The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek conjures up images of splendor, dreaminess, and sheer beauty. The breathtaking scenery of the KGL trek, dubbed “Paradise on Earth,” makes you want to pinch yourself over and over.
This hike is both difficult and rewarding at 4175 meters in elevation. The difficulties of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, as well as the preparation required to complete the trek safely and successfully, will be discussed in this article.
To begin the Journey
How to Get to the Starting Point of the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek (Sitkari, near Sonamarg)?
Our trek’s starting point, Sitkari, is about a three-hour drive from Srinagar via Kangan and Gangangir. Similarly, Naranag, the trek’s endpoint, is about 60 kilometers from Srinagar.
The most convenient mode of transportation to Srinagar is by plane. Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport (code: SXR) in Srinagar is about 10 kilometers from the city center.
Otherwise, the nearest railway station is in Jammu (Station Code: JAT), and the journey to Srinagar takes about 10 – 12 hours.
Kashmir’s Great Lakes Trails
The Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir is both beautiful and easy to navigate. The trail easily transitions between ascents and descents throughout the journey. A typical day would begin with an ascent to a high point, such as a Pass, and end with a descent to a campsite on the opposite side of the mountain.
Because your body is constantly exposed to higher altitudes while returning to a lower altitude to sleep, the KGL trek is easier to acclimate to than others.
The weather is simply stunning between July and September, and it rarely rains. The vast meadows dominate the landscape.
The KGL may appear to be a pleasant stroll through the meadows, but appearances can be deceiving.
Long daily distances, combined with ascents and descents as we travel from valley to valley, can be strenuous on your lungs and feet!
Challenge 1: Walk for at least 10 kilometers every day of the trek.
The Kashmir Great Lakes Trek will take us 70 kilometers in seven days. These figures indicate that the trek requires hours and hours of walking each day.
During the seven-day trek, you will pass through seven different valleys connected by high passes. The gradient of the trek is a mix of ascents and descents, many of which are steep in places.
Even though the trek is mostly through meadows and grasslands, crossing a crossover pass almost every day necessitates a strong lung capacity and endurance.
The trek can be difficult if one is not well-prepared, particularly in terms of physical fitness.
Challenge 2: Boulder Hopping on Day 7
We hiked from Satsar Campsite to Gangabal Lake on the seventh day. You will come to a boulder section about 15-20 minutes into the hike that may require you to get down on all fours to maintain balance.
For first-timers who have never navigated boulders before, this section can be challenging. However, once you get the hang of navigating boulders, this stretch can be a lot of fun!
Fitness Levels Required for this Trek
As previously stated, the KGL trek trails’ difficulty level and internet photos can be deceiving.
Even though the terrain is not difficult to navigate, the trails do require some fitness and stamina to deal with the long hours of trekking as well as the ascents and descents.
Jog/run three times per week, aiming for a 5km time of 30-40 minutes. Jog 10 kilometers once a week and see if you can finish in less than 60 minutes. Resistance workouts for your legs (such as squats and lunges) and core can also be incorporated into your training routine.
The Difficulty level
This moderate-level trek will require good lung capacity and leg strength. If you are constantly struggling, you will not be able to enjoy the journey. We recommend a level of fitness that allows you to fully enjoy the trek rather than simply completing it.
Kashmir Great Lakes Needs Special Equipment
While we will provide the majority of the trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, crampons, snow boots, etc.), there are some essential items you will need to complete your hike comfortably.
There is a sturdy, lightweight backpack as well as comfortable trekking shoes included. If you plan to buy them, please read the articles below for tips on how to choose the right gear for your trek.
How to Choose a Backpack?
A branded backpack can be quite expensive when it comes to trekking. This is not necessary if you know what to look for when purchasing one.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Boots?
Traditional sports shoes are not appropriate for hiking trails. We advise you to wear high ankle shoes with firm soles. These not only provide better support but also reduce the possibility of injury while hiking.
Trekking poles are not required, but they can help relieve joint stress and save energy, especially during descents. It is a piece of gear that aids the trekker’s stability and rhythm while traversing rough terrain.
What is the best time of year to visit Kashmir?
Between July and September, the Great Lakes trek takes place. There are no theoretical summer monsoons in Kashmir. This region receives the most precipitation as snow during the winter due to western disturbances.
The season officially begins in late June, when snowfall is at its lowest. Although there is no monsoon, there are rain showers in July and August. Afternoon showers are common in the mountains during the summer and monsoon seasons. As a result of the rain and warmer temperatures, valleys become greener and more vibrant with wildflowers.
Autumn arrives in September. Rainfall is light during this month of the year. As we progress, the meadows turn yellow to golden. After the grazing season, shepherds and Bakkarwals return to their base with their cattle.