Trekking in Kashmir is like getting covered with grassy hills and surroundings with a river accompanying.
You assume the correct route because that is what someone describes after trekking in Kashmir.
Katarnag Lake Trek
Katarnag Trek starts from Aru Valley in Pahalgam town, district Anantnag.
It is a short trek with Jaw-dropping views surrounding. The lake is 14,107ft (4300m) above sea level. It is a 12km trek starting from Aru in Pahalgam.
Things to Pack Before the Start of the Trek
You must jot down these points because they will help you during the trek.
1. Wear Full Track Pant
You – Cannot we wear shorts?
Me – No, because the trek is full of thorns, and if you wear shorts, your leg will be exposed to cuts from thorns.
No one told me this, and I got cuts.
However, it would help if you did not do the same. ( As seen in the image below, I wore shorts on the trek ).
2. Tight Grip Shoes
Shoes with a grip on the trekking are essential, not only on this trek but anywhere.
You will be passing by a mixture of small and big stones in half of the journey. Hence, it is necessary to hold a tight grip if, by chance, you misbalance.
When trekking in Kashmir, you cannot trust the weather anytime. From irritating sunshine during the day to a thunderstorm in the evening to cold at night.
As been told by the locals and it turned out the same, it started raining in the evening when we returned.
4. Energy Bars
An Essential during any trek – Energy bars, light to carry, and keeps your stomach healthily packed.
Trekking in Kashmir is all about the lakes on every mountain that every person leaves to conquer.
Therefore, if you feel thirsty at any point in time, the river will be right there, accompanying you all over.
Start of Katarnag Lake Trek
Let us start the trek,
I heard an enchanting yes.
(Me and Ubaid)
Ubaid is an advanced Skier, trekker, and adventure lover. He is still in school, and I was shocked when he told me this ( He could be seen in the image below ).
So, we started at around 9 a.m. from the grassland area (greenery all around) in Aru valley.
*Let me tell you right at the starting that the trek is steep and gradually increases over time.
After walking a few minutes, and stopped at a place. We talked about how beautiful this place is in terms of greenery.
Ubaid replied that this is not green for us.
Earlier, it used to have 1ft of grass all around and increased tourists in this area. However, as the people and horse activity increased, growing long grasses was difficult.
Reached Kooth Pathri
We reached a place called Kooth Pathri after an hour of trek. This place is not even on google maps, and I have not heard of it. So I took some rest, and we headed towards our journey.
I took some rest, and we headed toward our journey.
Now the steepness takes place at every step we take forward.
Ubaid was doing so smoothly, and I was talking rests for the small interval after every few minutes of walks.
Slowly and Steadily, as we were inching heights, the interval time started increasing.
The thirstiness was not a problem because a waterfall continuously accompanied us on our right. Finally, we reached a point where we had to cross the waterfall.
We crossed the waterfall with less inflow and reached the other end.
Now, the steepness becomes even more after we have crossed the waterfall.
We can see a local carrying a few clothes on his head and approaching the top where he stays.
We asked him about the distance left, and he replied 2 hrs more to go.
It is already afternoon and 2 hrs more, so we have to return.
I thought and told Ubaid that this was not a day trek, it required two days, and he somehow agreed that only local people could go up and down in a day.
I learned that moving slowly in the steep mountains is the way to go. So I started applying it, and gradually we reached a point where a few houses appeared close.
Two boys saw us and asked –
Boy – Where do you want to go?
Me – Katarnag lake
Boy – Katarnag?
Ubaid – Chotah Nag
Boy – okay, come with me.
Ubaid to me – They call Katarnag as Chotah Nag lake
Finally Reached Katarnag Lake
They took us on edgy rocks, and finally, we landed on Katarnag lake. It was a blissful sight.
One side with flowers and another side with snow mountains. In between the Chotah nag lake (Katarnag lake).
Kashmir is truly a heaven, and trekking in Kashmir is like an added blizzard in heaven. The lake is crystal blue, like the color of these children’s eyes. The weather was cold since we were present at such a height. The boy stated that the lake was not deep as.
Locals use the water from the lake to utilize for day-to-day work.
The locals cross the lake on horses if necessary to cross the lake.
It was around 3 p.m., and we were still at Katarnag lake.
I told Ubaid that can we stay in the houses up there for a night because the network is available there.
*Only BSNL Network is available.
If we are staying, we can call at Aru heights that we will be staying here today.
Kids – We do not have any phones.
That made us think that we must go down before sunset, and rain.
It is easy descending as compared to ascending in any trek.
It took us 5-6hrs to reach our destination from ground level, and the way back took 2-3hrs.
I managed to reach back before the rain.
Here is a short video from the trek. Let me know what you think about the hike, video, or anything you want to ask in the comments below.
I know you have some questions in mind like –
Where to Hire the Guide?
The guide can be available near the horses, and you can spot them easily. Ubaid is a member of the family that manages Aru Heights. So, he acted as a guide to come with me.
Although he is going for the second time.
What are the Charges of the Guide?
The charges depend upon whether you are asking separately from the ground level or staying.
If asking separately, they will be telling the fixed price.
If you had asked where you were staying, there is a likelihood that you can bargain for a discount.
Can we do it as a Beginner?
I do not think a beginner should try this because of the continuous steepness.
You know your strengths better.
If you feel confident about your strength, you can opt for this trek in Kashmir.
If you are a beginner and want to trek in the mountains?
Then start with Triund Trek in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.
Perfect for someone who has not trekked before.
What Weight is Recommended to Carry?
Try to carry as light as possible, mainly below 2-3kg on your back.
I carried more than 3kg and have not weighed what I feel from the weight. However, at some stage, it started causing the problem that every time I thought of walking for long distances, it acted as a barrier and stopped me for small intervals.
Carry as light as possible.
What Type of Clothes Should You Pack?
Ditto, as light. But carry a full sleeve sweatshirt/ jacket because it will be cold on top.
And as the day comes to an end, the temperature drops.
Which Season is Good for the Katarnag Lake trek?
Likewise, I mentioned before that always carry an extra pair of clothes because it can rain anytime. The temperature starts to drop when the climate changes in the blink of an eye.
Especially when you are trekking in Kashmir must focus on these conditions.
Apart from this, the summer season is good and pleasant for the trek. Mainly May-Sept, and take care of monsoon seasons July end – Aug end.
Can You Camp During the Trek?
Yes, you can camp at Kooth Pathri and not beyond that.
You will think that why not go beyond?
Because it is a steep trek,
Therefore, the camp will not be on proper flat ground. Also, it is a kind of jungle after Kooth Pathri, so, not recommended for camping.
You should keep your camp until Kooth Pathri if you plan for one.
How Far is Kooth Pathri from the Trek Starting Point?
Kooth Pathri is about a 1-2hr distance from the starting point. So I know you will be left with the whole day after reaching early (If you camp there).
There are 3-4 houses, and probably you can talk with the locals, play with the kids, and learn how the people live there and how difficult/easy life is there.
You can opt to go to Aru Valley and Green top. The time spent there will be good, and you can continue your trek towards the destination the next day.
We spent about 1hr on our return. We were feeling so hungry that we could not move a step further. Therefore, an aunty gave us chapati to eat. We spent some time with the kids during the summer holidays (July), and the kids played all day.
Also Read, Aru Valley – A Compete Guide
What is the Budget for the Katarnag Lake Trek?
The budget will be around under Rs2000, to be honest.
It was written Rs.1800 for the trek guide and back on the board.
For me, it took Rs700. However, no other cost was involved because we left after the morning breakfast and packed some food for lunch.
Therefore food is with us and water refilled by the riverside.
You can get food from the local houses. People are helpful; they need necessary items that can be taken from them.
Here’s an overview of the article in the form of a web story:
The conclusion is that trekking in Kashmir is more blissful than anywhere in the Himalayas.
Right from the word go: the trek in the mountains is magnificent.
Furthermore, treks like the Tarsar Marsar trek and Kolhai Glacier trek are in Aru Valley.
I hope my guide to Katarnag Lake Trek will help you in planning.
If it has helped you, do not forget to share and follow the blog.
Most Important – Do not litter your surroundings, keep the waste material in your bags, and throw in dustbins.