Why is Kashmir Great Lakes Trek considered to be one of the most astonishing treks within the Himalayan ranges?
The Kashmir valley in India, often referred as Paradise on earthis famous for its breath-taking trekking expeditions within the Himalayan ranges.The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is an extraordinary trek owing to the marvels of nature wrapped within the pristine lakes.The trek offers a magical view of the lakes traversing their way through the Himalayan glaciers.
Typically it takes 8 days to complete the trekking journey and explore the lakes in its full glory. The best time to trek would be between July – September as the meadow trail is in its full bloom and the weather conditions with the average temperatures ranging between 18 – 20 degrees in the day and 3-4 degrees at night time. The trekking trail can be categorized in the medium to difficult level with the highest point of the trek being at approximately 14,000 feet.
It is advisable to make all important calls and leave messages and withdraw money at Srinagar as network connections may be poor during the trek. An important thing to note is prepaid SIM cards do not work in Kashmir at all.
Srinagar – Shitkadi base campsite – Nichnai via Shekdur – Vishansar and Krishnasar twin lakes – Gadsar Lake via Gadsar Pass - Satsar – Gangabal and Nundkol twin lakes – Naranag
Your journey starts with a nice short drive from Srinagar airport to the base campsite located at Shitkadi on the banks of Sindhriver. Shitkadi is a small village located at a distance of six kilometres from Sonamarg region. It takes approximately four hours to reach Shitkadi, located at an altitude of 7800 feet. It is advisable to carry sufficient bottles of water from Sonamarg.
The Nichnai pass is located at an altitude of 7800 to 11500 feet and it may take approximately 6 hours to reach there. The trek gradient is moderate and you will find sources to replenish the stock of water along the trek. Start trekking from your base camp at Shitkadi towards Sonamarg. After approximately 5 hours of following the track, at the mark of three kilometres, you will come across a jeep track to the right of the main road. Follow the jeep track which leads down to the Sindhriver. As you trek uphill along the track,it leads through a lush green meadow and a thick forest of maple and pine trees.The forest trail ends at the top of a ridge with a meadow sloping down on the other side at the end of which lies Shikdur!
Shekdur is an ideal resting place before moving along to Nichnai with a spread of meadows surrounded by snow peaks and birch trees. Follow the trail downhill from here leadingthrough the birch trees for approximately 45 minutes you reach a river from where Nichnai starts. In another hour, the trail opens up to a small valley clustered within two snowy peaks, ideal to pitch your tents and call it a night!
At the third day of the trek, you will proceed towards Vishansar lake located at 12,000 feet. It should ideally take six hours to reach there. Your first milestone as you proceed towards Vishansarlake will be the Nichnai pass. The trail to Nichnai pass is considered to be a medium climb leading through the meadows to Vishansar Lake.
The Nichnai pass is located at an altitude of 13,500 feet and provides a breath-taking view of a series of snowy peaks.Follow the trekking trail sloping down to a lush meadow outlined with snowy mountains and sprinkled with red flowers and a river traversing through it. As you keep walking through the meadows you will see two main streams flowing through the valley and the trekking trail is the one closer to the left. Follow the trail through a river crossing and through the meadows to the end of the valley, which serves as an ideal campsite as a stream from the Vishansarlake flows nearby.The Vishansar lake is just a ten minutes’ walk away to the left of the stream where you are camping! An important thing to note, BSNL networks stop working as you move beyond this point and will only work after you reach Gangabal.
The Krishnasarlakelooks grand in size and lie beneath snowy mountains. The reflection of Krishnasarpeak on the lake makes it all the more breath taking with the lake changing colours depending on the time of the day and clouds. On Day 4, you will do a short-day trek from your campsite near Vishansar lake to Krishnasar. Follow the trail from your campsite till you reach our next destination, Krishnasar lake which lies about 0.5 km away and about 500 feet higher than Vishansar. It takes approximately 45 minutes from the campsite to reach this lake which lies at the base of the Krishnasar peak.
The mystic blue Krishnasar lake is bordered on the right by a rising ridgeline on the top of which is Gadsar pass from where the lake is at its best. As this lake is located at a short distance from Vishansar lake, you can trek back to the campsite to rest for the night!
On the fifth day, you will begin your journey from the Vishansar campsite towards GadsarthroughKrishnasar lake and the Gadsar pass which is located at an altitude of around 13,800 feet. The trekking trail is moderate and it goes uphill for an hour before it starts sloping. It takes around five and a half hours to reach Gadsar. There will be plenty of sources to replenish water stock on the way. Follow the thin line to the ridge from Krishnasar lake making its way through the mountains. As you climb uphill, you will be able to see Krishnasar lake and Vishansar lakes together in their full glory. You will reach the top of the ridge, called the Gadsar pass surrounded by snow.
As you start climbing downhill, you will cross the Yamsar lake and walk along the flowery meadows at the end of which you reach the serene Gadsar lake, located at 12, 500 feet surrounded by blue flowers and snowy peaks.
You can either pitch your tents next to the lake or at the army camp at Gadsar, which is located downhill after you cross another blue lake. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the army base camp. To move further from Gadsar, you have to report at the army camp in order to get an approval from their Headquarter. Please ensure to carry your identity cards and other important details as they will verified.
You start trekking to Satsar which is a beautiful mix of seven small lakes, located at approximately 12500 feet on the sixth day. It is a moderate trail and takes typically six hours to reach. Please ensure to carry sufficient water as the water sources on the way might not be suitable. You will cross a stream and follow the trail going uphill. After you cross the 11,500 mark the trail twists itself into a traverse into the meadows with a few craters and you have reached Maengandob which lies alongside a ridge. You can camp at the Satsar army check post lies to the right beyond the ridge, a few kilometres behind the first Satsarlake.
You will start your journey towards the Gangabal twin lakes located at an altitude of about 11,700 feet on Day 7. It should ideally take a little more than six hours to reach Gangabal as the gradient of the trek starts becoming difficult from this point. You will cross a stream while climbing downhill later where you can replenish water stock.
Follow the trail from the camp to the biggest and the last lake out of the seven Satsar lakes towards the forest line to the top of a 1000 feet high ridge lying to the right. After reaching the top of the ridge, you will see another two ridges at the end of which lies the twin lakes in their utmost grandeur. Continue walking from the third ridge on the descending trail towards the lakes which takes you through a stream into the meadows lined with trees. Cross the wooden log bridge at the end of the treeline to reach the Nundkollakewhich lies at the foothills of Harmukh peak. Both the lakes are connected by a stream which can be crossed through a bridge from Nundkol to reach the giganticGangaballake. You can pitch your tents here and rest for the night along the banks of the lake.
You will descend to your final destination, Naranag located at an altitude of 7,500 feet on the final day of your trek. The descent to Naranag takes approximately six hours. Follow the trail down the stream from Gangabal towards the treeline along the ridge and you will reach the end of the ridge opening into a meadow in half an hour. You can see the outline of hilly cottages and the trail then goes uphill to 11,000 feet in the last leg of the Great Lakes trek before you slope down to approximately 8500 feet where the trail enters the Naranag main road. The capital city of Srinagar is only a few hours away from here, which marks the end of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek!
Hope you had a life-changing experience and are going back refreshed energy from the mountains and views to remember!
Plan a trek with Kashmir Alpine Trek and we guarantee to make your trip memorable. We give you the chance to take a glance at the famous lakes settled in the valleys with our well-planned Kashmir great lakes trek. we have everything at one place for your convenience.
Mid May – October 2018 Sonamarg – Naranag
Aru – Lidderwat – Shekwas – Tarsar - Marsar - Homwas
Nandkol - Satsar - Gadsar - Krishnasar
Lidderwat - Dudhsar Lake - Kolahoi Glacier
Srinagar - Naranag, Trek to Butsheri - Trunkhol
1. I just want to say thank you to Alpine travels for making my first solo trip a memorable journey.
2. Me and my group of 12 friends had been planning to give the Great lakes trek a shot together.
Apart from the aforementioned, there aren’t many security problems to address.
One should undertake this trek only when he/she is fully prepared, mentally and physically.
July and August are the best time of the year to commence the Trek.
How will we reach Sonamarg?
What type of food will be served on the trek?
You can reach Srinagar by taking a flight from New Delhi or bus or taxi from Jammu to Srinagar. Sonamarg basecamp can be reached via Srinagar.
Backpack (40-60 liters) - Trekking shoes - Full sleeve fleece clothes - Thick jacket - Thermal inners – Sunglasses - Synthetic hand gloves - Daypack (20 liters) - Toiletries.
The valley gives a closure to nature’s gifted resources in the form of gigantic mountains, lakes and steady passes Vishansar Lake - Krishnasar Lake - Gadsar Lake - Satsar Lake - Gandabal and Nandkol Lake.
The old saying “Health is Wealth” holds perfect for Trekking. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a good fitness level before initiating a trek.
Join us for KTG (Kashmir Great Lakes Trek) Fixed Departures 2018. Let’s Discover the trails of Kashmir Lakes.