Located in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, Kuari, which means 'doorway' in the local language, lies south of the Tibet border and on the western edge of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
It is surrounded on all sides by imposing mountain ranges that include the Kamet, which extends up to a dizzying height of 25,446 feet.
The Kuari Pass trail is one of the few trekking destinations that are open in the winter and is a popular end-of-the-year trek. Also known as the Lord Curzon Trail, this trek is a moderately challenging one. Barring one day when you’ll put your climbing muscles to the test as you climb to Pangarchulla Peak, which stands tall at 15,419 feet.
Your guides will take you through a brief course on climbing techniques, and may even rope up certain sections if needed. The trek is perfect for beginners and those who want to experience the grandeur and majesty of the Himalayas.
The Kuari Pass trail takes you through endless green meadows, alpine forests, and past towering Himalayan peaks.
As trekkers walk through lush fields, drink from alpine streams and visit remote villages, they are rewarded with enchanting 360-degree views of the Chaukhamba Range to one side while the summits of Mana, Kamet and Abl Gamin extend on the other side all the way to the Tibet border.
At night, you and your group will stop at magnificent campsites, enjoying delicious hot meals and sleep like babies in fresh, warm sleeping bags under the stars. As you approach the snow-covered slopes near Pangarchulla, you’ll receive the full mountain experience of roping up and clambering over boulders.
There are no half-ways on this trek. Every sight, every peak, every meadow - the scenery is larger than life and makes for a dramatic trek that you'll never forget.
During the summer, the trek is gorgeous and will give you unlimited views of greenery and mountain peaks in the distance. The camping experience is wonderful, and you’ll have cool nights and pleasant days.
However, if you’re looking for a fun challenge, try the Kuari Pass winter trek. The trails are covered in snow, and you’ll have stunning views of the landscape blanketed in white.
In the winter, the Kuari Pass trek is even more magnificent, thanks to the blankets of snow covering everything. During this trek, you’ll get to see how winter completely transforms the green pine forests and the stark rock faces into sparkling white perfection.
The trail gives you some of the finest views of Himalayan giants like Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, and Trishul. It is said that the views on the Kuari Pass winter trek are the best in the Indian Himalayas
The operators along with your fellow adventurers will be waiting for you at Haridwar Railway station at 06:30 hrs. Make sure you are on time so as to avoid any delays.
You will hop on the locally arranged transport which will take you on a scenic drive to Joshimath. You will reach your destination and will be welcomed with a refreshing cup of tea.
Make yourself comfortable and soon you will be instructed about the trek that commences tomorrow. Warm satisfying dinner will be served, post which you tuck yourself in for the night at a guesthouse.
You will be driven from the guesthouse to Dhak village which is at a distance of 12 km. Here on out, the adventure truly begins. You’ll move through oak and rhododendron forests on a simple path.
The second day is not a long and winding trek. It is enough to get your gears in motion. At night, you camp in lush meadows in tents.
Today, the Kuari pass trek kicks into a higher gear. You climb from 9600 feet to 11,100 feet traversing steep slopes covered with oak and walnut trees.
The alluring pink and white colours of the blossoming rhododendron trees are sure to draw your attention and make you want to stop for photos every now and then.
The next day kicks off very early so ensure that you go to bed in time to get a good night’s rest. You will camp at Khulara campsite tonight.
A big day awaits you today - peak day. You wake up before the sun today. You eat a big fuelling breakfast and begin to slice through the forests. The path opens into the meadows which will get you to Kuari Pass at the crack of dawn.
You will want to spend some time absorbing in the splendour of the rising sun, before moving on to the peak. The climb is not difficult and can be done without equipment. It will have you scrambling over boulders though.
At the summit, you will have a view that is sure to leave your jaw hanging. You will spend some time here, admiring and taking photos. You then head back to the campsite, tired but happy.
After the ascent, comes the descent towards Joshimath. The journey is long but it slopes down so it can be covered in good time. You will also feel pumped as you move to lower altitudes, from 11000 feet to 6000 feet.
You will take the arranged transportation at Dhak village and drive back to the guest house. You can finally rest your aching body on a bed for the night and sleep deeply.
This day is about the extensive drive back to Haridwar. You can rest, stare out the window or exchange stories on the way back. Expect to reach the station by 20:00 hrs, bringing the adventure to an end.
Local vehicles will be arranged for the journey to and from Haridwar. All the equipment and safety gear is part of the costs and will be provided by the operators.
Meals and refreshments will be served based on the packages selected. Accommodation will be provided on a sharing basis in homestays or tents. Please check with your operator for the final details on any Kuari pass trek.
The trip expenses also include all required permits and entry fees. First-aid kits and stretcher, as well as oxygen cylinders, are inclusive in case of any emergencies.
The services and expertise of the trek leader, guide and all support staff are included in the costs as are all applicable taxes.
Any personal expenses on meals, tips and anything else not a part of the inclusions are not included and will be charged on an additional basis. The costs do not cover for food during transit and the same will have to be borne by the trekkers individually.
Insurance is excluded and can be purchased separately. The same goes for the services of mules or porters to lug around personal belongings.
The Kuari pass trek is accessible during the summer and winter seasons. During the monsoon months, the inclement weather conditions make hiking a highly risky proposition.
During the summer months, the trek is awash with greenery as far as the eye can see. The days are comfortable weather-wise and the nights are cool. This makes for a pleasant trekking experience.
During winter, snow blankets the entire region, making for a stunning landscape. The trekking conditions are a bit more challenging during this time, owing to the weather, but fun nonetheless.
The ideal time to go for the Kuari trek depends on what you expect to get out of your trekking adventure. The hike can be done in the summer and winter months.
During summer, you get to experience soul-soothing greenery, pleasant days and cool nights. In winters, the landscape is stunningly white and the weather makes for a challenging experience.
Kuari Pass Trek is linked with most towns and cities within Uttarakhand. You can get to Kuari pass by road from Haridwar, Delhi or Dehradun but ultimately all routes pass through Rishikesh.
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun while the nearest railway station is at Rishikesh. From these points, one can take cabs or bus services to reach the Kuari pass.
Some packages also include pick-up and drop-off from your base city to the starting point of the trek, be sure to check out the inclusions of the package you’re looking to know more about the same.
When it comes to carrying what you need to wear, the following pieces of clothing are essential. Synthetic track pants along with full-sleeved t-shirts.
A fleece shirt is necessary as well as one woollen jacket. You can choose to wear a down feather jacket as well. Do bring along a pair of rainproof jackets and pants.
Thermal inners should be worn in order to stand the temperature at higher altitudes. Carry a poncho with you additionally.
For protection against the sun, wear a sun cap and sunglasses. Wear a pair of waterproof or woollen gloves for added protection.
For your feet, a pair of waterproof trekking shoes is absolutely essential and you can carry a pair of floaters for the evenings. Wear cotton socks and carry woollen socks for the night. Alternatively, you can wear gumboots.
You are not allowed expensive jewellery, watches or other wearable electronics on your person during the Kuari pass trek. Avoid shorts, denim, and capris for the hikes.
The operators will be providing you with tents for the days spent camping. The sleeping bags and mattress needed along with it will also be given to you.
The kitchen and dining tent will also be arranged by the guides in addition to first-aid equipment and oxygen cylinders if required.
It is vital that you carry a backpack with you which has adequate water protection and a 50-litre capacity. Additionally, bring along a daypack with a 20-litre capacity for the Kuari pass trek.
A walking pole will come in handy as will a head torch. It is mandatory to carry a water bottle of at least a litre or a hydration pack. Carry some sunscreen and hand sanitizer as well.
Carry your personal toiletries including light towel/napkins, wet wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc. Always carry Insect repellent
Keep some dry snacks with you like chocolate bars, biscuits, energy bars, dry fruits, etc. You can also keep Enerzyl powder or Glucon D powder. Don’t forget to carry a govt. issued ID card
Don’t forget to carry your camera and torch with extra batteries. Carry your personal medicines without fail and keep a compact personal first aid kit for small emergencies.
The Kuari Pass trek is moderately difficult and as such requires a good level of fitness to be undertaken. It gets challenging as the days go on with a few days of climbing that will test your fitness.
That being said, the trek can be undertaken by beginners who have good levels of fitness and want a challenging experience. For everyone else, prior hiking experience is recommended.
The highest point for some of the itineraries can go beyond the 15,000 feet mark which challenges your stamina. Ideally, you should prepare for a few weeks before undertaking the trek with a mix of strength training and cardio exercises.
Most operators might need you to sign an indemnity form before undertaking the trek. If suffering from any health conditions, inform your operators and submit a health certificate for the trek.
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