Easy-Moderate | Level 3
8 to 62 years
8 to 62 years
Easy-Moderate | Level 3
Why Trekking in Jan and Feb is Better than December
Not many trekkers know that real winter sets in only in Jan and Feb in our country, making it a much better snow experience. Click here to read more.
Kuari Pass Trek
The Only Trekkable Mountain Pass in Winter
Kuari pass is a mountain lovers’ delight during the winter season. You have an unending vista of the biggest mountains in India opening up right from day one. You even get to see the clearest view of the full face of Mt Nanda Devi, India’s highest mountain.
More than this, Kuari Pass is a near-perfect trek. You go through ancient forests filled with oaks and rhododendrons. Just as your eyes are getting used to the tree canopy above, the trail opens into meadows. This interplay of different kinds of landscapes makes the trek very exciting.
You camp at outstanding locations on this trek. Whether it is the forests of Chitrakantha or the Khullara meadow in the shadow of Mt Dronagiri, each campsite leaves you in awe of your surroundings.
If you are stepping into the Himalayas for the first time then Kuari Pass is the trek to do. It is almost crafted perfectly for the beginner.
To begin with, Kuari Pass is a 4-day trek (6 days when you include the travel days from Rishikesh). The trek starts from Karchi, a small village near Joshimath in the Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand. It is situated in the Nanda Devi National Park.
Kuari Pass is an easy-moderate trek, which makes it easy enough for someone starting in the Himalayas. But more than anything else there are three things about the trek that stay with you.
Kuari Pass Videos
Recommended Videos Before Going For The Trek
A route map of the Kuari Pass trek
Drive from Rishikesh to Tapoban
Drive distance: 263 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Live Free Hostel, Rishikesh
Transport will be arranged at 5.15 AM sharp. The costs Rs 8000 per vehicle (5-6 seater) and Rs 12,000 per Tempo Traveller (12 seater)for the journey from Rishikesh to Tapoban. The return journey will cost Rs 8,000 for the 5-6 seater and Rs 12,000 per Tempo Traveller to Rishikesh.
Drive from Tapoban to Karchi. Trek from Karchi to Akhrotghetta
Drive Duration: 40 mins | Trek Distance: 2.75 km | Duration: 5-6 hours | Altitude gain: 6,175 ft to 10,035 ft
Trek from Akhrotghetta to Khullara
Trek Distance: 2.5 km | Trek Duration: 4-5 hours | Altitude gain: 10,035 ft to 11,014 ft
Trek from Khullara to Tali via Kuari Pass
Trek Distance: 7.65 km | Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Altitude gain and loss: 11,014 ft to 11,053 ft via 12,516 ft
Trek from Tali to Auli. Drive to Joshimath
Trek Distance: 8.10 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude loss: 11,053 ft to 8,546 ft
Depart from Joshimath and reach Rishikesh
Drive distance: 263 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours
Drop off point: Live Free Hostel, Rishikesh
You are expected to be back in Rishikesh by 7.00 pm. This transport cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of the cab – Rs .8000 per vehicle, shared among 5-6 trekkers and Rs 12,000 for a Tempo Traveler
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.
➤Documents required: It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id along with the mandatory documents of the Medical Certificate and Disclaimer form. These documents will be part of the Safety Check-in done by the trek leader when you arrive at the base camp.
➤Stay facility: There are no facilities at Tapoban. Do not leave things till the end. The stay at Tapoban and Joshimath/Auli will be in a lodge. Do not bring any packaged food, tags from your new clothes or any waste with you. We follow a Dustbin Free Zone and No Wet Wipes Policy at our base camps in line with our spirit of Green Trails.
On the trek, you will be staying 2 in a tent.
➤Cloakroom facility for excess luggage: We have a Cloak Room facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.
A route map of the Kuari Pass trek
You'll love the drive to Tapoban! The drive is very scenic along the mighty Ganges. You would be enjoying the view of the Sangam of many rivers which form the Ganges; Devprayag, Rudraprayag, and Karnprayag are a treat for the eyes.
After Karnprayag, you would be travelling alongside the Alaknanda River. You then enter the beautiful valley of the Chamoli region. Keep your eyes open and look out, the glimpses of the big mountains are visible from here onwards.
Try getting the seat on the left-hand side to get some stunning moments during your travel. The journey itself is a visual treat both ways.
The drive back to Rishikesh follows the same route you took on your way up. The route is along the tributaries of Ganga. The road goes along hugging the mountainside and you see the forests and valleys of Garhwal below you.
Download the GPX file for your Kuari Pass Trek
We go to great lengths to ensure you have a safe trek. So here’s a GPX file to help you navigate without getting lost.
The winter setting is a dreamy wonderland with pines, dwarf rhododendrons, and oak trees surrounding Khullara.
Picture by: Poonam Saini
Khullara Campsite in Winter
What I Like & Don’t Like About Kuari Pass Trek
What I Like About the Kuari Pass Trek
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 Kuari Pass 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 these extremely useful.
Leaving the mountains better than we find them
At Indiahikes, we focus on bringing in new practices that can reduce our impact on the environment. This is done through constant R&D. Once these new practices are implemented we focus on achieving the results consistently on all our treks. You will see this as part of our G6 practices.
Golden 1: Green Sweep - Clean the trail of visible litter. We have collected more than 1,00,000 kgs of waste since 2016.
Golden 2: Segregation At Source - Segregate all waste collected so that we do not add all this waste to the landfill. We have diverted 50% of the waste from landfill through segregation
Golden 3: Food Composting - All our kitchen waste is composted into useful humus for the mountain soil. All food waste is either eaten by mules or composted at source.
Golden 4: Biotoilets - All our human waste is composted at source through our specially designed dry toilet pits.
Golden 5: Water efficient dispenser - We have reduced our waste used per trekker by 70% through specially designed water dispenser systems.
Golden 6: Save energy - We use solar panels for our energy use at our campsites. We are also in the process of redesigning our stove and menu to reduce the amount of gas used on our treks.
Our trekkers are a big part of us keeping our promise to leave the mountains better than we found them.
- Indiahikes trekkers do not carry anything that can harm the environment - be it wet wipes, or any packaged food on the trek. In fact they practice a zero waste trek.
- Indiahikes trekkers do not buy any packaged food in the dhabas on the trek - they do not take part in feeding the demand for packaged food
- Indiahikes trekkers clean the trails of waste using the eco bag as part of the Green Sweep Initiattive
- Indiaihikes trekkers carry their own backpack on the trek. They do not offload unless absolutely necessary
- Indiahikes trekkers do not pee/poop near any water source
- Indiahikes trekkers do not stray away from the marked trail
Trekkers who sign up with us pledge to follow these practices. When you sign up with us, you do too.
Everything you do on a trek creates an impact. The trail you trek on, the water you use, the waste you generate, how you poop, how you cook, what you eat — everything has an impact. The higher the impact, the greater the damage to the environment.
Yet, when done sustainably, trekking is one of the most environment-friendly sports.
When you trek with Indiahikes, you trek to leave the mountains better than we found them. This is part of our Green Trails promise.
Why Fitness Matters on Kuari Pass Trek
On Easy-Moderate treks like the Kuari Pass, you’re likely to trek around 5-6 km each day. Expect gradual ascents and descents along the way. The maximum altitude will be about 12,500 ft. There are no technical sections on these treks, but there could be small sections of steep gradients or tricky patches that require you to be surefooted.
Your goal is to 5 km with an intention to finish within 38 minutes.
Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll also need to submit your Treadmill Test within 7 days of registration.
Things Nobody Tells You About Kuari Pass Trek
The Grand Mountain Views from Kuari Pass Trek
You see Mt. Nanda Devi from Gorson Bugyal to Auli. After you cross the Gorson Bugyal, the view disappears.
This view of Nanda Devi is one top reason why I would do the Kuari Pass trek.
Not only, Nanda Devi, you see other big mountains also, like the Dronagiri mountains. Dronagiri and Mt. Nanda Devi stand side by side. You seeNeelkanth, Chaukhamba, Hathi Ghoda all pretty close.
Do you know the story behind the naming of Kuari Pass?
The name Kuari Pass was coined in 1905. It was coined by Lord Curzon, who trekked from Ghat, Gwaldam to Kuari Pass. The trail is well known as Kuari Pass or Lord Curzon Trail now.
Before 1905, the locals did not take this pass and were fairly untouched. The pass was untouched because of the local deity.
Lord Curzon took this cue from the local language of what stands for Virgin land and termed it Kuari Pass.
There is another mystery about the name of Kuari Pass. It is said that there was a Japanese traveller who attempted to climb Nanda Devi with her daughter. But, unfortunately, they disappeared on this climb.
After multiple search attempts, the daughter was found on Kuari Pass, but the mother wasn't. Legend says that the daughter's name was Kurai and the mother's name was Nanda. Hence, the names were given to the mountains.
Did you know that mountaineering ascents to Mt Nanda Devi are banned?
The Indian army conducted an operation on Nanda Devi in 1965. The operation was led by Captain Kohli. To protect themselves from enemies, they planted some nuclear devices in the mountains. This caused a lot of avalanches and the army had to return right away.
After a few years, they visited the mountain again and tried to look for the devices. Eventually, high intel from America tried to find the planted devices. Helicopters from Europe too conducted search operations. But, these devices couldn't be found despite the search attempts.
These nuclear devices are said to have a lifespan of a century. They can be harmful and could explode at any moment if triggered. It is said that it could affect people right up to Rishikesh and Delhi
It would be life-threatening for anyone visiting the mountain. Hence, trekking at Nanda Devi has been banned.
Avoid December's crowds. Choose Jan, Feb or March.
In Jan, Feb and March, you'll find lesser crowds, more snow deposits and higher chances of snowfall.
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