Kedarkantha Trek

First slide

KEDARKANTHA TREK

If you are looking for a trek with a view that’ll blow your mind and stay with you for a little over a lifetime, the Kedarkantha Trek is the be all, end all of your needs.

How are we certain of this, you ask? We’ll let you decide after you read on about all our reasons why!

It’s a Summer Snow Trek – yes, Summer Snow!

While most of the country is out for the summer holidays, trying to beat the heat, the Kedarkantha trail stays cool thanks to its winter snowfall – from December all the way till April! Say hello to your first view of the snow when you get to 10,000 ft and from here, well, it’s a summer paradise without ACs.
Its scenic campsites are the kind that other treks would love to see if they could!
While there are a large number of treks and campsites on the Himalayas, the Kedarkantha trek takes the cake, in our opinion, in terms of sheer beauty and scenic awesomeness. Boths campsites – the Juda-Ka-Talab campsite and the Kedarkantha Base campsite – are breathtakingly beautiful in their own ways. Kedarkantha base is situated on a vast snow covered meadow surrounded by winter whites with distant snow-capped peaks almost encircling it while the Juda-Ka-Talab campsite is located in the epicenter of humongous pine trees, standing tall with all their might.

The journey is just as beautiful as the destination.

Driving to Kedarkantha is easily one of the most beautiful routes in the country. It takes you through lovely locations that include Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola, Mori and Naitwar. This lesser known path is surely a treat for sore eyes and the Kedarkantha trek needs no convincing at all.

The views on the Kedarkantha Trek has next to no rivals.  

Right from the base camp, you can feast your eyes on a panoramic view of famous mountains and scenic landscapes that will leave you in awe. Reach the peak, and it’s as if you’re on top of the world with nature’s beauty, in all its glory, waiting for you to enjoy it.

Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Sankri (6500ft)

           Estimation time of completion: 8-9 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 200 km
           Tip: Get ready to make some memories

As the sun rises, we set off on a long drive from Dehradun to Sankri that lasts about 10 to 11 hours. This drive through Mussoorie is remarkable – at an average altitude of 6,000 ft, the view of the plush green hills and vivid flora is breathtaking. We will be driving on the banks of River Tons which later changes course to become River Supin. We then stop for breakfast at Kempty falls and reach Purola by lunch where you can savor the authentic cuisines of the region. The drive from Purola till the base camp is something to look forward to, as the road winds through magnificent pine trees majestically standing alongside the way and an open view of the whole valley is sensational.
By 6pm we’ll reach the small village of Sankri which is the base camp for many treks. During peak season, the whole village becomes home for a great number of trekkers and adventurers. Here, you can explore the spirited lifestyle of the people and catch some interesting stories from the friendly locals.

Day 2: Sankri to Juda-Ka-Talab

           Altitude gain: 6400 ft to 9100 ft
           Estimation time of completion: 5 hrs
           Estimation distance of trek: 4 km
           Tip: Get ready to make some memories!

The Kedarkantha trek starts at dawn; we head out of Sankri on a tarred road until we reach Sor.Cross. The village road takes a wide curve and this trail leads to Kedarkantha. The Kedarkantha trail will get you into the serene forest of tall pines. Going forward, the pathway starts to get higher and on the ridge, it evens out, making the journey comfortable for the rest of your day.

The magic of the Kedarkantha trail starts to unveil as you climb higher. The higher you get, the better the scenic landscapes. As you walk up the trail, you can spot Himalayan Gray Langurs camouflaged and swinging from tree to tree.

It is not unusual to spot martens, hares, and boars as you gradually gain altitude at this spot. Look for telltale signs of digging on the ground to learn that boars could be nearby.
 

About half an hour into our walk, we will arrive at the first open clearing of the Kedarkantha trek and you can take some time to rest here for a bit. At this point, you are 8,100 feet high and midway through your trek to Juda-ka-Talab. As we continue through the clearing, we will re-enter the sparse pine and maple forest on its northern edge. You will hear the trickling of a couple of streams running through as you step out of the clearing. In winter, they are frozen but otherwise, you could get refreshed here and catch yourself some water.

Now, the trail changes direction and continues to another 100 feet climb. Half an hour later, the walk becomes faster through thick pines to another clearing which is marked by a shackled hut and then around a fallen tree stump. It then turns a sharp left and climbs through the magnificent oaks welcoming you to the stunning campsite at Juda-Ka-Talab.

On your left, you’ll find a large lake that was once two small ones now conjoined, and on your right is the thick forest filled with oaks and pines. The forest is so dense that it’s hard for sunlight to pass through the umbrella of trees. The campsite is a course of gentle dunes, allowing for a comfortable camp there.

Day 3: Juda-ka-Talab  to Kedarkantha base

           Altitude gain: 9100 ft to 11250 ft
           Estimation time of completion: 3 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 3.5 km
           Tip: Carry sufficient water, at least 2 liters, as there is no water source

Once we head out of Juda-ka-Talab, the journey gets easy. The pathway leads to a ridge at the far end of the lake. At the ridge, we will take a sharp left turn and walk into the close-knit pine forest, ascending higher. It’s best to avoid the trail that goes ahead instead, we will take the one that goes downwards into the darkest areas of the pine forest. The climb winds through the trunks of the humongous trees that surround the ridge, and moves to a clearing half an hour later. We will then enter a slope that’s straight overhead of Juda-Ka-Talab and you’ll notice this once you get to the edge.

About an hour later, the ridge expands to an open scenic meadow where you can rest for a bit and enjoy the scenery. Now from here, the climb is less than a 1000 feet to the Kedarkantha base camp site and is popularly called the ‘Hut Point’ (as there is a Shepherd’s hut).

During winter, the first patches of snow are likely to be found around this area, unless there has been heavy snowfall previously. We’re at an altitude of 10,400 feet now and after a short climb, the path opens out into a large clearing to find another Shepherd’s hut. At this point you will be awestruck by the 180 degree view of the white capped Kedarkantha Summit.

The pathway now moves northwards, under the dry oak trees. Usually over snow, the trail climbs gently in two stages and finally, we will arrive at the Kedarkantha base camp, marked by another run-down shepherd’s hut

You will find yourself surrounded by a stretch of white peaks forming a wide arch – Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana stand out from the others.

Move past the hut on your left and feel free to pitch your tent anywhere close by. Get yourself a spot, good enough to get a view of the starlit sky in the evening. Even before night falls, you will catch a glimpse of the planets shining brightly and the meteors streaking across the sky. The night is perhaps the most beautiful thing up here in the mountains. The view of the sky, the smell of the green grass and the cool breeze from the mountains will surely leave you mesmerized.

Day 4: Kedarkantha base (11250 ft) to Kedarkantha peak (12300 ft); descend to Hargaon camp (8400 ft)

           Altitude gain: 11250 ft to 12300
           Estimation time of completion: 6-7 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 6 km
           Tip: Carry 2 liters of water from the campsite or refill from the shepherds huts
           on your way.

Today we will be busy climbing to get to the peak of Kedarkantha. The advised route is to get to the northern ridge of the Kedarkantha summit, climb up in a series of switchbacks and reach the Kedarnath temple. The temple is primarily dedicated to Lord Shiva and you’ll find a small shrine of Lord Ganesh and another of Shiva and Parvathi inside a cement courtyard.

The Kedarkantha summit is made notable by an array of stones in a square shape with a planted Trishul that points upward. This high summit gives you a 360 degree view of the majestic snow capped mountains of Uttarakhand. Your guide will probably show you the Gangotri and the Yamunotri ranges from up here and you will also notice the Chanshal pass and the Kinner Kailash ranges.

Temple at an elevation of 12,000 ft Pic Credit: Rahul Dutta

While returning from the Kedarkantha trek, there is an alternate route that is taken following the southern ridge of Kedarkantha. We will hit the base campsite by noon, finish a quick lunch, call it a wrap, and begin downhill to Hargao

On the way, you’ll see small clearings every half hour that are unique features to the Kedarkantha trail and a rarity in the Himalayan Mountains.
We will go on for about an hour till we get to the wide clearing of the Hut Point and make our way into the deep dark pine forest again. The journey gets amazing as it prolongs down the spellbound forest of the pine trees to reach Hargaon.

Day 5: Hargaon (8400 ft) camp to Sankri (6500 ft)

           Altitude loss: 8400 ft to 6500
           Estimation time of completion: 4- 5 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 6 km of moderate walk
           Tip: Carry sufficient water from the campsite, at least 2 liters.

The Hargaon camp site is splendid and will capture your mind and fill your senses with its scenic beauty. You can easily light a campfire with the amount of firewood that’s here. Going down through the forest with a series of switchbacks, you’ll find a stream to fill water. The trail evens out and slowly swoops through the pine trees to come to a ridge. From the ridge, you can experience the enchanting view of the vast open Har ki dun valley.

A huge spread of pine and maple trees are found below, Switch back from the ridge to get into the dark pine forest once more and move for another ten minutes to come out of the forest to your first mark of human habitation. You’ll be welcomed by apple orchards, a green farm of potatoes and cauliflower, and local farmers who live in huts lined up on the right, standing out in the skyline.
As the trail can be a little confusing around the fields, it’s best to get some help from the farmers for direction. Go around the apple orchard to your right, move down towards more such fields to arrive at a 1000 ft above Sankri in about three hours.

Most of them use the five foot-broad trail to Sankiri even though there are many other ways to get there. We will continue our descent until we get to the pine forest and find a localite to help you to get to GMVN, which is a prominent detour to the left from the main trail. Descend to GMVN in ten minutes to round- off a marvelous journey to the Uttarakhand Himalayas.

Day 6: Drive to Dehradun from Sankri (Departure day)

           Estimation time of completion: 10-11 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 220 km drive
           Tip: Leave the mountain and trail clean.

We will drive back to Dehradun and arrive at the destination by 6 pm.

KEDARKANTHA TREK

If you are looking for a trek with a view that’ll blow your mind and stay with you for a little over a lifetime, the Kedarkantha Trek is the be all, end all of your needs.

How are we certain of this, you ask? We’ll let you decide after you read on about all our reasons why!

It’s a Summer Snow Trek – yes, Summer Snow!

While most of the country is out for the summer holidays, trying to beat the heat, the Kedarkantha trail stays cool thanks to its winter snowfall – from December all the way till April! Say hello to your first view of the snow when you get to 10,000 ft and from here, well, it’s a summer paradise without ACs.
Its scenic campsites are the kind that other treks would love to see if they could!
While there are a large number of treks and campsites on the Himalayas, the Kedarkantha trek takes the cake, in our opinion, in terms of sheer beauty and scenic awesomeness. Boths campsites – the Juda-Ka-Talab campsite and the Kedarkantha Base campsite – are breathtakingly beautiful in their own ways. Kedarkantha base is situated on a vast snow covered meadow surrounded by winter whites with distant snow-capped peaks almost encircling it while the Juda-Ka-Talab campsite is located in the epicenter of humongous pine trees, standing tall with all their might.

The journey is just as beautiful as the destination.

Driving to Kedarkantha is easily one of the most beautiful routes in the country. It takes you through lovely locations that include Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola, Mori and Naitwar. This lesser known path is surely a treat for sore eyes and the Kedarkantha trek needs no convincing at all.

The views on the Kedarkantha Trek has next to no rivals.  

Right from the base camp, you can feast your eyes on a panoramic view of famous mountains and scenic landscapes that will leave you in awe. Reach the peak, and it’s as if you’re on top of the world with nature’s beauty, in all its glory, waiting for you to enjoy it.

Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Sankri (6500ft)

           Estimation time of completion: 8-9 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 200 km
           Tip: Get ready to make some memories

As the sun rises, we set off on a long drive from Dehradun to Sankri that lasts about 10 to 11 hours. This drive through Mussoorie is remarkable – at an average altitude of 6,000 ft, the view of the plush green hills and vivid flora is breathtaking. We will be driving on the banks of River Tons which later changes course to become River Supin. We then stop for breakfast at Kempty falls and reach Purola by lunch where you can savor the authentic cuisines of the region. The drive from Purola till the base camp is something to look forward to, as the road winds through magnificent pine trees majestically standing alongside the way and an open view of the whole valley is sensational.
By 6pm we’ll reach the small village of Sankri which is the base camp for many treks. During peak season, the whole village becomes home for a great number of trekkers and adventurers. Here, you can explore the spirited lifestyle of the people and catch some interesting stories from the friendly locals.

Day 2: Sankri to Juda-Ka-Talab

           Altitude gain: 6400 ft to 9100 ft
           Estimation time of completion: 5 hrs
           Estimation distance of trek: 4 km
           Tip: Get ready to make some memories!

The Kedarkantha trek starts at dawn; we head out of Sankri on a tarred road until we reach Sor.Cross. The village road takes a wide curve and this trail leads to Kedarkantha. The Kedarkantha trail will get you into the serene forest of tall pines. Going forward, the pathway starts to get higher and on the ridge, it evens out, making the journey comfortable for the rest of your day.

The magic of the Kedarkantha trail starts to unveil as you climb higher. The higher you get, the better the scenic landscapes. As you walk up the trail, you can spot Himalayan Gray Langurs camouflaged and swinging from tree to tree.

It is not unusual to spot martens, hares, and boars as you gradually gain altitude at this spot. Look for telltale signs of digging on the ground to learn that boars could be nearby.
 

About half an hour into our walk, we will arrive at the first open clearing of the Kedarkantha trek and you can take some time to rest here for a bit. At this point, you are 8,100 feet high and midway through your trek to Juda-ka-Talab. As we continue through the clearing, we will re-enter the sparse pine and maple forest on its northern edge. You will hear the trickling of a couple of streams running through as you step out of the clearing. In winter, they are frozen but otherwise, you could get refreshed here and catch yourself some water.

Now, the trail changes direction and continues to another 100 feet climb. Half an hour later, the walk becomes faster through thick pines to another clearing which is marked by a shackled hut and then around a fallen tree stump. It then turns a sharp left and climbs through the magnificent oaks welcoming you to the stunning campsite at Juda-Ka-Talab.

On your left, you’ll find a large lake that was once two small ones now conjoined, and on your right is the thick forest filled with oaks and pines. The forest is so dense that it’s hard for sunlight to pass through the umbrella of trees. The campsite is a course of gentle dunes, allowing for a comfortable camp there.

Day 3: Juda-ka-Talab  to Kedarkantha base

           Altitude gain: 9100 ft to 11250 ft
           Estimation time of completion: 3 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 3.5 km
           Tip: Carry sufficient water, at least 2 liters, as there is no water source

Once we head out of Juda-ka-Talab, the journey gets easy. The pathway leads to a ridge at the far end of the lake. At the ridge, we will take a sharp left turn and walk into the close-knit pine forest, ascending higher. It’s best to avoid the trail that goes ahead instead, we will take the one that goes downwards into the darkest areas of the pine forest. The climb winds through the trunks of the humongous trees that surround the ridge, and moves to a clearing half an hour later. We will then enter a slope that’s straight overhead of Juda-Ka-Talab and you’ll notice this once you get to the edge.

About an hour later, the ridge expands to an open scenic meadow where you can rest for a bit and enjoy the scenery. Now from here, the climb is less than a 1000 feet to the Kedarkantha base camp site and is popularly called the ‘Hut Point’ (as there is a Shepherd’s hut).

During winter, the first patches of snow are likely to be found around this area, unless there has been heavy snowfall previously. We’re at an altitude of 10,400 feet now and after a short climb, the path opens out into a large clearing to find another Shepherd’s hut. At this point you will be awestruck by the 180 degree view of the white capped Kedarkantha Summit.

The pathway now moves northwards, under the dry oak trees. Usually over snow, the trail climbs gently in two stages and finally, we will arrive at the Kedarkantha base camp, marked by another run-down shepherd’s hut

You will find yourself surrounded by a stretch of white peaks forming a wide arch – Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana stand out from the others.

Move past the hut on your left and feel free to pitch your tent anywhere close by. Get yourself a spot, good enough to get a view of the starlit sky in the evening. Even before night falls, you will catch a glimpse of the planets shining brightly and the meteors streaking across the sky. The night is perhaps the most beautiful thing up here in the mountains. The view of the sky, the smell of the green grass and the cool breeze from the mountains will surely leave you mesmerized.

Day 4: Kedarkantha base (11250 ft) to Kedarkantha peak (12300 ft); descend to Hargaon camp (8400 ft)

           Altitude gain: 11250 ft to 12300
           Estimation time of completion: 6-7 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 6 km
           Tip: Carry 2 liters of water from the campsite or refill from the shepherds huts
           on your way.

Today we will be busy climbing to get to the peak of Kedarkantha. The advised route is to get to the northern ridge of the Kedarkantha summit, climb up in a series of switchbacks and reach the Kedarnath temple. The temple is primarily dedicated to Lord Shiva and you’ll find a small shrine of Lord Ganesh and another of Shiva and Parvathi inside a cement courtyard.

The Kedarkantha summit is made notable by an array of stones in a square shape with a planted Trishul that points upward. This high summit gives you a 360 degree view of the majestic snow capped mountains of Uttarakhand. Your guide will probably show you the Gangotri and the Yamunotri ranges from up here and you will also notice the Chanshal pass and the Kinner Kailash ranges.

Temple at an elevation of 12,000 ft Pic Credit: Rahul Dutta

While returning from the Kedarkantha trek, there is an alternate route that is taken following the southern ridge of Kedarkantha. We will hit the base campsite by noon, finish a quick lunch, call it a wrap, and begin downhill to Hargao

On the way, you’ll see small clearings every half hour that are unique features to the Kedarkantha trail and a rarity in the Himalayan Mountains.
We will go on for about an hour till we get to the wide clearing of the Hut Point and make our way into the deep dark pine forest again. The journey gets amazing as it prolongs down the spellbound forest of the pine trees to reach Hargaon.

Day 5: Hargaon (8400 ft) camp to Sankri (6500 ft)

           Altitude loss: 8400 ft to 6500
           Estimation time of completion: 4- 5 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 6 km of moderate walk
           Tip: Carry sufficient water from the campsite, at least 2 liters.

The Hargaon camp site is splendid and will capture your mind and fill your senses with its scenic beauty. You can easily light a campfire with the amount of firewood that’s here. Going down through the forest with a series of switchbacks, you’ll find a stream to fill water. The trail evens out and slowly swoops through the pine trees to come to a ridge. From the ridge, you can experience the enchanting view of the vast open Har ki dun valley.

A huge spread of pine and maple trees are found below, Switch back from the ridge to get into the dark pine forest once more and move for another ten minutes to come out of the forest to your first mark of human habitation. You’ll be welcomed by apple orchards, a green farm of potatoes and cauliflower, and local farmers who live in huts lined up on the right, standing out in the skyline.
As the trail can be a little confusing around the fields, it’s best to get some help from the farmers for direction. Go around the apple orchard to your right, move down towards more such fields to arrive at a 1000 ft above Sankri in about three hours.

Most of them use the five foot-broad trail to Sankiri even though there are many other ways to get there. We will continue our descent until we get to the pine forest and find a localite to help you to get to GMVN, which is a prominent detour to the left from the main trail. Descend to GMVN in ten minutes to round- off a marvelous journey to the Uttarakhand Himalayas.

Day 6: Drive to Dehradun from Sankri (Departure day)

           Estimation time of completion: 10-11 hrs
           Estimation distance of drive: 220 km drive
           Tip: Leave the mountain and trail clean.

We will drive back to Dehradun and arrive at the destination by 6 pm.