Exploring the marquee trek route starting from Joshimath to Kuari Pass in the Garhwal Himalayas is one of the best trekking experiences one can have in their life. Standing at a height of 4264 meters, Kuari Pass looks like an amphitheater, where you will find the fearless peaks of the Himalayas that belong to the 7000 meters club. Some of the renowned peaks that you will witness on the Kuari Pass trek are Chaukhamba, Kamet, Trishul, and the heavenly peaks of Nanda Devi and its twin, Nanda Devi East. The Kuari Pass trek gives you an opportunity to witness the magnificent skyline of these tallest mountains closely.
On the Kuari Pass trek, you will come across the confluences of several rivers, yellow-orange autumn trees, blue-brown contrasting snow-capped mountains, and gorgeous jungles of oak and deodar trees. If you are lucky, you may even spot pug marks of Himalayan black bears or leopards. This refreshing trek to the beauty and serenity of the Himalayan meadows is a one of a kind experience that you should surely experience. Although this trek is not very difficult, it offers large dividends with the most impressive views of the best mountains in the Himalayan range.
Maximum altitude: 12750 feet
Duration: 6 days
Kuari Pass trek distance: 33 kilometers
Trail type: Round trail that starts and ends at Joshimath
Rail head: The nearest rail head to the base camp is Haridwar.
Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
Snow Season: December to April
Service from: Haridwar to Haridwar (transportation included)
Base camp: Joshimath
Best season: November to March (winter trek)
Who can participate:- The trekker should be at least 10 years of age.- Freshers can register for the trek, but previous trekking experience is a plus.- The trekker should be fit and have enough stamina to cover a distance of at least five kilometers in just 30 minutes.- The climber should have the capacity to carry a backpack of around 10 to 15 kilograms.
Day 1 - The Kuari Pass trek will commence with a drive from Haridwar to Joshimath that will allow you to witness the striking views of the confluences of multiple rivers.
Day 2 - You will take a drive from your base camp at Joshimath to the Dhak Village and then trek to the Gulling Top to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous views of the peaks and grasslands.
Day 3 - The following day will be a trek to the Camp, where you will pass through the steep oak, rhododendrons, and walnut forest.
Day 4 - The following day of the Kuari Pass trek is the actual climax day when you will trek from Camp to Kuari Pass through Khullara top. Here, you will enjoy the beautiful surroundings for some time and return back to the Camp.
Day 5 - The next day will be a return journey from Camp to the Dhak Village and a drive for seven hours to the Joshimath.
Day 6 - It will be your last day of the Kuari Pass trek, when you will take a long drive from Joshimath to Haridwar, along with a bag full of memories of the trek.
Drive from Haridwar to Joshimath
Altitude - 6724 ft
The journey to the Kuari Pass trek will start with a drive from Haridwar at 6.30 am in the Tata Sumo or a similar vehicle.
You can enjoy your breakfast and lunch on the way to our base camp in Joshimath while relishing the remarkable views of the surrounding cities.
It will be relatively a long and arduous journey to drive from Haridwar to Joshimath. However, you are not going to be disappointed with the striking views of the confluences of different rivers, like Ganga-Devaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Vishnuprayag, and Nandprayag.
Check in the base camp in Joshimath and rest for the day.
Drive from Joshimath to Dhak and then Trek to Gulling Top
Altitude - 9600 ft
After a delicious breakfast on this day, you will head to the Dhak Village in the Joshimath tehsil, which is a rocky drive for about 45 minutes.
On this drive, you will get a chance to observe the gentle slopes of the Sleeping Lady Mountain of Joshimath. The constant up and down the hill forms the outline of this mountain.
Your trek to Kuari Pass commences here, and the trail is a unique blend of steep and gradual ascent amidst villages.
You will come across some of the most gorgeous peaks, like Hathi Parvat, Gori Parvat, and Dronagri.
Enjoy the sumptuous hot lunch at the campsite.
After lunch, you will be trekking to the Gulling Top campsite from Dhak Village which is located at a distance of five kilometers.
On your way to the Gulling Top, you will spot the spectacular views of the grasslands and peaks along the trekking trail.
Reach the Gulling Top and enjoy overnight sleep in tents.
Trek from Gulling Top to the Camp
Altitude - 11,122 ft
Wake up early in the morning to go on a five-hour journey to the Camp. After the tiring climb of the previous day, today’s trek will be less difficult.
After twenty minutes into the trek, you will pass through the steep oak, rhododendrons, and walnut forest.
The surreal beauty of the dark forest and nature trails will definitely leave you awestruck.
Relish a delicious lunch with your fellow trekkers at the campsite and explore the surroundings of the camp.
Enjoy an overnight stay in the tent.
Trek from Camp to Kuari Pass via Khullara and then back to Camp
Altitude - 14700 ft
Day 4 is the actual summit day that is likely to span for around 10 to 11 hours. Thus, you should prepare yourself appropriately for the wind and snow, and carry enough water as there will not be any source of water on the way.
The first half of the trek is a steep ascent, while the other half is a gradual ascent.
On your way, you will come across vast meadows with golden to bright green grass cover during the summer season that transforms into rolling snowfields in winter.
The trek will continue up to the Khullara top, which is a moderate ascent of 3.5 kilometers. While crossing the Khullara top, you will be required to pass through the broken bridge, a frozen stream, and a ridge climb to the high pass, which is very difficult and gets more challenging with the snow.
The climax of the Kuari Pass trek comes with a visual retreat of multiple behemoth peaks, like Balakun, Kedarnath Peak, Abhi Gamin, Changabang, Chaukhamba, Dronagiri, Ghori Parvat, Hathi Parvat, Kedardome, Kalanka, Mukut Parvat, Mana I, Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti, and Neel Kanth.
Trek from Camp- 1 to Dhak Village and Drive to Joshimath
Altitude - 6724 ft
Start your day with a sumptuous breakfast at the camp.
After completing the breakfast, initiate your trek towards Dhak Village, which is about an 11 kilometer walk.
Fill up your bottles with clean drinking water at Dhak and Tugasi.
Take a drive from Dhak Village to Joshimath and keep following the same route.
You will be served with a packed lunch on your way to Joshimath.
After traveling for about seven hours, you will finally reach Joshimath in the late afternoon.
Once you arrive at Joshimath, have your snacks and dinner.
Spend your night for a day at the guesthouse in Joshimath.
Drive from Joshimath to Haridwar
Drive - 8 hrs
The ride from Joshimath to Haridwar will begin at 6 am, and you will reach your final destination at 6 pm.
You can have breakfast and lunch at the roadside inns on your way to Haridwar. However, the breakfast and lunch expenses are not included in the package.
The trekkers will reach Haridwar between 6 pm and 7 pm. They can book their travel anytime after 8 pm.
The fundamental highlight of the Kuari Pass trek is the view of Nanda Devi, along with the other mighty mountains, like Dronagiri, Neelkanth, Hathi Ghoda, and Chaukhamba.
The name Kuari Pass was coined by Lord Curzon in 1905 when he trekked from Ghat, Gwaldam to Kuari Pass.
It is also said that a Japanese traveler attempted to climb Nanda Devi on the Kuari Pass trek with her daughter but disappeared on the climb.
The mountaineering ascent to Mount Nanda Devi is banned as the Indian Army had planted some nuclear devices on the mountain in 1965 to protect them from enemies but could not find it again. Hence, trekking to Nanda Devi can be risky as the explosions can be life-threatening and could affect people right up to Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Delhi.
The Kuari Pass trek can also be experienced by seasoned trekkers or beginners to have an experience in trekking.
There are plenty of checkpoints on the Kuari Pass trek, so you must carry all the necessary documents to access the routes to the Kuari Pass.
The Kuari Pass was first discovered during British rule in India.
The pass remains undiscovered before the Britishers due to an underlying belief in the presence of a local deity.
There are innumerable tips that trekkers should keep in mind while going on a trek to prevent themselves in any circumstances. Although the Kuari Pass trek ranges from easy to moderate level on the scale of difficulty, you should keep the following significant tips into consideration:
Avoid trekking to the Kuari Pass during the monsoon season as the route becomes muddy and slippery.
Have proper control of your body as you need a balanced body to go on the Kuari Pass trek.
Build enough stamina and make your legs strong by jogging for at least a month before going for the Kuari Pass trek so you can travel a distance of at least five kilometers in just 30 minutes.
Pack light with the essentials, trekking gear, and personal medical kit for comfortable and effortless trekking.
Carry a pair of body thermals (both upper and lower) to protect yourself in case of extreme cold conditions.
Wear comfortable trekking shoes that provide a good grip and support when climbing the steep ascents on the Kuari Pass trek.
Walk at a comfortable pace and maintain discipline while walking as the trek is not a race but an experience of gorgeous natural views.
Keep the mountains clean, and do not litter the place with plastic, wrapper, or any other garbage.
Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated at all times during the trek or have a packet of ORS to replenish the body salts lost during the trek.
Keep re-energizing your body with healthy snacks, like dry fruits, protein bars, and much more.
By Flight- There are multiple flights available from different parts of the city, like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, and any other city, to Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun. You can take any of these flights to Dehradun to reach your base camp in Haridwar. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, you can take a flight to Delhi and then travel to Haridwar by train or by bus. It is advisable to book your tickets in such a way that you reach Haridwar on Day 0 to avoid any last-minute hassles and delays.
By Train- If you are not getting the flight tickets or the flight tickets are too expensive, the train journey is another best way to reach Haridwar. You can board a train from any part of the country to Delhi and then to Haridwar.
By Bus- Buses are also available on this route. You can catch a UPSRTC fully AC Volvo bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Haridwar. Although it may take a little extra time, it is entirely friendly to your pockets.
The Best time to go for the Kuari Pass Trek is during the winter season from November to March. You can go on a Kuari Pass trek experience throughout the year, except during the rainy season (i.e., between July and August). Every season on the Kuari Pass trek unleashes a unique and lovely experience for the trekkers.
Winter Season:During the winter season, the Kuari Pass trek is perfect for experiencing the snow and the ferocious views of the mountain peaks. The landscape becomes completely white as it has been draped with snow all around. You will also discover the soft powdery snowflakes loosely hanging from the pine trees during this time. If you are lucky, you may even witness the snowfall in the mountains.
Spring Season:The spring season in Kuari Pass trek commences in mid-March till the end of April. During this time, the snow starts melting and the layer of the grass starts to turn green in the lower meadows. You can also spot tiny vibrant flowers and rhododendrons. Thus, the spring season is one of the best times to experience the contrasting colors on the meadows.
Summer Season:Summers during the Kuari Pass trek feature mild cold nights and bright sunny days. Hence, if you are looking to go on a comfortable trek, summer is an ideal time. On the contrary, autumn is the perfect time to witness the crisp views of the mountains.
You should go on a Kuari Pass trek as it provides easy access to the spectacular views of the different mountain peaks, including Nanda Devi and Dronagiri on one side and Chaukhamba, Hathi Ghoda, and Neelkanth on the other. This trek also allows you to witness the interesting landscape of oak trees merging into the meadows that lets you adore the natural beauty and enjoy the beautiful experience of the snow and oak forest. The unforgettable walks and climbs on the meadows, along with the picturesque views of the surroundings, make the Kuari Pass trek worthy of experiencing at least one time in your life.
How Difficult is the Kuari Pass Trek?
Kuari Pass trek ranges from easy to moderate level on the scale of difficulty as the ascent is gradual and evened out, and the reached height is within 14000 feet. The steep sections of the trek are spread out, but they can be tackled effortlessly if you are well-prepared. The trek also has easy and multiple exit points, which makes it an ideal trek for beginners and trekkers who are not looking forward to a demanding trek.
The thing that makes the Kuari Pass trek inclined to the moderate difficulty level is that the ascent of the climb is about 3000 feet in a stretch of four kilometers on the first day. Hence, climbing a larger altitude distance on the first day may make you vulnerable to AMS. Having said that, the trek becomes a lot easier if you prepare yourself well both physically and gear-wise.
Is the Kuari Pass trek good for me?
No matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced trekker, the Kuari Pass trek is good for all kinds of trekkers. If you are a novice, you can effortlessly enter the world of trekking through the Kuari Pass trekking experience. It can be a little vigorous for first-time trekkers. Thus, you must maintain a good stamina level to travel at least a distance of five kilometers in just 30 minutes. On the contrary, experienced travelers can love the trek for its gorgeous views and experience.
What are the mandatory documents required for the Kuari Pass trek?
The mandatory documents required for the Kuari Pass Trek are the original and photocopy of the government photo identity card, a disclaimer certificate from the Trek Leader, and a medical certificate from a medical practitioner. It is advisable to keep all the essential documents safe with the trek leader at the base camp of the Kuari Pass trek.
How is the cellular network connectivity for the Kuari Pass trek?
The cellular network connectivity at the Kuari Pass trek is not very stable from your base camp at Joshimath. Hence, you should complete all your important calls before going on the trek.
What is the minimum and maximum age limit for the Kuari Pass trek?
The minimum age limit for the Kuari Pass trek is 10 years. However, children between 9 to 17 years of age should always be accompanied by their parents or guardians. If you are over 60 years of age, you must bring a medical certificate from your doctor that states that you are fit for adventurous activities like trekking.
What is the weather/temperature condition at Kuari Pass?
Depending on what time of year you decide to go on the hike, the weather will change. With temperatures often ranging from 6 to 12 degrees Celsius, March and April offer a good climate. It can get as cold as 1 degrees celsius at night if you decide to go on a winter hike, though.
Are there any washroom or toilet facilities on the Kuari Pass trek?
Yes, portable toilets will be provided to the trekkers on the Kuari Pass trek. However, there will not be any facility for taking a bath.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on the Kuari Pass trek?
If you want the offloading service on the Kuari Pass trek, you must request your trekking company a few days prior to the trek by email so that all the arrangements can be made in advance. The charges for offloading will be on a per day basis. On the contrary, if you want to offload your backpack on the spot, the charges may usually be higher than normal.