Kashmir Great Lakes Trek


8 Days


Kashmir Great Lake Trek

Day 01Srinagar to Sonamarg

Altitude: 2,730 m
Time taken: 3 hours drive
Drive from Srinagar to the base camp at Shitkadi Sonamarg. While driving you will get the best highlight of the Kashmir landscape. The drive winds through villages, and farmlands and the road is between two mountain ranges. You will be driving beside the shimmering and ever-flowing Sindh River. On the way, you can stop to feel the views of these mountains and pastures. You can book the cab to the base camp via our Kashmir Taxi Service.

By evening you will reach Shitkadi where you will be served with welcome drink and evening snacks, later you will be served dinner.

You will spend the night camping at Shitkadi which is surrounded by luring mountain peaks. The reason to spend the night at Shitkadi is for acclimatization. You will be briefed by your trek leader about an entire trek, and you will be given all the details about the trek.

Day 02Sonamarg to Nichnai
  • Altitude: 2,730m to 3,505 m
  • Time taken: 6.5 hours, 9 km

This is the first day you will be taking your backpack and start ascending towards the next campsite.

It is a gradual ascend. Your first stop will be at Tabletop, a beautiful plateau that is surrounded by jungle but opens wide towards the Thajwas Mountian Range. This gives a fascinating wide look of the entire Sonamarg area and its mountain range. You will be able to see the famous Amarnath Peak from here.

Post this, you will trek towards Nichnai. You will be trekking beside the river canal that goes down, and after a patch of jungle, the trail opens up and gives way to tall mountains. There is a river crossing too, a small stream that cuts this valley. Your trek leader and guides will help you cross the stream.

The view becomes more and more breathtaking as you trek further towards the campsite. The trail has rocky patches as well and is dotted with maple, birch, and pine trees.

Day 03Nichnai to Vishansar Valley
  • Altitude: 3,505m to 3,650 m
  • Time: 5.5 hours, 13 km

The gradient of the day is moderate with long hours of walk. After breakfast, you will be given the packed lunch as we will be lunching on our way to the next campsite.

We will be taking our first rest spot at Nichnai Pass. The pass is after the river stream. Just before the top, crossing the ridgeline you will see the beautiful valley down that you just traversed. There is a steady ascent towards the pass, don’t forget to take regular water breaks, keeping your feet firm and pace steady.

The pass has a steep and rocky descent towards the beautiful valley. The meadow below is dotted with wildflowers. You will be walking in this quiet and serene meadow with joy and delight. In the surroundings, you will see a long stretch of mountains to both the left and right sides of you. Towards the right, the mountain range is rugged, to your right the mountain line in contrast is snow peaked.

After walking for a couple of kilometers you will cross the river and reach our campsite. The campsite is beside the river stream that originates at the breathtaking Vishansar Lake. 

In the river, you will see a wide range of trout fish which are very famous here. However, fishing and is forbidden here. You need to have a proper fishing license from the Fisheries Authority of Kashmir. During August month the entire valley is full of flowers. 

Relax beside the lake and take your evening snacks that you will receive as you reach the campsite.

Day 04Vishansar Valley to Gadsar
  • Altitude: 3,650m to 3,810m via 4,200m Gadsar Pass
  • Time taken: 8 hours, 16 km

This day is the longest and toughest day of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. The gradient is difficult. On this day, you will cross over the highest altitude of the trek, which is Gadsar Pass standing tall at 4,200m. This day you will cross the highest altitude of this trekking route.

Your trek leader will guide you and start you early in the morning for the day. The first attraction and the best attraction of the trek will be visible within an hour of your trek. Behold the two gorgeous lakes cozily and calmly adjacent to each other: Vishansar and Kishansar Lakes. 

The lakes are famous for their blue water and abundant trout fish. You will see trout fish swimming around. The fish are of different colors. Both of these lakes have a religious significance, and they drain into the Kishanganga River that meanders through Gurez Valley.

After the lakes, start the ardent steep ascend to Gadsar Pass. It has a narrow and sharp trail. Ascend carefully and steadily. It takes around 2 hours to reach the top of the pass.

Most of the breathtaking pictures that you see of the route are shot from this pass. Take some rest here for some time. Click your videos and pictures here to cherish the memories later on.

From the pass is a steep and a bit long descent. Place your steps carefully. The descent then finishes and merges into a long, lush meadow called  Meadow. The meadow is wavy breathtakingly placed between the two mountain stretches. It has lush grass and varied colourful flowers and herbs. The meadow is the most colourful of this trek.

Shortly afterward, you will see on your left a soothing, blue-coloured lake – Gadsar Lake. The lake is the least visited and is an essential part of the Great Lakes Trek. Since it is almost in the middle of this trek, this lake is the least visited and explored and is one of the best alpine lakes that you will see on the trek.  

Legends say the water and fish from the Gadsar Lake have healing powers. The campsite is just a small walk from the lake. 

Day 05Gadsar to Satsar
  • Altitude: 3,810m to 3,600 m
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 12 km

The gradient of this day is easy. Only around one hour is an ascend until the trail opens on the Satsar Meadow. Then the walk turns into an easy walk on lush grass and trail.

The trail has small rocky patches amidst the lush meadow and some water-filled grassland. The landscape of the mountain is mostly rugged and desolate. The valley in total holds seven alpine lakes. The seven lakes are one of the sources of the famous Wangath River that you will be seeing on the way going towards Srinagar after finishing the trek. 

Afterward, shortly, we will reach our campsite which is in the vicinity of the river stream.

Day 06Satsar to Gangabal
  • Altitude: 3,600m to 3,587 m
  • Time taken:5 hours, 9 km

This day is moderate to difficult and starts with a patch of boulders and rocky terrain. The boulder section will dominate the day, with the hopping from one boulder to another. The trail goes up and reaches the Zajibal Pass. There is a sharp ascend towards the pass for about 3 hours and then an equally long descent. The trail then has a succession of ascends and descends until it goes into Gangabal Valley. On the way comes the biggest of the Satsar Lakes. The lake is bigger and more gorgeous.

After the ascend, one reaches the highest altitude of the day at the top of the ridge called Zajibal Pass. The pass stands at an altitude of 4000m. However, the best part of this pass and the treat to the eyes is the first look you get of twin lakes: Nundkol and Gangabal Lakes.

After the descent from the pass, you will be walking in the narrow meadow after which there are small ups and downs in the terrain until you reach the twin lakes of the valley.

Both the lakes are glacial lakes and get the water from the melting of glacier that hangs on Mount Harmukh. You will be camping beside the Nundkol Lake which has this gorgeous Mount Harmukh in the background. Gangabal Lake is almost 25 minutes from Nundkol Lake. Both the lakes are abundant in trout fish.

Day 07Gangabal to Naranag to Srinagar
  • Altitude: 3,587m to 2,271 m
  • Time taken: 6.5 hours, 13 km

This is the last day of great lakes kashmir trek. The gradient of this day is difficult. You will be leaving in the early morning after breakfast. The trek towards Naranag i.e. the endpoint of the trek is first a gradual descent and then a sharp descent through the jungle.

The gradual descent is through the meadow of Trunkhol. This is where you will see the government hut and wavy meadows in the middle of the surrounding mountains. The grass is lush and dotted with yellow flowers. And the land stretches far ahead of you. Take a rest at Trunkhol Meadow Hut. You will see a lot of shepherd houses made of mud and brick. You can stop, if time allows, to sip the local tea here in the mud houses.

Post-Trunkhol meadow, the trail immediately goes through the jungle. After walking for half an hour you will reach Butsheri Top, and it is from here a 3-hour steep descent starts. It is heavy on your knees. Make sure you tie your laces ankle-high, if you have kneecaps wear them. The trail isn’t tricky or dangerous but hard on your legs. After descending halfway, you will begin to see the houses below. It further takes a hard descent to reach the end of the trek. 

At Naranag take some rest before leaving for your destination further. A cab from Naranag will ferry you to Srinagar. 


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