The Complete Guide to Chembra Peak Trek
The highest peak in Wayanad at an altitude of 6,890 ft above sea level. It is also one of the highest peaks in the western ghats that is above 2,000 m. The peak is visible from the different parts of Wayanad.
It is located 8 km south of Kalpetta and near the town of Meppadi. Trekking to Chembra Peak can be started from Meppadi town itself.
There is a forest office on the way to the starting point where you need to take permission. The Chembra Peak VSS, under the control of South Wayanad Forest Department provides permission as well as a guide.
The trekking to the highest point of Chembra Peak is not allowed now due to the wildlife activity on the trail. However, trekking to the heart-shaped lake, which is 1.5 km below the Chembra Peak is one of the top attractions.
The trek to the heart-shaped lake takes around two and a half hours. The trail starts from the tea plantations, enters thick forest and then passes through overgrown grassland.
From the heart-shaped lake to the Chembra Peak, the trail is straightforward. However, this part of the trek is very steep. You need good stamina to reach the peak.
➤ 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 Chembra Peak trek on your own.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use the Table of Contents:
- What to Watch Out for
- Trail Information
- GPX File for the Trek
- Best Season to do the Trek
- How to Reach the Base of the Trek
- Difficult Sections
- How to Get Fit for the Trek
- Things to Take for the trek
- Permission, Water Sources and other Finer Details about the Trek
- Nearby Places to Visit after the Trek
➤ What to Watch Out for
1. A perfect heart-shaped lake
There is a perfect heart-shaped lake midway to the Chembra Peak. This lake never dries up even during the summer. And the shape never changes also if there are overgrown grasses.
You can also see the small heart-shaped lake on the Google Map!
A perfectly heart-shaped lake. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
2. Trekking through lush green tea plantations
The trekking from the Forest Office to the Watchtower takes you through lush green tea plantations. You can see downward sloped tea plantations on your right side and left is the hill.
You trek with this setting for a couple of km from the Forest Office to the Watchtower.
The initial trail from the forest office. This picture is taken while looking back at the trail. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
3. Splendid view of the Wayanad from the top
From the top of the Chembra Peak or from the heart-shaped lake, you can see the complete range of Wayanad. For miles together on each side, you can see tea and coffee estates.
View of the Wayanad from the heart-shaped lake. Picture by Swati Y
➤ Trail Information
Chembra Peak trek can be divided into 3 sections.
- From Forest Office to the Starting Point of the Trek: 40 minutes by walk/15 minutes by car
- The Starting Point to the Heart-shaped Lake: 2 hours
- Heart-shaped Lake to Chembra Peak: 1 hour 30 minutes
Trail Map of the Chembra Peak Trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro
Trek Distance: 2.2 km
Trek Duration: 40 minutes by walk/15 minutes by car
GPS Coordinates of Forest Office: 11°33'13.97"N 76° 6'6.99"E
GPS Coordinates of the Starting Point: 11°33'17.09"N 76° 5'19.28"E
The trek starts from a Watchtower, 2 km from the Forest Office where you take the permission. However, you can start the trek from the Forest Office itself.
Forest Office where you have to take permission. Picture by Nayana Jambhe
the trail from here is entirely a mud road. if you are coming by your own vehicle, you can drive all the way up to the watchtower.
you will pass through many tea estates and rolling gardens. spot the villages down below. fresh air is completely filled with the fragrance of the herbs grown in that region.
after around 2 km of walk on the same road, you reach the parking space. you can see a few vehicles parked there as it is the last point beyond which vehicles are not allowed.
you can also hire a jeep or shared auto from the forest office to the starting point. they charge you depending upon the number of people.
Trek Distance: 2 km
Trek Duration: 2 hours
GPS Coordinates of the Starting Point: 11°33'17.09"N 76° 5'19.28"E
GPS Coordinates of the Heart Lake: 11°32'50.58"N 76° 4'57.65"E
From the parking point, you see a trail that goes through the rolling tea garden on your right and a hill on the left. The trail is pretty easy for another 15 minutes.
The initial trail from the parking space. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
You see a signboard indicating the starting point of the trek. The actual trek starts from here to the Chembra Peak.
The starting point of the Chembra Peak trek. Picture by Roshan Padhi
From here, the trail passes through forest and overgrown grassland. It is of moderate difficulty until you reach the heart-shaped lake. The trail is pretty straight and the chances of getting lost are very less.
Overgrown grass on the trail. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
After around half an hour of the trek inside the forest, you reach a grassland where you see a small pond with a lone tree next to it. Do not mistake this with heart lake.
A small pond with a lone tree. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
Take a break for a few minutes here. Drink some water and rest for a while.
The trail from here is entirely under the sun. It is pretty steep as well.
It passes through grasslands with tall blades of grass that are almost 5 ft long. There are a few rocky patches that need to be negotiated carefully.
Tip: Wear proper trekking shoes. Carry a pair of trekking poles if you have. These two trekking gear will definitely help you to do the trek comfortably.
The trail passes through grasslands with tall blades of grass that are almost 5 ft long. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
Around 45 minutes of trekking you reach the point where you see the Chembra Peak in front of you and the heart-shaped lake on your right. This lake is known as Hridaya Thadakam in the local language.
Sometimes, the lake can be hidden between the overgrown blades of grass. You need to go closer to see the naturally formed heart-shaped lake. It looks beautiful as the gentle breeze creates ripples in the water.
Note: Trekking to the Chembra Peak is not allowed anymore. Due to wildlife activity on the trail, it is prohibited from trekking.
From the heart-shaped lake, if you go towards the west (towards the end of the hill), you see a cliff from where you can see the gorgeous view of the landscape stretched till the horizon.
Splendid view of the Wayanad from the heart-shaped lake. Picture by Swati Y
Spend some time here enjoying the beauty of nature. The lush green valley with a misty cloud is a joy to the eyes.
Trek Distance: 1.5 km
Trek Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
GPS Coordinates of the Heart Lake: 11°33'17.09"N 76° 5'19.28"E
GPS Coordinates of the Chembra Peak: 11°32'14.36"N 76° 4'55.11"E
The trail from heart lake to Chembra Peak is straightforward. Trek to the peak was possible till 2019 March. After that, the complete trail is closed due to wildlife activity.
You can not continue to trek from heart-shaped lake to Chembra Peak as per the petition filed by Prakriti Samrakshana Samiti.
Chembra Peak as seen from the heart-shaped lake. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
The descent is back on the same trail you climbed up to the heart-shaped lake. If you are trekking right after the monsoon, the trail can be slippery. It will take around one and a half an hour to reach the base point of the trek.
➤ Best Season to do the Chembra Peak Trek
The best season to do Chembra Peak trek is from September to February. During this time you get to trek amidst the green tea plantations. Lake will be surrounded by lush green grass.
The trail passes through lush green tea gardens during post-monsoon. Picture by Swati Y
Summer is not recommended as it will be too hot to trek. June to August is the monsoon season which makes the trail slippery. Hence, we do not recommend trekking in the monsoon season as well.
➤ How to Reach Chembra Peak Trek
Chembra Peak trek starts from a watchtower at the foot of the Chembra Hill. Kalpetta and Meppadi are the nearest places which are easily accessible by public transport and private vehicles.
Reaching the Starting Point by your Vehicle
If you are travelling by your vehicle, you can take up to the starting point near the watchtower. Use this link to help set up navigation in google maps.
From Bengaluru get on to Bengaluru - Mysore Highway and follow the road up to Gundlupete. At Gundlupet junction, take right towards Bandipur National Park road. Continue on the NH766 till you reach Kolagappara, Kerala.
Turn left at the Kolagappara Junction and continue on the Vaduvanchal-Kolagappara road for another 8 km. Take right at Manjappara stores and get on to Manjappara-Nellarachal road. Another 15 km, you reach Meppadi.
Head towards Chembra Peak road to get to the forest office. You can either park your vehicle at the forest office or you can take up to the starting point depending upon the type of the car.
Pro Tip: The road from the Forest Office to the Watchtower is narrow, and you find a lot of potholes on the road. If you are going by a large vehicle, we recommend you to stop at the Forest Office and trek from there.
Reaching the Starting Point by Public Transport System
There are many buses plying from Bangalore to Kalpetta. You can book a bus that goes to Calicut and get down at Kalpetta. It costs you around Rs 700 to 800 depending upon the season.
From Kalpetta, you get public transport as well as jeeps that go to Meppadi. If you have taken public transportation, get down at Meppadi mosque. From here you get many autos that go to the starting point of the Chembra Peak trek. They charge you around Rs 100 per person.
Note: Do not forget to take permission from the Forest Office that you get on the way to the starting point of the trek.
Return Options: There will be many autos at the Watchtower that can drop you at Meppadi. Sometimes you may have to wait for autos to drop another set of trekkers and pick you up.
Stay Options: There are many hotels near the Chembra Peak Forest Office. You can book hotels here.
Nearest Railway Station
Kozhikode Railway Station: 92 km
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Kozhikode International Airport: 105 km
➤ Difficult Sections on the Chembra Peak Trek
There are no difficult sections as such on the Chembra Peak trek. However, a few parts of the treks are pretty steep, and they need to be climbed carefully.
If you are trekking right after the monsoon season, the trail from a small pond to the heart-shaped lake becomes very slippery. The trail is full of mud and loose rocks, which makes it more challenging to climb up.
Tip: A pair of trekking poles will be helpful while ascending and descending right after the monsoon season.
The trail from lake to the summit of Chembra Peak is very steep and can be slippery right after monsoons season. However, there is no permission to go ahead after the heart-shaped lake.
➤ What to Pack for Chembra Peak Trek
- Basic First Aid kit*
- Identity Card
- Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
- Water (Minimum three litres)
- Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
- High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
- Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
- Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
- A warm layer (Pullover, sweater or a jacket)
- Poncho, only during post-monsoons
- Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
- Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
- Tent (3-Person or 2-Person - Depending on the number of people sharing)
- Sleeping Bag
*First aid kit:
- 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 and 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 about Chembra Peak Trek
1. Do we need permission to do Chembra Peak Trek?
Trekkers are allowed to trek between 7.00 AM to 5.00 PM. However, after 2.00 PM, you do not get permission to start the trek and go past the Forest Office.
The entry fee is Rs 750 for a group of 10 Indians and Rs 1,500 for a group of 5 foreigners.
To know more about permission details, visit Kerala Tourism website. However, permission has to be taken offline at the Forest Office.
Because of the wildlife activity, trekking to the top of Chembra Peak is restricted for trekkers.
As per the recent update, trekking to the heart lake is also closed due to the wildlife on the trail. High court has banned trekking in that region until further notice.
2. Is camping allowed on Chembra Peak Trek?
Camping is not allowed by the Forest Department on Chembra Peak trek.
3. Are there any food and water sources available on Chembra peak?
There is no water source available on this trek. Make sure you fill water-bottles at Meppadi or any nearby restaurants to Forest Office.
You can not drink the water from the heart-shaped lake or the small pond on the way. They are not meant for drinking.
There are many restaurants on the way to the Forest Office from Kalpetta or Meppadi. You can stop anywhere and pack your food.
Make sure you carry enough food and water (minimum of 2 litres) before starting the trek.
Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from outside, carry purification tablets or Life Straw bottles to purify the water.
4. Who can do the Chembra Peak?
As trekking to the Chembra Peak is not allowed, trek distance becomes shorter and makes a trek a bit easier. However, there is almost a km of steep ascent before reaching the heart-shaped lake.
It requires good stamina to climb up while enjoying the beauty. Hence, a fit beginner can attempt this trek.
5. Timings on the Chembra Peak Trek
Trekkers are allowed to trek between 7.00 AM to 5.00 PM. however, after 2.00 PM, you do not get permission to start the trek from the Forest Office.
The best time to start your trek will be starting early in the morning from the Forest Office. This will ensure you back to the forest office by 3.00 PM.
6. Emergency contact for Chembra Peak Trek
Hospital: Leo Hospital is the nearest hospital to Chembra Peak trek. It is located in Kalpetta and 22 km away from Chembra.
Police Station: Meppadi Police Station is the nearest police station to Chembra Peak. It is 13 km from Chembra.
Forest Office: You can contact the range Forest Officer, Meppadi on 04936-282005. DFO, South Wayanad on 04936-203428.
ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the pan-India Emergency Response Support System (erss) number- 112.
ATMs and Network on the Trek
ATM Meppadi is the nearest place where you can find reliable ATMs. There are few ATMs available at Kalpetta after Meppadi.
We recommend you to carry a minimum of Rs 2,000 from your hometown itself.
Mobile Network: You get the network till the starting point. Idea and BSNL work best. However, once you start the trek, no network providers catch the signal.
Meppadi is the last place where you can access the internet.
➤ Places to Visit after Chembra Peak
There are many waterfalls and viewpoints near the Chembra Peak. If you have a couple of extra days, you can visit some of the places mentioned below.
Soochipara Waterfall: It is located 9 km from the starting point of the Chembra Peak trek. it is also called Sentinel Rock Waterfall.
The waterfall is around 200 metres and offers a cliff face which is used for rock climbing. 10 to 15 minutes of a walk from the parking area takes you to this beautiful waterfall.
Soochipara waterfall. Picture by Suhas Saya
Kanthanpara Waterfall: It is located 20 km from the Chembra starting point.
It is a small waterfall famous for its location little away from city and serene vibes. This waterfall is completely surrounded by greenery. It is open from 9.00 AM to 5.00 P< all the days of the week.
Edakkal Caves: These are 2 natural caves at Edakkal at an altitude of 3,900 ft from sea level. It is believed that these caves were camping shelters of the Neolithic community (Neolithic is the final division of the stone age).
These caves are a rock shelter caused by a piece of rock splitting away from the main body.
Edakkal caves. This picture is taken from inside the cave. Picture by Meghana Jambhe
Trek Explored and Documented by Nayana Jambhe
Special Thanks to Swati Y, Roshan Padhi, Suhas Saya and Meghana Jambhe for the pictures used in the documentation.
Banner Image by Meghana Jambhe