India is blessed with every kind of terrain one can imagine; Snow peaked mountains, deserts, beaches, swamps, and wetlands, etc. India has it all. Every trekking trail across India has a different story to tell, view to see, and whether to feel. Kedarkantha, in Uttarakhand, is considered one of the best winter treks one could go on. Fellow Trekkers! Pack your bags with two extra pairs of socks with you for this one.
This hidden gem residing in the inner corners of Uttarakhand is overlooked by many. The stereotype of Uttarakhand catering to only the religious needs of the people needs to shatter. Along with spiritual Char Dham Yatra and huge Tibetan monasteries, this place is filled with untouched trek trails. Some treks in Himachal Pradesh require summer or spring seasons to visit. Kedarkantha on the contrary welcomes you for a snow ride.
Kedarkantha is based in Singtur ranges, Uttarkashi district. Uttarakhand normally receives snowfall between October to March making it the most scenic view to encounter. Uttarakhand is well connected by roads, highways, railway and airway making it convenient and accessible for tourists from all over. However, reaching Kedarkantha is a bit tricky and needs thorough research and planning. No matter from where you travel, you will find yourself in Dehradun, the state’s capital. From Dehradun, one can travel till Sankri village which is the nearest village from Kedarkantha Base Camp.
Due to its altitude, Kedarkantha always has cold and pleasant weather. The temperature in Kedarkantha in summer is 5 degrees. The maximum midday temperature can reach 10 degrees. So if your schedule doesn’t align with the snowfall season, no pressure! This peak will equally amaze you during the summer. On the other hand, if you do plan to go for a snow trek, visit during the onset winter; November end – December to January. The temperatures are freezing during these months. Sometimes the temperature drops to -8 degrees at night. Apart from the tricky trail one needs to cross, there are multiple base camps en route. The first base camp you will encounter is Janoul Campsite. The campsite is covered with inches deep snow during snowfall season. Also, this campsite is set on a slope hence sleeping here can be challenging.
Followed by Janoul Campsite, Juda Ka Talab is the next campsite enroute Kedarkantha summit. Juda Ka Talab Campsite is surrounded by tall, thich Oak and Pine trees. As the name suggests, there is a lake in the area which is partially frozen all seasons. This high altitude lake is around 2700 m above sea level and approximately 4 kms away from Sankri.
Next stop is Kedarkantha Base camp! Kedarkantha is around 3810 m above sea level so take a deep breath of fresh air at this altitude. The difficulty level of this trek during summer is easy to moderate. However, the difficulty level changes during winter due to extreme snowfall in the area. Pack your bags and experience the very first snowfall of your life in this magical place.
💡 Tip- One can reach Kedarkantha by trekking from Jarmola, distance between them is about 20 kms.
There are 123 trek trails in Uttarakhand. Out of which, Kedarkantha Trek, Kuari Pass, Dayara Bugyal, Brahmatal Trek are well known winter treks. Other popular treks include; Gangotri to Gaumukh- Tapovan, Gangotri-Kedartal, Gangotri-Yamunotri via Dodital, Har-Ki-Dun, Pindari glacier trek, Kafni glacier, Roopkund Trek, Nanda Devi, Milam trek, Darma Valley Trek, Hemkund Trek, Khatling Trek, Sonprayag Trail, Chandrashila Summit trek and many more. There are many rentals in Dehradun, Rishikesh and Uttarkashi from where you can rent trekking equipment. Solo trekkers are advised to choose moderate level treks.
Bugyals are the extensive pasture lands generally found at an altitude of over 2474m above sea level with snow capped mountains standing in bold relief against the skyline. They are usually flat lands with undulating slopes carpeted in a patchwork of green floral patterns. A trek to one of these is an exhilarating once in a lifetime experience. Below are some Bugyals to add in your list:
- Bedni Bugyal (3354m) en route to Roopkund
- Auli & Gorson Bugyals (2591m & 3049m) Auli is 14km from Joshimath and further 4km is Gorson
- Panwali Bugyal (3368m)
- Dayara Bugyal (3639m)
- Kush Kalyan (3789m)
Adventure sports apart from trekking include: mountaineering, rock climbing, rafting, water skiing, skiing, paragliding and angling.
💡 Tip – About 2 km from Mori village lies the tourist village Moutad. An eco-lodge has been built by the local villagers for the tourists.