KGL Trek or Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

Kishansar Lake

About KGL

KGL or Kashmir Great Lakes trek has been introduced in recent years and it gained popularity ever since its beginning. Its long challenging journey has caught the eye of adventure seekers and people from all around India takes up KGL every year.

Our tour guides even told us that there are times when there’s hardly any space left at the campsite and they are forced to extend the camping area. Fortunately, we were only 4 people when we took the trek apart from 3 team members of the trek organiser. 

Read the complete blog to know all there is to know about KGL. Don’t miss out on any detail. All the information in this blog is authentic and based on our own personal experience. This blog will help you plan for your KGL Trek.

ROUTE OF KGL TREK

Day1: Sonamarg (Shitkadi) to Nichnai (13km)

Day2: Nichnai to Vishansar/Kishansar (13km)

Day3: Vishansar/Kishansar to Gadsar (15km)

Day4: Gadsar to Satsar (11km)

Day5: Satsar to Gangbal (11km)

Day6: Gangbal to Naranag (13km)

BEST TIME TO VISIT KGL TREK

July to September

 

THINGS TO CARRY ON KGL TREK

Clothing

  1. 2 Quick dry lowers
  2. 1 Waterproof jacket
  3. 7-8 t-shirts
  4. 1 sweater
  5. stole/muffler/ear-cover
  6. extra pair of socks
  7. cap (to shield yourself from sunlight)
  8. Slippers/floaters
  9. handkerchief and hand towel

Toiletries

  1. Toilet-paper roll
  2. Paper soap
  3. Sunscreen SPF 50 or above (use every 1-2 hours)
  4. Lip balm (use as often as needed)
  5. Pocket deodorant
  6. Sanitiser
  7. Other regular toiletries

Medicines

  1. Pain killer
  2. Paracetamol
  3. Medicine if you have sensitive stomach
  4. Bandaid
  5. Medical tape
  6. Painkiller spray or balm
  7. Anklets and Knee caps

Gadgets

  1. Pocket torch
  2. extra batteries
  3. Mobile phones
  4. Power bank
  5. Cameras and accessories
  6. Bluetooth speaker (optional)

Trek essentials

  1. Trekking pole
  2. Good shoes with a thick and grooved sole
  3. 1/2 litre water bottles (2)
  4. Some refreshment or dry fruits
  5. 1 Tiffin box to carry lunch
  6. Hand towel
  7. Dark UV protection good quality sun glasses
  8. Small lightweight bag to carry everything during trek
  9. keep sunscreen and lip balm in your pocket

SAFETY ON KGL TREK

The most important thing is safety. In Kashmir, a lot of us has different kind of worries regarding safety protocols for obvious reasons. It is hard to trust people. Adding fuel to the fire is lack of mobile network on the trek. Most of us, specially the solo travelers and woman travelers are worried.

Drop down your worries because that has been taken care of. As you begin the KGL trek, few kilometers uphill is an army check post where a group photograph is clicked with all the travellers and team of trek organisers. The travellers’ and guide’s name and addresses are noted. The army men forwards this information to the next army camp where you reach on the 4th day of trek at Satsar. If you fail to reach the army camp on 4th day or any of the group member are missing or hurt, the guides and tour organisers are questioned for the same. Hence, it is their soul responsibility to ensure your overall safety and security.

Day 1

Start your KGL trek from Sonamarg. Initially there’s a defined path leading uphill. A few kilometer from starting there’s an army camp that checks your medical certificates and grant you permission for the trek. They click a group photograph of all the trekkers and check your identity cards. So do not forget to carry your id at any cost or you might not be allowed to trek.

There are few steep ascends but not too difficult. People with weak lungs might find it difficult on the first day and may even wish to give up. But the most difficult day is the first day of the trek, after that the route is comparatively easier and your body gets used to walking on mountains. There is a weak mobile network until you complete 40% of your trek from the starting point to Nichnai campsite.

The trekkers pass through the maple forest. This is the only day you find trees on the trek. From the forest, the tourist guides collect wood for bonefire. After the 1st day, you do not see trees until the last day during your return from Gangbal to Naranag. None of the campsites lie anywhere near the lakes. In fact, you do not see any lake on the first day of your trek. You will be camping somewhere near the water stream coming from the lake. But you only get to see the Nichnai lake on the 2nd day while traveling from Nichnai to Vishansar.

first campsite
The Rising Sun at Nichnai Campsite

Day 2

On the 2nd day you start your trek from Nichnai campsite to Vishansar campsite. On the way you get to see Nichnai lake and you pass from the 1st pass i.e., Nichnai pass where you get mobile network for few minutes. This is considered to be easiest day of the KGL trek. As you start, you have to cross the river stream and climb a mountain, thereafter, the path to Nichnai is either plain or a gradual ascend which is not too tiring. The trek is a complete descend after you reach Nichnai pass. At Nichnai pass your mobile catches network for some time.

The terrain is mostly rocky until Nichnai pass and after a moderately steep descend you have to walk on a plain grassland until you cross the river again. Thereafter you will cross several moderate ascends and descends until you reach Vishansar. I recommend you to go to the lake first and enjoy your time at the lake before going to the camp. Because, once you reach your camp, you wouldn’t wish to move due to exhaustion. You do not see Kishansar lake on the 2nd day.

Vishansar lake, KGL Trek
Vishansar lake

Kishansar Lake, KGL Trek
Kishansar Lake

Day 3

The third day of the trek is the longest but the most beautiful. As you start your trek from Vishansar, you also get to see Kishansar lake. Thereafter, it is a very steep and rocky ascend. Within few kilometeres you reach the highest point of your KGL trek, “The Gadsar pass”. As you look at the route from Vishansar to Gadsar pass, you might feel demotivated but as you start walking you will find it easier. It is indeed steep but the view of Kishansar lake below will motivate you to keep moving. With every angle and height the dark green colored lake seem even more beautiful. Once you reach the Gadsar pass, you begin seeing the Gadsar lake.

It is a steep and rocky descend from Gadsar pass downhill.

Once you successfully climb down the mountain, the path is mostly plain. The meadows and flora will captivate your eyes and mind. The trek is over 15 km long but worth it. According to my personal experience this is the most beautiful campsite of the whole trek.

Gadsar Lake, KGL Trek
Gadsar Lake

Day 4

You start your trek traveling from trail to trail on the side of the mountains. The trail is ascending but you do not feel the ascend as it is gradual. As you reach the river stream, you have to walk uphill towards the army camp. There, your permission and ids will be checked. They further send that information to the last army camp that you will reach on the 6th Day. From this army camp you can see the Satsar lake. You have to walk over several boulders to reach the campsite.

Satsar Lake, KGL Trek
Satsar Lake

Day 5

Your trek starts from a climb to the top of mountains where you make your way over to the top by stepping over big boulders. The first few hours of this trek is tiring. You need to focus on each step you take as one wrong step may injure you severely. Walking on boulders is less tiring for your lungs but more for your mind. As you successfully make your way over to the top of Gangbal pass ,you can see two beautiful and mesmerising blue coloured lakes. The descend from the mountains is again steep and rocky.

Twin Gangbal Lakes
Twin Gangbal Lakes

As you climb down the last mountain and move towards the Gangbal lake, you pass from a meadow and a carpet of small yellow flowers covering the grass. The Gangbal lake is the most beautiful view in the entire journey according to my personal experience. For reaching the campsite you have to cross the water stream. There are 2 wooden planks kept few feet above the water stream. Once you successfully cross the stream you walk up hill and then down hill towards the campsite.

Gangbal Lake, KGL Trek
Gangbal Lake

Day 6 

You trek towards the army camp and get your ids checked again. After that you cross the beautiful pine forest, from here the trek is a complete descend towards Naranag. This is the day when you finally start seeing trees. Sometime during the descend your mobile networks will be back. The descend is steep and you must pray that it doesn’t rain as it becomes really slippery to walk on. Thanks to the horses, the trails are made safely because of their continuous marches over the past few years. Nevertheless, this descend towards Naranag is pleasant for your eyes because you see trees after 5 days in the whole duration of KGL Trek.  

Naranag
Naranag

Instructions (VERY IMPORTANT)

Check the map before starting the trek and take screenshots.

keep the original and photocopies of your id

Stay with your fellow trekkers. Even if all of you lose your way it will be easier to find you when you’re all together.

Keep drinking water, the sun and lack of trees (hence oxygen) may exhaust and dehydrate you. The treks are long and requires 7-10 hours of continuous walking, you cannot afford to fall sick there.

Do not let yourself distract while walking over boulders or while crossing the water stream.

When you stop to catch your breath, don’t take long breaks. 

If you have any chronic disease, either avoid this trek or carry your medication and get a proper checkup before taking up this trek. Remember, if one person suffers, all suffers.

If you have any allergies, inform your guides and fellow trekkers about it beforehand. If you come to know of any allergies or particular health conditions of your fellow trekkers, ensure to keep them away from it. Your group is your family on the trek.

Before ensuring the safety of other, ensure your own safety first.

Toilet tents are prohibited on this trek, so be mentally prepared for it.

The weather on the trek is unpredictable, you can only pray that you do not encounter rain or snowfall, but also be mentally prepared for the worst.

Keep good shoes and trekking pole with you. They’re going to be your saviours on the trek.

Read

https://chalghume.com/5-indian-places-resembling-foreign-destinations/

Read here about Kashmir Alpine Lakes Trek:

https://www.tourmyindia.com/treks/kashmir-alpine-lakes-trek.html

9 Replies to “KGL Trek or Kashmir Great Lakes Trek”

  1. This is what we call as the perfect treaking Guide.

    Thank you so much bhai for sharing such an awesome Experience also all the Safety precautions..

    Learned a lot from this.. ❤️❤️

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