Ghepan Lake

Trek to the Blue Glacial Lake in Lahaul

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Trek to the Blue Glacial Lake in Lahaul

We wanted to explore the much talked about blue glacial lake in Lahaul for a long time. So naturally, when we found a small window in our schedule, our senior team members excitedly set sail to explore the blue Ghephan lake trek. They came back totally awestruck.

"When I first witnessed the lake, I could not imagine the sight. The colour was mind-blowingly blue. I was left speechless. I was expecting it to be a pretty sight, but in a second, it turned into one of my favourites!" exclaimed Ravi Ranjan, who led the exploration of this trek. 

As you trek to Ghepan Lake at about 14000 feet, you witness a long inky blue lake closed on all sides by mountains — like an open cave. Right in the middle of the lake, you see a tiny island full of flowers.  

You see big snow patches nestling on the mountainsides feeding the lake. You also see a massive glacier in its complete form — from the origin to the end, depositing itself in the lake. Then, when the beauty bowls us over, tiny icebergs float on the lake's surface. 

The trek to the lake is a treat — barren mountains of Lahaul with snow-covered peaks surrounding you, glacial waterfalls coming down from these mountains, contrasting lush green valleys and ridges — the scenery is stunning.

We wanted to explore the much talked about blue glacial lake in Lahaul for a long time. So naturally, when we found a small window in our schedule, our senior team members excitedly set sail to explore the blue Ghephan lake trek. They came back totally awestruck.

"When I first witnessed the lake, I could not imagine the sight. The colour was mind-blowingly blue. I was left speechless. I was expecting it to be a pretty sight, but in a second, it turned into one of my favourites!" exclaimed Ravi Ranjan, who led the exploration of this trek. 

Ghepan Lake Videos

Campsites at a Glance

At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Ghepan Lake trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.

Gorduk Campsite. Picture by Aditya

Aliyas campsite. Picture by Jothiranjan

Aliyas campsite. Picture by Aditya

Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder

Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, they have impacted significantly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible. 

I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences. 

I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.

In the mountains, new professions, economies and businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.  

Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine. 

Expert Speaks

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map some of India's most incredible Himalayan treks, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the Women of Worth Award by Outlook Business in 2017.

Here's Sandhya talking about the Ghepan Lake trek.

What I Like About the Ghepan Lake Trek

What I Like About the Ghepan Lake Trek

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map some of India's most incredible Himalayan treks, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the Women of Worth Award by Outlook Business in 2017. Here's Sandhya talking about the Ghepan Lake trek.

1. Rare Hanging Glaciers

Hanging glaciers are formed when the glacier recedes into a valley, up the mountain slopes and remains only in the mountain's upper reaches. Even on this trek, you spot the last remains of a massive glacier hanging from the saddle ridge of the mountains surrounding the lake. Waterfall tumble out of the hanging glacier. Its a sight to behold

Three such glaciers feed the Ghepan Lake. Usually, such settings of glaciers feeding alpine lakes are found deep in the Himalayas, above 15,000 feet. You must trek for at least 4-5 days to get there. But here, just after two days of trekking, you witness this rare setting.

Picture by Jothiranjan

2. The Curious, Unchanging Colour of Ghepan Lake

On the exploration, when Slope Manager Ravi Ranjan spotted the Ghepan lake from far, he couldn’t believe this was a lake. “The blue colour of the lake was surreal,” he shares. But there’s something even more intriguing about the colour of the lake. “Unlike other alpine lakes, for example, Chandratal or Pangong lake that change their colour according to the sky, the blue shade of this lake remains unchanged. It could be because of the undergrowth of algae,” Ravi adds.

From the Aliyas Camp, when you go on an excursion to the lake and till the glacier snout, you may take a closer peek at the lake to find out the secret behind its unchanging blue colour.

Picture by Ravi Ranjan

3. An Intimate Peek at the Villages of Lahaul

The scene dramatically changes as soon as you cross the Atal Tunnel. It’s not just a change in the physical scenery; the culture and set-ups also shift. On your trek, you come across 2-3 villages (Sissu, Labrang, Retli) steeped in Lahaul culture.

When you reach the Labrang village, where you come across the ancient monastery of Labrang Gompa, ahead of that, to your right, will be Retil village. 

The villagers here are primarily dependent on farming and tourism. They have neat farms growing cauliflower, potato and peas. The local food at Lahaul is rajma-rice and siddu.

In winters, most of these villagers shift to Kullu and Mandi as this whole place gets covered with a thick blanket of snow.

Picture by Jothiranjan

The view from the summit.

Picture by: Ravi Ranjan

Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Ghepan Lake trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Don’t miss the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section at the end. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Why fitness matters on the Ghepan Lake Trek

On Moderate treks, you walk for about 6-8 km each day. The ascents and descents could get steep. The maximum altitude will range between 13,000 ft to 14,000 ft. You’ll come across tricky patches frequently (like snow or scree), which require you to navigate with a certain amount of caution. There might also be small stream/river crossings.

Your goal is to 5 km to finish within 35 minutes.

Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll also need to submit your Treadmill Test within 7 days of registration.

How to Get Fit for Your Trek

Green Trails: Sustainable

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

If you are unable to complete a trek, or if you love a trek, you can repeat it with us anytime. You don’t have to pay us for it. See our thoughts behind this here.

Daily 3-time health checks keep you safe at any altitude

Our thrice-a-day oxi-metre checks keep altitude sickness at bay, never allowing you to reach a point where you need evacuation.

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

With around 30% of our trekkers being women, all women, including those travelling solo are comfortable to join any of our groups.

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

Our kitchen teams understand your needs as a vegan (or a Jain). We will take special care of your food, even in the remote Himalayas. 

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

We have specially designed bio toilets to ensure you have no sight or smell in toilets, at the same time making sure the toilets cause no harm to the fragile ecosystem we trek in.

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

We’ll admit it. Our love for food surpasses our love for minimalism. Expect freshly cooked, multi-cuisine food at all camps, designed to meet your nutritional requirements and keep your taste buds happy!