The Nafran Valley Trek is Kashmir’s most pristine and scenic trek. It has a trail that begins in Aru, a village 12 kilometers from Pahalgam and approximately 112 kilometers from Srinagar. This trek is well-known for its offbeat nature, with long lush meadows, beautiful jungle walks, and an alpine lake.
It has a distinct landscape that exposes trekkers to not only meadows but also jungle, alpine lakes, and glaciers.
This provides a complete bouquet for a trekker. Its wavy meadows are unparalleled in any shape or form. Even the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek does not provide the same tranquil and otherworldly vast meadows and beautiful trails that this trek does.
The trek surprises the trekker with its sheer beauty from the first day, which begins alongside a river stream. The trail winds through beautiful patches of grassy land and pine forest, with plenty of river streams to cheer you up.
Harnag Lake, located at an elevation of 3500m, is a major draw for this trek. A traveler’s dream is to camp in the vicinity of this clean lake. The famous and legendary Harnag Pass must be crossed. Shepherds and highlanders have traditionally used the pass to cross over to other valleys and move towards the Kolahoi Glacier.
Another highlight of the trek is a distant view of the lofty Kolahoi peak and glacier. The ever-enchanting Kolahoi glacier and peak are exhilarating. Many trekkers and mountaineers have aspired to climb or trek to Kolahoi. Look at the peak and glacier in front of you and gaze at their complex formation.
Harbaghwan Lake is nestled in a serene view where glaciers melt into large chunks of glacier masses at times. Trekkers stop here for lunch, rest, and take in the view, which is soothing to all of their senses. This lake is so far away from tourist litter and crowds that it bears no resemblance to human impact. The Nafran Valley trek is a mix of ascents and descents. For all incoming trekkers, it is classified as a moderate to difficult trek. Whether you’ve done a trek in Kashmir before or not, this one will captivate you.
The first day of the trek is a drive to Aru’s base camp. Aru is the most beautiful village in Kashmir. It is 12 kilometers ahead of Pahalgam. For centuries, this village, which has a small number of houses, has been a paradise for trekkers. The famous Tarsar Marsar and Kolahoi Glacier Treks begin here as well.
The trek begins a few kilometers before Aru. Mondlan is the trek’s starting point. The trail begins just off the main road and ascends and passes through a dense forest. The first peaceful feeling you will get from this trek is from the forest walk. The trail steepens further up until you reach a wooden gate. This is known as the Nafran Valley Gateway. The trail then leads to the campsite known as Bhaj Marg.
Bhaj Marg is a serene and breathtakingly beautiful meadow. There isn’t much of a trekker crowd here. The grassland is vast, and horses can be seen trotting around. A panoramic view of the mountains can be found in the middle of this grassland. Enjoy your food and tenting accommodations in this lovely ambiance.
The gradient of the day is easy to moderate.
This is the day you will trek to the famous and scenic Nafran Valley for which the Nafran valley trek is famous. Leave your campsite after a hearty breakfast and fill your bottle with the waters. The trail goes through a forest patch and is an ascent. After walking for a couple of kilometers, you will reach the ridge of Arram Pathri. The top of this ridge gives you the best scenic view of the entire Bhaj Marg meadow and Dadwar meadow. The descent is steep and you will have to be again careful in descending this trail. As you descend, you will see a settlement of shepherds on the banks of beautiful Nafran Valley. This is Arram Pathri.
This is a good place to rest and refill your water bottles. Take photos and videos of this location because the scenic landscape and serenity will stay with you.
Keep the Nafran river to your left and continue on the boulder-strewn trail. The path to your next campsite passes through some grasslands and boulder fields. You will soon arrive at the Nafran valley campsite. The valley is stunning, and it is surrounded on three sides by mountains.
The gradient of the day is easy to moderate.
• Trek Distance: 5km
• Trek Duration: 5 hours
• Altitude: 3450m – 3500m
Wake up early in the morning to watch a gentle breeze pass through your campsite. Mornings in this valley are cool and refreshing. It takes all of the world’s problems away from you here, and you realize the value of completing this journey. Because the Nafran valley is the main attraction of this trek, begin your journey by taking a tour of this lovely valley. Your trek leader will take you around the valley to see the best views it has to offer. After finishing the tour of the Nafran Valley, the trail continues on to the Harnag Pass. The trail gradually becomes steeper. The trail provides a bird’s-eye view of grasslands. And the river streams that cut through these meadows.
Your camp will be located just below the Harnag Pass. Take in the breathtaking Harnag valley. Enjoy the campsite and the food that your cook will provide.
The day’s gradient is moderate.
• Trek Distance: 6km
• Trek Duration: 7 hours
• Altitude: 3500m – 3500m via 3650m
This is a day at the lake. On this day, you will be able to see the lovely Harnag Lake. After a great meal, get started early in the morning. The trail begins with a flat hike before heading into the boulder and rocky terrain. Walking on these rocky portions necessitates particular caution. The rocks are loose in some spots, which increases the risk of dislocation or fall. Simply place your feet firmly and cautiously. Look for slick boulders and loose rocks. The water cascading down the mountain makes the boulders slick and moist. Take care.
Until you reach the summit of Harnag Pass, the walk is all steep. The pass, on the other hand, is as satisfying.
One of the nicest panoramic views of the entire trek may be found here. On one side, you’ll witness the endlessly beautiful Nafran valley. Harnag valley and Harnag lake are located on opposite sides. The lake is located in the valley’s heart.
The sight of a completely empty and tempting lake is a welcome sight for tired eyes. You will realize that the view compensates more than what troubles you faced while climbing through the boulder and rocky sections.
To get to the lake, one must descend towards it. The descent is both exhausting and difficult.
You’ll have to be extra cautious this time. The trail is littered with loose, wet, and slippery boulders and rocks.
Make a point of following the shepherd trail wherever you see it. Shepherd will sometimes place rocks firmly to create a safe path through loose rocky terrain. Following that, behold the lovely Harnag Lake. Soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you.
After that, you’ll have to cross a few streams to get to the Kolahoi Glacier viewpoint. The Kolahoi glacier is a massive glacier that is the largest in Kashmir. This glacier, which is shrouded beneath the lofty peak of Kolahoi, is vast and all white. This glacier melts into the Lidder River, which then flows into the Jhelum River. The highest point in Kashmir is Koalhoi Peak.
Take a rest here and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
Trace your steps back towards your campsite at Harnag valley.
The gradient of the day is difficult.
• Trek Distance: 7km
• Trek Duration: 6 hours
• Altitude: 3500m – 3200m
You will retrace your steps back to Arram Pathri today. The lovely valley you saw on your way here. Enjoy the walk and take frequent breaks to practice your photography skills. Stops at places you missed on the way. The day’s walk is easy and gentle on your legs. Stop for lunch in the middle of a lovely meadow.
The day’s gradient ranges from moderate to difficult.
• Drive Distance: 110km
• Trek Distance: 10km
• Trek Duration: 6 hours
• Altitude: 3200m – 2450m
This is the last day of Nafran valley trek. You will be trekking from Arram Pathri to Aru. The trek ends at Aru thereby making it a circuit trek. The trail from Arram Pathri takes a right turn. The trail will give you a varied and different landscape than what you saw on the second day of the trek. The gradient of the day is easy. It is a gentle walk down to Aru valley. The trail will take you through the beautiful small valleys of Kanzal Pathri and Gagad Pathri. The valleys are strewn with patches of forests. The trail goes to the confluence of two shimmering water streams of Nafran valley and Gash Angan.
On your way, you will see settlements of shepherds. Enjoy your breaks at these settlements. And see how they live their lives here away from any connectivity and modernity.
Immediately afterward you will reach the endpoint of this trek – Aru. This is the beautiful hamlet to rest in before you drive back to Pahalgam or Srinagar.
The gradient of the day is easy.