Updates on Roopkund trek 2023: Erstwhile the most popular high altitude trek Roopkund remains CLOSED as of 2023. You may check Ali Bedni Bugyal trek which covers almost all attractions of the trail without the lake! The trail is in pristine condition due to very rare visits by the trekkers and is an excellent choice who wish to avoid crowds, yet wish to get fantastic mountain views and some significant general aspects of a Himalayan hike.
As per Uttarakhand High Court order (Petition No. : 123 / 2014) in August 2018, one can not camp on alpine meadows or grassland, locally called Bugyal. Therefore we inform you with regret that we won’t be able to run any Roopkund trek for this season. Check here the notice issued by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Uttarakhand in accord with the court verdict. On 26th Sep’18 a reconsideration appeal is also turned down by the court and the possibility to arrange Roopkund trek is next to nil.
Roopkund – India’s most popular summer trek is closed due to Bugyal camping ban:
As we update this page on March 2019, there has been no positive outcome on trekking to Roopkund. As a responsible tour operator we are always committed to Green, Eco Friendly treks which are sustainable and have minimal impact on the environment. However the honourable court had a different opinion which put a bar on camping at Bedni Bugyal and Patar Nachuni, two back to back campsites on Roopkund trail. In reality this means, one has to push 16 hours or probably more to reach Roopkund from a permitted campsite and return! Who would have thought last summer that this will be the end of it? Below pictures are shared by our trekkers during 2018 summer treks.
As Roopkund trek is closed, which trek I may consider?
It is still possible to enjoy the magnificent peak views and sprawling meadows through our Ali Bugyal and Bedni Bugyal trek. It is true that you can’t reach Roopkund anymore, but you will literally spend two full days on alpine meadows while camping inside jungle. Needless to say that you will get to see all the peaks in this trek as well. This is certainly a suitable alternate for those who want to avoid large trekking groups during peak season and enjoy the tranquillity of nature. Remember that the proposed trek is shorter in duration, still imposes a “Moderate” trekking grade. Also Check our Fixed Departure Trek Calendar 2019 for a general listing of available treks.
Roopkund an alpine medium size lake, situated at an altitude of 16000 ft inside the district of Chamoli in Garhwal region (State of Uttarakhand), bordering western flank of Kumaon. Roopkund trek route has almost everything a high Himalayan trek can offer. Two seasons, first one in Summer/Pre Monsoon ( around two months starting in early May) and the other being Post Monsoon/Fall ( for 2 months, starting from early September) spanning around a window of 4 months in a calendar year.
The trekking trail in the lower altitude goes through interior villages, inside the Banj Oak and then Kharsu Oak jungles to finally Rhododendrons. Around ~ 3300 m/11000 ft the Tree Line recedes and alpine meadow or locally called “Bugyal” starts. Sprawling meadow, common to this altitude in Himalaya, but this picturesque span needs a special mention. Ali Bugyal, combined with Bedni Bugyal arguably delivers finest of alpine meadows that you can see on the Himalayas. Mighty Himalayan peaks peep behind while tiny little myriads of wild flower carpet the grassy slopes during monsoon . On higher altitude barren rocky terrain coupled with snow and ice ignite the adventurous mind. Trishul and Nandaghunti peaks cordon the area while Mrigthuni Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and other peaks set the backdrop.
This is not all. The lake is often called Mystery Lake or Skeleton Lake. Skeletons of over 200 people remain in and around this shallow lake of maximum 2 metre depth. The cold climate helped to preserve the hairs and soft tissues. Stories and legends meet to a logical conclusion that a group of pilgrims reached the lake with locals and were crossing the Junargali Pass above Roopkund. Bad weather sealed their fate. Scientific research unveil that the skeletons are as old as dating back to ~ 850 A.D. ( Source : The Nanda Devi Affair, Bill Aitken, ISBN: 9780140240450; National Geographic : Riddles of the dead: Skeleton Lake). Recently in August 2019 an experiment result is published regarding these skeletons in Nature magazine. Read here for the revelations of the Roopkund skeletons. It is truly a fascinating journey to listen the legends from the local and experiencing the present.
Watch this fantastic short film “Roopkund – Rocking The Himalayas” depicting the journey to Roopkund. This is filmed and edited by Mario Yáñez Aller. He trekked with HT during May/June 2015 season. This is shared for viewing purpose only.
Filming and editing: Mario Yáñez Aller
Music: Dirty Paws .-. Of Monsters and Men
Cameras: GoPro 4 Silver Edition, Canon EOS 70D, Canon EOS 350 D
Day 1: Drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung – 220 Km – 10/11 hours
Day 2: Lohajung to Didna – 10 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 3: Didna to Bedni Bugyal – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
Day 4: Bedni Bugyal to Patar Nachuni – 4 Km – 2/3 hour
Day 5: Patar Nachuni to Baguabasa – 5 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 6: Baguabasa to Roopkund and back to Patar Nachuni – 12 Km – 8/10 hours
Day 7: Patar Nachuni to Wan – 17 Km – 8/9 hr – 1 hour drive back to Lohajung
Day 8: Drive from Lohajung to Kathgodam – 220 Km – 10 hours
*** Trekkers need to reach on their own to Kathgodam on Day 1 morning (by 7 am) or the previous night. Return to Kathgodam on Day 8 evening (by 7 pm). Arrange your tickets for inward journey and return from Kathgodam accordingly ***
Update of treks in May/June 2018:
This season, weather unusually turned rough during early weeks of May. It snowed in first and second week, as low down till Ali Bugyal (~ 11000 ft), accumulating more than one foot of snow at Baguabasa. Groups started reaching Roopkund including HT’s only after mid of May. At the end of May snow condition reduced naturally, having 3/4 hours walking on snow, all together. Weather is also cleared up, with great views of the mountains. Some moments from our May teams.
Why Roopkund with HT?
We believe that we have the best local support team in the region with whom you are probably safest on the trail. From our inception in 2010 we have arranged this trek and we know the seasonal variations, changing weather patterns and rightly judge the adverse conditions. Our group size for Moderate treks like Roopkund is limited to a maximum of 15 trekkers that you can enjoy and at the same time we can manage efficiently. Apart from the standardised camping equipment and medical kit, you are accidentally insured in your Roopkund trek with us.
Altitude and distance profile graph for Roopkund trek:
Below is a graphical representation of the altitude and distance of major points on Roopkund trek trail.
Can I try Roopkund trek as my first hiking/trekking on the Himalayas?
Yes you can try Roopkund trek as your first trek. It is always better if you have prior hiking/trek experience(s) like in Sahyadris or in Deccan or perhaps on any trail. Experiences walking on snow/icy conditions definitely helps in pre monsoon/summer season. This is NOT a Difficult but a Moderate grade trek and we do encourage first timers on this trail. But not to forget that this takes you to an alpine lake which is really high altitude in any standard (Just less than 16000 ft). To minimise the risk (as that any high altitude Himalayan trekking) you must have the following:
- A healthy physical condition [as well as mental; You need to adjust and share on mountains :-)] without any known issues related to heart or lungs.
- Must be in a fitness training schedule. Your focus should be achieving more cardio vascular output through a regular aerobic training. A minimum of 2 months training is a must that you can walk comfortably on the slope. People will find it easier who are already following a routine. It is it highly advised that you follow a minimum of 6 months routine (weekly 4/5 days of training for an hour or more) if you are not living an active life at present. To know more on how to prepare, click here.
- Specialised personal gears like waterproof trekking shoes, warm jacket, wind cum waterproof jacket are must. To read on how to choose the right gear click here.
- And most importantly you need reliable and experienced support team who know every corner of the trail. In high altitude an unexpected weather can increase the risk many fold. Trekkers who wish to go independently must have an experienced freelance guide and his team to provide support and guidance that you are safely back to trek base.
Is Roopkund trek better in Summer (May/Jun) or Post Monsoon Sep/Oct)?
Well, each season has its own beauty, and advantages. In India, summer treks are popular for much anticipated reasons. A summer vacation, respite from scorching days along with snowy alpine lake are solid to be a compelling proposition. No wonder that Roopkund trek is de facto the most popular summer trek in India. If you are not keen on these but like to hike on the same trail over lush greener meadows (Bugyals are indeed best in Aug/Sep), flowers in abundance then post monsoon is the right choice for you. So the journey of the frozen Roopkund in summer is a different one than the original skeletal lake as seen in post monsoon. Actually there is no disadvantage in any season (assuming you have a solid support team) and you may choose as per your own taste 🙂
Access to Roopkund trek base (Lohajung) and Kathgodam:
We will arrange a pickup from Kathgodam railway station to trek base Lohajung and drop to Kathgodam. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and paid directly to the driver. his will be shared equally by the team members on actual basis (usually Rs 800/1000 one way). You pay directly to the driver/transporter. The fare is Rs 5500 for a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx one way. This can accommodate 6 to 8 people. A Tempo Traveller charges Rs 9000 (12-14 seat) one way. This is NOT included in TREK FEE.
It takes 8/9 hours to reach Kathgodam from Delhi.
Take overnight Ranikhet Express (Train No 15013) from Delhi Junction(STN Code: DLI), which departs at 10 pm. From New Delhi (NDLS), it is hardly 4 Km, but may take 30 min in Auto Rickshaw. Just adjacent metro station is Chandni Chowk. If the tickets are already wait-listed you can:
Book online Volvo/AC bus from Delhi UTC (Uttarakhand Transport Corporation https://utconline.uk.gov.in/). Select Anand Vihar ISBT (45 mins in Blue line metro from New Delhi, NDLS) to Haldwani city, 7 Km before Kathgodam. Reserve an auto rickshaw/shared from Haldwani to Kathgodam. There are frequent ordinary/regular busses by state corporations from Anand Vihar ISBT/Terminal to Haldwani in the evening. Tickets are on boarding. You can get private busses from booking portals.
While returning from Kathgodam to Delhi, similar options for overnight
To reach the trek base Lohajung independently/public transportation and more, check the details in GETTING THERE TAB.
Download the list of things to carry in Roopkund trek
Duration: 6 days of trekking; Walking from Lohajung to Roopkund and back to Wan. 8 days from Kathgodam to Kathgodam.
Prerequisite: Prior Himalayan trekking experience is a plus. Specially in the summer/pre monsoon due to snow and icy conditions.
Trail Length: 55 Km
Highest Point: Roopkund ~ 4800m/15750ft
Seasons: May/June (Summer/Pre monsoon) & September/October (Post Monsoon/Fall)
Further Option: From Roopkund climb Junargali and continue to Homkund and finally to Ronty Saddle. Difficult long duration trek.
Access: Trek starting point (trek base) is Lohajung, 220 Km from Kathgodam.
Rail station: Kathgodam (Station Code: KGM)
Upcoming scheduled dates for Roopkund trek:
- You can check the scheduled Fixed Departure dates in the calendar available inside Booking Form or inside REGISTER NOW form. Tour starting Dates are highlighted as per our itinerary (Day 1 of 8 days itinerary).
- At present BOOK NOW functionality is disabled. You can get all the information in your email by submitting the REGISTER NOW form.
- If you are a group of people and available dates are not matching then you may select Custom date mode (by clicking the Select your custom date) and fill in the displayed form.
- You can also check all the available dates at a glance in our TREK CALENDAR.
- Trekkers need to reach Kathgodam on Day 1 morning (latest by 7 am). Return to Kathgodam on Day 8 evening (7 pm). Arrange your tickets for inward journey and return accordingly.
|REPORTING LOCATION||Kathgodam railways station|
|REPORTING TIME||7:00 AM for a prompt departure to Lohajung (Day 1)|
|RETURN TIME||Approximately 7:00 PM (Day 8)|
How to reach Lohajung (The trek base):
Nearest Rail station: Kathgodam (Station Code: KGM)
Nearest Airport: Delhi
We will arrange a pick up and drop from Kathgodam to Lohajung and back. This will be shared equally by the team members on actual basis. You pay directly to the driver/transporter. The fare is Rs 5500 for a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx one way. These can accommodate 6 to 8 people. Similarly a Tempo Traveller charges Rs 9000 which can accommodate 12 people. This is NOT included in the TREK FEE and to be payable directly to the driver/owner.
If you wish to reach our Trek Base Lohajung on your own by public transportation:
- From Kathgodam there is no direct bus or shared car service to Lohajung. Reach latest by 6 am to Haldwani (The city, 4 Km before Kathgodam) and take a shared Jeep service to Deval. This is is 25 Km before Lohajung. From Deval you may get another shared service to Lohajung or you may have to hire one.
- If you travel from Haridwar side, then reach Rishikesh on the previous night (Day 0, 25 Km from Haridwar) and board the bus for Mandoli/Lohajung at 5 am next morning. This private bus takes 12 to 14 hours to reach Lohajung. As this is a privately operated bus so may not operate during the high demand of Chardham yatra season. The route is via Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karanprayag, Tharali and Deval. 260 Km.
- From Lohajung the bus to Rishikesh starts early in the morning by 6 am and reach by 6 pm .
How to reach Kathgodam:
For the treks in Kumaon or in the bordering area of Garhwal, one has to reach Kathgodam/Haldwani normally. Lal Kuan is just 20 Km and Haldwani is 5 Km before Kathgodam. Bus, shared taxi and private cars are available.
You can fly or by train reach New Delhi as per your convenience from any part within India. Reach Delhi accordingly that you have enough time for transit withing Delhi.
There are direct trains from Kolkata to Kathgodam(KGM)/Lal Kuan(LKU)
BAGH EXPRESS – Train No. 13019 (ONLY book when you stay the night at Kathgodam, DON’t book this train when you plan a long onward journey immediately in the morning)]
HWH LKU EXP – Train No. 12353 – Lalkuan Express (runs only on Friday, you need to stay at Kathgodam for the night, only 20 Km away)
Avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berth and hence much better chance to get confirmed.
You can reach KATHGODAM/HALDWANI EASILY FROM NEW DELHI BY TRAIN OR BUS (~ 6/8 HOURS) AND IS AROUND 270 KM.
Following trains are good to reach Kathgodam and run daily.
RANIKHET EXP – Train No. 15013 (best option, runs overnight, arrives KGM early morning @ 5 am. Board from Delhi(DLI)/Old Delhi Junction station)
UTR SAMPRK K EX – Uttaranchal Sampark Kranti Express – Train No. 15035 (good option when you stay the night @ Kathgodam and travel next morning)
ANVT KGM SHT – Anand Vihar Kathgodam Shatabdi Express – Train No. 12040 (Arrives KGM in the morning @ 11:40 am, alternate choice when you stay the night in Kathgodam and travel by car next morning)
Always avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berth and hence much better chance to get confirmed.
Haldwani buses are more frequent than that of Kathgodam. Its easy to reach Kathgodam from Haldwani which is only 5 Km away.
Govt. Road Transport (Roadways of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana etc) buses are frequently available in day time and night from Anand Vihar ISBT Tickets are available on board for these regular type buses. Some of the state transport companies offer online reservation for Volvo/A.C Luxury buses. Check these Govt. operated state bus services for online booking:
From Delhi Airport or Station you can reach ISBT Anand Vihar via Delhi Metro service (http://www.delhimetrorail.com/metro-fares.aspx).
For privately operated bus, you can book online from different portals (http://www.redbus.in). Select a boarding point suitably. Overnight Volvo/A.C/Push back bus service.
For night stay in Kathgodam:
Trekkers reaching on the previous day before the journey to the actual trek base need to stay the night in Kathgodam. There are few options in Kathgodam for spending a night while staying in Standard accommodation.
State run KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) operates Tourist Rest House at Kathgodam just opposite to the railway station (beside Bus stand). This is a reliable and a decent choice for Standard accommodation. Check the following for reservation of the above
There are privately run hotels/lodges near Kathgodam railway station & Haldwani Bus terminus.
Return from Kathgodam:
Normally you reach from trek base to Kathgodam by 5/6 pm in the evening. You can take any train after 7 pm or regular bus service as mentioned above to reach Delhi or directly to your homeward journey.
Drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung - 220 Km - 10 hours
Trek to Didna - 10 Km - 5 hours
Trek to Bedni Bugyal - 12 Km - 6/7 hours
Trek to Patar Nachuni 5 Km - 3 hours
Trek to Baguabasa - 4 Km - 4 hours
Baguabasa to Roopkund and back to Patar Nachuni – 12 Km – 8/10 hours
Patar Nachuni to Wan – 15Km – 7/8 hours – 1 hour drive back to Lohajung
Drive from Lohajung to Kathgodam – 220 Km by car 9/10 hours
P.S.: Distances and altitudes are approximate and may not be exact.
TREK FEE: ₹ 13,800 (Lohajung to Lohajung) + 5% GST
Book for 5 persons or more persons and avail flat 10% Group Discount.
2 night’s accommodation at Lohajung (Day 1 & Day 7) in lodge on sharing basis and dinner.
All meals during the trek. Regular Indian style nutritious vegetarian food during the trek (including occasional eggs), breakfast packed/hot lunch (depending upon the time you reach a campsite), snacks, dinner along with coffee/tea/soup.
Excellent Trekking Guide, who will be a local to this particular area and has profound knowledge of the trekking trails around.
Specialised Cook, Support staff, Porters/Packed Animals for carrying the central logistics of the trek.
Stay in tents (3 persons dome or ridge shaped tents) on sharing basis during the trek.
Camping equipment like Sleeping bag, Carry mattress, Gaiters, Micro spikes/Crampon. (Bring your own sleeping if you have a high altitude specific personal Sleeping Bag. This is always better for hygienic reasons.)
Kitchen tent, dinning tent and toilet tent as required during the trek.
All permit fee, camping charges, forest levy required for the trek.
Basic Medical & First Aid kit.
Accidental Insurance Policy covering high altitude trekking tours (For Indian nationals it is included in the TREK FEE, up to 60 years of age).
Transportation from Kathgodam to Lohajung and back to Haridwar/Kathgodam (Rs 1500-1800 per persons both ways for the pick up and drop)
We assume that you will carry your personal Rucksack/Backpack with all your personal belongings. If you want to offload your Rucksack and be carried by our Pack Animal/Porter then you need to pay additional ₹ 1500 for the entire duration of the trek. The Rucksack should not weigh more than 10 Kg.
Any tip/gratuity to the HT supports staff.
Anything is is NOT mentioned in the “Inclusions” or personal in nature.
- We assume that you have read and understood our “Terms & Conditions” (https://himalayatrekker.com/terms-and-conditions) before Booking a trek/tour.
- To reserve your place in a scheduled Fixed Departure trek or a Customised/Private trek pay 25% of the TREK/TOUR FEE as the initial “Booking Deposit”. You can pay by Net banking/Draft/Cheque/Credit/Debit/AMEX cards. This will ensure your participation in the desired trek and we will reserve your place in the scheduled date. You need to pay the remaining amount at least 15 days before Trek Starting Date.
- If you book a Trek/Tour before 14 days or less from Trek/Tour Starting Date, you need to pay the full TREK/TOUR FEE.
- “Booking Amount” i.e.25% of the TREK/TOUR FEE is Non-Refundable at any stage.
- If in case you are not able to make it due to unavoidable reason(s), we provide you avery flexible choice of Shifting to another trek within next one year. One year is counted from the starting date of the trek/tour you booked initially with us.
- In case you postpone your trip you need to informminimum of 15 days before the trek/tour starting date. (Though we suggest to inform us earlier if known)
- In case you postpone a trek/tour before 15 days of the scheduled Trek/Tour Starting date or prior, you may shift to another group of the same trek/tour scheduled in the same season or within next one year. You may shift to another suitable route also. For changing any, you need our approval first. Your request must be in written communication through your registered email with us.
- If you cancel/postpone a trek/tour from14 days to 8 days before tour starting date, your Booking Amount is Non-Refundable. We will not take any request of shifting dates. We will charge 50% of the amount as Cancellation Charges and process refund of remaining 50%. You may also shift to another group within next year but 25% Booking Amount will be deemed as Cancellation Charge and the rest amount will be transferred to the shifted group.
- If you cancel a trek/tour 7 days (i.e. a week) before Trek/Tour Starting Date or later, there will be NO REFUND.
- In case of any unforeseen incident including but not limited to natural calamities like flood, earthquake, landslide, forest fire or any political unrest, if we are compelled to cancel the trek/trip, you will be entitled to redeem the full amount for the same/similar kind of trek/trip within next one year.
If you need more clarifications write in to [email protected]