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The Complete Guide to Bhal Padri Trek

Padri Pass lies at the intersection of the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the state of Himachal Pradesh, and the Bhal Padri meadows are just 7 kilometers away from this road head.

Although Padri to Bhal Padri is a well known trail among the locals of Jammu, it remains quite a secret to the rest of the world. It is a perfect weekend getaway if you’re in Jammu and want to experience its prettiest meadows.

Since the entire meadows are covered in snow in winter, the best time to witness the lush green meadows is between July and September. In winters, Padri becomes a hub for snowboarding and skiing and is not suitable for trekking under heavy snow.

Padri to Bhal Padri trek takes you through the lush forests and undulating meadows of Bhaderwah, in Doda district of Jammu. And as a bonus, you get to see all the major peaks of Kishtwar Himalaya -- Mt Nun, Mt Brahma I and II, Mt Arjuna -- when the skies are clear.

This trek is for those who are short on time and are looking to spend a day in the untouched valley of Bhal Padri, which remains so close, yet so far.

Table of Contents

Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we've documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop in comments at the end of the page if you need any help!  You will get all the information required to do the Bhal Padri trek on your own.

Highlights of Bhal Padri Trek

1. Forests of Bhal Padri
Bhal Padri Trek

The forests of Bhal Padri are virgin and retain their charm although they are frequented by the locals. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The forests of Bhal Padri are untouched even though they remain so close to the popular Padri Pass at the border of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

As you walk through these forests on undulating meadows, a variety of flora and fauna can be spotted if you have a keen eye.

2. View of the Kishtwar Himalayan Range
Bhal Padri Trek

On a clear day, the entire Kishtwar Himalayan range opens up in front of you. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

From the highest point -- the Bhal Padri top -- the entire range of Kishtwar Himalaya opens up in front of you. Notice the tip of Mt Brahma I towering above the clouds in the picture.

When the skies are clear, you are in for a treat with this view.

3. Bhal Padri Meadows
Bhal Padri Trek

The flat meadows of Bhal Padri lie in the valley surrounded by coniferous trees. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The main highlight of the trek are the meadows of Bhal Padri. They are at the center, connecting Padri Pass to Bhalessa village and hence the name “Bhal” and “Padri”.

The meadows are a great place to camp if you want to extend the trek till Bhalessa, or if you want to return to Padri Pass the next day.

Quick Itinerary

Bhal Padri Trek

Route Map of the Bhal Padri trek. Screenshot on Google Earth

Day 1: Reach Bhaderwah from Jammu

Drive distance: 190 km
Duration: 6 hours
On your first day, travel to Bhaderwah in Doda district, from Jammu.

Day 2: Drive from Bhaderwah to Padri Pass and Trek from Chattergala Pass to Seoj Dhar via Kailash Kund

Drive distance: 35 km
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Trek distance: 13.50 km
Duration: 7 hours
Altitude gain and loss: 9,918 ft to 10,940 ft
Trek type: Easy

Day 3: Reach Jammu from Bhaderwah

Drive distance: 190 km
6 hours

Travel to Jammu airport/railway station from Bhaderwah

GPX File of the Bhal Padri Trek


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Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Bhal Padri trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Don’t miss the ‘Frequently Asked Questions' section. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

How Does Each Day Look

Day 1: Reach Bhaderwah from Jammu

Bhaderwah is about 190 km from Jammu. You’ll cross well known places in Jammu namely Udhampur, Batote and Pul Doda. There are multiple ways to reach Bhaderwah from Jammu.

You can either drive the entire way, on beautiful roads with hairpin bends and sharp inclines, or take a train from Jammu to Udhampur and then take a shared taxi from there to Bhaderwah.

You can also choose to travel locally and take any state transport buses from Jammu, or from Udhampur.

Either way, you should expect a journey not less than 6-7 hours to reach Bhaderwah.

Day 2: Drive from Bhaderwah to Padri Pass and Trek from Padri Pass to Bhal Padri Meadows

Trek gradient: Easy. A mellow walk on slightly undulating terrain with forest sections and meadows.
Water sources:  Carry sufficient water. There are a couple of water sources just before reaching Bhal Padri, about 4 kilometers into the trek.

Reach Padri Pass in your vehicle or a shared cab as it is easily accessible from the town of Bhaderwah. You’ll spot a couple of dhabas at the start of the climb.

Bhal Padri Trek

Climb up the trail that starts after the dhabas. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Take the trail next to you that climbs up through the grasslands. It is a gradual ascent on the meadow and some rocky patches.

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Bhal Padri Trek

A short rocky section at the initial part of the climb. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Once you hit a kilometer mark, the trail eases out into an almost flat walk just below the ridge and it is a straightforward route from there.

Bhal Padri Trek

A flat trail leading to the ridge. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Follow the route till you approach the forest just below the ridge and make your way to the ridge.

Bhal Padri Trek

The ridge is seen from this point.. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

On the top of the ridge, you are actually trekking in both Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. It is a unique setting where the states are divided right on the grasslands and it gives you a feeling of trekking in two different provinces at the same time.

Bhal Padri Trek

It is the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir to the right of the ridge, and the state of Himachal Pradesh to the left. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Soon you are amidst the coniferous trees on a well marked trail leading you to the top of Bhal Padri.

Bhal Padri Trek

A mellow walk through the coniferous trees of Bhal Padri. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

At this point you are very close to the viewpoint of Bhal Padri meadows.

Bhal Padri Trek

The last stretch to the viewpoint of Bhal Padri. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Follow the trail for close to 2 kilometers before you are greeted to the panoramic views of meadows on one side, mountains of Kishtwar Himalaya on the other, and lush green meadows of the valley everywhere else.

Bhal Padri Trek

Bhal Padri meadows at the center, seen from Bhal Padri top. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

From Bhal Padri top, the entire stretch of Bhal Padri meadows are seen. The trail you see straight ahead in the picture leads to Bhalessa village. This can be an alternative end point if you plan to extend your trek by one day, ending at Bhalessa.

Bhal Padri Trek

Bhal Padri meadows are lined with coniferous trees on all sides. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Walk down to the meadows and spend a good amount of time, exploring the coniferous forests and lush green landscape of these flat meadows.

Bhal Padri Trek

The meadows make for a beautiful camping spot. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

If you decide to head back the next day, and if you are properly equipped with the trekking gear, choose a camping spot on the Bhal Padri meadows to spend the night here.

Return by retracing your trail to reach Padri Pass, and by driving down to Bhaderwah. If you had hired a shared taxi on your way up, you can ask the same person for the return timing so that you can take the taxi on this day.

Day 3: Reach Jammu from Bhaderwah

Take the same route back to Jammu from Bhaderwah by any of the options you chose to reach Bhaderwah on Day 1.

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How Difficult Is Bhal Padri?

Honestly, Bhal Padri trek, which climbs to 10,940 ft, is not really difficult. It is rated as 'easy' as the trekking day is not too long and it doesn’t have many steep or tricky sections.

An easy rating refers to shorter trekking days with very few steep climbs (example: climb just before Bhal Padri top). This keeps the trek at the same level as the other easy level treks like Tulian Lake and Nag Tibba.

The trek also has easy exits and there are no technical sections.

To get a clear picture, imagine covering a total of 13.5 km in a day. You gain approximately 1,000 ft during this journey, which is slightly hectic when done in a single day.

That's doable in a well-paced itinerary. The key is to pace it out.

Is Bhal Padri Trek Safe?

Yes. Trekking to Bhal Padri  is safe even though it lies in Jammu. That's because the trail is remote, away from civilization. Most of the time it's just your group trekking on your own in nature.

Being mentally prepared for the trek is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek. Quickly, here it is:

To do this effectively, let’s break down and examine various aspects of Seoj Dhar - Kailash Kund trek from the perspective of safety:

  • Safety while trekking in Jammu
  • Exit points on Bhal Padri trek
  • Closest hospital to Bhal Padri trek

Safety while trekking in Jammu

While the Bhal Padri trek remains untouched during times of unrest, getting to the base camp involves traveling through populated towns like Udhampur and Doda in the picturesque countryside of Jammu. 

On your drive to Bhaderwah, be mindful of where you are going, how you are traveling and if your mode of transport is reliable.

Thumb Rule: Stay cued into news. Be curious about what’s happening around you. Keep a check of areas that are flagged red. Check if transport is getting affected and be forthcoming on enquiring about alternate routes.

Be aware, but do not worry or panic. Stay calm and keep the following pointers in mind when you are travelling in Kashmir:

- If you’re staying overnight at Jammu, stay in touristy areas.
- Blend in with the crowd in terms of dressing and behavior.
- Avoid going to downtown areas. Stick to tourist spaces as they tend to be safer and well-protected during times of unrest.
- Don’t panic if there is a curfew. Keep calm and wait for it to pass.

Exit points on the Bhal Padri Trek

Medical Emergencies can strike on any trek. The key to dealing with them lies in knowing your exit points. Know how to get out and reach the nearest hospital quickly.

On Bhal Padri trek, your best bet is to descend to Padri Pass.

When you are deep into the trek -- say at Bhal Padri meadows --  you easily take a day to reach the Padri Pass or Bhalessa exit.

Closest Hospital to Bhal Padri Trek

In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital is in Bhaderwah. If you need serious medical attention, head to Jammu for better facilities.

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Best Time To Do The Trek

The best time to do Bhal Padri trek is from June to the end of August. It is the traditional monsoon season in the rest of the Indian subcontinent, but things are different in Jammu & Kashmir.

Jammu receives only mild rainfall in the months of July and August. Not at all like in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. That's because of the Pir Panjal range which prevents most rain clouds from reaching Jammu & Kashmir.

It’s a boon because it makes for a comfortable trekking experience. In all the other seasons, it’s too cold to trek, the trail and the meadows are buried under snow for most part.

But even if we look at just one season, Bhal Padri trek changes appearance and colour throughout the three months - June, July and August.

Bhal Padri in early June

Trekking opens on the Bhal Padri trail in the first week of June. Until then the upper reaches are under heavy snow. The lower meadows open earlier.

When you trek in June you can expect to see remnants of snow on the meadows.

This setting offers a fleeting glimpse of how the landscape looks like for the rest of the year - buried under snow, punctuated with frozen lakes.

Sometimes, even if it’s not the best phase to complete the trek, the sight is spell binding.

Bhal Padri from mid-July to the third week of August

After mid-July, Bhal Padri trek starts revealing itself in full glory.

Now, the snow has almost melted. And the trail is carpeted with bright green meadows, which are in contrast with the rugged, grey mountains rising at the fringes. The best part is, these meadows are densely dotted with so many wildflowers!

You experience this beauty, especially in the Bhal Padri meadows, as you trek over tiny flowers of colours ranging from violet, red, blue, purple to yellow and white.

Rains -- more like evening showers -- pick up during this time.

Bhal Padri in the end of August

Cold sets in as the season progresses to the end of August. The evening showers become frequent. But when the clouds part during this time of the year, you witness brilliant blue skies. Plus the chances of spotting the tallest peaks of Kishtwar Himalaya are more.

You will also see a change in the colour of the meadows. They look a bit roasted, just with a tinge of brown. Watch out for this if you camp at Bhal Padri.

The grass no longer retains the soft, fresh green tinge. The flowers wilt too. And yet, there’s a beauty to this change of tone.

We usually suggest our trekkers to end their trek towards the first week of September, but some lone trekkers do attempt it till the end of September. So, it’s doable. But it may not be the most comfortable time, given the cold temperatures.

Weather And Temperature On Bhal Padri

On Bhal Padri trek, the weather or temperature doesn't fluctuate much between campsites. But yes, there is a considerable change between the day time and night time temperatures. The winds blowing on the open meadows of Bhal Padri adds to the chill factor once the sun sets.

That, combined with soft, evening showers on certain days make trekking to Bhal Padri a pleasant experience.

With that setting in mind, let's dive into the details of weather and temperature.

From June to mid-August:

June to August are the warmest months of the trek. Day temperatures hover around 15 - 18° C when sunny. Expect cloud cover or rain to decrease this range by  4 or 5° C. Nights tend to be balmy around 1 - 3° C.

July and August are not the traditional rainy months in Jammu & Kashmir. However rains are never ruled out in the mountains. You can always expect an afternoon shower or a day on the trek with full rain.  As you move to August chances of sporadic rains increase. It is all easily managed on the trek with appropriate rain gear.

In the end of August:

The mountain valleys in Jammu start getting colder by the end of August. It sees temperatures dipping by 3 - 4° C every week. This is when the flowers disappear and the meadows also turn golden.

How To Plan Your Travel

To reach Bhal Padri trek you need to travel around 190 km towards east from Jammu, going to Bhaderwah. The base camp of Bhal Padri trek is Bhaderwah, a small town situated in Doda district.

For ease of understanding, we have broken down the journey based on the transport and the route you take:

From Jammu Airport to Bhaderwah

Step out of the Jammu (Jammu Civil Enclave) airport and head towards Bhaderwah.

There are two ways to get to Bhaderwah.

1. Government Bus: This is the best way. There are buses every half an hour which take you to Udhampur. The ticket now costs approximately Rs.250 to Rs.300. This is the most reliable, safe and pocket-friendly way, provided you have time on your side.

2. Cab: The next option is to take a private cab. You will get plenty of them immediately as you step out of the airport. But take this option only if you are pressed for time because it is expensive. The cab will cost you around more than Rs.3,000.



Jammu to Bhaderwah route map

Alternative: Break it at Udhampur

Use this option only if you don’t find direct buses or shared cabs from Jammu.

Train: If you don’t find direct buses to Bhaderwah, getting in a train from Jammu Tawi railway station to Udhampur and then taking either a government bus or a shared taxi from there to Bhaderwah is the fastest option.

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What To Take On Your Trek

- Basic First Aid kit*
- Identity Card
- Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
- Water (Minimum two liters)
- Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electoral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
- High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, a home-baked cake, etc.)
- Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
- Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
- Poncho, only during monsoons
- Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
- Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
- Optional: Trekking poles

First Aid Kit:

- Scissors
- Band-aids (Regular & Waterproof)
- Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
- Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
- Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
- Cotton roll & Bandage
- Crepe Bandage
- 1-inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
- Micropore tape
- Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
- Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is the Bhal Padri trek?

The Bhal Padri trek is 13.5 km long and you gain approx. 1,000 ft. The safest way to do this trek is to cover this distance in a day as it is enough for your body to acclimatize to the high altitude.  It’s easier and makes trekking more enjoyable.

Most walks are on the flat, undulating meadows.

2. Where is Bhal Padri?

The Bhal Padri trek is situated in the Bhaderwah town of Doda district. It is slightly towards the east of Jammu. The trek starts from Padri Pass, which is 35 km from the town of Bhaderwah.

3. Is it safe to trek in Jammu?

Yes, it is safe to trek in Jammu. Talking about Bhal Padri, while the trek remains untouched during times of unrest, getting to the base camp or onto the trail might raise concern in times of unrest.

So, here are certain pointers to keep in mind when you are traveling from Jammu to Bhaderwah:

- If you’re staying overnight at Srinagar, stay in touristy areas.
- Blend in with the crowd in terms of dressing and behavior.
- Avoid going to downtown areas.Stick to tourist spaces as they tend to be safer and well-protected during times of unrest.
- Don’t panic if there is a curfew. Keep calm and wait for it to pass.

4. How to get to Bhal Padri?

To reach Bhal Padri, you first need to reach Jammu. You may do this via flight or take a train to Jammu and then a 7-hour journey from Jammu to Bhaderwah.

Once in Jammu, make your way to Bhaderwah by either taking a state transport bus, or by getting a cab. You may also take a train to Udhampur from Jammu and take a cab from Udhampur to Bhaderwah.

Enquire about the details when you are booking for a cab.

5. Do I Need an RT-PCR Test before my trek?

As per the state government rules in West Bengal, Sikkim, Himachal, J&K and Uttarakhand, it is mandatory for you to get yourself an RT-PCR test done and carry a COVID negative certificate. So ensure you get it done not later than 72 hours before you enter Jammu.

We want our trekkers to ensure they are not carrying any infections to the mountains, where medical care is practically non-existent.

Trek Contribution

Trek explored, documented and photos clicked by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Trek penned down by Gautam Singh