Outside of the Himalayas, India is blessed with Western and Eastern ghats that offer countless trekking opportunities. Of course, trekking in these regions is different to that of the Himalayas but it has its own charm.
The Western Ghats are the chain of mountain ranges that run parallel to the western coast of India. It extends from Gujarat, all the way to Kerala covering almost 1600 km of distance. Unknown to many, the western ghats are older than the Himalayas.
Be it trekking in the dense jungles, in the lush green grasslands, trekking to the snout or the base of the waterfalls, the variety that western ghats treks offer are huge. A large chunk of the Western Ghats treks lie in Maharashtra. These are also called Sahyadris.
In addition to the experience of a typical western ghats trek, Maharashtra has more than 160 fort treks to explore. These forts were mostly built by Marathas to guard their empire. Including these, though there are a large number of treks to explore, only some of these treks have gained traction and are flocked by trekkers.
In this article, we have curated 10 such famous treks in Maharashtra and why are these famous treks.
Base Village: Bari
Total Trek Distance: 8.6 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 153 km from Mumbai and 169 km from Pune
The mighty Sahyadris soaking in the golden hour. Picture by Vijay Ogalapurkar.
Situated in the Kasara Range of Western Ghats, Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra. And this makes it one of the most famous treks of Maharashtra.
At 5400 feet, Kalsubai might seem like a daunting task. To be honest, it is! But that doesn’t mean that you can not do it in one day.
The Kalsubai trek offers views of many famous forts like Alang, Madan, and Kulang. The treks to these peaks are pretty challenging. On a clear day, you also get imposing views of other surrounding forts such as Harihargad, Harishchandragad and Ratangad. Many experienced trekkers combine these treks for added adventure.
Base Village: Khireshwar
Total Trek Distance: 14 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 138 km from Mumbai and 119 km from Pune
Harishchandra temple surrounded by yellow and purple wildflowers. Picture by Amit Mohite
Harishchandragad trek is one of the most challenging treks in the western ghats of Maharashtra. Variety of adventures it offers to all kinds of trekkers makes Harishchandragad trek a popular one too.
Harishchandragad is an ancient fort. Its origin is said to have been in the 6th century during the rule of the Kalchuri dynasty. But the caves which you see on the top are probably carved out in the 11th century.
The various constructions on the fort and those in the surrounding region indicate the existence of diverse cultures. Saptatheertha Pushkarni, Kedareshwar cave, Harishchandra temple and other caves are the examples for that.
Harishchandragad trek has three different routes. To know more about all these routes, go through our documentation.
3. Harihar Fort
Base Village: Kotamwadi
Total Trek Distance: 6.8 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 191 km from Mumbai and 253 km from Pune
Watch how to do harihar Fort trek on your own here:
Iconic steps to reach Harihar Fort top. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
With its easy terrain and panoramic views throughout the trek, Harihar fort attracts trekkers with a range of experience – from beginners to experienced ones like Doug Scott, a legendary Himalayan mountaineer who climbed the vertical drops of Scottish kada (Nirgudpada) in November 1986.
Harihar brings to you a different type of stone staircase which has been cut for providing trekkers with a pocket like grip to climb easily.While some people might avoid this trek in peak monsoons because of slippery rocks, we say the wind and the rains add to the adventure.
The fort is situated amidst the huge Vaitarna dam and the Trimbakeshwar mountain ranges offer stunning views of the area around. The fort is well supplied with water and can be attempted in any season.
4. Rajmachi Fort
Base Village: Udhewadi
Total Trek Distance: 10 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 95 km from Mumbai and 85 km from Pune
Watch How to do Rajmachi Trek On your own here:
Magical sight of fireflies during late evening on the Rajmachi trek. Picture by Deep Thakkar
Rajmachi Trek is nestled in the midst of two popular hill stations – Lonavala and Karjat. The trek can be approached either via the Lonavala side or another being the Karjat side and offers trekkers to climb two forts starting from the same base village of Udhewadi. Manaranjan fort is at 2510 feet and west-facing fort while the Shriwardhan fort at 2710 feet faces to the east.
These forts were built by the Satavahanas but gained its fame under the rule of Shivaji Maharaj, who took over the fort in the 15th century. Shivaji Maharaj fortified and expanded the fort by adding several structures within the premises. The forts have seen battles between the Marathas and the Mughals. Later in the 19th century, it was taken over by the British. The fort was also a popular trade route connecting present-day Mumbai and Pune.
5. Kalavantin Durg
Base Village: Thakurwadi
Total Trek Distance: 7 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 183 km from Mumbai and 77 km from Pune
View from the summit of the Kalavantin Durg trek. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari
Kalavantin Durg Trek is one of the most popular treks in Maharashtra. Situated at around 2,205 feet in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, the trek is a perfect one for beginners or adventure seekers.
Trekking through the uneven trail, thick vegetation, and thrill of reaching the top is an experience that is unique to this trek. The Pinnacle of Kalavantin is a thrilling experience that one goes for. The near-vertical drop can be challenging for a faint-hearted or somebody afraid of heights. Although referred to as Kalavantin Durg, there is no fort. It is a pinnacle that was used by rulers to have a watch around the surrounding area.
Base Village: Khandas
Total Trek Distance: 7-8 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 196 km from Mumbai and 110 km from Pune
Tricky rocky patch on the Bhimashankar trek. Picture by Apoorva Karlekar
The Bhimashankar trek is a nature lover’s delight. It takes you into the heart of the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary through thick forests. The Bhimashankar trek gives you a full dose of adventure with stream crossings, ladders, and rock climbing all bundled into one trek.
While monsoon is the best time to do this trek, it can also be done in other seasons. The route is scenic and thrilling. Those accustomed to trekking can hike the Bhimashankar via the Shidi Ghat route. While for beginners, we recommend the Ganesh Ghat route, which offers splendid views and is easier.
7. Visapur Fort
Base Village: Bhaje
Total Trek Distance: 6 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 95 km from Mumbai and 60 km from Pune
Wall of the Visapur fort. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari
Visapur fort is popular for its waterfall trail and the spectacular views from the plateau on the top. Visapur Fort was built between 1713-1720 CE by Balaji Vishwanath, the first Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. In 1818, Visapur was attacked and occupied. Considering the strategic importance of Visapur, both the north (Konkan) and the south (Deccan) gateways were blown up. Except for a few huts, nothing was left standing.
The Visapur Fort Trek starts from a mud trail out of Bhaje village and then ascends gradually in a forest section. Then comes the waterfall trail wherein you’ve to navigate the ascending trail through boulders in which the water flows during monsoon. For the thrill of this alone, this is a famous monsoon trek. Once you reach the top, it has a huge plateau. Explore the plateau to find small water tanks in caves and large water storage tanks, the flag, cannon and bastion, Hanuman temple, various buildings (wadas), grinders used for construction and other remains of the fort.
8. Karnala Fort
Base Village: Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Total Trek Distance: 6 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 48 km from Mumbai and 114 km from Pune
Rear view of the Karnala Fort
Karnala is a quaint fort overlooking a sprawling bird sanctuary. Situated along the Mumbai-Goa highway, it is at a distance of about 10 km from the city of Panvel. It is an absolute beginner’s trek amidst the natural flora and fauna of the enclosed sanctuary.
The Karnala Fort trek begins at the entrance of the bird sanctuary on a well-defined road and winds through the forest. Eventually, it leads to an uphill track under thick vegetation. There are multiple routes inside the sanctuary that lead to the main trail up to the mountain and offer a variety of fauna, both in the enclosure and in the wilderness. The trek to the top is a little challenging but thoroughly enjoyable. From the peak, there is a splendid 360-degree view of the surrounding Raigad district.
9. Devkund Waterfalls
Base Village: Bhira
Total Trek Distance: 10 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 125 km from Mumbai and 104 km from Pune
The majestic Devkund Waterfalls. Picture by Akshita Makhija
Devkund waterfall is a secluded little place situated deep inside the forests surrounding the Bhira dam. There is a hydroelectric power generation unit by Tata power at Bhira. This place was little known to trekkers till recent times, but has come into the limelight due to the waterfall present deep inside the forest.
Though there isn’t much history associated with the falls, locals here believe that once upon a time, utensils used to emerge from the Kund (pond) whenever there was any auspicious ceremony happening in the local village. It is also believed that Kundalika river originates from here.
True or not, the place has its own charm with the water dropping from a height of over 80 ft straight into a pond of approximately 30 metre diameter.
10. Peb Fort
Base Village: Neral
Total Trek Distance: 7-8 km
Distance from Mumbai/Pune: 75 km from Mumbai and 114 km from Pune
Peb Fort trail goes through lush green grasslands filled with wild flowers. Post-monsoon the landscape changes. Picture by Dhaval
Peb fort, also known as Vikatgad, rises to a maximum altitude of 2,050 ft and was primarily used as a granary and watchtower by the ruling armies. The strategic location of the hill provides a commanding view of Chanderi fort, Nakhind hill, Malanggad, Tahuli, Prabalgad, Kalavantin & Matheran plateau in clear weather.
Located approximately 80 km from Mumbai and less than 120 km from Pune, it’s conveniently accessible by public transport. With five different trails of varying difficulty and length, Peb fort is the ideal trek for anyone looking for a good excursion close to Matheran.
This brings us to the end of this list of 10 famous treks in Maharashtra.
If you’re looking for offbeat treks to do in Maharashtra to avoid crowds, check out this article - https://indiahikes.com/offbeat-treks-in-maharashtra
If you’re looking for treks near your city, we have a vast database of treks to do in almost every state of our country. Check out our Trek Library
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