Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

Kashmir Great Lakes

One of the most beautiful trek in India

Duration
7 Days
Trek Altitude
13,800 Feet
Destination
Kashmir
Trek Distance
75 KM
Group Size
12
Best Time
July to September

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek Overview:

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, also known as the KGL Trek, is a must-have for most adventure enthusiasts visiting Trek in India. This trek is 75 km long. This trek includes mountain lakes and vast collection of meadows in the Himalayas in West Kashmir, including the famous Sonamarg hill station and Harmukh mountain The route becomes gradual as you pass Pir Panjal, Karakoram, Zanskar ranges and see some of the most magnificent landscapes in India. The KGL route takes you to major places of interest like Zaj Pass, Nichinai Pass, and Gadsar Pass. Be sure to bring a camera to capture a real heaven on earth. This is a memorable trek, start from Srinagar and take a scenic drive of 3 to 4 hours to Sonamarg. Enjoy the beauty of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek and make memories that will take you to heaven.

Highlights of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is one of the treks with high altitude and thus it helps you to encourage the never-ending beauty of Kashmir Lakes. It is also known as the Sonamarg-Vishansar-Naranag Trek. Every day is a 360° panorama of wild, rolling meadows and Rocky Mountains. You also get to see new alpine lakes, including more than six of these lakes. Moreover, you get to explore five separate lakes, which is a challenge but worth the hustle. Each day includes a differently beautiful, picture-perfect view. The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a moderate one with some difficulty, but people also say that this place is truly a paradise. Hence, it will be better if you include an experienced person with you to guide you. So that you can enjoy the Kashmir Great Lakes trek like a cakewalk.

1. Six or more Alpine Lakes during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

There are six great lakes, including many smaller ones, that make this trail called "Kashmir Great Lakes Trek". Surrounded by mountains, these alpine lakes provide a cinematic panorama.
  1. Vishansar Lake:

    The Vishansar Lake is the second-largest lake in Kashmir, with a high elevation. It has clear water with high drinking water quality. Vishansar Lake is situated near Sonamarg in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It has a maximum length of 1 km and a maximum width of 0.6 km. It can only be accessed by trekking from Sonamarg. This lake comes after we cross the Nichnai Pass during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. It is a well-known tourist place that has a beautiful view with lovely reflections of surrounding peaks. The lake changes color depending on the sun, clouds, and time of day. 'Vishansar', in Kashmiri, means the lake of Vishnu. This lake holds great importance for Kashmiri Pandits.

    In the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, the Vishansar Lake includes many types of fish; therefore, you can also call it home to fish, among which is the brown trout. It is also the home of rare migrant birds coming in summer across Siberia. Moreover, the lake is surrounded by lush meadows; therefore, it becomes the perfect place for local shepherds to graze their flocks of sheep and goats. The lake is an attraction for trekkers in the Kashmir Valley and includes glaciers. This is a part of the twin lakes (Vishnusar and Kishansar), which flow northwards up to Badoab and then westwards through Gurais along the Line of Control. The Vishansar Lake is the source of the Neelum River, which flows northwards up to Badoab and then westwards through Gurais.

    The Vishansar Lake is situated 115 km northeast of Srinagar and 35 km from Shitkadi Sonamarg. During winter, the lake freezes, while in summer, the lush green meadow surrounding the lake is truly an amazing sight and part of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

  2. Krishnasar or Kisanasar Lake:

    The Krishansar Lake also includes the clear water as Vishanshar Lake. It is situated near Sonamarg, at an elevation of 3,710 meters. It is located less than one kilometer northwest of Vishansar Lake and has a maximum length of 0.95 km and a maximum width of 0.6 km. Krishansar Lake is situated 115 km northeast of Srinagar and 35 km from Shitkadi, Sonamarg.

    Krishansar is a Sanskrit and Kashmiri word that means "Krishna". It freezes during the winter; henceforth, it is inaccessible during the winter season due to heavy snowfall. The Kishansar Lake is covered with green, lush meadows, which attract local shepherds who graze their flocks of sheep and goats during the summer. The lake is also called the "Valley of Flowers"; the back of the valley comes under Gadasar Pass and the mountains are covered with snow. On the north side of Kashmir, this is the famous valley. After draining into a small stream, it gives rise to the Kishanganga River.

  3. Gadsar Lake:

    The Gadsar Lake, also known as Yamsar, is named after Yama (kala), the death and justice god of Hindus. This lake is also known as Flowers Lake. This lake is located 5,000m above sea level and is considered one of the highest-altitude lakes on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek in the Kashmir region. One can either reach this lake from Naranag via Gangabal and Satsar, or one can start from Sonamarg and go via Nichnai and Vishansar valleys. During the summer, the lake has pleasant weather.

    The Gadsar lake has many wildflowers, and the water is deep green. It is also observed that, from a certain point of view and angle, it has a heart shape. The Gadsar Lake is protected by a huge glacier, which means most of the time it has ice floating around. Locals have a belief that the Gadsar lake is very pure and divine; hence, one should not swim or dirt in this lake. Because of this, there are many myths passed along. Whether you are a local or a trekker, no one is allowed to drink the water from the Gadsar Lake.

    It freezes from October to December, which means that is not a good time to visit. The name Gadsar is made of two Kashmiri words. Gad means fish, and Sar means a lake. So, the Gadsar means the lake of fish. Most days you will see rain in the evening, but when the sun comes out, it will be the best scenic landscape you will have ever seen in your life. This lake needs some extra effort, as it is said to be one of the hardest ones to cross.

  4. Satsar Lake:

    The Satsar Lake includes seven small lakes; that’s why it is called sat-sar. situated in the Ganderbal district of the Kashmir Valley in Jammu and Kashmir, India, with a surface elevation of 3,610 m. The color of the lake is usually white-blue. This lake has many mysteries hidden and includes many waterfalls. It also set out the navigable route between Tulia Valley and Sind Valley.

    The Satsar lakes is situated in a narrow alpine valley stretching from north to south and spread over 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) distance with a width of 1 kilometer (0.62 mi). The lakes of Gangabal, which are also called Haramukh Ganga and Nundkol, are located on the opposite side of Zajibal Pass (4,041 meters (13,258 ft)). Naranag is the nearest base camp for the trekkers.

    In the summer and autumn seasons, two lakes dry up. These lakes give rise to a stream that disappears and flows underground, which then forms a stream by glaciers on the side and then flows southwards. southwards now, further, it falls into Wangath Nallah, known as the major right tributary of the Sind River. The lake is fully covered by heavy snow during the winter. Alpine flowers like the geum, blue poppy, potentilla, and gentian are the three flowers that cover the basin of the lake. Mainly, Satsar Lake is reachable only during the summer due to heavy snowfall in the winter.
  5. Gangabal Lake:

    The Gangabal Lake, also called Haramukh Ganga, is at the foot of Harmukh in the Ganderbal district of Jammu. The lake has a maximum length of 2.5 kilometers and a maximum width of 1 kilometer. It is surrounded by glaciers and is home to many fish.

    There is a nearby lake, Nundkol Lake the water of the lake outflows on Nundkol Lake and then into the Sind River through Wangnath Nallah. This lake is considered sacred in Hinduism as one of the abodes of Shiva, and Kashmiri Hindus perform an. In the past, Kashmiri Hindus would immerse the ashes of the dead after cremation in the lake
  6. Nundkol Lake:

    People call Nundkol Lake Nandi Kund, which means it is also known as Nandi Kund and Kalodaka Lake, situated in the Ganderbal district of the Kashmir Valley in Jammu and Kashmir, India. This lake is considered blessed by Hindus as the lake is named after the Vahan of Lord Shiva Nandi. This lake is situated in the foothills of Mount Harmukh.

    The colour of the lake is blue, and thus locals believe that it’s a sign of lord shiva. This lake is nourished by Gangabal Lake and due to the melting glacier, it gives rise to Wangath Nallah. Nundkol land freezes during the winter as it is covered by snow. In the summer, the lake has a sheet of commonly alpine flowers like blue poppy, geum, potentilla, and gentian.
  7. Other Small Lakes During the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

    • Kundan Sar
    • Lolgul lake
    • Koulsar Lake
    • Sarbal Sar
    • Posh sar
    • Sheera sar


2. Snow-capped Peaks during the Kashmir Gret Lakes Trek

  1. Harmukh Peak:

    Harmukh Peak is a mountain originally known as Harmukuta (“the diadem of Hara Shiva") and has a peak elevation of 5,142 m. located in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir in India. In the south, Harmukh Peak is situated between the Sind River and in the north, it is located between the Kishanganga River. This is the 4th highest peak in the valley, with a picture-perfect view for trekkers. You will see this peak on the second-last day of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

    This mountain is made of rock and ice. The whole region of Harmukh is also known as Ramadhan because it’s a belief that Parashurama has meditated near the lakes of Harmukh Peak. There is another name for the mountain called “Kailash of Kashmir.”. Harmukh Mountain lies in the northwest of the Himalayan range. The Harmukh mountain massif has several summits, Station Peak being the lowest, with a peak elevation of 4,698 meters (15,413 ft).
  2. Nanga Parbat:

    Nanga Parbat is locally known as Diamer (Tibet name) and is the 9th highest mountain in the world. This Nanga and Parbat word is a Sanskrit word that means naked mountain. Its summit is at 8,126 m above sea level. It is the westernmost major peak of the Himalayas. It is located in the south of the Indus River. the entire mountain range is bounded by the Brahmaputra River and the Indus River. This peak is visible on day 5 of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, when you trek from the campsite of Gadsar to Satsar.

    Nanga Parbat is mentioned as the highest mountain face in the world. It is one of the two peaks in the world that is ranked as the top twenty highest mountain in the world. The key gap between Nanga Parbat and Zoji La in the Kashmir valley. Due to the difficulty level, Nanga Parbat is also nicknamed a killer mountain.
  3. Sirbal Peak:

    Sirbal Peak is one of the hidden gems. It is a part of the Himalayan range with a peak elevation of 5,235 meters and is located between Sonamarg and Baltal. However, this peak is the second highest peak of Kashmir Valley, with an altitude of 5236m above sea level.

    Sirbal Peak is visible from Sonamarg head towards the north and from Nichinai pass towards the east. Moreover, this peak is on the list of unclaimed peaks till now.
  4. Kolahoi Peak

    Kolahai Peak is one of the captivating peaks which is locally named 'Gashe-braed' which means cat which glows in the dark. It is located in Lidder Valley, Jammu and Kashmir; however, it is easily reachable through Aru Pahalgam. In the Himalayan range, it is titled as the highest peak. This peak is famous among many trekkers, and visible on the second day of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
  5. Machoi Peak:

    last dat Machoi Peak is located between Amarnath cave and Zojila; therefore, it is famous among the Yatris of Amaranth. This mountain has a peak elevation of 17,694 ft and along with all other mountains, it is also a part of the Himalayan range. Machoi Peak is in the Drass region of Ladakh, which is also known as Shina. Moreover, the peak arises from the pyramid-shaped glacier called Machoi Glacier. You can see this peak on the last day of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, when descending from Nundkol to Naranag
  6. Amarnath Peak:

    Amarnath Peak is located south of Zojila and west of Machoi Glacier, with a peak elevation of 5,186m. it includes a cave called Amarnath Cave, which is a historical cave; thus, it is included in the sacred places for Hinduism. Amarnath Peak holds religious importance and due to that, it is not climbed. Amarnath Peak can be reached by leaving the cave on the left side and climbing through the east face. This peak is not clearly seen during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, but one can see it from the Table Top on the 2nd day of the trek

3. Crossing a total of 3 high-altitude passes during the KGL Trek:

  1. Nichinai Pass:

    The Nichinai Pass has a breathtaking view and a well-marked path to the top. Usually, you have to cross the path on day 2 of the KGL trek and while passing through, you are going to catch sight of a beautiful waterfall and many different stunning views. Nichinai Pass has an altitude of 4139 m, and is the main travel route to pass through valleys. The Nichnai Pass stands tall, shy of 4100m. You are going to experience grassland and many kinds of blooming flowers of Kashmir valley.
  2. Gadsar Pass:

    Gadsar Pass is almost 16,000 feet above sea level and the vicinity of the lake is also known as the “Valley of Flowers.”. The Gadsar pass is the highest pass of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek at 4200 m, which most probably you are going to pass on day 3. The Gadsar pass is approximately 13700 feet in height and it includes some rough patches that can be dangerous. However, once you discover Gadsar Lake, you forget about all the difficulties.
  3. Zaj Pass:

    Zaj pass is the final and last pass of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek that you are going to pass through on the 5th day of the trek. Although it is the shortest of the three, it has importance and is enjoyable. It has an altitude of 13000 feet, which is approximately a 6-hour trail. This pass has some loose rocks so just be careful and concentrate on the path.

4. Meadows of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a trekking journey that has a combination of impressive lakes and huge mountains that have many histories and are so mesmerizing that you will be smitten with the beauty. The high-altitude trek takes you through pristine meadows, crystal-clear lakes, and towering peaks.

Along with lakes, meadows also steal the show. Every day of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, you are going to discover different meadows of every size and shape. It's so enhanced that people generally want to take pictures; however, you cannot shoot anything with the drone in the valley as there are national security concerns. Although you can capture the pictures with your camera, the pictures do not provide the same soul-satisfying movement that you can get with your own eyes.

There are green meadows that include all the greenery, as the valley is covered with all types of green grasses. On the other hand, there are Shekdur meadows, which are surrounded by Bhoj trees and are half an hour away. In some valleys, while crossing the path, you will find maple and pine trees. The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek lets you locate the vibrant colors of alpine flora that blend with the crisp mountain air, creating a serene environment that soothes the soul.

Difficulty level of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a moderate trek with some difficulty. This trek demands a long day of walking so be prepared mentally as well as physically. You have to cover 75 km in 6 days. While comparing the Kashmir Great Lake Trek with other treks, this trek is three times as long as others.

Here are some of the challenges that you will face during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
  • Long Hiking distance in each day (10-12 km on average, 8-9 hrs).

    You have to walk 12 km per day during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, which can be difficult for some people; hence, it demands a long hiking day. There are many terrains as well as small, loose, rocky passes that can create difficulty in covering the trek. Each day of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek has different challenges, but along with the destination, the journey is beautiful in itself.
  • The entire route has steep ascents and descents.

    In the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, you will ascend and descend every day of long hiking. These ascents and descents are one of the most difficult sections of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek but rewarding with a 360° panorama of wild, rugged mountains and rolling meadows in the hiking of each day.
  • Crossing Three High Passes on the KGL Trek.

    1. Nichinai Pass (continuous ascent till the pass):

    The starting point of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is Shikadi Point, and from Shitkadi to Nichnai, it’s 6 to 7 hours of trekking, which is a long period. This is information about the first-day trek. Although there will be an altitude gain of 3,000 ft in a single day, be careful as you can be affected by AMS (It is a disease that can affect your brain due to changes in the environment, and you can have headaches). There is nothing much to worry about because there will be a whole experience batch with you. On the second day of KGL trek, you will be covering a short distance of 3 hours.

    2. Gadsar Pass (challenging climb):

    As Gadsar Pass is the highest point of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek, this will increase the difficulty level, but you don’t have to panic; otherwise, you can fall out of confidence, which is a negative point. Therefore, be positive and keep being boosted with high energy. The trek from Vishansar to Gadsar is beautiful but demanding. In Gadsar Pass, you have to climb a steep ascent to the pass, and the trail that cuts across the mountain in zig-zags can be seen from far away.

    3. Zaj Pass (bolder section with undefined trails):

    This is the second-last day of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, and starts with an ascent to the Zaj Pass. On the trail to the Zaj Pass, you have to cross the boulders (very large rocks), and you will come across a 40-minute-long section filled with big boulders. Hence, it will create a major challenge that can be draining for some people and there is no trail here. You will need to hop skip and jump on this section to cross it. This could get difficult if you are not nimble on your feet or are not mentally prepared for this and put your feet with confidence and firmly.

Best Time to Visit the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

The most suitable time for you to visit the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek and appreciate the beauty of Kashmir by trekking and enhancing the beauty of the valley is from July to August. However, it's best to check the weather before starting the trek and you can talk to the villagers for more specific information. You will have a mesmerizing experience as the landscape changes every day.
  • The Kashmir Great Lakes trek in July:

    Most people choose to do the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek in July, as this is a warm month and you will be able to enjoy the sunlight more clearly as there will be no clouds. Due to the weather, the snow starts melting in July and henceforth, you get to enjoy the colorful weather with different colors of flowers. As there is a risk of traveling the passes in snow, July can be a preferable time for you to do the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.
  • The KGL trek in mid July to the starting weeks of August:

    In mid-July, along with the morning sun rays, you can experience a mid-shower in the evening during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Hence, this makes the valley look like heaven and you will be so excited that it is going to impact your all-time memory with the thought of staying there for a long period of time. You are going to find some frozen chunks of ice in the lakes. It is a known fact that the meadows of Gadsar get extra attention because they look naturally so dramatic because the mountains are grey in color. Additionally, with the wildflowers present over there, it looks smooth too.
  • The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek at the end of August:

    At the end of August, you can see the clear blue sky as the clouds part their way and flowers change color everywhere in the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. As the clouds are gone, you can see the shadow of a clear sky in the lakes, which makes the lakes clearer and more sparkling. This whole scenario is going to make you feel fresh and it is heartwarming. So, whatever month you choose will be full of surprises and each month has its own beauty but the difficulty level of KGL trek is not same in every month. You should avoid trekking after August, which is basically in September, because the weather becomes cold in September, it’s not safe, and there will be many difficulties through which you can be hurt. Therefore, it's better to avoid trekking to the Kashmir Great Lakes in September.

How to Reach the Base camp of Kashmir Great Lakes trek?

  • By Flight: The closest airport from Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is Srinagar International Airport which is popularly called Sheikh ul-Alam Airport. Srinagar Airport’s connectivity is not restricted to local flights but also gets routes from major cities of India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore among others. From the airport you can take a taxi or hack-metered taxi, or a pre-arranged shuttle service, depending on your budget, to reach Sonamarg, which is 80 kilometers away. Srinagar Airport to Sonamarg trip over the road takes around 3–4 hours to cover (depends on traffic and weather conditions).
  • By Road: Sonamarg is accessible by road from Srinagar, which is approximately 80 km away. Either you have to drive to Sonamarg yourself or hire a taxi from Srinagar. This route offers scenic views of Kashmir Valley and usually takes about 3 to 4 hours to the basecamp of KGL Trek, depending on the kind of road conditions
  • by Train: The nearest railway station from Kashmir Great Lakes is the Jammu Tawi Railway Station, located in Jammu well know for his name Jammu Tawi, and well-connected to major cities across India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and others. From Jammu, you can either take a direct bus or taxi to the basecamp of the KGL Trek.

Weather During the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

In July, you will be able to observe how the KGL trek is its best. Moreover, you can see the snow still at the higher sides of the mountains, but at the same time, you will be able to see the meadows at the fullest bloom and the green color here and there. The KGL trek starts in the early July and it is only in this time that the trekkers are able to see snow-covered landscape accompanied with fresh summer flowers as the foreground.

The temperatures during this time are warmer than in August, making the nights more comfortable during camping. By late August, the temperatures begin to drop, and the flowers begin to wither as the cold sets. However, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek can still continue well into the second week of September before the snow starts to take over the higher reaches again, and winter comes knocking at the doors.
Planning the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek during the right time of the year allows trekkers to enjoy the landscape in its full glory, making it a truly immersive experience.

Saftey Factors During the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

The safety of the Kashmir Great Lake Trek is dependent on a number of factors, including your physical fitness, hiking experience, preparation and so on.
  • Physical Fitness:

    It occurs on hard surfaces, across massive rises, and distances ranging from 12 to 15 kilometers every day during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Take a body test to see if you're quiet enough to handle such obstacles. Exercise and other high-intensity sports may help you increase your fitness Level.
  • Altitude Acclimatization:

    The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek reaches elevations of over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), which raises the risk of altitude-related diseases such as altitude sickness. Proper acclimation is required to reduce these potential risks. Plan your itinerary to include a gradual altitude climb, stay hydrated, and be aware of any signs of altitude sickness.
  • Trekking Experience:

    Your earlier trekking experience will make you equipped with the skills necessary to be conquered the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, obstacles like slopes, rapid crossings, and unpredictable weather conditions.
  • Preparation and Gear:

    Achieving high standards of preparation and involving the correct hiking outfit before the trek to Kashmir Great Lakes are the key actions, taking account of safety conditions. Make sure you have the necessary equipment with you to be able to face the discomfort of bad weather conditions, such as quality hiking boots, sufficient clothing for changing weather, walking poles, first aid kit and enough food and water.
  • Certified Guide:

    It is best if you accompany the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek with a competent guide or a group especially if you are not so familiar with the area and are trekking in a remote area. Smugglers can impart valued informations, lead you through the route and see that you are secure during your journey.
  • Weather Conditions:

    This weather may seem peculiar, but if it happens in high-altitude sections of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. Nichniai Pass, Table Top, Gadsar Pass, Zaj Pass, etc, are some high altitude places where you can face bad weather conditions. It may involve such things as rain, wind, and even snow falling. While preparing for the KGL Trek, make sure to check the weather forecast and get the right clothing and other necessary items such as waterproof clothes and rainwear, to help you remain dry and warm during the day.

    Kashmir Great Lakes Trek will be an excellent and satisfying adventure for trekkers who are physically perfect, fully prepared and not casual to the possible dangers. What are your preparedness levels and accordingly, practice the safety procedures to enjoy the one-of-a kind adventure of your life.

Trek Map of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek Map showcases the enchanting trail through the kashmir Himalayas, leading to the picturesque Kashmir Great Lakes trek. Meandering alongside the Tons River, the map highlights the breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and lush meadows, offering a captivating adventure for trekkers and nature enthusiasts alike.
kashmir great lake map

Best Itinerary of Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

Drive: 81 km, 2-3 hrs

Trek: 0.5 km to reach the campsite

Altitude: 5,220 ft (1,590 m) – 9,022 ft (2,750 m)

Accommodation: Camping (Alpine Tents)

Meals: Dinner

 

We leave Srinagar around 1 PM and reach Sonamarg by 4:30 PM, following the Sind River. Once we cross over to the true right of the river at Wayil Bridge, which is 25 KM ahead of Srinagar, we encounter the Anchar lake of Srinagar on the way. The drive is a gradual climb all the way to Sonamarg, and from an altitude of 1,600 meters at Srinagar, we reach a modest altitude of slightly over 2,700 meters at Sonamarg. We will camp overnight at Shitkadi and will have to walk a short distance of 500 meters to reach our campsite.

Your trek leader will inform you in detail about the entire KGL trek, giving you all the details that you need. The campsite is located next to a stream offering a stunning view of Thajiwas Glacier. There is no sound other than the gentle music of the river.

 

Trek: 11 km, 5-6 hrs

Altitude: 9,022 ft (2,750 m) – 11,811 ft (3,600 m)

Accommodation: Camping (Alpine Tents)

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch + Evening Snacks + Dinner

 

From our camp at Shitkadi, we start the trek towards the Nichinai camp. Throughout the day, we follow the Nichinai stream, which is on our right.

After a 1.5 KM trek upstream, we arrive at a meadow with maple trees dotting the landscape, along with pines. The trail continues to climb up the ridge, and as we gain more altitude, the view towards Sonamarg becomes quite picturesque.

The maples continue all the way up to the top of the ridge, lining the eastern slope of the ridge. As we reach the top of the ridge, the place is called Table Top, one of the highest points, providing spectacular views of both the Sonmarg Valley and the Amarnath Valley. From here you can engage the local people and shepherds. It is also a lunch point and you can eat Maggie and other local goodies placed by the shops around the Table Top after that an open grassland paves the way that gradually descends to some distance. To the west of the grassland, silver birch (Bhojpatra) trees stand tall, while to the east, the maples can still be seen. This meadow, known as Shekdur, runs almost 1.5 KM long. As we approach its end, the trail then enters the forest of silver birch for almost 1 KM before the treeline finally comes to an end.

Henceforth, we continue on the trail marked by patches of grassland and stone all the way to Nichinai. We are surrounded by tall mountains on either side and towards our back lie the snow-covered mountains far across the Sonamarg valley. We will reach Nichinai by early evening and set up the camps.

Trek: 13 km, 6 hrs

Altitude: 11,811 ft (3,600 m) – 13,100 ft (3,993 m)

Accommodation: Camping (Alpine Tents)

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch + Evening Snacks + Dinner

 

The trek from Nichinai camp starts with an ascent to the Nichinai Pass. The altitude of Nichinai Pass is around 13,100 Feet, which is quite close to the altitude of Hampta Pass or the Sar Pass, and higher than Kuari Pass. So, take pride in the fact that so early into the trek, you have already crossed over a pass. The ascent takes a good couple of hours to reach the pass from the campsite at a moderate pace.

As soon as we cross over the Nichinai Pass, we can see a small lake at the base of the mountain to our left. There is another larger lake, almost 500 meters in length, around 2 KM ahead, but it cannot be seen unless we climb up to the ridge to our right.

The trail continues downhill from the pass and enters grassland with a gentle slope after an hour of descent. From here, the trail is gentle up to the Vishansar Lake. It’s a few KM before we reach the base of the lake and our campsite. The lake will require another 20 mins to reach as it is slightly higher in altitude. Kishansar is further ahead of the Vishansar lake and higher in altitude still.

The lakes are quite large, and while the Vishansar runs 1.1 KM long and a little over 700 meters wide, the Kishansar is slightly smaller at 900 meters long and 550 meters wide. The latter’s shape is more of a triangular one with an inward arc on one side.

After reaching the campsite which is near the Vishansar Lake or below the Vishansar Lake, you can spend some time over there around the lake, this campsite is considered one of the best campsites of this Kashmir Great Lakes (KGL) trek

 

Trek: 16 km, 7-8 hrs

Altitude: 13,100 ft (3,993 m) – 13, 813 ft (4,210 m) – 12,500 ft (3,810 m)

Accommodation: Camping (Alpine Tents)

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch + Evening Snacks + Dinner

 

The trek from Vishansar to Gadsar is beautiful but demanding. Today’s trek will take you across the highest point of the entire trek, at a modest altitude of 4,210 meters at the Gadsar Pass.

The trail from the Vishansar campsite continues to the right, with Kishansar lake on our left as we cross it. The trail then starts climbing with a steep ascent all the way to the pass, and the trail that cuts across the mountain in zig-zags can be seen from far away.

It will take around 2 hours to reach the Gadsar Pass. As we climb higher, we are rewarded with magnificent views of the two lakes as we turn our backs. Take some time to capture these moments in your mind, as you will cherish them for the rest of your life.

As you come down from the Gadsar Pass, you will be amazed to see the beauty of Gadasr Lake. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes of this trek and you can enjoy your packed lunch here while admiring the scenery.

kashmir great lakes trek

From the Pass we can see a few smaller lakes and far off in the distance is the Gadsar lake.

Trek: 12 km, 6 hrs

Altitude: 12,500 ft (3,810 m) – 12,007 ft (3,660 m)

Accommodation: Camping (Alpine Tents)

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch + Evening Snacks + Dinner

 

The trek from Gadsar to Satsar starts with an initial steep hike that will take a little over an hour, After that, gradually trek on the ridge. While passing that ridge, you will witness the majestic Nanga Parbat (8,126). The trail then opens to plain meadows and a water stream. You can have your packed lunch here. Afterward, gradually ascend to rocky terrain, and after some time, you will reach the Satsar campsite

This will be a relatively easier day compared to other trek days. The KGL Trek is indeed a trek with long walking distance but today, this trek will offer you a good time to rest/explore.

Trek: 9 km, 5-6 hr

Altitude: 12,007 ft (3,660 m) – 11,482 ft (3,500 m)

Accommodation: Camping (Alpine Tents)

Meals: Breakfast + Lunch + Evening Snacks + Dinner

 

 

The trek starts with an ascent to the Zaj Pass, the trail to the Zaj Pass you have to cross the boulder’s path

The altitude of the Zaj Pass is lower than the former two passes we crossed before along the trail with an altitude of 13,228 feet, it takes 2 hours to reach the pass from the pass you can see Gangbal and Nandkul lakes

The view from the pass is very beautiful The trail descends steeply and then gradually descends, making it enjoyable to walk upon.

 

Trek: 13 km, 5-6 hrs

Drive: 50 km, 2 hrs

Altitude: 11,482 ft (3,500 m) – 7,447 ft (2,270 m)

Meals: Breakfast

 

On the last trekking day, after half an hour of trekking, we reached the Army check post where it took half an hour to check the documents (Adhar Card) of all the trekkers.

Then, we move ahead while the trail oscillates between minor ascents and descents up to halfway, after which there is a steep descent amid pine forests all the way to Naranag. Our beautiful Kashmir Great Lakes (KGL) Trek ends here.

We arrive in Srinagar between 5 and 7 PM, depending on the start time from Gangabal. We are sure that you will get so many pleasant memories to cherish by embarking on the KGL Trek with Himalaya Shelter.

Upcoming Treks

  • July 6, 2024 full
  • July 7, 2024 open
  • July 10, 2024 full
  • July 13, 2024 open
  • July 14, 2024 full
  • July 15, 2024 full
  • July 20, 2024 open
  • July 21, 2024 full
  • July 22, 2024 open
  • July 27, 2024 full
  • July 28, 2024 full

  • August 1, 2024 full
  • August 3, 2024 full
  • August 4, 2024 open
  • August 5, 2024 full
  • August 10, 2024 full
  • August 11, 2024 full
  • August 14, 2024 open
  • August 17, 2024 open
  • August 18, 2024 open
  • August 24, 2024 open
  • August 25, 2024 full
  • August 31, 2024 open

  • September 7, 2024 open

FAQs on Kashmir Great Lakes Trek:

The best time to visit Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is from July to September when the weather is relatively stable and the trail is clear of snow. These months offer pleasant daytime temperatures and clear skies.

While the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is considered moderately challenging, it requires a reasonable level of fitness and hiking experience. It is recommended for individuals with prior trekking experience rather than complete beginners.

Accommodation options during the trek are limited to tents and campsites. Most trekkers carry their own camping gear, while some choose to hire equipment from local agencies. It is essential to be prepared for camping in remote areas.

The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek offers stunning views of seven high-altitude lakes. Trekkers also get to experience the beauty of Zaj Pass, Gadsar Pass, Nichinai Pass.

The Highest Altitude of the Kashmir Great Lakes will be faced while crossing the Gadsar Pass. Gadsar Pass is the highest point of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. It is located at a height of 13,800 ft (4,210 m). Gadsar pass, due to its high Altitude mostly remains covered in Snow.

The Beautiful Kashmir Great Lakes Trek Starts from the month of July and continues till October. It will be rainy in the months of July and August. However, you will love to do the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek in July and August since you will find that sometimes you are above the clouds and sometimes clouds are above you; you will feel as if the clouds are competing with you to complete the trek. In the months of September and October, the weather will be pleasant. In September beginning you may spot beautiful Himalayan wildflowers blooming in the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. The month of October (especially October end) can be really cold and windy in the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. If there will be heavy snowfall, you may not be able to cross the Gadsar Pass

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek starts from Sonmarg and ends at Naranag.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a 7-day trek. However, it is advisable to keep 1 day extra as a buffer day so that you can complete the trek even if you cannot cross the Gadsar pass or Nichinai Pass due to heavy rainfall or any other unavoidable circumstances. Keeping 1 extra day can be used as an acclematisation day, too.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a Moderately challenging trek where you will have to walk for at least 10-12 km every day at high altitude. Hence, a good level of Physical fitness and mental endurance are required to complete the KGL trek. Himalaya Shelter advises you to start practicing Yoga (Especially Surya Namaskar) at least two months prior to the departure Day. Running 3-4 km every day will make you fit enough to do the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek (KGL Trek) is a Moderately challenging trek where you will have to walk for at least 10-12 km every day at high altitude. If you are a first-time trekker then you may find it difficult but if you have done 2-3 Himalayan treks before, and you practice running and Yoga everyday, then you can easily complete this trek.

In total, there are 6 beautiful lakes that you will witness during the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. All these 6 lakes are Alpine Lakes located in the High Altitude Himalayan mountains. The name of the Lakes of Kashmir Great Lake (KGL) trek are as follows:

  1. Vishansar Lake (Vishnusar Lake)
  2. Krishansar Lake
  3. Gadsar Lake
  4. Satsar Lakes
  5. Gangabal Lake
  6. Nundkol Lake
Inclusions
  1. Transport support from Srinagr to Srinagar
  2. Pick-up location: Nishat Garden, Srinagar
  3. All vegetarian meals starting from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the last day
  4. Professional Guide, Cook and Support staff
  5. First-Aid kit with Oximeter and Portable Oxygen Cylinder
  6. Kitchen tents, common tents, toilet tents with portable toilet seats
  7. Rent for camping equipment like Clean sleeping bags and foam mattresses, Good quality ‘A’ shaped or dome tents, Camping stools, Table and Crampons and gaiters if required
  8. Forest entry charges for Indian nationals (Additional charges will be applicable for international tourists)
  9. Porter and mule support to carry camping equipment and personal luggage
  10. Accommodation throughout the trek on a triple-sharing basis
  11. Guesthouse accommodation on the first and second last day on a triple-sharing basis
  12. All applicable taxes
Exclusions
  1. Personal expenses like tips, personal medicines, phone calls etc.
  2. Any transport support during the trek apart from what is included above
  3. Any cost or services not mentioned in the Inclusions
  4. Accommodation in Srinagar
  5. Adventure Insurance
  6. Cost arising due to unforeseen incidents like bad weather, medical evacuation, roadblocks etc
  7. Porter and mule support to carry personal Luggage can be arranged at an additional cost of INR 500 per bag per day (weighing up to 12 kg)
  8. Please carry a lunch box for packed lunch/breakfast to avoid using polythenes and Aluminium foils. Keeping the Himalayas clean is our own responsibility. Reduce the use of Plastic when you are in the abode of the Sacred Himalaya. 🌱