One of the finest summit climbs for beginners
The experience of a summit climb is special because it stays with you for a long time. Waking up at wee hours in the morning, dawn breaking as you climb up the mountain flank. For a long time, this flank and trail is the only thing you can see ahead of you. And then, coming up to the ridge where your world widens. And then, finally, the summit where everything else is below you.
The feeling on top of a summit is indescribable. There is a sense of achievement, the feeling you have earned this view. The kind of internal confidence you gain after an adventurous summit climb is difficult to shake.
Now, usually, this kind of experience was enjoyed exclusively by hardcore trekkers and mountaineers. With Kedarkantha, however, you get to experience the thrill of a summit climb even if you are entirely new to trekking. No wonder a lot of us have a soft spot for this trek!
It is not just the fact that this trek is beginner-friendly. Kedarkantha has an endearing setting: the campsites, the summit views, the forest walks. This packed along with a thrilling summit climb makes it a wonderful trek for beginners, families and children. The better prepared you are, the more you will enjoy this trek!
What to Watch Out For
This trek has some of the loveliest campsites in Indian Himalayas. Khujey is a meadow, a couple of hundred metres long and about a hundred wide. It is surrounded by forests on one side. Near the forests, we have abandoned wooden huts that once belonged to the local wandering shepherds. Bhoja Dadi is a remote camp in the wilderness, close to the Kedarkantha summit. You can observe wonderful sunsets, sitting on one of the rocks by the campsite. These are settings right out of fairytales.
The view from the summit
While the summit climb to Kedarkantha is a huge thrill, the view from the top is jaw-dropping! When you face the north, all around you are the mighty snow-clad ranges of Uttarakhand at your eye level. You see Swargarohini, Black Peak, Bandarpoonch among the Gangotri and Yamunotri ranges.
And stretching below you in this direction is the Har ki Dun valley. On your north-west, you see ranges of Himachal Pradesh – that extends into Kinnaur ranges. The Rupin valley makes its way to Himachal on your west. And on your east, you see from where you drove to base camp – Purola, Mori. Views of this scale are incredibly rewarding after an adventurous summit climb.
Best drive in the Himalayas
The drive to Kedarkantha takes you through Mussoorie, Nowgaon, Purola and Mori before finally bringing you to Kotgaon. Trekkers need to especially watch out for the section after Purola until the base camp, where the drive curves through a dense pine forest. The scent of pine engulfs you as you make your way towards your base camp. After you drive through the length of pine forest, you enter Mori. The Tons river starts keeping you company here, gushing quietly alongside. It is no wonder that this is one of the most beautiful drives in the Indian Himalayas.
The route from Kotgaon to the summit
Kotgaon is a village right out of a storybook. With a small temple in the centre and the Har Ki Dun and Devkyara valleys behind it. This sets the mood for the whole trek. The forests from Kotgaon are dense and full of birds and relievingly secluded. The campsites of Khujey and Bhoja dadi are isolated too. The trek is idyllic. However, on the flipside, if there’s very heavy snowfall, this trail often gets blocked. When that’s the case, we will be taking the old route from Sankri and back to Sankri. Even though heavily crowded, the trail is still endearing with camps at Juda Ka Talab and Talketra.
Banner image Anand Tamhankar
Trekkers often ask us these questions about the Kedarkantha trek:
These questions have been answered by Swathi Chatrapathy, the head of the Content Team at Indiahikes, who has been on the Kedarkantha trek in two seasons.
❖ Is Kedarkantha trek easy?
The Kedarkantha trek is easy-moderate, but only in comparison to other Himalayan treks. Any Himalayan trek has steep gradients, cold weather conditions and high altitudes that challenge trekkers. And all of these apply for the Kedarkantha trek too.
On this trek, you cover around 20 km over 4 days. Even though the distance is not much and the hours of trekking are quite short (you reach the next campsite by noon everyday), the gradient is steep. You gain around 7,000 ft in three days while climbing uphill, and get down all the way. This tests the endurance of any trekker.
Additionally, Kedarkantha is known to be a winter trek. So the presence of from December to April makes the climb more difficult. In the winter months of December, Jan and Feb, you’ll see snow all the way from the first campsite to the summit. In March and April, expect to trek in snow on the day of your summit climb.
The temperatures on the Kedarkantha trek also drop to zero and negative temperatures post sun down, especially during winters. This is an additional factor that makes the trek challenging.
Keeping all this is mind, you can manage all of these easily with good physical fitness and mental preparation. Familiarise yourself with the trail before going on the trek. Train for at least a month and a half in advance. Carry enough warm layers and correct trekking gear. If you follow these few steps, you’ll find that Kedarkantha is an easy-moderate trek and you’ll do it comfortably.
❖ Is Kedarnatha and Kedarkantha the same?
Kedarnath and Kedarkantha are not the same. The distance between Kedarkantha and Kedarnath is around 370 km by road. They are a 12-hour-journey away from each other.
Kedarkantha is a Himalayan summit in the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park in Uttarakhand. It is a popular trekking trail that takes trekkers to the top of a summit, from where you see fantastic views of the Garhwal Himalayas. It is known for its beautiful forest trails, pretty campsites and the remote villages on the trail.
Kedarnath, on the other hand, is a revered Hindu temple in Uttarakhand. It is considered one of the 12 most sacred Shiva Temples in the world (the Jyotirlingas). It has enormous religious and mythological significance, attracting pilgrims from all over the world.
❖ How long is Kedarkantha trek?
The Kedarkantha trek covers a distance of 20 km over 4 days. You cover an average of 5 km a day, which is a fairly short distance. You usually reach your next camp by lunch time.
However, what makes the short distance challenging is the altitude gain and loss of around 7,000 ft. You start the trek at 6,400 ft and climb to a highest altitude of 12,500 ft. This makes a few sections of the trek quite steep and challenging.
Despite that, this trek is well-suited for beginners who have never ventured into the Himalayas before. The Indiahikes team will guide you in preparing for the trek for at least a month before the trek.
❖ Who are the best Kedarkantha trek organisers?
Ever since Indiahikes explored and opened up Kedarkantha as a winter trek in 2011, many other organisers have followed suit. It is a fairly easy trek to organise, especially from the base camp of Sankri, which has now become a hub for trekking.
Frankly, we would recommend choosing Indiahikes to trek to Kedarkantha for 2 simple reasons.
The first reason is that we take the lesser-known route from Kotgaon. It’s a secluded route, which gives you a feeling of wilderness. The route from Sankri (which almost all other organisers take) is crowded and the campsites have become crowded too.
The second reason to choose Indiahikes is that we know this trail like the back of our hand. Having explored and trekked this route for over a decade, we know every nook and corner on the trail. We organise the trek ourselves from end to end and do not outsource it to others. If you want to have a safe, secluded trek to Kedarkantha with an unmatched experience, trek with our team. But decide quickly, because our dates get full very quickly.
❖ How do I get to Kedarkantha
The Kedarkantha trek starts from a village called Kotgaon (or another village called Sankri, which is just around 4 km away).
The best way to get to the Kedarkantha base camp is to take a vehicle from Dehradun. The drive takes around 8-10 hours, covering a distance of 186 km.
The route to take is from Dehradun – Mussoorie – Kempty Waterfalls – Nainbagh – Purola – Mori – Naitwar – Kotgaon (Sankri is 4 km ahead)
At Indiahikes, we believe this is one of the prettiest drives in the Himalayas, especially from Purola onwards. You must absolutely stay awake through the drive and take in the views. It’s a small peek into what is to come over the next 4 days of the trek. But keep in mind that these are curvy mountain roads. If you are someone who is prone to motion sickness, these tips to prevent motion sickness will help.
Kedarkantha: Short Itinerary
Day 1: Reach Kotgaon (6,800 ft); 10-11 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be organised from Dehradun railway station at 6.30 am. Cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per vehicle.
Day 2: Kotgaon (6,800 ft) to Khujey (9,400 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Khujey (9,400 ft) to Odari (10,800 ft); 2 hours
Day 4: Odari (10,800 ft) to Kedarkantha summit (12,500 ft) and then on to Odari; 7 hours
Day 5: Odari to Sankri (6,800 ft); 5 hours
Day 6: Drive to Dehradun; 10-11 hours. The cab costs approximately Rs.5,500 per small vehicle (6 seater) and Rs 9,000 per tempo traveller. You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
Important points to note:
1. You will be staying at a village home in Kotgaon and a guesthouse in Sankri. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).
2. If the trail from Kotgaon is blocked with too much snow in peak winter, we will be rerouting trekkers to trek from Sankri to the Kedarkantha summit and back to Sankri.
3. You can leave behind extra luggage (no valuables) at Kotgaon. This will be transported to Sankri on Day 6. There are no charges for this.
4. It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Click here to download KML file
Day 1: Getting to base camp – Kotgaon
- Distance: 220 km
- Time taken: 10 – 11 hours
Arrive at Dehradun. Indiahikes vehicle will pick you up from there to Kedarkantha base camp, Kotgaon. Located within the Govind Wildlife sanctuary in Uttarkashi, Kedarkantha is one of the most popular treks in India. More so, as a winter trek. The trek is in the higher reaches of Garhwal where you will spend your week.
The drive to Kotgaon is long and perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in the Indian Himalayas. The journey follows the path of the river Yamuna until Naugaon. The road crosses over the river here, and starts following the quietly gushing river of Tons, a tributary of Yamuna. Tons keeps you company all the way till Sankri.
Watch out for the section after Purola until Sankri, where the drive curves through a dense pine forest. The scent of pine engulfs you as you make your way towards your base camp. After you drive through the length of pine forest, you enter Mori. Mori is the last place where you can get cellular network to make calls.
The drive ends at Kotgaon in the evening. The village has a few dhabas, a Someshwar temple right at its center and a GMVN building slightly up the road from the rest of the village. You’ll often find children playing on the ground beside the temple. You can also find a small shop in Kotgaon where you can get very basic trekking gear.
Most trekkers reach Kotgaon in the evening. This offers them the time to look at the sun setting over the Greater Himalayan mountain ranges, guarding the Har Ki Dun and Devkyara valleys, while they’re sipping some hot tea. The peaks of Swargarohini shimmer in the evening sun, standing tall over the ridges beyond Kotgaon. If it’s not too cloudy, you can also see the top summit cap of Kedarkantha from the area near the temple in Kothgaon.
Day 2: Kotgaon to Khujey (9,573 ft); 5 hours
- Altitude: 6,800 feet to 9,400 feet
- Distance: 4 km
- Time taken: 5 hours
This is the first day where you’ll start your journey on foot, towards Kedarkantha. After tea, breakfast and some health check ups, you’ll leave the Kotgaon basecamp at 9:00 am. Start from the base camp towards left, moving on the village road towards Sankri side. You’ll pass by local wooden houses, local shops and a Shiva temple on the way. The old temple looks several hundred years old with many coins studded into its frame.
Swargrohini will make its presence felt on your left. It’s a level walk on the tar road for another 10 minutes till you reach the first bend. The trail starts from here. You’ll see a narrow way going up, just when you reach the bend. There is a lone blue house right next to the trail. Take that trail. On this uphill path with oak trees, few farmlands and apple gardens, you will find the first water source, which is an attached pipe and has water coming from the stream. The villagers use this area for washing, but the water is good for drinking. You can fill your water bottles here
You will also see flags and a Trishul to indicate that you are on the right path. The way is a little rocky, but it’s a very gradual ascent. After walking for 10 minutes, there will be a concrete road. Take a right and then a left to join the paved trail once again.
If you look back, you will see Kotgaon from a bird’s eye view. You can also spot a gushing waterfall, further below the trail, on the left. When you are walking on this part of the trail, you’ll see terrace farming lands owned by locals that grow vegetables like potato and rajma. Continue hiking along the trail and you’ll encounter a short and steep patch. Be careful while climbing this patch during winter, when the snow melts away and makes the trail slippery.
Half an hour into the gradual ascent, we enter the jungle with few bamboo, oak and pine trees. You may even spot Long leaf pine, spruce pine, silver oak and green oak. The terrain is a mix of boulders and soil. A stream, that is the main source of water for Kotgaon and other villages nearby, flows through. As you continue walking on the trail, you will witness a bridge which connects Kotgaon to Sankri. If you are quiet, you may get to see birds like white throated laughing thrush, Himalayan bulbul and many more.
After a steep climb for 30 minutes, you will enter clearing in between the jungle. Usually in the winter months, there’ll be a good amount of snow here. Right after, there is a straight trail for 5 minutes until a steep climb through oak and pine trees takes you to five scissor bends. For the next two and a half hours, you’ll find yourself taking the zig-zag way up, till you get to a clearing. The chestnut tree on your left marks the end of the zig zag trail. Take a sip of water in its shade as there will be another steep climb for half an hour to reach Molani. In the winters, the entire area will be snow covered and there’ll be no place to sit.
After this, you’ll mostly find two trails. One goes up on your left. And one goes straight ahead from the clearing. Take the trail on your left, that climbs up. Follow this trail, and within 25-30 minutes, you’ll reach Molani.
Molani is a clear meadow, with an oak tree marking its beginning. It has a dhaba which can closed depending on the season.Carry some packed snacks or lunch instead of buying food from there. You can rest at this spot. There’s a very small stream, just next to the dhaba. You can fill your water bottles from here.
Spot some of the mountain ranges from here. From the dhaba, begin your ascent on the steep path that goes to another clearing where huge oak trees look down on you. Take the narrow trail that goes right by a big brown oak tree and climb upwards..Within the next 15 minutes, you’ll reach another clearing. There is a wooden hut that the locals use in the summers, in one further corner of the clearing. There’s a trail that goes to the left, into the forest cover. Follow the trail. It’s a gradual ascent for the next 20-25 minutes. There will come a short moderately steep ascent and a wooden bridge will appear out of nowhere. Descend till the bridge. This is a good place to take pictures and stop for a while.
There is a stream that flows underneath the bridge which will be frozen in the winters. Cross the bridge and follow the trail. After 10-15 minutes, you’ll enter a huge clearing which is our first campsite, Khujey.
Khujey is a large grassland, a couple of hundred metres long and about a hundred wide. You can see a range of snow-clad peaks from there on your left. The campsite is surrounded by huge pine trees from all sides. Near the forests, at its edge, there will be few shepherd huts – often seen abandoned in winter months.
Day 3: Khujey (9,573 ft) to Odari (10,124 ft)
- Altitude: 9,573 feet to 10,124 feet
- Time taken: 2 hours
It’s a short day, so make the most out of it. Often, in the mountains, the day before the summit day is a short one. This is so your body gets much needed rest to prepare for summit climb and for acclimatisation purposes. When you acclimatise well, and less troubled you will be with altitude sickness.
Start your trek downhill left, towards north east direction. You will pass the shepherd huts and enter the jungle with oak and pine trees.
Gujjars stay in these huts for six months during summer to graze their cattle and spend the rest of the six months down in the village. Gujjars are a pastoral community who move their livestock seasonally between fixed pastures in summers and winters.
Within five minutes of level walking, you encounter a water stream. You can re-fill your bottles here. Then it’s a gradual walk till you enter a very sparse forest. It mostly consists of brown oaks and pines. There are also short descent patches from time to time while you’re passing all these trees. Thirty minutes into the trail and your first rest point is almost here. You climb up a gradual patch, and if you look to your left, you can see an even wider range of peaks that you could see from the campsite. This is the spot to wait and click some pictures. You can see the Har Ki Dun valley, Dev kyara valley, Ranglana peak and a lot of the Himachal range. Ask your guide to tell you about Bararsar lake which is down to a ridge visible right in front of this scenic view.
After soaking in the views, descend from here. It is a 15 minutes march through bird filled pine forests, with brown oaks edging for attention in between. In winters, you need to be careful on the snow while you’re descending, because there are more chances of slipping. Using micro-spikes will be a good move.
You hit a stream, where during winters, there will be beautiful frozen structures. Cross the stream and start ascending. You’ll be able to see a beautiful view of the valley covered with pine forests. It’s a different perspective you get, from above the trees. Continue with the steep hike for the next 40 minutes.
After 15 minutes of following the trail after this, you come across a gorge and there’s a small water stream. It is very likely to be completely frozen in peak winters. Cross the stream and continue ascending. After 20 minutes, you’ll be able to see a campsite called Talkhetra while ascending. That’s the campsite which falls under the popular route which starts from Sankri.
After around 25 more minutes, you’ll reach a clearing. Follow the trail that lies to your left and continue walking. It’s a level walk for 5-10 minutes followed by a moderate ascent. After completing that ascent, suddenly our second campsite, Odari will come into view. It is a five minute walk away.
Odari is a beautiful, isolated clearing and it is entirely covered with snow in the winters. Stay the night here. It is imperative you rest well as the summit day is long, with altitude gains. Your body needsto be able to cope with the taxing climb and thin air. Sleep well..
Day 4: Odari to Kedarkantha summit and back to Odari
It’s your summit day, so start early as possible. On long days, the idea is to reach your campsite as early as possible, as the weather is likely to change in the mountains by noon. During winters, this is especially crucial because a strong sun will make walking on snow difficult.
In winters, we leave the campsite by 5:00 am. It’s dark when you leave and you will need your headlamps. Start ascending from the campsite towards the trail that goes up, which is to the right side of the way you entered the previous day. Follow the trail and it’s a moderate to steep ascent for the next 2 hours. On the way, you’ll start seeing the gorgeous colours of sunrise spreading. In winters, there will be a lot of snow, especially after this part. If the trail is closed due to previous snowfalls, then you might also have to create a trail yourself. Keep hiking and follow the zig-zag way that takes you up through the cover of oak trees. Soon you’ll come across a large clearing.
Have a water break. Take enough water breaks today as there will be a height gain of 1,700 ft. It is important to hydrate yourself well when climbing at high altitude. From here, it is a level walk for the next five minutes and then the trail will take you further left. After walking on level ground for the next 10 minutes, you will encounter a patch of beautiful brown oak trees that look like they’re made of gold when the sun rays strike them. It’s a short descent from here and then a flat walk for the next 5 minutes. Continue hiking on the moderately steep trail till you reach to the top of that patch. If you look on your left, the range that you could see the previous day, looks even more prominent and grand. Due to the remote nature of this trail, trekking without a horde of other trek operators around you is bliss.
A half an hour’s ascent from the clearing will take you to a few dhabas, where the forest cover ends. If you look to your right, you’ll be able to see the Kedarkantha summit in its full grandeur. This is the first time you get to witness the entire mountain, that is Kedarkantha.From here, the summit is 2 kms away.
Now you’ll see that there are two trails from here. One on your left, which is a little steep and another to your right, which is a level walk. Take the left one and start climbing. It’s a steep climb for the next 15 minutes till you reach a flat surface. And then there is a gradual ascent for the next 10 minutes till you reach a tree patch. This is the last point where you’ll see trees on the way. After this, the tree line will end and it’ll be all white around you.
You’ll also see a lot of rhododendron shrubs on your way. These are plants that are found only after a certain altitude and they bear white flowers in the months of March and April. These plants are poisonous and shouldn’t be consumed in any way.
If you look to your right while climbing, you’ll realise the kind of gradient you are traversing. Keep going till you reach flat land. There is a level walk for the next 10 minutes followed by a short and steep ascent. Keep walking gradually and in the next 10 minutes you’ll reach that can be called as the base of the mountain. It’s another 1 hour to the summit.
After a 20 minutes climb, you’ll place your foot on the ridge of Kedarkantha. Though the ridge is not too narrow, you should be very careful from here onwards. Also, you should keep your wind sheeter handy as it can very windy here,on bad days. Keep ascending along the trail. This part of the climb is quite steep and this is where all your preparation will show. It is hard, steep climb but the trail offers such a unique angle to the mountain, it doesn’t register as much. The mountain is rimmed with gold with light of morning sun. In winters, the wind blows snow-plumes off the mountains.
In the next 40 minutes, you’ll reach the top of the mountain. After a level walk of two minutes, you see an arrangement of stones with a Trishul in between, pointing to the sky. This is the Kedarkantha summit.
Towering over the rest of the region, the summit gives you a 360 degree view of the mighty snow clad ranges of Uttarakhand. The Gangotri and the Yamunotri ranges are clearly visible from the summit, as are the Chainsheel Pass and Kinnaur Kailash ranges. Try to spot known peaks like Swargrohini, Black peak, Bandarpoonch, Rangnala peak, Draupadi ka Danda, Jaonli. The expanse of Har Ki Dun valley is also visible.
Spend some time here. Start descending from the trail that starts from the right side of the temple. In 5 minutes you’ll reach another temple. From here just follow the trail and keep descending till you reach the dhaba. In the winters, you can have a lot of snow-slides on your way till the dhaba. While descending, just look back, you’ll see the summit and where you were standing just a few moments before. After reaching the dhaba, retrace the same route back to Odari campsite and stay the night there.
Day 5 : Odari to Sankri
- Altitude: 10,124 feet to 6,800 feet
- Distance: 6 km
- Time taken: 5 hours
Start from the campsite and follow the trail that is to the opposite side of where you came from the previous day. It’s a level walk for 10 minutes and a short descent later, you come across a water stream. You can use this water for drinking. Cross the stream and then there’s a short ascent for a while. This path is a little narrow and there’s a steep drop on your left. Be careful and keep your weight towards the right side.
It’s a level walk from here in the pine forest and you’ll reach a campsite called Talkhetra in about 20 minutes. You’ll see a lot of other campsites here and feel blessed to have such an isolated one for yourself. After reaching here, if you just look back, you’ll be able to see the Kedarkantha summit again. This is probably the last time you’ll get to witness the summit.
Continue descending and follow the trail. It’s a gradual descent for the next 40 minutes, and you’ll be unwinding your way through a series of oak and pine trees. You’ve entered the forest patch now. The trees will give you company for a very long time. Follow the moderately steep trail and within the next half an hour you’ll reach another campsite called Hargaon. There is also a dhaba here and you can have a rest stop.
Continue following the meandering trail and after 15 minutes you’ll reach level ground. If the weather is clear, look to your right and you’ll be able to see the entire valley, including Har Ki Dun and Swargarohini. You’ll find another dhaba on your right, in the next 10 minutes. It’s a very good location to take a break and have something to eat. The same view of the valley is visible from this point too. It’s a very comfortable place to just relax and click some beautiful pictures.
Start descending from the dhaba. During winter, the trail here might be a little muddy because of the melting of snow. Follow the well-defined trail and you’ll reach another dhaba within the next 10 minutes. There’ll be some local mud huts on either sides. Continue walking and you’ll start seeing apple orchards on either sides. These orchards will be all dried up in the winter season. Another 30 minutes and you will reach yet another dhaba. Level walk for quite a while and you reach a bridge made of concrete. If you look on your right, there’ll be another trail that goes up to Juda-ka-Talaab.
Juda-Ka-Talab is a large lake that was once two lakes but now conjoined as one, in a clearing that is a series of undulating mounds. It runs along a thick edge of oak and pine forest so dense that light hardly seeps through it. The area is entirely in the shadows of some of the densest pine forests you will ever see. It is a route we take on occasion. In peak winters, we often take skip this because it is a longer route and the grandeur of Talaab is not as visible as it is in the other seasons.
From the bridge of concrete, follow the trail that goes down, which is on your left. This part can be very slushy and muddy as a lot of trekkers and mules walk on this trail. It’s a moderate descent from here till you reach another dhaba on your left. Keep following the well-defined trail. The trail gets very rocky from here on. After 20 more minutes, you will be able to see the road below, that leads to Sankri. Keep going and after 20 minutes you’ll reach the tar road. From the tar road, it’s a level walk for 10 minutes where you cross a village named Saud, and finally reach Sankri.
Sankri is a small but pretty village with about 250 houses, few shops and dhabas. There are plenty of options to stay here – primarily GMVN (starting Rs. 250/- bed for dorms, Rs. 750 for room), Hotel Mountain View, Hotel Swargarohini Palace, Hotel Wild Orchid etc. There is still no internet connectivity – you will have to wait until you hit Mori/Puralo tomorrow on the drive back.
Soak in the view of the sun setting behind ridges beyond Sankri. Enjoy your last night among these mountains..
Day 6: Drive to Dehradun
- Distance: 220 km
- Time taken: 10 – 11 hours
The drive back to Dehradun takes you through lovely pine forests, and goes side by side with the Tons river. It is a scenic 8 hour drive. Try to get the window seat on the right for a beautiful view. You should stop for lunch somewhere close to Kempty Falls. Expect to reach Dehradun by 8pm. Have a look at how you should be booking further travel by clicking here.
You can read these trek blogs to know of some trekkers’ experiences on the Kedarkantha trek. You could also watch a video of the Kedarkantha trek here. To read trekkers’ blogs about the Kedarkantha trek, click here.
Plan Your Travel for the Kedarkantha trek
It is great to see you going on the Kedarkantha Trek, one of the finest summit climbs for beginners . While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly.
Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.
- A quick view of your travel plan (Skip to section)
- Planning your onward air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your return air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your hotel booking (Skip to section)
- How to reach Kotgaon on your own (Skip to section)
1. Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel
Day 0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Dehradun. Click here for more explanation.
Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Kotgaon (6,800 ft); 10-11 hours drive from Dehradun. Kotgaon is the basecamp for your trek. (It will be Sankri if the snow levels are high during your trek period)
We organise transport to Kotgaon/ Sankri from Dehradun Railway station. Our vehicles leave at 6:30 am sharp. It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).
Day 2: Trek Kotgaon (6,800 ft) to Khujey (9,400 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Khujey (9,400 ft) to Odari (10,800 ft); 2 hours.
Day 4: Odari (10,800 ft) to Kedarkantha summit (12,500 ft) and then on to Odari; 7 hours
Day 5: Trek Odari to Sankri (6,800 ft); 5 hours
Day 6: Drive from Sankri to Dehradun. It is an 10-11 hour drive to Dehradun. We organise transport from Sankri to Dehradun Railway station. You will reach around 6.30pm. It costs Rs 5,500 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).
Book return train/bus ticket to Delhi from Dehradun (Nanda Devi or Mussoorie express). Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 6. Click here for more explanation.
Day 7: Book return train ticket to Delhi from Dehradun (Nanda Devi or Mussoorie express). Or book direct air ticket from Dehradun. Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 6. Click here for more explanation
- While getting to Kotgaon, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Dehradun (Day zero). Our vehicles can pick you up at Dehradun Railway station (on Day 1). Staying at Dehradun gives you a well deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.
On your return from the trek you can get off at Mussoorie. If you do not want to get off at Mussoorie, the final stop of the vehicle is at the Dehradun railway station. You reach Dehradun between 6.00 and 7.00 pm.
2. Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 August, book your air tickets for 24 August to either Delhi/Dehradun.
There are two options.
Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun
We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Dehradun. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Dehradun by train/bus.
Tip: Train is the best option to get to Dehradun. Bus journeys are often delayed by a few hours.
Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Dehradun.
Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Dehradun.
Pro Tip: If you want to save real money try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Dehradun.
If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Dehradun. Shared autos charge about Rs 20.
Option 2: Flying to Delhi.
Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.
Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.
Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Dehradun (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.35 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Dehradun at 5.40 am in the morning.
Note: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.
At Dehradun railway station, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure.
Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Haridwar, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.
Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Dehradun by 21:10 in the night. Stay overnight at Dehradun. Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Dehradun railway station.
If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun. You also get Non-AC buses. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Dehradun from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 700.
3. Planning your return flight/train booking
Booking your return tickets require some thought. First, keep some buffer time in mind before booking tickets. If you are scheduled to reach Dehradun around 6.30pm, book your onward bus or train tickets only after 9 pm. In case you are stuck in traffic or get delayed at your lunch spot, you will have some buffer time to catch your bus/train.
Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi/Dehradun, then book flight tickets for Day 7.
Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 7. Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time.
How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight.
If your flight is early, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options.
Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Dehradun (12402) that leaves at 22:40 hrs to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 04:50 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. Metro train is somewhat inconvenient from Hazrat Nizamuddin.
Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.
Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Dehradun. It is about 6½ – 7 hrs journey to Delhi. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 04.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 22:00 pm will reach Delhi around 05.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey.
From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.
Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on Day 9. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.
4. Planning your hotel/stay
In Dehradun, look for hotels around the railway station. There are quite a few options available online and it is not difficult to find last minute hotel booking.
Hotel options at Dehradun
Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750.
Book online http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/ Location: https://goo.gl/maps/sjWSkGhe5LfAN8wDA
MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there. For online booking: http://www.myroom252.com/.
Phone: 086308 81083.
Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House.
What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Kotgaon on your own.
If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Dehradun, here is how you can get to Kotgaon base camp on your own.
Bus from Dehradun to Sankri
There are 2 direct buses from Dehradun railway station to Sankri. They leave at 6 am and 7 am respectively from Dehradun ISBT. The cost per ticket is Rs 350 – 400/-
If you are reaching Dehradun late, you can take a bus to Purola/Naugaon and then a shared cab to Sankri. It costs Rs 150, make sure you reach Purola by 3 pm to take the last shared cab to Sankri.
After you reach Sankri, you can take a share cab to Kotgaon. It costs Rs. 500 per cab. You will be sharing the cost with others. You can also walk up to Kotgaon. It is 4km away from Sankri.
Tip: While this bus hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!
How to get fit for the Kedarkantha trek
The Kedarkantha trek is marked as an easy-moderate trek. It starts at an altitude of 6,800 ft at Kotgaon and climbs to 12,500 ft at Kedarkantha peak. This means there is an altitude gain of 6,300 ft over the first three days of the trek. Consequently, all the three days leading to the Kedarkantha summit involve constant ascent.
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.
Here’s a fitness routine that works:
In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –
–>Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.
–>If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 47 minutes.
If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.
How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?
Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.
Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.
Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.
Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek
For > 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 50 minutes and the second 5 km in 47 minutes.
For < 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 40 minutes.
If you love cycling, cover a distance of 22 km in one hour and upload the same.
Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.
Here’s a guide to help you prepare for the trek.
Working out indoors
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.
Things to get for the Kedarkantha Trek
Kedarkantha is a high altitude trek with snow. In winter, the temperatures drop to negative temperatures. You’ll need enough warm layers and accessories to keep you warm and help you trek comfortably. So pay careful attention to this entire section.
- A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
- Useful videos to help you with your gear (Skip to section)
- A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
- A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.
1. Trekking Shoes
Kedarkantha requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.
For a trek like Kedarkantha, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required.
Base layer: 3 T-shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them.
5 insulation layers in winter
The Kedarkantha trek is primarily a winter trek. If you’re going any time between December and March, you will need at least 5 warm layers.
You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers, 1 light sweater and 1 padded jacket. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
For your outer later, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.
A minimum of one pair and maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon even in the cold climate.
| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Kedarkantha without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a winter trek like Kedarkantha, expect to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic hand gloves
On a trek like Kedarkantha you are going to be handling snow quite a bit. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. If you get woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woolen scarf.
5. Socks (4 pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.
As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Kedarkantha trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
7. Trekking pole (a pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Kedarkantha trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
9. Rain cover for your backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)
Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a mule on the Kedarkantha trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other mandatory requirements
1. A toilet kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Kedarkantha.
| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack: Kedarkantha has many hours of trekking everyday (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
3. Plastic covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Useful videos to help you with your gear:
- What to take on your trek
- How to pack your backpack
- How to choose your trekking shoes
- Trekking shoes vs sports shoes. How are they different?
- How to layer up on a Himalayan trek
- Why you need a trekking pole
- How to manage sanitary waste on a trek
Personal medical kit
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Mandatory Documents to carry
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp – Download PDF
- Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF
| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
What are the risks on the Kedarkantha Trek?
Kedarkantha is an easy to moderate trek in terms of difficulty but it goes up to an altitude of 12,500 ft. Which means it’s still a high altitude trek. As with every high altitude trek, the Kedarkantha trek comes with certain risks.
At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure your life is safe, we also expect you as a trekker to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
From the time you register for a trek, we will keep you informed of safety procedures on high altitude treks. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over the years, we have come to notice that safety issues are widespread among unfit, unaware and ill-prepared trekkers. Therefore we have brought in an eligibility criteria for the Kedarkantha trek.
Before registration, you need to meet the fitness requirements. The primary measure for fitness is BMI or Body Mass Index. An ideal BMI is a minimum requirement to register for this trek. You can take a look here.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health. It contains details of symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies as well. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
On the Kedarkantha trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring your Oxygen levels and Pulse rate twice a day. Your blood pressure is measured once every day. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and immediate action will be taken.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine.
Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
Kedarkantha is popular for its snowy terrain. If you go on this trek in the months from December to mid-April, you will be trekking on snow. To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes.
These are attached to your shoes and will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can wear over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you. They lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much snow.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. Our sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degree Celcius.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
What you need to know if you’re going on the Kedarkantha trek
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.
Like in every winter trek, a common risk factor on the Kedarkantha trek is slippery snow. You will be provided with micro spikes to help you walk better. But if you fall, no need to panic.
Even the smallest wound takes longer to heal at higher altitude. Reasons for this are increasing stress hormones and lower overall oxygen delivery to the tissues. Keeping your wounds clean and covered will prevent infection. To prevent the bruise from festering, apply a triple antibiotic ointment regularly.
Where on the Kedarkantha trek is Acute Mountain Sickness likely to affect you:
Any campsite above 11,000 ft poses a risk of AMS. On the Kedarkantha trek, the Kedarkantha Base camp is at 11,250 ft. It is the only campsite on this trek where you could be affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. From here and while going up to the summit is when you should watch out for symptoms.
AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader.Only then will he be able to take steps at the right time.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS at Kedarkantha Base Camp
Very few cases of AMS have been recorded on the Kedarkantha trek. Nevertheless, don’t let your guard down. If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour.
If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage. The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. Evacuation will be done if no improvement is shown. You will be taken down to Sankri as descent is the sure cure for AMS.
Exit points on the Kedarkantha trek:
There are only a few exit points on the Kedarkantha trek – the base camps, Kotgaon and Sankri. It takes around 5 hours to descend from the highest campsite of the trek. Both these base camps are well below high altitude. So any symptoms of AMS will stop showing there.
For advanced treatments, the closest hospital is in Purola which is around 54 km away. Please note that these are mountain roads and usually takes around 2-3 hours to cover this distance. It takes longer after nightfall.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If you cannot find your fellow trekkers or anyone else while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take.
Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker.
If you are trekking independently, you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Here, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
The Indiahikes Cancellation Policy
We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that.
Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies.
Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.
In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher
In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, unexpected global health issues, Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for.
If you cancel any rental gear from our store:
- Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
- Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.
If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:
The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge.
If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee.
Special Cases That Could Occur:
There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.
1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.
2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)
In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you.
Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.
3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one).
In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.
How to cancel your trek:
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps.
- Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link.
- Find your upcoming trek on your home page.
- Click on “Cancel Trek”
- Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
- Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable).
- Click on “Cancel Booking”
How long does the refund process take?
After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.
If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.
What is a Trek Voucher?
Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.
Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable.
How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?
If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek.
Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Trek Coordinator.
The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)
At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.
So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.)
To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges.
Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.
Your trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Kotgaon to Sankri). You will be staying in lodges at Kotgaon and Sankri and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Kotgaon on Day 1 to breakfast at Sankri on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – High-quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, microspikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc.
Your trek fee does not include:
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun and drop you back. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 1,000 + 5% GST for the full trek. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strollers/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Naitwar (Rs.335 per day + 5% GST).
- Anything apart from inclusions
In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher
A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important.The trek has long climbs and steep descents on a daily basis. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 40 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5 km in 47 minutes. This is a minimum, mandatory requirement.
If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.
Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,000 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Online offloading in advance is possible up to three days prior to the trek start date.
Discount for a group of 10 and above
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
Repeat Trekker Policy
At Indiahikes, we believe that the mountains hold all the aces. The weather could play spoilsport, the altitude could mess with a trekker, the unpredictability of nature itself could turn against him. Whatever the reason might be, it is never nice to turn away from a trek midway.
In the event that a trekker has to come down without completing your trek, they can always head back to the mountain and do the same trek again. If this happens, trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee. They have to just make the optional payment for the insurance amount.
On another note, it could also happen that you love a trek so much that you want to go back time and again. Trekkers don’t have to pay the trek fee for repeating a trek.
Note – The Repeat Trekker Policy holds good only for Indian Treks.
It is not valid for treks we run in Nepal.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack (have a porter carry it for you). This will cost Rs 1000 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Kotgaon, the amount will be Rs 350 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to five days prior to the trek start date. You can opt for this from your dashboard directly.
Is there a mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You won't get any network on the trek or at the base camp. There are no charging points as well on the trek.
If you are very lucky, then small connectivity is possible for BSNL network to send a message.
The last point where you get connectivity will be Purola which is 54 km before Kotgaon and Sankri.
Can you arrange pickup from Mussorrie?
Yes, trekkers will have the option to stay at Mussorrie and get picked up as well.
The pickup will take place an hour later from Library Road end at 7.30 am.
Will I get snow on this trek?
You find snow during the winter and early summer season, from December to the end of April is when you can expect snow. Post this, you won’t have snow on this trek.
What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
The guest houses at Kotgaon and Sankri will have concrete toilets. On the other days, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. There will be a room freshener as well. It’s the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and do not use wet wipes since these are not bio-degradable.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Kedarkantha Trek
When Manjari set off on the Kedarkantha trek, she wasn't worried about the summit climb. She had another problem - spending six days with strangers. Read her story here.Read full blog
Meet Aditya, the six-year-old that made it to the Kedarkantha summit. We speak to his parents and get some tips on how to prepare children for Himalayan treks.Read full blog
Neha Pant did the Kedarkantha trek with Indiahikes in December 2016 and witnessed the season's first snowfall. She speaks to us directly from the summit. Take a look!Read full blog
"Exhilarating! Breathtaking ! Absolutely Fantastic! Words fall short to describe the 4 days of trek to Kedarkantha summit", it is true. Words don't always describe how beautiful the mountains are. Read on to see Anjali's attempt.Read full blog
"An inconvenient truth is that we are robbing this planet to feed our insatiable thirst for a luxurious lifestyle. In a few decades, the currently unborn generation will look back at us and shake their heads, wondering how we could have been so irresponsible, so venal, and so morally short-sighted (sic)", read more to see how Shruthi's trek went.Read full blog
In our years of experience as a trekking organisation, we have observed that adults imbibe lessons from the outdoors on a daily basis. Children are much more receptive to the world in their growing years. It is the perfect time to inculcate valuable lessons from trekking which will stay with them throughout their life.
On a family trek, not only are you exposing your child to trekking at a young age but you are also deepening your bond as a family. Trekking facilitates this sense of heightened bond as well their own personal growth.
Kedarkantha is right up there as one of the best treks for children.It’s a trek that comes with a huge sense of achievement upon climbing the summit at 12,500 ft! The bonus is that it covers short distances everyday and you’re at the next campsite before lunch!
This initiative is under the Experiential Learning Programme.
How Is It Different From A Regular Trek?
Family treks will have only families with their children of age limit 8 to 17. Children of age 13-17 can also join this trek without their parents.Further we also have scholarships for children trekking as part of the family treks. For 8 -12 year olds 50 % scholarship, and for 12-17 year olds a 30% scholarship.
Parents have the support and comfort of having other parents in the same group. Children will trek and be engaged in activities along with other children. This will encourage them to form meaningful bonds of friendship.
On the first day, we will organise the children into teams. They will be responsible for certain camp related activities and will switch roles every other day.
Here’s a peek into what the teams will do:
- The Camp set-up team oversees pitching of tents. They make sure pitching and dismantling is done properly. They also help those who need assistance.
- The Green Trails team ensures that everyone are engaged with keeping the trails and campsites clean. They oversee waste segregation. They see to it that the toilets and washing areas are set up and clean.
- The Cooking team assists the cook and helps in serving all meals. They ensure that all eat well and there is no wastage.
- The Trek Leader Assistants team assists the Trek Leader in keeping discipline with regard to timing. They will also aid those who are struggling or need any help.
Along with this there will also be co-operative games, star gazing on clear nights, story time, wilderness survival tips and knowledge sharing sessions.
Reflections at the end of each day will allow children to contemplate their learnings and experiences of the day. It’s a time of introspection and gratitude.
What Scholarships we provide
We are offering a scholarship to all children trekking with us on the exclusive family batches.
- 8 – 12 year olds – 50% scholarship
- 13 – 17 year olds – 30% scholarship
You can follow these steps to avail them:
Step 1: Click on the date that suits you on the selected trek page.
Step 2: Start the registration process. You will require unique emails IDs for all participants, including the children.
Step 3: For the scholarship – before making the payment, send an email with a proof-of-age of your child to [email protected] Any id card with the Date Of Birth will do.
Note: Mention the subject line as “Proof of age for (selected trek).”
Step 4: Our Trek Coordinator will get back to you within 24 hours with a voucher for your child.
Step 5: Make the payment once you get a thumbs up from the Trek Coordinator.
Will My Child Be Safe on trek?
We understand that trekking with your child may cause you to worry about their safety. All our past family trekkers however have always found our treks to be safe.
Here are some of the commonly asked questions we receive from parents.
– Who will ensure safety on the trek?
Our Trek Leaders are certified Wilderness First Responders. They have been trained in wilderness survival and emergency medical aid. They are capable of taking care of any emergency on a trek.
Our staff is constantly in touch with each other though radio communication to ensure that all the children and safe and sound.
– What safety gear do you carry?
We carry fully stocked high altitude first aid kits, oxygen cylinders, ropes and stretchers. In addition to this these treks have easily accessible exit routes for any emergency evacuation. Click on this link to watch a video about what equipment we use.
– How do I prepare my children for a Himalayan Trek?
Active preparation is important for any trek, especially for children. Watch this video on how to get children trek fit.
Also remember to pack the right things for the trek.
Our Experience With Children
In 2018 alone, we have taken 943 children below 18 years of age on our Himalayan treks. This is not counting the 1000+ school students we have taken on local and Himalayan treks.
There is no doubt that children naturally learn more in the outdoors. The joyful memories created and the natural learning experienced can last a lifetime!
Click on available dates to Register
- What the colours mean
Available:Registration is on.
Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.
Dates not suiting you? Click here to see other similar treks.