Chikmagalur in India’s south, steeped along the Western Ghats hills is an oasis of greenery, peace and exquisite adventure opportunities. Trekking enthusiasts living in metropolises near Bangalore and Chennai would find it extremely convenient to make Chikmagalur treks over the weekends and short holidays, while the Himalayas are a far call. Coffee plantations of Chikmagalur produce all of India’s tastiest coffee, plantations where visitors can stop for memorable tastings and feel rejuvenated just walking in the fresh aroma. The tiny hill station is closely situated to Baba Budangiri- the iconic mountain range in the region, the Mullayanagiri Peak, the beautifully cascading Hebbe Falls amidst coffee plantations, and other natural heritages of the southern hills of India. Naturists would also love to explore Chikmagalur for the amazing wildlife found in the nearby Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, and the numberless species of birds found in the area. Chikmagalur trekking is thus rewarding in so many ways, plus, you get to conclude these trips within duration shorter than your average Himalayan trek!
Come trekking in the district to set your spirits free in the greenery, for it’s just a stone’s throw away from the cities and yet surprisingly blissful, away from all the chaos. Chikmagalur trekking places hold simple charms, and this is why you must trek here--
Part of the Bababudangiri Hills of Chikmagalur, Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka, rising up to 6,330 feet. There is a small temple dedicated to the legend of Mulappa Swamy who meditated in the caves of Mullayanagiri and the mountain has been named after him. Trekkers to Mullayanagiri find it fascinating to explore the dark, shady, bat infested caves in these hills tinged with horror!
The Mullayanagiri hike is 3 hours long and has an easy to moderate difficulty level. The walk up begins from Sarpadri- a village close to Chikmagalur and winds slowly through beautiful sceneries of the miles after miles of green carpeted hills. Mullayanagiri-- one of the juiciest attractions of trekking near Chikmagalur is best in the winter months, from September to April. Another common trekking preference is for the monsoons when the hills have bathed in clean, verdant shades and partial fogginess wrap the place under a shroud of mystery.
Kudremukh National Park
Kudremukh is a 2 days stretch, starting from Chikmagalur, along velveteen grassy slopes of the third highest hill in southern India. The name of the peak-- Kudremukh, implies a horse-shoe, since the shape of the peak resembles it. The trek pathway runs through Kudremukh National Park-- a large wildlife protected area, with about six small villages and fringed by coffee estates. Trekking here will bring you in touch with wildlife, bring you close to the beautiful Somavati River, and give you a taste of quality coffee found here.
Located 60 km away from Chikmagalur, Kemmangundi in the heart of another protected wildlife reserve in the area- Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, a destination to explore nature at its most pristine. Don’t miss the famous Z-point on the itinerary of this Chikmagalur trekking package when you are here, to catch a vast sweeping glimpse of the ethereal green surroundings.
Sakleshpur Railway Trek
Walking along a railway track, sounds dangerous? Well, people do it all the time in the beautiful Sakleshpur district, 60 km from Chikmagalur! Walk in the midst of pristine greenery from Sakleshpur to Yedakumeri railway line and take in the unique beauty of the waterfalls, Rai Girder Bridge and tunnels and surrounding forests on this 20 km stretch.
Situated at the base of the Baba Budan range of hills, Ayyanakere is an ancient lake and one of the biggest in the Western Ghats region of Chikmagalur. History narrates the lake to be constructed by Rukmangada Raya-- the ruler of Sakharayapatna in 1156 AD during Hoysala’s rule. The curiously conical Shakunagiri hill forms a backdrop to the lake, offering great photographic opportunities for naturists and trekkers and the place happens to be one of the popular Chikmagalur trekking spots among locals as well as tourists.
The most favorable time to visit Chikmagalur is from September to March. The maximum temperature in the summers varies between 32 degrees and 35 degrees Celsius.
Also, monsoon is a fascinating time to visit there hills, extending from June to September. Trekking safely in your rain gears around Chikmagalur is definitely viable.
The winters, from December to February have a temperature running anything between 14 to 32 degrees Celsius.
By Air: The airport nearest to Chikmagalur is Mangalore, situated 110 km away. From the airport you can hire taxis or buses to Chikmagalur. To access an international airport, you need to reach Bangalore airport.
By Train: Chikmagalur railway station is not well connected, therefore you need to reach Kadur railway station at 40 km and travel from there on.
By Road: Major south Indian cities like Bangalore, Mangalore, and Chennai located close to Chikmagalur are accessible from across India You can also find outstation taxi cabs between Chikmagalur and other cities.