The aim of Kashmir Great Lakes expedition is to trek from Sonamag to Naranag via Nichnai Pass. The Great Lakes as the name suggests treks through many high altitude alpine lakes situated at the foothills of different snowy mountain peaks. It crosses streams, plenty of colorful meadows and crosses three mountain passes.
Though trekking in Kashmir is not newest but still this expedition is no walk in the park. Arduous days, steep and rocky passes and altitudes approaching 4200m all collide to create a challenging trek in one of the most beautiful and serene Himalayas of Kashmir.
- Airport transfers (reception/ drop)
- Accommodation – 2 nights Srinagar houseboat or hotel, 6 nights tented camps
- All ground transport by private cars – airport reception and drop and from Srinagar to base camp and back
- All group camping gear/ trekking gear for trek including 2 person dome tents, sleeping mattress, sleeping bags, mats, blankets, trekking poles
- Meal plan – all meals included
- Trekking permits
- Horses for carrying backpack and other items to higher camps
- English/urdu/hindi speaking local guide
- Camp crew/kitchen staff during trek
- All cooking utensils including cooking gas
- First aid
Day 1: – Arrival. Reception at Srinagar airport/bus station.
On arrival at Srinagar airport or bus station , our representative will receive you and transfer you to the houseboat at Dal Lake for an overnight stay.
Day 2: – Srinagar – Sonamarg – Nichnai (3 hrs drive/ 5 hrs trek). After breakfast at houseboat we drive to Sonamarg “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.
Day 3: – Nichnai – Vishnasar – Krishansar Lake (6 hrs trek). We leave Nichnai meadow and immediately start ascending one of the three passes of the trek the Nichnai Pass (4000m). We ascend it through long grazing pastures sheep. After crossing the pass we enter into the Vishansar Valley “the valley medicinal plants”, we descend gradually through the alpine flower valley and camp at Vishansar Lake for an overnight stay.
Day 4: – Krishansar – Gadsar (6 hrs trek).
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 pass of the trek the Gadsar Pass (4050m). 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.
Day 5: – Gadsar – Satsar Lakes – Megandoab (5 hrs trek).
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.
Day 6: – Satsar – Gangabal lake (6 hrs trek).
We ascend the last and the highest pass of our trek ‘Zajibal Pass (4180m)’. We forget all our tiredness when reaching atop because of the views, 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 it to reach Gangabal Lake for an overnight stay.
Day 7: – Gangabal – Naranag. (6 hrs trek)
We leave Gangabal and Nundkol Lakes and trek through the meadows of Trunkol and descend to Naranag village through the pine forest of Bodpathri. Here ends our walking. We take our car and drive back to Srinagar houseboat for an overnight stay.
Day 8: – Departure day.
Our representative will drop you at airport or bus station. Departure.
Kashmir Treks are achievable by anyone with a healthy lifestyle and a good level of general fitness. Team members should be willing to be part of a team working together to achieve the goal of the expedition. As a team member, you should have an adventurous and robust spirit. The biggest challenge on this expedition will be the many consecutive days of challenging trekking across alpine terrain, much of which at altitudes of above 3000m.
Minimum fitness requirements
- Trek: up to 20km per day.
- Daily activity: up to 7 hours’ trekking per day.
- Carry: up to 5kg in a day sack.
- Terrain: remote, uneven, snowy, icy, rocky, sometimes exposed terrain at up to 4200m.
- Climate: Can be sunny in valleys and cold and windy at altitude. Averages are 3000m, 5 to 25C; and 4000m.
- Swim: not required though there will be river crossings to make.