The land of Kashmir is known for its incomparable beauty. The place doesn’t need any introduction. Doing a trek in this region can amaze anyone by its spellbound beauty. There are various treks that one can opt, out of which the Great Lakes trek is the most popular. The trek offers great views of alpine lakes surrounded by vast meadows and snow-capped milky mountains.
The trek starts from Sonamarg which is a famous tourist spot and it takes around 8 days to complete the trek. The gradient of the trek comes under the band of moderate level. One has to trek around 63 km to complete the circular journey and the maximum altitude that can be attained while on the trek is around 13000 feet. The trek requires a good physical fitness so that one can accomplish it by enjoying it to the fullest and without any difficulty.
The actual starting point of the trek is 3 km ahead from Sonamarg on the Srinagar highway. Here one can buy some eatables (chocolates, juices, etc.) from the Dhabas which are available here. The trail starts from a green alpine meadow followed by a dense forest having Maple and Pine trees. The valley of Sonamarg looks magnificent from this point. Trekkers will always be walking on the meadows throughout the complete trek.
Best time to go on this trek is from June to September. During this time, the trek is full of greenery and blooming flowers and it offers the best views
Day 1 : Getting to the base camp – Sonamarg
Day 2 : Sonamarg to Nichnai via Shekdur.
Day 3 : Nichnai to Vishansar lake via Nachnai Pass
Day 4 : Acclimatization + Rest Day. (Condition Apply)
Day 5 : Vishansar lake to Gadsar via Gadsar Pass
Day 6 : Gadsar to Satsar
Day 7 : Satsar to Gangabal twin lakes via Zaj Pass
Day 8 : Gangabal to Naranag. Drive to Srinagar
Altitude: 7,800 ft
Time taken: 4 hours, 80 km
Arrive at Srinagar and drive to Sonamarg, about 4 hours away. The trek begins at Sonamarg. The trek can be paced out more evenly if you make Sonamarg as your base. This gives you more trekking time on.
Altitude: 7,800 ft to 11,500 ft
11 kms trek, approx 8 hours
After the breakfast we trek to Nichnai via Shekdur. The trail takes you through meadows, dense forests with Maple, Pine and Bhoj trees. After approx half an hour, we get an army check post where we have to submit our ID proofs. While you are at it, you can enjoy an awesome view of the Sonmarg Valley or the Thajiwas Glacier. The trek from Shitkadi to Shekdur is goes through thick forests of pine trees and will take approx 2 and half hours. At Shekdur, you can indulge in instant noodles and an omelette if you wish to. We follow the Nichnai Stream as we trek from Shekdur to Nichnai. We have lunch at the Nichnai stream, after Shekdur.
Altitude: 11,500 ft to 12,000 ft via 13100 ft
12 kms trek, approx 7 hours
Trek from Nichnai to Nichnai Pass is of approx 1 and half hours ascent. At the top of Nichnai Pass you can get B.S.N.L and Airtel network, which is the last point under mobile coverage area. From Nichnai pass to Vishansar there is a descent. At Vishansar campsite, lunch will be offered. We can visit the Vishansar Lake which is just 15 minutes walk from the campsite. The first lake of the trek and one of the most beautiful ones. If the trek is in July, the lake will be frozen. Otherwise, we can do fishing at the lake with permission from Srinagar Fishing Department. Vishansar is visited by hoards of sheep and their shepherds are known for interesting stories. The campsite is a unique place with an open ground and you can play volleyball, cricket etc. Beware of dogs at campsite.
You may visit Kishansar lake, which is at approx 1 and half kms from our camp site. If the weather is not good we will use acclimatization day at vishansar or else move towards next camp site, rest day can be use at Gangbal camp site.
Altitude: (12,000ft) to (12,000ft) via (13,750ft)
14 kms trek, approx 10 hours
We start the trek earlier than usual. The trail passes from Vishansar to Gadsar, via Gadsar pass the highest point of the trek. From Vishansar, the trail takes a steep ascent till Gadsar Pass. We can see the Kishansar Lake on the way. From the Gadsar pass till the camp site, we descend gradually. We can spot the Gadsar lake en route. You might also spot the Glacier of Gadsar Lake. After the Gadsar lake, we will reach the campsite in 2 hours. Just a few minutes before our campsite, we will have another army checkpoint and we will have to share our ID proofs with them. Pack lunch will be provided.
Altitude: 12,000 ft to 12,000 ft
9 kms trek, approx 6 hours trek
Mid July to mid August, the trail is laden in vibrant flowers. We need to share our IDs at another army check post en route. Moving on, we see two small lakes which are often mistaken as Satsar Lakes. We will visit the Satsar twin lakes, in the afternoon, which are approx 1.3 h. Satsar twin lakes are also known as mengen top. Those twin lakes are between the middle of the mountain.
Altitude: 12,000 ft to 11,500 ft 13000
11 kms trek, approx 6 hours
We walk on rocky paths for approx an hour and ascend till Jazz Pass. At the pass, you can enjoy views of the 4 lakes, Mt. Harmukh and its glacier. From the pass we descend till the Gangbal lake and camp at Nandkol lake. We visit the Gangbal Lake, which is one of the largest lakes in the trek. Post dinner, a team of Kashmiri staff will perform their traditional songs and dance.
Altitude: 11,500 ft to 7,450 ft
15 kms trek, approx 7 hours
The trail is a descent till the last point of the trek – Naranag, so take care of your knees and ankles. The trail will pass through pine tree forests. On advance booking, GHE can arrange transport to Srinagar at a charge. After the 70 kms drive, you will reach Srinagar by 6:30 pm.
Booking amount is non-refundable.
No refund of total trip amount will be provided on cancellation, 10 days prior to departure date.
50% of total trip amount can be refunded on cancellation between 11-20 days prior to scheduled departure date.
90% of total trip amount can be refunded on cancellation between 21-90 days prior to scheduled departure date.
100% of total trip amount can be refunded on cancellation, 90+ days prior to scheduled departure date.
For Cancellations/ Refund Request , kindly reply to the confirmation mail and get in touch with the Team. All cancellations will be considered only after the mail has been received.
Down Jacket (Main jacket)
Tshirt or Fleece
Extra pair of Socks
Trekking/ Hiking Shoes (Forclaz 100 and above or Arpenaz 100. Checkout in Decathlon stores)
Rucksack (At least 40L)
Mufflers/ Neck Warmer
Extra pair of Clothes
First Aid Kit
*Add extra thermal layers and sweater during the winter season
Personal luggage charge per day per bag 250 (wt10 kg).
Transport Srinagar (TRC) to Sonamarg Rs 2500 and return Naranag to Srinagar Rs 2500 per Cab. Including Union fees
Best season July to September.
Remember to carry your ID proof in original and 2 photocopies we have to submit them at the army check post.
Please note that prepaid sim cards do not work in Kashmir.
On Day 8, you’ll reach Srinagar between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. You can book your travel any time after 8 pm.
Q. What will be the group size?
Usually, we take maximum of 15-18 people in one group. We believe bigger groups have less fun and less coordination so that’s why we prefer smaller groups.
We need at least 6 people to operate our fixed departure tours/treks.
Q. Who all will go along with us on the trip/trek?
All our treks are led by professional trek leaders who are certifie, mountaineers. Apart from them, there will be one local guide, cook, helper, porters and other staff.
All our trips are led by professional trip coordinators who have a good experience in leading groups.
Q. I am the only girl in the group, is it safe to travel/trek solo?
Yes definitely it is, the safety of girls is most important for us. All our guides and other staff are carefully chosen for trips/treks. They are honest and reliable but we also advise you to take care of your personal belongings.
Q. What are the things that we need to carry on the trek/trip?
Once you confirm the trip/trek and done with the booking, we will send you the packing list according to the trip/trek.
Q. What type of ground transportation will be used on the trip?
We hire taxis such as Innova, Tempo Traveller, Bolero, Tata Sumo, etc. from our vendors.
Q. I cannot carry my rucksack/bag on the trek, can I offload it?
We always recommend that you carry your rucksack during the trek because it helps in maintaining your body posture. In case if you cannot, then we can provide you a mule/porter to carry your rucksack. You will have to tell us at least 1 week before the trek. The charges for offloading would be INR 300 per person per day.
Q. Which shoes should I buy?
Shoes are your lifeline on the trek. It is highly advisable to buy trekking shoes of a good and known brand. You can consider companies like Quechua, Columbia, etc. A waterproof shoes with ankle support will work good.
Q. What are the washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
During the treks, separate toilet tents will be set up on each campsite.
Q. What will be the type of accommodation?
It depends on the tour. If it is a trek then you will be staying in dome tents or if it is a road trip the the accommodation can be in hotel/alpine tent/dome tent/home stay.
Q. Will you provide sleeping bags and mattresses?
Yes, we will provide sleeping bags and mattresses during the trek. Our sleeping bags can withstand temperature as low as -10 degree.
Q. How many trekkers will be in one tent?
It totally depends on group dynamics. If there is a couple, we can give them a separate tent or if there are odd number of people, then there would be triple sharing.
Q. How can I book a trek/trip with you?
After selecting the trip/trek, you can book by clicking on the book now button or you can contact us and we will guide you in booking.
Q. What type of food is served during the trek?
We provide nutritious and healthy food during the treks. We always serve Indian vegetarian food and eggs.
Q. How to get safe drinking water on the trek?
Himalayan water is considered the purest water and safe to drink. But for safety purpose, we sometimes boil the water and then use it for drinking and cooking.
In case you find any clean water on the trek, always fill your water where the water is running not where the water is stable or is in rest.
Q. Can we change the itinerary?
Yes, you can give suggestions. We will look into that and if we find it feasible then we will apply it.
Q. Can you customize the trip/trek?
Yes, we can customize any trip/trek as per your needs and as per the feasibility.
Q. Will doctor accompany us on the trek?
No, but our trek leaders are certified in Wildlife First Aid course and they always carry first aid kit and oxygen cylinders on high altitude treks.
Q. Do you prefer I should bring some medicines with me?
Yes it is advisable that you carry your own medication on the trek.
Q. Diamox is advisable or not?
Well, it totally depends on person to person. Usually, there are no side effects of Diamox but if you are having any prior medical conditions then it is better to consult your doctor.
Our itinerary is designed in a way that we take sufficient time to get acclimatized. In case if you are having problem on the trek then tell your trek leader about your condition as soon as possible.
Q. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
It depends on the difficulty level of the trek. Minimum age for eligibility is 14 years.
Q. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining slowly while trekking then we will continue our trek as per the plan. Your poncho will keep you dry. In case if it is raining heavily then we will try to find any shelter and wait for the rain to stop or slow. If it rains at the campsite then there would not be any problem because all our living tents, kitchen tents and toilet tents are waterproof. You will stay dry inside.
Q. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
Differs from person to person. If you think that it would help you maintaining balance while trekking then do bring the pole. Some people think that trekking pole disturbs the walking rhythm. So it’s upto you.
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