Multi-day hiking trips through mountainous ranges and snow deserts is truly a dream for a trekker. Trekking forms an integral part of the adventure sports flourishing in the hilly tracts of Jammu and Kashmir. The state is an ultimate paradise for trekkers. There are several routes passing through snowy hills, glaciers, and valleys for adventurous trekking. Hemis-Markha-Padum trek (13 days trek) and Chaddar (separating the Indus Valley from Zanskar) are amongst the best and most exciting trek routes in the world. Jammu, Ladakh, Gulmarg, Kishtwar are few places where trekking through the woods and the hills can be enjoyed.

J&K trek routes are categorised as Short Term Treks and Long Term Treks. All the mountainous routes that lie in low altitude regions come under Short term treks. Treks starting from Kishtwar, or Sonamarg – Thajiwas trek, or a few treks starting from Gulmarg are short and perfect for amateurs. Contrary to this, the Amarnath Yatra is one of the most famous long treks in the state. Its duration can be modified depending on how much one want to travel. Apart from this, Gulmarg – Ferozepur Nala, Sudarani – Jungal Gali – Jasar Kote – Sanasar route in the Jungal Gali area, and the Zanskar trek that passes through the Cha Cha La pass and the ancient Karsha Gompa are also some of the best long term treks.

Popular Base Camps: One can find all the facilities and equipments at the base camps, for the convenience of the trekkers. Most of them belong to J&K Tourism Department. The capital Srinagar serves as a base camp for the blue Zabarwan Hills and Shankaracharya Hill. Similarly, Pahalgam (in the Lidder Valley) is the base for treks to the sacred Amarnath, Aru, Lidderwat and the glacial lakes of Tarsar and Tulian; Gulmarg serves as a base camp for treks to the Apharwat and Alpather, the upland lakes of Vishansar and Gangabal and the Thajiwas Glacier; and Sonamarg (in the Sindh Valley) is the base for treks into the surrounding mountains.

Ladakh – The Trekkers’ Paradise: Enfolded between the Himalayas and the Karakoram, Ladakh boasts of being the best destination for trekking in the state of J&K. While trekking in Ladakh, the Frozen Desert, one can spot the huts of Gujjars, wild asses and yaks and some of the largest glaciers in the world outside the polar regions. With the lowest altitude around 11,000 feet, Ladakh offers accommodation in and around all major trek routes. The most convenient way to go trekkin in Ladakh is through a travel agency. The agency takes care of all your camping gear, woolen clothes, equipments and provisions. It also guides and warns you regarding the climate and geography of any particular region.

Major Trekking Routes

  • Amarnath Yatra
    Equally popular among trekkers and pilgrims, this trek leads to the Amarnath Cave and the naturally formed Ice Shiva-Lingam, one of the holiest pilgrimage for Hindus. Usually completed in five days, this trek passes through Chandanwadi, Sheshnag, Panchtami over the Mahagunas Pass, and Pahalgam.
  • Gulmarg Trekking
    This excellent trek in the northern Pir Panjal Range offers several viewpoints to enjoy the Nanga Parbat. The trek route in the west leads to Khilanmarg while the south takes you to the Ferozepur Nala and beyond to the hamlets of Danwas, Tejjan, and to Samaidan. Continuing towards south is the Sunset Peak and the foothills along the Romushi Nala to Yusmarg.
  • Sonamarg Trekking
    This low altitude region offers a pleasant scenery of Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. The trek in the west crosses the Nichinai pass to Gangabal Lake near Haramukh, which is the highest peak in the vicinity of the Kashmir valley.
  • Thajiwas Trek
    The small trek of this beautiful valley at the foot of the Sonmarg glacier leads up to the Shakhdar hill.

Trekking in J&K has always been an experience to cherish. The equipments can be hired from the tourism-board office. Foreign tourists need to submit their passport as security deposit against equipment hired.

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