About Kuari Pass
Located in the heart of the Garhwal Himalayas, Kuari Pass is one of the most magnificent treks in Uttarakhand to explore. Being an easy trek, it is an absolute blessing for anyone who is not prepared for a rigorous one and yet wants to experience the marvelous feeling of wandering along the trails of relatively unspoiled wilderness. The maximum altitude of the trek is 12,763 ft.
The trek is also known as Lord Curzon’s Trails because it was Lord Curzon who happened to discover this trek route.
Several regions of the trek allow you to have a 360-degree view of the Himalayan peaks which undoubtedly form the heart of the trek. It offers the view of peaks from 7000 meters club including Trishul (7120m), Kamet (7756m), Nanda Devi (7817m), Chaukhamba (7128m), and the majestic twin peaks of Nanda Devi East (7434m). Other prominent peaks that make their appearance include Mukut Parbat, Mana, Rishi Pahad, Changbang, Nanda Ghunti, Hathi Ghoda Parbat, Neelkanth, Dronagiri, and many such mountain tops.
The trek commences at Joshimath, which lies in the Chamoli district of the Himalayas. Gradually, Joshimath has come to be popular as a hub for trekkers and pilgrims in the Gharwal region of the Himalayas. Apart from mighty mountain ranges, the region is also the home of several perennial rivers which most importantly include the Pancha-Prayag – namely, Devprayag, Karnaprayag, and Rudraprayag. Other rivers include Pinder, Kaliganga, Nandakini, Buriganga & Dhauli Ganga. Another treasure that this trail beholds is the cultural treasure, the small remote hamlets that you will cross through on your way uphill. It will enrich your knowledge about the culture and life of mountain folks.
Flora and fauna found in the place make it even more captivating and enticing. Himalayan black bears and the paw prints of leopards are also sometimes sighted on the track uphill. The trail is almost throughout accompanied by thick forest covers with mixed vegetation of Oak, rhododendrons, and other coniferous trees. In March, glimpses of white and pink cherry blossoms are seen. The trail with a combination of smooth and rugged terrain, mostly covered with snow is no less than a paradise for trek enthusiasts.
- Difficulty- Easy-Moderate
- Duration- 6 Days
- Maximum Altitude- 12,763 ft
- Pickup point - Rishikesh/Haridwar
- Base Camp- Dhak
- Minimum Age to opt for Kuari Pass Trek- 8 Years
- Best time to visit- Mid-September to Early November
- Nearest Railway Station- Rishikesh Junction
- Nearest Airport- Jolly Grant Airport
- Start Point-Rishikesh
- Pickup Point on Day 1- Natraj Chowk or Tapovan, Rishikesh
- Departure time on Day 1- 6 am
- Drop Point on Day 6- Natraj Chowk or Tapovan, Rishikesh
- Arrival time on Day 6 - 6 pm
- Base Camp- Joshimath/Lower Auli
- Distance from Rishikesh to Basecamp, Joshimath- 260 km
- Cloakroom: There is no separate cloakroom available. You can hand over your luggage to our team and collect it while returning. We keep it safely at Joshimath/Lower Auli in the same Homestay.
- The shared vehicle will be a Tata Sumo, Bolero, or a similar kind and may be shared with a few other local passengers. The cab will be arranged from Rishikesh to Joshimath/Lower Auli and back.
- We charge Rs.1200/- per person on each side per person.
- The cab is a 7-seater.
- The whole journey by cab costs 7500/- from Rishikesh.
- Trekkers may choose to travel by bus or local cab to reach Joshimath/Lower Auli.
- The forest permits for international clients will be as actual and are to be paid by the trekker at the base camp only.
How to Reach Rishikesh from Haridwar via Nepali Farm -
If a trekker is coming from Roorkee or Haridwar via a bus or local transport and wants to reach Rishikesh then sometimes you might have to change the vehicle at Nepali farm which is a T-point or T-junction. From here you get local buses or local transport to reach Dehradun and Rishikesh. From the Nepali farm, Rishikesh is approximately 7-10 km away. If you wish to go to Dehradun then take the left turn from the T point while coming from Hardiwar and reach Dehradun via Doiwala.
What is the best time to do the Kuari Pass trek?
KAURI PASS IN MARCH AND APRIL
March and April herald the end of winter and the advent of spring. During these months, the Pass is distinguished by melting remnant snow, vibrantly colored meadows, and trees that become rich emerald green. It also provides hikers with the invigorating scent of flowers, particularly Rhododendrons. The temperature is also pleasant and soothing throughout these months. During the day, the temperature ranges from 15 degrees Celsius to 18 degrees Celsius, while at night, it frequently drops to 0 degrees Celsius. If you want to see new greenery intermingled with snow, springtime is the ideal time to arrive.
KAURI PASS IN MAY AND JUNE
During the summer, the pass sheds its snow accumulation. The days get lighter, allowing visitors unobstructed vistas of the snow-covered mountains. During these months, the Gorson Bugyal develops a rich verdant green cover. The meadows take on a bright golden tint as they are encircled by age-old evergreen trees. This walk is less busy during these months, so you may experience it in greater solitude and peace. The temperature during the day is fairly warm, ranging from 18 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius, while at night it ranges from 3 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius. Mild rains are anticipated towards the latter part of these months, indicating the onset of the rainy season.
KAURI PASS IN SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
These post-monsoon months offer the greatest trekking opportunities in Kauri Pass. After the monsoon season, the grasslands and woods spring to life and shimmer. The perfect weather throughout these months attracts a large number of hikers. During these months, the pleasant weather patterns, as well as the stunningly clear and sharp vistas of the lofty Dronagiri and Nanda Devi peaks, are unrivaled. By the end of November, the days become shorter and the nights begin getting chilly. The temperature ranges from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius throughout the daytime and dips to 0 degrees Celsius over nightfall.
Highlights of the Kuari Pass Trek
One of the major attractions of the trek is the expanse of dense forest consisting of oak and rhododendrons. The forests are of ancient origin which makes them even more spectacular. The trails make their way through patches of thick forests followed by open grounds and lush green meadows further followed by forests. This interplay of landscapes makes the trek much more interesting and intriguing.
A gorgeous feature that attracts swarms of people from across the globe to this place is the army of mountains that it unravels to you- starting from Nandadevi and Dronagiri and further ascending to the sight of Neelkanth, Mukut Parbat, Rishi Pahad, Changbang, and the like. The view of the horizon adorned with these jewels is beautiful enough to restore the dead to life. Kuari Pass trek with the view of such a skyline introduces you to the eternal beauty of Earth.
Another major highlight that makes Kuari Pass Trek a wonder is the ethereal setting of the campsites. Contrary to the popular belief that trekking is all about ascending and descending rush, the Kuari Pass trek compels you to pause. It offers you the campsite that makes you want to stay and adore the blessings of nature. Whether it be the Khulla campsite with Mt. Dronagiri forming the backdrop or the campsite at Chitrakantha amidst the mighty forests, everything about the campsites at Kuari Pass Trek is awe-inspiring.
What is the Kuari Pass trek difficulty?
Kuari Pass is classified under the category of an easy-moderate trek. Therefore this is considered as the most ideal trek for a beginner. Yet being a trek it offers its own sets of challenges, which include the high altitude, rocky terrains, and trail that involves a steep climb. One should, hence, be both physically fit and ideally equipped before undertaking the trek.
The trek starts at an altitude of 6,900 feet from Dhak which further reaches up to a maximum altitude of 12,763 feet above sea level which is encountered at the pass. The temperature variations and the weather conditions are also fierce which demands before-hand preparations. The average trek duration experienced every day forms an average of 4-5 hours except on the day involving the crossing of the pass when it takes an average of 8 hours. This short span of the trek is another factor that makes it favorable for beginners.
What is the distance of the Kuari pass trek?
Starting from Dhak through Kuari pass up to Auli, the trail covers a complete distance of 33 km. Kuari Pass Trek is extremely flexible in the context of its itinerary and trail because it can be approached from many different tracks. If approached with Dhak as the starting point, further two trail options are available up to Khullara campsite- one through Guling and another through Akhrotghetta. On the way down from Auli, there are again two options for camping which include the beautiful site of Chitrakantha and Tali.
How to Reach Kuari Pass?
Kuari Pass Trek has a very well-established connectivity with the important towns of Uttrakhand which makes it very easily accessible.
The airport that’s accessible in Dehradun is Jolly Grant Airport. It is located at a distance of 43 km from Haridwar. The airport is at a distance of 204 km from Nandprayag and 265 km from Joshimath. There are flights operational from Delhi to Dehradun daily which makes the journey very flexible. If opting for a flight, try reaching one day prior.
Haridwar has a well-established rail network that connects it to the major cities of the country like Delhi, Mumbai, and Lucknow to name a few.
- From Delhi- DDN NZM AC EXPRESS (2205)
- From Kolkata- Doon Express (13009)
- From Mumbai- Dehradun Express (19019)
- From Chennai- Dehradun Express (12687)
Haridwar bus stand has connectivity with all the important towns across the country. Direct buses are available from the bus stands of different towns. Both government buses and private buses are available thus providing ample options. If you are travelling from Dehradun then buses are available from Dehradun also. Dehradun to Joshimath direct buses are available from Mussorie Bus Station around 5:30 a.m. Another option available is Dehradun-Gopeshwar- Mandal- Chamoli. From Chamoli, you can find a taxi to reach Joshimath. Rishikesh to Joshimath state transport buses are also available. Rishikesh to Chamoli to Joshimath. So, one has to change the transport from the midway.
WEATHER AND TEMPERATURE
The most favorable temperature is observed in the summer months starting from April and continuing to mid-June because the temperature ranges between 18 to 24 degrees Celsius. The winter temperature falls to the extreme of -8 degrees Celsius with the maximum temperature not more than 12 degrees Celsius. In the Tali Jungle region and the Lower Khullara region, the temperature might even drop to the extent of -15 degrees Celsius as the winter in the region is fierce in the months from December to February. As the winter advances, heavy snowfall results in major snow deposits which further enhance the beauty of the landscapes. In November, the daytime temperature is optimal and cool whereas the nights are a bit cold.
During the months of spring season including September and October, the weather is pleasant, and clear skies are observed. Yet, during the night, the temperature of the Kuari Pass Trek can fall to sub-zeros.
- Kuari Pass
Day 1: Rishikesh pickup and drive to Joshimath/Lower Auli
- The trek will begin from Rishikesh,Natraj Chowk early in the morning at 6:00 a.m.
- Altitude: 6724 ft.
- The distance covered is 256 km
- Time taken for the journey is 10-12 hours approx.
- The journey will be completely covered by a cab and is accompanied by the scenic beauty of mountains
- Water and telephone networks are available
- Accommodation at the guest house
Your journey for the Kuari Pass trek will begin with us from Rishikesh. From the appointed point at Rishikesh i.e. Natraj Chowk, we will follow the Badrinath Road up to Joshimath.
The drive to Joshimath is 9 hours and therefore it can be arduous and tiring but the enchanting views will keep your excitement at its crest. As we ascend uphill, the great river accompanying us becomes mightier and more beautiful. On the way uphill we will encounter the Panchprayag or the five sacred confluences of Ganga—Devaprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag, and Vishnuprayag.
After reaching Joshimath around 5 pm you can either choose to stay back at guest houses that will be arranged or you might choose to walk around and experience the magical relieving power of nature.
Day 2: Joshimath/Lower Auli to Dhak to Gulling Top
- The trek starts from Lower/AuliJoshimath early in the morning, making its way to the Gulling Top via Dhak
- An altitude gain of 2876ft is observed from 6724ft to 9600 ft.
- Total distance covered is 18 km
- Time taken for the journey is 4 hours approx.
- The trail of the trek includes steep ascent.
- 14 km of the total is distance (Lower Auli/Joshimath to Dhak Village) is covered by a cab while the remaining 6km (Dhak Village to Gulling Top) is covered by trekking
- Attractions on the journey include the sight of the peaks of the mighty mountains of Dronagri, Hathi Parvat, Gori Parvat
- Water is available at the villages encountered on the way
- Accommodation is provided in tents.
The dawn at Joshimath will break to the mesmerizing sight of a host of snow-capped peaks. After having breakfast for the day, we set out for Dhak Village which lies in the Joshimath tehsil. The terrain is rocky and the drive takes about 45 minutes. From Dhak village, the trekking commences. While you trek uphill, you will find that the trail of gentle ups and downs forms an outline of the lying lady, which also gives the mountain the name of Sleeping Lady Mountain.
The trek up from Dhak village is a continuous ascent. The rough terrain is a combination of sharp T-turns and gradually ascending soft slopes. The terrain doesn't offer much greenery apart from some of the terrace farming lands. It offers a splendid view of the Gharwal frontier as well. The sight of the gently flowing stream of Dhauli- Ganga disappearing into the mountains seems almost celestial. Vishnugad-Tapovan, which is a hydroelectric power station is another remarkable landmark encountered on the way.
After half an hour of trekking, you will come across Kharchi village, where you can rest and fill your water bottles for the journey ahead. After following a steep ascending rocky trail with the valley to the left, you will find yourself at the Lower Tugasi area. Here onwards the trail separates into two, follow the one which curves along with the hydropower-run flour mill. Another 10 minutes on the aforementioned path will lead you to the Upper Tugasi region. This region is the home to wheat fields, thatched-roofed huts, gentle streams, flower beds, and other blessings of nature.
Further following this path and the steep climb, you will find yourself against the view of the splendid Dronagiri peak, emerging at a distance. The trek for the day ceases her. Tents will be pitched on the lush green meadows with the view of Dronagiri and the lining of the oak forest to accompany you.
Day 3: Guling Top to Khullara/Tali Campsite
- The trek begins at the Gulling top and ends at Khullara.
- Altitude gain from 9,600 ft (2,864 m) to 11,800 ft (3,391 m)
- Total distance covered is 4 km
- Time taken for the journey is approx. 3-4 hours
- The Trek gradient from Guling to Khullara is a moderate ascent.
- As the trail becomes challenging, it is completely covered by trekking.
- The exotic sight of snow-capped mountains is heartwarming. The peaks that are visible on the trek include Nanda Devi, Kalanka, Chang bang, Dronagri, Hathi Parvat, Gori Parvat
- The flowing streams are encountered on the way form the source of water.
- Accommodation is provided in tents
The morning of Guling will bestow you with the sight of Dronagiri peak gleaming with vivid hues of the rising sun. After this, the trek for the day begins. You will leave the campsite for your trek to Khullara. Though the trail is a steady ascent, it isn’t a steep one. 40 minutes starting from Guling, you will come across the first open ground surrounded by thick oak and rhododendron forests. If you are making your visit in late March you might find white and pink blossoms adorning your trek experience. Except for rhododendrons, walnuts and other types of conifers also comprise of the natural vegetation of the place.
Follow the trek surrounded by forest and you will find yourself against the second clearing after trekking for an hour. The trail is accustomed to the frequent occurrence of small streams. The water in the streams is clean enough to be fit for drinking. The trek for the day is short and not so tiring, lasting for not more than 3-4 hours.
All this while, the Dronagiri peak will be accompanying you on the left. Another peak that shows up in this region is the Hathi Ghoda peak.
Ultimately you will reach Khullara at an altitude of 11,800 ft. From Gulling top there is a gradual descent of 1km to reach Khullara, where the trek for the day will cease followed by overnight stay in tents under the open sky.
Day 4: Khullara/Tali Campsite to Kuari Pass and return to Khullara campsite/Tali Campsite
- The trek begins from Khullara followed by a tough climb from broken bridge to Kuari Pass.
- There is an initial altitude gain uphill from 11,800 ft to 12,750 ft (3,900 m)
- Time taken for the trek is approx 9-10 hours
- Total distance covered is 14 km
- The trek gradient falls under moderate to difficult. It involves a steep climb followed by a moderate ascent.
- The entire trek for the day will be covered on foot.
- The trail is covered with oak and rhododendrons which makes the trail enchanting.
- The peaks encountered on the way include - Abhi Gamin, Mana I, Ghori Parvat, Hathi Parvat, Dronagiri, Kalanka, Chang Bang, Kedarnath Peak, Kedardome, Chaukhambha, Balakun, Neel Kantha, Mukut Parvat, Kamet, Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti
- Accommodation in tents
The trail further from Khullara is a steep ascend. 1-1.5 hour of climbing takes to you to the ridge which is a part of Lord Curzon’s trail. This point offers you a 360-degree view of the Himalaya. From here, you can see Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Dronagiri, Nilgiri, and Hathi Ghoda peaks on one side and Trishul and parts of Nanda Devi right ahead of you.
Following the trail further will lead you to the Kuari Top. The trek will be an approx. 40-minute journey with a moderate climb. Another 40 minutes trek, but downhill this time, will lead you to Kuari Pass. Here onwards retrace your path back to the ridge. After reaching the ridge, climb for an hour to reach the Jhandi Top, which lies at the top of the ridge. Do turn at Khullara after reaching the ridge. The captivating view of the Jhandi top will make you reluctant to leave.
From Jhandi Top,after your rest and lunch trek back to Tali forest camp.
Further, the trail to Tali is again led through dense forest cover. The forest has mixed vegetation of Oak, pines, and rhododendrons and is so dense that even sunlight does not penetrate through it. Further trekking through the trek for 40 minutes will bring you to the campsite which is located right in the center of the forest with streams flowing by. The experience of camping amidst the majestic forest becomes undoubtedly a cherishable memory.
Day 5: Khullara camp - Lower/AuliJoshimath via Gurson bugyal (11150 ft) and Auli (9680 ft)
- The trek for the day begins at Khullara campsite concluding at Joshimath making its way through Gurson Bugyala and Auli
- The trek involves a continuous descend from 11800 ft to 6724ft
- Total distance covered in the day is approximately 27km
- Time taken to cover the distance is 7 hours approx
- 12-14 km of the journey covered by trekking while the remaining 13 km is a drive-by a cab.
- Water is available at various sites along the way.
- Accommodation in guest houses at Joshimath
Trek for this day will lead you to Auli. Auli is the skiing capital of India and is very renowned in South Asia as well. The trek to Auli runs through the mesmerizing snow-covered valleys of Gorson Bugyal.
After exploring the valleys of Gorson Bugyal, a smooth terrain will lead you down to Auli. In the month of March, Auli attracts a large group of people from across the globe to practice skiing.
The cable car ride is available in Auli to reach Joshimath, which serves as a major tourist spot.
The cab drive from Auli to Joshimath is about an hour. Overnight stay at Joshimath guest house is arranged.
Day 6: Drive from Lower Auli/Joshimath to Rishikesh
- The drive will commence from Lower Auli/Joshimath.
- The total distance for the drive is 256 km
- Time taken is 10 hours approx
Cabs will be arranged at Lower Auli/Joshimath which will drop you at Rishikesh from where we will part ways.
The time spent at Kuari Pass trek and its exquisitely beautiful campsites will provide you with a bucket full of memories that will always stay close to your heart.