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Nafran Valley

A trek that can rival Tarsar Marsar and Kashmir Great Lakes trek's beauty

Wondering if this is the right trek for you? Talk to our experts and find out.Schedule a call

TREK DIFFICULTY

Moderate - Difficult

TREK DURATION

7 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

13,789 ft

A trek that can rival Tarsar Marsar and Kashmir Great Lakes trek's beauty

For a long time, we’ve been looking for another trek in Kashmir that matches up to our blockbuster treks, Kashmir Great Lakes and Tarsar Marsar.

For us finding anything that compares to the great two is like looking for an elephant with wings. “It’s near impossible for any trek to compare with the Kashmir Great Lakes or the Tarsar Marsar. It is hard to match up to the grand meadows, the turquoise blue lakes and picture-perfect landscapes of these two treks,” says Sandhya UC, who led the exploration and documentation of the Kashmir Great Lakes (2011) and Tarsar Marsar (2015) treks.

“We have looked for trails in the remote parts of Kashmir, Jammu, around Naranag, near Margan Pass, even towards the Thajiwas glacier. While each of these is beautiful, there’s always been some issue. Either the trek is too short, too monotonous, runs through disturbed areas, or has incomplete trails,” says Sandhya.

Now, for the first time in seven years, we have found a trek that matches up to the KGL and Tarsar Marsar in grandeur, variety and the kickback. 

We are talking about the Nafran Valley trek.

When the first exploration team returned, they were singing praises of the trek. They claimed it was as good, or even prettier than the Tarsar Marsar. We took it with a pinch of salt. Everything in Kashmir is beautiful. But was it matching up to Tarsar Marsar?

So we sent another exploration team to truly assess the trail. Does it have a variety — of forests, meadows, lakes, and alpine experiences? Does it have terrific camping options? Does it promise adventure? These are all questions they went with.

And did they come back with answers and how! They came back with photographic evidence, a day to day assessment of the trek and 4 great reasons why the trek is outstanding.

For a long time, we’ve been looking for another trek in Kashmir that matches up to our blockbuster treks, Kashmir Great Lakes and Tarsar Marsar.

For us finding anything that compares to the great two is like looking for an elephant with wings. “It’s near impossible for any trek to compare with the Kashmir Great Lakes or the Tarsar Marsar. It is hard to match up to the grand meadows, the turquoise blue lakes and picture-perfect landscapes of these two treks,” says Sandhya UC, who led the exploration and documentation of the Kashmir Great Lakes (2011) and Tarsar Marsar (2015) treks.

Trekker Stories and Experiences with Indiahikes

Nishant Gupta

August 2022

A trek no less than KGL
All the camp sites were Out of this world , especially the campsite at the foot of Kolahoi glacier, with streams flowing by and a beautiful Rainbow 🌈 Personally, I think it’s difficult and No less th...Read More
All the camp sites were Out of this world , especially the campsite at the foot of Kolahoi glacier, with streams flowing by and a beautiful Rainbow 🌈 Personally, I think it’s difficult and No less th...Read More
Komal Rajani

August, 2023

Nafran is a trek that helped me break my mental barriers
This trek had everything meadows, steep inclined, pass crossing,stream crossing, huge boulders,alpine lakes. There were many challenges and struggles on my way which created impulses on our minds, but...Read More
This trek had everything meadows, steep inclined, pass crossing,stream crossing, huge boulders,alpine lakes. There were many challenges and struggles on my way which created impulses on our minds, but...Read More
Priti Chopra

August 2022

The Nafran Valley trek was out of this world!
The lakes were out of this world. The beauty of Kashmir, the mountains, the pristine greens and the icy peaks are to due for. Crossing the mountains on streams of water was very challenging. Nights we...Read More
The lakes were out of this world. The beauty of Kashmir, the mountains, the pristine greens and the icy peaks are to due for. Crossing the mountains on streams of water was very challenging. Nights we...Read More
Chandni

September 2022

The Nafran Valley Trek was one of the most beautiful treks I've done
The Nafran Valley Trek was one of the most beautiful treks I've done. This trail has verdant campsites and gorgeous views. And each campsite is different from the other, unique and beautiful in its ow...Read More
The Nafran Valley Trek was one of the most beautiful treks I've done. This trail has verdant campsites and gorgeous views. And each campsite is different from the other, unique and beautiful in its ow...Read More
Nishant Gupta

August 2022

A trek no less than KGL
All the camp sites were Out of this world , especially the campsite at the foot of Kolahoi glacier, with streams flowing by and a beautiful Rainbow 🌈 Personally, I think it’s difficult and No less th...Read More
All the camp sites were Out of this world , especially the campsite at the foot of Kolahoi glacier, with streams flowing by and a beautiful Rainbow 🌈 Personally, I think it’s difficult and No less th...Read More
Komal Rajani

August, 2023

Nafran is a trek that helped me break my mental barriers
This trek had everything meadows, steep inclined, pass crossing,stream crossing, huge boulders,alpine lakes. There were many challenges and struggles on my way which created impulses on our minds, but...Read More
This trek had everything meadows, steep inclined, pass crossing,stream crossing, huge boulders,alpine lakes. There were many challenges and struggles on my way which created impulses on our minds, but...Read More
Priti Chopra

August 2022

The Nafran Valley trek was out of this world!
The lakes were out of this world. The beauty of Kashmir, the mountains, the pristine greens and the icy peaks are to due for. Crossing the mountains on streams of water was very challenging. Nights we...Read More
The lakes were out of this world. The beauty of Kashmir, the mountains, the pristine greens and the icy peaks are to due for. Crossing the mountains on streams of water was very challenging. Nights we...Read More
Chandni

September 2022

The Nafran Valley Trek was one of the most beautiful treks I've done
The Nafran Valley Trek was one of the most beautiful treks I've done. This trail has verdant campsites and gorgeous views. And each campsite is different from the other, unique and beautiful in its ow...Read More
The Nafran Valley Trek was one of the most beautiful treks I've done. This trail has verdant campsites and gorgeous views. And each campsite is different from the other, unique and beautiful in its ow...Read More
Nafran Valley Videos
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Nafran Valley - 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 surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Nafran Valley 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.

Experts Speak

Dhaval Jajal

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Dhaval Jajal

Dhaval Jajal is a Film Maker and Trek Leader at Indiahikes. A dentist by profession, He decided to switch his career after he trekked to Goechala trek with Indiahikes. Currently, he is working towards taking the Indiahikes YouTube channel forward, making films on a wide range of topics to educate the trekking community. Dhaval was also an explorer at Indiahikes and has brought to the trekking community two amazing treks – Nafraan Valley in Kashmir and Tamenglong trek in Manipur.

What I Like About the Nafran Valley Trek

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Dhaval Jajal

Dhaval Jajal is a Film Maker and Trek Leader at Indiahikes. A dentist by profession, He decided to switch his career after he trekked to Goechala trek with Indiahikes. Currently, he is working towards taking the Indiahikes YouTube channel forward, making films on a wide range of topics to educate the trekking community. Dhaval was also an explorer at Indiahikes and has brought to the trekking community two amazing treks – Nafraan Valley in Kashmir and Tamenglong trek in Manipur.

1. The endless grasslands

“The Nafran Valley is extremely lush. Perennially fed by the waters of the Kolahoi glacier, the valley is a luxuriant green. In July, the grasslands are a soft green carpet, slowly blooming into a flower bed in August. In September, the meadows slowly start taking on a beautiful yellow tinge, still replete with flowers.

“The meadows are massive, even bigger in size than Lidderwat of Tarsar Marsar and Satsar of the Kashmir Great Lakes,” says Vivek Saini, Slope Manager at Indiahikes who led the second exploration.

“What is unique is that you enter this vast valley within two hours of trekking, and you stay in the grasslands almost until the end of the trek,” shares Vivek. “On most other treks, you trek for at least two days to enter such grasslands,” he adds.

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The coniferous forests open up to the beautiful meadows of Shul Margi. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

2. The striking blue lakes

It’s a known fact that one of the biggest attractions of trekking in Kashmir is the alpine lakes. Nafran Valley has not one, but two such lakes — Harbhagwan Lake and Harnag Lake.

Both of them are a crystalline blue, with astounding reflections in the morning hours, slowly taking on the hue of the sky at midday, and reflecting millions of stars at night.

“The blue waters of the Harbhagwan Lake and Harnag Lakes are wonderful surprises for trekkers in an otherwise green valley,” shares Dhaval Jajal, who was the lead explorer of the trek. The biggest bonus is that you camp on the banks of one of these lakes — the Harnag lake.

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The crown jewel of the trek, Harbhagwan Lake. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

3. An extraordinary view of the Kolahoi Glacier

“While trekking from Harnag to Harbhagwan, trekkers are in for a surprise. Just as they’re walking, on the left side, they start to see huge chunks of the Kolahoi glacier. Within a few minutes, the entire east-facing glacier reveals itself,” shares Dhaval.

“The view of the glacier hanging precariously on the Kolahoi Peak is magnificent. You don’t get to go so close to glaciers on any treks, except perhaps the Gaumukh glacier. So the experience of observing a glacier at such close quarters is very special,” he adds.

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The Kolahoi glacier is a major highlight on the trek, apart from the lakes, meadows and peaks. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

4. The campsite locations

“It’s a manicured meadow, which stretches to the horizon. A few sheep graze about in the distance, some flowers sprinkled here and there. You get to camp right in the middle of these meadows. It’s an experience that you’ll remember for life,” he says.

On the other hand, you also camp on the banks of the Harnag lake. “This is a huge lake — as big as Vishansar or Kishansar (of the KGL trek). Camping beside such a pristine lake is an absolute privilege,” he adds.

While these two might be top campsites, the other camps — one in the heart of Nafran Valley and another at Arram Pathri — are no less. Both of them are lovely grasslands. “Arram Pathri has a gentle river flowing through and we camp on the banks of the river, whereas the main campsite at Nafran Valley is set amidst grand alpine meadows. You will have your Sound of Music moment in these meadows,” smiles Dhaval.

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The Nafran Valley has a few of the most picturesque campsites compared to all our treks. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

5. The seclusion

Another phenomenon that takes you by surprise is the Kolahoi glacier standing tall in front of you. Make this your rest point and appreciate the spectacle.

A huge chunk of ice slants slightly on the rocks to form this glacier. The cracking sounds of the ever-moving ice are common if you observe quietly and you may even witness the breaking of the ice off of the glacier.

Getting to see a glacier along the valley is a refreshing change in scenery.

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You will most likely be the only group trekking in the Nafran Valley. It is yet to come out as a classic trek in Kashmir. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation
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When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India
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We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation
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More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative
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We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation
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Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.