Kuari Pass Trek

The trek with the grandest mountain views of Uttarakhand

TREK DIFFICULTY

Moderate

TREK DURATION

6 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

12,516 ft

The trek with the grandest mountain views of Uttarakhand

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. 

Many of us at Indiahikes have a soft corner for Kuari Pass. Watch this video to know why.

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.

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. 

Many of us at Indiahikes have a soft corner for Kuari Pass. Watch this video to know why.

Kuari Pass Videos

Kuari Pass - 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 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.

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Expert Speaks

Sandhya UC

Co-Founder & COO, Indiahikes

Sandhya UC

Co-Founder & COO, Indiahikes

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the Women of Worth Award by Outlook Business in 2017.

Here’s Sandhya talking about one of our most Beautiful Trek Amidst the Tallest Summits treks in our country.

What I Like and Don’t Like About Kuari Pass Trek

What I Like About the Kuari Pass Trek

Sandhya UC

Co-Founder & COO, Indiahikes

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the Women of Worth Award by Outlook Business in 2017. Here’s Sandhya talking about one of our most Beautiful Trek Amidst the Tallest Summits treks in our country.

1. The rare view of Mt Nanda Devi

What I like about the Kuari Pass trek is that it offers easy access to this spectacular view. 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 see Neelkanth, Chaukhamba, Hathi, Ghoda all pretty close.

Mt Nanda Devi – Gorson Bugyal offers outstanding views of India’s tallest summit. Picture by Vaibhav Jain

2. The picturesque oak forests 

The lovely oak forests of Kuari Pass are the second reason why I like this trek. These forests are typical in the Uttarakhand region, but you find them only in certain treks like Roopkund, Brahmatal, and Dayara Bugyal. 

Compared to the rest, I like the oak forest of Kuari Pass the best. This is simply because oak forests on this trek are placed so beautifully. These oak forests come in a section where the climb is not very steep. So, you have an easy walk through the oak forest. 

It’s magical to see oak forests in snowfall. Usually, our mind conjures up images of pine forests in snowfall. But here, the experience is different. 

As snow falls through the oak forests, it’s almost like you see bows being formed on the trees. It feels like only the red balls are missing now to complete the look. 

Apart from the look, the Kuari Pass trek has an interesting landscape with oak forests merging into meadows. Unlike the steep forest sections on Roopkund and Brahmatal trek, here it is gradual. So it’s like a flattish oak forest walk where you can appreciate the beauty. And this section is not very long. You come across it on Day 3 and Day 4 of the trek for around one and a half and two hours. 

This, especially with the snow and oak forest combination, makes for a very beautiful experience. 

Kuari Pass trek – A trail amidst the magical Padiyar forest Picture by Jothiranjan

3. The unforgettable walks in the meadows

The next big reason to do the Kuari Pass trek is the Gorson Bugyal. Once you cross the tree line, the Gorson Bugyal stretches in front of you. It’s not like Ali Bugyal. But the setting of this bugyal lingers in your mind long after you are back from the trek. 

As you step into Gorson Bugyal, on one side you have the grand Dronagiri and Nanda Devi.  And then, on the other side, you have these green meadows stretched in front of you. 

The pretty Gorson Bugyal is one part of it. The other part is Chitrakantha. This is a meadowy ridge at 12,000 feet. To walk on this ridge is also an experience to cherish.

What’s great is that the meadows of Kuari Pass are extremely beautiful in any season. If you go in early autumn, it’s lush green. In late autumn it is golden, and it is also extremely beautiful. And winter offers a stark, white setting. 

In all settings, the meadows and the mountain views in contrast are very beautiful. 

Through and through it’s a meadow. The trek ends with the setting of a meadow. During summer, snow melts from the meadow and you have fresh green grass growing.

It is a legendary trail. You have the Lord Curzon trail passing through it. Kuari Pass is an old trek.

Lord Curzon trail passing through Kuari Pass

What I don't Like About the Kuari Pass Trek

1. Trek Route from Auli

I wish the Kuari Pass trek had started from the Auli side. Now, the trek starts from Karchi and ends at Auli. I wish it was the other way round. 

I’ll tell you why. When you trek to Kuari Pass from the Karchi side, all the spectacular mountain views are behind you. I miss having these views in front of me. You get this when you do the trek from Auli. But that route is not very practical. 

From Auli, you tend to gain altitude too quickly while reaching the next campsite at Tali. And, availability of water here is also a challenge. 

Due to these reasons, it’s better to begin the trek from the Karchi side. But I wish it was the other way round. 

Mt Nanda Devi in the distance as seen from the popular artificial lake at Auli.

Trek Trivia

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.