The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is moderate-to-difficult with rocky trails and high altitudes. Nestled in the Pir Panjal range, in the mighty Himalayas. Kashmir is called the paradise on earth and the trek to these beautiful lakes makes it more exhilarating. It is situated 75 km northeast of Srinagar. The views of 360° panorama with wild, snow-capped mountains, mesmerizing meadows and thrilling alpine lakes give a thrilling insight into this beautiful trek. The seven stunning high-altitude lakes – Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar, Gangbal, Nandkol, and Dal Lake are the main highlight of the trek. If you have not been to this trek then put it on your bucket list. It is surely worth giving a chance.
When you embark on a journey it is more like stepping into some haven. You witness the most beautiful picture-perfect, postcard-worthy trek. It gets more interesting to see these lakes just as they are being fed by the snow-clad mountains. If you are lucky enough, you might see the occasional iceberg floating across the pristine blues and greens of the lake.
Day 1: Srinagar to Shitkadi via Sonamarg
Day 2: Sonamarg to Nichnai via Shekdur
Day 3: Nichnai to Vishansar Lake via Nichnai Pass
Day 4: Vishansar Lake to Gadsar Lake via Gadsar Pass
Day 5: Gadsar Lake to Satsar Lake
Day 6: Satsar to Gangabal Twin Lakes via Gaj Pass
Day 7: Gangabal Lake to Naranag – Drive to Srinagar
The best time to undertake the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is during the summer months of June to September. The weather during this period is generally pleasant, with warm days and cool nights. The trail is also accessible and free of snow, making it easier to trek.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek In June
June marks the beginning of summer in Kashmir, and the landscapes are adorned with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The temperatures during the day range from mild to moderately warm, while the nights can be cool. The clear skies and pleasant weather make June an ideal month to witness the beauty of the alpine lakes and surrounding mountains.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek In July and August
July and August are the peak months for the trek. The valleys are in full bloom, presenting a colorful and picturesque scenery. However, it’s important to note that these months also coincide with the monsoon season, so trekkers should be prepared for occasional rain showers and slippery trails. The rain adds to the beauty of the landscapes and creates a refreshing atmosphere.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek In September
September is another excellent month to visit the Kashmir Great Lakes. The monsoon begins to recede, resulting in fewer rainy days and clearer skies. The landscapes retain their beauty, and the weather remains pleasant, with mild temperatures during the day and cooler nights. September offers the advantage of fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more serene trekking experience.
The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a moderately to highly challenging trek that requires a good level of physical fitness and endurance. It is essential to be well-prepared and aware of the trek’s demands before embarking on this adventure. The trek covers a distance of approximately 72 kilometers over a span of 8 days. Each day, trekkers can expect to walk an average of 10 to 12 kilometers, sometimes even more, through diverse terrains and landscapes.
The trail consists of rugged and uneven paths, rocky sections, steep ascents, and descents. Trekkers will encounter river crossings, boulder-strewn sections, and occasional snow patches, especially during early and late season treks. These factors make the trek physically demanding and require a certain level of agility and balance.
The highest point of the trek reaches approximately 4,200 meters (13,700 feet) at Gadsar Pass. This means trekkers will be exposed to high altitude conditions, which can lead to altitude-related illnesses such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). It is crucial to allow for proper acclimatization by taking rest days and ascending gradually to minimize the risk of altitude sickness.
Prior trekking experience is beneficial but not mandatory. However, maintaining a good level of physical fitness through regular exercise and cardio workouts before the trek is highly recommended.
While the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek demands physical and mental resilience, the stunning alpine lakes, lush meadows, and majestic mountain vistas make it an incredibly rewarding and unforgettable experience for those prepared to take on its challenges.
Throughout the trek, comfortable and spacious tents will be provided to you on a twin, triple, or quad sharing basis. These tents offer a perfect sanctuary where you can relax and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature after a long day of trekking. Additionally, for female trekkers, separate tents and rooms are available to ensure privacy and safety during the entire trip.
The meal arrangements for the trek include starting from dinner on the first day and concluding with breakfast on the Last day. A healthy and nourishing menu will be provided to cater to your dietary needs. Each day, you can look forward to delicious hot meals, including breakfast, lunch, evening tea and snacks, hot soup, and dinner. Moreover, there will be a delightful variety of desserts served daily, adding a sweet touch to your dining experience. To keep you hydrated, hot drinking water will be available at the campsite every day.
July – 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 26th, 29th and 31st
Aug – 6th, 7th, 13th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 28th
Sept– 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th.
When planning an active trip, it’s important to consider how to stay comfortable in changing weather conditions. The key to achieving maximum comfort with minimum weight is by layering appropriately. Versatile layers that can be mixed and matched provide the right amount of insulation, ventilation, and weather protection.
To help you choose the proper equipment, we’ve created a comprehensive gear list. It’s important to only bring what is necessary, as this will not only help you stay comfortable but also make the trek easier for the field staff.
Make sure to pack wisely and leave behind any unnecessary items to keep your backpack light. A well-planned packing list ensures a safe and comfortable trek, allowing you to fully enjoy the beauty of nature.
Mule/Porter Bag Offloading:
If you don’t want to carry your backpack you can give it to porter/Mules, but you have to inform us in advance.
Clock/ Baggage Room for Extra Luggage:
Trekkers can utilize the luggage storage facility at the Manali base camp to store their extra belongings before embarking on the Hampta Pass trek. However, it is recommended to avoid keeping any valuable items in the storage, to ensure the safety of their possessions.
The most convenient railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway station, from there you can take a bus to reach Sonmarg, The road distance from Jammu Tawi to Sonmarg is approx. 350km.
The Srinagar Bus Stand is well-connected to Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jammu. Sonmarg is accessible through National Highway 1D to other states of India. The Srinagar bus stand is about 87 km away from Sonamarg, and frequent bus service is available from Srinagar to Sonamarg.
Srinagar Airport is about 70 km away from Sonamarg. Srinagar Airport is well-connected to the major cities of the country. You can book flights from Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, and Kolkata.
Note: Always book your return flight/train tickets after including the buffer day in your itinerary. Buffer days are kept for unforeseen conditions in the mountains, if not used, you can use them for sightseeing in Srinagar.
🏔Altitude: 9,187 ft. 🏠 Stay: Tents 🚗 Drive: 95 km (4 hrs drive). ⌚ Pick up at 8:00 am from Srinagar 🍱 Meal: Dinner. After reaching Srinagar we will head to Shitkadi. Shitkadi is a quaint little place just a few kilometres beyond Sonamarg. The journey to the base camp is picturesque and pleasant. From the bustling beauty of Srinagar complete with gardens and shimmering lakes to the ‘Meadow of Gold’, Sonamarg, the 4 hours drive will set your mood perfectly for the trek. The route and schedule for the trek will be discussed before dinner by our team.
🏔Altitude: Sonamarg (9,187 ft) to Nichnai (11,500 ft) via Shekdur ⛺ Stay: Tents 🚶Trek: 5 km trek 🍱 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You will be starting your trek on Day 2 with a steep ascent towards the meadow of Shekdur. After 3 km there is a Dhaba on the right where you can get your edible supplies. After reaching Shekdu, you will see r when the scenery changes to Bhoj Patra or Silver Birch trees. The last stretch will be through the riverside trail with snow-capped mountains on both sides. The river valley marks the beginning of Nichnai and further downstream, there will be plenty of open meadows to pitch your tents for the night. Overnight at Nichnai.
🏔Altitude: Nichnai (11,500 ft) to Vishansar Lake (12,100 ft) ⛺ Stay: Tents. 🚶Trek: 12 km, approx time to reach 7 – 8 hrs. 🍱 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner There is also a noticeable change in scenery beyond Nichnai! We start early in the morning by 08:00 AM so that there’s sufficient time for you to wander around and admire the beauty of the meadows. A rocky path full of boulders gives way to lush greenery with wildflowers start popping up. As you walk through the trail you will be welcomed by these flowers. The climb to Nichani pass is a moderate one before it descends and eases off into a flat walk as you approach Vishnusar Lake. Vishansar Lake is half a km away from the campsite, nestled at the foot of four towering peaks. Vishansar changes its colour depending on the weather conditions. After reaching your destination you will unwind and relax.
🏔Altitude: Vishansar Lake (12,100 ft) to Gadsar Lake (12,000 ft) via Gadsar Pass (13,700 ft) ⛺ Stay: Tents 🚶Trek: Trekking distance of 14 Km, Trekking time around 10 hours 🍱 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner We will again cross the Kishansar while trekking to Gadsar lake. The trek will continue along a ridge with an accent. At the top of the thin ridge is Gadsar Pass at 13,700 ft, which is the highest point of your Kashmir Great Lakes trek. From the top, you will get a full view of both lakes. Vishansar and Kishansar. Gadsar Lake is an epitome of beauty and camping here will be worth it after a tiring day of trekking. After sharing your stories by the campsite with a hot cup of tea and dinner, retire to your tents.
🏔Altitude: Gadsar Lake (12,000 ft) to Satsar Lake (12,000 ft). 🚶Trek: Trekking distance of 12 Km, Trekking time around 6 hours ⛺ Stay: Tents 🍱 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner On your sixth day of trekking, you will see a drastic change in the landscape. You will cross the army base camp is the first thing you will notice from here. Today there will not be much ascent and descent as the lakes are at the same altitude. Satsar Lake is a camouflage of seven interconnected lakes; the view is so beautiful and can be differentiated depending on the season. Take a moment to feel the beauty of the place, this place is so untouched and filled with vivid views that you wouldn't want to leave.
🏔Altitude: Satsar (11,800 ft) to Gangabal Twin Lakes (11,500 ft) via Gaj Pass (13,000 ft) 🚶Trek: Trekking distance of 11 Km ⛺ Stay: Tents 🍱 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Today you will cross two more Himalayan lakes i.e Gangabal and Nundkol. Both are located 20 ins away, with a stream that runs between these two lakes. The route will take you through three ridges, which are green in patches and barren otherwise, except for local Gujjar huts. After reaching the top of the ridge, the two lakes situated side by side can be seen clearly. You will cross the stream with the help of our team. After reaching our team will pitch tents. After dinner, retire to your tents.
🏔Altitude: Gangabal Lakes (11,500 ft) to Naranag Drive (7,500 ft) 🚶Trek: Trekking distance of 11 Km, Trekking time around 7 hours 🚗 Drive: 70 Km drive back to Srinagar 🍱 Meals: Breakfast. Today will be mostly decent, be careful while you trek down. Pine trees will accompany you along the route. The last 4 km of the will be of decent 3000 ft altogether. When you will reach Naranag, you will see the stone-paved road which means, you have entered the civilization and your beautiful days spent in the valleys have come to an end. We will drive back to Srinagar. Make sure you have pre-booked your hotel. Always keep a buffer day because in the mountains there can be delayed due to weather, landslides or rain.
Our campsites are pitched near water sources. For your day’s trek, two liters of water should be enough. You will find water sources on the trek to refill your water bottles. Your trek leader will brief you about these before starting the day’s trek.
During the trek, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. This is the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since these are not biodegradable.
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings.
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially at high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead, it opens your pores, making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Nomad Adventures treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Nomad Adventures treks.
No, but there are shops on the base camp from where you can rent shoes, jackets and trek poles, headlights etc.
You don’t need special snowshoes. A good waterproof trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters.
A trekking pole gives you stability and balance and helps reduce fatigue.
The minimum age limit is 8 years. However, minors aged between 8 to 17 should be accompanied by their parents or guardians. The maximum age is 70 but please follow the fitness regime before coming on the trek.
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek is a moderate to difficult trek and requires trekkers to be physically fit. The minimum age eligibility is 8 years. As a parent or guardian, if you feel that your child can adapt to the conditions of the mountains and would be able to walk every day as required, then certainly, yes!. It is recommended to maintain good physical stamina before coming on the trek.
The last electricity charging point and mobile network point would be in Srinagar. You’ll get only the Bsnl/Airtel network over there. However, come prepared for the possibility of power cuts. It is good to carry your power banks and extra batteries for your camera.
All high-altitude treks come with their share of risks. We pay utmost importance to the safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
There would be no facility available to keep extra luggage behind because we won't be returning to the starting point of the trek, therefore you need to carry all your belongings. Nomad Adventures is not responsible for loss or damage to any belongings.
No, but in case you are having so please consult your doctor because there are lots of myths about Diamox.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to inform us in advance so that the necessary arrangements are made. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. If you decide on the spot then the charges are higher than usual.