Difficulty

Difficult | Level 2

Duration

7 Days

Highest Altitude

15,500 ft

Age

15 to 55 years

Duration

7 Days

Age

15 to 55 years

Difficulty

Difficult | Level 2

Highest Altitude

15,500 ft

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Trek fee

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Kedartal Trek

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 a 50 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.

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Kedartal Videos

Watch these videos to prepare for your Kedartal trek

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Quick Itinerary

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Kedartal trek.

Day 1

Reach Gangotri from Dehradun

Drive distance: 242 km | Drive Duration: 8 hours

Transport will be arranged from Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun at 6.00 am. Cab cost per vehicle will be Rs.8,000(5-6 seater)This is to be shared among trekkers and paid directly to the driver.

Day 2

Acclimatization day around Gangotri (10,052 ft)

Take a short trek up one of the trails around Gangotri and then return to base.

Day 3

Trek from Gangotri (10,052 ft) to Bhoj Kharak (13,220 ft)

Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Moderate-difficult. Steep ascent all the way. The terrain is rocky in many parts.

Day 4

Bhoj Kharak (13,220 ft) to Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft)

Trek distance: 4.25 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours

Moderate-difficult. 1 km of steep ascent followed by 3 km of moderate ascents and descents.

Day 5

Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft) to Kedartal (15,500 ft) and back to Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft)

Trek distance: 5.40 km | Trek Duration: 8 hours

Difficult. Continuously ascending trail over a rocky terrain.

Day 6

Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft) to Gangotri (10,052 ft)

Trek distance: 8.50 km | Trek Duration: 8 hours

Moderate. Continuously descending trail over a rocky terrain

Day 7

Gangotri to Dehradun

Drive distance: 242 km | Drive Duration: 8 hours

Cab cost per vehicle will be Rs.8,000 (5-6 seater). You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 PM and 7.00 PM.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

  • You will be staying in tents on all days of the trek.
  • Trekkers must carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Kedartal trek.

PRO-TIPS

Onward Journey:

While getting to Gangotri, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Dehradun (Day zero). Our vehicles can pick you up at Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun (on Day 1). Staying at Dehradun gives you a well-deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.

Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Gangotri. The pick-up is at 6.00 am from Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun. The cab fare is Rs.8000 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. 

You will reach Gangotri at around 5.00 pm. The trek begins at Gangotri the next morning.

Return Journey:

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 Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun. You reach Dehradun between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. 

Indiahikes organises transport from Gangotri to Dehradun. The cab fare from Gangotri to Dehradun is Rs.8000 per vehicle. This is to be shared by trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm. 

If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express or Nanda Devi Express.

Day 1

Reach Gangotri from Dehradun

Drive distance: 242 km | Drive Duration: 8 hours

Transport will be arranged from Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun at 6.00 am. Cab cost per vehicle will be Rs.8,000(5-6 seater)This is to be shared among trekkers and paid directly to the driver.

Day 2

Acclimatization day around Gangotri (10,052 ft)

Take a short trek up one of the trails around Gangotri and then return to base.

Day 3

Trek from Gangotri (10,052 ft) to Bhoj Kharak (13,220 ft)

Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Moderate-difficult. Steep ascent all the way. The terrain is rocky in many parts.

Day 4

Bhoj Kharak (13,220 ft) to Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft)

Trek distance: 4.25 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours

Moderate-difficult. 1 km of steep ascent followed by 3 km of moderate ascents and descents.

Day 5

Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft) to Kedartal (15,500 ft) and back to Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft)

Trek distance: 5.40 km | Trek Duration: 8 hours

Difficult. Continuously ascending trail over a rocky terrain.

Day 6

Kedar Kharak (14,240 ft) to Gangotri (10,052 ft)

Trek distance: 8.50 km | Trek Duration: 8 hours

Moderate. Continuously descending trail over a rocky terrain

Day 7

Gangotri to Dehradun

Drive distance: 242 km | Drive Duration: 8 hours

Cab cost per vehicle will be Rs.8,000 (5-6 seater). You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 PM and 7.00 PM.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

You will be staying in tents on all days of the trek.

Trekkers must carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.

PRO-TIPS

Onward Journey:

While getting to Gangotri, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Dehradun (Day zero). Our vehicles can pick you up at Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun (on Day 1). Staying at Dehradun gives you a well-deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.

Indiahikes organises transport from Dehradun to Gangotri. The pick-up is at 6.00 am from Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun. The cab fare is Rs.8000 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver. 

You will reach Gangotri at around 5.00 pm. The trek begins at Gangotri the next morning.

Return Journey:

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 Hotel Grand Legacy Dehradun. You reach Dehradun between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. 

Indiahikes organises transport from Gangotri to Dehradun. The cab fare from Gangotri to Dehradun is Rs.8000 per vehicle. This is to be shared by trekkers and paid to the driver directly. You will reach Dehradun by 6.00 pm. 

If you are travelling further from Dehradun, keep a couple of hours as buffer time in case of delay. Book your further travel from Dehradun post 8.00 pm. If you are travelling to Delhi, you can choose to go back by Mussoorie Express or Nanda Devi Express.

Campsites at a Glance

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

The Kedar Kharak campsite is buried in snow at 14,000 ft, in the shadows of Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth. Picture by Sanjay Goel

Bhoj-Kharak Campsite. Picture by Atul Kini

Kedar Kharak Campsite. Picture by Sudheer Hegde

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Mt Bhrigupanth

Picture by: Mahesh Srinivasan

Know Your Trek

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

Use this section to learn about the 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.

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PRO TIPS

Get your Trek Questions Answered Here

Over 20,000 people trek with Indiahikes each year and vouch for our unmatched safety standards.

Why fitness matters on Kedartal

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On Difficult treks like Kedartal, expect extremely steep ascents and descents. Expect maximum altitudes above 15,000 ft, which can go up to 19,000+ ft. Technical sections (such as rockfall zones, near-vertical sections, glacier walks, boulder and scree sections) are an everyday affair. Some sections can only be crossed with the help of our Technical Staff.

Difficult treks are the most demanding, which is why we take only those trekkers with prior trekking experience on them. 

To do a difficult trek, target running 10 km within 60 minutes consistently. This will be possible only if you can run 5 km within 30 minutes comfortably before signing up for a difficult trek.

How to Get Fit for Your Trek

Note: There is a strict fitness screening process for difficult treks. In addition, if you are above the age of 58 years, you'll need to submit a Treadmill Test report within 7 days of registration.

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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.

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