The artistic natural palette of Tamil Nadu has reproduced secluded and offbeat trekking trails like no other. On one side of the Coromandel coast lies the indigo ocean, and on the other side lives one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Conservation is in its roots. From time immemorial, the beautiful individuals of Tamil Nadu are preserving the interminable time, but riveting and exhilarating trails are ever-changing. The more they change, the more we become addicted to them. We are presenting to you our favourite treks in Tamil Nadu.
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There is no reason to ignore such unique secluded tracks dotted with tea gardens, waterfalls, ridges, canyons, and forests. Who knows, you discover your explanations in the mysterious, contemplative, and effervescent paths.
Kolli Hills, Namakkal
Altitude: 1,300 m
Distance: 9 km
Look for: Agaya Gangai Waterfalls, Arappaleeswar Temple, Boat House, Botanical Garden, Siddhar Caves, Selur Nadu.
While adventure takes centre stage on the Kolli Hills, the mountain is a site for pilgrimage and is also famous among bike enthusiasts. Rousing Kolli hills are considered sacred owing to the presence of lord shiva in Arappaleeswar temple. Seventy hairpin bends make the thrill of tracing the mountain rickety. Making up for an unbelievable offbeat hiking destination, Kolli hills offers ceramic-like views of the Agaya Gangai Waterfalls and is home to a centuries-old temple. Various viewpoints, farms, upbeat natural beauty and caves of the Kolli Hills invite trekkers.
Altitude: 1795 m
Distance: 10-12 km (to and fro)
Look for: Catherine Falls, Kodanad View Point, Elk Falls, Doddabetta Peak, Rangaswami Pillar
Just 30 km away from the crowded lanes of Ooty, Kotagiri provides respite to peace seekers. Balmed with wintry feels, it is a hill station in Tamil Nadu in the Nilgiris district. The town is the oldest and third most extensive hill station in the Nilgiris. British influence is far too difficult to ignore, with tea plantations, bungalows, and tea factories in the city made in European style.
Kotagiri trek is a great way to explore these scenic mountain ranges, tea plantations, and pleasant atmosphere. The trek takes you riding from forests, streams, meadows, and plantations. Sporadically Eucalyptus smell will also try to make its way; inhale it all in; the benefits are far too many.
Swamimalai Hills, Yelagiri
Altitude: 1,322 m
Distance: 6 km
Climb on top of the highest peak in Yelagiri. Swamimalai Hill starts from Mangalam village in Yelagiri. There is a Mariamman temple at the centre of the village, a prominent landmark as it is the starting point of the trek. On a short trek up the cake-shaped Swamimalai Hills, you find a Shiva temple where devotees come round the year, except during monsoon. The top gives a panoramic view of all the villages in Yelagiri.
The early morning mist feels like a hanging refreshments ball. As you climb up, you will feel the opposite of losing your breath; each view is breathtaking. On the summit, you find a rock boulder; you can climb using the steel ladder for a complete view of the valley.
Perumal Peak, Kodaikanal
Altitude: 2,440 m
Distance: 14 km (to and fro)
Adventurers who go to Kodaikanal don’t miss Perumal peak. One of the most frequented excursions from Kodaikanal is the visit to Kodaikanal – Perumal Peak. It is a paradisiacal place for trekkers. At a distance of 18 km from Kodaikanal & 55 km from Palani, Perumal Peak is the highest peak of Perumalai Hills. This peak divides the upper Palani hills to the west and the lower Palani hills to the east.
Kodaikanal Palani Hills
Altitude: 2,132 m
Distance: 15 km
To the east of the Western Ghats lies Palani Hills. It is home to Lord Muruga, worshipped in Tamil Nadu. The drama of the Palani hills keeps increasing as you trek through the wild. After walking through the thorn-infested forest, we reach an open grassland where we can witness the peak even before attempting it.
Doddabetta Peak, Ooty
Altitude: 2,637 m
Distance: 10 km (to and fro)
Doddabetta is synonymous with the medicinal Rhododendrons. The swooping slopes of the sholas happily abundant with Rhododendrons stir deep-rooted emotions and are a treat to the eyes. In this, summiting Doddabetta peak between October to January is a must.
Doddabetta translates to “Big Mountain”, where Dodda means ‘Big’ and Betta means ‘mountain’. It is the highest among the 24 peaks of Nilgiris. The summit can be accessed by trekking and by vehicle.
Gingee Fort, Thiruvannamalai
Altitude: 150 m
Distance: 800 steps (to and fro)
Many forts preserve the historical royalty and valour of Tamil Nadu’s kings. How lucky a trekker is to witness such creations! Also known as Senji, Chenji, Chanchi, Junji, and Senchi, the Gingee fort is one of India’s surviving forts. Built in the first century, the fort is termed the “most impregnable fortress in India” by Shivaji, and it was also named the “Troy of the East” by the British.
Famous for its architecture, the Gingee fort has three citadels in different styles: Krishnagiri, Rajagiri and Channarayanadurga. Through the steep climb, one can reach the top. Presently, the Archaeological Survey of India maintains and administers the fort.
Thalaiyar Falls, Kodaikanal
Altitude: 297 m
Distance: 10 km (to and fro)
Rat tail falls. No seriously! This is another name for the Thalaiyar falls. The highest fall in Tamil Nadu appears across the valley as a long white strip spreading on the coal-coloured hills. The green trees make the backdrop even more striking. The general public is barred from coming here, but you can reach the mouth of the fall by trekking 6 km after 34 Kms of road journey on ghat road from Kodaikanal. The trekkers can even walk along a concrete wall to the falls’ edge.
Distance: 16 km (to and fro)
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Canopy hills is a trek less taken in Tamil Nadu, but it is also the one that galvanises the trekker inside you. Starting from Theni, the trek becomes strenuous and challenging. Nevertheless, the deeply hidden rewarding waterfalls form the secret recipe for success. Steep slopes combined with the lush jungles and enthusiastic sights open your senses for a trekker’s high, and you are left teetering. You will even encounter some spooky spots. Traversing step by step and enjoying the natural splendour, you will finally end the trek at Dolphin Nose in Vattakanal.
Anaimalai Hills Trek
Imagine the sensation of walking on the 800 m high extinct volcano. Anaimalai Hills or Anamala Hills form the southern border of the Western Ghats, through Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are known as ‘holy hills’ in Thiruvannamalai for their religious essence. Trekkers glide effortlessly on myriad trails dotting the hill. One such track is in Thiruvannamalai, where devotees circumambulate the holy hill (13 km), which is considered as Lord Shiva. Other prevalent names of Annamalai Hils in the south are Arunagiri, Arunai, Arunachalam, Sonagiri and Sonachalam.
There are other simple treks, including, Pandaravara, an 8 km trek, Kozhikamuthu, a 12 km trek, and the Perunkundru, which is 32 km.
Many myths float in the air of Anaimalai hills; try to catch one and contemplate it to get yourself started on a mystical journey.
We hope this list of top ten treks in Tamil Nadu will be useful for you. Feel free to add more in the comments; we will add them to the list.