The Kashmir Alpine Lakes Trek, also known as the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, is one of the Kashmir Valley’s most popular treks unwrapping the peaceful magnificence of the mountain-secluded Kashmir region.
It is one of all the treks in the Indian Himalayan region that whirls on the tracks to a number of India’s high altitude lakes that glitter in the midst of huge alpine meadows dotted with vibrant orchids.
The trek is a potpourri of alpine high altitude freshwater glacier lakes that consist of Vishansar Lake, Kishansar Lake, Yamsar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Satsar Lake, Nandkol, and Gangbal Lake. The trek extends from an elevation of 2,723 meters in Sonamarg, commonly dubbed “gold meadows,” to an elevation of 4,300 meters in Lul Gul Pass.
The Kashmir Alpine Lakes Trek is worth the challenge however definitely about 5 days of knackered knees and tortured toes.
The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, a pulsating escape for demented travelers, starts from Sonamarg, which is located at an altitude of 2,723 meters and leads to the Nichnai Pass at an elevation of 3,500 meters. The simple climb passes through the settlements of many shepherds and meadows dotted with colorful orchids.
The trail continues to Vishansar Lake on the way to Kolahoi base camp at 4,140 meters and Lidderwat at 3,050 meters. As you approach the Kolahoi glacier, the track becomes tougher and the terrain rough, but the Kolahoi Peak’s increasingly spectacular views urge you on. From here the trek goes through the Gadsar Pass to Gadsar Lake, passing through an untamed terrain.
The trek leads to Megandob, a meadow that gives a bird’s eye view down the Sindh Valley to the upper reaches of the Kashmir Valley. From there, the trekking trail in the Kashmir Valley climbs up to Gaj Pass, from where one can get enchanting views of the Gangbal and Nundkol Lakes. Harmukh’s sacred peak rises above the lake, making it a divine experience. It is said that pilgrimages to Harmukh and Gangbal’s base long preceded the Amarnath Yatra.
On arrival at Srinagar Airport, our representative and driver will receive you and transfer you to the houseboat. After check-in you will be taken to Shikara (Boat ride) around the lake, exploring the floating market and life on water overnight stay at houseboat. (houseboat)
It is a gentle but long climb from Aru to Lidderwat, covering a distance of 10 km in 6 hours. The trail to Lidderwat starts to climb straight out of Aru village, along with the course of the Lidder River. Follow the trail path the herbal wild plant fields The trail gets into a cluster of fir trees and continues to climb. Half an hour later, the trail pops out at a clearing called Lidder Meadows gradually easing into plains offering views of serene Lidder river grazing through the valleys. (Camp)
Continuously ascending trail for the first 90 minutes with a few plain levels walks in between. River crossing on the traditional logs just before Homwas followed by gradual ascent. Today is one of the shortest walks of the trek with a moderate ascent for the first 2 hours and then the trail eases into a long descent and a plain walk along the Meadows. Upon reaching Sekwas one can take an optional walk which takes an hour to see zaed sar lake a beautiful turquoise color Alpine Lake. (Camp)
Continuous ascent, mostly on gradual inclines. Past Sekwas, the trail again snakes its way through the grass for a long while. The trail to Tarsar, meanwhile, climbs into a ridge that overhangs the stream. The trail tops a few false ridges, each opening up to different wondrous sceneries. Two hours later, the trail finally gives you a narrow glimpse of Tarsar. The Sheer beauty of the lake attracts people from afar with sounds of excitement echoing in its ever silent valley’s. Tarsar is a special place which seems untouched by human influence since time immemorial. Tonight your camp will be near the Lake. (Camp)
A steep ascent through the rocks in the beginning to the pass, which follows a descent and then a gentle climb at the end to reach Sundarsar Lake. Once you cross the Tarsar pass which stands at 4000 meters The view from the other side of the pass is another terrific attraction. The grassy valley stretches out from your left to right in a never-ending stretch of beauty that boggles the imagination. Pristine Alpine valley’s and wild flowery Meadows one after the other with fragrant winds blowing along the Meadows. Once you reach the Sundarsar shores camp on the grassy Meadows and in the night enjoy the sky full of stars. (Camp)
Gradual After breakfast walk along the Sundarsar lake taking the nearest route to Marsar lake, which can be seen from the cliffs above Sundarsar lake. Afterward, descend back to Sundarsar plain and climb again to Yemher pass. Yemher pass at 4130 meters and then eases into a downhill walk till we reach Khemsar Lake. Today will be the highest point of the trek crossing the Yemher pass which offers a beautiful view of the surrounding Himalayan ranges upon reaching Khemsar we will camp near the shepherd shelters and next to Khemsar Lake. (Camp)
After Breakfast, you will start to Descend to Kulan Village, which is a long five hour descend through thick pine and fir forests, upon reaching the Kulan Village our camp will be set up next to Sindh River. Overnight in Kulan.
After breakfast, we will proceed to Shokdari “the meadow of gold’ along picturesque Sind river. At Shitksri we pack our load on horses and start our trek. Our trail a slightly steep passes through the meadows and enters a pine/birch forest at Shokdari before the vast and long Nichnai meadow which is our camping ground for an overnight stay. (Camp)
We leave Nichnai meadow and immediately start ascending one of the three passes of the trek the Nichnai Pass (4000m). We ascend through beautiful Alpine meadows which are full of wild sheep, grazing on these endless pastures. After crossing the pass we enter into the Vishansar Valley “the valley of medicinal plants”, we descend gradually through the alpine flower valley and camp at Vishansar Lake for an overnight stay. (Camp)
After discovering Vishansar Lake we head towards its sibling the Krishansar Lake which lies just over a ridge. We take its eastern shore to ascend the second and the highest pass of the trek the Gadsar Pass (4200m). On the top of the pass, we have the aerial view of the whole Vishansar valley among it are situated the twin lakes of Vishansar and Krishansar “the source of Neelam River”. We descend through Gadsar valley and lakes and camp at Kustoor Kout for an overnight stay. (Camp)
We ascend Kostur Kout leaving Gadsar valley and enter the meadow of Rasbal. It’s the Rasbal where a flowing river disappears underground. We continue our trek through seven small lakes of Satsar and camp at Megandoab at the foothills of the third pass of Zajibal for an overnight stay. (Camp)
We ascend the last pass of our trek ‘Zajibal Pass (4180m)’. We forget all our tiredness when reaching atop because of the views, the scenery it provides. We see Mount Haramukh (5300m) just standing at our face and at its footsteps lie the twin beautiful alpine lakes of Gangabal and Nundkol. We descend the pass and reach Gangabal Lake for an overnight stay. (Camp)
Explore twin lakes of Gangabal and surrounding of Mount Harmukh which are famous for its picturesque setting. Enjoy the day around and have the lunch at the bank around Gangabal lake even return back to camp. (Camp)
We leave Gangabal and Nundkol Lakes and trek through the meadows of Trunkhun and descend to Naranag village through the pine forest of Bodpathri. Here ends our walking. We take our car and drive back to Srinagar for an overnight stay at Houseboat.
After breakfast at houseboat. Our representative will drop you Airport.