Kashmir is the home to hundreds of pristine lakes and Valleys. Gangabal Lake trek is the most popular and trending short trek of the Valley. The trek is about 2 beautiful alpine lakes which are located in the lap of Mt. Harmukh 5146 m above sea level. The trailhead for this beautiful trek is Nararnag which lies to the northeast of Srinagar and is 45 km away from the city. When it comes to the route of Gangabal Lake trek it's moderate and only 60 percent of the trek is gradual ascent. Upon reaching the top of the ridge called Budsheri Top, you will be amazed by the panoramic views of this Himalayan region. During the trek, you will explore meadows, valleys, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and 3 alpine lakes. The trek remains open from 15 May till 15 October and the route remains busy with trekkers during the season.
History of the Gangabal Lake
The Gangabal his lake is considered sacred in Hinduism, and considered as one of the home of Shiva. Apart from that Kashmiri Hindus perform annual pilgrimage called Harmukh-Gangabal Yatra. The Harmukh mountain holds a very important climbing history too. The Mt. Harmukh was climbed first climbed by Thomas Montgomerie in 1856 during the Great Trigonometric Survey. From the Summit of Mt. Harmukh, The climbers sketched the two most prominent peaks, labeling them K1 (Masherbrum) and K2 about 130 miles ( 210 km) to the north of Mt. Harmukh. It was for the first in History the highest peaks of Karokaram range were seen and recorded.
Starting the trek at the elevation of 2128 m and on every step, we will gain the elevation. The zigzag route goes through the dense forest which is full of different types of tree species like Birch ( Bhoj Patra), Boxwood (Shamshad), Deodar (Cedar), and Dogwood. A river that originates from Gangabal Lake flows parallel to the route and enters the Naranag and Wanght village before joining the Sindh river. As you go higher the amazing view of surrounding snow-capped and Valleys gets wider and closer. A number of small waterfalls and wildflowers are found after completing fifty percent of the trek. The first campsite will be at Trundkhol meadows located at an elevation of 3200 m. The last stretch of the trek is walking over rolling slopes with a little incline to pass the slopes. The first Lake of the trek is Nundkhol Lake and it takes 40 minutes to Gangabal Lake.
Kashmir does have only one commercial Airport which we can reach by direct flights from Delhi (DEL) Airport, Bangalore, Jammu, And Hyderabad. All the flights from other parts of India reach via Delhi to Srinagar (SXR), Kashmir.
Direct Bus service to Kashmir from different states of India isn’t available but guests are advised to reach Jammu using Red Bus or any other bus service. Tourist taxi, Public transport And UT Government Bus Service will be available easily from Jammu to Srinagar.
The train services can be used up to Jammu And Banihal only. Tourist taxi, Public transport And UT Government Bus Service will be available easily from Jammu to Srinagar. The distance of 270 Km from Jammu to Srinagar is usually been covered in 6 to 7 hours.
Upon leaving the tree line behind at the elevation of 3000 m, the second stretch of the trek ends, A large green lush meadow named Trundkhol, with a mind-blowing view of Harmukh Mountian in the background. The meadow is used as a campsite and reaching this campsite is an adventure in itself. The final and 3rd stretch of the trek will be done on the second day of the trek which of only 3 km. This part is the easiest part of the whole trek and the views are breathtaking. The map shows the route and campsites of the trek.
Note: Trekkers are advised to reach Srinagar a day before the trek will commence. Our itinerary doesn’t include any buffer day but trekkers must add a buffer day in order to secure their departure. Bad weather conditions sometimes take an extra day to reach back on road safe and sound.
We welcome you for an awesome adventure with us. Our taxi will pick you up from Srinagar and after meeting the trek guide we will head up to Naranag. The trailhead is 45 km away from the Srinagar City. The Narang is a famous tourist destination, consisting of An ancient archeological site and the temple of Shiva. Spending the remaining time by doing a short hike to Dumail will help to acclimatize to this mountain region.
Trek distance: 10 km
Time Taken: 7 – 8 hours
Altitude gain: 1km
Trek type: Moderate trek over incline ridge, ends with a normal mountain route.
Trek distance: 3 km
Time Taken: 2 hours
Altitude gain: 300 meters
Trek type: Walking on the rolling slopes of Harmukh Valley, a very moderate route of 3 km to the Gangabal Lake.
Trek distance: 10 km
Time Taken: 7 hours
Elevation drop: 1 km
Trek type: Descent through the slopes of Trundkhol and across the timberline of Harmukh Valley. 20 percent of the descent is a little steep with roughness in the route.
Trekking in Kashmir has a limited season and most of the treks remain open for 3 to 4 months only. Gangabal lakes trek opens a month early than other popular treks of Kashmir. The trek remains open from 15 May till the end of September but there is a difference in the early, mid, and late seasons. Doing the trek in the month of May is the best match for those who want to walk over the snow and the temperature also remains cold. The landscape of the trek remains partially covered with snow till the end of June. The wildflowers and green lush meadows cannot be explored during this season.
The best time to do the Gangabal Lake trek is from 15 June to 15 September. In the month of June, the snow melts away and the landscape turns green. During the month of July and August, there are very less chances of rain and the meadows are in their bloom. So the best time to do the Gangabal Lake trek is from the Middle of June to September and during the whole season, the temperate remains 8 to 15 degrees Celsius during the night. In the month of October the weather gets harsh and the meadows turn brown and cold winds from Dras make the region freezing.
We welcome you to an awesome adventure with us, The driver will be sent to any of the locations in Srinagar to pick you up. It takes almost 3 hours to cover the distance of 45 km from Srinagar to Naranag. The route goes parrel to river Sindh and with a mountain road of 14 km will take you to the Naranag Village. The remaining day will be spent by exploring the Naranag and taking a short hike to Dumail. Dumail is the location where two water streams meet. Enjoy the delicious meals with the bonfire at the campsite.
Starting the trek from the foothills of Mt. Harmukh and gaining altitude on every step. The route takes you to the pine forest and goes zigzag till the top of the ridge named Budhsheri. The main part of the trek is to reach the Budhsheri top which is 7 km away from starting point. Trekkers will experience the roughness in the route because of loose stones and rocks on the route. The route further on is very much moderate and views are mindblowing. A chain of small valleys is covering the trail from one side with the number of waterfalls on the route. After reaching the altitude of 3000 meters the route enters into the meadow named Trundkhol. Camping in this part of the Valley gives you a closer view of snow-capped mountains and most amazing most is Mt. Harmukh 5142 meters.
Getting to Nundkhol and Gangabal Lake from Trundkhol will take up to 90 minutes. The route is very moderate through the rolling slopes of the valley. The adventure is going to be more exciting while being in the lap of Mt. Harmukh and summiting the first alpine of the trek. In the mountaineering terminology, lakes are known as Tarn. The Nundkhol Lake is 1 km in length and half km in width and located to the northern side of Mt. Harmukh. After an incline hike of 30 minutes, you reach near the outflow of Gangabal Lake. The Gangabal Lake is located at an elevation of 3575 meters above sea level and is the home of trout fishes like Rainbow and brown trout. After exploring Lakes, we will descent back to the Campsite which will be at Trundkho Meadow.
Gangabal Lake is located to the northeast of Srinagar city in the district Ganderbal. The total distance from Srinagar to the trailhead of the trek is 45 km only. The Gangabal is located in the lap of Harmukh Mountain which is a 13 km trek from the Village of Naranag. The trek remains open from June to mid of October and is among one of the best treks of the Valley.
The Gangabal is located at an elevation of 3575 meters above sea level. The Lake is 3 km in length and 1.5 km in width. The trek is accessible through a mountain route starting from a mountain village named Naranag. The elevation of the trailhead is 2140 meters. The other Lake is located 100 m below the Gangabal lake which is named Nundkhol Lake. Both the alpine lakes are located in the lap of Mt, Harmukh 5142m which is the second-highest peak of the Kashmir Valley.
The Gangabal lake is a fresh water lake that getting fed by nearby glaciers. The water remains cold during the summers also and there is very little growth of algae in the water. The water of the Lake is sweet and fresh in taste and can be used for drinking purposes. The high-altitude freshwater lake is also the home number of fish species including the trout.
The elevation of Harmukh mountain is 5142 m above sea level and is the second-highest mountain peak of Kashmir Valley. Getting to Harmukh mountain needs mountaineering skills and the safest route to the summit is from Erin Bandipora. The route requires climbing skills and previous experience of mountain climbing. To get to the top of this mountain proper planning for the expedition is needed. The climber has to cross moraines, crevasses, and scree of the mountain. The mountain has 4 pinnacles all of which rise above 5000 meters.
Getting to Gangabal Lake trek or Gangbal lake needs proper planning with trekking equipment. The trailhead of the trek is 45 km away from Srinagar City and lies to the northeast of the Kashmir Valley. Starting the trek from a popular tourism destination and the archeological site named Naranag. The total distance of the Gangabal trek from Naranag and return is 27 km. The first part of the trek is an ascent through a zigzag route going through a ridge of pine forests. The tourists who want to trek must consult an adventure tour operator to do the trek solo or with the group. The route remains busy with local trekkers, tourists, local shepherds, and Bakerwals. When it comes to the best time to do the Gangbal lake trek, it's from the end of May till the end of September.
The total distance from Naranag to Gangabal Lake is 13 km only. The trek starts on a steep ridge which is a major part of the trek. The time is taken to cover the distance of 13 km in 8 to 10 hours for experienced trekkers. The Gangabal lake trek needs at least 3 days and 2 nights to complete. The best season to do the trek is from June to Mid September and before & after this season the weather remains harsh. So the total distance of the Ganagabal Lake trek is 26 km from Naranag and return. The trek needs permission from the Department of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir with proper planning and equipment. If you planning to do this trek you can do with a local adventure tour operator or hire a private guide and do it privately. The zone is also the living habitat of Himalayan Brown and Black bear so solo trekking is risk full.
Getting to Nundkol is a matter of a full day trek from Naranag to Nundkol. Naranag is 45 km away from Srinagar city and takes 3 hours during normal traffic. During the one side of the trek, you have to cover a distance of 13 km and gain the altitude by 1 km. The trek is not an easy trek but needs to push from the starting point till the next 7 km. Next to the Nundkol Lake, there is one more Lake named Gangabal Lake which is just 500 meters away from the Nundkol Lake. Proper planning and trekking equipment will be needed to do this trek. The trek can be easily done in 3 days and 2 nights from Srinagar to Srinagar.
The is difficulty level of the Gangabal Lake trek is moderate when comparing with other treks of the Indian Himalayas. The trek is considered moderate on the basis of the route, elevation gain, and terrain. The first stretch of the trek is rough and needs a push to gain altitude on every step. The route of the starting part is steep over a ridge which could be difficult for beginners and inexperienced trekkers. On the basis number of main factors, the trek is graded as moderate and cannot be considered an easy trek even for experienced trekkers.
Getting a medical certificate from a registered medical officer is must before starting your trek. If you suffer from severe lung/heart/muscle disorders or any disease that can turn fatal, You cant take part in any trek with us.
In case you lack the required fitness or are suffering from any disease that can turn fatal in the mountains, Himalayan Bird reserves the right to bar your participation from doing the trek without any refund/compensation.
Trekkers are advised to focus on physical fitenss before joining us. Following endurances can help beginners and experienced trekkers to remain fit and explore better during the trek.
Having travel insurance is an important protocol all trekkers should follow. The cost of the trek doesn’t include any sort of insurance. Trekkers/Travelers travel insurance must cover accidents, injury, illness, and death medical expenses including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation including helicopter rescue and air ambulance where applicable, and personal liability.