Hiking - Destination

Trekking in Chennai: Enjoy Your Weekend Getaway Like Never Before!

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Far from the din and bustle of the city crowd, complexities and pollution, who does not like a tête-à-tête with pristine nature? Trekking, the moment you hear the word, adrenaline surges through your body. So rather than brooding through your daily routine, plan a detailed trip for trekking in Chennai! 

You may ask, “Why Chennai?”

Well we say, “Why not?” Rugged terrains, verdant hill stations, winding roads and the wild Bay of Bengal, all these bestow their never-ending blessings on this city.

Places for trekking near Chennai are many. Some you have heard of, some you might have visited, and the rest with their aura are unknown to you. Let’s get started with the places that are worth exploring.

Places to Visit for Trekking in Chennai

Here we will prescribe to you a compact guide on the places you can consider visiting along with their distance, the things you can expect there and the time span too. All you have to do is to add some (or all!) to your bucket list, plan accordingly, tie up your trekking boots and set out for exploring.

Nagalapuram

Distance from Chennai: 75 km

Ideal time to visit: June to September or November to January

One of the popular trekking places near Chennai, Nagalapuram is a pristine hill station in Andhra Pradesh. Part of the Eastern Ghats, the trek in Nagalapuram is moderate and can be covered in one day. Your trek route is 13 kilometres in length and is accompanied by small boulders, gravel paths through forest, mountain streams and moderate elevation changes.

The best attraction is the Nagalapuram Waterfall cascading through the boulders and forming a natural pool with crystal clear water. It is one of the popular waterfalls near Chennai and to explore it along the summit, you need to be a little careful as the path is laden with loose gravel.

There are many trekking clubs in Chennai that organize two treks to explore Nagalapuram – Nagalapuram Western Entry Trek that offers camping and wildlife watching at night and the Eastern entry Trek of 8-9 kilometres that offers night camping. The treks are smooth and camping sites are also safe on flat surface.

Nagalapuram
Nagalapuram

 

Ubbalamadugu or Tada Falls

Distance from Chennai: 80 km

Ideal time to visit: June to November

Located in Chittoor district of Andhra, it is one of the easily accessible waterfalls near Chennai with smooth trails meandering through the semi-dense forest. Murmuring streams will accompany you through this trek of 10 kilometres.

Actually, the trek itself starts from the base of a limpid stream. Pass through the arid and muddy terrain for 2 kilometres followed by the boulder laden track. Show some skill to pass this terrain and you will be treated with small streams that are created from the waterfall.

Apart from a refreshing bath in the gushing waterfall, another attraction route to Tada Falls, considered by many Chennai trekkers, is the Shiva Temple acting as a landmark of the trail. You will enjoy bird watching while trekking through the lush vegetation around the temple.

Ubbalamadugu or Tada Falls
Ubbalamadugu or Tada Falls

 

Talakona Waterfalls

Distance from Chennai: 190 km

Ideal time to visit: September to December

One of the scenic waterfalls near Chennai, Talakona Waterfalls is an easily accessible spot that can be covered in 1-2 hours.

Your trek will start from the base of Lord Siddheshwar Swami Temple and the route will pass through dense forest of Sri Venkateswara National park laden with mature trees forming canopies, wildflowers, medicinal plants and shrubs.

The spring is said to have healing powers –so take a dip and drink some if you wish. This waterfall of 270 ft height is not the only attraction; being located in the national park, you can spot a plethora of endemic birds and even animals too if you are lucky.

Talakona Waterfalls
Talakona Waterfalls

 

Gingee Fort

Distance from Chennai: 160 km

Ideal time to visit: November to February

Also known as the Senji Fort, it is one of the historical trekking places in Tamilnadu. The fort was passed on to the Maratha emperor Shivaji before being seized by the British during the Colonial rule. The fort complex comprises parts of Rajagiri, Chandrayan Durg and Krishnagiri hills and with such a great perimeter and sturdy architecture, it was called the “Troy of The East”, owing to its impregnable stature.

Each of the Hillocks mentioned above, have their own Citadels, which is very unique.

The trek is an easy one compared to the nature and length; however the steep roughly hewn stone steps can be monotonous and strenuous! So it’s better to keep yourself enchanted with the surroundings while taking your steps carefully.

This historical trekking in Chennai will reward you with the marvellous fort structure to marvel at –the watchtower, ancient temple, granary and the citadels are worth exploring.

Gingee Fort
Gingee Fort

 

Yelagiri

Distance from Chennai: 228 km

Ideal time to visit: All seasons, best in November to February

Yelagiri at a height of 2800 feet, nestled within four lush green mountains is undoubtedly one of the best trekking places near Chennai with fourteen hairpin curves along the verdant slopes, wide gorges, cascading waterfalls, scenic valleys, towering peaks and also wildlife sanctuaries.

Yelagiri
Yelagiri

 

Peerumedu Waterfalls (Yelagiri)

Length of Trek: 3 km

Ideal time to visit: November to February

For this trek, you will start from Puthur. Take a moderate trek route through the mountainous jungle laden with undergrowth shrubberies and ferns. At the summit, you will be blessed with the 40 ft cascading waterfall forming a wave pool where you can rinse off the strain of the trek.

Peerumedu waterfalls
Peerumedu waterfalls

 

Uphill trek (Yelagiri)

Length of Trek: 4 km

Ideal time to visit: September to December

To go on this trek, carry lots of water and start early in the morning. Take a guide from the village as there is no marked trail or look out for any Chennai Trekking Club events that have Yelagiri Uphill trek included.

It will take around 2-3 hours depending on your speed, stops and route condition. You will pass the Radio Tower by the Samaritan School. Climb the colossal rock by the tower to enjoy the vista of the valley. Pay a visit to the local temple on the summit.

Uphill trek
Uphill trek

Also, check out Trekking in North East India: 19 Offbeat Treks Worth Exploring.

Swami Malai (Yelagiri)

Elevation of Climb: 1000 ft

Ideal time to visit: April to July

Trekking in Chennai comes up with rigorous mountain climbing too. Swami Malai at a height of 4338 ft can be an adventurer’s delight along with the smaller pinnacles like Jadavu and Palamathi. Your trek will start from the Mangalam village and the route passes between the houses along the slopes of the hill.

Around an hour of steep climbing and you are at the top. Climb on the “viewpoint” rock to contemplate the route you took to reach there.

Swami Malai
Swami Malai

 

Yercaud

Distance from Chennai: 360 km

Ideal time to visit: June to September, October to January

Nestled on the Shevaroy range in Western Ghats, the Jewel of the East – Yercaud is a trekkers’ paradise apart from being a honeymoon destination.

Twenty hairpin bends, each offering diverse vistas are your treats for trekking near Chennai. There are moderate hiking trails through the hamlets like Manjakuttai, forests and hill slopes.

Some of the famous spots that you can trek to are Kiliyur Falls, Bear’s cave, Shevaroy Temple, Lady’s Seat, Big and Small Lake, Pagoda Point and Anna Park.

Yercaud
Yercaud

 

Dolphin’s Nose

Distance from Chennai: 550 km

Ideal time to visit: September to December

A number of trekking clubs in Chennai organize this spectacular and easily accessible trek in Kodaikanal. The highlight of the trek is, obviously, the rocky outcrop above the glaring gorge from where you can enjoy the vistas of the valley, the Vaigai Lake and the Periyakulam town of 6600 ft if the weather is bright and sunny. The ascension is only 5 kilometres and not so strenuous as the mountain trail is quite smooth.

While descending, you can take a detour to the Vellagavi town to take in the purest essence of the hill station.

Around 13-14 kilometers of distance, lies Kumbakarai. The Kumbakarai Falls is one of the most beautiful treats you can enjoy during the trek.

Dolphin’s Nose
Dolphin’s Nose

 

Meghamalai

Distance from Chennai: 550 km

Ideal time to visit: September to December

As the name suggests, Meghamalai is the abode of creamy clouds soaring over the verdant tea plantation. One of the most picturesque trekking places in Tamilnadu, it is located on the border of the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala and hence, is rich in biodiversity.

Asiatic Elephants will be a common sight as you are traversing through the forests at a leisurely pace. Easy trekking routes are meandering through the region leading to Manalar Falls, Pothai Pull Medu and the Elephant Corridor.

Meghamalai
Meghamalai

 

Kolli Hills

Distance from Chennai: 357 km

Ideal time to visit: All the year

Among the best trekking places in Tamilnadu, the Kolli Hills with the challenging trek route of long 18 kilometres are perfect for those who seek some hardcore trekking in Chennai.

The surrounding area along the hills are revered and feared by the locals due to the legend of witchcraft being practised here.

Your route will start from the Puliancholai Village followed by the moderate trail ending at the base of Akash Ganga Waterfalls. During monsoon, the trail gets extremely challenging, but enjoyable at the same time to thrill seekers. Hiking further and around, you can explore the caves hidden amid the forest.

As to climb to reach the summit, a number of local temples will act as landmarks. Chennai trekkers who know the skill of bouldering, will find this trek thoroughly enjoyable.

Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills

 

Venkateswara Hills

Distance from Chennai: 357 km

Ideal time to visit: September to March

If you are looking for full length trekking and camping trips near Chennai, the 144 kilometres trek through the pristine environs of the Eastern Ghats will let you explore the gurgling streams, magical falls and the silent forestry. The forest is part of the Venkateswara National Park and hence, you will be greeted by the endemic wildlife of the area while hiking through the forest.

The trek will start from Kumaradhara Dam followed by the winding pathways of the forest and finally end near the Kothapally village.

This trekking destination in Chennai experience will offer you the magnificent beauty of the Angel Falls cascading down to form an azure pool. You should take 3-4 days to complete this camping trek.

Venkateswara Hills
Venkateswara Hills

 

Mamanduru

Distance from Chennai: 152 km

Ideal time to visit: September to Mid February

Trekking through canyons surrounded by towering peaks and vertical rock climbing, Mamanduru is undoubtedly one of the best options of trekking near Chennai. The Tumburu Theertham Trail passes through forestry and a number of natural wading pools complimented by boulders.

Tumburu Valley and Tirumala Hills trek are the two most highlighted treks.

The popular spots to explore are:

  • Ramakrishna Theertham
  • Prehistoric Caves and cave paintings
  • Brahma Devi Gundam
  • Tarigonda Vengamamba Cave
  • Chakalibana Waterfalls
Mamanduru
Mamanduru

 

Hogenakkal Falls

Distance from Chennai: 340 km

Ideal time to visit: August to early March

One of the best trekking places in Tamilnadu, Hogenakkal Falls can be accessed from the village of the same name.

While ascending to Pennagaram, you will get to see a raw countryside blessed with mulberry fields, scraggy castor and the significant Aiyanars made of plastered brick or terracotta.

From here you will pass through the thorny vegetation followed by the tall groves resonating with the gushing sound of the streams formed by the waterfall.

Hogenakkal Falls
Hogenakkal Falls

 

Pichavaram Mangrove

Distance from Chennai: 235 km

Ideal time to visit: November to February

Camping in Chennai was never more wild and wonderful than exploring the second largest Mangrove habitat in the world. The mangrove habitat stands on the confluence of Coleroon and Vellar river systems.

Take a local guide and explore the dense thickets to encounter over 177 species of native birds. The tranquillity amid the mangrove channels, mud flats, creeks and sand flats will never cease to mesmerize you.

Pichavaram Mangrove
Pichavaram Mangrove

 

Pondicherry

Distance from Chennai: 170 km

Ideal time to visit: November to March

Called the “French Riviera of the East”, Pondicherry can be the perfect option to explore a Portuguese colony by the Bay of Bengal.

This trek through the red soiled barren land will treat you with the Auroville Matrimandir –a golden metal sphere amid lush green lawn. You will pass through barren groves and muddy trails with tranquillity.

Pondicherry
Pondicherry town

 

Mahabalipuram

Distance from Chennai: 61 km

Ideal time to visit: All the year

Although there is nothing hardcore about Mahabalipuram, a beach hiking trip is always something that trekkers will love to experience.

The Shore temple by the golden beach is included in the World Heritage Sites. You can camp by the beach to enjoy the sounds of the sea.

Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram

 

Horsley Hills

Distance from Chennai: 278 km

Ideal time to visit: November to March

The “Ooty of Andhra Pradesh”, Horsley Hills come on the top of the list when discussing trekking places near Chennai.

Located at a height of 1265 metres, you will be offered an easy and enchanting trek along the woods of Eastern Ghats. The rhododendron laden trails during the blooming season will be an experience of a lifetime. There are enough camping sites under the open sky with close proximity to the forest. Sambar, Dhole, Black bear and Panther can be spotted if you traverse through the buffer zone or simply if you are lucky enough!

It is the abode of mist especially during twilight with the mauve coloured hills in the background.

Horsley Hills
Horsley Hills

 

Nandi Hills

Distance from Chennai: 349 km

Ideal time to visit: November to March

A moderate route for trekking in Chennai, the Nandi Hills can be an introductory trek for newbies. This trek starts from Eucalyptus laden groves and the lush green plantation afterwards makes the trek more enjoyable.

The Boulders increase as you traverse uphill. The rocky outcrops look stunning along the backdrop of the green groves, so does the breathtaking birdseye view from the top. Stone built steps will seem a little tiring but if you take breaks in regular intervals, it will be no big deal.

Nandi Hills
Nandi Hills

 

Meesapulimala

Distance from Chennai: 574 km

Ideal time to visit: November to March

Nestled in the second highest peak of Western Ghats with a height of 2640 metres, the Meesapulimala trek is challenging yet one of the most beautiful climbs for seasoned hikers.

The Rhododendron laden forest and the eight hills that surround the peak are highlights of this trek.

Meesapulimala
Meesapulimala

 

Other Popular Trekking Spots

trekking near Chennai
Popular Trekking spots in Chennai

Apart from the above mentioned places, there are a few other treks near Chennai that you can cover, namely:

  • Bear Shola Falls (530 km) –lush greenery and a cascading stream

  • Thekkady (574 km) –trek through forests and enjoy watching wildlife

  • Mudumalai (570 km) –five verdant hills surrounding the sanctuary and the rich wild fauna

  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary (90km) –Migratory birds amid pristine islands

  • Chembarambakkam Lake (25km) –one of the two rain fed reservoirs 

  • Alamparai Fort (110 km) –Mughal era ruins

  • Pulicat Lake (60km) –second largest brackish water lagoon

  • Kanchipuram (75km) –famous temple city

The Gateway of South India is blessed with hills, forests, waterfalls, temples and more. In a way, Chennai will offer something for everyone.

While selecting the places for trekking, there is one thing that you should keep in mind – your skill level. If you are a beginner or just an enthusiast, then the easy and moderate treks will be suitable for you.

Advanced trekkers can, of course, go for the Gingee Fort trek, the Yelagiri Uphill Trek, or Mamanduru trek. As for the elite hikers or seasoned trekkers, Meesapulimala, Venkateswara Hills, Kolli Hills and Swami Malai peak trek will be challenging and charming at the same time.

We are here to help you out with new places and if you have some more to add to the list then share them in the comment section below. We would love to know.

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