It has remained our pursuit to open up offbeat treks in Kashmir. Salnai Lakes Trek is one such offbeat trek. This is arguably the best offbeat treks here in Kashmir. It offers the best of its meadows, mountains, panoramas, jungle walks, and alpine lakes.
This trek transports you from the hustle-bustle of daily life. The trails are less traveled. You will only see a few shepherds and locals from the surrounding villages. If you want a trek completely away from the modern world, then this trek is for you.
Salnai Lakes Trek is very much less opted by trekkers. This trek is absolutely less explored and thankfully less exploited. Its entire trail holds the vibe of originality and fullness. Its jungles won’t give you that sad feeling of seeing the fallen trees. The jungle is all full and thick. It lakes are clean and blue. Its meadows are untouched. They make you feel how nature is pure and rejuvenating when it remains unexploited by us humans.
Salnai valley has a sister valley called Lashnai valley. Together, they are called Salnai Lashnai Valley. Locally, people name them together. You can visit Lashnai valley on your exploration day from the Salnai campsite. These twin valleys have been traditional pastures for shepherds and nomads. For centuries, people have been flocking their cattle to graze here.
The trek gives a unique blend of mountains, meadows, streams, lakes, and shepherd life. One sees the pristine life of shepherds, their culture, and customs. You will be walking by their mud houses. this trek is quite underrated and unfairly less talked about. Yet, the main reason remains that it is less explored and less known.
This trek starts from Naranag a village that holds ancient temple ruins. This village is the base camp for many best treks in Kashmir like Gangabal Lake, Marchoi trek. Naranag is also the endpoint of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. It also has remained the religious place for Kashmiri Hindus. It holds the shivling in its temple and has a spring beside the temple.
The first day of the trek starts from Naranag and ends at Dhumail. This will be the same day when you will be arriving at Naranag. This trek is short and takes around one and a half hours only. The trek is easy and goes through the jungle and beside the famous Wangath River. The trek for the day terminates at the confluence of two river streams below the wooden bridge. This place is famously called Dhumail.
The second day of your trek will be from Dhumail to Salnai Valley via Marchoi Valley. The trek is long and the grade of the day is moderate. You will be trekking through jungles first beside the river stream and through a gully. Then the trail will open up onto a lush meadow. This will open up the view of the fantastic surrounding mountains. You will be traversing through meadows and in about 6 hours you will reach Salnai Lake campsite.
The third day is for exploration. You will go around and explore more lakes and meadows and then we will come down to Pokhri meadow. Trekking towards Pokhri meadow is a long descent. You will be spending the day at Pokhri campsite.
On this day, you will be trekking to Naranag and then driving to your hotel or airport. You will be trekking through the same trail via Marchoi and Dhumail to reach Naranag. Take some rest before driving back to your place.
Salnai Valley has in total 5 alpine lakes. The names of the lakes are Gumber Sar, Salma Sar, Marchetuker Sar, KrimSar, and KaiSar lakes. The lakes are gorgeous and sit among the mountains. But we will be covering only two lakes. Those two lakes you will be visiting on the day of exploration around Salna campsite.
Detailed Itinerary of Salnai Lakes Trek
Day 1 Srinagar – Naranag – Dhumail Meadow
- Altitude: 2350
- Time taken: 2 hours drive and 1-hour trek.
The trek starts from Naranag that is a small hamlet settled beside the river Wangat. At Naranag the altitude is 2270m. You will experience the life of highland people and pay a visit to the ancient temple and a spring here. This day is the short trek of 3 km. The trek goes through a pine forest beside the Wangat River before it reaches Dhumail.
Dhumail is a confluence of two river streams at a wooden bridge. This place is famous for bird watching and trout fishing. An overnight stay at Dhumail Valley.
Day 2 Dhumail – Salnai via Marchoi
- Altitude: 3413m
- Time taken: 6 hours; 12kms
Start the trek from Dhumail. Enjoy the trek in the middle of the wilderness and watch varied wild birds gliding around. The spot is best known for wild photography. Big peaks like Mount Harmukh could be seen. The trek winds through two beautiful meadows: Marchoi and Pokhri meadows. See around the Bakerwals (Nomads) living in thatched roofed houses.
Day 3 Exploration of the lakes and descend to Pokhri Campsite
- Altitude: 4089
- Time taken: 7 hours; 10 km
On this day of the trek, explore Salnai Twin Lakes. The lakes are situated at an altitude of 4089m in a bowl-shaped mountain circle. Get a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and meadows.
There are in total 5 lakes, but, you will be seeing only two lakes: KimSar and KaiSar Lakes.
On the same day, descend to Pokhri (altitude: 3148m) for an overnight stay.
Day 4. Pokhri to Naranag to Srinagar
- Altitude: 3148m
- Time taken: 5 hours trek; 13kms; 2 hours drive
On the last day of the trek, return to Naranag via Dhumail Meadow and drive back to Srinagar.
Frequently asked questions
How difficult is Salnai Lakes Trek
This trek is a moderate to difficult trek. It is recommended for all. However, beginners should prepare for this trek by hitting the gym. A few weeks in advance or going for some short day hikes.
How long is Salnai Lakes Trek?
The trek is 38 kilometers. The length of this trek makes it a bit tiring for beginners. Yet, its magnificent beauty makes you forget the tiredness.
What is the best time to do Salnai Trek?
Summer is the best time to visit this trek. From July to October, one can see the best beauty of its trail.
Is Salnai Lakes Trek safe?
This trek is completely safe. It has no dangerous maneuvers and is not technical trekking. The trail is definite and well maintained by shepherds. The valley is vast. This also has easy rescue and emergency. Within a day one reaches the nearest hospital by foot.
Note: This is from our series of an exploration of offbeat and traditional treks. We don’t run any fixed departures for these trek, however all the groups we take for such offbeat treks are customized. Please contact us if you want us to organize this trek for you.