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Pir Panjal Lakes Trek

The Grandest Trek in J&K with 10 lakes, 4 meadows and endless jaw-dropping moments

Dates Full? Check out the Nafran Valley Trek instead, with grand lakes, passes and meadowsView the Trek here

TREK DIFFICULTY

Moderate-Difficult

TREK DURATION

7 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

13,330 ft

SUITABLE FOR

12 to 62 years

The Grandest Trek in J&K with 10 lakes, 4 meadows and endless jaw-dropping moments

Introduction written by Suhas Saya, Explorer and Documenter at Indiahikes, who completed the trek in August 2023.

“Things are still sinking in for me after what we got to witness on this exploratory trek. I am unable to put words into what we went through in this hidden gem of Jammu and Kashmir. 

First, the forest section. I haven't seen any other treks in Kashmir with such dense forests. It's a mix of pine and oak. There were such deafening sounds from cicadas and birds as we walked that we couldn’t hear each other speak. For most of us, this transported us to our Uttarakhand forests. 

Next, the alpine lakes. Not 1, 2, or 7, 8. We were lucky to see 14 alpine lakes on this exploratory trek! We didn't even get the chance to walk around all the lakes. They were massive. What was more special were the climbs to the passes, which acted as vantage points to view these lakes. The colours changed from oceanic blue to turquoise to teal. The shapes changed. At every turn, just watching them was a treat. 

And then the meadows! Four different meadows over six days. Thera, Paindhari, Kuan and Byad which extends to Sarota. Each was magnificent in its own right. Thera allowed us to camp on a beautiful mound that nobody wanted to leave. Kuan reminded us of the moon-like landscape of Gidara Bugyal. Byad transported us to the sprawling meadows of the Kashmir Great Lakes. The setting of these meadows was something else. Multiple valleys snaked out of the meadows. Streams flowed in abundance. Mountains bordered the meadows like gentle giants. I remember smiling for no reason for an hour and shaking my head in disbelief at what I was seeing. 

For all the trekkers in the team, this was by far the best trek they have done till date (including 5 who have done other Kashmir treks). I am still unable to believe what I saw. Having been to the Kashmir Great Lakes and Warwan Valley, two of the grandest treks in Kashmir, I must say they have tough competition."

Introduction written by Suhas Saya, Explorer and Documenter at Indiahikes, who completed the trek in August 2023.

“Things are still sinking in for me after what we got to witness on this exploratory trek. I am unable to put words into what we went through in this hidden gem of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Pir Panjal Lakes - 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 Pir Panjal Lakes 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.

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek Video
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Expert Speak

Suhas Saya

Head, DIY Team

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Suhas Saya

Head, DIY Team

Suhas is the head of the DIY and Documentation Team. He has been working at Indiahikes for the past 7 years. Nature, adventure, and wildlife are the top things that get his heart racing. He has done more than 14 Himalayan treks - a few of them are Roopkund, Kuari Pass, Dayara Bugyal, Buran Ghati, Kashmir Great Lakes, and Warwan Valley. He has done a few explorations in the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and around Bengaluru. And it was he who explored the grand Phulara Ridge trek. Suhas was also involved in the exploration of the Pir Panjal Lakes trek.

Highlights of the Pir Panjal Lakes Trek

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Suhas Saya

Head, DIY Team

Suhas is the head of the DIY and Documentation Team. He has been working at Indiahikes for the past 7 years. Nature, adventure, and wildlife are the top things that get his heart racing. He has done more than 14 Himalayan treks - a few of them are Roopkund, Kuari Pass, Dayara Bugyal, Buran Ghati, Kashmir Great Lakes, and Warwan Valley. He has done a few explorations in the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and around Bengaluru. And it was he who explored the grand Phulara Ridge trek. Suhas was also involved in the exploration of the Pir Panjal Lakes trek.

1. Ten Stunning Alpine Lakes

If you are looking for lakes trek in Jammu, it has to be the Pir Panjal Lakes Trek. On this trek, not one or two, you come across 10 beautiful alpine Lakes.

To reach these lakes, you have to trek for 4 days in the remote untouched forests and meadows of Poonch. Once you get to the lakes, you get to explore all of them in the next two days. You are in for a treat!

What is even better is you get to camp next to Chandansar - one of the bigger lakes.

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The beautiful Nandansar. Picture by Nithyam Nachappa.

2. Camping Experience on the endless Meadows of Poonch

If there is a list of treks known for their terrific campsites, the Pir Panjal Lakes Trek definitely ranks among the top ones. The campsites on this trek are on the vast meadows of Poonch, with a lot to explore around. They are so huge that even an entire day is not enough to explore around completely. 

There are small hills to climb. There are clusters of coniferous trees to delve in. There are specific sunset points to experience the best of the golden hour. There are vantage points that offer the best views of the valley. Not just the valley, you get stunning mountain views too.

If you want to experience camping at its best, you should definitely add this trek to your bucket list.

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The meadows on this trek are secluded, lush green and make you want to just roll on them. Picture by Nithyam Nachappa.

3. Forests and the elements of surprise

The forests on the trek are another highlight. On the very first day, you trek in this beautiful mixed, dense forest dominated by coniferous trees.  The trees are so huge and tall that it almost feels like their tips are touching the sky. Adding to it, the forest section on this trek is much longer compared to typical Kashmir treks. It is dense and filled with sounds of the forest.

What makes trekking in these forest sections more magical are the clearings that are perfectly placed throughout. Every 1 - 1.5 km in the forest, you come across these beautiful clearings that are perfect rest points.

Along with that, with every turn, things just change so much on this trek. Change in the landscape, the mountains, the setting. It throws everybody by surprise. This makes trekking in these forests all the more exciting with trekking on the ledges and ridges of the mountain.

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The dense coniferous forest section. Picture by Nithyam Nachappa.

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

Trekker Reviews

Dr Shreya Singhi

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

I call this a trek of HIDDEN GEMS -- exploring the boundless magical charisma of nature!
This trek is like an all-in-one offer. Located in the region of Jammu and Kashmir, this trek gives a real-time experience of heaven on earth. You get to embrace and experience everything on this trek....Read More
This trek is like an all-in-one offer. Located in the region of Jammu and Kashmir, this trek gives a real-time experience of heaven on earth. You get to embrace and experience everything on this trek....Read More
Souvik Banik

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

Pir Panjal Lake Trek: A Unique Himalayan Adventure.
What makes this trek truly exceptional is the pristine natural beauty that surrounds you at every step. The trail meanders through lush meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers, dense forests filled ...Read More
What makes this trek truly exceptional is the pristine natural beauty that surrounds you at every step. The trail meanders through lush meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers, dense forests filled ...Read More
Aditya Rathod

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

Pir panjal lakes trek has everything up its sleeve, what a near perfect trek should have.
Pir panjal lakes trek has everything up its sleeve, what a near perfect trek should have. There is an extremely loud and live forest sections that you start with on the first day with a 3500ft ascend ...Read More
Pir panjal lakes trek has everything up its sleeve, what a near perfect trek should have. There is an extremely loud and live forest sections that you start with on the first day with a 3500ft ascend ...Read More
Dr Hardik Pitroda

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

Almost impossible to pen down the feelings and experience of this trek
I have been to lot of treks in Himalayas in last 14 years, but this was my first trek in Jammu and Kashmir and I am simply awestruck by the magnificence of this trek. The most conspicuous thing, I no...Read More
I have been to lot of treks in Himalayas in last 14 years, but this was my first trek in Jammu and Kashmir and I am simply awestruck by the magnificence of this trek. The most conspicuous thing, I no...Read More
Dr Shreya Singhi

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

I call this a trek of HIDDEN GEMS -- exploring the boundless magical charisma of nature!
This trek is like an all-in-one offer. Located in the region of Jammu and Kashmir, this trek gives a real-time experience of heaven on earth. You get to embrace and experience everything on this trek....Read More
This trek is like an all-in-one offer. Located in the region of Jammu and Kashmir, this trek gives a real-time experience of heaven on earth. You get to embrace and experience everything on this trek....Read More
Souvik Banik

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

Pir Panjal Lake Trek: A Unique Himalayan Adventure.
What makes this trek truly exceptional is the pristine natural beauty that surrounds you at every step. The trail meanders through lush meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers, dense forests filled ...Read More
What makes this trek truly exceptional is the pristine natural beauty that surrounds you at every step. The trail meanders through lush meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers, dense forests filled ...Read More
Aditya Rathod

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

Pir panjal lakes trek has everything up its sleeve, what a near perfect trek should have.
Pir panjal lakes trek has everything up its sleeve, what a near perfect trek should have. There is an extremely loud and live forest sections that you start with on the first day with a 3500ft ascend ...Read More
Pir panjal lakes trek has everything up its sleeve, what a near perfect trek should have. There is an extremely loud and live forest sections that you start with on the first day with a 3500ft ascend ...Read More
Dr Hardik Pitroda

Pir Panjal Lakes Trek, Sept 2023

Almost impossible to pen down the feelings and experience of this trek
I have been to lot of treks in Himalayas in last 14 years, but this was my first trek in Jammu and Kashmir and I am simply awestruck by the magnificence of this trek. The most conspicuous thing, I no...Read More
I have been to lot of treks in Himalayas in last 14 years, but this was my first trek in Jammu and Kashmir and I am simply awestruck by the magnificence of this trek. The most conspicuous thing, I no...Read More