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Explore 10 magical camping and trekking trails in India

Camping and Trekking are some of the best ways to connect with nature and explore its secrets.

Hiking and trekking. Campsite
The adventure for hiking and trekking begins at a large campsite with fire at the foot of a hill. Image credit Dotun55 via Wikipedia Commons

A vacation in the woods is a welcome respite from city life, and all you need is a bag full of basics and the company of good friends or a special someone. The most memorable experience can be sleeping under a blanket of twinkling stars while surrounded by gorgeous landscapes.

Camping and trekking give you an unrivalled opportunity to discover spectacular landscapes and waterfalls and interact with diverse forms of life in myriad types of ecosystems. For those that wholeheartedly love the outdoors, camping and trekking are paths to enjoying the wonder of this brilliant planet.

Here are ten of the best camping and trekking trails in India:

Discover the joys of Kudurekuha Jamly, Karnataka

Deep in the lush jungles of Kudurekuha Jamly, Karnataka lies a hidden paradise waiting to be explored. A haven for adventurers and nature lovers alike, Kudurekuha Jamly provides a unique camping and trekking experience with its diverse topography and rich flora and fauna.

In Kannada, Kudremukh means “horse’s face.” The peak’s unusual shape has given it this name. It is the third tallest peak in Karnataka, behind Mullayyangiri and Baba Budangiri, at an elevation of 6,207 feet.

Trekking to Kudremukh Peak, Karnataka
Trekking to Kudremukh Peak, Karnataka

The Kudremukh Trek in Chikmagalur offers a top-tier trekking experience at an impressive altitude of 6,207 feet above sea level. A trek to the Panoramic Peak offers breathtaking views from the summit. Rolling hills stretch as far as the eye can see, a vibrant tapestry of green. Spare some time to sit atop the peak, basking in the tranquillity and immensity of nature’s grandeur. Trekkers will enjoy scaling steep cliffs and crossing gushing rivers, The formidable terrain takes trekkers into the heart of the gorge, navigating its rocky twists and turns.

Trekkers can immerse themselves in a stunning 600 square km of lush forest. It’s a lovely trek through the misty valleys and rolling green hills. You’ll pass through grasslands, forests, and a number of minor waterways on your way there. The green Shola forests are characterized by grasslands and shrublands. To reach the Kudremukh Peak, one must trek through this natural wonderland. The Shola forest is teeming with diverse wildlife, including lions, leopards, giant squirrels, and langurs, among others. If fortune favours you, you might encounter these majestic creatures while on your trek.

Kudremukh Valley is surrounded by lush meadows and sparkling streams and is a great location to pitch your tent under a sky adorned with a blanket of stars. This is a good region to trek as the dense foliage towers above you, creating a canopy that filters the sunlight, casting an ethereal glow on the forest floor. The rustling leaves seem to communicate the secrets of the ancient trees.

Bhagavathi Nature Camp is in the foothills of Kudremukh, Karnataka. Image credit Rashmi Sreenivasa via Wikipedia Commons
Bhagavathi Nature Camp is in the foothills of Kudremukh, Karnataka. The river that flows through the camp is the main attraction. It is maintained by the Forest department of Karnataka. Image credit Rashmi Sreenivasa via Wikipedia Commons

Camping is also a popular activity in Kudurekuha Jamly, and there are several sites available for you to set up your tent and enjoy the night sky under its canopy of stars. Campfires are an integral part of the camping experience here, providing warmth, light, and comfort throughout the night.

Rajmachi Fort in Maharashtra: Height 2750ft – A Trekker’s Paradise,

Rajmachi Fort, Shrivardhan and Manaranjan are three majestic forts that are situated in the Sahyadri mountain range of Maharashtra. These historical forts were built during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj and have been attracting trekkers and campers for centuries. Located at an altitude of 2750 feet above sea level, these forts are a great place to explore the beauty of nature and appreciate the architecture of mediaeval times.

Steps leading to the Rajmachi Fort  Maharashtra
Steps leading to the Rajmachi Fort Maharashtra

Nestled in the rugged hills of the Sahyadri mountains, Rajmachi Fort is one of the most stunning mediaeval forts situated amid the rough slopes. This fort is ideal for camping and trekking.

The trek, commencing at the Y Fork Junction, is a 2-hour rainforest hike that offers magnificent views of lush mountains, waterfalls, and green valleys. Witness the ethereal beauty of fireflies illuminating the path, guiding you to the peak of Shrivardhan Fort and Manaranjan Fort – two historical monuments.

An overnight stay at Rajmachi Fort becomes an ideal destination for camping with two caves providing accommodation for 40 persons. If you’re a bit apprehensive about camping here, stay at Kalbhairavnath Temple at the base of the fort.

Also, camping at Udhewadi village at the base of the mountain is an experience you don’t want to miss. The authentic Maharashtrian local Veg Thali served here adds to the delight of a night under the sky full of stars, near the lake with strangers who eventually become a family.

Experience India’s green gem: Cherrapunji, Meghalaya

Meghalaya, the enchanting “Abode of Clouds” in North-East India boasts the world-renowned wettest place on earth, Cherrapunji, where the months of June through September offer stunning trekking opportunities.

After the monsoons, the emerald forests, the shimmering waterfalls, and the sparkling lakes come alive with exotic trekking tours that include the incredible Living Root Bridges and the cleanest village in Asia, Mawlynnong.

Sit atop a peak, basking in nature's grandeur - Meghalaya
Spare some time to sit atop the peak, basking in the tranquillity and immensity of nature’s grandeur

Some of the most breathtaking treks in the region include the Trek to the Living Root Bridge, Umunoi, spanning over 3-4 hours of easy 4 km walk available throughout the year. The Trek to Double Decker Root Bridge and Natural Swimming Pools boasts 7 hours of challenging mountainous terrain passing through Khasi Villages, covering 20 km of walking.

For hikers seeking a lighter trek, the Umkar Root Bridge Trek boasts 1.5 hours of peaceful 1 km walking throughout the year. Thrill-seekers can explore the ‘Splashing Park’ / Mawsiekhriah Trek with 2 hours of walking over 6 km, available all year round.

Natural wonder of the world Meghalaya Living Root bridge
The natural wonder of the world Meghalaya Living Root bridge

Notable treks include the David Scot Pony Trail Trek covering the Laitkynsew Hill portion over 2 hours of 7 km walk from November to March. Bird watchers can indulge in a full-day trek from old Nongwar To Old Nongkroh by ancient footpath, spanning over 5-7 hours and 12-13 km of walking. Discover these magnificent treks and elevate your hiking endeavours. The experience will be enhanced with a historical walk in the region and a romantic outing on Lovers Road.

The village of Mawlynnong offers a unique glimpse into the Khasi Tribe’s lifestyle. Take a break from daily life and experience the local traditions through homestays. There are great nature camps which provide good camping sites.

Explore the exotic beauty of Wayanad, Kerala!

Explore the ultimate trekking destination in Kerala with Wayanad. Surrounded by majestic mountains and offering some of the best views in the state, Wayanad is the ultimate place for trekkers. With trails that cater to different types of trekkers, each summit offers a unique experience.

Wayanad district, Kerala, India. Image credit Thameemkottayil via Wikipedia Commons
Wayanad district, Kerala, India. This hillock is situated 3250 feet above sea level. It is an excellent place to watch sunrise. Usually, trekkers and travelers reach the top of the hillock before sunrise. Image credit Thameemkottayil via Wikipedia Commons

For a challenging trek, head to the Chembra Peak situated south of the Kalpetta township. Reaching the top of the peak requires a four-hour hike, but the view is breathtaking, making the effort worth it. Don’t forget to take a break at the heart-shaped lake on the way up.

Banasura Hills, on the other hand, is ideal for those looking for something more exhilarating. With rolling grasslands and challenging routes, the trek up to the peak is an unforgettable experience. It will take a full day to complete the trek, and the best time to visit is between September and January. Discover the easiest trail at the Edakkal Caves, offering a fixed path to the top. The last stretch requires climbing a few rocks but is still beginner-friendly.

 Edakkal caves - Image credit Vinayaraj via Wikipedia Commons
Edakkal caves – Image credit Vinayaraj via Wikipedia Commons

Pakshipathalam is a multifaceted trek experience, ideal for bird watching, cave diving, and hiking. Encounter a variety of terrains, including hills, meadows, and dense forests, on this one-of-a-kind trek.

For an unforgettable post-monsoon trek, explore Brahmagiri and witness the bright green foliage and majestic meadows. The trek takes you to the heart of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The Thusharagiri trekking trail is a must-visit for trekkers worldwide, offering stunning views of hills, waterfalls and dense forests. The trek begins at Adivaram village, making it a perfect day trip for explorers.

At Wayanad, you may participate in adventure sports activities such as deep forest camping, staying with tribals, road vehicle rides, jungle safaris, and peak climbing expeditions are all available. Join in other thrilling activities such as zip line, human slingshot, human gyro and trampoline park and have the time of your life.

Enjoy the natural beauty of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

The Kasol Kheerganga Trek begins in Kasol, a tiny village in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district. It is tucked away in the picturesque Parvati Valley and is quickly becoming a popular destination for adventure travellers. Kheerganga’s history is thought to extend back thousands of years when the natural site was created as Lord Shiva’s home. The Kasol Kheerganga (Khir Ganga) hike is a popular choice among backpackers in Kasol and Kullu.

  Kasol Kheerganga trek , Himachal Pradesh
Kasol Kheerganga trek

Trekkers can experience the fascinating culture of the locals on the Kasol to Kheerganga trek in the picturesque Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Starting from Barshaini, just a 45-minute drive from Kasol, the 12-km trail offers an invigorating adventure through stunning natural surroundings. Marvel at the magnificent serpent-shaped waterfall of Rudra Nag and other charming waterfalls along the way.

But the real reward is the mystical hot springs of Kheerganga where you can relax and admire the snow-capped peaks, washing away all your fatigue. Spend the night among the mighty snow-laden mountains and be spellbound by the breathtaking vistas from an altitude of about 13000 feet. This easy trek is suitable for all with a little bit of preparation. Create unforgettable memories on the way back on the Kasol to Kheerganga trek.

Uncover the unique heritage of Yuksom, Sikkim

Yuksom, the first capital of Sikkim, is a picturesque base camp for mountain treks and expeditions. It boasts the oldest monastery in Sikkim, the Dubdi Monastery, and is the starting point for the popular Yuksom-Dzongri Trek. This five-day trek offers stunning views of Mt. Kangchendzonga, the third-highest mountain in the world, along with other peaks like Mt. Kabru and Mt. Simvo. Dzongri and Dzongri La offer the best viewpoints for trekkers to take in the breathtaking beauty of the Sikkim Himalayas. Take a day to acclimatize in Yuksom before embarking on this unforgettable adventure.

 Yuksom Dzongri Hike, Sikkim
Yuksom Dzongri Hike Sikkim

The Yuksom Dzongri Hike, which leads to the famed Goecha La, is the most popular trek in Sikkim. The best walking trail in Sikkim, Goecha la Trek, takes trekkers up and closer to the mighty Kanchenjunga, as well as a majestic vista of the other Himalayan giants inside the mountain ranges. The Yuksom-Dzongri Trek, which is a continuation of the Dzongri Trek, takes travellers beyond the meadows to the natural domain of the towering peaks, where they can experience raw adventures at their best.

Unlock the magic of Sandakphu, West Bengal

The hike route from Sandakphu in the Darjeeling district begins in Manebhanjan, a tiny township at an elevation of 7,054 feet. Singalila and Sandakphu are both accessible from here. It is a year-round hike with varying views, such as in the fall when rhododendrons can be seen all along the trail. The greatest time to visit is from October to December when the sky is likely to clear and one can see all the peaks.

Trekkers resting on the way to Sandakphu peak West Bengal
Trekkers resting on the way to Sandakphu Peak West Bengal

Experience the awe-inspiring Sandakphu Phalut Trek, an unmatched journey where nature and culture unite to provide an unforgettable adventure. Witness four of the world’s tallest peaks, including the Everest cluster with Lhotse and Makalu, from the vantage point of Phalut.

Admire the striking “Sleeping Buddha” mountain massif and its pronounced peak, Kanchenjunga. Marvel at the mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets viewed from Sandakphu-Phalut and explore the dense bamboo and rhododendron forests of Singalila National Park.

 Rhododendron forests of Singalila , West Bengal
Rhododendron forests of Singalila , West Bengal

Walk under the thick, clustered bamboo canopy to experience a magical world and witness the striking blooms of pink, red, scarlet, and white flowers during the spring rhododendron treks.

This region has any number of organised camping sites which provide an adventure of a lifetime.

Discover the unique ecology of Bhitarkanika, Odisha

After the Sunderbans, Bhitarkanika is India’s second-largest mangrove habitat located in the picturesque Kendrapara district in Orissa. The National Park is mainly a network of streams and canals that are inundated with water from the Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, and Patasala rivers, creating a unique ecology. Bhitarkanika is a wonderful destination for keen trekkers, with its immense forest expanse and undulating plains.

Bhitarkanika Mangrove Odisha Image credit Devopam via Wikipedia Commons
Bhitarkanika Mangrove, Odisha Image credit Devopam via Wikipedia Commons

This exceptional wildlife sanctuary boasts an expansive range of aquatic animals and other wildlife, making it an ideal destination. It is home to over 200 species of resident birds, including eight types of magnificent Kingfisher birds, making it a beloved destination among birdwatchers.

In fact, Bhitarkanika is one of the few wildlife reserves where hiking is a popular activity due to the lack of carnivorous or dangerous animals. Experience the wonder of Bhitarkanika by embarking on one of the many treks through the forests and streams accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Don’t miss the enchanting trek to DangMal(khola) during your visit. UNESCO recognized the wetlands as a Ramsar Convention site in 2002, highlighting the park’s international importance.

The dense greenery and meandering streams offer a personal and breathtaking hiking experience unmatched in other parks. Just be sure to steer clear of riverbanks as crocodiles are known to frequent the region.

Select the incredible treks of Garhwal and Kumaon, Uttar Pradesh

The greatest trekking trips in Uttar Pradesh are in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions, where you may select between an easy to moderate trek or some of the most challenging treks amidst glaciers for the more adventurous.

The Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas are truly awe-inspiring, boasting an abundance of natural beauty that is simply breathtaking. With stunning landscapes, delightful meadows, babbling streams, immense glaciers and charming rivers, this paradisiacal destination is a veritable feast for the senses. Not only can visitors enjoy exhilarating adventure sports such as mountaineering, hiking and rock climbing, but they can also visit sacred shrines nestled along the trails to Kedarnath, Gangotri, Panch Kedar and Yamunotri.

Summer treks take tourists to higher elevations (around 4,628 meters) than winter treks, which peak at 2,500 meters. There are endless wilderness trails that take trekkers through dense forests of pine, rhododendron and oak, lush green valleys and imposing glaciers.

While trekking to Gaumukh Tapovan, Garhwal and Kumaon, Uttar Pradesh. Image credit Saurabh Jain via Flickr
While trekking to Gaumukh Tapovan, Garhwal and Kumaon, Uttar Pradesh. Image credit Saurabh Jain via Flickr

Some of the most popular trek routes include the Gangotri Tapovan Route, Valley of Flowers, Roopkund Trek, Har Ki Dun Trek, Dayara Bugyal Trek, Chandrashila Summit Trek and Gun Hill Trek. Trek enthusiasts also flock to high mountain trails such as the Kedarkantha Trek, Chopta Chandrashila Trek, Brahmatal Trek and Nagtibba Trek, to name just a few.

Explore the adventure gem of Patalkot, Madhya Pradesh

Discover the hidden world of Patalkot in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara district. The name itself means tucked away beneath the earth. Trek and camp through the valley and surrounding hills, home to vibrant villages utilizing medicinal plants and herbs.

 Patalkot in Madhya Pradesh. Image credit Madhya Pradesh Tourism
Situated in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, Patalkot is a hidden valley surrounded by dense forests and rocks from the Archaean era (2,500 million years approx). Spread over an area of 79 sq. km, this mystical valley is home to the tribal communities of Bharia and Gond. Image credit Madhya Pradesh Tourism

Witness the beauty of Raja Kho and indulge in cultural dances from the Gonds and Bharias. Take your adventure to the next level with thrilling activities such as parasailing, rock climbing, and ziplining along the river. Uncover the secrets of Patalkot and experience the journey of a lifetime.

Patalkot offers some of Madhya Pradesh’s top campsites, where you may spend your vacation mingling with other campers, singing your heart out over the campfire, and having the time of your life! For adventure and environment lovers, you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes from the comfort of your tent.

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