Hiking - Destination

The Kareri Lake Trek: The Path to a True Glacial Spectacle

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India’s landscape is spread with some of the worlds most breathtaking and unexplainable wonders, and the Kareri Lake Trek is one that never fails to leave everyone feeling mesmerized and awestruck. Nestled safely away from the chaos and noise of the cities is this shallow vastness of clear blue waters that looks like an elaborate and picturesque set, straight out of a Bollywood movie.

Know More About:

  • Trek to Kareri - The Quick Breakdown
  • About The Kareri Lake
  • The Base Camp
  • Best Routes To The Glacial Kingdom
  • Trek To Kareri - The Full Breakdown
  • Trekking Essentials
  • FAQs

The Kareri Lake contributes immensely to the expressive and charming nature of the Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. This natural water body receives its sparkling waters from the melting snow of the Dhauladhar peaks and is located at an altitude of 3,300 metres. And while many backpackers tend to flock towards the Indrahar Pass circuit, it is those who voyage to the Kareri Lake who ultimately are treated to one of the most tranquil and inconceivable experiences of their lives.

Trek to Kareri - The Quick Breakdown

kareri lake trek
The Bespectacled Trail
  • Number of Trekking Days: 3 Days
  • Region: Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh
  • Difficulty Level: Easy - Moderate
  • Max Altitude: 3000m above sea level
  • Total Trekking Distance: 34 KM
  • Best Time to Visit: May - June, September - Oct, Jan - March

About The Kareri Lake

The Kareri Lake welcomes all its spectators with a phenomenal view of the lapping stream of shallow waters, embedded with an elaborate spread of flowers and fauna. Situated high between the clouds in the ranges of Dhauladhar, the lake is the perfect elliptical glacial vision.

Several of the backpackers who find their way to Kareri Lake claim it to be one of the ricker and quieter experiences of their trek. The lake is also best known to be the base camp to many exciting pass crossings over the Dhauladhar range. Pathways like the Bleni Pass and Minkiani Pass can be reached easily with a brief hike from the lake itself.

The Base Camp

kareri lake trek
The Kangra District: Where it Begins

While the icy towers of the Dhauladhar range add to the incredible appeal of the campsite, the Kareri Lake actually becomes the main attraction during the months of early December to March. Across the course of winter, the lake remains entirely frozen and is the ultimate sights of glacial beauty, with its clear surface reflecting off the clear blue morning skies and the star studded nights.

The trek to the lake originates from the Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh and it takes trekkers through a lush and rich traverse of forests, scenic meadows and narrow and undulating terrains. Various local tours are also active across the path of the hike, for trekkers to participate in.

Best Routes to the Glacial Kingdom

By Road

It’s best suggested to get travel by jeep for around 20 km, from Dharamshala to Ghera village. Alternatively, cab services are also available from Dharamshala bus stands directly to Kareri village. Prices vary depending on the size of the group and car size, but on average cabs are charged at rates between INR 800 to INR 1000.

LivingIt Tip
Taking a cab is best recommended especially if you’re in a hurry, as it reduces about 2 hours off the day’s trek.

By Bus

With buses going in and out from Dharamshala, from as early as 8 AM, one can very easily take a local bus to Ghera village. From Ghera village, it only takes around 2-hours worth a trek to reach Kareri Lake.

By Flight

The Kareri Lake trek also originates from Mcleodganj and leads into the Kareri village. One can reach Mcleodganj from Delhi, which is around 482 km. For this route, one can take a direct flight to Delhi and from there; take an overnight trip to Mcleodganj via a Volvo bus.

Trek to Kareri - The Full Breakdown

From greenest of the green pastures to dazzling snowy paths, Kareri Lake Trek transports you to a completely new, better world, even if it is for a few days. Let’s go through this journey.

From Mcleodganj to Ghera Village

kareri lake trek
The Beauty of Kangra Valley

The journey begins at Harnala village in Mcleodganj where the trek would take around 3 hours on an average. The hike ascends alongside the Nundh River which acts as the primary source of water throughout the entire trek. As the trail progresses, one will venture into the scenic Kangra valley, where many stop to replenish their resources, before finally reaching Ghera village.

From Ghera Village to Reoti

From Dharamshala, you would have to leave for Ghera or Kareri village, from where the trek to the lake would start. The hike would pan itself over a course of 4-4.5 hours, with a predominantly steep gradient. The initial part of the trail goes through the village, meandering through a mixed patch of broadleaf and pine forestry.

Livingit Tip:
Due to the overwhelming litter of pine needles on the forest floor, you’d need to be extra careful while trekking across this path to avoid slipping.

Along the path, you can find many freshwater springs and waterfalls, where you can refill your water supplies. The trail begins to curve upward towards a metal road that connects to the Nolli bridge, This point is a well-known landmark for many trekkers because of the small shack that welcomes all trekkers with a moment of replenishment and rest. The end of the forest trail leads into a vast stretch of grasslands that line the banks of the Nyundh nallah at Reoti. From here, one can get a magnificent view of the entire valley downstream.

Livingit Tip:
From the nallah, one can actually spot Himalayan griffon vultures flying majestically overhead.

From Reoti to Kareri Lake

kareri lake trek
What it All Leads Up to

The path ascends from Reoti is paved for the most part, with a gradual steep in the trail. One can even follow the spotted boulders along the banks of Nyundh nallah that would eventually lead them to the Kareri Lake. One can easily notice that as the stream begins to get stronger in its current, the closer they are approaching the source - the Kareri Lake. The trail is also famously known for its intersperse of Gaddi huts along the way, built by the well renowned nomadic Gaddi shepherds of the Kangra district.

The terrain is identified by grassy meadows, spotted with boulders along the stream. And upon crossing the path over the Nyundh nallah, you will stumble upon an ascension of stone steps that would take you to the hilltop. At the peak, one can find a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, while on the other side, one can enjoy a panoramic view of the breathtaking glacial beauty of the Kareri Lake. Once near the banks of the lake, the Dhauladhar ranges cast a fantastic view around the banks and you can spot the Minkiani pass between the colossal structures of ice and gray rocks around the lake.

Fellow trekker and travel writer, Vipin, says on his blog, “Mesmerized I was…to feel it in all its glory shimmering before the setting sun, the lush green grassy meadows with smoking clouds were just adding colours to the canvas nature had painted before me. Deliriously amazed I was for some time…gazing at this marvelously serene beauty. There stands a Shiva temple up on a hill with concrete stairs directly leading down to the lake. I did not learn much about the mythological significance of this lake, but like other lakes in Himachal, this one too is a sacred one and is frequented by the local pilgrims.”

From Kareri Lake back to Ghera Village - Dharamshala - McLeodganj

The trek downwards from the lake to Ghera village is relatively easier and exhibits a major change in topography. Each step taken shows a transformation in flora and fauna, with the forestry becoming denser. Upon reaching Ghera, you can either take a local bus back to Dharamshala or even take a private cab or tour bus service to Mcleodganj.

Trekking Essentials

Documents

Travel Insurance: Make sure that you have your insurance papers and that they cover medical evacuation, hospitalization in case of emergencies, baggage insurance, and even trip cancellation.

Passport and travel documents: Remember to take both your original and photocopied government ID’s and any other specified travel related papers by your tour guides/agencies

Health care documents: It’s best advised to carry a medical certificate and disclaimer, filled and signed by both you and your consulting doctor or physician.

Trekking Equipment

kareri lake trek
Pack Light, But Pack Right!

While the trek to the Kareri Lake is filled with adventures and scenic surprises, it’s very important that one prepares themselves and their backpacks with the right kind of supplies to make sure that this three-day trek is best handled.

  • Sleeping Bags
  • Extra Mattresses
  • Dome tents
  • Solar powered or battery charged lamps, LEDs
  • Water bottles
  • Eco-friendly toilet paper
  • An extra pair of trekking shoes with good grip to overcome all the slippery slopes and rocky patches of terrain
  • Thermal clothing and 3-4 warm layers (fleece, woolen socks, padded jackets, woolen sweaters, etc) to tackle the temperature drops
  • An extra pair of trekking pants, in the case of tear
  • Carrying a set of plastic covers also helps to categorize your essentials and can always help contain waste or wet clothes
  • Snow blindness is a factor many forget to take into account when packing for their trip. Remember to pack a pair of sunglasses to avoid this
  • Toiletries
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug repellent sprays
    • Moisturizers
    • Lip balms and anti-bacterial soaps

Livingit Tip:
Remember to pack a tent and spare sleeping bag to set up your campsite on the banks of the lake. As nightfalls, bundle up in your layers to enjoy a warm and toasty bonfire under the stars.

The Kareri Lake Trek: FAQs 

  1. Is it possible to combine the Kareri Lake trek with the Triund and Laka glacier hike?

The two trails lie in the opposite direction, unfortunately, making it impossible to club the treks together in one stretch. However, it is possible to do them separately.

  1. Can people join in from Dharamshala for the Kareri Lake Trek?

Yes, it is possible to reach Ghera village, the first base camp of the Kareri Lake trek, from Dharamshala. One can access local bus services going to and fro from the two locations.

  1. What kind of food should I expect along the way?

Many of the Gaddi shacks provide warm and hygienic food to boost your energy along the way, like rajma chawal, rotis, dry vegetables and some good ol’ Maggi.

  1. What is the distance from Dharamshala to Kareri Lake?

From Dharamshala, the Kareri lake is approx. 30 km away.

  1. How is Kareri lake trekking experience?

Situated at a high altitude, this glacial Himalayan lake is best known for its tranquil and scenic experience. It is a lovely experience for people looking for alternative options away from the more difficult and beaten trails of the Himachal region. With numerous campsites along the hiking path, in addition to several convenient options for food and water, this Kareri Lake trek is one of the most ideal and picturesque hikes for a beginner-level trekker.

  1. How is Kareri Lake weather?

While the temperature is ideal between the months of March and June, the winter months allow trekkers to see the lake in its completely frozen state. And while the sight is an unfathomable experience on its own, the temperatures drop to a dangerous sub-zero level, especially during the nights.

  1. What is the distance from McLeodganj to Kareri Lake?

The distance between the two locations is around 20 km.

Summing Up

With the light cover of the mist overhead and the intricate lining of the pine vegetation, the Kareri Lake trek takes every trekker through a lush and spectacular vicinity of subtropical nature. The forestry leading up to the lake is filled with chilgoza pines that also serve as a home to a rare and large population of bird life - like the black drongo and the red-billed blue magpie.

kareri lake trek
Adventure Awaits

And while the Kareri lake itself is a magnificent location, the trail to the spot is a poetic and once in a lifetime experience in itself. The trail is well-marked and accentuated with low-rise canopies and the sparkling stretch of the Nyundh nallah. The thrill and the adventure of the hike are ideal and suited for even firstfirst-timekers looking for the perfect weekend getaway. This one of the few treks, where the final destination and the path and journey to it are almost equally beautiful, adventurous and enchanting.

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