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Kuari Pass Trek

The immensely humbling feeling of venturing into the high Himalayas for the very first time is an enviable experience. If you are a swashbuckling beginner on the paths of the mighty Himalayas anticipating a compelling thrill-fest and the beauty of everlasting nature, the trek to the high pass of Kuari at 12, 516 feet might be your perfect pick. Crafted to accuracy for first-timers, the Kuari Pass trek is challenging without being excruciating. The stupefying view of the snow-covered high peaks starts early on in this trek right from the very first day and continues till the last day. The trail traditionally followed to Kuari is quite ancient and bears the name of one of the early British viceroys to India, Lord Curzon, who is credited for widely exploring this region of Uttarakhand. The trek is most conventionally conducted in the thick of winter when a fascinating snow blanket shrouds the place in dazzling white. Trekking to the high pass in the zenith of winter comprehensively covers a technically equipped extensive snow walk, meadow trekking in one of Uttarakhand’s typical ‘bugyal’ grassy highlands, a beautiful forest trek, the skiing slopes of Auli, and the unforgettable campsites under the stars. Go for Kuari Pass to test your core strength and experience the Himalayas in her full grandeur to find the undying inspiration for more and more treks to come!

What Is the Kuari Pass Trek?

Recognized in the name of Lord Curzon, the Viceroy to India credited with opening many trails in this part of Uttarakhand's hinterlands, the trail to Kuari Pass suits a trekking beginner’s need for gentle gradients without compromising on the stellar backgrounds and nature’s many shades expected from a high Himalayan trek. The stunning close-quarter view of the Garhwal ranges adorns the sky from the very first day on this trail, raising the spirits for the climb. There is plenty quietude in the forests on this trail through snow draped old sycamores, of rhododendrons, ancient oaks, silver birch, and bhojpatra. Moving on to the clearings in the grass covered meadows, a spectacular view of Mount Dronagiri manifests. If you are a photography enthusiast, this is your chance to make stellar frames of majestic snow peaks in the hour of alpenglow! Among other remarkable Himalayan summits, you can see the glorious Mt Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth,and Hathi Ghoda peaks. The way forward after summiting at the high pass is through Gorson Bugyal and the skiing slopes of Auli. The undulating sparse grassland topography of the bugyals during the snow is vastly enjoyable. You can add 2-3 days to the trek to stop at Auli and learn to ski!

Why Should You Go For Kuari Pass Trek?

  • A beginner’s trail that has it all, from stunning peak views to diverse mountain topography, and gorgeous snow.
  • Unforgettable snow walk in with cramponed boots and gaiters, and adequately layered clothing and thus learning to gear right in extreme weather.
  • Mesmerizing snow peaks surround from day 1 and crossing various vantage points looking over the dazzling snowline.
  • An opportunity to photograph Mount Dronagiri in the magic hours of dawn and dusk from the Chitrakatha campsite. Shutterbugs stay on the ready!
  • Sections of moderate level challenging climbs, a few switchbacks, and ridge walks up to Kuari Top.
  • The crystal waters of Tali Lake which reflects the snow peaks towering in the sky at a distance.
  • The extensive undulating meadows of Gorson Bugyal covered in light snow are a delight to traverse and the visual treat enhances upon reaching the gentle ski slopes of Auli.
  • A sweeping cable car ride over the snowscape, crossing from Gorson to Auli is a major attraction on this trip.
  • Exposure to people’s lives in the remote Uttarakhandi villages on this trail, like Guling, Tugasi, and Khullara.

How High Is Kuari Pass Trek?

Kuari Pass is located at 11,031 feet and considered of moderate altitude among trekking destination in Uttarakhand. Starting from an altitude of 7,601 ft from the base camp village of Lata, the hike takes one to 11,031 ft at Kuari Pass over a period of 3-4 days.

When to Visit?

Kuari Pass is a trek essentially enjoyable in the winters when the rocky crags on the trail are softened over by a cover of snow. September to February is a great window to access the trek in its most tantalizing form.

How to Reach?

By Air: The nearest airport to Joshimath, the base of the trek is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, located 268 km away from the town.
By Rail: Rishikesh and Dehradun railway stations are the closest stops by rail to Joshimath, approximately 280 km away.
By Road: Joshimath- the base camp of the trek is well-connected via Badrinath Road with other parts of Uttarakhand.

Are There Any Shops Available On the Kuari Pass Trek?
After leaving Joshimath, the chance of finding stores for utilities, toiletry etc is very less, though you can find food in the villages falling on the trail.
How Long Does It Take to Complete the Kuari Pass Trek?
The entire trek can be completed within a span of 6 days starting from Haridwar and ending at Haridwar.

What to Pack For the Kuari Pass Trek?

  • Large or medium size backpack, and a duffle side bag for extras
  • Water bottle
  • Sun hat
  • Warm cap
  • Base layers
  • Fleece jacket
  • Outer jacket
  • Rain jacket (essential for the monsoon months)
  • Sturdy trekking shoes and a pair of floaters
  • Flashlight
  • Trekking pants, several pairs
  • UV-protection glasses
  • Thermal socks

Is There Any Possibility Of Altitude Sickness?

There is a possibility of altitude sickness on this trek, especially on the day of hiking to the high pass to Kuari through a stark topography lacking any vegetation. Trekkers anticipating altitude sickness should follow a course of Diamox after adequate medical consultation.

How Busy Is the Kuari Pass Trek?

Kuari Pass is not among the busiest among treks in Uttarakhand but the trail enjoys moderate traffic in the winter from enthusiasts of swashbuckling snow trekking.