The Roopkund Trek is to a Himalayan trekker what the movie 'Sholay' is to a hardcore Bollywood buff. Just like Sholay is the complete Bollywood entertainer (it has action, drama, comedy, romance), Roopkund is the quintessential Himalayan trek. This trek has snowcaps, meadows, lakes, forests, folklore; and yes, it has an intriguing flashback too. Roopkund is a mountain lake, lying in the Garhwal Himalayas in the Chamoli district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand.Situated at a high altitude, the lake remains frozen almost throughout the year. Roopkund is also called the 'Mystery Lake', or the 'Skeletal Lake', on account of the several hundred human skeletons found scattered in and around the lake.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation (Guest house, homestay, camping)
- Meals while on trek (Veg / egg)
- Trek equipment (Sleeping bag, mattress, Kitchen & dining tent, crampon, utensils, tent)
- All necessary permits and entry fees
- First aid medical kits, stretcher and oxygen cylinder
- Mountaineering qualified & professional trek leader, guide and support staff
- Services from Loharjung to Loharjung
What is NOT included in the tour
- Any kind of personal expenses
- Food during the transit
- Mules or porter to carry personal luggage
- Anything not specifically mentioned under the head
Day 1: Kathgodam to Loharjung
You can reach Kathgodam through one of the most famous trains reaching the destination, which is the Ranikhet express. Once you reach here, you would start feeling a change in the entire atmosphere. The Roopkund trek has its starting point from here. The mystery lake trek would give you a remarkable experience you might just feel that you are living your dream. The Roopkund trek is also known as the skeleton trek as skeletons are what you would see on reaching the destination.
Kathgodam is a small yet beautiful place . Once you reach Kathgodam, You can travel easily to Loharjung through the roadway. The roads are narrow, with beautiful curves and would give a good view of the surrounding. The lush green beauty that travels along is amazing.
Day 2: Lohargunj to Didna Village
Just behind the bus stand in Lohargunj, take the trail that takes you to Raun Bagad. It is a fairly marked trail that descends through mixed forests. It is a moderate trek and you would take around 2-2½ hrs to reach the Ruan Bagad, which is an iron bridge across the famous Neel Ganga river. There is also an alternative route to reach here from Lohargunj which is through the road towards Wan. It is an easy 6km walk to Kulling Village where after there is a steep slope towards Ruan Bagad. You can opt for the latter, which is easy to travel but you would certainly miss on the beautiful mixed forests. Hereafter the climb to Didina starts once you cross the iron bridge. It is a difficult climb and you may get tired pretty soon. With a relatively tough time in the beginning, you would reach Didina in about and an hour and a half’s time. You would have e great mountaineering experience all this while.
Day 3: Didna Village to Ali Bugyal
To reach Ali Bugyal from Didna, there are two alternative routes. If you look in the direction of the valley, you would look at Tolpani, which is a cluster of huts that belong to the shepherds. It is almost 3 kms away and 1000 feet high. From Tolpani, you take a trail that climbs to Tolkaan in the northern direction. The meadow trek goes through a series of switchbacks and grassy oak mountains. From Tolkaan, you take a sharp left towards the south and steer through the ridge to come out of the forest at Ali Bugyal.
The alternative route is to climb directly towards Ali Bugyal without going through Toplani. You would certainly save on distance but it a relatively much steeper and tiring climb. It takes nearly two and a half hours to reach Ali Bugyal on this route.
To enjoy the seductive views from Ali Bugyal, you need to reach there before afternoon. It is a great post monsoon trek as well as a pre monsoon trek.
The day 3 is however the day when you trek to Chang Ma. This might be a difficult trek and you may experience the joy of a snow trek. You would like to spend the night here and the overnight stay would be in tents in the open lands.
Day 4: Ali Bugyal to Ghora Lotani
The trek from Ali Bugyal to Ghora Latoni is an easy trek. You would follow a straight line ahead of you for about 3 kms. On your gradual increase to the slope, the trek brings you to the other side of the ridge. The view from this point is absolutely marvelous.
Ghora Lotani is a brilliant campsite and offers you great views all around. It is an easy day and you will get time to relax and acclimatize to the weather conditions before going ahead with your trekking. In fact, you could consider spending a day here to adapt to the altitude and atmosphere.
Day 5: Ghora Lotani to Bhagwabasa
This is the day when you make a steep dash to gain altitude and finally trek in the snow line. The day’s snow trek will bring you to an altitude of 14,500 ft from 12,500 ft. It is an high altitude trekking and you would start feeling the effects of weather change and thin air and definitely the effects of high altitude. You would have to start your day early as you would like to reach Bhawabasa as early to acclimatize to the weather. Your route takes a climb to Kalu Vinayak, which is a steep and zig-zag way to take you up the mountain. Go through this section carefully and slowly.
It takes around one and a half hours to reach Kalu Vinayak. The route from Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa is simple and gradually sloping downwards. Bhagwabasa is 2 kms away and you can have a view of the Bhagwabasa huts from here. The trail towards Bhagwabasa goes through snow patches and you would enjoy the journey.
Day 6: Bhagwabasa to Roopkund. Return to Bedni Bugyal
You have to start the day as early as 5 AM. The sooner you start, the better it is for you as the snow is still hard, while later in the day, it would get soft and your feet would start sinking in. Roopkund is a 5 km gradually up-hill climb from Bhagwabasa. You will have steep climb towards the end of the trail to reach Roopkund. It would take about 3 - 3½ hours to reach Roopkund.
Once you climb to Roopkund, you must climb up to Junargali. Trekkers must visit unless the weather is very harsh and does not permit you. The climb to Junargali is not long. It is around 200 ft and doesn’t take much time. It is hardly a climb of 25 - 30 min.
You can start off early to return back to Bedni Bugyal via Bhagwabasa. You need to be careful in trekking back as the snowy slopes may trick you.
Day 7: Bedni Bugyal to Lohajung via Wan. Bedni to wan (trek) wan to lohajung (drive).
It is a great journey back to Lohajung via Wan. The path is fairly simple and you would not feel any distress throughout. You would cross the oak forest as you go and the scenic beauty is just mesmerizing. You would see the end of meadows after a few minutes.
On a clear day, you would be astonished by looking at the Trishul on your way back from Bedni Bugyal to Wan. You would go down the Rhododendron forest. You would have a steep descent for the Neel Ganga. Faster trekkers reach there in approximately one and a half hours. However you should take your time and enjoy the beauty as you go by. From the river, it takes about half an hour to climb to the ridge above Wan village. Overall it takes about 6 and half an hour to Wan and it is an hour’s drive back to Lohajung.
Day 8: Loharjung to Kathgodam
After getting to the base camp at Loharjung and finishing the Roopkund trek, you might think of spending a day at Loharjung. This is a great place to relax and chill out after your high altitude trek that has left your adrenaline pumping. You would enjoy the weather but definitely miss what you had at Roopkund or on its way. Travelling back to Loharjung is pretty simple and doesn’t really require any skill. An enjoyable road-trip to end the lake trek on an exhilarating note.