Kedartal Trek

A Rare Adventure Among Big Mountains

Dates full? Check out the Pin Bhaba Pass, the Grandest Crossover Trek in India

Click here to test your limits on the most dramatic pass-crossing trek in our country

TREK DIFFICULTY

Difficult

TREK DURATION

7 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

15,500 ft

A Rare Adventure Among Big Mountains

The Kedartal trek is for lovers of adventure. It is for those trekkers who have done a considerable amount of Himalayan treks and now want to push themselves. It is a difficult trek, with a truly magical experience to give in return for all the effort. 

The trek climbs to the glacial Kedartal lake, sitting amid a cauldron of big mountains.  Famous mountains of our country rise in front of you in this cauldron – Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, and Mt Gangotri.  You camp in the shadow of the mighty Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth

Very few treks bring you so close to such big mountains. And fewer still allow you to spend so much time in their proximity. The closest we can think of is Goechala, and that is a big statement to make.

The trail is also extremely remote. There is no human habitation at this altitude. And you find very few trekking groups on this trail. This solitude, when seen in comparison to a lot of other unfortunately crowded trails, is a blessing.

The trail, however, has a lot of challenges.  You start the trek at around 11,000 ft and climb to over 16,000 ft. This altitude gain happens in 3-4 days. Climbing boulders, and navigating steep ascents and descents on tricky terrain becomes infinitely more challenging when you are also trying to catch your breath. This needs sufficient physical and mental preparation.

This preparation and hard trekking are rewarded amply on this trek – there are lovely bhoj forests, vast high altitude meadows and then there is the indescribable serenity of the Kedartal lake.  You complete the trek having a very high feeling of accomplishment.

Before we begin, here are some quick facts about the Kedartal trek:

The Kedartal Trek lies in the state of Uttarakhand. It begins and ends at the pilgrim town of Gangotri. It is approx. 30 km trek hiked over 4 days (7 days including a drive to and from the trek, and an acclimatization day) in the Himalayas. It is a difficult trek (more on this ahead on this page) that should be attempted only by experienced trekkers.

It lies in the Greater Himalayas and is known for its brilliant big mountain views of peaks like Mt Thalay Sagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin and Mt Gangotri.

The Kedartal trek is for lovers of adventure. It is for those trekkers who have done a considerable amount of Himalayan treks and now want to push themselves. It is a difficult trek, with a truly magical experience to give in return for all the effort. 

The trek climbs to the glacial Kedartal lake, sitting amid a cauldron of big mountains.  Famous mountains of our country rise in front of you in this cauldron – Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, and Mt Gangotri.  You camp in the shadow of the mighty Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth

Kedartal - Complete Trek Information

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 Kedartal 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.

Kedartal Videos

Photo Gallery

Reflection of Kedartal Lake with Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth. Photo by Kumar Kale

The First sunrays falling on Mt Thalaysagar. Picture by Geet Tryambake.

Adjacent to Mt Thalaysagar, stands Mt Bhrigupanth. They both have very distinct shapes. Picture by Mahesh Srinivasan

Expert Speak

Arjun Majumdar,

Founder & CEO, Indiahikes

Arjun Majumdar,

Founder & CEO, Indiahikes

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this exploratory trek almost a decade ago. He is a veteran of the trekking community in India. He’s an expert when it comes to the trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of The Best Trek For Summit Views countries.

What I Like and Don't Like About the Kedartal Trek

What I Like About the Kedartal Trek

Arjun Majumdar,

Founder & CEO, Indiahikes

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this exploratory trek almost a decade ago. He is a veteran of the trekking community in India. He’s an expert when it comes to the trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of The Best Trek For Summit Views countries.

1. The Gangotri Base Camp


There are very few base camps in India from where you can see a peak of the Greater Himalayas. But when you are at Gangotri, you can see one right in front of you — the Sudarshan peak. The Indiahikes base camp is right next to the Bhagirathi river. I can’t recall a base camp where we have such a mighty river flowing right next to it.

Moreover, Gangotri is a base camp for one of the most popular treks in India – the Gaumukh Tapovan trek. As you start your trek to Kedartal, you see the trail leading to Tapovan.

This builds up your hunger for trekking even more. It is a base camp you want to come back to do another trek.

The Gangotri Base camp
Picture by Indiahikes Trekker

2. Spending time among the big mountains

The trek climbs to the glacial Kedartal lake, sitting amid a cauldron of big mountains.  Famous mountains of our country rise in front of you in this cauldron.

Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, and Mt Gangotri are right in front of you. Moreover, you camp in the shadows of Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth.

Very few treks bring you so close to such big mountains. And fewer still allow you to spend so much time in their proximity.

3. Kedartal lake

The sight of Kedartal after a hard climb is difficult to put in words. You see this serene lake, stretching all the way to meet the glacier at Mt Thalaysagar’s feet. Depending on the weather, the lake looks blue, emerald, grey or all three at once.  If the waters are still, you see this mighty mountain reflecting on its blue-green surface.

The Kedartal Lake is one of the most serene lakes in all of Uttarakhand. Picture by Ashish Bhatt

4. The high level of adventure

We find that the adventure level that Kedartal provides is rarely matched. There are multiple sections on this trek that challenge you.

The first one comes three-quarters of the way to Bhoj Kharak — a rock face that you have to walk on all fours to get to the trail on the other side.

Then, there is the notorious spider wall – a near-vertical rock face that goes right down to the river. It has a very narrow ledge that you need to walk on, one foot at a time, to get across to the other side.

And then the trail to Kedartal itself – a largely rocky trail where you have to pay attention to where you are keeping your foot. This trail keeps you on your toes!


What I Dont Like about the Kedartal Trek

1. First day’s hike to Bhoj Kharak

We don’t like the first day’s hike to Bhoj Kharak. We don’t find it enjoyable how much ever we try.

Firstly, it is a 9 km long trail. And the trail is rocky in most parts. Despite having done this trek multiple times, we find ourselves struggling on Day 1.

The climb is almost relentless until you reach Bhoj Kharak.  There are only a few short stretches of flat walks that allow me to catch my breath.

The Bhoj Kharak campsite consists of small strips of land lying to the left of the trail. You will have to find flat stretches to pitch your tents. There’s wild grass growing around. The valley here is quite narrow so the views are not that great.

2. The monotony on the way back

While returning from Kedartal to Gangotri you are essentially retracing the way back. We wish there was another way back. Going up and down the same trail becomes extremely monotonous.

The barrenness of the terrain, the rocky trail, and the steep descents on the way back become quite a bit boring. But thankfully, it is over quite quickly as we cover the entire stretch from Kedar Kharak to Gangotri in a single day.

3. Gangotri

As much as we like the base camp, there is something about Gangotri that we dislike too.

It is the crowds. It is a holy town and there are always hordes of pilgrims who visit to pay their respects to the deities. However, as soon as we leave Gangotri, we find the solitude we seek. After the crowds of Gangotri, this is a blessing.

Trek Trivia

Why Pilgrims Throng at Gangotri

If you are visiting Gangotri in May-June, expect to see thousands of pilgrims at Gangotri. This happens especially during the Chardham yatra season. They throng here to see the source of the river Ganga, so sacred in Indian mythology.

It is said that King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva for the salvation of the souls of his 60,000 sons. Shiva obliged and requested Goddess Ganga to release her water, which purified the ashes of Bhagirath’s sons. This mythological story elevated the status of the River Ganga as a means to purify one’s soul.

Leaving Mountains Better

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

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

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

We are pioneers of treks in India

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

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

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

Our treks are transformative

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

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

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

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

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

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

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

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

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

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

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

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

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

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

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