Hiking - Destination

Kedarkantha Trek: Better Than the Rest of the Winter Treks in India

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Destinations like Rupin Pass, Roopkund, Dayara Bugyal, and Dodital prove the fact that the state of Uttarakhand is home to some of India’s most scenic treks. But the best amongst these treks, perhaps, is the Kedarkantha trek. With its beautiful snowy sceneries and forests that are full of life, this trek in the Mountains of Uttarakhand is sure to steal your heart.

The Kedarkantha trek is considered to be one of India's best winter destinations. But why is Kedarkantha such a sought after snow trekking destination? Well, the answer is simple. The Kedarkantha trek, situated in Uttarakhand, India, is fringed with pine trees and adorned with unmatched beauty of falling snow. You go there, not only for trekking but also for the love of nature and adventure sports.

Know More Here:

Trek Overview

kedarkantha trek details
The Kedarkantha Trek: Walking with Nature
  • Where it is Located: Uttarakhand
  • Number of Trekking Days: 4 - 5 Days
  • Trekking Grade: Easy
  • Total Trekking Distance: 20 km
  • Max Altitude: 12,500 ft (3,810 m)
  • Livingit Grade: Enthusiast - Advanced

About Kedarkantha

At an elevation of 12,500 feet, Kedarkantha is one of the most popular mountain peaks of the Great Himalayas in Uttarakhand. The place is situated in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarkashi. The climb to the Kedarkantha peak begins from a small village called Sankri. A total of 13 peaks of the Great Himalayan range are visible from the peak of Kedarkantha.

about kedarkantha trek
A Beauty in White (Source)

With beautiful winter snow and a magnificent pictorial view, the Kedarkantha trek is one of the best places for snow trekking in the entire country. You get a fantastic view of the mighty Himalayas all along the Kedarkantha trek trail, right to the top. The Kedarkantha trek is a 20 km trek with snow covered mountains, attractive nature and cool temperatures that begins at an altitude of 6,000 feet at Sankri and climbs to 12,500 feet at the peak of Kedarkantha.

The Best Time for the Kedarkantha Trek

On the weather front, Kedarkantha trek is popular for three things in particular, rainstorms, summer and winter. The summers are generally warm, whereas the monsoon season brings with it a heavy downpour of rain. It is advised to avoid trekking in this season.

Winter is the best time to go for the Kedarkantha trek. Not only is it the perfect weather for skiing, snowboarding, and enjoying other winter sports, this season also offers the best views.

kedarkantha trek in winter
Cold, But Worth It (Source)

The weather and temperature will vary depending on the season you choose to go for the Kedarkantha trek. This is a place where you find extreme temperatures. While the winter nights there can have snowfall, the summer days are extremely hot, so it is favourable if you plan your trek somewhere in the months of November, December, January or February; November and December being the best time to enjoy the trekking in Kedarkantha.

Average Temperatures

  • Summer: 30 to 35 degree Celsius (day); 18 to 23 degree Celsius (night)
  • Winter: 18 to 23 degree Celsius (day); 8 to 13 degree Celsius (night)

How to Reach the Kedarkantha Trek Base Camp

The base camp of the Kedarkantha trek is the quaint village of Sankri that is situated 200 km from the Dehradun, making Dehradun the rendezvous point for this trek. Dehradun is about 248 km from Delhi and is reachable through various modes of transportations.

By Road

The city of Dehradun is connected with other major northern cities through motorable roads. You can get many buses that are available from Delhi to Dehradun. You can get semi-deluxe, AC or full Deluxe Volvo buses as per your budget and need. Additionally, Dehradun is well connected to Delhi by various buses on a day-to-day basis from Kashmere Gate ISBT.

By Rail

Dehradun Railway Station, Dehradun city, is connected to other major cities in the country, like Kolkata, Lucknow, and Delhi.

By Air

The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun offers connectivity with Delhi and other major cities in India on a regular basis. So, you can also avail a flight to there.

Discover the Itinerary of Kedarkantha Trek

To start your Kedarkantha adventure, you need to get to Sankri, the base camp for the trek, via Dehradun using whatever means of transport you feel convenient. From there, the Kedarkantha trek will take you through Juda ka Talab, the Kedarkantha base, the Kedarkantha peak, and back to Sankri via Hargaon.

Let’s see a part by part breakdown of the Kedarkantha trek.

Dehradun to Sankri

sankri kedarkantha trek
The Quaint Village of Sankri: The Beginning of Your Adventure

The drive from Dehradun to Sankri is a long one, but full of scenic views. Towards Sankri, the roads start to get bumpy, but other than that it’s a smooth ride. Get your cameras ready when you get closer to being 22 km away from Sankri because that’s when you enter the Govind National Park, which is full of beautiful fields of colorful flora. Once you get to Sankri, you can find lots of hotels for an overnight stay. After settling down, you can explore the village if you like.

Sankri to Juda-ka-Talab

The trek from Sankri to Juda-ka-Talab, which is at an elevation of 9,100 m, is 4 km long, so it is advisable to start your day with a good breakfast. An extension called “Sor” will take you out of Sankri and onto a wide curve that climbs sharply. After that, the path runs through a dense forest of maple and pine trees.

kedarkanth trek himalayan langurs
The Himalayan Langurs

This is a wide trail that is easy to tread on, so you can enjoy the scenic view of villagers from remote villages living their daily lives and wild Himalayan Langurs swinging from tree to tree, with the gurgling streams creating beautiful background music. You can also spot some boars, martens, and hare in these forests. After crossing a few streams, you will reach the magical Juda ka Talab.

juda ka talab kedarkanth trek
Juda ka Talab: A Magical Place

Juda ka Talab is a sight to behold. The contrast that the striking blue of the water creates with the green of the forest is something right out of a photographers dream and a perfect setting for a camp. At night, a relaxing campfire under the stars is sure to give you a good night’s sleep.

Juda-ka-Talab to Kedarkantha Base

The next stop in the Kedarkantha trek is the Kedarkantha base, which is at a height of 11,250 ft, 4 km away from Juda ka Talab. Once you leave Juda ka Talab behind and head into the forest, towards the Kedarkantha base, the trail is mostly straight forward and easily visible. This trail will take you through dense forests of oak and pine, a steep ridge and meadows flanked with shepherd’s huts. Just before reaching the Kedarkantha base, you will see the arc-shaped range that comprises the majestic mountains of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, Kala Nag and Ranglana.

base of kedarkantha trek
A Panoramic View of the Best of the Himalayas (Source)

The night sky at Kedarkantha base is adorned with stars, planets, and the Milky Way. Trekkers set up camp here and enjoy the view this stop has to offer.

Livingit Tip
When you set up your tents, make sure it’s in a close group rather than being scattered to avoid getting lost in the dark.

Kedarkantha Base to Kedarkantha Peak and Back

The final stretch of this trek will take you to the Kedarkantha Peak, where you’ll be greeted with an incredible view and a sense of satisfaction. To get to the peak, you will have to leave behind your camp area and traverse through some more forest region, and once you get out of the forest, the Kedarkantha Peak will be much closer. The final part of this stretch tends to get a little strenuous, so carrying proper trekking gear is highly advised.

kedarkantha trek view
A View That Lasts Forever (Source)

Once you make it to the top, you’ll know that all that effort was completely worth it. The 360 view of the wondrous and majestic peaks of Uttarakhand standing tall in the snow will take your breath away (if the climb up didn’t already do that). You will also find a simple temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, along with one for Lord Ganesh. After relaxing for a while and enjoying the beautiful view, you can head back to the Kedarkantha Base, from where you can head back to Sankri.

Livingit Tip
Kedarkantha being a peak, has a lot of trails to get to it, but it is better to stick to the main one, especially if you’re a enthusiast who have just started.

Kedarkantha Base to Sankri via Hargaon

To get to Sankri, you’ll have to travel through Hargaon. This journey will again take you through oak and pine forests, maple trees, pure, sparkling water frozen because of the ice, and shepherds huts, along with occasional clearings. You can set your tents once you reach Hargaon and have an overnight stay here.

kedarkantha trek har ki dun
A Peek of Paradise: The Har ki Dun Valley

The trek from Hargaon to Sankri it is 6 km long that takes you from an altitude of 8,900 feet down to 6,400 feet. This is a fairly easy trail that takes you through oak and pine forests, so you can take your time to enjoy the views of Har-ki-Dun and Swargarohini. There are also lots of streams flowing along this trail that carry fresh water, so you can fill your bottles for the rest of the trek. Just remember to add some water purifying tablets for extra precaution. Once you reach Sankri, you can spend the rest of the day exploring the village or avail the accommodation options and rest.

The next day, you can use your preferred mode of transport and head back to Dehradun.

Destinations Covered in the Kedarkantha Trek

There are many things, better to say many places you will enjoy in the Kedarkantha trek. Some of the destinations are Kedarkantha Base camp, Dehradun, Sankri, JudaTalab, Kedar Kantha Meadows, Kedarkantha Peak, Hargaon Camp, Har-ki-Dun Valley.

Let us discuss the places one by one that you cover in the Kedarkantha trek.

  • Juda-ka-Talab is the first and foremost camp site of the Kedarkantha trek. Judakatalab is a site in the lap of the Himalayas that would surely make you spellbound. Only God can create this type of beauty. It is the largest clearing adjacent to the dense pine as well as oak wood.
  • Jormola is built in the year of 1963 on the Naugaon Purola Mori road, which is located on the top of the hill at an altitude of maximum 1721m, which is just the bottom line of the Jarmoladhar. The view of Kedarkantha, as well as Changshil peaks, is no doubt enchanting for the visitors. Jormola is one of the biggest as well as prettiest pine wood in the entire Asia.
  • Swargarohini Peak can be place for complete thrilling experience for trekkers. It is also known as the beautiful Swargarohini peak in the country. If you are planning for a trek in the lap of the Himalayas for quite a long time, then Kedarkantha trek can be the best trek for you for sure.
  • Govind Wild Life Sanctuary is a great place to visit. Enjoy the view of snow-clad peaks as well as glaciers, flora, and fauna in the national park. It is also known as Govind pashuvihar and national park sanctuary in Uttarakhand founded in 1955.
  • Har Ki Dun is a superb valley in the Western Himalayas. It is surrounded with cradle shaped vale that is really beautiful valleys of Himalayas. The place is a great delight for trekkers, both in the winter and summer. You can access by way of Govind National Park as well.

Enjoy the Trek to a Tiny Market in Sankri

sankri market kedarkantha trek
Shopping, Souvenirs, Snow: The Sankri Market (Source)

Sankri village is widely popular as an enjoyable trekking track in Kedarkantha. This nice village and its last road head to the Govind Ballabh Pant Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located in Yamuna Valley, that is near the Mori town in the district of Uttarakashi.

If you are seeking for a classic winter trekking experience in the lap of the Himalayas, then the trek to a tiny market in Sankri should be at the top of the list. It not only gives you a window of chances for the purpose of trekkers but also helps them drink the beauty of majestic nature.

Cost of the Kedarkantha Trek

There are lots of renowned service providers that can take you for the Kedarkantha trek. The packages and cost terms vary largely depending on the provider you choose. Here is a list of the general inclusions and exclusions for a basic Kedarkantha trek package:

Inclusions

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Trek equipment
  • All necessary permits and entry fees.
  • First aid medical kits, stretcher, and oxygen cylinder.
  • Professional guide

Exclusions

  • Any kind of personal expenses.
  • Insurance.
  • Mules or porter to carry personal luggage.
  • Anything not specifically mentioned under inclusions.

Packing Checklist for Kedarkantha Trek

kedarkanth trek essentials
Packing the Essentials

What clothes and trek equipment you take normally depend on the journey and the distance you like to cover. Let us see the checklist at a glance.

Essentials

  • Sturdy trekking backpack 
  • Trekking boots with spare laces if needed
  • Good quality footwear (when you’re not trekking)
  • A trekking pole and a good quality torch
  • Bowls, plates, spoons, and other cutlery you need

Clothing

  • Heavy weight gloves
  • Sweaters and jackets
  • Pants or fleece trousers
  • Thick and warm wool socks
  • Thermals

Documents

  • Photocopies and originals of ID Proof (driver’s licence, Aadhar Card, etc.)
  • Medical Certificate issued by your doctor

Personal Medicine Kit

  • Crocin for fever
  • Moov or Relispray for sprains and common aches
  • Band-Aids
  • Omez for prevention of acidity
  • Combiflam
  • Avomine for prevention of motion sickness
  • Avil 25mg for allergies
  • Crepe Bandages
  • Diamox for prevention of AMS
  • Gauges
  • Cotton

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Do we need to carry oxygen cylinders and stretchers to the Kedarkantha trek?

We all know there are many safety protocols that are really hard pills to eat. But, for the purpose of future of trekking in Kedarkantha, the stretcher, as well as oxygen cylinder, is recommended to be carried, even if you are strong enough and you think it is not mandatory to carry these two things, but for safety purpose, you can carry them. Most of the time the trek organizers will provide you with these.

  1. Do you think Diamox is good to carry while trekking in Kedarkantha?

Some people believe carrying Diamox is good while trekking in Kedarkantha. It is though up to you, but if you do not need it, then it is okay, but if you need it and you do not carry, then you may face serious trouble. So, recommended to carry it.

  1. Does a doctor need to be present in the trek to Kedarkantha?

Trekking in Kedarkantha can be dangerous, thanks to the high altitude and unpredictable weather conditions. Most trek organizers make sure that at least one of the trek leaders is certified in Wilderness first-aid. So you are safe in all situations, but you need to aware of high attitude issues. You should not forget to carry necessary medicines with you. Take a check up if you are fit at that time and if not take a medical professional advice and judge yourself if you are fit for the trekking in Kedarkantha.

Summing Up

If you are an adrenaline junkie, Kedarkantha trek is no doubt going to be an amazing experience, especially if you decide to go for the winter trek in Kedarkantha. People who have already got the experience can tell you the adventure and joy of this tour.

kedarkantha trek end
Live Life Adventurer Size! (Source)

Sure, there are a few complexities, but remember, the best views always come after the hardest climbs.

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