Moderate-Difficult | Level 2
12 to 55 years
12 to 55 years
Moderate-Difficult | Level 2
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
The Most Beautiful Trek In India
Kashmir Great Lakes is one of the most beautiful treks in India. No question. It validates Kashmir’s mythical status as heaven on earth.
This is because the trek is set on a canvas that’s larger than life. It is situated 75 km northeast of Srinagar. Every day is a 360° panorama of wild, rugged mountains, rolling meadows, and turquoise alpine lakes. And you get more than six of these lakes and five very different valleys to explore!
The range of landscape makes it a moderate-difficult trek spanning over six days. This means it has long trekking days with steep ascents and descents with no easy exit points. So, it’s not meant for a beginner who hasn’t been exposed to high-altitude treks.
Having said that, the challenges are worth it. Each day is postcard-perfect, with a new alpine lake to look forward to. What makes these lakes even prettier are the snow patches that feed these lakes. You see them sliding off the serrated mountains into the lakes. Sometimes you’ll see milky white icebergs floating on the lake’s inky blue surface.
And then there are meadows of Kashmir. These meadows come in every shape and size, sometimes many in a day.
After this trek, every other trek feels as though it is a movie on a small screen. Kashmir Great Lakes, however, is an IMAX 3D experience – such is the grandeur of the trek. If you have not done this trek, put it on your bucket list!
Kashmir Great Lakes Videos
Watch these videos to prepare well for your trek.
Elevation chart of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek
Drive from Srinagar to Naranag
Drive Duration: 2 hours | Drive Distance: 50 km | | Pick-up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah Chowk, near Flourmill, Srinagar
Transport will be organised at 8 am from Sheikh Feroze Tours & Travels, Sathu, Barbara Shah Chowk, near Flourmill, Srinagar. The cost of the cab is Rs 500 per person and needs to be paid directly to the driver.
Trek from Naranag to Gangabal
Trek Distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,800 ft to 11,486 ft
Moderate day with a steep ascent from Naranag followed by a mix of ascents and descents to Gangabal
Trek from Gangabal to Satsar via Zaj Pass
Trek Distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude gain: 11,486 ft to 11,985 ft via 13,276 ft
Difficult day with a steep ascent for about 45 minutes and then a steep descent followed by boulder hopping for half an hour. Similar to the previous day, ascending and descending trail all through.
Trek from Satsar to Gadsar
Trek Distance: 11.5 km | Trek Duration: 4 hours | Altitude loss: 11,985 ft to 10,706 ft
Moderate day starting with level walk followed by steep ascent for 1.5 km
Trek from Gadsar to Vishnusar via Gadsar Pass
Trek Distance: 16 km | Trek Duration: 8 hours | Altitude gain: 10,706 ft to 12,011 via 13,715 ft
Moderate-Difficult day starting with long walks on the wide stretches of meadows followed by a steep ascent to Gadsar Pass and then steep descent
Trek from Vishnusar to Nichnai via Nichnai Pass
Trek Distance: 13.5 km | Trek Duration: 7.5 hours | Altitude Loss: 12,011 ft to 11,607 ft via 13229 ft
Moderate day with level walk followed by a steep ascent to the Pass. Moderate descent all the way to Nichnai
Trek from Nichnai to Sonamarg. Drive to Srinagar.
Trek Distance: 11.6 km | Trek Duration: 6.5 hours | Altitude loss: 11,607 ft to 8735 ft
Drive Distance: 80 km | Drive Duration: 3-4 hours
Moderate day with gentle descent and ascent for 4 hours followed by a steep descent all the way to Shitkadi.
Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.
For all your travel plans include a buffer day to accommodate bad weather on the trek/political instability. This depends completely on the circumstances of the trek and the situation in Kashmir. The buffer day is mandatory to keep in your itinerary.
If the buffer day is used, you have to pay us Rs 1,800 per day +5% GST. The money will be collected by the Trek Leader only if we use the buffer day.
- Advisory Note: There are often uncertainties when it comes to trekking in Kashmir. If you're planning any trek in Kashmir, ensure you book flexible flight tickets, that allow you to reschedule your flight at no added costs. These are easily available with most airlines.
- In case of emergencies, we will reroute treks to other trails. Please ensure you're mentally prepared in case such situations arise.
- For all your travel plans include a buffer day to accommodate bad weather on the trek/political instability. This depends completely on the circumstances of the trek and the situation in Kashmir.
- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a photocopy of their photo id along with the mandatory documents of the Medical Certificate and Disclaimer form. This is required for trek permissions before and during the trek.
- If the buffer day is used, you have to pay us Rs 1,800 per day +5% GST. The money will be collected by the Trek Leader only if we use the buffer day.
- Please note that you will be staying in tents on all days of the trek. Trekkers need to make their arrangements for a stay in Srinagar at the end of the trek.
Please note: Twin-sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.
Elevation chart of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek
Your trek starts at Naranag. Don't forget to visit the Wangath Temple ruins where the trek starts
The road head meets at Kangan and you follow the Sindh River from Srinagar during your onwards journey. The drive is again 2 hours
You'll love the drive from Shitkadi! It follows the Sindh River all the way. The view gets especially pretty around 40 minutes before you reach Srinagar There are lovely paddy fields on your right.
Campsites at a Glance
At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Kashmir Great Lakes trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.
Smooth green grass, almost manicured, a few lone maple trees and a few horses enjoying the graze are what Satsar meadows look like where your campsite is. Picture by Sachin
Shitkadi is right next to the NH1 highway. You get to see the Kolohoi glacier in the backdrop with the Sindh river flowing right next to you. Picture by Nimesh Mittal
Your last campsite would be the Nichanai campsite. Nichnai grasslands show you how massive and rugged meadows can be. Picture by Sachin
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, all of them have been impacted greatly. 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, new economies and new 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.
What I Like and Don’t Like About the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
What I Like About the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
The setting of meadows, horses grazing beside you and the glacier waters flowing is a set taken for endless wallpaper moments.
Picture by: Suresh Kerkatta
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 superficial experience.
Use this section to learn about the Kashmir Great Lakes 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. Trekkers find that extremely useful.
Why fitness matters on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
On Moderate-Difficult treks like Kashmir Great Lakes, you’ll walk for about 8-12 km each day. Gradual to steep ascents and descents are common on all days. Expect to reach high altitudes of 15,000+ ft. There will also be technical sections (such as rockfall zones, near-vertical sections, glacier walks), which our technical teams will help you navigate.
Your goal is to comfortably run 5 km within 32 minutes.
Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll need to submit a Treadmill Test report within 7 days of registration.
Things Nobody Tells You About Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
The Naranag temple was built by Lalitaditya Muktapida of the ancient Kayastha Naga Karkota Dynasty. It is believed to be built in the honour of Shiva. Multiple carvings which can be linked to Shiva are found here, and so is the Shivaling.
Another field of study also believes it to be dedicated to the Nagas (divine snakes in Hindu mythology). These Nagas were widely worshipped in ancient times in the region which is now Kashmir. These were also said to be the primary religion during that time. The Karkota dynasty members were religious devotees of the Nagas.
One of the most famous archaeological sites in India, it is built with the characteristic Aryan style of the 8th century. Now lying mostly in ruins, it is still a beautiful archaeological and religious place.
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