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The Complete Guide to Kareri Lake Trek
The Kareri Lake trek takes you through lush sub-tropical pine forests. The forests are filled with chir and chilgoza pines, interspersed with broad-leaf species. They are also a host to the high-density birdlife which is easily spotted (given the low canopies).
In the latter half of the trail, the forests open up to rocky grasslands along the lake-fed Nyund nallah which serves as both guide and refreshing companion. The forests are dotted with pines and shrubs. The lake itself is glacial and close to the snow line. All these combine to make the transition of vegetation zones with altitude easily visible on this trail.
Kareri Lake trek is a lovely weekend adventure for people looking for options away from the more beaten Himachal trails like Kheerganga, Prashar lake, Triund, etc. Several campsites along the trail, along with convenient options for food, make this an ideal beginner-level DIY trail for trekkers.
An untouched glacial lake one night’s journey from Delhi
- Located high between the ranges of Dhauladhar is the perfect elliptical glacial lake - Kareri Dal.
- A trek that takes you through lush subtropical forests and alpine grasslands
Day 1: Ghera/Kareri Village to Reoti
- Altitude: 5,905 ft to 8,038 ft
- Time taken: 4.5 hours
- Trek gradient: Mostly ascent, steep in some parts. Steep parts mostly have steps cut into the rock.
- Terrain type: Mixed pine and broadleaf forests in the first half, grasslands interspersed with pine and deodar in the second half of the trail.
- Water sources: The waterfall is a good place to refill bottles. As also several small springs along the trail.
After crossing Nyund Nalla. Picture by Raghav Srivastava
Kareri village is known to most locals in Dharamshala. The trail goes through Kareri village and starts through mixed pine and broadleaf forests. Birds such as the black drongo and red-billed blue magpie are commonly seen. A little care is needed as the undergrowth is thick and the ground is littered with pine needles, making it a little slippery.
After about 15 minutes the trail curves upwards towards a metal road. After joining the road, you walk along the road for about 10-15 mins until Nolli bridge. The trail then curves off just before the bridge. This point is easily identifiable by a small shack that sells soft drinks and packaged food items. The trail then goes back into the forest.
You come across another shack after climbing some steps which ascend after crossing a small waterfall. The shack sells soft drinks and Maggi and is a good place to catch your breath before continuing to Revti (about 1.5 hours from the shack).
Not too long after this, a metal bridge provides an easy crossing of Nyund nallah. The forest opens up into grasslands along the banks of the nallah. A number of shepherds can be seen with their flocks on the slopes. Birds such as the warbler, redstart and brown dipper are a common sight in and around the stream. A keen eye can spot Himalayan griffon vultures flying far overhead.
Initial stretches of the trail. Picture by Raghav Srivastava
A 10-15 min walk from the bridge brings you to the picturesque campsite on the banks of the nallah at Reoti. From here you get gorgeous views of the valley downstream. Camp here for the night, enjoy delicious home-style meals at the shack and the comfort of flowing water nearby.
Landmarks: Shacks at regular intervals are good pointers. And the proprietors are happy to orient lost souls.
Stay options: There is a campsite by the nallah at Reoti/Revti. You come across it about 10 minutes from the metal bridge at the first crossing point of the nallah.
There is adequate camping space, as well as a small shop that stocks packaged foods and drinks. It even serves hot tea and Maggi with the option of more wholesome meals (dal-rice/vegetable curry-rice). It also rents tents (price varies depending on size) and sleeping bags (at Rs 100 per bag per night).
For the more alpine-minded trekkers, there are a few gaddi huts along the latter half of the trail (along the nallah) which serve as warm, dry shelters for the night.
Day 2: Reoti to Kareri lake. Return to Kareri village
- Altitude: 8,038 ft to 9,613 ft. Return to 5,905 ft
- Time taken: 5.5 hours (1.5 hours to Kareri Lake)
- Trek gradient: Gradual ascent to Kareri Lake. Descent to Kareri village
- Terrain type: Grass meadows interspersed with boulders
- Water sources: Small springs occur regularly in between the boulders along the stream, about 30 minutes after Reoti.
A small shack near Reoti. Picture by Raghav Srivastava
Set out early in the morning. The trail leading up from Reoti is paved for the large part. Small segments in the middle are unpaved but can be easily navigated between the boulders that litter the upstream banks of Nyund nallah.
The stream gradually picks up power as one approaches its source – Kareri lake. A shack/campsite about 1 hour after Reoti marks the last pitstop before Kareri lake. This is not counting a few gaddi huts along the way, built by the famous nomadic Gaddi shepherds of the Kangra region who use these as makeshift shelters.
Camping grounds by the lake. Picture by Vipin Gaur
A short, rocky crossing across the nallah leads to stone steps that take you up to the hilltop. Atop you find a temple dedicated to Shiva. On the other side of the hill (and already visible) is the beautiful glacial Kareri lake. Follow the trails along its banks to get closer to the water. The water is cold but the lake is shallow at the banks. The mountains of the Dhauladhar are in resplendent view on the opposite bank. You can see the trail to Minkiani Pass (4.5 km from the lake) between these behemoths of ice and grey rock.
Spend some time absorbing the beauty of the lake, then head back down to Reoti in time to pack up your tents (these can be safely left at the campsite) and descend to Kareri village before the sunsets.
Landmarks on the way: Small Shiva temple on the left side of the trail, 10-15 minutes after Reoti.
Plan Your Travel
The nearest road head for buses is Dharamshala. From Dharamshala, local buses ply to Ghera village from 8 am onwards. From Ghera, Kareri village (starting point of the trek) is about a 2-hour walk.
Alternatively, cabs are available from the Dharamshala bus stand to Kareri village. The cab charges are Rs 800-1000 one way for a group of 4-6 people, depending on the size of the group, the vehicle and your negotiating skills! Taking a cab is the better option if time is scarce; it reduces about 2 hours off the day’s travel and walking.
Alternative Indiahikes trek you can do
Kareri Lake is a wonderful trek. If you've been on a few treks before, you'll know how to prepare for the trek and navigate the trail. Not to say first-timers can't do the trek. However, if you're a newbie the process of organizing a trek by yourself might get a bit overwhelming. If you want to trek with your family or friend then you might not want the hassle of doing it. In such cases, we have a couple of great treks for you.
If you have a couple of days more in hand, Beas Kund is a great option. The starting point of the trek is Solang, just an hour's drive from Manali. That makes it very easy to access. If you're a beginner, it is the perfect trek with great views of biggest mountains of Manali. Moreover, you get to stand right at the base of the Pir Panjal Range.
View of Hanuman Tibba en route Beas Kund