Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: A Complete Guide
If you want to go for trekking in Kashmir & have picked up Kashmir Great Lakes trek then this post is a must-read for you. The information has been gathered by doing Kashmir Great Lakes Trek over a dozen times.
Heighlights of the Trek
- Duration: 7D/6N
- Distance: 80Kms
- Max. Altitude: 4200m
- Number of Alpine Lakes: 11 (However to see all the lakes, it takes more than 7 days)
- Base Camp: Sonamarg (The trek can be done from Naranag to Sonamarg)
Let’s start this post by first giving a short introduction of this trek.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is the most pristine and beautiful trek in India. Starting at Kashmir Valley’s Sonamarg area, this trek usually takes 7 days with an average of five-hour daily trek. It in totality offers a bouquet of 11 large alpine lakes surrounded by wavy meadows and snow-peaked mountains. This trek is nothing short of a lifetime experience: walking on the lush green meadows, seeing flocks of sheep dotting them, beholding the lofty mountains carrying glaciers that melt to form the undulated lakes; trekking parallel to the canals and rivulets that cut through mountains and waking up in the morning to see the clouds drifting around your camps.
On the way, one gets a glimpse of Mount Harmukh, Gadsar Peak, Mount Vishu and varied Himalayan animals like Common Leopard, Himalayan Marmot, Black Bear and many wildflowers and birds. The enchanting beauty of the trek is such that one ascends 11000ft without realising it.
Main Attractions: Gangbal Lake (the largest Alpine Lake of Kashmir), Kishansar & Vishansar Lakes, Gadsar Lake, Nundkol Lake, Nichnai – Valley of Flowers, Mount Harmukh, Satsar Meadow, Table Top’s view, Lush green meadows, etc.
Best Time to Visit Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is best done in the summer season. The lush meadows, lofty peaks and shimmering brooks make this trek a memorable trek for life.
How to reach the Base Camp: Once you land in Srinagar, the cab will take you to the Sonamarg Base Camp which serves as the starting point of the trek.
Safety and Expertise: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is an easy to moderate trek. This trek does not require any mountaineering expertise or any trekking credentials. This trek is safe for all age groups.
Things to Carry: Backpack & rain cover, trekking shoes preferably high-ankle one, day pack to carry on-the-trek essentials like a lunch box, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, protein bars etc, headlamp/torch, trekking pole, personal medical kit.
Thermals, fleece jacket, down feather jacket, waterproof pants, sun cap, woollen cap: toiletries: sunscreen, lip balm, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush & toothpaste, hand towel, sanitary napkins etc.
Is it Secure? This trek is absolutely safe and secure. There has never been any untoward security incident while being on this trek.
Are there restaurants/dhabas on the way? There are two tea stalls where you can get your snacks, tea, maggie, omelette etc. One is around Kishansar/Vishansar Pass, and the second one is at the Butshiri Top which you will be seeing on the last day of the trek.
Does it rain/thunder heavily? Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a summer trek but it doesn’t mean that it’s a dry trek. Mostly, you will encounter precipitation. In almost all the treks that we have been into, every time it has showered heavily and thundered like a roar. The trek might start with a bright sun and clear sky but it only takes seconds to overcast the sky.
Wildlife: This trek has a small patch of forest on its way that you will be going through on your first day. The trek is mostly tree-less. You will only see meadows, lofty mountains and beautiful Lakes.
Is it safe to swim in the Lakes en route Kashmir Great Lakes Trek? It is absolutely a delight to take a dip in these fresh lakes but only if you know how to swim. Remember these are not shallow lakes. They are deep and serene and cold. They are fed by neighbouring glaciers which you can see yourself.
Can we fish in the lakes? No. It requires permission from the government authorities to fish in these lakes. Besides, there always are guards who are on a look-out if someone tries to fish in these lakes.
What trek days are difficult? It all depends, but mostly if you start from Sonamarg you will feel the last day a bit difficult because of the steep descent from Buthsiri Top. And if you start from Naranag you will feel the first day very quite steep and the day when you will be ascending to Gadsar Pass.
Will there be safe drinking water available? The water comes directly from glaciers so it is considered clean but if you want to be sure and safe about it then better you boil the water before drinking or use chlorine tablets.
Will there be mobile connectivity during the trek? There will be no mobile/internet connectivity during the trek. So before you embark on this trek make sure you inform your near ones about your non-reachability during the trek days. However, at the base camp, there is good connectivity.
How many hours do we have to trek each day? It’s for around six hours.
Are there frozen lakes, too? Again, it depends. If you are taking this trek in the months that are close to winter months then you will see the lakes covered in snow and are frozen. But in summers all the lakes have melted.
Is this meant for solo trekkers, too? Yes. You can do this trek solo. It is absolutely safe and secure. However, if this is your first trek, then better go through some adventure travel company.
How can I prepare myself for this trek? Please go through the list of activities that you will need before you start with this trek.
Read the below-given blogs on how to prepare for a trek.
Read the personal blog on Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.