Kurinjal Peak

A Summit Trek To The Hidden Gem In The Kudremukh Range
Difficulty
Difficulty
Easy-Moderate
Duration
Duration
1 Day
Trek type
Trek type
Trail through streams and forest
Altitude
Max Altitude
5,751 ft
Required Fitness
Base
Bhagavathi Nature Camp, Kudremukh
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
June-February

A Complete Guide To Kurinjal Peak

Kurinjal peak is one of the lesser-known peaks in the western ghats. It is hidden deep in the Kudremukh National Park of Chikmagalur district, Karnataka. This entire region falls under the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

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 the pure nature and the serenity. 

The trail passes through the tropical forest of Kudremukh National Park, many small streams and lush green meadows. The steep climb to reach the peak adds up to the best experience one could ever imagine. 

Since there are few steep sections before reaching the summit, only a fit beginner can attempt this trek.

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 Kurinjal Peak Trek on your own.

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents


What To Watch Out For

Trekking in the evergreen forest of Kudremukh National Park

Trekking to the Kurinjal peak takes you through the dense forest of Kudremukh National Park. These forests remain evergreen throughout the year. 

As soon as you enter the forest, it takes you to a completely different world. You can hear thousands of birds chirping, the rustling sound of leaves and yet a sense of silence away from the hustle and bustle of the city life!!

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Initial section of the forest-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The initial section of the forest that further goes into the dense forest. PIcture by Naveen Ganiga

Stunning view of the rolling green hills

Kurinjal Peak trek offers a majestic view of the entire Kudremukh region. In fact, you can see the Kudremukh peak from this trek. 

Once you come out of the dense forest, you see a huge clearing where the magnificent view of the rolling green hills unfolds in front of you. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Rolling green hills-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
Majestic view of the rolling green hills. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

A steep climb to the peak in the bone-chilling weather

The final stretch of the trek is very steep. You have to climb a huge rock, which has 80 degrees of inclination. 

You trek under an open sky which is famous for high wind. Trekking in this section with chilling wind is something you will never experience anywhere else. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Giant Kurinjal Peak-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
A Steep ascent towards the final stretch. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

Trail Information

The trek to the Kurinjal peak takes you completely into a different world. As you climb up, you can see the dramatic change in the weather as well as in the view. 

The entire trek can be divided into 3 sections. Those sections are:

  1. The starting point to the Forest section: 45 minutes
  2. Forest section to the first viewpoint: 1 hour 30 minutes
  3. First viewpoint to the Kurinjal peak: 25 minutes
Kurinjal Peak Trek-Route map-Indiahikes
Trail Map of Kurinjal Peak. Source: Google Earth. Picture Courtesy Nayana Jambhe

Section I: Starting Point to the Forest Section

Trek Distance: 1.9 km
Trek Duration: 45 minutes
GPS coordinates of Starting Point: 13°12’41.0″N, 75°11’13.5″E
GPS coordinates of the Forest Section: 13°12’26.6″N, 75°10’49.0″E

The Kurinjal Peak trek requires permission from the Forest department as it comes under Kudremukh National Park. At the Entrance of Bhagavathi Nature Camp, there is a forest office where you can get permission.

There is an option of taking a guide on the trek from the forest office. However, with this detailed trek documentation and the GPX file, you don’t really need a guide on this trek.

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Bhagavathi Nature Camp Entrance-Indiahikes-Nayana Jambhe
The entrance of the Bhagavathi Nature Camp and the forest office where you need to take permission. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

|Note: Do not carry any packaged food, alcohol or plastic with you. Your bags will be checked at the office. You can keep it at the office if you have any of such things with you and collect it later. 

The trek starts from 500 m from the forest office. You need to walk on the highway. After 500 m to your left, you see the entrance gate. This is where the trek starts from. 

The trail through the forests already allures with its silence and beauty of nature. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Kurinjal Peak Entrance-Indiahikes-Nayana Jambhe
Entrance gate to the Kurinjal Peak trek. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Around 300 m from the gate, you cross a bridge. You see the crystal clear Bhadra river flowing under the bridge. Get down to the river, fill your water bottles with this cold relishing water. If you want to relax and sit by the river, do this while descending down after your trek. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Bhadra Bridge-Indiahikes-Nayana Jambhe
Crystal clear Bhadra river flowing under the bridge. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

The initial trail from this bridge is a completely muddy trail. During the monsoon season, it can be slippery. Make sure you wear proper trekking shoes. 

|Tip: Wear proper trekking shoes. Carry a pair of trekking poles as well. These two trekking gears will help you while trekking. Here is a link to choose the best trekking shoes for you. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Initial trails-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The initial trail after you cross the bridge. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

The trail continues to be like this for another 30 minutes from the bridge. After that, you reach the starting point of the dense forest section.

Section II: Forest Section to the First View Point

Trek Distance: 2.1 km
Trek Duration:  1 hour 30 minutes
GPS coordinates of the Forest Section:  13°12’26.6″N, 75°10’49.0″E
GPS coordinates of the First ViewPoint:  13°11’56.5″N, 75°10’04.1″E

The starting point of the forest section is very evident as you can experience the strange feeling as soon as you enter. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Initial section of the forest-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The initial section of the forest. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

There are many small waterfalls and streams flowing next to the trail. It is also home to many wild animals, colourful birds and thousands of leeches. Trekking in this section is challenging as you encounter a minimum of 2 leeches at every step. 

However, the feeling of trekking inside this forest, cannot be explained in words. 

Chirping sound of birds, rustling leaves and the gushing sound of the waterfalls and streams next to the trail are all you need to enjoy the trek.

|Tip: Apply Dettol or Savlon before the start of the trek to avoid leeches. Just let it be and remove once you reach the grassland or summit if you find any. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Trekking inside the forest-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
Evergreen trees and bushes of the tropical forest. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

After around 1.5 km of a trek, you reach the endpoint where the rays of sunlight put a smile on your face and trails unfolds to a majestic view. Do not forget to click some photos here in that setting.

Kurinjal Peak Trek-End of the forest-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
End of the Forest section. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

As soon as you exit from the forest section, nature dramatically transforms into a different background. 

Now, your left side is a valley and the right side is the hill. You can see the rolling green hills of the Kudremukh region from here.

Just after 200 m of a trek, there is a steep section that leads to the first viewpoint.

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Steep section before first viewpoint-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The steep section just before reaching the first viewpoint. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

When you are standing at the first viewpoint facing south, Kurinjal peak will be behind you towards the North direction. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-View from first viewpoint-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The view from the First viewpoint. This is where you have climbed up. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

Section III: First View Point to the Kurinjal Peak

Trek Distance: 600 m
Trek Duration: 25 minutes
GPS coordinates of the First ViewPoint: 13°11’56.5″N, 75°10’04.1″E
GPS coordinates of the Kurinjal Peak:   13°12’11.4″N, 75°09’59.4″E

The trail from here traverses through another hill before spotting the peak. This section tests your endurance and stamina. 

The initial section from the viewpoint will test anybody and is steep. However, there is a proper trail marked all the way to the top. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Steep section-Indiahikes-Nayana Jambhe
The initial trail from the viewpoint as you climb up towards the peak. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

As you traverse through the left side of the hill, you see a giant rock standing in front of you. That is the Kurinjal peak! 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Giant Kurinjal Peak-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The view of the Kurinjal peak as you traverse through the hill. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

The trail from here gets a lot more steeper now and the most difficult section for a trekker. Your left side is exposed to the valley and the chilling wind pushes you from another side. You need to be very careful while crossing this patch. 

After around 20 minutes of a climb, you reach the top. The sense of accomplishment is rewarded by the view you see after reaching there. 

Find a rock to sit on. Drink some water and rest for a while. Immerse yourself in nature. The splendid view of the Kudremukh range is something you carry from the trek. 

After spending an hour on the peak, you can return back through the same route, or there is another alternate route that takes you through an old building and connects to the same route in the middle of the forest. 

This trail is shorter compared to the one which you climbed up. However, you do not cross the first viewpoint if you take this trail. 

It will take an hour and 15 minutes to descend down. 

GPX File For The Kurinjal Peak

We go to great lengths to ensure you have a safe trek. So here’s a GPX file of the trail to help you navigate without getting lost. Click here to download the file

If you are not familiar with using the GPX file, we have a detailed guide that explains everything about using the GPX file. Go through the article here.

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Best Season To Do The Kurinjal Peak

The best season to do Kurinjal peak trek is from June to February. However, the Kudremukh region receives pleasant weather throughout the year. 

During monsoon and winter, you can see many small streams, dark shola forest, bamboo shrubs tall enough to touch the sky and rolling green hills. However, if you are doing the trek for the first time we recommend you to avoid the monsoon season as some of the sections can become tricky to negotiate. 

Some of the sections of the trek involve trekking under the open sky. Hence, trekking in the peak of the summer season is not recommended. 

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How To Reach Kurinjal Peak

The Kurinjal peak trek starts from Bhagavathi Nature Camp which is around 29 km from Kalasa. This is where you have to take permission from the forest office before starting the trek. 

One can reach Kalasa by own vehicle or using public transportation and from there to Bhagavathi nature camp. Find the detailed information below. 

Reaching Kurinjal Peak by Public Transport System

The nearest village, Kalasa is easily accessible by public transport. There are many buses from Bangalore to Horanadu via Kalasa to be booked online at KSRTC website

You can book an overnight bus to Horanadu and get down at Kalasa bus station. The distance from Bangalore to Kalasa is 310 km. 

You will reach Kalasa by 6 am if you have taken the overnight bus at around 10.30 PM. From Kalasa, you get a bus that goes towards Balagal village. Inform conductor to drop you at Bhagavathi nature camp. It is a 30 km journey. 

The overall bus journey from Bangalore to Kurinjal peak base costs you around Rs 800 per person. 

Reaching Kurinjal peak 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 to the Chikkamagaluru road and continue until you reach Kottigehara. At the Kottigehara Junction take the right that goes towards Kalasa. Continue on the same road until you reach Kalasa police station. Take a left from the Police station junction towards Balagal to reach the Bhagavathi Nature Camp. 

You can park your vehicle near the forest office. From there you need to walk on the highway for around 500 metres to reach the starting point.

Return option: There are buses for every hour that goes towards Kalasa. But the frequency reduces after 3 pm. So make sure you return back before 3 pm.

Nearest Railway Station

Mangalore railway station – 91 km

Nearest International and Domestic Airport

Mangalore International Airport – 86 km

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Difficult Sections On The Kurinjal Peak

Kurinjal peak trek is of easy-moderate difficulty. However, there are a few sections that test your endurance and stamina. You need to be prepared for the trek to enjoy nature without feeling exhausted. 

The climb just before the first viewpoint gets steep. There are loose rocks that have to be climbed carefully. You need to take the help of a co-trekker if you are a beginner.

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Steep section before first viewpoint-Indiahikes-Naveen Ganiga
The steep climb just before the first viewpoint. Picture by Naveen Ganiga

The final climb to the Kurinjal peak is almost 80 degrees inclined. There are loose rocks that have to be negotiated very carefully. Make sure you maintain a certain distance while climbing here. 

The entire trail can be slippery during monsoon season. Moss formation on the rocks makes it more difficult to trek. 

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How To Get Fit For Kurinjal Peak

The Kurinjal Peak trek is classified as an Easy-Moderate grade trek. From the base, you will gain more than 1000 feet in altitude in a day.

The high altitude gain and the rolling ascents and descents can be demanding for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Training yourself for an Easy-Moderate grade trek:

Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.

Cardiovascular Endurance

In case you’re just starting with a fitness routine, start slow and increase your pace every day in the following manner –

  • Target completing a jog of 5 km in 40 minutes when you begin.
  • Gradually increase your pace by running 5 km, 4 times a week.
  • As you become more comfortable, introduce another day of running in your routine. 
  • Progressively increase the distance you run in a workout until you can complete 5 km in 35 mins.

If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 18 km in 60 minutes when you begin.

  • Progressively increase your pace to cover 25 km in one hour.

Strength Training

This is an important area you need to work on.

Strength training is equally important to trek comfortably. Work on your glutes, calves and knees. Additionally, work on strengthening your core.

You must strengthen your core muscles. For strengthening your core muscles, holding a plank and it’s variations (elbow, side planks) are the best exercises to go about doing it.

Also, try these exercises for strength:

Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set.

– Squats (Mix it up with sumo squats)

– Lunges (Forward, backward and lateral lunges)

– Planks

Flexibility

Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

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What To Pack For Kurinjal Peak

  • 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:

  • Scissor
  • 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 & 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.

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Permission, Water Sources And Other Finer Details About The Trek

Do we need permission to do Kurinjal Peak Trek?

Kurinjal peak comes under Kudremukh Forest range. You need to take permission from the forest office near Bhagavathi nature camp. They charge you INR 425 including the fees for the guide. 

Kurinjal Peak Trek-Permission-Indiahikes-Nayana Jambhe
Complete detail of the forest fees. Picture by Nayana Jambhe

Is camping allowed on Kurinjal Peak Trek?

There is no permission to camp on this trek. Since the entire region comes under Kudremukh national park, it is not allowed from the forest department to camp anywhere on this trek. 

Are there any food and water sources available on Kurinjal Peak Trek?

Kalasa is the nearest city where you can find the restaurants. You can pack your food from there. 

You pass through the Bhadra river while trekking. This is the last potable water source. 

If you are trekking in the monsoon season, you find a few waterfalls on the way to the peak. However, make sure you carry a minimum of 2 litres of water from the starting point itself.

| Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from outside carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water.

Who can do the Kurinjal Peak Trek?

Kurinjal Peak trek has few steep sections that require good stamina and endurance. Only a fit trekker can complete this trek while enjoying the beauty of nature. 

If you are a beginner and would like to do this trek, you can attempt this after working on your fitness. Here is a guide to preparing yourself for the trek. 

What is the ideal time to start Kurinjal Peak Trek?

The ideal time to do the Kurinjal peak trek is to start as early in the morning. You need two and a half an hour to reach the peak and an hour and a half to come back.  

There is a restriction from the forest office that you can not trek after 6 PM. You need to be back to the base by then. 

Also, in the western ghats, the weather turns windy after 2 PM. Make sure you reach the summit before 1 PM and come back before 6 PM. 

Emergency contact for Kurinjal Peak Trek 

Hospital:  Kudremukh Hospital and Government hospital Hirebyl are the nearest hospitals to the Kurinjal peak trek. 

Police Station: Kudremukh Police station 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 place where you can find reliable ATMs. There is one Canara Bank ATM just before you reach the Police station Junction. You can find the other ATMs here

Mobile Networks:  There is no network on the Kurinjal peak trek. However, only BSNL network works near the forest office where you need to take permission.

Places To Visit After Kurinjal Peak

There are many treks and waterfalls that are in the same region as Kurinjal Peak. If you wish to cover more places and treks after Kurinjal Peak, go through the list mentioned below: 

Towards Bangalore

  • Horanadu 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.
  • Ballarayanadurga Fort Trek: This fort is a part of the Bandaje trek. One can do this from Durgadahalli. This route is easier compared to the Ujire route. This is 57 km from Bhagavathi nature camp.
  • Aane Gudda Trek: This trek starts from Haluvalli. You have to take a deviation from Kalasa to reach the base. This is 34 km from Bhagavathi nature camp.
  • Meruti Hill: This is the 7th highest peak of Karnataka. The trek starts from Basarikatte. This place is very close to Horanadu temple. Basarikatte is 49 km from Bhagavathi nature camp.
  • Kudremukh: This is the most beautiful trek in Karnataka located 18 km away from the Bhagavathi nature camp. This trek will be crowded during weekends as it is one of the famous treks. 

Towards Mangalore

  • Lakya Dam Lake: This dam is built across the river Lakya, a tributary of the Bhadra river. This dam is inside the Kudremukh national park. The distance from nature camp is around 9 km.
  • Kadambi Falls: This fall is one of the major attractions for the tourist who wants to experience the greenery of the western ghats. This is close to the highway and 4 km away from the nature camp.
  • Hanuman Gundi Falls: This fall is located in the Kudremukh National park and 10 km from the Bhagavathi nature camp.

Trek done and documented by Nayana Jambhe

Special thanks to Naveen Ganiga for the pictures of the trek
Banner Image by Naveen Ganiga

The trek was written by Nayana Jambhe

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Complete trek guide

Last updated: October - 2020

 Complete trek guide

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