Nag Tibba has of late become a favorite trek for the winters and there are reasons for that. Proximity to Delhi is one of them, with overnight journey to Dehradun and another 3-4 hrs drive takes you to Pantwari (80 Kms from Dehradun) the base of Nag Tibba trek. Popular perception is that it’s a 2 day trek which is fine if you are in a rush. But if you are ready to invest just 1 more day returns outweighs the investment by a fat margin.
Let’s take a look at the most popular itinerary followed by most of us.
Day 1 – Reach Dehradun in the morning; take a cab to Pantwari, from Pantwari drive on the dirt road which is quite motor-able for 3 Kms to a point from where the first camping site is just an hour away. Experienced trekkers can do it in 30 mins. You camp just before the forest area and the entire terrain is mostly barren. Trek for the day finishes even before it starts (without great views). Even if one starts trekking from Pantwari trail is devoid of views mostly through the step fields.
Day 2 – Start early trek to Nagtibba summit, it’s mostly steep uphill climb. Views start to open up only in the last one hour of the trek before the summit. You will reach summit by noon. Even if you spend an hour only at summit you can hardly make it to Pantwari before sunset. From here you catch a cab and reach Dehradun late in the night. Also the problem with reaching the summit in the afternoon is that it becomes hazy and it’s difficult to have a good view of higher Himalayas including Nanda Devi.
Let’s explore the more rewarding side of this trek which is often missed.
Day 1 – Start early morning from Dehradun say around 5:00 AM, as last Volvo from Delhi reaches Dehradun at around the same time. With 1 hr. break for breakfast you should be at the end of dirt road by 10:30. Instead of camping at the edge of forest camp at Nag Mandir. It takes 3-4 hours of trek to there. You should be at Nag Mandir at around 2:00 – 3:00 PM. Once you cross the barren stretch after an hour or so, you reach the forest area and it’s just amazing to walk through this forest trail. After 2 hours of walk through the forest you reach the camping site. This camping site has so much to offer. View of Higher Himalyan Ranges, amazing sun-set and above all you feel totally secluded as those village lights are not visible from here which are visible from the other camping site.
Day 2 – You start early today with packed lunch. It’ll take around 2 hrs from Nag Mandir to Nag Tibba summit. Once you reach the summit it will take your breath away. You can see Nanda Devi, Bandar-poonchand many more peaks of Higher Himalayas from here. Spend some time here and then trek back to the camping site by afternoon. As I mentioned earlier Nag Mandir is a camping site where nobody can feel bored.
Day 3 – Now this is a surprise package. Instead of trekking back to Pantwari we will get to other side of mountain to Aunter which is a road head. Start from Nag Mandir at around 9:00 AM. Today’s trek is mostly flat through the thickest ofRhododendron forest generally seen in Uttarakhand and the good part is that you are not struggling to catch a breath so you can enjoy the beauty strewn all around you. The snow covered trail through this thick forest is simply stunning.Since this trail is not often used in winter it looks so fresh and clean. Once you cross the hill to other side the landscape changes suddenly within a distance of few meters. One moment you were walking on the fresh and supple snow the other moment your are on a jungle trail- green n white to green as far as you can see.The view of the valley below is simply stunning; it can be a great site for paragliding. The trail makes you feel so happy at the end of the day that you will be thanking yourself for the extra day you gave yourself. Within 3 hrs you can descend to Aunter and the descent is pretty gradual.Another good thing about this route is that it’s shorter by 30 kms from Dehradun compared to Pantwari,that saves you an hour.