Duration: 7 Days/ 6 Nights

Altitude: 3650m 

Distance: 40km

Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult

Duration: 7 Days/ 6 Nights

Altitude: 3,650m

Distance: 40km

Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult

Nafran Valley Trek is the most pristine and scenic trek in Kashmir. It has a trail that starts from Aru, a village 12 km from Pahalgam and around 112km from Srinagar. This trek has remained famous for offbeat trekking where one sees serenity and long lush meadows with gorgeous jungle walks and an alpine lake. 

Nafran Valley Trek has a unique landscape that exposes a trekker to not only meadows but jungle, alpine lake, and glacier as well. This forms a complete bouquet for a trekking enthusiast. Its wavy meadows an unmatched in any form. Even the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek doesn’t offer as serene and other-worldly vast meadows and beautiful trails as this trek offers.

Right from the first day of the trek which starts alongside a river stream, the trek surprises the trekker with its sheer beauty. .  

 

The trek meanders through beautiful patches of grassy land and pine forest and has an abundance of river streams. This trek has Harnag Lake, which is at an altitude of 3500m, a great attraction. Camping in the vicinity of this clean lake is what traveler dreams of.

One has to pass over the famous and legendary Harnag Pass. The pass is traditionally used by shepherds and highland people to cross over to other valleys and move towards Kolahoi Glacier.

Another attraction of the trek is the lofty Kolahoi peak and glacier that one sees at a near distance. The ever-charming Kolahoi glacier and the peak are refreshing. Kolahoi has remained a dream for many trekkers and mountaineers to climb or trek to. Behold the peak and glacier right before you and wonder at its intricate formation.

Harbaghwan Lake is nestled cozily in a gorgeous setup where the glaciers melt into at times big chunks of glacier masses. Trekkers stop here for lunch rest and enjoy the view that is soothing to all the senses. This lake is away from tourist litter and crowd so much so that it has no trace of human impact.

This trek has a blend of ascends and descends. It is categorized as a moderate to difficult trek for all the incoming trekkers. This trek will fascinate all whether you have done any trek here in Kashmir or not.
 

Nafran Valley Trek Highlights

The main highlights of the trek are Aru Valley, Harnag Lake, Nafran Valley meadows, Harnag Pass, etc.

  • The Lush Meadows: One of the fantastic highlights of Nafran Valley are lush meadows. The meadows are like the carpet of a carpet of lush grass with an unending length. They look straight out of some fairyland. You will be surprised how clean and spotless these meadows are. This is more because of the fact this trek has remained offbeat and has not crowded with trekkers. Thanks to this, the trek is still clean and in its natural form. 
  • The Alpine Lakes: The alpine lakes of Nafran Valley are glacier-fed. They are big and imposing. The grassland goes directly to the edges of the lakes. You can sit and relax just beside these lakes. The prominent lake of this trek is Harnag Lake. One has to cross the Harnag Pass to reach this lake. In the past, the lake has been unbelievably beautiful. 
  • Aru Valley: This is the most popular tourist destination in Kashmir. Aru is the base camp for this trek. Spend the night here in the meadows of Aru Valley beside the river stream. Enjoy a relaxing walk in the village. 

Nafran Valley Trek Day Wise Itinerary

Day 1: Srinagar – Aru

  • Drive Distance 110km
  • Duration 3.5 hours
  • Aru Altitude 2450m

The first day of the trek is a drive to reach the base camp at Aru. Aru is the best scenic village in all of Kashmir. It is 12 km ahead of Pahalgam. Housing few numbers of houses, this village has remained heaven for Trekkers for centuries. It is also from here that the famous Tarsar Marsar and Kolahoi Glacier Trek start.

Day 2: Aru – Mondlan – Bhaj Marg

  • Drive Distance 6km
  • Trek Distance: 7km
  • Trek Duration: 6 hours
  • Altitude: 2350m – 3150m

This is the first trek day of the trek. The trek starts a few kilometers before Aru. The starting point of the trek is Mondlan. The trail starts just from the main road. The trail starts with an ascend and goes through a thick forest. The forest walk is the first serene feel you will get from this trek. The walk is in complete silence under the shade of tall trees and surrounding bird species.

Many bird species are in these trees. Your trek leader will make you acquainted with some of the bird species that you never see in cities. The sun filters through these trees and gives you a feel of other-worldly.

You will see a clean river stream running at the beginning of the trek. Refill your water bottles as water will be scarce till the next campsite. You will have to cross this stream and then you will see a small collection of shepherd houses. The houses are your first glimpse of how people live in the mountains. A serene and peaceful life, away from the daily troubles of modernity.

Further up to the trail, the walk jungle gives way to a beautiful small meadow called Shul Marg. Take a rest in the meadow and enjoy the beautiful landscape of this place. The grasslands here are full of colorful flowers in the summer season. The entire meadow looks colorful and rejuvenating.

From this small meadow, the trail ascends towards another settlement of shepherds. The trail turns towards the right by crossing the shimmering river stream. There comes another patch of the forest walk and then goes into a meadow.

Further up, the trail gains steepness till you spot a wooden gate. This is called the Gateway of Nafran Valley. The trail then leads you to the campsite called Bhaj Marg.

Bhaj Marg is a breathtakingly beautiful meadow and serene. You will hardly see a trekker crowd here. The grassland is vast and you will see horses trotting around. In the middle of this grassland, you get a panoramic view of the mountains.

Enjoy your food and tented accommodation in the beautiful ambiance here.

The gradient of the day is easy to moderate.

Day 3: Bhaj Marg – Nafran Valley

  • Trek Distance: 9km
  • Trek Duration: 7 hours
  • Altitude: 3150m – 3450m via 3500m

This is the day you will trek to the famous and scenic Nafran Valley for which this trek is famous. Leave your campsite after a hearty breakfast and fill your bottle with water. The trail goes through a forest patch and is an ascent.

After walking for a couple of kilometers, you will reach the ridge of Arram Pathri. The top of this ridge gives you the best scenic view of the entire Bhaj Marg meadow and Dadwar meadow. The trail further takes you through a couple of river streams. Ford these river streams carefully. Your trek leader will help you in crossing these river streams.

The trail then reaches a hard rocky patch. You must meander the rocky patch cautiously as it risks the trekker falling. Place your steps carefully and firmly. The rocky terrain however gives you a commanding view of Pahalgam valley towards your left. This is a treat to the eyes.

The trail then descends towards Arram Pathri. The descent is steep and you will have to be again careful in descending this trail. As you descend, you will see a settlement of shepherds on the banks of the beautiful Nafran Valley. This is Arram Pathri.

This is a nice spot for rest and refilling your water bottles. Take pictures and videos of this spot as the scenic landscape and serenity will be etched on your memory.

Keep the Nafran river towards your left and follow the trail which is strewn with boulders. The trail to your next campsite goes via a couple of grasslands and boulder sections. Shortly thereafter, you will reach the Nafran Valley Valley campsite. The valley is gorgeous and surrounded by mountains on three sides.

The gradient of the day is easy to moderate.

Day 4: Nafran Valley – Harnag Valley

  • Trek Distance: 5km
  • Trek Duration: 5 hours
  • Altitude: 3450m – 3500m

Wake up early morning to see how a calm breeze passes through your campsite. The mornings in this valley are refreshing. It takes all the troubles of the world off your mind here, and you get to know the reward of doing this trek.

Since Nafran Valley is the main highlight of this trek, start your trek with a tour around this beautiful valley. Your trek leader will make you go around this valley and get the best views that this valley offers. Once you are done with the tour of Nafran Valley the trail proceeds towards the Harnag Pass.

The trail gains steepness slowly. The trail gives a panoramic view of grasslands. And the river streams cutting across these meadows.

Your campsite will be just below the Harnag Pass. Soak yourself in the breathtaking Harnag valley. Enjoy the campsite and the food that your cook will offer you.

The gradient of the day is moderate.

Day 5: Harnag Lake Exploration

  • Trek Distance: 6km
  • Trek Duration: 7 hours
  • Altitude: 3500m – 3500m via 3650m

This is lake day. It is on this day you will be seeing the beautiful Harnag Lake. Start early morning after a delicious breakfast. Gear yourself with proper trekking essentials. The trail starts with a flat walk and then goes through boulder and rocky terrain.

You must be extra careful while you walk on these rocky sections. At some places, the rocks are loose which increases the chance of dislocation or fall. Just put your feet firmly and carefully. Look for loose rocks and slippery boulders. The water coming down from the mountain makes the boulders wet and slippery. Be careful.

The walk is all ascending till you reach the top of Harnag Pass. The pass however is equally rewarding. It gives you one of the best panoramic views of the entire trek. You will see on one side the wide Nafran valley eternally gorgeous.

Towards the other side are Harnag Valley and Harnag Lake. The lake is just in the middle of this valley. A completely alone and enticing lake is a treat to the tired eyes. You will realize here that the view compensates more than what troubles you faced while climbing through the boulder and rocky sections.

To reach the lake, one has to descend towards the lake. The descent is equally tiring and challenging. You will have to be again careful with your steps. the trail is strewn with boulders and rocks which are loose, wet, and slippery. Make sure you follow the shepherd trail wherever you see it visible. Shepherd at times places rocks firmly to make a safe path in loose rocky terrain.

Immediately afterward, behold the beautiful Harnag Lake. Soak yourself in the beauty that surrounds you here.

Further afterward, you will have to cross a couple of streams to reach the Kolahoi Glacier viewpoint. Kolahoi Glacier is a massive glacier and is the largest glacier in Kashmir. Shrouded under the lofty peak of Kolahoi, this glacier is vast spanning and is all white.

It is this glacier that melts into the Lidder River and then gets into the Jhelum River. Kolahoi Peak is the highest altitude peak in Kashmir.

Take a rest here and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

Trace your steps back towards your campsite at Harnag Valley.

The gradient of the day is difficult.

Day 6: Harnag Valley – Arram Pathri

  • Trek Distance: 7km
  • Trek Duration: 6 hours
  • Altitude: 3500m – 3200m

Today you will again retrace the steps back to Arram Pathri. The beautiful valley that you saw while coming. Enjoy the walk and take regular breaks to try your hand at photography. Stops at spots that you missed while coming. The walk of the day is easy and mild on your legs. Stop for lunch in the middle of a beautiful meadow.

The gradient of the day is moderate to difficult.

Day 7: Arram Pathri – Aru – Srinagar

  • Drive Distance: 110km
  • Trek Distance: 10km
  • Trek Duration: 6 hours
  • Altitude: 3200m – 2450m

This is the last day of the trek. You will be trekking from Arram Pathri to Aru. The trek ends at Aru thereby making it a circuit trek. The trail from Arram Pathri takes a right turn. The trail will give you a varied and different landscape than what you saw on the second day of the trek. The gradient of the day is easy. It is a gentle walk down to Aru valley.

The trail will take you through the beautiful small valleys of Kanzal Pathri and Gagad Pathri. The valleys are strewn with the patches of forests. The trail goes to the confluence of two shimmering water streams of Nafran Valley and Gash Angan.

On your way, you will see settlements of shepherds. Enjoy your breaks at these settlements. And see how they live their lives here away from any connectivity and modernity.

Immediately afterward you will reach the endpoint of this trek – Aru. This is the beautiful hamlet to rest in before you drive back to Pahalgam or Srinagar.

The gradient of the day is easy.

Inclusion 

  • All veg meals during the trek. Breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, dinner.
  • Camp accommodation on all nights in high-quality tents on a twin-sharing basis. Sleeping bags, sleeping mattresses, dining tents, and cutlery are included. 
  • Helpers to pitch the tents, wash the dishes, serve the food, and assist while on the camp.
  • Mountaineering qualified and experienced trek leaders, guides, and experienced cooks. 
  • All the necessary mountain medicine includes first aid, oxygen cylinder, etc. 
  • Passes and Permits.

Meal plan: In every meal plan, we try to provide different varieties, trying not to repeat the dishes, particularly at dinner and lunch. Here is the list of dishes and items from which we serve the clients.

  • Breakfast: eggs, paratha, chana, poha, dalia, upma, cornflakes, bread toast, butter, jam, roti, coffee, tea, kehwa, etc.
  • Lunch and dinner: we make a variety of dishes and try to serve the varied dishes. On all trek days, there will be different dishes served. We try not to repeat our dishes unless the clients say otherwise.
  • We serve veg dishes like veg biryani, veg pulaw, muttar paneer, palak paneer, aloo gobi, rajma chawal, rajma kadhai, mix veg, chana masala, kadhi chawal, dal makhni, bhindi masala, dal fry, veg korma, Kashmiri nadru, Kashmiri haakh, aloo matar, bhaingan ka bharta, dam aloo, andaburji, etc. We have both roti and rice available for dinner and lunch. We serve them with different pickles and salad. 
  • For evening snacks we have tea, pakoda, soup, noodles, maggie, veg rolls, biscuits, etc. 
  • For dessert we serve gulab jamun, phirni, halwa, custard, sewaya, fruit chaat, fruit cake, almond cake, etc. 

Exclusions:

  • Lunch on the first day. 
  • Personal expenses.
  • Anything not specifically mentioned in the inclusion list.
  • Offloading 
  • Transportation

Extra Services:

If you wish to avail of our transportation service, then the extra cost will be 1500 per person. The transportation cost is to and fro. The pickup and drop place will be Srinagar. 

Offloading charges: In case you want us to carry your backpack, the cost per bag is Rs 2500/ per bag. The maximum weight allowed is 10kg. Please note that only a proper trekking backpack will be allowed to offload. No trolly or suitcase will be allowed to offload. We strictly follow to adequately place the load on our ponies. The maximum weight of each pony will be 40kg as recommended by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department.  

Nafran Valley Trek Package and Cost

The cost of the Nafran Valley Trek is 14500 with the inclusion of all the essential trek requirements. The full package of Nafran Valley covers your porter services, Srinagar to Srinagar transportation, your insurance, and the basic trek fee. We have a group discount offer that starts from 3 or above.

We also customize this trek for families, friends, and couples. Make sure you read all our inclusions and exclusions before booking this trek with us. 

What is the Best Time to do Nafran Valley Trek?

Nafran Valley Trek is a pure summer trek. The trek is inaccessible and not doable during winter, spring, or autumn. Owing to its high altitude, the entire trail of Nafran Valley Trek remains under the snow throughout the winter. In Spring, the snow doesn’t melt fully on its trail Towards the start of summers like in May and June, the passes of the trek are still covered in snow which makes the ponies cross them difficult and quite dangerous.

The autumn makes this trek difficult because of the drop in temperature which the ponies can’t bear at high altitudes, also by the time autumn fully arrives, the grass in the grasslands of Nafran Valley dies down which is the main source of food for the ponies. Hence Nafran Valley is not doable in Winter, Spring, and Autumn. The best months to do this trek are July, August, and September.

Why should you do the Nafran Valley trek? 

  • Less Crowded: One of the best features of Nafran Valley Trek is that it is not a crowded trek. Unlike other treks, where you struggle to find the best campsites, Nafran will offer you plenty of clean campsites where there is the least footfall. This is the pure joy of 7 days where you are in the middle of nature with no crowd of trekkers. You will see only a couple of groups probably on your way on its trail. 
  • Clean Meadows: Most of the famous treks, have now damaged meadows. The beauty and the aesthetics of meadows are tampered with by the overflow of trekkers, campings done, etc. There is also litter on the trail. However, there is no such thing in Nafran Valley. The trail is clean, and the campsites and meadows are clean and soothing to the eyes and senses.
  • Easy Accessibility: This trek is easily accessible from Srinagar. It falls in the Aru valley of Kashmir which is around 3 hours of drive from Srinagar airport. Its drive is quite smooth, nothing like hilly which makes you dizzy or sick. Also, the exit points of this trek are many, which makes it safer for any evacuation or emergency rescue. 

How Difficult is the Nafran Valley Trek

 To embark on this trek, you need to have a fair level of fitness. Nafran Valley Trek is a moderate to difficult trek. The trek has some steep ascents. It has boulder and rocky sections which one has to maneuver. The toughest ascent is on the day one goes over the famous Harnag Pass which is full of large boulders and gets slippery with the water that runs down over it.

For a beginner, this trek will require some pre-trek fitness preparations. Beginners should hit the gym, and and try cardio and stretching along with moderate to tough squat exercises. The trek will put a strain on our knees and ankles. The main reason for the trek being moderate to difficult is that it gains altitude with a short distance that makes it steeper.

How to Reach

Nafran Valley Trek starts from Aru valley which is around 112 km from Srinagar. From Srinagar, you can get a direct cab to Aru Valley which will be arranged by Cliffhangers India. You can reach Srinagar by air. There is a direct flight from Delhi every day to Srinagar.

The nearest railway station to Srinagar is the Jammu railway station, you will have to take a cab from Jammu to reach Srinagar. The duration of the drive is around 8 hours.

Mobile Connectivity on the Trek?

This trek takes you to the pristine and serene places of Kashmir. There will be no mobile connectivity during the entire trek of Nafran Valley. You need to keep your family and friends informed before you start this trek about the no connectivity.

Things To Carry 

Although Nafran Trek is a summer trek, you must carry the essential gear to make your trek journey smooth and safe. Here is Cliffhangers most essential list of items you need to carry for this trek.   

 Backpack: You must carry at least one backpack of 60 liters.

Shoes: You need to have trekking shoes necessarily. The shoes must be sturdy and high-ankle. 

Three T-shirts: Carry one full-sleeve full-sleeve dry-fit T-shirt, and at least two other T-shirts. 

Three insulation layers: Carry at least 3 insulation layers – 2 light fleece and one full-sleeve sweater.

One Outer layer: You need at least one padded jacket/down jacket

Two trek pants:  You need to carry two pairs of pants and that will be sufficient for your entire trek. 

 Trekking poles. Two trekking poles are always better than a single trekking pole.

Raingear: A poncho is a good choice over jacket-type raingear, as the poncho covers your entire body till the knees down and you can keep your daypack bag inside it too.

Rain cover for your backpack: 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.

Daypack: A small bag of around 20 to 30 ltrs to carry your essentials like water bottle, rainwear, headlamp, snacks, etc 

Sunglasses: Carry one to protect your eyes from glare and UV radiation. 

Suncap: You can either get the normal suncap or a suncap with flaps which is preferred by most trekkers and is advisable by the experts.

Synthetic hand gloves: You can wear them during the evenings and mornings.

Woolen cap or Balaclava: 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. 

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: 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.

Water bottle: carrying a water bottle is a must.

Plastic covers: Carry a plastic bag to keep the wet or used clothes in it.

Personal medical kit: 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 the mountains or by altitude gain.

Mandatory Documents: Carry your original Aadhar card Passport or Driver’s license. 

Lunch Box: Every day you will reach the campsite only in the afternoon, so there will be no hot lunch but a packed lunch. You must buy and carry one small lunch box. 

FAQs 

What is the altitude of the Nafran Valley trek? 

The highest altitude of Nafran Valley is 3650m. This is however the highest point only of the pass. We will be camping just below this altitude which makes it quite safe for the trek. The daily altitude gain is moderately spread and the length of the trek is also moderate.  

Where is Nafran Valley located?  

This Nafran Trek is located in the Aru Valley of Kashmir. Aru is just 12 km from Pahalgam which is the most popular tourist destination of Kashmir. Towards one side, the trek gets connected to Kolahoi Glacier, and towards the other, it gets connected to Amarnath Cave.   

How difficult is the Nafran Valley trek?  

The Nafran Valley is a moderate to difficult trek. It is best recommended for trekkers or fit beginners. One has to prepare for this trek by hitting the gym or practicing like running. One can even start day hiking once a week before some months of joining this trek.  

What is the Nafran Valley trek distance? 

This trek has a moderate length. The total distance of the Nafran Trek is 43km. This is spread over 7 days in total which includes one day of acclimatization. Every day one has to walk until the afternoon.  

What is the best time for Nafran Valley Trek?  

The best time to do this trek is from July to September. However, if you wish to see snow on the trek, then June end is the best time for this trek. In the summer months of July, August, and September, the trail and landscape are all green. The rivers are full of water and the lakes are full.   

How Many Days is the Nafran Valley Trek?  

The total duration of the trek is 7 days. This includes one day of acclimatization which is on the first day. There are 6 days of walking. This duration makes the trek quite moderate. If the days are reduced then the trek becomes difficult in gradient.   

What is the starting point of Nafran Valley Trek?

The starting point of this trek is Aru Valley. This valley is the base camp for some of the prominent treks and expeditions of Kashmir like the Kolahoi trek, tartar trek, etc. This valley is half an hour’s drive from Pahalgam and has a small local population that forms the guides and ponywalas for all these treks.   

Can a beginner go on Nafran Valley Trek?  

Yes, a fit beginner can do this trek. It needs some preparation before you join this trek. Hit the gym, and make your lower body strong and flexible. Any person with a fair level of fitness can finish this trek quite easily.   

Is Nafran Valley Trek Safe? 

Nafran Valley is quite a safe trek. It has no threatening wildlife, no sharp climbs, or no technical trekking involved. The trail is definite and quite easy to trace and walk on. It has easy evacuation points and emergency exits.  

nafran valley trek