Panchachuli Base Camp is among the most exciting base camps that attract an influx of travelers from all over the world every year.
Cozily tucked amidst the snow-capped peaks of Panchachuli, the Darma valley of Pithoragarh district (Uttarakhand) is a blessed, scenic location with copious natural wonders. The route that takes trekkers to the glacier offers a spectacular amalgamation of enthralling scenery, glistening mountains, humming streams, Alpine meadows and an expansive variety of natural flora & fauna.
Located in Eastern Kumaon Himalaya, this trekking route creates the division linking the Gori Ganga and Darma Valleys. A lot of people flock here to witness the ethereal beauty and experience the adventure Himalayas foothills offer. Panchachuli Glacier, located in the laps of Kumaon Himalayan range in the Darma Valley is situated close to the borders of Nepal and Tibet which are further regarded for their outstanding natural beauty and pristine condition.
Travelers find the trek to the glacier through the walk along river Dhauliganga quite enticing.
If you are a spirited trekker or considering undertaking this one as your first one, then we have a detailed itinerary for you. While the whole scene might appear puzzling to you at first, once you are familiar with the names and understand the nooks and crannies of strenuous treks, it will appeal to you more.
Let’s take a look at the detailed Itinerary:
Day 1: Kathgodam to Dharchula (9 hours, 295 km)
Your trip starts with you reaching Dharchula from Kathgodam. We are assuming that you have already arrived Kathgodam which is the nearest point from Delhi or other major connecting cities. While it’s whole day’s drive, the beautiful visually enticing ride will keep you busy, and you won’t know where time flew! The trip will take you through the small towns of Bhimtal, Ashkot, Almora, Seragat, Dhaulchina, Chaukhori, Thal. If you are used to the magnificent Himalayan ranges and deep gorges, pristine native villages, then you can enjoy your rendezvous with the hills. And, if this is your first time, then rest assured, you will fall deep under the spell of majestic, lively Himalayan hills.
Dharchula is a remote valley village with stunning visuals. Located across the river Kali, the village offers a great view, and if you are a fan of nature photography, then this would be a perfect place. The village provides some great homestays that you can check in for overnight accommodation. Since the village is not much ‘urbanized,’ you may not be able to enjoy variety or options so do your research in advance and book yourself a good homestay with reputation and positive reviews.
Day 2: Dharchula – Dar – Urthing (2 hours drive-4 hours trek)
For this trek, in the entire Darma Valley, Dar is the final road head.
From Dharchula it will take you around 3 hours via a road drive to Dar and the drive will take you along a windy road via scattered tribal settlements Tawaghat and New Sobla. From Dar, you will have to start with a 3-4 hour walk to get to the campsite of Urthing via the Bongling forest. This trek to Urthing is quite challenging as you will walk along a narrow cliff edge with Dhauliganga River flowing under on your right. The trek route comes to an end at a rock cut stretch where you reach the village of Bongling. From here, you can take a level walk to access the campsite. Spend the night in the camp and marvel at the Himalayan beauty.
Day 3: Urthing – Naagling (10 km trek, 4 hours)
The trek on day three is quite an easy walk and takes you through hillsides of vibrant pastoral land, while Dhauliganga flows under through the gorges. The trail goes through the sharp, green meadows and then comes a suspension bridge that lets you reach the Sela campsite. The campsite is on the outskirts of Naagling and here; you can spend the night and get some rest.
Day 4: Naagling – Son (11 km, 5 hours)
As you start trekking to Naagling, you will face a rocky terrain during the initial 3 kilometers. Then you enter the coniferous forests and then a meadow in Nagling. Here, the vantage point will offer a sight so marvelous that you wouldn’t have witnessed ever in life. You will see the distant glaciers with lofty Himalayan peaks surrounding them. From here, baling is just 3 kilometers away, and a walk via the tribal’s’ vegetation land will take you there. Then you will reach Son, uninhabited settlement in the Darma Valley. After a full day of hard work, enjoy your overnight rest at the camp.
Day 5: Son – Panchachuli Basecamp (4260 Mts, 5 km)
On this day, you will take a walk to the base camp which will take you along a narrow trail via the Dantu Bugyals. You will see forest cover on one side with Meola river bed covering the site on the other end, and here, it’s quite a steep descend to the base camp. The entire trek is quite charming with bugyals at one end and birch and conifer forests on the other.
You will see amazing wildflowers, strawberries on either side of the trail and face some steep climbs and descends. The site is a splendid one with stretches of glaciers, surrounded by peaks, sprawling meadow being shadowed by towering oak and birch trees. Here, you will see Panchachuli (6904 Mts./22652 ft.) in the background. When you are over with enjoying some time at the site, you can retrace steps and get back Son for your overnight stay.
Day 6: Panchachuli Base Camp-Son- Naagling
After your memorable visit to the base camp, you can begin your backward trek to Naagling. The route will be the same as undertaken before except that you will be retracing your steps to back to where you started. Since the trek is downwards, it’s even easier. Enjoy your dinner with an overnight stay at the camps.
Day 7: Naagling to Urthing 12km.
It will be a morning trek to Urthing from Naagling. Spend the night in camps. Click candid photos on suspension bridge keeping in mind the safety. This is the point where you start feeling of never going back home and staying between mountains forever.
Day 8: Urthing to Dharchula
On this last day of your trek, you will have to trek for 5 km to get to Sobla and from there; you will board a vehicle to reach Dharchula. You can stay at the same hotel you stayed at when you arrived in Dharchula depending on what reservations you made. We recommend that you double check your itinerary dates, arrival dates (both going and coming back dates) so there are no issues when you go back to Dharchula regarding your accommodation.
Finally, as the trek is over, you will travel to Kathgodam via Almora which will 8hrs to cover 290kms. If you want to spend another night at Kathgodam, you can advance book your accommodation. But a good recommendation would be that you take an evening or overnight bus/train back to New Delhi or other connected significant towns depending on your home destination.
So, this was the simple and detailed itinerary of Panchachuli Base Camp Trek on paper. Based on our experience, we suggest you that while you book your trip. Specific agents might give you a different itinerary based on alternate routes. However, this is the mainstream and only course that is widely famous and used. So we advise that you check all destinations and day by day village/town/camp destination and confirm that you have suitable accommodation for overnight stays.
Other recommended Trek : Har Ki Doon Trek