The Complete Guide to Kudremukh Trek

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Kudremukh literally means horse’s face in Kannada. This name is because of the distinctive shape of the peak. This is also called as Samseparvath historically as it used to access from Samse village.

Kudremukh is nestled in the heart of the western ghats in Chikkamagaluru district. It comes under Kudremukh National Park which is the second-largest wildlife protected area in the western ghats. 

It is situated at an altitude of 6,207 ft and is the 3rd highest peak of Karnataka after Mullayyangiri and Baba Budangiri.

Kudremukh is a home for many flora and fauna. You can even spot deer and peacocks on the way amongst other wildlife while trekking!  

It is a beautiful trek across the rolling green hills and misty valleys. You traverse through grasslands, forest and many small streams.

Table of Contents

  • What to watch out for
  • Trail Information
  • Best time to do
  • How to reach the base of the trek
  • Difficult Sections
  • Permission, Water Sources and other finer details about the trek
  • Things to Take
  • Nearby Places to Visit after the trek

What to Watch out for

The Horse’s face structure of the Peak

The Kudremukh peak has a unique structure that looks like a horse’s face from the side. This structure is visible after an hour of trekking from the forest office. This looks closer but there is another 3 hours of trekking to reach that point.

Horse’s face structure seen on the way to the peak. Picture by Ranjith Naik

Trekking inside the Shola Forest

Shola is a local name for grassland and shrublands that are visible in the western ghats. You have to trek through shola forest to reach the Kudremukh peak.

This forest is home to many wildlife like deer, lion-tailed macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, leopard, common langur and many more. If you are lucky enough, you spot them while trekking. During monsoon season, you can find leeches for every step in this section. 

One of the fascinating parts of this section is the waterfalls and small streams. You have to cross many streams on the way to the peak. Sometimes you may have to wet your shoes while crossing.

Trekking inside the Shola forest where you see small waterfalls and streams on the trail. Picture by Soumini Ramesh

Spectacular View of the Rolling Hills

When you come out of the shola forest, you see a spectacular view of the rolling hills around you. Green hills and misty valleys are the rewards to the eyes. During monsoon, this area might be covered with mist completely. But the hide and seek of the valley in between those clouds and mist is something you should not miss out on.

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Trail Information on the Kudremukh Trek

Kudremukh Trek can be divided into 3 sections. They are:

  1. The trail from Forest office to Ontimara 2(lone tree) is a gradual ascent in the forest and on the grassland
  2. Trek from Ontimara 2 to Final stretch which has a steeper ascent
  3. The Ridge walk from the final section to the peak

Route Map

Trail map of Kudremukh Trek. The screenshot is from Google Earth Pro

Section I: From Forest Office to Ontimara 2 (Lone tree)

Trek distance: 5 km
Trek duration: 2 hours
GPS coordinates of the forest office:  13° 9'6.61"n, 75°18'16.49"e
GPS coordinates of the Ontimara 2:  13° 8'5.27"n, 75°17'3.87"e

Reach the forest office as early as possible to get the permission. The trek starts from the forest office. You can hear the sound of the water falling at Somawathi falls and it stays with you for a distance before you get on to the forest trail. 

Once you enter the Shola forest notice the thickening of the vegetation. You can spot wildlife here if you are lucky enough. This forest is home to many leeches and earthworms.

If you are lucky, you can spot these animals on the trail. Picture by Deepak M

After 15 minutes of a gradual ascent, you get to cross a stream. Water level will be high if you are trekking in the monsoon. 

Tips:  Wear proper trekking shoes and carry a trekking pole as well. These two will help you while crossing the stream.

Apply Dettol or Savlon before the start of the trek to avoid leeches. Just let it be and remove once you reach the grassland or summit if you find any. 

Only 50 people will get the permission in a day. Make sure you reach the forest office as early as possible.

Waterfall, you see on the way to Ontimara. Picture by Soumini Ramesh

You encounter many waterfalls and small streams until you reach the first Ontimara. 

As soon as you exit the forest section you can see the Ontimara inviting you with space underneath. That spot is surrounded by a wide canopy.

First Ontimara, seen as soon as you exit from the forest. Picture by Soumini Ramesh

From Ontimara, the trail is flat with Kudremukh valley on your right and a mountain on your left. You will be trekking on the grassland with the occasional dense trees. After trekking for an hour and a half, you arrive at the second Ontimara. 

If you are calculating from the forest office, it will take 2 hours to reach the distinctive mark point of the second Ontimara.   

The second Ontimara where you can take a break. This image is taken while descending down. Picture by Soumini Ramesh

Section II: Ontimara 2 to Final stretch

Trek distance: 3 km
Trek duration:  1 hour
GPS coordinates of the Ontimara 2:  13° 8'5.27"n, 75°17'3.87"e
GPS coordinates of the final stretch:  13° 8'6.59"n, 75°16'22.27"e

The trek from the second Ontimara has a combination of trekking through a gentle slope and also a steep ascent as you approach the last leg of your trek. This section is very scenic and you get to see the beautiful rolling green hills.

You can see the dense spot of trees and mountains once you start the trek from Ontimara. Picture by Meghana Jambhe

After 20 minutes of a gradual trek from the first stop, the trail starts to get steeper. As you start ascending, Kudremukh valley becomes more visible. 

This is the most beautiful part of the trek! The peak is right in front of your eyes and the excitement begins about reaching the summit.

Observe the trekkers climbing the steep trail to reach the final stretch. Behind them is the Kudremukh valley. Picture by Meghana Jambhe

Closeup view of the trail and valley. Picture by Meghana Jambhe

Tip: The trekking pole can be used here. It will give you the support required to ascend the mountain.

Section III: Final stretch to the Kudremukh Peak

Trek distance: 1 km
Trek duration: 30 minutes
GPS coordinates for the final stretch:  13° 8'6.59"n, 75°16'22.27"e
GPS coordinates for the Kudremukh peak:   13° 7'35.39"n, 75°16'26.06"e

You should reach this point at around 12 noon if you are starting your trek at 8 am. Take a break and drink some water. Enjoy the view.

You can see the back of the Kudremukh view from here. You are trekking in the heart of the Kudremukh valley now.

View of the Kudremukh peak from the final leg of the trek. Picture by Meghana Jambhe

You can see the trail that leads to the Peak. From here, another 35 minutes of a climb to reach the top.

At the peak, you will see a board and also many stones piled up. 

Look for the board on the top. You can also see a few stones piled up that indicate the highest point. Picture by Ayush Asawa

You are at the top of the Kudremukh now. To see the best view, you need to go a little down to the ledge. Make some space to sit. This place can get very windy.

You can see the 270-degree view of the uneven green carpets if you are lucky. For most times at the peak, you will be surrounded by clouds and mist. You hardly get a window to capture the view. Be patient and enjoy the play of clouds. If you are lucky, the spectacular view is something worth taking back from the trek. 

The tranquillity around makes you feel satisfied. Do not forget to have lunch in that setting.

The 2 minutes window period on the peak to see this beautiful valley. Picture by Meghana Jambhe

The descent is the same route as you came up. 

Your turnaround time (TAT) at all cost should be at 2 pm. Make sure you start descending at 2 pm sharp from any position of your trek. You will need a minimum of 3 hours to descend down. Also, the Forest department has restrictions after 6 pm.

The descent can be tricky at the steep sections. Forest section also can be slippery if it is raining heavily. Make sure you use the trekking pole correctly. Watch the video here to know about using the trekking pole.

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Best Time to do Kudremukh Trek

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The best season to do Kudremukh is from June to February. However, the Kalasa region receives pleasant weather throughout the year. 

During monsoon and winter, you can see many small streams, dark shola forest, bamboo shrubs tall enough to touch the sky and rolling green hills.

Some of the sections of the trek involve trekking under the open sky. Hence, trekking in the summer is not recommended.

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How to reach Kudremukh Trek

The Kudremukh trek starts from Mullodi village which is around 15 km from Kalasa. Reaching Mullodi directly is not easy. 

You have to first reach Kudremukh Entrance which is about 10 km from Kalasa. From the Entrance point, hire a jeep to Mullodi village where you get the forest office. This is where you have to take permission and begin your trek. 

One can reach Kalasa by own vehicle or using public transportation and from there to Kudremukh Entrance point. Find the detailed information below.

Reaching Kudremukh by your own vehicle

If you are planning on reaching Kalasa using your own vehicle from Bangalore, you can use this link to help setup navigation in google maps. For a more detailed explanation, read through the information below.

To reach Kalasa, there are multiple routes available from Bangalore. The best route is to go via Hasan. 

Get on to the Chikkamagaluru road and continue until you reach Kottigehara. At the Kottigehara Junction take the right that goes towards Kalasa. Continue on the same road until you reach Kalasa police station. Take a left from the Police station junction towards Balagal to reach the Kudremukh Entrance point. 

The road from the entrance to the forest office is not good. Hence, park your vehicle near one of the shops at the entrance and get into the jeep from there. There will be many jeeps standing at the entrance. You can ask them to drop you to the forest office or any homestay if you have pre-booked. They charge you around Rs 150 per person. 

Tip: Inform one of the homestay owners on the previous day to arrange a jeep. It will be cheaper than booking on the spot. They charge you around Rs 600 including pickup, drop, breakfast, packed lunch and dinner.

Reaching Kudremukh by Public Transport System

The base village Kalasa is easily accessible by public transport. There are many buses from Bangalore to Horanadu via Kalasa to be booked online at KSRTC website

You can book an overnight bus to Horanadu and get down at Kalasa bus station. The distance from Bangalore to Kalasa is 310 km. 

You will reach Kalasa by 6 am if you have taken the overnight bus at around 10.30 PM. From Kalasa, you get a bus that goes towards Balagal village. Inform conductor to drop you at Kudremukh Entrance. It is a 10 km journey. 

The overall bus journey from Bangalore to Kudremukh entrance costs you around Rs 750. 

Once you get down at Kudremukh entrance point, you can see many jeeps waiting at the entrance. Talk to the jeep person and ask him to drop you at the forest office. You will have to pay Rs 200 per person if you have not booked in advance. You can also walk to the forest office if you reach early. This is another 5 km walk from the entrance. 

Return option:

You can book a return ticket from Kalasa on the same day itself. 

You can get the bus from Kudremukh Entrance point that goes towards Kalasa for every 15 minutes. From Kalasa you can take any bus that goes to Bangalore.

Nearest Railway Station

Mangalore railway station - 120 km

Nearest International and Domestic Airport

Mangalore International Airport - 115 km

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Difficult Sections on the Kudremukh Trek

The Kudremukh trek is of moderate difficulty. You need to cover 9 km one way. 

There are no difficult sections as such but note down a few things to keep in mind while trekking.

  1. Trekking in the forest section can be slippery. Make sure you wear proper trekking shoes and a trekking pole.
  2. Crossing the small streams in the forest is a tricky part. The mossy rocks in the water can be slippery.
  3. The trail from the second Ontimara to the final stretch has a steep ascent of 3 km. You should be fit enough to trek in those sections if you want to enjoy the view. 

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Frequently asked questions about Kudremukh Trek

Permission and camping on the trek

Kudremukh trek needs permission as it is a part of Kudremukh national park in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka. The entry fee is Rs 600 per person. Only the first 50 people will get permission in a day. 

If you are staying in any of the homestays, you can ask the owner to help you with permission. Or else you need to reach the forest office early in the morning and get permission.

Camping on the Kudremukh trek is not allowed. However, there are many homestays that offer tent stay at the starting point. 

Food and Water source on the Kudremukh Trek

Homestays in the Mullodi village (near the forest office) provide food for the trekkers. However, one has to book it in advance. They charge you around Rs 200 for breakfast and packed lunch. 

If you are trekking in the monsoon season, you find many streams and waterfalls on the trail. You can fill your bottle from there. 

If you are not comfortable with drinking groundwater, fill the water bottle at the homestay itself. Make sure you carry a minimum of 2 litres of water. 

Tip: If you are not comfortable with having water from the stream or homestay carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water.

Who can do the Kudremukh Trek?

The total distance of Kudremukh trek is 18 km. It requires endurance and a little bit of trekking experience to complete the trek in a day. 

There are no technical sections on the trek. Hence, a fit beginner also can attempt this. 

Best time of the day to do the Kudremukh trek

The best time to do the Kudremukh is to start as early as possible in the morning. You need 4-5 hours to reach the peak and again 2 and a half hours to return. 

There is a restriction from the forest office that you can not trek after 6 PM. You need to be back to the homestay by then. 

Also, in the western ghats, the weather turns windy after 2 PM. Make sure you reach the summit before 1 PM and come back before 6 PM. 

Homestays for Kudremukh Trek

There are many homestays near the forest office. One can book in advance. Some of the homestays are: 

  1. Raje Gowda’s homestay: 9481179008
  2. Sathis Mullodi house:  9481074530
  3. Bella Homestay: Chandan - 91106 84643 

There are many more homestays that have decent facilities. You can check them here

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What to pack for Kudremukh Trek

  • Basic First Aid kit*
  • Identity Card
  • Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
  • Water (Minimum two litres)
  • Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
  • High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
  • Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
  • Quick Dry Full Sleeve T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
  • Poncho, only during monsoons
  • Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Optional: Trekking poles

*First aid kit:

  • Scissor
  • Band-aids (Regular & Waterproof)
  • Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
  • Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
  • Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
  • Cotton roll & Bandage
  • Crepe Bandage
  • 1-inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
  • Micropore tape
  • Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
  • Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

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Places to Visit after the Kudremukh Trek

There are many treks and waterfalls that are in the same region as Kudremukh. If you wish to cover more places and treks after Kudremukh, go through the list mentioned below: 

Towards Bangalore

  • Horanadu Temple: It is famous for the temple situated on the banks of the river Bhadra in a corner of Chikkamagaluru district. This is 16 km from Kudremukh Entrance.
  • Ballarayanadurga Fort Trek: This fort is a part of the Bandaje trek. One can do this from Durgadahalli. This route is easier compared to the Ujire route. This is 36 km from Kudremukh Entrance.
  • Aane Gudda Trek: This trek starts from Haluvalli. You have to take a deviation from Kalasa to reach the base. This is 15 km from the Kudremukh Entrance.
  • Meruti Hill: This is the 7th highest peak of Karnataka. The trek starts from Basarikatte. This place is very close to Horanadu temple. Basarikatte is 30 km from Kudremukh Entrance.

Towards Mangalore

  • Lakya Dam Lake: This dam is built across the river Lakya, a tributary of the Bhadra river. This dam is inside the Kudremukh national park. The distance from Kudremukh Entrance is 13 km.
  • Kadambi Falls: This fall is one of the major attractions for the tourist who wants to experience the greenery of the western ghats. This is close to the highway and 22 km from Kudremukh Entrance.
  • Hanuman Gundi Falls: This fall is located in the Kudremukh National park and 22 km from Kudremukh Entrance.
  • Kurinjal Peak: This is another small trek located 20 km away from the Kudremukh Entrance. It is a lesser-known peak in Kudremukh National park. So you can expect less crowd on the trail. 

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Trek Contribution

Trek documented by Nayana Jambhe

Banner Image: Meghana Jambhe

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