Monsoon and post-monsoon are synonymous with trekking in the Western Ghats. This is when the Western Ghats spring into life. The forest section comes alive. The lush green grasslands beam with tiny wildflowers. The view of rolling green hills takes your breath away.
Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas! They span from Gujarat to Kerala and are almost 1600 km long. A large chunk of them lies in Maharashtra. This means, no matter what part of Maharashtra you are from, you have a place to trek to. The presence of more than 160 forts adds to this. As a result, there is a strong trekking culture too.
Pune, being one of the popular districts in Maharashtra, is home to the famous hill stations such as Lonavala and Malshej Ghat. This makes it one of the hotspots for treks in Sahyadris. There are numerous treks that are just a couple of hours away.
There are treks that take you through dense forests. There are vast plateaus to explore. There are forts that are architectural marvels. There are waterfall trails to quench your thirst for adventure. There is a reverse waterfall phenomenon to marvel at!
Here, I’ve curated 10 such best treks near Pune that you must do. So without further delay, let’s dive into the details of these treks.
1. Sinhagad Trek
Starting point of the trek: Donje Gaon
Distance from Pune: 20 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/NSZ2P6MKVaX4ViqS8
Views of the rolling green hills and cloud bed seen from the Sinhgad Fort top. Picture from the Indiahikes archives.
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Sinhagad is one of the most significant forts around Pune. The fort, strategically built to provide natural protection, is part of the triumvirate Sinhagad, Rajgad and Torna. It has also been the centre of a number of battles. Unlike many other forts, the fort structure of Sinhagad is still intact and well preserved. Because of this reason, the trek to Sinhagad is one of the most popular treks in this region.
Sinhagad trek can be divided into two sections. The first part starts from tar road at Donje Gaon and climbs up to a parking lot for two wheelers. The second half of the trek is a steep climb to Sinhagad top. It’s steep but incredibly rewarding.
2. Torna Fort Trek
Starting point of the trek: Velhe village
Distance from Pune: 48 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/ccdty7LacAeAz3aH9
Zunjar Machi as seen from the Dhaalkathi on the Torna Fort trek. Observe the double fortified wall. Picture by Nitesh Kumar.
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Torna Fort is the highest hill-fort in the Pune District. Situated at an altitude of 4,603 ft from sea level, it stands out among other forts in the western ghats of Maharashtra. Because of the massive size of the fort, it is also called Prachandagad. This name is derived from Marathi which means Prachanda – massive and gad – a fort.
Torna Fort has a rich history as it was captured by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1646 when he was 16 years old. This is where the core of the Maratha empire was built. It has a great history as it has gone under many rulers.
Trek to the Torna Fort unfolds many exciting things. You trek along the beautiful flower beds, on the top, there are temples, water cisterns, Balekilla, 2 magnificent Machis, Zunjar Machi, and Budhla Machi, and a ridge connecting to Rajgad Fort.
3. Rajgad Trek
Starting point of the trek: Gunjavane village
Distance from Pune: 62 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/ZRH5KcYgGpeuXgLc9
The Sanjivani Machi of Rajgad Fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar.
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Rajgad trek is the most beautiful trek in Maharashtra. As the name suggests, it is the king of forts. Because of the rich history and mesmerizing architecture of the fort, it stands out among other forts in the Western Ghats.
Rajgad was the capital of the Maratha emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for 26 years after which he shifted to Raigad. This is one of the reasons why the fort was built so beautifully. Rajgad has witnessed many significant events, including the birth of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s son Rajaram I to the death of his queen Saibai.
Trek to Rajgad offers the beauty of the Sahyadris as well as the fort. The fortification of the 3 Machis: Padmavati Machi, Suvela Machi, and Sanjivani Machi define the architectural creativity of that time. It also offers a splendid view of other surrounding forts like Torna, Lingana, Raigad, Sinhagad and many other forts.
For the mesmerising views and the rich history of the fort, this trek is a must-do.
4. Visapur Fort Trek
Starting point of the trek: Bhaje village
Distance from Pune: 64 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/Z1njsVNgwNe6CFip7
Wall of the Visapur fort. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari.
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Visapur Fort dates back to the 1700's and was built by Balaji Vishwanath, the first Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. Visapur Fort is a part of the Lohagad-Visapur fortification. Visapur is at a higher elevation than its twin Lohagad.
The trek to Visapur fort has two routes. One from Bhaje village, and the other from Patan village. As the Patan village trail is slightly challenging, trekking from Bhaje village is preferred by many.
The trek from the Bhaje Village starts from a mud road and gradually winds up in an ascending forest section. The forest section becomes a waterfall trail in the monsoon season. It later ends in an expansive plateau. Figuring out the correct trail from the Patan village is tricky. It also winds in a small forest section followed by dried up waterfalls to reach the plateau on the top.
Do this trek for the waterfall trail in monsoon and the view from the plateau.
5. Lonavala Bhimashankar Trek
Starting point of the trek: Lonavala
Distance from Pune: 68 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/qBnFQJbScaURpjxAA
Lush greenery of Dhak plateau as seen on the Lonavala Bhimashankar trek. Picture from the Indiahikes archives.
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The Lonavala Bhimashankar is arguably the best back-country trek in the Sahyadri range. The trek starts right at Lonavala, one of the most famous hill stations in South India. The trail then passes through deep wild rainforest, head-high bushes, lost-and-found trails, small rivulets, remote tribal villages, eerie temples, green meadows, hidden waterfalls, and a plateau of flowers. You explore the best features of the Sahyadri range on this trek.
You explore the best features of the Sahyadri range on the Lonavala Bhimashankar trek. Green gorges, distant villages, countless tunnels, and occasional waterfalls—the trek shows the Indian countryside at its best. The Bhima River originates from Bhimashankar Hill and passes through the deepest part of the forest. It attracts abundant wildlife, as there is no other water source around.
The Lonavala Bhimashankar trek is known as the Valley of Flowers in Maharashtra. Do this trek in the monsoon to witness the magic of flower-laden trails.
6. Andharban Trek
Starting point of the trek: Pimpri village
Distance from Pune: 72 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/tAnCCXQqs1TvrciWA
Stunning view you get to see on the Andharban trek. Picture from the Indiahikes archives.
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Andharban is one of the most refreshing treks in the Sahyadri region. Andharban is a compound word of Andhar which means dark and ban, meaning forest. At par with its name, the trail passes through dense overgrowth.
Andharban is a descending trail, scattered throughout with numerous small streams and waterfalls. The trek begins at an elevation of approximately 2,160 feet in the Sahyadri mountains and descends down into the valley, to reach the backwaters of the Bhira Dam. Andharban trek offers beautiful views of the Devkund waterfall, Plus Valley and the Tamhini Ghat along the way.
The Andharban trek starts from a location called Independence Point about 200 metres away from Pimpri village. Being a jungle trek, it’s a must-do for those who are birders and wildlife enthusiasts. The Andharban trek, along with the Rajmachi trek, are popular trails for fireflies.
7. Sindola Fort Trek
Starting point of the trek: Karanjale village
Distance from Pune: 112 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/QtXE5eGC4vEhdJ9P9
The pinnacle structure of the Sindola fort seen from the second ridge. Picture by Kailesh Padevkar.
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Sindola Fort Trek is one of the lesser-known treks in the very popular region of Maharashtra. It is situated in the Malshej ghat in the Junnar region at an altitude of 3,680 ft above sea level.
Sindola Fort dates back to similar times in Nimgiri and Hadsar. This fort was used as a watchtower as it offers a complete view of Malshej Ghat, Pargaon village, and other famous forts.
The fort is very small compared to other famous forts in the Jaunnr region. However, the ruins of bastions, a few water reservoirs and a Ganesha idol at the entrance on the top of the fort will set you wondering of the beauty. The rock-cut steps while climbing to the pinnacle will leave you astonished.
Do this trek for the serenity and the adventure it offers.
8. Kalavantin Durg Trek
Starting point of the trek: Prabalmachi
Distance from Pune: 123 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/CKkRWFSFfoKQBnFg9
View from the summit of Kalavantin Durg trek. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari.
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Kalavantin Durg Trek is one of the most popular treks in Maharashtra. Situated at an altitude of around 2,205 feet in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, the trek is a perfect one for beginners or adventure seekers.
The Pinnacle of Kalavantin is a thrilling experience that one goes for. Though popular, it is a tricky trek. If you are going on your own, take a local guide with you. With enough precautions and knowing the trek well, the trek is one adventure that you should go on.
Though Kalavantin Durg is much closer to Mumbai than Pune, it can easily be done from Pune as well. Trekking through the uneven trail, thick vegetation, and the thrill of reaching the top is an experience you must not miss out on.
9. Kothaligad Trek
Starting point of the trek: Ambivali
Distance from Pune: 125 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/1uytwjPZ3MNmMSE38
The waterfalls of Peth plateau are often sent back upwards, a phenomenon popularly known as Reverse waterfalls. Picture by Saurabh Sawant.
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Kothaligad, a small marvel of architecture, nestled in the famous Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary near Karjat. It rises to a maximum altitude of 2,033 ft. Kothaligad stands detached from the main trail of Bhimashankar thus providing a rare 360 degree view from the peak. From the Peth plateau, you can even witness the reverse waterfall phenomenon.
Kothaligad Fort was primarily used as a watchtower and ammunition depot by the ruling armies. The strategic location of the hill provides a commanding view of Padargad, Malanggad, Siddhagad, Chanderi Fort, Bhimashankar & Matheran Plateau in clear weather.
Located less than 100 km from both Mumbai and Pune and well connected by road and railways, Kothaligad is an ideal all-season trek for anyone looking for a quick getaway from bustling city life.
10. Sudhagad Trek
Starting point of the trek: Pali village
Distance from Pune: 136 km
Best route to get there: https://goo.gl/maps/x61TAyUu7zGR7xuK7
View of the surrounding valley as seen from the Sudhagad top. Picture by Apoorva Karlekar.
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Sudhagad Trek is a short weekend getaway for trekkers from both Mumbai and Pune. The fort is almost equidistant from both cities. The trek offers spectacular views of the Sarasgad, Tail Baila and Ghangad from the top. There are also two huge lakes on the top where you can take a dip and camp beside for the night. There is also Bhorai Devi temple and “Pant Sachivancha Vada”.
The Sudhagad trek also known as Bhorapgad after the goddess Bhoraidevi. The origin of the fort dates back to the 2nd century BC. It was named Sudhagad after the Marathas conquered it from the Bahamani dynasty in 1657.
Go for this trek if you are seeking a 2-day adventure near Pune or Mumbai.
This brings us to the end of this list, '10 best treks near Pune that you can do on your own.'
Click here to know about offbeat treks in Maharashtra to avoid crowds on weekends.
But if you are looking for treks in your region, you can check our Trek Library as well - https://indiahikes.com/do-it-yourself-treks
If you have done any of these treks or have any recommendations that you think I should add to this list, write to me at email@example.com.
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