Easy-Moderate | Level 3
8 to 55 years
8 to 55 years
Easy-Moderate | Level 3
Kuari Pass Trek
The Only Trekkable Mountain Pass in Winter
Kuari pass is a mountain lovers’ delight. 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 Dhak, 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
Watch these videos to prepare well for your 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 6.00 am sharp. This cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of the cab – Rs 7,500 per vehicle (5-6 seater) and Rs 11,000 per Tempo Traveller (12 seaters) for the transport one way.
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 9,265 ft
Moderate continuous ascent throughout the day from Karchi village. A bit of steep climb for the first 20 minutes followed by a 1.5 - 2 hours gradual ascent through the forest cover of oaks and maple trees.
Trek from Akhrotghetta to Khullara
Trek Distance: 2.5 km | Trek Duration: 4-5 hours | Altitude gain: 9,265 ft to 11,014 ft
Moderate ascent to Khullara through golden and brown oak forests on all sides. Look back and take a glance at the stunning mountain views which open up as you reach Khullara.
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 10,890 ft via 12,598 ft
A long day with the climb to the Kuari Top with a steep ascent. Join Lord Curzon's trail and reach the top. The list of the big mountains from the Kuari top is almost close to reading a menu card. The trek later takes you on the windy ridge with a combination of ascent, and descent to the lovely forests of Chitrakantha and Tali.
Trek from Tali to Auli. Drive to Joshimath
Trek Distance: 8.10 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude loss: 10,890 ft to 9,390 ft
A day to witness and soak into the views of Mt. Nanda Devi. The initial climb to Tali lake through the forest and then trek on a sharp ledge. The mountains get bigger as you walk on the lovely Gorson Bugyal to end the trek at Auli.
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 7,000 per vehicle, shared among 5-6 trekkers and Rs 10,500 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.
- 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. This is required for trek permissions.
- 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
- On the trek, you will be staying 2 in a tent
- We have a Cloak Room facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.
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.
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.
Campsites at a Glance
At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Kuari Pass trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love and have a great experience.
Watch out for the first campsite of Kuari Pass. As you ascend from the forest section, you get to see the lone Walnut tree. This would be your Akhrotghetta campsite. Picture by Supriya.
The next campsite of Khullara is best known for sunset and sunrise. It is in the open clearance. Do not miss the alpenglow on the mountains of Mt Dhronagiri, Mt Hati Goda, and Mt Neelkanth from this campsite. Picture by Ramshankar Sahu.
Your third campsite is Tali. The campsite is surrounded by a beautiful forest setting which has a pin drop silence into it. Picture by Jothiranjan
Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder
Trekking transforms lives. It has changed my life completley. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible.
I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences.
I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.
In the mountains new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.
Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine.
What I Like & Don’t Like About Kuari Pass Trek
What I Like About the Kuari Pass Trek
Trekkers en-route from Khullara campsite and ascending to Kuari Pass. Look behind for the massif of Mt Hati Goda, Mt Drongiri, Kamet, Neelgiri Parvat, and many others on a clear day.
Picture by: Valay Bhatt
The Push to the Summit
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.
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.
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