Kashmir is a fascinating trekker and mountaineer from all over the world and has got the title of “ Paradise on earth ”. Kashmir great lakes trek is the most beautiful trek of the Indian Himalayas due to its vast green meadows, snow-covered mountain peaks, and amazing alpine lakes. There are more than 2000 Alpine lakes in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the majority of them reside in the Kashmir valley but all of them are not meant for trekking purposes due to a number of reasons.
This awesome adventure starts from an elevation of 2700 m ASL and provides spectacular views of the alpine landscape from the start. The Kashmir great lakes trek will take you through the recurring views of pine forests, meadows covered with wildflowers, snow-capped mountains in the background, and witnessing the 7 breathtaking alpine lakes is the tag for Kashmir great lakes trek.
Beauty of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Himalayan landscapes reflect a luminosity that is not present on the plains. Kashmir great lakes trek is full of psychedelic scenes of mountains peaks, meadows, and feelings of distant planet emerges from the heart while witnessing the sunrise and dawn breaking over the alpine lakes. After crossing the tree line at an elevation of 2000 meters the route of the great lakes trek provide amazing views of cliff valleys, glaciers views with sweet flowing water streams, and the meadows which are full of wildflowers. Great lakes trek is listed among the 5 best treks of India and is permitted for trekking purposes during the right season only by the Department of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir. The popular trails heads for great lakes trek are Naranag and Sonamarg. If you are gonna start trek from Naranag (closest village to this trekking trail), it will end up at Sonamarg and vice versa. We the team of Himalayan Bird offer you an amazing all-inclusive trekking deal for this trek with fixed group departures apart from that we operate private treks on the trail throughout the season.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
In the Kashmir state of India, located in the Western Himalayas, nestled between the Pir Panjal range to its south, the mighty Karakoram range to its north and north-west, and finally the Zanskar range to its east, is a cluster of alpine lakes and vast meadows that form the main attraction of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. The region geographically stretches from a mountain known as Harmukh (5142 meters) to the famous hill station of Sonamarg to the east. The trek to the great lakes is a continuous route and thus it can be approached from either sides, i.e. starting from Naranag, near Srinagar and concluding at Sonamarg or vice versa. The preferred route is through Sonamarg as it has two distinct advantages. Firstly, the trek starts from a higher altitude of almost 2,700 meters compared to 2,400 meters from Naranag. Secondarily, the trail is more gradual from Sonamarg compared to the initial steep sections from Naranag. The Kashmir great lakes trek distance is 75 KM in total and the moderately difficult trek is ideally completed in a duration of 7 Days from Srinagar, with 6 Trekking days. The drive on the first day to Sonmarg is rather short and a total distance of 80 KM can be covered in around 3 to 4 hours with adequate stopovers, as the landscape is magnificent along the route. drive to sonamarg
How many lakes are there in the Kashmir great lakes trek?
While it has become a common understanding that there are 7 lakes in the Kashmir great lakes, which can be somewhat confusing, the etymology is actually incorrect. While the standard route followed by most would get us a view of up-to 7 lakes, there are several more lakes in the vicinity. A cluster of at least 8 other tarns and lakes surround the Harmukh mountain apart from the biggest two of Gangabal & Nund Kol. Thus this cluster alone is of around 10 lakes. To the north of this cluster there are at least another 4 to 5 lakes including the Madhumati lake (3,900 meters), situated around 8 to 9 KM from Gangabal. Add to these the beautiful lakes of Vishansar Kishansar, and the smaller Gadsar, Satsar, combined with other smaller lakes in the area, there are above 25 lakes in the region neighboring the trail. Could you even ask for more? However while routes to some are really difficult, others can be explored, by adding a few more days to the trekking itinerary.
How difficult is the Kashmir great lakes trek?
The Kashmir great lakes trek is moderate in difficulty and requires long walks on every trekking day. The total trekking distance is 75 KM in 6 days and thus it averages out to above 12 KM a day. Compare this to the most popular Kedarkantha trek which requires you to walk 19-20 KM in total over 4 days or even a comparable monsoon trek, Hampta Pass, which has 25 KM of trek distance, the Kashmir great lakes is thrice longer. This makes the trek a challenge for first timers, however the reward is massive. The added distance only allows for more exploration and a much more immersive experience. Adding to the woes will be the continuous ascent and descent across the trail. During the trek we will be crossing the Nichnai & Gadsar pass, along with ascent to steep ridges. The entire trek is a mix of steep ascents, descents and blended with gradual walks. Preparing for the trek is very important to make it an enjoyable experience.
What is the best time to trek to Kashmir great lakes?
The monsoon months of July, August & September are the best time to trek to Kashmir Great lakes. The trek starts from early July month. During this time snow is still present on the higher altitudes and the meadows are in their fresh bloom. The landscape is contrasting. Those keen to witness the snow covered landscape with a foreground of fresh summer bloom, should plan their trek in early July. By end of July the snow melts away, and the meadows are in their full bloom. The landscape has all the floral hues it can get and its a very great time to plan the trek. The temperatures are warmer than in July, making the nights more comfortable during camping. By late August the temperature starts to drop again, the flowers begin to wither as the cold begins to sweep the alpine meadows. Abrupt rainfall can be more than expected during this time period. The trek can continue well into the second week of September, before the snow starts to take over the higher reaches again and winter comes knocking at the doors.
What peaks are visible from Kashmir Great Lakes trek?
While Harmukh is a mountain that is surrounded by a cluster of Lakes, including the Gangabaal & Nund Kol, the mighty Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters) is briefly visible as we reach the ridge top before crossing over towards the Satsar tal from Gadsar Tal. Situated 100 KM in distance the Nanga Parbat is really difficult to spot unless we are blessed by very clear weather.