We will not begin with anything less than saying that Kashmir Great Lakes is one of India’s prettiest, most scenic, and pristine treks. The trek is a Himalayan trek in Kashmir Valley and is commercially known as Sonamarg-Vishansar-Naranag Trek.
Kashmir, without a doubt, is a place of utmost beauty, simplicity, and untouched terrain. Add it with Kahwah tea, snow-capped mountains, glacier-fed rivers, blue-green lakes, orchards of apples, and all shades of colors; it turns into heaven on earth. Treks in Kashmir are not just a way to challenge yourself or become physically fit but also a means to find your life’s purpose: Kashmir Great Lakes trek is precisely made for this.
Starting from Sonamarg, this moderate trek on a seven-day succession (approximately 80 km) will take you through 11 alpine lakes, lush green meadows, movable flocks of sheep, giant mountains, lakes fed by glaciers, and multiple other unbelievable wonders of nature. Every day will be a blessing here – as you will cross different sections, you will get glimpses of Mount Harmukh, Gadsar Peak, Mount Vishu, Maple and Pine forests, various Himalayan animals like Common Leopard, Himalayan Marmot, Black Bear, and myriad varieties of flowers and trees.
- Meet fellow travellers and kick off your journey from Srinagar to Sonamar
- Acclimatisation in Sonamar
- 360-degree view of mountains from the Valley of Nichnai via a famous tabletop
- Learn the fine art of Campin
- Soak in the refreshing sunrise and sunset in the company of Pine and Maple forests
- You will probably spot bears in the Bear Valley; get to see a wide variety of flowers in the Valley of Wildflowers
- Kishansar and Vishansar Valley
- Reach the twin lakes in Gangabal Valley by crossing a boulder section
Day 1: Srinagar to Sonamarg
Day 2: Sonamarg to Nichnai
Day 3: Nichnai to Kishansar/Vishansar Valley
Day 4: Kishansar/Vishansar Valley to Gadsar
Day 5: Gadsar to Satsar
Day 6: Satsar to Gangabal
Day 7: Gangabal to Naranag to Srinagar
We will start our journey to Sonamarg from Srinagar. Trek Leaders will give a brief of the whole trip. Srinagar lies at the height of 1,585 m and Sonamarg at 2,377 m from sea level. It’s almost a 3 hours journey
At Sonamarg, we will stay for the night. Day 1 is for acclimatization; hence, walk around, enjoy the weather, make friends, have a good meal, and gear up for the next day.
From Sonamarg, we will go to Nichnai. But, first, have a healthy breakfast that the Plan the Unplanned team would provide and get ready for trekking for 9 km in around 7 hours: This includes 3.5 hours of steep ascent, 1 hour of descent, and finally gentle climb for 2.5 hours to Nichnai at an altitude of 3,505 m.
It sounds too much, but the panoramic 360-degree views of mountains from the Valley of Nichnai via a famous tabletop will make it easier for you.
On the way, you will see Thajwas mountain range and Bear valley. Interestingly, Thajwas valley is also known as the ‘Valley of Wildflowers’. Walking on the green grass amidst the Maples is an experience in itself. Set up your camp here with the help of trek leaders and enjoy the company of nature.
We will start from Nichnai to Kishansar and Vishansar Valley. It is at a height of 3,650 m, and it will take almost 5.5 hours to climb 13 km gradually. This valley is home to two gorgeous lakes. You can sit here for a while; dip your feet in the pristine greenish-blue water; lose yourself for a while and process the colors of trout fish that are floating peacefully in the lake; watch different flowers by the side of the lake.
Both of these lakes have a religious significance, and they drain themselves in the Kishanganga River that runs through the Gurez Valley.
From Nichnai Valley, we will cross the Gadsar Pass to finally reach Gadsar Valley at 4,200 m by trekking for around 14 km in 6 hours. From here, you can get a birds-eye view of both the Kishansar and Vishansar lakes. It’s a breathtaking view from there. As you will absorb that view, you will soon get captivated by the long wavy meadows
The Gadsar lake’s water is considered to have healing powers. If you believe in such things, you are open to bless yourself.
From the fifth day onwards, it’s a much more relaxing descent with mild ascents and descents. The trail is a bit challenging, with some deep craters on the way. From Gadsar, we will cover vast meadows with mesmerizing views of mountains and reach Satsar valley to finally come down at 3,600 m by covering 12 km in 5 hours.
Finally, you will reach the valley. It is the valley with the most lakes in the area. Set up your campsite and rest for the day.
Be vigilant during the first half an hour. It’s a steep climb with a boulder section. Via the Zajibal pass, we will go to Gangabal Valley, where twin lakes are silently waiting for you. The pass cuts Satsar Valley and Gangbal Valley. A small climb, then a descent, and a stream crossing leads to Nundkol Lake lying at the foot of Harmukh. Gangbal Lake is at a distance of 20 minutes from Nundkol Lake. You can reach it by crossing the stream: be wary of the flow and consult with the trek leads before taking steps. Both lakes are famous for Trout fishing
Till now, we have come down to 3,585 m by covering 9 km in 5 hours. So rest for the day and settle yourself in Gangbal.
This is the last day of the trek; so, the excitement to end the whole tour on a good note must be in the mood. From the Gangabal campsite, walk down along the stream. Look back from time to time; you will see that Harmukh Peak looks fantastic. Come to Naranag at 2,271 m. If the time permits, you can also go around and cover the ruins of ancient temples
Then give us a chance to say goodbye nicely. We are sure that these seven days give you the best memories. Plan the Unplanned team is always happy to see you again; Check out our other itineraries and call us soon. We will wait for your message. Till then, take care and rejoice.
Here’s the cancellation policy for Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
If for a rare reason, PTU cancels the trek
Plan The Unplanned strives to ensure that our treks are not cancelled or called off. However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances or natural disasters such as continuous rain or snow, thunderstorms, snowstorms, landslides, floods, earthquakes, or any other calamity that could jeopardize the safety of our trekkers, or if there are unforeseeable circumstances like local riots, curfews, pandemics, lockdowns, government orders, or any such situations that make a safe trek impossible, we will issue a voucher equivalent to the amount paid for the trek. This voucher can be redeemed for any of our treks in the coming year. We regret any inconvenience caused by such cancellations, but our top priority is always the safety of our trekkers.
The trail is well-marked from Sonamarg to Naranag. Nomadic shepherds will give you directions on the way. Just go prepared with a trekking permit, food and your tent.
July to September: This is the time of moderate climatic conditions. In all other seasons, the trails of Kashmir are covered in snow.
During the daytime, the temperature can go up to 20 degrees, and at night, it can drop to 3 degrees. Therefore, make sure you carry adequate warm and light clothes.
Approximately 80 km. You will cover the whole trek in 7 days.
The trek is a moderate one. There are steep paths, rocky terrain, slippery stretches, steep climbs, and straight sections of gradual ascend. To do this trek at ease, start with jogging/cycling every day; take stairs whenever you can; get acquainted with breathing exercises.
The travellers acknowledge that unforeseen events such as landslides, severe weather, or natural disasters may prolong the trek's overall duration. In such cases, the travellers will bear the expenses for the necessary arrangements, and Plan The Uplanned team will not be held responsible.
Plan The Unplanned is not responsible for delay in flights, flight cancellation and there shall be no refunds for the same.