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.
Here is a brief itinerary of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek with Plan the Unplanned:
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 acclimatisation; 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.
Srinagar is the summer capital, which is between the months’ May and October. It is majorly connected to different parts of India via rail, road and air. Please note that you will have to bear all expenses related to your travel to Srinagar from your place.
Sheikh ul Alam Airport or Srinagar Airport is an international airport. It is well connected, and airlines offer regular flights from Srinagar to Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. The airport is just 15 km away from the centre of the city.
To reach Srinagar by train, one has to either go to Jammu Tawi or Udhampur railway station. The stations are well connected with different parts of India.
By road, Srinagar can be reached from major cities like Delhi (876 km), Chandigarh (646 km), Leh (424 km) and Jammu (258 km). There is good Bus service and Cab service available.
The interesting thing about traveling alone is that you get to meet new people from diverse backgrounds, and towards the end you are no longer strangers. Hence solo travelers are always welcome to join us on our trips. Read more about solo travelling here and get inspired! https://www.plantheunplanned.com/solo-yet-accompanied/
Safety and security is our priority at all times. Hence it is absolutely safe for women/girls to join us on our treks and travels. Our trek leaders accompany the team at all times, and our campsites are secured and safe for accomodation. We also have female trek leaders who accompany on most of our treks.
There are as many as eleven lakes on the trek. But, to cover all these lakes, you will possibly have to stay for more than seven days.
Yes, it is mostly safe to trek in Kashmir. But at other times, like other places, it might get a little complicated. So here are some pointers to keep in mind when you are travelling from Srinagar:
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.
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.
Here’s the cancellation policy for Himalayan Treks/Backpacking Trips/Road Trips
Note: For All The Above Refund Cases Transaction Fees/Internet Handling Charges will be dedcuted from the overall amount and balance amount shall be refunded. You can transfer your ticket to anyone so that you could save your hard earned money
For other trips and travels with us, and detailed terms and conditions check the following link : https://www.plantheunplanned.com/refund-cancellation-policy