Cheengeri Hills Trek

The Cheengeri Hills Trek is a rather straightforward and enjoyable trek situated near Ambalavayal town in the Wayanad district. What sets this trail apart from others in the Western Ghats is the absence of dense tree cover. Instead, the path involves ascending granite rocks all the way to the summit.

As you make your way to the top, a breathtaking panorama unfolds before you. The views encompass the picturesque hillocks of Chembra and the expansive Karapuzha Dam. On days with clear skies, the distant hills of Ooty and Nilgiris become visible, adding to the trek's beauty.

One interesting thing shared by a local resident is that from the peak, you can view approximately 60 percent of Wayanad! This means you get a unique vantage point to appreciate the vastness and beauty of the Wayanad district. It's not just a trek; it's an opportunity to connect with nature and relish the stunning landscapes that this region has to offer. The absence of dense tree cover allows for an open and immersive experience, making the Cheengeri Hills Trek a memorable adventure for both novice and seasoned trekkers alike.

➤ What to watch out for

The view of Karapuzha Dam and its backwaters.

As you begin your trek, within a short time, you'll see a really big stretch of water behind you. This is the backwaters of the Karapuzha Dam. Picture this: the water is surrounded by large farms where they grow coffee and rubber. It's like a big, open area with lots of greenery around.

And guess what? Along the sides of this water, you'll spot small villages. These villages are right on the edge of the dam, making it a pretty sight. So, as you climb up, you not only get exercise but also get to enjoy the view of water, farms, and little villages. It's like nature putting on a show for you during your trek.

Karapuzha Dam and backwaters seen as soon as you start the trek. Far away on the horizon, you also see the highest mountains in the region. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

Grand mountain views of some of the tallest mountains in the region.

The trek stands out as one of the most scenic expeditions in Wayanad. As you ascend, the surrounding mountains gradually increase in size, their prominence growing with each step. The majestic peaks of Chembra and Muttilmala come into view, while in the distance, the Neelgiris mountains grace the horizon. On days when the sky is clear, the panoramic vista is nothing short of magical.

From the summit, the mountains seem close, creating an illusion, yet in reality, they remain a considerable distance away. The amazing view from the top of the trek makes the whole journey incredibly beautiful and unforgettable.

➤ Trail Information

The Cheengeri Hills Trek can be divided into four sections.

  1. A gentle ascent from the office to the treehouse
  2. Steep ascent from the tree house to the peak

Section 1: Office to First View Point

Trek Distance: 600m

Trek Duration: 1 hour 

Start by parking your vehicle outside the tourism office and getting permission for the trek. Walk about 30 meters, and you'll come across the first rocky area. After climbing up a steep 25 meters, you'll reach the initial resting spot, where there's a grass hut to shield you from the hot sun. From here, you can spot the Karapuzha Dam's backwaters and catch a glimpse of the distant Chembra and Muttilmala peaks on the horizon.

The first hut made of grass. you can take a water break here . Picture by Amoga Vigram P

The shoulder of the mountain. the peak is on the top . picture by Suhas Saya.

Continue the climb with a steep ascent of 50 meters until you encounter a stone wall with almost a 70-degree slope. Ropes have been set up by the forest department to make it easier for you to climb. Upon reaching the top, you'll find another grass hut. Take the left turn from here. Follow a gradual path along the mountain's shoulder and a 

short descent through the bushes until you reach the treehouse. The treehouse is situated at the base of the upcoming steep climb.

The Tree House. Picture by Suhas Saya.

Section 2: Tree House to the Peak

Trek Distance: 400m

Trek Duration: 1 hour

Start with the trek, and after a tough climb of 150 meters over rocky terrain, you'll arrive at a viewpoint. Here, a massive boulder stands balanced on the left, creating a magical sight.

Ropes put up by the tourism department. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

The massive boulder balancing against gravity. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

To navigate this section, there are fixed ropes in place. As you continue the climb, in just a few more minutes, you'll reach the peak's ridge.

At the highest point, there's a board and a flag on the opposite side of the ridge. You'll feel a refreshing breeze on this part of the mountain. On your left, there are a couple of granite quarries and distant mountains on the horizon. On your right, you can spot the tourism office where you initially began the climb. The entire expanse of the Karapuzha Dam's reservoir is now visible, along with the peaks of Chembra, Muttilmala, and other notable peaks of the Nilgiris.

The turn around time for Cheengeri Hills is 4 p.m., so you can easily reach the base before sunset.

Take the same route back down to the base. The descent would take approximately 2 hours to reach the base.

➤ The best season to do the Cheengeri Hills Trek

 Most of the treks around Wayanad turn magical during the monsoon months, but on this trek, the path may get extremely slippery due to the monsoon rains. Care must be taken while traversing this hill during the monsoon season.

Post monsoons and the winters would be the best times to do this trek. During this time, if you are lucky, you will get to see the surrounding mountain ranges clearly.

➤ How to reach Cheengeri Hills

Reaching Cheengeri Hills by your own vehicle

While coming from Bangalore, reach Sulthan Battery (please keep in mind that the road route from Bangalore to Sulthan Battery is closed between Gundlepet and Sulthan Battery from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.)

From Sulthan Battery, take the road towards Ambalavayal and proceed towards Cheengeri Hills. The trek to Cheengeri Hills starts at 5:30 in the morning.

Reaching Cheengeri Hills by Public Transport System

To reach Cheengeri Hill by public transport, reach Sulthan Batthery or Kalpetta from Bangalore. There are a couple of KSRTC buses running on this route. Once you reach Sulthan Battery/ or Kalpetta, there are local buses running from these places to Ambalavayal town. From Ambalavayal town, you can hire an auto to the base of the Cheengeri Hills.

 Nearest Airport

Kannur International Airport: 112kilometers 

➤ Permission on the Cheengeri Hills Trek

Permission can be obtained at the tourism office located at the base of the hill. you will have to pay Rs 100 (Trek fee for adults) and Rs 60 (Trek fee for kids)

Cheengeri Ticket Counter. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

➤ Stay Options near Cheengeri Hills Trek 

 There are a few good stay options available at Ambalavayal, 3 km away. There are also budget hotels and dorms spread throughout the district. 

➤ Timings on the Cheengeri Hills Trek

The trek is open from 5:30 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening. You have to reach the base of the hill by 3:00 in the evening to proceed with the trekking.

➤ Food and Water sources on the Cheengeri Hills Trek

 There are no food or water sources on this trek. Carry at least 2 liters of water from the tourism office located at the base. There are water filters at the tourism office for your convenience. Carry packed food in your own steel dabhas. Always remember to take reusable water bottles and dabhas, at least on a trek. Try not to produce plastic in the first place and litter the mountain.

➤ Emergency contacts for Cheengeri Hills trek

112: Nation-wide ERS

Ambalavayal police station: 04936260436

Government Medical College Mananthavady: 04935 240 264

➤ ATMs and Network on the trek

ATMs: There are a lot of ATMs along the way until the base of Cheengeri Hills. But its always better and safer to carry cash from Bangalore.

Mobile Networks: You get all the major network services on this trek.

➤ Places to visit after the Cheengeri Hills Trek

Karapuzha dam This is the second-largest earth dam in India. There are a few adventure activities focused on the dam. The dam is located just 7km from the base of Cheengeri Hills.

Edakkal caves Edakkal Caves, located in the Wayanad district of Kerala, India, are a unique archaeological site known for their prehistoric rock engravings and carvings dating back to the Neolithic era. These caves, perched on the Ambukuthi Hills, offer a fascinating glimpse into ancient human habitation and have become an important destination for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Chembra Peak is a popular trekking destination near Meppadi town in Wayanad. The trek takes you to a heart-shaped lake situated on top of the mountain.

Wonder caves These are a set of natural caves located near Ambalavayal town. Its a private property with almost 103 caves on the hill for you to explore. 

➤ Trek Contribution

Explored by IndiaHikes team consisting of Suhas Saya, Amoga Vigram P

Picture contribution: Amoga Vigram P, Suhas Saya 

Documented by Amoga Vigram P

Picture credit: Amoga Vigram P