The Western Ghats have been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and for a good reason too! High hills and deep valleys, a wide variety of flora and fauna; the Ghats are definitely a must-visit for nature lovers. So, if you love the thought of climbing up beautiful hills and feeling like you are on top of the world then you must add the Kudremukh trek, Karnataka to your bucket list!
Read on to find out more about the Kudremukh trek!
Table of Contents:
- Trek Overview
- What’s Special about the Kudremukh National Park
- Kudremukh Trek: Best Time to Visit
- How to reach the Kudremukh trek base
- Homestay Accommodation at Mullodi
- Kudremukh Trek Map
- Kudremukh Trek Details
- Items to Pack while Backpacking
- How to Get Permission for the Kudremukh trek
- Kudremukh Trek Packages
Kudremukh literally translates to “the face of the horse” and the peak has been named so because the top resembles a horse’s face. It is the third highest peak in the Western Ghats.
Considering the abundance of trees, flowers and animals that grow in the Ghats, can you imagine the wonderful expedition that you would embark upon if you trek up this peak?
But wait, it gets better!
This peak is surrounded by three districts, one of which is the pretty little hill station, Chikmagalur (the other two are Mangalore and Sringeri). Famous for its coffee plantations, the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka is a popular destination for travellers, adventure-enthusiasts or even those who want a relaxed holiday hassle-free weekend getaway. So you can spend a few nights in neighbouring districts before or after going for the trek, because the district is well-connected to Kudremukh by road. Going to Mangalore and Sringeri and other nearby places can also be done.
Apart from its coffee plantations, Chikmagalur is also a favourite destination for wildlife enthusiasts because the Kudremukh National Park and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary are situated here. As it is only a few hours from Chikmagalur, you can cover KNP and Chikmagalur together.
- Where it is Located: Karnataka
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day
- Trekking Grade: Moderate - Difficult
- Max Altitude: 1,894 m (6,213 ft)
- Trekking Distance: 19 km
- Livingit Rank: Enthusiast
What’s Special about the Kudremukh National Park
The Kudremukh National Park is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in India. It covers parts of Chikmagalur and two other districts namely Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. Upon reaching the base camp, you get a breathtaking view of the entire park: lush green hills and valleys and the Somavati River Falls. The water of this river is the purest that you could find in the entire state of Karnataka.
The soil is rich and the vegetation in the valleys is protected from the strong winds by the hills, thus creating a healthy natural habitat. You’d find the environment perfect for trekking and you would enter a relaxed, calm state of mind because of the cool wind. The Park is also home for a large number of wildlife species such as tigers, leopards, spot deer, wild fowls, peacocks, giant flying squirrels to name a few.
Kudremukh Trek: Best Time to Visit
The months of September through November, just after the rains, is an ideal time for this as it isn’t too cold or too hot. Moreover, the rains have washed the hills thoroughly and there is a new green carpet of grass and trees and this landscape makes the experience an unforgettable one.
From November through February, the weather is cool, making this the best time to go for the Kudremukh trek.
During the summer months of March, April and May, you would find the sun to be too harsh, and this is definitely not ideal during such a challenging trek when you will be spending so much energy trekking 18 km up and down.
Trekking in the monsoon is naturally risky. You wouldn’t want to go for a trek during the monsoon season when the hills and the trails are slippery and there are leeches and mosquitoes and infestation of other insects, anyway, would you?
- Spring: 17 to 22 degree Celsius (day); 10 to 15 degree Celsius (night)
- Winter: 28 to 33 degree Celsius (day); 14 to 19 degree Celsius (night)
- Summer: 35 to 40 degree Celsius (day); 25 to 30 degree Celsius (night)
- Monsoon: 27 to 32 degree Celsius (day); 18 to 23 degree Celsius (night)
How to reach the Kudremukh trek base
You can travel to KNP from Bangalore or Mangalore. The Kudremukh National Park base camp is 340 km from Bangalore, i.e. on an average it would take you approximately 7 hours (including rest stops) to get from Bangalore to Kudremukh trek base camp. The nearest railway station is the Mangalore Railway Station, which is 130 km from Kudremukh and the nearest airport is Mangalore Airport which is 95 km from KNP. Once you’ve reached either of the two cities, you can travel to the base camp overnight via private or public transport.
By Private Vehicle
We would recommend that you go to the Kudremukh National Park via your own vehicles as it would definitely be more convenient and the roads are not the smoothest. Especially in the monsoon, we would advise you to travel to KNP by private transport. With almost everyone owning Smartphone now, navigating to the base camp using Google Maps will not be a problem.
All you need to do is enter “Balagal Bus Stop, State Highway 66, Chikmagalur, Karnataka 577124” in the Search Bar of Google Maps and follow the route. After you reach the bus stop, you will see an unpaved road that will lead you to the Mullodi village. This is the base of the Kudremukh trek and if you find yourself in a small village of about 50 houses with Satheesha, a house of a villager on the left and the Somavati Falls on the right, you have reached the right place!
By Public Transport
You can also travel to the KNP base camp in a bus. This would be a more economical option so if you are on a budget trip, we would recommend public transport. You should take any government bus that goes to “Horanadu” or “Kalasa.” If you prefer private buses, Sugama Travels could be one option but reserve seats on the bus in advance. If you opt for Sugama Travels, you might get a connecting bus to Balagal Bus Stop.
If you travel by a KSRTC bus, get down at Kalasa and take another bus that goes towards the Kudremukh town but keep in mind that you need to get down before the town at Balagal. At Balagal Bus Stop, you will find private taxi drivers that would drop you to Mullodi village at a cost of Rs. 500-1000 for eight seats. Remember to take down the number of the taxi driver because you will need to find a ride to get back to Balagal from Mullodi too.
Homestay Accommodation at Mullodi
Camping inside KNP is not allowed, which leaves all travellers no option but to stay in Mullodi village. We understand if you are apprehensive about finding clean accommodation, but the people of Mullodi village are kind and welcoming and homestays are easy to find here. Mullodi House is a popular homestay here. An average cost per person for one night at a homestay would be Rs. 600 for all meals and warm water for bathing. If you request your hosts, they will even pack food for you to carry during the trek.
Please be considerate and make the bookings well in advance as the numbers of beds available in the village are not too many, and it would be easier for your hosts to make the necessary arrangements if they are notified at the earliest.
Kudremikh Trek Map
Kudremukh Trek Details
The Kudremukh Trek in Karnataka is considered to have a difficulty level of moderate to high so you should be healthy and fit if you want to successfully finish the trek, so consider trying out some pre-trek exercises that will help you in the trek. If you regularly go for treks, you’d think it is moderate.
The total distance of the trek, from the base to the top and back, is about 19 km. It is recommended that you start early in the morning so you can cover all the attractions and finish the trek well before the closing time.
The Kudremukh Trek is only allowed between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The trail is zigzagged in the middle so you most definitely need to be sure-footed. From the base at Mullodi to Lobo’s House, the trek is easy and there is a very gradual incline. This goes on for about a distance of 4.5 km. From Lobo’s House, if you trek for another 2.5 km, you will reach the beginning of the zigzagged path. This tricky part lasts only for 1 km and you should be extremely careful now.
At the end of the zigzag trail, there is only a path of 1.5 km separating you from the peak. The highest point of the trek is marked by a flag and is 6050 feet above ground level. If you’re a bit weary of heights, you might not want to trek up to the peak although the view from the top beautiful would go amiss. All you can see is the clear blue sky and the green grass and shrubs and the waterfall. At times, the winds can be too strong and you might feel like you could fly away with a gust of wind so you could sit down at the peak.
Items to Pack while Backpacking
There are a set of trekking essentials you need to carry to every trek, regardless of the difficulty level and duration. Here’s a checklist that you can refer to while packing for the Kudremukh trek.
- As camping is forbidden in the forest, there is no need to carry utensils and tents.
- Trekking Shoes: strong, comfortable waterproof trekking shoes are recommended.
- 2 Litre Bottle: Many streams with sweet-tasting water also run along the trail, hence there is no need to carry a lot of water with you and make the trek more exhausting. A two-litre leak-proof bottle would be fine. However, do remember to carry iodine drops that act as disinfectants for water.
- Compass and Map: carry along a compass and map of the area, in case your phone stops working.
Take two sets of clothes with you to Mullodi although there will be no need for you to carry the extra set during the trek.
- Light Jacket/Sweater: You may also need a light jacket or sweater as nights can become quite cold.
- Full-sleeved T-shirts and Track Pants: Your hands and legs should preferably be covered completely to avoid mosquitoes and sunburnt skin, so carry full track pants made with synthetic material (which will dry easily if wet) and full sleeved cotton t-shirts.
- Cap and Sunglasses: You should also carry a cap or hat and a pair of sunglasses. This will be useful during peak afternoon hours.
- Socks: Wear cotton socks or sports socks that are not too thick, and carry two extra pairs of socks.
- Towel: Also carry a microfiber towel and a windcheater or a raincoat, especially if you are going to Kudremukh during the monsoon.
- Sewing Kit: Also carry a sewing kit even if you do not know how to repair clothes.
- Torch: Although you should aim to make it back by 3 or 4 PM at the latest, carry a torch to be on the safe side. This might even come in handy once you are back in Mullodi.
Personal Medical Kit
- Volini Spray
- A Bottle of Dettol
- Crepe Bandage
- Any other medicines that you need
- Toothbrush And Toothpaste
- Toilet paper
- Sunscreen and Insect repellent: apply these before the trek and carry these two during the trek with you, too.
- A Bar of Chocolate
- A Pack of Biscuits
- A Packet of Glucon-D
- ID Proof
How to Get Kudremukh Trek Permission
As the trek comes under the category of being moderate to difficult, you will need to seek permission from the forest department. You can get the Kudremukh Trek permission from Balagal itself, near the bus stop. There is a small fee of Rs. 475 per head for the same.
Kudremukh Trek Packages
There are several packages that are available and can be booked online without any hassle. What is included and excluded in these packages varies from provider to provider and package to package!
Here is a generic list of the inclusions and exclusions:
- Travel to and from Bangalore
- Meals and snacks
- Trek guide
- Permission fee
- Bus fare
- Jeep ride
- Campfire (if weather allows)
- Medical kit
- Medical insurance
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
The Kudremukh Trek is one of the most challenging yet rewarding treks in India. The view from the top of the third highest peak, of course, would be so scenic that it is definitely worth the time, energy and money that you spend. But you’ll only find out when you go there and actually live it!
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and plan your next holiday to this small heaven-like place in the Western Ghats!