Kashmir is renowned for its picturesque and enchanting beauty. The valley is blessed with mesmerising mountain peaks, lush green valleys, glistening lakes with spectacular scenic beauty. The mighty mountains, tall chinars, pristine lakes and rivers, and majestic meadows are a few of the many things that adorn the valley. The challenging Seven Lakes Trek is a traditional trek that spans over 7-8 days and covers a distance of approximately 63 km. The trek covers pine forests, meadows, snow-capped mountains and the seven breath taking lakes at an elevation of 13000 feet.

The Challenging Trek

            There are many difficult treks around the world depending on altitude, terrain, weather, and duration. For eg: Everest Base Camp Trek, K2 Base Camp Trek, Huayhuash Circuit Trek (Andes), Annapurna Circuit Trek and Mount Kilimanjaro Trek. The Seven Lakes Trek in Kashmir is a challenging trek that required high std of physical fitness and trekking experience. The terrain is steep and rocky with the altitude reaching over 4,000 meters. The weather can be unpredictable with the possibility of snow and rain even in the summer            months. The most challenging section of the trek is the ascent to the highest point, the Zach Pass, which stands at an altitude of approximately 4,100 meters. The climb involves crossing several streams and rivers including steep switchbacks and can be physically demanding, especially at high altitude during heavy rains and snowmelts. Proper preparation, including training, acclimatization and adequate gear is essential for a safe and successful trek.

Important Landmarks and Waypoints Along the Trek.       Few important landmarks and way points which aid the trekkers to move from bound to bound along the trek are:-

(a)       Srinagar to Naranag: The trek commences from Naranag, an important historical site known for its ancient Hindu temples, situated 55 kilometres from Srinagar.

(b)       Naranag to Trunkhol: The first day trek begins with a gradual ascent to Trunkhol, located at an altitude of 3,048 meters. It is a beautiful spot that offers splendid views of the surrounding mountains.

(c)        Trunkhol to Gangabal: After a night halt, hikers cross the Zajibal Pass to reach the Gangabal Lake. This is the largest lake on the trek encompassing several camping areas around it.

(d)       Gangabal to Nandkol: The ascent to the Nandkhol Pass located at an altitude of 3,715 meters begins on the third day.  The descent from the pass leads to the Nandkol Lake, which is surrounded by beautiful meadows and offers exceptional camping spots.

(e)       Nandkol to Satsar: On the fourth day, the Gadsar Pass is conquered to reach the Satsar Lakes, a series of seven interconnected lakes with camping spots.

(f)        Satsar to Gangbal Lake: The hikers retrace their steps back to the Gangabal Lake and camp for the night on fifth day.

(g)       Gangbal Lake to Naranag: The trek is deemed completed when the hikers descend to Naranag on the final day.

Camping Areas along the trek in Seven Lakes Trek in Kashmir.   During the challenging trek, the hikers get respite only when they reach the camping areas for rest and recoup and get battle ready for the next challenge. Other than the designated areas, the camping is not allowed anywhere on the trek and hikers are also advised to follow the advisories for their own safety. They are also advised to follow responsible camping practices and leave no trace behind. There are several camping areas along the Seven Lakes Trek and some of the most popular are as under: –

(a)       Trunkhol: The first spot on the trek located at an altitude of 3,048 meters is a beautiful meadow and an ideal spot for camping.

            (b)       Gangabal Lake: The largest lake on the trek that offers excellent camping spots consists of several meadows and grassy areas around the lake.

            (c)        Nandkol Lake: An ideal spot for camping and angling, the lake is surrounded by beautiful meadows.

            (d)       Satsar Lakes: These are a series of seven interconnected lakes engulfed with meadows and green pastures idolizing to be a perfect camping area

            (e)       Kolsar Lake: The last lake on the trek that offers beautiful meadows, stunning views of the surrounding mountains and several camping spots around it.

Prerequisites and Planning for Trek.   The Seven Lakes Trek usually takes around seven to eight days to complete the challenging & cumbersome trek at varying altitude and terrain. With the right mindset and gear, the trek offers an unforgettable experience of the stunning Himalayan mountains and the glacial lakes. A thorough planning is essential covering the following:-

(a)       Physical Fitness: The trek involves steep ascents and descents, high altitude, and challenging terrain. A good level of physical fitness is essential for a safe and enjoyable trek. A fitness routine a few weeks before the trek is recommended to tune the body for the challenge.

(b)       Trekking Gear: Proper trekking gear is essential for a safe and comfortable trek to include sturdy trekking shoes, warm and waterproof clothing, a backpack, trekking poles, and a sleeping bag. It’s also essential to carry a first aid kit, water purifying kit/tablets, and a headlamp or flashlight.

(c)        Acclimatisation: The trek involves high altitude terrain and it’s essential to acclimatise properly to avoid altitude sickness. It’s recommended to spend two to three days nearby before the trek to allow the body to adjust to the altitude.

(d)       Guide and Permits: It’s advisable to hire a local guide for the trek who is familiar with the terrain and weather conditions. It’s also essential to obtain the necessary permits from the local authorities before commencing the trek.

(e)       Weather Conditions: The weather in the higher reaches is unpredictable with the possibility of snow and rain even in the summers. It’s essential to check the weather forecast before embarking the trek and carry appropriate clothing and gears accordingly.

Conserving the Serenity while Promoting Tourism.  Conserving the serenity while promoting tourism in Seven Lakes Trek in Kashmir requires a delicate balance between tourism promotion and environmental conservation. Limiting the number of tourists who visit the Seven Lakes Trek in Kashmir can help to reduce the impact on the environment and maintain the serenity of the area. Tourists should be educated on responsible tourism practices, such as leaving no trace, minimising waste, and respecting local cultures and traditions. Encouraging eco friendly accommodations that use renewable energy, recycle waste, and conserve water.    

Developing sustainable transportation options and supporting local conservation efforts like reforestation and waste management programs.  By adopting these practices, we can ensure that the region remains a pristine natural destination for posterity to come.


            Overall, the Seven Lakes Trek in Kashmir is a challenging but rewarding adventure that offers stunning views of the Himalayan mountains and the glacial lakes. Due preparation and a good level of fitness is essential for a safe and enjoyable trek. The trek is well-marked with several camping areas along the way. However, it’s advisable to hire a local guide who is familiar with the terrain and can provide assistance and guidance during the trek. Tourism in the Seven Lakes Trek in Kashmir has created a diverse range of employment opportunities for local residents. This has not only provided economic benefits but also helped to preserve the region’s cultural and natural heritage by promoting sustainable tourism practices.

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