Panchachuli is a massif in the eastern Kumaon region of Himalayas. A popular destination among tourists in Uttarakhand, Panchachuli massif is near the borders of Nepal and Tibet in the Pithoragarh district. As the name suggests, Panchachuli consists of five peaks. The highest peak among them is the Panchachuli- II which is at an elevation of 6,904 m. Panchachuli-III is the lowest peak with a height of 6,312 m. The altitude of Panchachuli I, Panchachuli IV, and Panchachuli V are 6,355 m, 6,334 m, and 6,437 m respectively.
The Panchachuli Base Camp is at an elevation of 4,260 m and is a trek of 9 days. The starting point of the Panchachuli Base trek is Kathgodam and transportation is easily accessible from here. The trail of the trek has picturesque views of snow-clad mountains, alpine meadows, and pristine streams. It is an easy to moderate trek through Darma valley.
The Panchachuli Base camp is close to the Dantu Bugyal and offers a close encounter with tribal life in the villages. The locals have a religious sentiment towards the place, while the adventure-seekers come here to embrace nature. The region is rich in wildflowers and the river Dhauliganga, accompanies you throughout the trek. The scenic grandeur of the region is unparalleled with its distinct landscapes.
In ancient history, Panchachuli was the home of the Pandavas before they began with their heavenly abode. It is a popular belief that the five brothers of Mahabharata had their last meal at Panchachuli before starting with their journey to heaven. The Panchachuli Base Camp is at an elevation of 4,260 m and is a trek of 9 days. The camp is close to the Dantu Bugyal and offers a close encounter with tribal life in the villages. The scenic grandeur of this region is unparalleled with its distinct landscapes. The starting point of the Panchachuli Base trek is Kathgodam and transportation is easily accessible from here.
About The Panchachuli Base Camp Trek:
The Panchachuli Base Camp trek is a part of Uttarakhand in the Kumaon Himalayas. The altitude of the trek is around 4,260 m or 13,975 ft. The total distance of the trek is 60km.
The Panchachuli Base trail offers an amazing backdrop. It has snow-covered mountain summits, vast meadows, and clear water streams. The Base Camp comes with views of wildflowers and wild strawberries on either side. The best time to do the Panchachuli Base Camp Trek is during April to Mid-October but avoid monsoon season.QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE TREK:
- Min/ Max Temperature – The on-season (April) temperature during the day is between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. At night, it ranges between 1 to 8 degrees Celsius. The best time to trek this place will be during April, May, June, and September. The trek is closed in winters.
- Last ATM – It is advisable to carry enough cash for the trek. Do withdraw cash at Pithoragarh. There is an ATM at Dharchula as well, but it is most likely to be out of cash. There is no provision of digital payments.
- Nearest Railway Station – The Kathgodam Railway Station.
- Nearest Airport – Pantnagar Airport.
- Water Availability – The trail has sufficient sources of drinking water.
- Network Availability – Most of the trek will come with a lack of mobile connectivity as Indian service providers work inconsistently here. The only network that works in certain zones is of Vodafone and BSNL.
- Activities Included – Trekking, Camping, and Village Tourism.
Is There Any Requirement Of Permission?
The Inner Line Permits are very crucial. Sela and Balling have posts, if one only decides to visit Panchachuli Base Camp. The permit is available from the SDM office at Dharchula. It is a prerequisite for the trek, but you do not have to worry about the permit when you are trekking with us.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PANCHACHULI BASE CAMP TREK:
- Meet people of the tribal settlement of Tawaghat and New Sobla.
- Enjoy trekking through narrow trails, cliffs, and fragments of bridges.
- Embrace the beauty of nature and absorb the tranquillity.
- The trail comes with views of peaks, waterfalls, valleys, and bio-diversity.
How to Reach:
- By Air
- By Rail
- The Ranikhet Express from Delhi
- Uttar Sampark Kranti from Delhi
- Doon Express from Dehradun
- By Road
The nearest airport is the Pantnagar Airport which is 280 km away from Dharchula. Delhi connects well with the airport.
Kathgodam Railway station is the nearest and the oldest railway station in the region. Kathgodam has decent connectivity with major cities like Delhi, Lucknow, and Kolkata.
Here are some of the trains one can opt for-
The starting-point, Kathgodam is well-connected with the major North-Indian cities by road.
From Kathgodam, the distance to Dharchula is around 290 km and takes around 9 to 10 hours so there are a few options for public transport in the early morning only. The road route to Dharchula takes you through a picturesque view of the hills, few major hill-stations in your way will be of Bhimtal, Almora, Pithoragarh, Munsiyari and finally Dharchula.
While coming to Kathgodam from Delhi, 4 km before your destination, you will come across Haldwani. You can also choose to drop at Haldwani and start your ride to Dharchula.
If you don't catch public transport in the morning, you will need to hire a cab for yourself. It's a comfortable option but it's a little costly. If you are a group, it's a good option, as the charges get distributed.
Best Season to Visit:
The months of April to June are the ideal time to visit Panchachuli in summers. The afternoons are warm, and the nights are pleasant. However, the villages of Dhar and Sela will be extremely hot. One can also try to visit during the post-monsoon months. The monsoons bring along a lot of greenery and flowers. Trekking this route in winters is not possible as snow covers the trail. The winter season experiences heavy snowfall, and the nights are extremely cold.
Level of Difficulty:
Trek to Panchachuli Base Camp is of easy to moderate level. It is a suitable trek for beginners. The trail comes with an extensive view of the glaciers, waterfalls, peaks, and meadows. There is enough time for a person to complete each day’s trek and rest. Thickets and landscapes will follow you till the summit and the trek has gradual ascents and descents. A basic level of fitness and the urge to trek is all that a person requires to reach the Base Camp at ease.
Is the Panchachuli Base Camp Trek Safe?
The Panchachuli Base Camp Trek is relatively easy and is suitable for beginners as well. The terrain is safe and offers beautiful views. The route is moderate, so trekkers don’t find much difficulty. The amount of fitness that a person requires is also minimal. Aerobic fitness is essential, and you also need to be okay with walking 7 hours on some days. It is always advisable to check the BMI before enrolling for a trek. Staying attentive at all times during a trek ensures safety.
Panchachuli Trek Itineray
Day 1: Transfer from Kathgodam to Dharchula
It takes approximately 9 hours to reach Dharchula from Kathgodam. We will cover a distance of 290 km through the district of Pithoragarh. The drive comes with extensive views of snow-capped mountains. We will also pass by mountain villages and dense forests of deodars and conifers.
The beautiful, gushing waters of the Kali river also enhances the scenic beauty of the terrain. Some of the popular attractions of Dharchula include Mansarovar Lake, Chikrila Dam, Narayan Ashram, and Om Parbat. We reach the campsite of Dharchula at night. We stay in a guest-house or homestay.
Day 2: Dharchula - Dar -Urthing
It takes 3 hours to reach Dar, which is the last road journey of this trek. We move forward on our trekking route to Dharma valley. We ascend to Urthing and camp here for the night. To reach the campsite, we hike through the Bongling forest. River Dhauliganga accompanies us throughout. Accommodation and food will be available in tents.
Day 3: Urthing – Naagling
The trek from Urthing to Naagling will be an easy hike with very few descents and climbs. We will cross pastoral lands and a wooden suspension bridge before reaching our campsite at Naagling. The trail offers mesmerizing views of Dhauliganga. We camp on the outskirts of Naagling and spend the night here.
Day 4: Naagling – Son 11km
To reach the tabletop meadow of Naagling, we will cross rugged terrain and forests of birch, deodars, and conifers. The lofty Himalayas surround this area, and the view of distant glaciers is clear from here. Son is a sparsely inhabited settlement of the Dharma Valley. We walk further for 3 km and reach our campsite at Son. We will arrange the night stay and food in the camp.
Day 5: Son – Panchachuli Base Camp (4,260 m)
There are steep ascents and descents throughout this 5 km narrow trail. The terrain comes with picturesque views of the Dantu Bugyals. Panchachuli east face glacier or Meola glacier is at the bottom of Panchachuli peaks. This river bed of Meola is also visible in this trail. Neola Yangti river originates from the Meola glacier. Both sides of Neola Yangti have villages of Dantu and Dugtu and are rich in flora and fauna.
We will cross forests on our route, and enjoy views of mountain glaciers and peaks. The fragrances of wild strawberries and flowers accompany us till we reach the Panchachuli Base Camp. The glacial stretches, peaks, and extensive meadows contribute to the beauty of this region. We spend the evening in the lap of this mighty peak and camp at the Panchachuli Base Camp for the night.
Day 6: Panchachuli Base Camp – Naagling (16 km)
We start from the Panchachuli Base Camp in the morning. It is an easy trek of 16km to Naagling. There is no halt at Son since the route is a comfortable one. The route to Naagling has beautiful meadows and wonderful views of nature. We stay the night in tents alongside the beautiful Dhauli-Ganga River.
Day 7: Naagling – Urthing 12 km
We trek down to Urthing in the morning. It is an easy trek of 12 km and can be easily covered. Dhauliganga river flows below the trail cutting through the gorges. The river has a suspension bridge that helps you reach the Sela Campsite. We reach Urthing in the evening. Overnight stay and dinner in tents at Urthing.
Day 8: Urthing – Dar and then drive back to Dharchula
It is the last day of our trek. We trek down for the final time as we reach the city life. We follow the same trail back to Dharchula. We walk till Dar through the Bongling Village. The trail has an amazing view of the Dhauli-Ganga River. Once we reach Dar, we drive back to Dharchula. The day has a total of 7 hours of travelling. We have our dinner and spend the night in a hotel or a home-stay.
Day 9: Dharchula – Kathgodam via Almora 290 km
We start our journey from Dharchula, and we reach Kathgodam by evening via Almora. The drive to Kathgodam is 290 km, and it takes approximately 9 hours to reach. Kathgodam is well-connected with most of the major cities by rail, so heading home will not be a problem. Overnight buses to Delhi are also available from Kathgodam.
The Panchachuli Base Camp trek is a lovely trek offering wonderful views. The beauty of this trek is mesmerising, and one needs to experience it. Do not forget to carry warm clothes, windproof jackets, and raincoats. You will have a trek leader at all times, so there is not much to worry about. So, if you love trekking, book your trip now.