David Scott Trail

1 Day
Trek type
Trek type
Muddy trail with a few rocky sections
Max Altitude
4,892 ft
Required Fitness
Best time to visit
Best time to visit

A Historical Trail

David Scott was a British administrator who operated in and around the Khasi hills for nearly thirty years (1802-1832). This 16-km trek is a part of the famous horse-cart track that he built, which stretches from Cherrapunjee to Bangladesh and is named after him.

This road resulted in a war amongst the Khasi people, led by U Tirot Singh, king of the Khadsawphra Syiemship and the British. British muskets finally defeated the Khasi forces after fighting them for four years.

The trek stretches from Mawphlang to Ladmawphlang. Both the villages deserve their own chapters in the annals of Khasi history, culture, and folklore. Mawphlang, which literally means ‘grassy stone’, is one of the many settlements in the Khasi hills named after monoliths. The sacred groves in this village make it a centerstage of Khasi culture.

 The Trek

  • Altitude: 4,892 ft
  • Time taken: 4-5 hours, 16 km
  • Trek gradient: Easy-Moderate. Gradual descent for 1 hour followed by flat walk for about 2-3 hours. Gradual ascent for the last 1 hour.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of of water. You can refill your water bottles at the Umiam river, around 1.5 hours away from the starting point.

While the trek can be done from both sides, starting from Mawphlang makes it more of a descending trail. Mawphlang is a very small village. The starting point of the trail is not marked. However, being a popular trail, locals can help out with directions.

Expect to see rivers, woods & rocks sculpting the enormous landscape, and of course of bridges that act as important medium of connection between the two villages.

You need to start walking North of the village and till you notice a resting place called ‘Ka Kor Ka Shonmai’. This is named after a daughter of Dorsing Lyngdoh, the 1st Lyngdoh with the British, and acts as the primary trail identification point for the David Scott’s Trail. Follow the mud path winding down for another one and half kilometers to a place called Mawsahep, where you notice a Tomb. This tomb was erected in 1843 in memory of a Child fondly called Camilla. There is a water tap right behind the tomb in case you need to refill your water bottle.

After crossing the tomb, follow a winding path overlooking Umiam river, Simpanghang Falls and part of Mawphlang Dam. ‘Umiam’ quite literally translates into the flood of tears. According to legends, the river was formed by the tears of a sister who came down from the heaven losing her sibling en-route.

You can replenish your water at the stream that comes your way – the water here is unusually sweet. You may spot a few villagers on the bank.

Once you cross the stream, the mud trail continues onward. After about 3 km of gradual descent, you reach a hanging bridge over the Umiam river. This military-built bridge acts as the perfect entry into the forest.

The trail widens a little after the bridge. Continue on it for about 15 minutes, till you reach a point where you’re at the same level as the river. This is a good spot to take a break.

Cross the river by hopping over the rocks. The trail continues on the other side through a field. You need to follow the same path until you find a lowland, locally known as Wahtham, stretched for about a kilometer in length. You then climb the winding path for about 3 km to reach Step Lakrai and Laitsohma villages. Notice the huge oddly shaped rocks on the way, particularly the one that eerily resembles a man’s face!

The trail after this becomes narrower, taking diversions at unexpected places. Though there is every possibility of getting confused, always opt the route which appears tougher and lengthier, never take shortcuts. that After walking on this trail for 1 km, you reach a hilltop. This is where Mawphlang forest ends and Ladmawphlang forest begins.

From here on, take the trail going east. The trek would appear less green and its streams would become thinner too. You need to follow the same trail (there is no diversion and it is one single trail) for around 45-60 minutes till you reach Ladmawphlang. The village is situated at the edge of a valley. There are water sources close by.

You can choose to camp near Ladmawphlang or at one of the villages on the trail, or hail a ride from the road head at Ladmawphlang to Shillong or Cherrapunjee.

Points to note:

  1. If you plan to camp overnight, carry sufficient warm clothes since temperatures drop t0 5-6 degrees celsius in the night in winter.
  2. The trail is infested with leeches during monsoon. Take adequate precautions if you’re doing this trek in monsoon.

This trek has been documented by Niladri Mukherjee.

You have multiple travel options –

  1. Get a seat on a shared cab going from Shillong to Cherrapunjee. Get off at Mawphlang, which is around 40 minutes away from Shillong. After the trek, hail for a private cab from the road head at Ladmawphlang. You can either return to Shillong or proceed to Cherrapunjee, which is around 45 minutes from here. This will cost around Rs.150 each way.
  2. Get a private cab to drop you to Mawphlang and pick you up from Ladmawphlang to bring you back to Shillong. This will cost Rs.1200-1,500.

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14 thoughts on “David Scott Trail

  1. Hello,

    Planning to go to David Scott’s Trail during last week of Dec’18. Could you please help me with the local guide numbers ?

    1. Hi Nitin, unfortunately we don’t have contact details of any guides in that region. If you do go there and find one, please do let us know so that we can update our documentation!

    2. Hi Nitin,
      I am travelling to Shillong on the 30th of December and am planning trek David Scott’s trail on 1st or 2nd. Please do let me know your experience if you happen to travel before that.

    3. Hi Nitin,
      I am travelling to Shillong on the 30th of December and am planning trek David Scott’s trail on 1st or 2nd. Please do let me know your experience if you happen to travel before that.

  2. Arnold Wankhar(Mawphlang Guide)
    +91 87319 11410
    +91 94851 10210

    I did trekking on Jan 7, 2019.
    Guide fee -1500 INR.
    Even you can plan a overnight stay in Forest. Winter time temp around 3 degree, take additional precautions. Guides are very cooperative. In monsoon time path may be slippery and you can expect lot of leaches. No other risks

    1. Now that I’m planning to go in the month of April. I can pitch the tent by ourselves in the forest right? No other risks!? Like permission and things like that?

  3. I had a trekk guide Banshan and he was simply amazing and very helpful , he booked homestay for me and was with me for 3 days ..his number 9615884289

  4. Hi Guys,

    The best person to go with on trek is Mr. Winning star Lyngdoh. He is a local khasi tribe and he has been there for almost 28 years now. He knows in and out of every place there and has a very good local connection. You can do two treks on this trail. One is of 16km which can be finished in 5-6 hours and one more which you can opt for is of 34km where in winning would help you with campaign stuff and all.

    No – 8368487316

  5. I came across Banshan’s name while reading about the trail here and then again at the reception of the place where I am staying
    He made those 16 kilometres very easy for me by talking about the history of Meghalaya, his people, narrating local folktales, being patient everytime I stopped to take a break, and even offering to carry my backpack
    If you ever find yourself wanting to do this trek, do give this grounded man a call-
    +91 8837423443
    And have fun! xD

    1. Thank you so much Ankita for providing guide’s contact number here. Last week I completed this trek & must say that Banshan is the best guide in Meghalaya.

      1. Thank you so much Ankita for providing guide’s contact number here. Last week I completed this trek & must say that Banshan is the best guide in Meghalaya.

        Anyone willing to do solo trip in Meghlaya, get in touch with Banshan(09615884289) & Win(08826711719). They will help in planning your itinerary & will take you to places which are still unexplored in Meghalaya. Very trustworthy, knowledgeable & fun.

  6. One of the most memorable days from my Meghalaya trip was trekking on the David Scott trail. I went with Winning Star (8368487316) who was the perfect companion for the trek. It is one of the less-visited places, and I met only one other trekker on the way. Winning has in-depth knowledge of the trek, the Khasi hills, tribe, food, history of the trail as well as other local tidbits. We spoke about everything over the course of the 16 km trek. He was a fun guy to do the trek with and I honestly had a blast. The trek did not feel long or tedious thanks to his company and him letting me go at my pace.

    The trek itself isn’t hard, even though my health isn’t the greatest. It is long, and you go through the entire range of flat grounds, climbs, and downward slopes with brooks and streams in the middle and plenty of fields. We stopped at the midpoint and had red tea, Maggi made by the talented chef that is Winning star.

    All in all, so worth the time and effort. Also, would recommend speaking to Winning regarding other outdoorsy stuff to do in Meghalaya which are off-beat.

Complete trek guide

Last updated: November - 2017

 Complete trek guide