Unveiling the majesty of the Himalayas, the Kedarkantha trek stands as an unrivaled jewel of winter escapades. Cloaked in knee-deep snow during winters, this trail promises a mesmerizing view not only from its summit but all along the trail, earning it the moniker of ‘Queen of Winter Treks.’
Designed with a nod to beginners and families seeking a taste of adventure, the Kedarkantha trek is a gateway to the extraordinary. Guiding you through the lush pine forests of the Govind National Park, its gentle demands on endurance are a true delight. The culmination of your efforts is a breathtaking panoramic view, a worthy reward for ascending to an altitude of 3,810M.
If you plan to bring yourself to this magnificent trek, here is a list of some extraordinary firsts you can expect to experience:
1. Cross the First Re-Entrant
What’s that you ask? Let us tell you. A re-entrant is a natural channel formed between two hill spurs where rainwater typically flows. This fascinating geographic feature is a worthy addition to your trekker's vocabulary, wouldn’t you say?
It’s possible that you may not recognize this feature while crossing it. Make sure to ask your trek leader before starting the trek to point it out to you when you approach this section of the trek.
2. Camp by the Mystical Juda ka Tal
Few experiences are likely to surpass the magic of camping alongside a pristine lake, and when that lake is the enigmatic Juda ka Tal, the probability drops even further. In winters, this lake dons a frozen blue cloak. According to legend, Lord Shiva opened the locks of his hair - the water that dropped from his hair when he did this is what created this magical lake. That’s quite a story – it sure brings a very distinct visual to mind and adds to the beauty of the landscape!
3. Try Out Micro-Spikes in the Snow
The winter months from December to February blanket the route up the mountain with a generous layer of snow. Micro-spikes can make this otherwise slippery terrain a little bit easier to get a grip on. To learn how to use a new gear in a new terrain and to learn how to walk using this tool is all levels of exciting. Remember, though, that micro-spikes lose their charm on flat plains. Save the thrill for the Himalayan heights.
4. A Midnight Summit Push
Ever wondered why mountaineers kick off summit ascents in the dead of night? It is because the low temperature keeps the snow firm and hence makes it more stable to walk on. As the sun comes up, the heat starts to melt the snow, making it unstable and more dangerous.
There is something really exciting about waking up in the middle of the night to brave the cold outside in order to get to the top of a mountain and be greeted by an endless sea of mountains. Kedarkantha gives you just this experience – along with a small glimpse of what it feels like to be a mountaineer.
5. The Triumph of the Kedarkantha Summit
Imagine standing atop Kedarkantha, gazing upon a panoramic view of the most prominent mountains in the Himalayas including the Gangotri, Yamunotri, and Kinner-Kailash mountain ranges. Bandarpoonch, Black Peak, and the Har ki Doon valley feature too, in the long list of impressive peaks you witness from the summit of Kedarkantha. Looking to make your friends a little jealous? A picture with this view is sure to do the trick!
6. Dash Through the Snow
Whether you are a kid or an adult, you are never too old to play in the snow. Also on Kedarkantha, there is so much of it all around you that it is hard to resist - we dare you to keep yourself from falling prey to the urge of sliding down it.
7. Snowman, Anyone?
Snowy winter landscapes are hard to come by. If you find yourself one, you must make use of it – build that goddamned snowman you always dreamed of making and let it become a cherished memory of your trek - a perfect winter holiday pursuit that literally defines the joy of the season.
8. Immerse in Sankri's Local Charms
If time permits, embrace the local vibrancy of Sankri village. Engage with the native lifestyle, savor the local flavors, and bask in the warmth of the villagers' hospitality. Sankri's authenticity beckons, offering an immersion into the heart of the Himalayan culture.
The best thing about Kedarkantha Trek is that it provides endless opportunities to have fun and opens up great avenues of outdoor adventure for beginners. When are you coming here to get a first-hand experience?
This article was originally written by Dhaarna Kukreja on 30-10-2017.
It was edited and updated by Neeti Singhal on 4-10-2023.