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Kuari Pass Trek, Uttarakhand

Also known as Lord Curzon trail and famous for magnificent views of Nanda Devi- 2nd highest peak of India, is the only trekkable mountain pass in winter.

Kuari Pass Trek, Uttarakhand

Duration

6 Days/5 Nights

Pickup Point

Laxman chowk

Maximum Altitude

12,500 ft

Best time to visit

Winter

Difficulty level

Easy, Moderate

Accomodation

Tent, Hotels

Overview

Being the only trekkable mountain pass in winter, Kuari Pass trek is situated deep in the Garhwal Himalayas. Offering the magnificent views of the 2nd highest mountain peak in India- Mt Nanda Devi, Mt Dronagiri, Chaukhambha, Hathi Ghoda Peaks, Kuari Pass summit is situated at a height of 12,500 ft. It is one of the best trekking options for beginners where the trekkers get to experience the unparalleled serenity of Himalayan forests and valleys.

Kuari Pass trek starts from Joshimath- a sacred town in Chamoli district, also famed as the getaway for mountain expeditions. The trek is famous for multiple reasons. You will pass through the well placed oak trees in the forest with a not so steep climb making it an easy walk through the forest. Another reason is Gorson Bugyal- a rich himalayan alpine meadow. Once you cross the forest, Gorson Bugyal welcomes you with Mt Nanda Devi and Dronagiri on one side and green meadows on the other. Offering different terrain, weather, and views in each season, this trek is enough for someone who is starting out on the Himalayan treks.


 Kuari Pass Quick Info:

Kuari Pass Trek distance: 33 km
Kuari Pass trek temperature:
Winter- Dec to Feb: 8 to 10 degree in day, 0 to -8 degree at night
Spring- Mar to Apr: 15 to 18 degree in day, 0 to 5 degree at night 
Summer- May to June: 18 to 20 degree in day, 3 to 8 degree at night
Autumn- Sept to Nov: 10 to 15 degree in day, 0 to 3 degree at night
Kuari Pass trek best time: November to April
Kuari Pass trek height: 12,500 ft
Kuari Pass trek difficulty: Easy to moderate


 Detailed Information:

Kuari Pass trek distance- The total trekking distance of Kuari Pass trek is 33 km long. Start trekking from Dhak village through the rocky paths  amidst villages for 8 km in the span of 5-6 hours to reach Gulling campsite.On your next day, trek for 5 km to reach Tali forest camp through the dark forest of oak and rhododendron. From Tali forest camp, walk for 6-7 hours covering a total distance of 12 km to reach Kuari Pass via Khullara and back to Tali forest camp. From Tali forest camp, cover a distance of 7-8 km as you reach Auli.


 Kuari Pass height- Kuari Pass is situated at a soaring altitude of 12,500 ft.

The altitude gain throughout the span of 6 days would be as follows:-
On the first day of the Kuari Pass trekking, you will be traveling to Joshimath located at a height of 5970 ft. Next day, cover an altitude of almost 3600 ft as you trek to Gulling top located at an elevation of 9600 ft. Climb to an altitude of 11,000 ft as you trek to Tali forest campsite. Trek to Kuari Pass will take you to a whopping altitude of 12,500 ft.


 Kuari Pass trek difficulty level- Kuari Pass trek is of easy moderate difficulty level with a mix of steep and gradual ascent.

Kuari Pass trek starts from Dhak Village. The trail passes through the rugged terrains of local villages. After walking for around 1 hours enter the Tugasi region and the climb is steep as you reach Gulling campsite. Trek to Tali forest camp is comparatively easier and the ascend is relatively smooth compared to previous day. 30 mins of trek, enter mixed forests of oak and rhododendron slowly thickening as you walk further. In winters, everything in the forest is covered in a blanket of snow making the trek a little challenging.  The trek to Kuari Pass via Khullara top is challenging and exhausting. Cross broken bridge and a frozen stream followed by a ridge climb to finally reach the Pass. Don’t forget to rent or buy good quality crampons and gaiters for additional support. After spending some time at the Pass, descend till Tali forest campsite through the same route. Next day, descend to Auli.


 Kuari Pass weather- 

Kuari Pass trek in Autumn (October and November)
During these months, Kuari Pass temperature ranges from 15°C to 0°C. The meadows are golden brown and offer the crisp views of the Himalayan mountains. The days are warmer whereas the nights are colder. 

Kuari Pass trek in winters (December to February)
In winter months the entire region near Kuari Pass will be covered by thick snow cover. The landscape changes color when draped in the white snow. Temperatures vary from  8°C to -14°C. These months are perfect for snowball fights and soft snowflakes loosely hanging from trees of oak and pine offers a tinge of Christmas-y feel.

Kuari Pass trek in spring (March to April)
Spring in Kuari starts from the month of March and goes on till the end of April. Snow starts to melt in the upper regions and rhododendrons bloom on the trees giving vibrant feels. The temperature during these months varies from 13°C to 17°C during daytime and drops to 0°C during the nighttime.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Rishikesh to Joshimath

  • Distance- 250 km, Time- 9 to 10 hours
  • Altitude- 1410 ft to 5970 ft
  • Meals- Dinner
  • Stay- Guest house/hotel

Day 2: Joshimath to Gulling Top

  • Drive from Joshimath to Dhak Village
  • Trek to Gulling Top(4 km)
  • Time- 5 hours
  • Altitude- 5970 ft - 6750 ft - 9600 ft
  • Meals- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Stay- Camps

Day 3: Gulling Top to Camp

  • Distance- 5 km, Time- 4 to 5 hours
  • Altitude- 9600 ft to 11000 ft
  • Meals- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Stay- Camps

Day 4: Camp to Kuari Pass & back to camp

  • Distance- 12 km(6 km to and fro), Time- 6 to 7 hours
  • Altitude- 11000 ft to 12500 ft to 11000 ft
  • Meals- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Stay- Camps

Day 5: Back to Joshimath via Auli

  • Distance- 7-8 km, Time- 5 to 6 hours
  • Drive to Joshimath from Auli(distance- 15 km)
  • Altitude- 11000 ft - 9200 ft - 5970 ft
  • Meals- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Stay- Guest house/hotel

Day 6: Return to Rishikesh

  • Distance- 250 km, Time- 9 to 10 hours drive
  • Altitude- 5970 ft to1410 ft 
  • Meals- Breakfast

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Rishikesh to Joshimath

  • Get on the Kuari Pass journey from Rishikesh at 7 AM.
  • Take a shared cab from Rishikesh Laxman Chowk.
  • Stop for breakfast and lunch(self-sponsored) on your way.
  • Drive along the Ganga river for the first few hours and then along Alaknanda on the rest of your journey.
  • Reach Joshimath by evening and check in to the guest house/hotel.
  • Meet your guide and co-trekkers.
  • Have dinner and retire for the night.

Day 2: Joshimath to Gulling Top

  • Get up early and have your breakfast on your first morning in the mountains.
  • Get briefed by your guide and start your drive to Dhak village which is the starting point of your trek.
  • Start your 5 km trek to your first campsite- Gulling Top
  • The trail is a beautiful mix of gradual ascents and deep oak forests.
  • Have packed lunch on your way.
  • Get the first view of the glorifying Nanda Devi peak.
  • As you move up, witness the magnificent views of Dronagiri and Hathi Parvat.
  • Reach the campsite in late afternoon and relax.
  • Explore the surrounding nearby and enjoy a golden sunset in the evening.
  • Have dinner and retire for the night.

Day 3: Gulling Top to Camp

  • Get up and enjoy your breakfast.
  • Start your trek towards your next campsite.
  • Trek on the trail taking you through oaks, rhododendrons and walnut forests..
  • Reach the campsite and relax.
  • Have dinner and retire early for the night.

Day 4: Camp to Kuari Pass and back to Camp 

  • Get up and have your breakfast to start your ultimate adventure.
  • This is the day on which you will reach Kuari Pass trek height of 12,500 ft.
  • Pass through Gorson Bugyal- a vast alpine meadow.
  • Reach the summit and admire the views of Nanda Devi, Chaukhambha, Neel Kantha, Hathi Parvat, Dronagiri, and many more.
  • Get to know about all the peaks visible from your guide. 
  • After spending some time at the summit, start your journey down to the campsite.
  • Have packed lunch on your way down.
  • Reach at the campsite by late afternoon and relax.
  • Have dinner and retire for the night.

Day 5: Back to Joshimath via Auli

  • Get up in the morning and enjoy your breakfast.
  • Start your journey towards Auli and stop at Tali Taal on your way.
  • Reach Auli by afternoon and get transferred to Joshimath.
  • Have lunch and explore the locality.
  • Have dinner and retire for the night.

Day 6: Return to Rishikesh

  • Have your breakfast in the morning and say goodbye to your guides.
  • Start your journey to Rishikesh.
  • Reach Rishikesh by evening as your memorable Kuari Pass trek experience comes to an end.

How to reach?

By Air: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun serves as the nearest airport to Rishikesh. Visitors can take a direct flight to Dehradun from Mumbai or Delhi or connecting flights from anywhere in India. Local vehicles can be availed from outside the airport to reach Rishikesh by road from Dehradun.

By Train: Rishikesh Junction Railway Station is well-connected to all the surrounding major cities. Visitors can easily find frequent trains to Rishikesh from Delhi and Dehradun.

By Road: Rishikesh is well connected by roads to all major cities and towns, so visitors as per their choice and comfort can take the bus to reach Rishikesh smoothly. Rishikesh is connected to Chandigarh, Delhi, Dehradun, and Nainital through a good network of roads.

Things to Carry

  • Rucksack (Min 55 Ltrs with rain cover)
  • Trekking Shoes, Floaters or Sandals
  • Quick Dry Tees
  • Track Pants
  • Cotton socks
  • Pair of woolen socks
  • Rain jacket or Poncho 
  • 1 Full Sleeves Sweater or Fleece Jacket,1 Heavy Jacket, 1 Pair of Thermal
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Windproof Jacket
  • Woolen Cap
  • Gloves
  • Sun Cap
  • Scarf
  • Lip Balm
  • Cold Cream & SunScreen (SPF 40+)
  • Packed food
  • Water Bottle 1 
  • Powerbank
  • Headlamp or torch with fresh pair of batteries
  • Personal Toiletries 
  • Personal Basic Medical Kit
  • Sunglasses
  • People who use spectacles (Use Photochromic glasses instead of contact lenses)
  • Trekking Pole
  • Extra Polythene

Inclusion

  • Transportation from Rishikesh to Rishikesh: AC Semi-Sleeper Volvo bus/Tempo Traveler
  • Accommodation on double/triple sharing (Guest house, Home stay, Camps)
  • Meals while on trek (Veg)
  • Trek equipments: Sleeping bag, mattress, tent (double/triple sharing), kitchen & dining tent, toilet tent, utensils and crampon (if required)
  • All necessary permits and entry fees
  • First aid medical kits
  • Mountaineering qualified & professional trek leader, guide and support staff.

Exclusion

  • Personal essentials
  • Equipment- Gumboots, trekking poles, etc.
  • Insurance- Personal and travel insurances
  • Beverage- Mineral water bottles, bottled or canned beverages
  • Snacks- Chocolates, dry fruits, protein or nutrition bars
  • Entertainment- Camera or drone fees
  • In case your trek remains incomplete or uninitiated because of "force majeure" or due to personal reasons after you arrive at the starting point, you will not be able to get a refund, reschedule or replace any services that remain unutilized by you
  • Any additional cost incurred due to changes in Government Guidelines related to travel/trek/COVID-19 will be borne by the trekkers
  • Loading and unloading of personnel luggage
  • Any kind of emergency evacuation charges

Advisory

  1. Rent gear: You can reduce the hassle of buying gear like trek pants, jackets, shoes and rent them for the trek at an additional cost.

  2. Guests must be vaccinated with both doses of Covid vaccine.

  3. The organization reserves the rights to modify the trek during any emergencies or natural calamities.

  4. In unforeseen weather conditions or government restrictions, the trek may get canceled or altered. In such cases, the operator will try to provide with an alternate option. However, a cash refund will not be applicable in this situation.

Cancellation Policy

  • If cancellation is made 30 days before the date of travel, 25% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees

  • If cancellation is made 15 to 30 days before the date of travel, 50% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees

  • If cancellation is made 0 to 15 days before the date of travel, 100% of the total tour cost will be charged as cancellation fees

  • The applicable refund amount will be processed within 10 business days

Frequently Asked Questions

Kuari Pass trek best time is from November to April. You’ll be able to experience complete snow filled trails in the months of January and February. Kuari Pass trek winter experience is one of the best experiences in the Himalayas.
Kuari Pass trek difficulty level is easy to moderate making it a best option for beginners. A nominal level of fitness is however mandatory to cover the whole distance. You are required to be physically as well as mentally fit to complete the whole trek.
Kuari Pass offers a variety of temperature in all the season which is as mentioned below- Winter- Dec to Feb: 8 to 10 degree in day, 0 to -8 degree at night Spring- Mar to Apr: 15 to 18 degree in day, 0 to 5 degree at night Summer- May to June: 18 to 20 degree in day, 3 to 8 degree at night Autumn- Sept to Nov: 10 to 15 degree in day, 0 to 3 degree at night
Kuari Pass trek distance is approx 33 km. You’ll walk for 5-6 km everyday on an average which takes around 5-6 hours. There will be 2 experienced guides with you who will tell you interesting stories about the places and keep motivating you during your journey.
The trek is led by professional trek leaders who have completed Basic and Advanced mountaineering courses. There will be one guide who leads the group and another guide who will be walking at the end of the group.
All the members of support staff are certified in wilderness first aid and are trained for all concerns related to high altitude. The staff will be carrying a first aid kit to ensure the maximum safety of the trekkers.
Usually, the group consists of 20-24 people in one batch including males and females. We need a minimum of 6 people for a fixed departure, but for the customized trip, the group size doesn’t matter and will have customized Kuari Pass trek cost.
Absolutely. The safety of girls is of foremost importance to us. We always create a friendly environment for everyone on the trek. All our guides and other support crew are carefully chosen for your trips who are very honest and reliable.
No. Female trekkers share tents with female co-trekkers. If you are the only girl on the trek, you get a separate tent for yourself during your trek.
The best shoes for the Kuari Pass trek route are the ones that are breathable and light in weight. Also, ankle support is also a very important thing to take care of while buying the perfect pair of shoes. You can go for brands like- Decathlon, Wildcraft, Quechua, etc. In the winters, you’ll require gators or gumboots which you can rent from the base village.
Yes, December is said to be the best time to visit Kuari Pass. Kuari Pass receives snowfall during this month. The temperature ranges from 7 degree celsius to -7 degree celsius. The trek would be thrilling but that’s one of the best times to enjoy real adventure.
You will be provided with attached washrooms while staying in the guest house in Joshimath and dry toilet tents while on the trek.
Consumption of liquor and smoking is not advisable on high altitude treks. As both these activities dehydrate the body easily and make it very difficult for trekkers to complete the stretches.
Yes absolutely, March is the best month to experience last winter snow on Kuari Pass winter trek. Hence, March is a perfect month for snow lovers to opt for this trek package.
Kuari Pass trek is one of the safest treks. Since it is a high altitude trek, one must take an adequate amount of time to get acclimatized. Pay attention to the trek leaders’ instructions and ensure basic fitness.
Beyond the base location there will be no network connectivity. Only BSNL/Jio network will be there on the base location. So it is advisable to be prepared well for the same.
During the month of December , the temperatures fall up to -5°C to -10°C in the night. During the daytime, you will experience 0°C to 2°C.
The Kuari Pass height in feet is 12,150. It is a 33km long trek and is a mix of steep and gradual ascent.
Route for this trek is as follows: Delhi->Rishikesh-> Joshimath-> Dhak Village - > Gulling Top-> Tali Forest camp->Kuari Pass-> Tali Forest camp-> Auli-> Joshimath -> Rishikesh ->Delhi
Yes, you can easily rent trekking equipment at the base camp. There are various options available at the base camp and make sure to check the quality of the gear before renting and that they should be in good working condition.
The age group for the trek is 8 to 60 years. However, minors aged between 8 to 17 should be accompanied with their parents or guardians.
Yes, during the winter months Kuari Pass is covered in a thick blanket of snow. The trekking trail covered in snow will make the trek somewhat challenging and thrilling at some points.
Yes, make sure to carry all the necessary medications along with you. Carry the basic first aid kit as it might come in handy at any time.
Yes. Since it is a high altitude trek, chances to experience the drastic change in oxygen level and climatic conditions are high. Hence carry a Diamox with you which will help you overcome high altitude sickness.
A well-trained and friendly guide is essential for the trek so they could arrange for the necessary permits and guide you safely through the mountain terrains.

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