Gangadikal Trek

Gangadikal Peak is a mountain in the Kudremukh ranges of the Western Ghats, and it's not as well-explored as some other peaks in the area.

You get to see the entire Gangadikal ridge, the moment you start the trek right from the roadhead until you reach the summit. 

Climbing Gangadikal is both easy and a bit tricky. The peak is like a long ridge, and walking along it is like having an adventure of a lifetime.

There's a deep valley on both sides of the ridge, making the journey even more exciting. Once you reach the summit, you get a unique view of the Kudremukh range that you can't see from more famous peaks like Kudremukh itself. 

If you're lucky, you might even see animals like gaur, deer, and various birds that are common in the Western Ghats.

Going on the adventure of Gangadikal trek is a great experience for nature lovers and those who enjoy a bit of a challenge while exploring beautiful landscapes.

➤What to watch out for

The View from the Peak

Gangadikal Peak sits high up at 4806 feet, and the view from the top is absolutely amazing. 

Picture this: you look out and see these beautiful valleys covered in endless green shola forests on both sides. From the peak, you can see the expanse of Kudremuka forests on both the side. The never ending shola grasslands as far as the eyes can see, is a sight to behold.

On one side you can see the Kyatanmakki hills and on the other side you can see Kurinjal and Valikunja on clear days. 

The View of Lakhya Dam backwaters

Right below you, you get to see the crystal-clear backwaters of the Lakhya Dam, also known as the Kudremukh Dam. The backwaters resting on the Shola grassland feel unworldly and magical.

On clear days you can also see the abandoned mining town of Kudremukh next to Lakhya dam

Gangadikal trek. View of Lakhya dam. Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

View of Lakhya dam backwaters from the peak. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

Trekking in the beautiful evergreen forests of Shola

The forests are tropical montane forest found in valleys amid rolling grassland in the higher mountain regions. A walk on this forest feels magical with heavy undergrowth which rarely allows sunlight to penetrate.

 The trek is a thriving habitat for diverse flora and fauna. Lucky trekkers may have the chance to glimpse a herd of gaurs or deer, while various bird species such as the Grey Hornbill, Malabar Trogon, and Orange Headed Thrush and various snake species such as shieldtails , Malabar Pit vipers can be found here.

Gangadikal trek. Shola forest. Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

Evergreen shola forest. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

The Gangadikal Trek can be divided into four sections. Buses go all the way to the base of the hill but are not feasible since the frequency is very low.

  1. A gentle ascent from the forest check post to the first view point
  2. Trek from the first view point to the second view point.
  3. A steep ascent from second view point to Gangadikal ridge

Section 1: Forest Check post to First View Point

Trek Distance: 1.9 km

Trek Duration:

The trek starts at the checkpost right beside the road. Park your car right outside the gate. The parking lot has space to park three cars comfortably.

The first 1.5 km of the trek is a well marked offroad jeep trail. 

A gradual ascent of 100 meters will take you inside the forest section. Watch out for evergreen tropical trees. If you are lucky, you might spot the Malabar giant squirrel up in the canopy.

Gangadikal trek. First forest section. Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

The first forest section. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

After a gradual ascent for 250 meters through the forest, you reach the Shola grasslands. Here you will find a diversion to your right. Do not take that diversion. Continue straight.

After a gradual ascent of 200 meters through the meadows, you get clear views of Gangadikal Ridge to your left. Watch out for a small metallic structure in the center of the ridge that's the destination for the day. 

Continue on the trail; a short, steep ascent of 80 meters will take you to a small forest. The forest is barely 5 meters long, but the branches form a cave-like structure along the path. From here, a steep descent and ascent of 150 meters will take you to the end of the Jeep trail.

A steep ascent of 400 meters will take you to the first viewpoint. The first view point is a big, flat section with views of Kurinjal on the far left and the road that you took to reach the peak, in front of you. Rest for a few moments here before the steep climb which lies ahead of you

Gangadikal trek.  First view point. Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

First View Point. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

Section 2: First View Point to the Second View Point

Trek Distance: 400 meters

Trek Duration:

Start your trek along the well marked path. Continue the ascent through the zigzag trail for 400 meters to reach the second viewpoint. 

The second viewpoint is a small clearing with a tiny man-made structure. The entire Gangadikal ridge is towering directly in front of you now. On clear days, you can have a clear vision of the Ajikunja (Valikunja) peak on your right and Kurinjal on your left. 

From here, you can view the entire path you used to come up and the roadhead too.

Gangadikal trek. Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

2nd View Point. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

Section 3: Second View Point to Gangadikal Peak

Trek Distance: 300 meters 

Trek Duration:

A steep zigzag ascent through the shola grassland will take you to the center of the Gangadikal ridge. The path is filled with small boulders and gravel, which is rich in iron.

Gangadikal trek. Gangadikal ridge . Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

Gangadikal Ridge. The highest point on the ridge is the Gangadikal peak.

Standing on top of the ridge feels amazing! you'll see a whole new side of Kudremukh that you dont get to see from anywhere. The whole stretch of the Kudremukh range is laid out before your eyes, and it's stunning.

Take a moment to notice the Lakhya dam's backwaters and the quiet town of Kudremukh below. The grasslands are like a soft carpet beneath you, and everything seems peaceful. The air is fresh, and the only sounds are the gentle whispers of the wind.

The Turn Around Time (TAT) for the peak is 2 pm so that you reach the back safely to the base town of kudremukh before sunset. The descent will take approximately 2 hrs and the section from The peak to the second viewpoint is a bit tricky.

You descend along the same way you used to come up. The descent till the second viewpoint is a bit tricky and challenging. Always lean on the mountain side while descending. The loose gravel and boulders can give way while placing your foot. So be firm in your footing. Once you cross the second viewpoint it is an easy descent all the way down.

➤The best season to do the Gangadikal Trek

The optimal time for embarking on the Gangadikal trek is typically from late September to January. 

During the post-monsoon period, the area flourishes with vibrant greenery, offering a stunning sight. If you are lucky, the entire peak will be surrounded by thick fog and high winds, making it even more thrilling and adventurous. 

You can also extend your trek into the pre-summer season when the landscape transitions to a blend of brown and green, providing clearer vistas compared to the monsoon. 

Post-monsoon and winter are considered the prime seasons for the Gangadikal Trek.

Trekking is not permitted during the height of summer (April–May) due to the increased risk of wildfires in the region. During peak monsoons (June to August), the area receives heavy rainfall, making the path extremely slippery to climb. The forest department may also impose a ban on trekking during monsoon season due to the risks involved. 

The monsoon season brings heavy rainfall to the area, so if you choose to undertake the trek during this time, it's crucial to be well-prepared with the appropriate gear. Keep in mind that the trek becomes more challenging during the peak of the monsoon season. 

➤How to reach Gangadikal Trek

The starting point of the trek is about 33km from Kalasa, one of the main towns of Malnad. You need to make a stopover at Kudremukh town to get permission and hire a local guide. 

You need to reach the forest office in Kudremukh town before 10 a.m. to get permission.

Reaching Gangadikal by your own vehicle

If you are planning on reaching Kalasa using your own vehicle from Bangalore, you can use this link to help setup navigation in google maps. For a more detailed explanation, read through the information below.

To reach Kalasa, there are multiple routes available from Bangalore. The best route is to go via Hasan. 

Get on the Chikkamagaluru road and continue until you reach Kottigehara. At Kottigehara Junction, take the right that goes towards Kalasa. Continue on the same road until you reach the Kalasa police station. Take a left from the police station junction towards Balagal to reach the Kudremukh entrance point. From here, show your online permission and continue towards Kudremukha town. At Kudremukha town, as soon as you cross the Bhadra River, at the roundabout, take the right. You will find the Kudremukh Forest Office on your right side. 

Show your online permission along with the reference number and make the payment. It costs Rs 500 per head for the trek, along with Rs 1000 as the local guide charges. 

Take the guide along with you on the highway to reach the base of the peak.

Gangadikal trek. Parking.  Treks in Karnataka. Treks around western ghats . Kudremukh trek

Parking at Gangadikal. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

Reaching Gangadikal by Public Transport System

It is currently not feasible and convenient to reach Gangadikal using public transportation, as very few buses run on this route, and you have to get down in Kudremukh along the way for permission, hire a guide, and then catch the next bus to the base of the peak, which is another 12km away.

Nearest Airport

Mangalore International Airport – 97km

➤Permission and Camping on the Gangadikal trek

To embark on the Gangadikal trek, it's essential to obtain permission. You need to apply online, fill out all the necessary details on https://kudremukhanationalpark.in/, navigate to trek bookings, and select Gangadikal trek. 

Once you finish the process, you will get a reference number in your registered email. Show this number at the forest office on the day of the trek and fill out the form that they give. Do ensure to take your  ID proof (Aadhar is preferred) and make the payment to get permission. 

You cannot camp inside the national park. There are a few private homestays outside the national park that provide camping facilities inside the homestay. They charge anywhere between 800 to 1200 for tent stay per night during offseaons and during the peak seasons and long weekends the price goes up from 1200 to 2500 rupees

➤Stay Options near Gangadikal Trek

If you want to stay overnight, there are quite a few options before the start point of the trek. You have a few homestays and even a few resorts as options.

There are many homestays near the forest checkpost . One can book in advance. Some of the homestays are: 

Bella Homestay: Chandan - 9110684643 (Closest to the Forest office)

➤Timings on the Gangadikal Trek

You are permitted to start the trek from 6 am until 10 am. 

You need to reach the peak by 1 pm. The TAT (turnaround time) for the peak is 1 pm. So that you reach back safely to the checkpost before it gets dark.

The optimal time to commence your trek is as early as possible in the morning. This will ensure that you return to the Gangadikal base before evening sets in.

Gangadikal peak viewed from the Karkala- Kalasa road. Picture by Amoga Vigram P

➤Food and Water sources on the Gangadikal Trek

You won't get any food or water sources along the trek route. 

Take packed food from Kalasa. You can carry the food in your own steel dabbas. It is very important to leave the mountains better than before. So refrain from using single use plastic at least on a trek. You can learn more about it here

For water sources, there are no readily available sources along the path to Gangadikal. However, you can fill your water bottles either at the forest office in Kudremukh town or at the restaurant in Kalasa

➤Emergency contacts for Gangadikal Trek

Hospital: Kalasa Govt Hospital, Sri Manjunatha Memorial Hospital & Kaveri Hospital (0826-3274628)

Police Station: Kudremukha Police Station (08263-254169) is the nearest police station to the Kudremukh Trek. 

Kudremukh National Park Forest Department: You can contact the forest office in case you need any information.

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

ATMs: Kalasa is the last town where you get ATMs. Carry sufficient cash with you since the area does not accept UPI or card payments.

Mobile Networks: You don't get them during the trek. At the peak, you get Jio 4g occasionally

➤Places to visit after the Gangadikal Trek

  1. Kudremukh Trek - Kudremukh is nestled in the heart of the western ghats in Chikkamagaluru district. It comes under Kudremukh National Park which is the second-largest wildlife protected area in the western ghats.

  2. Kurinjal Trek - It is situated at an altitude of 5,751 ft above sea level. Trekking to the peak takes you to a different world where you can experience pure nature and serenity.

  3. Ballalarayana Durga Trek - Ballalarayana Durga trek lies in Chikmagalur, nestled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, just 280 kilometres away from Bangalore. Chikmagalur is known for its coffee plantations and lush greenery. and the trek adds a unique flavour to its landscape.
  4. Aane Gudda Trek – Unknown and unfamiliar to many people, Aane Gudda trek is somewhat lost amongst the giants of Western Ghats. A perfect Western Ghats trek for a beginner, it remains largely unexplored and is nestled within the laid-back, peaceful village of Haluvalli. Aane Gudda stands for Elephant Hill and the shape of the ranges here resembles the shape of an elephant.

  5. Karkala - Karkala has a lot of places to visit such as the Varanga Jain temple, the Gomateshwara statue, and a few viewpoints.

  6. Horenadu Temple -  It is famous for the temple situated on the banks of the river Bhadra in a corner of Chikkamagaluru district. This is 35 km from Bhagavathi nature camp.

Upcoming Treks