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Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: Immersing in Alpine Grandeur

Overview

The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is an enthralling pilgrimage to the Kashmir Valley and its flawless destinations. Trekkers walk around a circuit that spreads over 7 to 9 days in the hidden marvels of high-altitude alpine lakes and spectacular panorama; these include Vishansar, Krishansar, Gadsar, Satsar, Gangbal, and Nundkol.

The path takes us through greener meadows, coniferous forests filled with thick masses of pine trees, and snow-covered lands giving an outstanding view of magnificent mountains. The lakes along the way are unfolding a spectacular scene under the snowcapped mountains and reflecting the clear sky. The trek is not only about visual enjoyment but also provides a chance for one to have a taste of the rich flora and fauna found in the region that sees from vibrant wildflowers to occasional sightings of wildlife.

The cultural feel is added to the experience of visiting these places as one interacts with the local Gujjar and Bakarwal communities. The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is an adventurous path that is difficult but full of magnificent surroundings and cultural experiences to offer; It makes the Kashmir Valley immersing experience unforgettable. 

The best time to do the Kashmir Great Lakes trek 

If you want to experience the real thrill and the beauty of nature then you must plan your trek to the Kashmir Great Lakes from the start of July month and till the middle of September. During this time you can have a safe trekking experience as the trails are clear from snow.  

The months of July and September are usually considered monsoon season in India, and it is often advised to avoid trekking in hilly regions during this time. However, in Kashmir, it is peak summer season. Kashmir is separated from the rest of the Indian subcontinent by the Pir Pranjal range, which prevents the monsoon clouds from entering the region. As a result, Kashmir doesn’t experience a monsoon season during this time.

It is the time when peak summer is converting into the autumn season, during this time you’ll be able to witness the immense beauty of nature. You can see the large meadows changing their color with the weather. 

Kashmir Lake Trek in July 

In kashmir, early July month is the peak summer season which is when there is no trace of snow on the trails and it makes it easier for trekkers. You’ll only witness the snow at the high altitudes. With the melting snow, you can see the blooming flowers which creates a very picturesque surrounding. You can enjoy the trekking with the beautiful view of lush green meadows. 

Kashmir Lake trek in mid-September

This is the beginning of the winter season in Kashmir, the days are slightly colder than July and August during this time but it is not extremely cold weather, which makes it an ideal time for trekking. During this time you can enjoy the trek with clear skies and a little cold weather which is so pleasant. It is not advisable to plan a trek towards the end of September as this is when snowfall usually starts, making it difficult to see the trails. Furthermore, during this period, most of the routes on this trek are blocked.

Difficulty level of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is rated as moderately to strenuous, which implies that it can be attempted by someone with an average level of fitness who has prior trekking experience. The trail has a mix of inclines and declines, rocky terrain, and the possibility of harsh weather conditions at higher altitudes.

Trekkers need to prepare themselves for different terrains with snow patches, and they must acclimatize well enough to altitude through such trekking that monadic high altitudes are a rare occurrence of minimal risk.

The duration of this trek, the distance traveled each day in addition to the high altitude of some campsites make this trek average difficult. But the wonders of nature in the form of the captivating valleys, majestic mountains, and tranquility of pristine alpine lakes make every sacrifice worthwhile for any adventurer wanting to explore this beautiful treasure.

How to reach Kashmir Great Lakes 

The Kashmir Great Lakes consists of a series of amazing mountain lakes and glaciers connected by the winding trekking trail making its way through the splendid natural beauty that can be seen all around. This beautiful trek normally starts from Sonamarg, a town in the Kashmir Valley.

By Air

Sonamarg does not have an airport, the closest one is Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar. From Srinagar, you can either take a taxi or use one of the shared cabs to Sonamarg. This will be a three-hour to four-hour drive from Srinagar to Sonamarg, with a distance of around 80 kilometers.

By Road

From Srinagar

Srinagar has a good road network connecting it to important cities in the region. You can avail a taxi, rented car, or shared taxi to Sonamarg. The road distance between Srinagar and Sonamarg is estimated to be approximately 3 to 4 hours.

From Jammu

From Jammu, you can opt for a taxi, a public bus, or drive to Sonamarg. It takes about 10 to 12 hours of travel by road route from Jammu to Sonamarg.

By Train

After arriving in Jammu, you have the option to either drive or take a taxi to Sonamarg. The duration of the train journey from major cities to Jammu varies. It is advisable to check the latest travel conditions and weather forecasts before attempting to reach Sonamarg independently to ensure that the roads are accessible.

Secondly, double-check the travel arrangements and transport logistics with guides or trek organizers for the best and latest information on your plans.

Quick itinerary for trek

The Kashmir Great Lakes trek typically lasts for about 7 to 9 days and encompasses a trek that features numerous beautiful alpine lakes.

Day 1: Arrival in Kashmir

Arrive in Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

To relieve the pressure of business settle down in a hotel, or siesta, and visit the local market or Fearney Dal Lake on Shikaris.

Day 2: Kashmir to Sonmarg

Drive to Sonamarg from Srinagar- the point of origin.

The journey takes 3-4 hours.

On the night of Aug 7, stay over at Sonamarg acclimatize and prepare for the trek.

Day 3: Sonmarg to Nichnai

The path cuts through the meadows and pine forests, overlooking beautiful scenery.

The walk is around 11 km and it approximately takes 6-7 hours.

Day 4: Nichnai to Vishnasar lake 

First trek from Nichnai to the lush Vishansar Lake.

The route is northward, climbing gradually to a height of 12 km in about 5-6 hours.

Day 5: Vishansar lake to Kishansar lake 

Route stretch from Vishansar Lake to Krishansar Lake.

The twin lakes are known for their marvelous views.

The approximate trekking distance is 6 KM, which will take around 4-5 hours.

Day 6: Kishansar lake to Gadsar lake 

Hike along Gadsar Pass and then reach Gadsar Lake.The trek is at a distance of almost 10 km, which takes approximately 6-7 hours.

Day 7: gadsar lake to satsar lake 

The trek to Gadsar Lake passes through a wide range of vegetation, from the green meadows of Gadsar to the stunning Satsar Lake complex.

The trek is 12 kilometers long and takes about six to seven hours.

Day 8: satsar lake to gangbal lake 

Complete a Trek to Gangbal Lake, which is the largest lake in the trek.

This stretch of trail shows spectacular panoramic views of the Harmukh Peak.

Trekking, which takes about 5-6 hrs and covers a distance of 9 km.

Day 9: Gangbal to Nundkol Lake (walk).

Take pleasure in nature’s beauty found in the vicinity.

This includes a 6 km trekking which would roughly take 4-5 hours.

Day 10: Route description from Nundkol Lake to Sumbal and Drive to Srinagar.

Go down to Sumbal and return to Srinagar by Road.The journey is about 4-5 hours by road.

Day 11: Departure 

Leave Srinagar, according to your departure time, and either visit or go to the airport for the continuation of the journey.

This itinerary gives a general skeleton, though the number of days and distances in terms of walking may differ depending on the trekking agency, weather situation, and chosen route. Kashmir Great Lakes trek is subject to seasonal and other conditions, especially weather patterns since it is based in the mountains.

The local authorities or trekking organizers are always up-to-date on any recent changes so it’s important to check with them before undertaking the trek.