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The Complete Guide to Nag Thatch Trek

A quaint village west of Pantwari called Saindul is the base of this short little day hike called Nag Thatch. Saindul is just 100 kilometres away from Dehradun, and is located in the Jaunpur region of Tehri Garhwal district.

Thanks to the Forest Department of Uttarakhand, Bhadrigaad Division for inviting us to explore the region around Saindul. We have found a very rewarding trek that is unknown to many in the trekking circles.

Nag Thatch trek overlooks the famed Nag Tibba trek, but it takes half the effort to get the views which you would otherwise get from the top of Nag Tibba.

From Nag Thatch and Sur Thatch, one can see almost all the mountain peaks of Garhwal Himalaya such as Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch, Kalanag, Shrikanth, Gangotri 1, Jaonli, Thalaysagar, Kedarnath Main, Kedarnath Dome, Chaukhamba and many others. For an easy and short trek of 2.5 kilometres, this is a dream come true!

Apart from the big mountain views, the trek also has pretty meadows of Nag Thatch and Sur Thatch (Thatch is a local slang for ‘meadow’) that are lush green in summer and golden brown in autumn. You’ll also find snow here in winter.

The accessibility to the base, the trek distance and an easy trail makes it an ideal trek for families with children and elders who find it difficult to do longer Himalayan treks.

The trek can be either done in one day if you’re based around Dehradun, or can be split into two days. There is no permit by the Forest Department to camp on the meadows, or anywhere on the trail. So, plan your stay in any of the homestays at Saindul village if you want to make it a multi-day trek.

➤ Table of Contents

Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop in comments at the end of the page if you need any help!  You will get all the information required to do the Nag Thatch trek on your own.

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents.

➤ Highlights of Nag Thatch Trek

1. Meadows of Nag Thatch and Sur Thatch

Nag-Thatch-Meadows-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

Golden brown meadows of Nag Thatch in Autumn. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

The meadows of Nag Thatch and Sur Thatch change colour with time. Just like our other Himalayan treks, you’ll see lush green meadows in spring and summer, that turn golden brown post-monsoon and autumn.

These meadows come very close to the ones that you find above 10,000 ft, in terms of prettiness. You’ll get to enjoy them with just a small hike of 2.5 km.

2. Views of Garhwal Himalayan range throughout the trek

nag thatch-Garhwal-Himalayan-Range-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

The entire Garhwal Himalayan range is visible on your climb to Nag Thatch. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

If there is another reward above the beautiful meadows, it is the view of the entire Garhwal Himalayan range as you proceed closer to Nag Thatch. You’ll see prominent peaks such as Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch and Chaukhamba with many other peaks in one wide panorama.

Trekkers usually have to climb to more than 10,000 ft to get a panorama such as this. We are lucky to have found such a nice trail with terrific sights, so close to Dehradun.

3. Hospitality of the local people of Saindul

nag thatch-Saindul-Village-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

Saindul is a quaint village in the Jaunpur valley. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

Saindul is a village in the lesser Himalayan region of Jaunpur. It has just a handful of houses. The locals of the village are very welcoming. The homestays set up at the village are by the local people themselves.

While you stay at one of their homestays, make sure to try their local cuisine to get a taste of the Garhwal Himalayas. It adds a unique experience to the trek.

➤ Quick Itinerary

Nag-Thatch-Trek-Route-Map-Google-Earth-Pro

Route Map of the Nag Thatch trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

Day 1: Reach Saindul Village from Dehradun

Drive distance: 100 km | Duration: 4 hours

On your first day, drive from Dehradun to Saindul village.

Day 2 (Option 1): Trek from Saindul Village Nag Thatch and back

Trek distance: 5 km | Duration: 3 hours
Altitude Gain and Loss: 5,340 ft to 6,810 ft, and back to 5,340 ft
Trek type: Easy. Gradual ascent to Nag Thatch with just one water source on the way.

Day 2 (Option 2): Trek from Saindul Village to Sur Thatch via Nag Thatch and back

Trek distance: 12 km | Duration: 7 hours
Altitude Gain and Loss: 5,340 ft to 7,480 ft, and back to 5,340 ft
Trek type: Moderate. Gradual ascent to Nag Thatch and then climb up to Sur Thatch for 5 kilometers. There is only one water source on the way. Ensure your water bottles are filled.

➤ 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 surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Nag Thatch 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. Don’t miss the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

How Does Each Day Look

Day 1: Reach Saindul Village

On your first day, you’ll drive down to Saindul Village. If you’re travelling via public transport, you will have to break your journey at Nainbagh and take a shared taxi to Saindul.

| Note: For ease of understanding, we have assumed you will start your journey from Dehradun.

Notice how the scenery changes from the plains of Dehradun to the mountains as you drive beside the Yamuna river for most part of the journey. You should reach Saindul in about 4 hours from the start of your journey.

We suggest spending the night at Saindul, getting to know the local culture on this day. There are a couple of homestays that offer decent accommodation and food. These are your only options to stay as there are no other hotels or restaurants in the village. They have to be booked in advance. You’ll find the travel and contact details in the “How to Plan Your Travel” section below.

Day 2 (Option 1): Trek from Saindul Village Nag Thatch and back

Trek gradient: Easy. Gradual ascent to Nag Thatch with just one water source on the way.

Day 2 (Option 2): Trek from Saindul Village to Sur Thatch via Nag Thatch and back

Trek gradient: Moderate. Gradual ascent to Nag Thatch and then climb up to Sur Thatch for 5 kilometers. There is only one water source on the way. Ensure your water bottles are filled.

If you are going only till Nag Thatch (Option 1), start the trek early by 6.00 AM so that you come back down in time for breakfast. If you are going all the way till Sur Thatch, get your breakfast packed in your own lunch boxes from the homestay as it is going to take time till you come back down.

Green Trails Tip: Get your own cutlery on the trek, and avoid packaged food. This small act ensures that we don’t introduce plastic in these sensitive areas, and helps us leave the mountains better than we found them.

Starting the trek early is key, because you will get to see the first light of the sun on the entire Garhwal Himalayan range. Trust us, it is a sight you wouldn’t want to miss!

From Saindul, proceed east by taking the trail through the village. Your target is to reach the top of the hill that you see in front of you. In about 30 minutes, you would have gained decent altitude.

Nag-Thatch-Pine-Trees-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

The Garhwal Himalayas start opening up half way through the trek. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

As you reach the ridge top, where the pine forests start, look back to see the first glimpse of the mountains. Take a break here and enjoy the view. If you start early, the mountains in the above picture would have turned bright orange as the first rays of the sun fall on them.

En-route-to-Nag-Thatch-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

En route to Nag Thatch. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

From the ridge, the trail on the left takes you to Nag Thatch, while the trail on the right along the ridge takes you to Sur Thatch

nag thatch-Mt-Bandarpoonch-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht-

Mt Bandarpoonch appears prominently at the center. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

Nag Thatch meadows are a kilometer away from this point after a steep ascent for about half a kilometer.

Nag-Thatch-view-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

Scenery from Nag Thatch. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

You will know you have reached Nag Thatch when you see a small temple dedicated to Nag Devta on a flat meadow. You will also see the famous Nag Tibba Top to the east, straight ahead of you.

If you decide to return from here, take the same trail back down to reach Saindul village. Otherwise, make your way back to the ridge and continue straight, enjoying a long and beautiful ridge walk that runs almost for 3.5 kilometers.

nag thatch-saindul village-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

On your right, you’ll see Saindul village from where your trek started. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

On your right, you have Saindul Village in the Jaunpur Valley. On your left, you have many other villages with step cultivation lined up as far as your eye can see.

The first kilometer towards Sur Thatch is a steep ascent. The trail eases out into a gradual ascent for the rest of the way.

nag Thatch-panorama-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

While you walk along the ridge, keep your eyes open for the panorama that starts opening up. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

There is something different about ridge walks. They don’t obstruct the field of vision. You’ll get an almost 360-degree panoramic sight of everything around you. Enjoy the vastness of land as you trek up to Sur Thatch meadows.

nag thatch-scenery-Garhwal-Range-Indiahikes-Mahipal-Bisht

Scenery starts getting grander as you climb up to Sur Thatch. Picture by Mahipal Bisht

Once you reach the meadows, you’ll get a magnified vision of the Garhwal Himalayan range. Spend some time visiting the Raghunath temple, having your packed breakfast and taking in the view.

Retrace your steps back the same way to Saindul village. You should be back at your homestay in time for lunch.

Click here to go back to the Table of Contents.

 How Difficult is Nag Thatch?

Honestly, Nag Thatch trek, which climbs to 7,500 ft, is not really difficult. It is rated as ‘easy’ as the trekking day is not too long and it doesn’t have many steep or tricky sections.

An easy rating refers to shorter trekking days with very few steep climbs (example: climb just before Sur Thatch). This keeps the trek at the same level as the other easy level treks like Chirbatiya Trek or Nag Tibba.

The trek also has easy exits and there are no technical sections.

To get a clear picture, imagine covering a total of 5 km in a day if you go till Nag Thatch, or 12 km in a day if you decide to trek up till Sur Thatch. You gain approximately 1,500 ft (to Nag Thatch) and 2,200 ft (to Sur Thatch) during this journey, which is slightly hectic when done in a single day.

That’s doable in a well-paced itinerary. The key is to pace it out.

➤ Is Nag Thatch Trek Safe?

Yes. Trekking to Nag Thatch is very safe. That’s because the trail is not very remote, and is close to the major towns of Uttarakhand. Most of the time it’s just your group trekking on your own in nature.

Being mentally prepared for the trek is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek.

To do this effectively, let’s break down and examine various aspects of Nag Thatch trek from the perspective of safety:

  • Exit points on Nag Thatch trek
  • Closest hospital to Nag Thatch trek

Exit points on the Nag Thatch Trek

Medical Emergencies can strike on any trek. The key to dealing with them lies in knowing your exit points. Know how to get out and reach the nearest hospital quickly.

On the Nag Thatch trek, your best bet is to descend to Saindul village. That is the easiest way out.

Closest Hospital to Nag Thatch Trek

In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital is in Mussoorie. If you need serious medical attention, head to Mussoorie/Dehradun for better facilities.

➤ Best Time to do the Trek

The best time to do Nag Thatch trek is from October to June. That means, the trek can be done in all seasons except for monsoon.

Since the trail is in the open, you won’t have a tree cover where you can take shelter during heavy rainfall in monsoon season. Plus, the trail would become extremely slushy, increasing the difficulty of the trek up a notch.

That said, every season changes the way the trek is experienced. Let’s look at how Nag Thatch trek differs in each season.

Nag Thatch from October to December (Autumn)

Nag Thatch trek turns golden brown as soon as the rains have stopped, as we proceed towards winter.

The trees start shedding leaves, leaving a carpet of them on the forest floor that rustle and crunch as you walk on them. Water sources dry up.

But autumn opens up the skies paving way to crystal clear sight of all the surrounding mountains. Autumn is a shutterbug’s paradise. Such spotless vista cannot be seen in any other season of the year.

Nag Thatch from January to March (Winter)

Winter brings in its magic in the form of snowfall. The trail starts to turn white towards the peak winter season. The water sources are completely dried up.

If you want to experience walking in snow and the magic of snowfall, choose winter over any other season. You may not get any visibility because it stays cloudy most of the time.

Nag Thatch from April to June (Spring and Summer)

Spring and Summer are the seasons that bring out the lush green side of Nag Thatch trek.

There’s life blooming all around, with birds chirping, trees growing fresh leaves, and the green carpet of grass getting filled with wildflowers of different colours. Water sources are replenished and streams start flowing at multiple places.

The skies are mostly clear, but there will be clouds coming and going. This might make the mountains play hide and seek before they open up fully (if they do!) in front of you.

➤ Weather and Temperature on Nag Thatch

On Nag Thatch trek, the weather or temperature doesn’t fluctuate much considering the short distance. But yes, there is a considerable change between the day time and night time temperatures. This should not affect you much as you would have come down by the time the temperature drops at night.

That, combined with soft showers especially in Spring and Summer seasons make trekking to Nag Thatch a pleasant experience.

With that setting in mind, let’s dive into the details of weather and temperature.

From October to December:

October to December are somewhat colder months of the trek. Day temperatures hover around 15 – 18° C when sunny. Expect cloud cover or rain to decrease this range by  4 or 5° C. Nights tend to be balmy around 8 – 10° C.

October to December are not the traditional rainy months in Uttarakhand. However rains are never ruled out in the mountains. You can always expect an afternoon shower or a day on the trek with full rain. It is all easily managed on the trek with appropriate rain gear.

From January to March:

The mountain valleys in Uttarakhand start getting colder by the end of December. It sees temperatures dipping by 3 – 4° C every week. This is when the chances of snowfall also increases.

From April to June:

April to June are the warmest months of the trek. Day temperatures hover around 18 – 22° C when sunny. Expect cloud cover or rain to decrease this range by  4 or 5° C. Nights tend to be balmy around 12 – 15° C.

➤ How to Plan Your Travel

To reach Nag Thatch trek you need to travel around 100 km towards north from Dehradun, going to Saindul village. The base camp of Bhal Padri trek is Saindul, a small village situated in Tehri Garhwal district.

For ease of understanding, we have broken down the journey based on the transport and the route you take:

From Dehradun to Saindul

There are two ways to get to Saindul.

1. Bus and Shared Taxi: If you’re taking public transport, this is the best way. There are buses frequently from Dehradun Bus Station which take you to Nainbagh. The ticket costs approximately Rs.100 per person. This is the most reliable, safe and pocket-friendly way, provided you have time on your side.

From Nainbagh, multiple shared taxis ply locals from one village to another. Hop on the right one after checking with the driver. He will take you to Saindul for Rs.50 per person.

The entire journey will take you close to 6 hours.

2. Own Vehicle: If you’re travelling in your own vehicle, just use this Google Maps link to start your journey.

3. Cab: The last option is to take a private cab. You will get plenty of them immediately as you step out of the airport. But take this option only if you are pressed for time because it is expensive. The cab will cost you around more than Rs.5,000.

Contact Details of the Local Homestay at Saindul

Mr. Rajendar Singh Chauhan – Ph: +91 9410138048

He is the Chief of the Village. At present, there is only his homestay that is operational. Call him up at least 2-3 days in advance to book your stay. There are a couple more being constructed as we document this trek.

Click here to go back to the Table of Contents.

➤ What to Take on Your Trek

 Basic First Aid kit*
 Identity Card
 Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
 Water (Minimum two liters)
 Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electoral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
 High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, a home-baked cake, etc.)
 Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
 Quick Dry 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:

 Scissors
 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.

 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Nag Thatch be done by beginners?

Yes. Nag Thatch is perfectly suited for beginners. In fact, it can be attempted by families who have children as young as 4 years old. It is perfectly safe to be attempted by trekkers aged 65 years and above too.

The trek is easy and versatile that suits the needs of all kinds of trekkers, across all age groups.

2. How long is the Nag Thatch trek?

The Nag Thatch trek is 5 km long (if done till Nag Thatch), or 12 km long (if done till Sur Thatch), and you gain approx. 1,500 ft (to Nag Thatch) and 2,100 ft (to Sur Thatch). The safest way to do this trek is to cover this distance in a day as it is enough for your body to acclimatize to the high altitude. It’s easier and makes trekking more enjoyable.

Most walks are on the flat, undulating meadows, and on the ridge top.

3. Where is Nag Thatch?

Nag Thatch trek is situated in the Saindul Village, Jaunpur Valley of the Garhwal Himalayas. It is slightly towards the north of Dehradun. The trek starts from Saindul, which is 100 km from Dehradun.

4. Do I Need an RT-PCR Test before my trek?

As per the state government rules in West Bengal, Sikkim, Himachal, J&K and Uttarakhand, it is mandatory for you to get yourself an RT-PCR test done and carry a COVID negative certificate. So ensure you get it done not later than 72 hours before you enter Uttarakhand.

We want our trekkers to ensure they are not carrying any infections to the mountains, where medical care is practically non-existent.

➤ Trek Contribution

Trek explored, documented and photos clicked by Mahipal Bisht, with the help and support of the Forest Department of Uttarakhand, Bhadrigaad Division

Trek written by Gautam Singh

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