Kuari Pass Trek – The legitimate beginner’s trek
Kuari Pass Trek begins from Haridwar and takes you the breathtaking Joshimath, Khullara, and Auli. The temperature during the day at Kuari Pass remains 13°C-18°C drops to -3°C-4°C during the night. The overall trekking distance is around 33km, and the maximum altitude is 12,516 ft. The difficulty level of the trek is an easy to moderate trek with Haridwar being the closest railway station.
Kuari Pass trek goes on for six days, and during the trek, you will see the holy destinations in the Himalayas. It begins with Haridwar and then takes you to Joshimath showing you beautiful pilgrim spots in different places. Devprayag, Bhagirathi, and Alakananda confluence along with Joshimath aren’t only the enthralling points on the pass as there is more to this trek. The beauty of Chitrakantha and Chaukhamba is fantastic as these are some exotic sights that will surprise you with their grand serenity when you leave Chitrakantha to get to the Tali Top, you will see an abundance of bewitching beauty with lush alpine meadows and well-defined tracks.
En route there, is Nanda Devi Peak, Rishi Ganga River, and you will see the mighty Kuari Pass on the trek. A short but memorable trek, Kuari Pass Trek is terrific for even beginners by being not too high.
The best time to take Kuari Pass Trek is during April to Mid June.
The Kuari Pass Trek itinerary :
The legitimate beginner’s trek, Kuari Pass trek starts at Joshimath. You will be driving from Haridwar to Joshimath and believe us, and it is quite a beautiful one. The route will take along the tributaries of Ganga, quite an impressive sight. You will see the beautiful valleys and forests of Garhwal below you as you travel by the road. You will stay for the night at Joshimath and enjoy the hotel stay with grand hospitality.
Day 1 :
Day one will take you to an altitude of 6,696 ft from Joshimath to Guling via Dhak. It will be a 10-12 hours drive from Haridwar to Dhak, and then you will take a beautiful, mountainous trek for around 5-6 hours all the way to Guling.
The town of Haridwar is 6,696 ft from sea level, Guling is around 9,832 ft, and Dhak is almost 6,956 ft high. You will just need 45 minutes drive to Dhak and rest of the way is via trekking. This trek is moderate except that the elevation gets high in Guling. You will have to carry water with you since there are no sources of water en route except one post the upper Tugasi village which is almost 2.5 hours into the trek.
Day 2 :
Dhak village is around 11 km from Joshimath, and the drive just takes 45 minutes. In fact, Dhak has some fantastic grocery stores and even a dhaba, so if you have some cravings for Ghar ka khana, those will be satisfied for sure.
Post the drive; your trek will take you to the Tugasi village following a dirt trail. Below lies the Dhauli-Ganga River making its way to the Vishnugad-Tapovan Hydro Power Station. There is even a rain shelter on the trail and first on the road before you reach the Kharchi Village. It only takes around 20 minutes to reach the latter.
At the rain shelter, you will see the valley on your left, and for the next 45 minutes, you will be on your way to the Lower Tugasi. Numerous trails are leading out of the village, but the one past water based flour mills is must visit. It turns sharp on the left and then climbs up to the Upper Tugasi via numerous switchbacks. Here you will see a lot of cultivated land, and within 30 to 40 minutes, you will reach Upper Tugasi. You will also notice some streams, but they are worth avoiding.
As you cross the fields, you will see numerous villages form your trail from the Upper Tugasi. There is the beautiful Dronagiri, and after that, you will only take 1.5 – 2 hours to get to Guling from this point. The following trail will be a mix steep and moderate climbs, and you will see some oaks and then a mixed forest.
You will find the Guling campsite inside the forest, and as you look back from this point, you will notice the Hathi and Ghora parvat.
Day 3 :
You will go from Guling to Khullara (9,832 ft to 10,492 ft) within 3-4 hours covering some moderate treks. You have streams along the way so you won’t have to carry the extra weight of the water.
The trail on day three is not as steep as the trail on day two. Your route to Khullara is indeed a beautiful one. Within just 40 minutes of beginning from Guling, you will get to the first clearing, covered by oak forests. As you begin trekking on the trail going into the woods, you will get to the second clearance after an hour. You will cross numerous streams on your way.
Throughout your day three trek, you will notice the village of Dronagiri on the left, along with Hathi Ghoda peaks. These peaks make for quite an enchanting sight at the trek.
The clearing has the Khullara campsite so spend the night with an open sky and vast collection of stars.
Day 4 :
Your day four trek will take you from Khullara to Chitrakantha/Tali via Kuari Pass (10,492 ft to 11,031 ft via 12,516 ft) covering in around 8 hours. This part of the trek is also a moderate trek following a steep climb in the beginning hours of the trek. An advantage on this trek is that there are streams along the way, so you no need to carry the water.
The trail from Khullara starts a steep climb, and within 1-1.5 hours, you will get to the ridge (a part of Lord Curzon’s trail). From this point, you will see 360-degree views of the magnificent Himalayas so soak in the sights and enjoy the sheer beauty of the mountains before you continue on the trail. On one side lies Chaukhamba, Dronagiri, Neelkanth, Nilgiri along with the famed Hathi Ghoda peaks. Then right in the straight path of you lies the Trishul and some parts of Nanda Devi. As you begin to trek on this trail, you will reach the upper grasslands of Kuari Pass.
From the ridge point, you will be trekking up to the Kuari top over a moderate climb, and within 40 minutes, you will be atop the point. After this, a gradually descending trail will begin, taking you to the Kuari Pass in another 40 minutes.
If you want to get some grand views again, then a walk to the Jhandi top is recommended. To reach Jhandi Top, you will have to keep walking in the direction of the ridge and not turn towards Khullar form the Kuari Pass. Within an hour’s moderate climb, you will be there, stealing astonishing glimpses of the Himalayas. From there, start an average descend to the Chitrakantha meadows. Start walking on the forest trail to reach Chitrakantha (will take around 1-1.5 hours). From Chitrakantha, you will get even better views (180-degree views) of the mountains. Dronagiri is still visible and so time for some snapshots if you happen to have a camera with you.
Then comes the trail from Chitrakantha to Tali which takes you quite deep into the forest. Oaks, pines will cover you and numerous rhododendrons. The wood will grow so dense that you won’t see any sunlight inside it at all! The Tali forest camp is only a 40 minutes from this trail. And the campsite is situated inside the forest, close to a stream. So stay the night in this beautiful campground and enjoy your relaxing getaway amidst the beautiful oaks.
Day 5 of Kuari Pass Trek:
On day fifth, you will go from Chitrakantha/Tali to Auli (11,031 ft 8,625 ft). Then you will enjoy a drive to Joshimath and back to Haridwar. Today’s journey will only take around 4-5 hours. If you are wondering if you should take water with you or not, I will suggest no need since you get the refill option at streams at Padiyar and once you get to Auli. Your trek today will be a moderate climb all the way to Tali lake taking around 40 minutes. At this point, you will see grand mountain views since you are above a tree line.
Keep walking on the trail that cuts through a cliff after a 20 minutes steep climb from the Tali lake. Here you will see the Lower and Upper Tugasi villages along with some rhododendron forests. After a good 40 minutes, your trail will end at Gorson Bugyal. At Gorson Bugyal, you will see the way going to the left with it being a lovely, descending walk. In around 2-2.5 hours you get to Padiyar where the trail meets an oak forest. Within just 15 minutes you will get to the Padiyar temple where you can stop for some time and the beautiful imagery.
From the Padiyar temple, the trail keeps on the descending way. Within another 10-15 minutes, you will reach the Upper Auli (Auli is around 1,000 ft below Upper Auli). Once you enter Auli, your next step is GMVN Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. Here you will take the exit from the trip, and the Kuari Pass Trek both. Your pleasant drive back to Joshimath and Haridwar will begin. You can stay another day in Haridwar for shopping and discover the beauty of the city.