The main highlights of the tour are the alpine lakes situated in the creeks of the Kashmir Valley. Altogether this tour gives us a close view of this undaunted paradise. The Kashmir great lakes trek is indeed a treat for the eyes. Kashmir Great Lakes trek is a trekking expedition of 70-72 km which commences from Sonamarg, reaches the highest point, Gadsar Pass at 13,750 feet and concludes at Naranag at 7450 feet. The trek is full of extensive mountain walking with some steep climbs and sharp descends. As the name indicates the Great Lakes trek comprises of a trekking expedition amidst some of the major lakes of Kashmir, which includes Gadsar, Vishansar, Kishansar, Nundkol, Gangabal and so on. Pristine and untouched, the lakes over here be it Dal Lake, Vishansar Lake or Gangabal Twin lakes are surreal and a rare sight. Alpine and snow-clad mountains, green meadows, rocky terrains, gurgling streams, silver birch and other untouched beauties of Mother Earth make for a varied and complete trekking experience of around 70-72 km these days, rediscover serenity and uncover what makes Kashmir Great Lakes Trek a trove for adventure and nature enthusiasts seeking a thrilling experience of trekking in India.
- Difficulty: Moderate.
- Max Altitude: 13750 ft.
- Distance: Approx.68 - 75 km
- Base Camp: Sonmarg.
- Duration: 8 Days 7 nights.
- Best Season: June 20 - Sep 15
- Daytime temperature: 17°C - 20°C
- Night-time temperature: 3°C - 4°C
Day - 1 Srinagar to Sonamarg (Altitude: 8000 ft)
Getting to base camp - Sonamarg. Depart to Sonamarg in the afternoon. It is a 4 hrs drive from Srinagar. The transport will be arranged from Srinagar to Sonamarg. Cost of the 6-8-seater cab is Rs. 3000. The amount is shared between trekkers. Possible vehicles like Tata Sumo, Tavera, Qualis or same will be arranged by us.
Day 2: Sonamarg to Nichnai (11,500ft) via Shekdur – 11km Trek (7/8hrs)
Your trek starts with steep climbs and continues along a well-defined uphill path to Nichnai. You will explore the dense forests of the valley along with the beautiful landscapes of the Sonamarg valley. After 3km of steep ascend you will find a small Dhaba where they sell water bottles, biscuits and more basic eatables, this will be your last point to buy eatables, after this point, next civilization point will be Naranag on the last day of the trek. The river valley is the beginning of Nichanai. The trail now is along the right bank of the river going upstream. Look behind to see snow clad peaks from Sonamarg valley.
Day 3: Nichnai (11,500ft) to Vishansar lake (12,000ft) via Nichnai Pass (13500ft) 12km Trek (6/7 hrs)
The walk is surrounded by meadows and towering snow peaks. After 2hrs of steep ascend from Nachnai campsite you will be reaching Nachnai Pass (13500ft), and from here you will be getting down towards Vishansar Lake. The best of all is the different shades of colour in the water across the lakes. Throughout your journey, green mountains, deep blue sky and innumerable glaciers will accompany you. The campsite here is so beautiful with open ground, we can play some games here if time permits. The lake starts getting its colours when the sun shines. On a clear sunny morning, the water is absolutely blue.
Day 4: Rest day at Vishansar. (Depending on conditions)
This day we have kept specially for rest and acclimatization, Morning we will do some physical exercise and yoga. Also, we may go to visit Kishansar lake which is just 1km away from our campsite. If weather conditions are not good then we may move to our next camp. A rest day can be used at Gangabal campsite.
Day 5: Vishansar (12,000ft) to Gadsar (13,750ft) via Kishansar lake and Gadsar Pass (13,750ft) 14km Trek (9/10hrs)
Today we start early as we will be reaching the highest point of the trek. This day's climb is a crucial one. The trail now begins towards the Gadsar pass along with a large view of Vishansar and Kishansar lake behind. It takes around 2/3hr to reach to the top of Gadsar pass. Once you reach Gadsar pass then you will realize that all the pain was worth taking to be where you are! What a beautiful serene view standing at the top of the Gadsar pass looking down. One is definitely prettier than the other, and not a place for a long visit, you can enjoy the view of Vishansar and Kishansar lake with clear sky and clouds.
If you choose not to camp next to Gadsar, the next place to camp would be the Gadsar army camp. To move beyond the army camp, one needs permission from their Headquarters. The Headquarters is 3 miles further away down into the tree line near a village.
Day 6: Gadsar (12500ft) to Satsar (12,000ft) 12km Trek (6hrs)
Trek starts after breakfast, initially first one hour we will be descending, after that a steeper ascend will come which will take 3 hrs, after that, a gradual walk along the meadows, till Satsar camp. We will be crossing several streams on the way. People called it Satsar because it is actually a collection of 7 lakes. Another beautiful, peaceful lake in this amazing trek. Beyond the ridge there will be one more Army Check post, please keep your ID Cards ready for checking. After checking we will go little further to army check post to set up our camp.
Day 7: Satsar to Gangabal twin lakes (11,500ft), 11km Trek (6hrs)
The day will start with gradual ascends and descends. Final steep ascend will take 2 hrs to reach Jazz pass. Once you reach Jazz pass you will forget all your pain because of the cool weather, clear skies, fantastic views, you can enjoy twin lakes while admiring the scenery. There are two icy water lakes beside each other, and the view is spectacular. This place is definitely worth taking a panoramic shot of, on clear days, you will get a clear view of both the lakes Gangbal and Nandkol. Even when it's not sunny, the mist will add a bit to the mysterious and magical feeling of the place.
After the amazing view of two lakes, we will start the descend towards Gangal lake. Gangabal lake is the largest lake in this trek. Gangabal lake is just 15 mins distance from Nandkol lake. Today we will be camping near Nandkol Lake. There are several awesome viewpoints overlooking the lakes.
Day 08: Gangabal (11500) to Naranag (7,400ft) and Drive to Srinagar
Early in the morning, the view of the snow-covered Harmukh Peak and the sunrise reflections on the Nandkol lake is mesmerising. After breakfast, we start trekking down towards Naranag village. It will take 5/6 hrs time to reach Naranag. The descent is equally long and tiring through the pine forest. The vehicle will be waiting for us at Naranag village. Start back to Srinagar by private vehicle drive will take 3hrs to reach Srinagar. Stay at hotel in Srinagar (Hotel cost is not included)
What is included in the tour
- Activity: Trekking, Camping, sightseeing etc
- Tented Accommodation
- All meals while on trek (Veg)
- Permits (Foreign national need to pay extra on spot)
- Basic First aid medical kits
- Qualified and experienced Trek Leader (2), support staff, Helpers
- Camping Tents, Kitchen tents, Dining Tent and Sleeping bags and Carry mats.
- Local route guide
What is NOT included in the tour
- Ruck Sack : Compulsory to carry strong and steady rucksack, Between 55 to 60 Litre
- Ruck sack cover : Protect your things from quick rain or snowfall
- Day Pack : Optional, carry only if you are planning to offload your bigger bag. If you are offloading your bigger backpack then you have to carry your personal valuable things, water bottles, pack lunch, raincoat/poncho etc.
- Trekking Shoes: Good quality rubber soul shoes with ankle support is advisable. Please make sure that shoes are well use before trek. Note: Sports shoes are not recommended but you can carry as additional back up shoes.
- T-shirts: As per your need, carry at least one quick dry type, avoid too bright/dark colours T-shirts. Cotton T-shirts avoid especially while walking. Full sleeves T-shirts are recommended.
- Track Pants: As per your need, one synthetic quick dry type track pant is highly recommended.
- Warm Jacket: Highly recommended, one thick fleece jacket/ Down feather jacket is must to carry. You can use this when you cool down at camp.
- Windproof Jacket/ Windcheater: We advised to carry, it is resisting wind chill/snowfall and quick burst of light rain.
- Thermal Wear: You can use this once you reach at campsite. Thermal keep your body warm especially during harsh winter temperatures.
- Towel: One medium size light weight towel quick dry type
- Raincoat/ Poncho: Raincoat/ ponchos is a water-resistance to protect the body from rain.
- Woollen Cap / Balaclava: Mandatory to carry woollen cap or balaclava to protect from cold.
- Sun cap / Hat: To protect you from direct sunlight
- Undergarments: As per your need.
- Socks: Hiking socks has ability wick moisture and keep feet dry. Full length socks are advisable.
- Hand Gloves: Compulsory to carry, few gloves are constructed of water resistant or waterproof material that keep your fingers dry.
- Walking stick / Trekking pole: Trekking pole provide useful literal stability on rough terrain and give balance while descending also reduce pressure on knee.
- Water Bottle/ Hydration pack: Compulsory to carry, please do not carry packaged drinking water bottles.
- Sunglasses: Compulsory to carry. It is protecting from snow blindness. Person who use spectacle need to carry custom make powered sunglasses.
- Head Torch / Torch: It is mandatory to carry with extra batteries. Head torch is advisable to keep your hands free while walking.
- Sunscreen Lotion: Optional, advisable to carry sunscreen lotion (SPF 50+ and more)
- Chapstick/ Cold cream: Optional, As per your need
- Toilet Kit Must to carry, Personal toilet kit (toilet paper)
- Sandals / Slippers: Optional, to walk around camp
- Small Lunch Box & Tea mug: Compulsory, sometimes we give pack lunch so you can carry pack lunch items in it (one small leak proof lunch box is the best one), also carry one tea mug/glass
- Dry Fruits / Energy Bars: We provide healthy adequate food on trip. Some do feel very less energetic compare to others, so you carry energy bars, dry fruits etc.
- Repairs Kit: Must, one small repair kit which includes safety pins, needle, thread and string
- Personal Medical Kit: Must to carry small basic first aid. If you are taking any specific medicine from your doctor please inform us in advance. There will be a basic first kit will be available throughout the trek. Our Instructor has done a first aid course.
- Camera: Optional, to capture your lifetime memories.