude gain.
Our trek leader will be carrying the essential mountain medicine which will include an oxygen cylinder, oximeter etc.
Carry your original Aadhar card or Passport or Driver’s license. Also, keep the photocopy of any of them with you always.
For Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, the tourism department of Kashmir has made a medical certificate necesssary. You need to get one medical certificate from the registered doctor mentioning that you are fit for the trek and that you have no ailments that can turn worse or fatal with the gain in altitude or in mountains. The certficate should be stamped and signed by the doctor.
Note: You need to provide your Aadhar or other registered ID along with medical fitness certificate copy before the three days of the commencement of the trek.
In Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, there are long trek days. Everyday you will reach the campsite only in the afternoon, so there will be no hot lunch but packed lunch. You must buy and carry one small lunch box. Every day after breakfast, the cook will fill the lunch box with your lunch.
- If cancellations made are 30 days before the date of travel then 10.0% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees
- If cancellations are made 15 days to 30 days before the date of travel then 25.0% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees
- If cancellations are made 7 days to 15 days before the date of travel then 50.0% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees
- If cancellations are made 3 days to 7 days before the date of travel then 75.0% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees
- If cancellations are made 0 days to 3 days before the date of travel then 100.0% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees