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Trekking in Mcleodganj, Mcleodganj Overview

A number of treks are available in and around Mcleodganj, ranging from simple to difficult terrains. There are also a number of institutes that provide training as well as tools and facilities for trekking.

Trekking is a hobby for most of us and Himachal Pradesh is a famous and a favourite spot for many trekkers. One can trek from Mclepdganj to Triund, which is a very short and modest trek. Triund also has a number of trekking options with a backdrop of some breathtaking sceneries. Camping in the mountains has the power to break the monotony of daily routine boring lives. The experience of hiking in the natural, pollution-free air and open green landscapes is truly exhilarating. McLeodganj (also known as Little Lhasa) is a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, India. There are many heavenly places or sites to visit and experience around McLeodganj that will leave you speechless.

Following are the routes for trekking from Mcleodganj that definitely must be taken by all lovers of nature - 

1. Triund Trek

Situated in the laps of Dhauladhar mountains, Triund is a base camp with a perfect view of Dhauladhar mountains on one side and Kangra valley on the other.

How to get there?
From Dharamshala bus stand, you can take a bus to McLeodganj (Bus fare is INR 12) or shared taxi (fare is INR 15) or book a taxi (Might cost INR 450)

The Trek
Start your trek from the Main Square in McLeodganj and take a steep and rigid upward walk to your left-hand side and walk for about 45 minutes via the Office of Regional Mountaineering Centre, Dharamshala. Turn towards your left side from a three-way intersection to reach Dharamkot. You may also take a rickshaw or a cab here (INR 60 and INR 300) to be dropped off at Dharamkot primary school. From the left side of the school, there is a trail that will take about an hour through the forests to reach the Gallu Devi Temple.

There are cafeterias and guest houses here. Rest for a while as the trek from here to Triund is a bit tough with some steep curves. It takes about three to four hours to reach the top of Triund Hill.

The trail goes through a beautiful mixed forest of oak, deodar and rhododendron. The Mcleodganj Triund trek is easy and can be done by all age groups especially for the first five kilometres. The last one kilometre is, however, tiring. There are many shops that offer refreshments along the way.

Accommodation
Carry your own tent and set up a camp in Triund. There are small shops where you can get to Tea and Maggi refreshment.

There is a Guesthouse by the forest department of Dharamshala, however, make sure to book it in advance.

Best time to go
Any time of the year except January- February due to heavy snowfall

Difficulty level
Easy to moderate

2. Kareri River Trek

Situated in the south of the Dhauladhar range, around 9 kilometres away from the Dharamshala city, is one expansive and beautiful Kareri Lake. Kareri Lake is named after the village Kareri that is located approximately 9 kilometres to the south of the lake. A popular trekking destination, it is at a high altitude of 9629 ft from the sea level and is frozen from the end of November, early December up to April or start of May.

How to get there?
Regular buses are ply from Dharamshala to Ghera village, starting from 8:00 AM in the morning. The distance between the two is around 20 km. You can also take a taxi from Dharamshala to Ghera. The trekkers begin their trekking from the market in Ghera village.

The Trek
The village has a navigable road. Walk along this path, cross a bridge that comes along the way and trek on the route that goes along the Khauli River. You will pass Sari village on your way, after around 30 minutes into the trek. From here, the Kareri village is 2 kilometres away. The trail leading there is through the dense rhododendron forests. Observe a wooden bridge over the Kareri stream, from there; the trail is of another 30 minutes to reach the Kareri village. The camping grounds and Forest Guest House are another 10 minutes away.

From the back of the forest guest house, there is a trail on the left side that leads to the entrance to a narrow valley. Cross the wooden bridge and then after a steep climb of 200 meters and crossing another temporary bridge, you will reach a camping spot called Harote. From there, on your right, there will be a narrow funnel-like valley that leads to Kareri Lake.

Accommodation
Campers usually set up their camp on the meadow near the stream, 10 minutes away from Kareri village. There is also a Forest Guest House. However, it is advisable to speak with the forest ranger in advance if one wishes to occupy the guest house. Home-Stay in the village is also possible.

Best time to go
The best time to go on a trek to Kareri Lake is anytime from May to June and September to October. This is because from December to April end the lake is frozen, and one must exercise extra caution while trekking over the frozen lake.

Difficulty level
Moderate

3. Guna Devi Temple Trek

Guna Devi is located 13 kilometres away from Dharamshala bus stand and 8 kilometres from McLeodganj bus stand. It is one of the major religious centres in the area. It is a pilgrim centre for the locals and the Gaddi shepherds. Enjoy your trek here through the beautiful trail through Deodar Forest.

How to get there?
The campers can take a cab from either McLeodganj or Dharamshala to Naddi Village.

The Trek
The trek starts from Naddi village above Dal Lake, 4 km from McLeodganj. From Naddi there is a moderate trail leading to Baal village. 2 kilometres away from Baal village is the Guna Devi temple.

Accommodation

There is no need for accommodation as it is a one day hike. You can crash in any of the hotels and home-stays in McLeodganj.

Best time to go
Throughout the year

Difficulty level
Easy

4. Bhagsu Trek

The trek to Bhagsu is short but a refreshing one! There are two places to be visited in Bhagsu. One being the Bhagsu temple, which is also a pilgrim centre for Hindus.  It is also referred to as the Bhagsunag temple, a temple of Lord Shiva. The other place to be visited is the Bhagsu / Bhagsunag waterfalls. They are 20 minutes away from the temple. The waterfall is mid-sized, cascading from a height of 20 meters. The waterfall is truly a phenomenal site during monsoons.

How to get there?
Bhagsu Waterfall is 3 km away from McLeodganj and one kilometre from the Bhagsu temple.

Trek
The trek from McLeodganj to Bhagsu is relatively easy. You can also take a cab to reach Bhagsu temple and start hiking from there. The temple and the waterfall are only twenty minutes from each other. For the waterfall, the trekkers need to climb half a hill, which may be difficult for some. Bhagsu has many refreshment centres as well and also houses the popular Shiva Cafe.

Accommodation
Bhagsu village has some homestays and hotel options. However, since the trek is short, people prefer going back to McLeodganj or further trek up to Triund. 

Best time to go
Throughout the year. Waterfall becomes grand during monsoons.

Difficulty level
Easy

5. Indrehar Pass Trek

Situated on the top of the Dhauladhar range is the Indrahar pass at the peak of 14160 ft. The trek to this pass is a mesmerising experience as you feel like you are on the top of the world.

How to get there?
The base camp set up for Indrahar pass is Lahesh Cave. Lahesh Cave is further uphill from Triund. Trekkers usually camp till Triund for a day and then on the next day proceed to shift to Lahesh Cave.

Trek
Lahesh cave is 9 km away from Triund. It is located at 11646 ft while Triund is at 9760 ft. From the Triund ridge, the trail goes up north past the guest house and a small Devi shrine. The trail keeps on rising throughout. You will find stone trails that are maintained by the Gaddis due to the location of various shrines in the area. The trail goes towards the east to a steep traverse to get to Laka ridge. Past this, the trail goes through many pastures to camping grounds of Laka.  There will be some boulder fields that descend the face of Laka, from here, take the trail up the north most area. The trail will pass two boulder fields. Stick close to the right of the stream and after an hour of walking, you will reach the Lahesh cave. Camp overnight. Next morning begin the trek from Lahesh cave (at 11646 ft) to Indrahar pass (at 14160 ft). Continue to follow the trail that goes over the rocks straight up North East Ridge of the cave. At some places, it will be easy to walk due to the paths created by the Gaddi shepherds. However, there are steep rises at many points so continue to trek at your pace. There may be few streams that you will cross along the way. You will know when you are getting closer and the trail becomes steeper. You will reach the pass quite suddenly. There is a shrine in the centre of the pass as well. The trek is of 6 to 7 hours from Lahesh to Indrahar pass to Chhata camp.

Accommodation
From the Indrahar pass, trekkers proceed to Chhata camp, which is downhill from the pass. (From 14160 ft. to 12729 ft)

Best time to go
The best time to go is from September to October

Difficulty
Moderate to difficult.

Dharamshala and McLeodganj have become hotspots for trekking base camps as one can feel a close association with nature. It is a perfect way to detox from life in the cities and from our constantly busy minds.
Travel into the woods and between the mountains to feel content again. Use this information to plan your next trek!

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