The beautiful lake of Kedartal near Gangotri is one of the most blissful destinations in Uttarakhand. Resting peacefully between the big Himalayas, the Kedartal lake is situated next to Kedar Bamak Glacier. This is a high-altitude lake at an elevation of 15,583 ft encircled by Bhoj and Alpine trees. The Kedartal trek takes you through a remote and rough trail with steep ascents and descents that place a lot of challenges across the journey. The trail of this trek is the most enthralling part with steep climbs and slant rocks, famously known as Spider Wall in the world of mountaineering. Possessing the utmost beauty of Glacial valleys, the trek is worth taking every step for. The Kedartal lake offers you a glimpse of sacred Gangotri and reflects the mountains of Thalaysagar and Brigupanth peaks. Throughout the trek, you will witness rare flora and snow-covered mountain peaks. The campsites will be near exceptional places that will present you with colossal mountain views. After succeeding through all the hurdles and steep obstacles, you will witness the Kedartal lake showcasing its emerald shades that reflect one’s soul. As you trek back, you can seek blessings from Goddess Ganga in the sacred temple of Gangotri.
Kedartal Trek is one of the highest treks that take you to an altitude of 4780 ft meters. The trek takes you through steep and slant rocks- the 8 kilometer long Spider Wall trail, Gila Pahar zone, snow, moraines, and glaciers. The nearest railway head to the trek is Rishikesh at 234 kilometers. Jolly Grant airport is the nearest one at 250 kilometers. The best season to experience the breathtaking trek is around Autumn from mid-September to mid-October. You will find snow every time as this place witnesses heavy snowfall even in summers with the Kedartal lake being frozen.
Maximum altitude- 15,583 ft.
Trek Difficulty- Moderate
Trekking distance- 38 km
Trail type- Moderate
Rail head- Rishikesh
Airport- Jolly Grant Airport
Snow Season- All months
Best season- May, June, September and October
Who can participate: People above the age of 7 years with high physical fitness.
Day 1- You will travel to Gangotri via Dehradun and take blessings from the sacred temple. If time allows, you can take a quick hike to 500 meters high Surya Kund.
Day 2- You will go on the thrilling 8-kilometer-long spider wall trek to reach Bhoj Kharak.
Day 3- You will trek to the 5-kilometer long Kedar Kharak trail and witness the mesmerizing views of Bhrighupanth peak.
Day 4- You trek to the main goal of the trek, the emerald lake of Kedartal.
Day 5- Or the final day of the trek, your trek goes back to Gangotri, where you can pay your respects in the temple.
Day 6- You will head back to Dehradun, ending your Kedartal trek package.
Transfer to Gangotri
Arrive in Dehradun and transfer to Rispana Pull in Uttarkashi.
Travel 5-6 hours through Mussoorie Bypass Road while witnessing Tehri Dam Lake.
Proceed to Chilyanisaur and reach Uttarkashi.
Take a small break at Uttarkashi before reaching Gangotri via Harsil in approx 4 hours. You will have to take a different shared cab from Uttarkashi to Gngotri.
Visit the Gangotri temple and be a part of the evening Aarti, after which you can explore the National Park of Gangotri.
If you still have time in hand then you can go for a quick hike to Surya Kund at 500 meters.
Stay overnight in the hotel in Gangotri.
Trek to Bhoj Kharak
Wake up and visit the sacred temple of Gangotri and explore a few local markets around.
Start the Kedartal trek by reaching Bhoj Kharak via crossing a bridge over the river Bhagirathi.
Start ascending to the right and carry on the steep climbs slowly.
Enter the mixed vegetation zone of pine, fir, and Bhoj trees.
You can witness the serenity of Kedar Ganga from the top that plunges into the George.
Thalaysagar will present you with its first look, offering a majestic environment.
Carefully ascend Spider wall- the steep and slant rocks between the trail as there are only a few permissible steps to reach Bhoj Kharak at 3,780 m.
Rest overnight at the Bhoj Kharak campsite.
Trek to Kedar Kharak
Cross the 5-kilometer-long rugged terrain to reach Kedar Kharak.
Cross by the flora of mountains and witness the views of Manda peaks.
Experience the charming views of Bhrighupanth peak.
Cross the Gila Pahar zone if habitable, else you can take the route near Kedar Ganga.
The Kedar Ganga route will let you hike against river flow till you reach Gila Pahar and trek back to your original path.
You will reach Lower Kedar Kharak at 4100 meters and trek to reach the enchanting meadow of Kedar Kharak at 4,280 meters.
Stay overnight in the camps to witness the Gangotri National Park region.
Trek to Kedartal
Trek 5 kilometers long trail through glaciers, snow, and moraines.
Cross the ice-cold water brook and climb the steep Rocky terrain following the cairn marking.
Climb the final ridge to witness the mesmerizing views of Kedar Bamak Glacier and other lakes.
Watch the breathtaking view of Kedar Bamak Glacier merging into the foot of Mount Bhrigupanth and Mount Thalaysagar.
Trek for another hour to witness Thalaysagar peak.
Reach Kedartal lake at 4780 meters, here you can sit by the lake and leave around noon.
Enjoy the best views of Thalay Sagar peak, as you acclimatize and watch the beautiful icefall of the Thalay Sagar.
Trek to Jogin at 4900 meters and start to explore Jogin Advance Base camp.
Trek back to Kedartal lake and stay overnight in the camps beside the magical lake.
Trek back to Gangotri
Trek back to Bhoj Kharak. If you reach there by 3 PM, you can proceed to Gangotri, else you can enjoy the campsite.
Reach Gangotri in a 7-8 hours long strenuous Kedartal trek.
Seek blessing from the Gangotri Holy shrine.
Wake up early in the morning and get mesmerized by the beautiful sunrise.
Travel back to Dehradun with a bag full of amazing memories.
Carry a backpack with a capacity of 35 to 40 liters.
Small 20-liter daypack (camera, and water)
Hiking shirts and pants
Hiking shoes that can be worn on any ground, especially snow
Thermal layers of sweaters, and pants
Woolen scarf, and ear coverings
Coat or sweater that is warm
Several pairs of socks and gloves
Raincoat—for when it rains
Flashlight and extra batteries
Eatables- biscuits, protein bars, glucose-based chocolates, cup noodles, dry fruits, and quick energy bites.
Toiletry-Toothpaste, tissues, soaps, cold coral, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, and anti-fungal cream are among the toiletries.
Medical kit with medicines and first-aid supplies.
Kedartal lake is believed to have originated after the melting of the Kedartal Glacier.
The Hindu legend says King Bhagirath prayed to the lord for the deliverance of the souls of his 60,000 sons.
Lord Shiva blessed him and requested Goddess Ganga to release the water for purification of his soul and ashes.
Kedartal Lake is believed to be Lord Shiva’s contribution to the Bhagirathi river.
If you choose Kedartal Trek in may-June, you will witness thousands of pilgrims at Gangotri.
This is due to the Chardham Yatra season.
The trek is suitable for experienced trekkers as the terrain is extremely difficult.
Throughout Kedartal Trek, there is no village or no human population that you will come across.
The terrain is extremely difficult with steep climbs, slanty rocks, snow, and moraines.
You will encounter the infamous 'Spider Wall', watch and measure each footstep.
Visit a doctor prior to the trek to assess your level of fitness and to receive any necessary checkups.
After Gangotri, there wouldn't be a mobile phone network. Therefore, you should notify your family and close friends in advance.
As the atmospheric pressure drops at such high altitudes with less oxygen inhaled, practice ventilation techniques.
You will gain high altitudes in three days with increased chances of elevation and mountain sickness.
Uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, hypoxic conditions, vomiting, and many other medical issues may result from the sudden drop in oxygen levels.
So, keep medications on hand and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
To ward off the cold, dress in thermal layers or several layers of clothing.
As cold waves hit your face and head, your body temperature will begin to drop.
Avoid climbing too quickly because it could wear you out or result in an unfortunate accident.
Since snow reflects the sun and can result in snow blindness, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage.
Have 7-9 hours of quality sleep the night before your trek because moving around restlessly will make it difficult for you to travel and will make you uncomfortable.
You will witness snow plumes, the phenomenon of snow flying off a mountain cliff by the wind. Be careful as it can be intense enough to block your vision.
You have to reach Gangotri (Base camp) to start the Kedartal trek.
By Train: You can board a train and reach the nearest railway station to Gangotri, the Rishikesh railway station at 234 km. The railway station has connectivity to many major cities across India. From there, you can take a private taxi or bus to reach Gangotri.
By Air: You can take a flight to the nearest airport to Gangotri, Jolly Grant Airport at 250kms. This airport has connectivity to Delhi and other major metropolitan cities with a number of flights each day. From there, you can take a private taxi or bus to reach Gangotri.
By Road: You can take privately operated jeeps, SUVs, taxis, or buses from Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi, and many other popular cities to Gangotri. Major taxi stations are in Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun.
The temperatures range from 15 – 20 °C during the day and drop to below 10 °C and closer to 0°C at night. The summer season is one of the best times to visit as Kedartal lake is completely frozen during early summers. This is a rare sight to witness in summers as it is unlikely for an alpine lake to be frozen during summers. You will be able to experience the views of Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigunath underneath the blue sky. The presence of snow through the trail will add more adventure to the trek. There are regions where there is no trace of sunlight, just the magical white wound of snow. However, the weather is subject to heavy snowfall.
The temperatures are around 20 °C during the day and might drop below 0°C at night. It is one of the best seasons to try the Kedartal trek because the crystal clear blue sky will let you witness the beauty of the Himalayas throughout the trail. The Kedartal lake will shine in the emerald shade and completely reflect mighty Mount Thalaysagar. You will encounter the silver birch trees turning in golden or yellow colors. Another advantage is to witness the mountain sheep Bharal, as it comes out this season near the brown and maroon-colored shrubs.
What fitness levels are required to do Kedartal Trek?
The trek requires you to ascend and descend 38 km, walking an average of 8-9 km daily. For carrying out this trek and covering such distance, you need to be physically sound and active. You can start to train yourself a month prior to the trek by walking 10 km daily.
Is Kedartal trek beginner friendly?
No, the Kedartal trek is not beginner friendly. You must be experienced enough to travel difficult and steep terrain as a beginner might not be able to do so.
How long is the Kedartal trek?
The trek is 38 kilometers long and covers ascend in 3 days and descend in a single day. The trek is not a long trek but a difficult one.
Will I find snow during Kedartal trek?
You will find snow almost every time you visit as the Himalayan region is extremely cold throughout the year. Even in summer, you will witness large amounts of snow, which starts to melt during monsoon and autumn. Even after melting, you will find snow in the upper regions of the journey.
Is it likely that I will find Kedartal lake frozen?
During the summer season, Kedartal lake is completely frozen and snow still prevails throughout the trek.
What is beyond Kedartal lake?
Beyond Kedartal lake at 4780 meters, the Jogin advance base camp lies at 4900 meters. On the day of reaching the lake, you can take a quick trek to explore the place and come back to rest at the campsite beside the lake.
Is the Kedartal trek safe?
The trek is safe for experienced trekkers as the terrain is very difficult for first-timers to attempt. The trail takes you through moraines, snow, spider walls, glacier-walks, rockfall zones, near-vertical sections, and boulder and scree sections. This kind of terrain can be successfully conquered by experienced ones.
Is the mobile network present on the Kedartal trek?
Beyond Uttarkashi, mobile networks aren’t accessible. You should inform your family and loved ones before heading out from Uttarkashi on the Trek.