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Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary : The Perfect Winter Escapade

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Written by Raima Raj
07 Dec, 2023

If you are someone who finds home in the wilderness of the Himalayas, if your soul thrives on thrill and adventure and your mind finds solace in conquering places, then the Kedarkantha Trek should be on the top of your list of places to be. Perched at an elevation of 12,500 ft, with Himalayan Giants towering the summit like sentinels and jade green forests canopying the trails you tread upon, Kedarkantha is a quintessential trek perfect for beginners looking for an extraordinary and unique experience in the Mountains. 

In this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary, we will tell you all about why it is the Best Winter Trek of India, what each day looks like, how to conquer it easily and the surprises that await you on this incredible journey! 

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Taking a moment to stare at Mt. Swargarohini.

What is Kedarkantha Trek?

  • Location : Garhwal, Uttarakhand
  • Elevation : 12,500 ft 
  • Base Point : Sankri Village 
  • Difficulty Level : Easy to Moderate
  • Duration : 6 Days 
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A blanket of snow over Kedarkantha.

The Kedarkantha Trek also popularly known as the Queen of Winter Treks is a 5-6 Day Easy-Moderate level trek perched amidst the dazzling landscapes of Garhwal, Uttarakhand. 

It was first discovered just a few years back by enthusiastic trekkers who stumbled upon this untrodden trail that led to an arduous yet fantastic summit climb. Over the years, as the popularity of the trek increased, the trails have been made much more accessible and easier for any traveler to tread upon. 

Today, Kedarkantha Trek has gained massive popularity amongst young travelers and adventure seekers looking for an experience that detaches them from city life and places them in the midst of wilderness where life thrives on living and not hustling. 

What makes this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary truly special is the winter shades you get to witness throughout your 4 Day Climb. Thick layers of snow blanketing the entire mountain, frozen lake that looks like a beaten sheet of sparkling gems, clearest views of the night sky and unreal vibrant hues during sunrises are some of the reasons why we say, Kedarkantha Trek is the best winter Trek you can do in India! 

Christmas and New Year Trips!

Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary 

Day 1 : Arrival at Sankri 

  • Drive Distance : 225 kms, 8-9 Hours
  • Transport Mode : Tata Sumo / 4×4
  • Altitude : 6, 400ft
  • Highlight : Govind Pashu Vihar National Park
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Lush Green landscapes of Sankri Village.

The 6 Day Journey starts from the bustling town of Dehradun. You are recommended to arrive early in the morning via flight, train or bus and prepare for a 9 Hour Drive to Sankri. Sankri is a quaint village in the Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand and poses as the perfect place for a night halt. The drive to Sankri itself allows you to soak in the breathtaking beauty of Uttarakhand, watching winding valleys, Yamuna and Tons River flowing in harmony throughout, fills you with excitement for the days to come. In this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary, you will be traveling in a Tata Sumo or 4×4, feeling the ruggedness of the terrain as it takes you higher up. 

The last 25 kms of the Drive is what leaves travelers in awe, with snow peaks playing peek-a-boo and the smell of wood infiltrating the air with a refreshing essence. Another reason why the Sankri is so pious is because it is located in the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park, that exudes a different kind of charm of its own. It is also the base camp for other popular treks like Har Ki Dun and more. 

After reaching, you can check-in into your Homestay where you can enjoy a soulful local cuisine made with love, talk to the locals and take ample rest for the adventure that awaits you. One can also go out for small walks around the village and find secluded spots to catch the sunset, explore the local culture, be awed by the umbrella shaped houses and get a peek of the flora and fauna of the region.  

Note : The only network available at Sankri is BSNL, so travelers are advised to carry a spare SIM Card or inform at their homes prior to the Trip. 

Day 2 : Trek from Sankri to Juda-Ka-Talaab

  • Trek Distance : 5kms (5-6 Hours)
  • Altitude : 6400ft-9100ft
  • Highlights : Maple and Pine Forests, Meadows, Frozen Lake.
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Travelers walking over the frozen lake.

Today marks the first day of your trek and it goes without saying, every step will bring you closer to feeling really refreshed. Start by indulging in a healthy and filling breakfast and begin trekking towards the outskirts of the Village. After walking for a few minutes, you reach Saur, which is the village extension from where the trails get accompanied by a gently flowing stream. You will be walking along with the stream for the next few minutes before we take a turn and enter the deep forests. 

The overall trek distance is 5 kms and it takes you through lush maple and pine lining the entire trail along with many clearings that offer unimaginable views of the Swargarohini, Bandarpoonch and Black Peak. The beauty of this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary is that it also allows you a sneak into the rare wildlife where you can spot animals like deer, Himalayan Langurs, Boars, Birds and more. 

Juda-Ka-Talaab is one of the most picturesque points of this trek, also the perfect spot for camping where you can take leisurely strolls around and catch surreal views of the night sky. 

This Lake is a high altitude alpine lake situated in the middle of towering pine trees along with the backdrop of snow clad mountains. While during summers and monsoons the lake shines in a crystal blue hue with its surroundings blooming with greenery and wildflowers, in winters you can see a thick layer of ice over the lake making it completely frozen with snow all around. 

One of the main highlights of this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary are the camping spots that are undoubtedly the best of the lot, offering you a surreal experience. 

Interesting Story : Folklore says that Lord Shiva had meditated here for several years, bringing good vibes and life to the region and gifting it with unmatched beauty and tranquility. During one of his meditation sessions, a single strand of his hair fell from his knots and formed the lake giving it the name “Juda-Ka-Talab” 

Day 3 : Juda-Ka-Talaab to Kedarkantha Base Camp 

  • Trek Distance : 4kms (3 Hours)
  • Altitude : 9,100ft – 11,250ft
  • Highlights : Breathtaking views of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Ranglana and Kala Nag.
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A magical night sky at Kedarkantha.

You wake up to the first rays of sun knocking at your camp, filling you with a sense of joy and excitement for the day ahead. Enjoy a cup of tea and really delicious breakfast with a great view and get ready for the rest of the journey. 

The trek from Juda-Ka-Talab to the Base Camp is about 4 kms and takes around 3 Hours to reach if walking at moderate speed. The trail gets a little bit steeper than the last day, but is however, still easily achievable even for first time trekkers. The path is quite easy to navigate as it is marked and is also safe to traverse upon in peak winters. 

In this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary, you will be walking through lush pine and oak forests with snow sprinkled branches and Himalayan Peaks sneaking a peek through them. The sunlight makes the entire trail glow in a golden hue and the weather as cold still seems pleasant as you trek along. While walking amidst dense jungles, you will also find numerous pasture lands with tiny stone houses made by the locals and even meadows where sheep graze during summers. In Winters, these open spaces become just the ideal spot to catch unhindered views of the Mountains and even set camp.

As you approach the base camp, the views of the peaks keep getting clearer and after a point, you can feel them beckoning you closer with every step. As sunlight falls on these snow covered slopes, the entire region shines like diamonds making the overall journey a very soothing one. 

After reaching, you can take some time to simply relax and breathe in the crisp air, letting the views settle in your heart and mind. Enjoy with your friends at the campsite, indulge in group bonding sessions, spark a bonfire at night and relish in terrific views of star studded skies and glowing mountains. 

Know More : Kedarkantha Trek Guide

Day 4 : Trek to Kedarkantha Peak and back to Juda-Ka-Talaab

  • Trek Distance : 6kms (7 Hours)
  • Altitude : 11,250ft – 12,500ft
  • Highlights : Summit Climb and Sunrise from Kedarkantha Peak
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Sun rising over the horizon at Kedarkantha.

Like the popular quote says “ The Best Views come after the hardest climb ” and while the summit climb is not extremely difficult, it sure does take dedication and perseverance to get up at 2am in the morning to trek to Kedarkantha Peak. One of the biggest highlights of this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary is the sunrise you witness from the summit, and to make it to the top in time, you are required to trek through dawn. 

As you gear up and begin your climb towards the summit, you will realize that the night sky is shining at its brightest, with the milky way clearer than ever and countless shooting stars making the whole experience a magical one. Slowly, as you trek upwards, dawn starts to break painting the entire landscape in a pink and purple hue, the transition from night to morning is just so seamless that it leaves you in absolute awe. With every step you take, the summit beckons you closer and you feel a sense of tranquility taking over you. It is the silence of the mountains, the moment right between night and day where you truly feel grateful to have experienced what you are. There are some experiences that are worth the struggle, and with the views that stay laid in front of you, all those questions and doubts fade away and you feel truly satisfied and fulfilled. 

On reaching the summit, you patiently wait for the sun to rise behind the horizon and just in a few minutes you see a golden globe rising behind the Swargarohini Peak, a speck of deep golden falling on the tip of the peak and slowly spreading to its base. Standing there at the top, being surrounded by a 360 degree view of the highest Himalayan Peaks watching a new day dawn upon the world is a feeling that cannot be sufficed in words. You get to see Mt Bandarpoonch, Mt Kalanag predominantly along with Jaonli, Gangotri, Draupadi Ka Danda and Jorkanden peaks at a distance. 

What makes this entire wait and struggle even more bearable is watching your fellow trekkers trek with the same enthusiasm and motivation, there comes times when you help each other and motivate each to keep going and finally being able to share the joy of conquering the peak is a truly unmatched feeling. 

The best part about this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary is that you get ample time to simply meander around and capture the views in your heart and mind. After the morning has completely set in, start your trek down to the base camp where we enjoy a nutritious and delicious lunch. Right after lunch, we begin our trek down to Juda-Ka-Talaab where we will be spending another night camping under the stars. 

All in all, today is the most visually pleasing day of the trek and also brings us to the end of our trek. 

Day 5 : Trek down to Sankri and back to Dehradun 

  • Drive Distance : 220kms (9-10 Hours)
  • Arrival in Dehradun by 7pm.
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Azure Skies lighting up the trails.

Waking up to ivory white landscapes dazzling in the morning light, we take a moment to soak in the blissful views before we have our breakfast and start our trek down to Sankri Village. You can wake up early and take a few hours to wander around and explore your own treasure spots to simply unwind and relax with the backdrop of snow laden mountains. 

Trekking down comparatively takes lesser time and effort and we will be traversing the same trails perched amidst oak and pine forests. The downhill trek is about 4 kms and takes around 4 hours to complete. We will be trying to reach in the morning itself so we can make our way back to Dehradun by evening. After reaching Sankri and enjoying a good meal we get back in our cars and start the drive back to Dehradun. On the way, remember to feel the cool gushing wind flow through your hair and enjoy surreal views that unfold with every turn from your window seats. Throughout the 8 hour drive, you will reminisce about the incredible trek you just embarked on and it is also the perfect time to make your bond stronger with your new found friends. Upon reaching Dehradun, the group departs their own ways with unforgettable memories. 

This brings us to the end of this meticulously crafted 5 Day Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary!

Read Now : Best Winter Treks to do in India!

What is the Best Time to do the Kedarkantha Trek?

Although Kedarkantha is absolutely gorgeous all throughout the year, there is a reason why it is fabled as the “Best Winter Trek Of India.” However, if you are not a big fan of trekking in snow you can always visit the place in Monsoons or early summers when the trek comes alive with nature’s splendor draping the trails with an abundance of flora and fauna. 

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Sunrise hues on Himalayan Peaks

Kedarkantha in Winters ( December to February)

Temperatures : During day time the temperature stays around 7-10 degrees while at nights the temperatures can go as low as -4 degrees. 

Right from the start of December you can find snow at the base camp and peaks and as January approaches the entire trail starting from Sankri is snow laden. The whole landscape looks like a winter wonderland and you get the opportunity to camp on thick mounds of snow. There is regular snowfall almost everyday so the chances of catching live snowfall also increases ten fold.  

It is also the ideal snow trek for beginners with just a couple of hours of trekking per day under the guidance of an experienced trek lead. 

Kedarkantha in Spring and Summers ( March to May)

At the onset of Spring in March, you can still find snow at the upper campsites and there’s also fresh blossoming of Rhododendron flowers making the entire trail come alive after a harsh winter. The meadows start blooming again and the peaks at a distance are still snow covered. By April-May, all the snow melts away giving way for the flora and fauna to flourish. Days are pleasant and nights are chilly, but the overall weather is quite perfect for a soulful trekking experience. 

Kedarkantha in Monsoons ( July to October )

They say the beauty of Kedarkantha in Monsoons is quite underrated. With the first shower itself, there is an abundance of little streams and dense greenery with wildflowers blooming all along the way. The entire trek becomes much more lively and vibrant and the smell of petrichor lingers in the air. For those who believe trekking in Monsoons is not ideal, the Kedarkantha Trek stands in all its glory to prove them wrong. The allure of the Himalayas during these months is quite difficult to resist. If you are a regular trekker, we will surely suggest you try out this trek post-monsoon when its also safe and the place is looking absolutely heavenly. 

How to reach Kedarkantha Trek?

In this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary, the trek starts from Sankri which is closest and easily accessible from Dehradun. So you are required to reach Dehradun by early morning which is well connected by road, air and railways. 

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Sunset that steals your heart!

By Road – Dehradun is only 6.5 Hours and 270 kms from the capital state of Delhi, you can easily find a night-time bus from Kashmiri Gate or Majnu Ka Tila and be there by morning. Both HRTC Local Buses and Volvos are available to suit your needs. 

By Air – Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun has flights from almost all the major cities in the country so in case you are traveling from far, you can also opt to reach Dehradun by air. It is recommended to take a flight the previous day so you reach the pickup point by 6am. 

By Rail – Dehradun also has its own Railway Station making it convenient for those traveling from far. The Harrawala Railway Station is barely 2kms from the main city and is the ideal option for those who want to travel within budget. 

Note : According to this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary travelers are requested to reach the pick-up point by 6am so we can drive to Sankri and reach within time for a safe, comfortable and chill journey. 

FAQ’S

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Hues of pink at Sunrise.

Q1. Is Kedarkantha Trek Difficult?

No, the Kedarkantha Trek is an Easy Trek ideal for first time trekkers or even experienced ones. It is popularly known as the Queen Of Winter Treks as the easy climbs leading to surreal winter views makes it perfect for a thrilling Winter Vacation. With basic preparations and some courage, you will easily be able to conquer it.

Q2. Is Kedarkantha different from Kedarnath?

Yes, Kedarnath is a famous pilgrimage spot in Uttarakhand and also one of the Panch Kedars that is located further up in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand while Kedarkantha is a popular summit trek in the Uttarkashi District. Both derive their name from the mighty Lord Shiva, however there is no temple at the Kedarkantha Trek. However, there are many folklores that suggest Lord Shiva meditated here for many years, it is also one of the most visually pleasing treks to do in Uttarakhand. This Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary Guide will give you an in-depth knowledge of this Himalayan Gem.

Q3. What to pack for Kedarkantha Trek?

In Winters, the temperatures can drop as low as -8 degrees at night and thus, you are required to pack all necessary Winter Trekking Gears and essentials for a safe and comfortable journey.

  1. Thermals, Down Jacket and Poncho
  2. Fleece Jackets and Wind Cheater
  3. Waterproof Trekking Shoes / Gaiters
  4. Muffler, Headband, Skull Cap, Socks and Gloves
  5. Waterproof Trekking Bag and Daypack
  6. Trekking Pole, Headtorch and Sunglasses

Read more about the Winter Trek Essentials here!

Q4. How can I plan Kedarkantha Trek?

It is advisable to embark on the Kedarkantha Trek with a group or experienced tour company that assure you have a comfortable and pleasant experience. Although the trek is pretty easy, during winters guidance is needed at many points so you reach each camping site safely.

You can plan your Kedarkantha Trek during winters to experience fresh snowfall, this Kedarkantha Trek Itinerary is a perfect 5 day escapade that takes you to the best of locations with a travel community you will perfect fit in.

There is also an option for All Girls Kedarkantha Trek, crafted for all the ladies looking for a unique and fun experience with their girl ganga and like minded female travelers.

Happy Trekking!

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