Warwan Valley is one of the lesser explored utopias of Kashmir's Himalayan region. If we compare the Himalayan landscapes and their beauty with each other, no other trek comes even close to the sheer beauty that Warwan valley has to offer. It is a complete package with a plethora of landscapes and sceneries. The icing of the trip is the stunning crossover from Leh to Kashmir. The fascinating part of the trek is that its virgin, devoid of commercial elements, and hardly a few experts even from the adventure industry have witnessed its beauty until now. The name is unheard and the place is unseen even by native Kashmiris. What makes the Warwan Valley trek a complete package? When it comes to exploring the Himalayas, trekkers go to different regions to explore different types of scenery. People go to Uttarakhand for summits, Manali for meadows, and Ladakh for glaciers. Warwan Valley is a treasure trove that offers everything in a single journey. The quest starts with an exquisite drive from Leh to Suru Valley via Kargil. After a night's stay in Panikhar, we come across huge river delta basins, vibrant meadows, massive glacial lakes, moraine sections, and silky streams for the first few days. Then, once we cross the immense pass, we walk through the ginormous Kaintal glacier and enter into the Kashmir Valley. On the last day of the trek, we walk through some ancient villages in Kashmir. Some of the alluring highlights here are the larger-than-life spaces, traversing next to massive streams, bone-chilling river crossings, walking through quaint villages, walking on ice, view of glaciers, and walking on steep ridges. Also, be attentive when the golden-brown rodent (marmot) calls out to you, and do not miss the dance of the wagtails. They are a sight to savor. If you pay close attention, the things we see on the Discovery channel all actually come alive here. The Warwan Valley trek falls under level 5 on the Bikat Rating Scale, making it a moderate to difficult level trek. During the trek, we cover a distance of around 20 kilometers every day through hard moraine sections. The long exhausting walks, traversing through narrow scree sections, narrow ridge walks, and descending on steep surfaces might be extremely challenging. Proper practice and a standard fitness level are required. Though it is not for beginners, it does not demand any technical skill. The Warwan Valley Trek is the pinnacle of Himalayan beauty and an experience here is an experience of a lifetime. Stay on this page to get more essential information from photos, blogs, etc.
Arrive at Leh (3,500M)
Flights are an only means to reach Leh. After landing at the airport, you can find shared cabs outside the gate. Ask for Pologround near Leh market. Our cozy accommodation is just a few minutes from there.
Acclimatization at Leh (3,500M)
The altitude of Leh is 3,500M. It will take some time for the body to get used to it. That's why day two is reserved for acclimatization. Drink lots of water and visit nearby attractions like Leh Palace and monasteries. The short hike or walk will regulate your body's oxygen level and make it ready for the journey ahead.
Drive from Leh (3,500M) to Panikhar (3,300M)
Distance: 281 km
Duration: 11 - 12 hours
Ladakh in itself is a world within fairylands. A drive from Ladakh to Panikhar is an experience that shows you the most staggering contrast with unique landscapes. We start driving from Leh at around 8 AM. In the first 30 minutes of the journey, as the long and slim roads turn, you can observe the snow-capped Stok range from a distance. While waiting for signals, we see old wooden houses guarded by tall poplar trees on one side and rustic army camps on the other side of the road. About 1 hour into the journey, we cross some iconic spots like Spituk Gompa, magnetic hills, and Sangam point. Do not be surprised if the moon-crest like surface near Lamayuru monastery leaves you with a gaping mouth!
After covering a distance of 132 kilometers we stop for lunch at Khalsi.
The road from Khalsi gets a little narrower with numerous twists and turns. It takes 2 hours to reach Kargil from Khalsi. On our way to Kargil, we get a rare opportunity to see some spots like the invisible village carved on a single ridge and a few exciting passes like Fatola and Namika. Once we cross the pass, the actual contrasts begin. The dry and desolate browns are now replaced with lush greens. The tales from TV and old stories will come alive here. You can see 100s of military camps, army men practicing on the field, and long structures in camouflage colors.
We will stop for snacks at Kargil for a few minutes and then move towards Suru Valley. The silky Suru nallahaccompanies us on the right-hand side of the road for an hour and disperses into smaller streams. Two humongous hosts wait for our arrival at the Suru Valley. As we enter the valley side, the magnificent Mt Nun (7,135M) & Mt Kun (7,077M) welcome us with their white caps. Mount Nun is the highest peak in the Zanskar Valley of Ladakh. Mountaineers and climbers from across the globe try to summit the Nun-Kun massif which is counted as an achievement in and of itself plus serves as a worthy training ground for those looking to join the league of the mighty 8000ers. If we are on time and enter Suru before 6 PM, we witness the twin peaks with a vibrant sunset. After driving for another 2 hours, we reach the homestay in Panikhar at around 8 PM.
Panikhar (3,300M) to Denora (3,764M)
Distance: 7 km
Duration: 4 -5 hours
Early in the morning after a scrumptious breakfast we leave the homestay and assemble at the nearest river point. The trail for the trek begin from the Chalong river point and is extremely easy with a flat gradient. A few minutes into the journey, the view of Panikhar village disappears behind you and a wider section of scenery unfolds in front of you. Throughout the day we walk on the right-hand side of the lustrous Chalong river. Once we cover a distance of 3 km, we see small streams of mountain springs crossing our path. This is our first source of drinking water for the day. The landscape after 3 kilometers gets broader. The barren lands gradually change into lush meadows and the trails take some minimal turns. As we continue walking on the meadow section for another 2 hours, we enter the luxuriant region of Denora, our first campsite.
Denora (3,764M) to Kalapari (3,917M)
Distance: 8 km
Duration: 5-6 hours
Today, the trails are no less thrilling than a roller coaster ride. The gradient is fairly easy and a bit challenging than the first day with continuous change in topography. We leave the campsite at 9 AM and ascend with minor elevations. The trails extend with a vast sheet of greyish boulders. Hop, jump and walk through the boulders for 3 kilometers, we land on a second elevation point. That’s our cue to be struck by awesomeness! Do not be surprised if you find yourself with an open mind and an open jaw for the next few hours of the journey! A huge river delta basin appears in front of us. In the natural Colosseum, several streams of water compete with each other, trying to flow ahead. This stretch continues for 2 kilometers and ends at the foot of a velvet red mountain covered in bright red shrubs and flowers.
The trails run straight, dip in water and suddenly ascend along the sides of the basin. Remove your shoes, roll up your pants and get ready to cross the bone-chilling river streams. The thrilling river crossing happens twice and leads us to a massive confluence point near the red mountain. We cross the stream for one last time and start ascending towards the left-hand side of the confluence point. Hold on and take a look behind you. As the trails ascend towards the mountain range, you get a sweeping view of the Denora valley behind you. Now, when you turn, remember to look down as you ascend. Notice how the texture of the land changes completely, first from brown to green and then from green to red. It is as if a partial red carpet is placed to greet you at your second campsite.
The gradual ascend goes on for 2.5 km and reveals a vast space with glacial ranges on one side, boulder sections in the middle, and barren hills on the other side. We descend for 500 meters and reach our second campsite, Kalapari. Our tents are pitched inside a small shepherd's structure here.
Meaning of Kalapari - Kala -black, Pari - Rock. (Most of the glaciers here are covered with black sand and dust)
Kalapari (3,817M) to Kaintal (3,505M) via Ghansla Pass (4,410M)
Distance: 22 Km
Duration: 11 hours
We start early at around 7 AM because today is the longest day of the trek. The gradient of the trails are ‘moderate to difficult’ with narrow ridges, long moraine sections, and steep descents. There is an adequate amount of water source in between every 5 km.
The trails from the beginning of the Kalapari campsite are composed of asymmetrical boulders and moraines. About 10 minutes into the journey, we cross a quaint old cave called Na-Mithung. (Na meaning ‘no’, Mithung meaning ‘sky’)
In the ancient days, there used to be a cave where the shepherds would camp out. It was so deep that even the sky wouldn't be visible. Now, all you can see are the remnants and rubbles inside it. The depth was filled due to landslides and cloud bursts.
We continue to ascend from the cave section for an hour and land near a small water stream. We can witness the entire Kalapari Range from the spot. The trails run flat from the stream and grow narrower as we move ahead. Once we cover a distance of 2 km, the narrow trails are covered with scree making the traverse difficult. Sometimes, the trails even vanish completely. Following the footprint of mules or horses can help you move ahead.
We continue walking on the narrow trails for 2 kilometers and land on a surprising marvel. Amidst the glacier region, huge boulders and mud, lies a phenomenal glacial lake with small ice caps floating on it. The diameter of the olive green lake is bigger and wider than any other Himalayan glacial lake.
We halt for a short break here and resume our journey after 10 minutes. A surprising twist awaits ahead of the lake. The rubble and scree sections end and a flat plain of hard ice emerges, leading us into the glacier section. The thrilling ice walk is extremely easy and it doesn't need any special gear to walk. This icy bliss continues for a 3 km stretch. At the end of the plain, the trail ascends into a moraine section. The gradient from the moraine section runs flat for a few meters and suddenly gains height. This type of changing topography continues for the next 3 km (roughly 2 hours). Finally, after reaching the top, the trail lands on a steep ridge.
The breathtaking ridge spans out for a distance of 500 meters in length and 2-3 meters in width. This sole string ridge is the gateway for Ghansla Pass. Though the pathway is easy, it might give you a tingling sensation in your belly because of the height and slope. Deep breaths and proper footing are the key elements in crossing it.
Once we reach the pass, we stumble upon a bigger, better, and more beautiful lake than the previous one. The glacial lake is as enormous as the tropical lakes on sea level. We break for lunch here and move towards the Kaintal glacier after 30 minutes. Locals say that the Bakarwals (shepherds) used to consider Ghansla Pass as the border for Kargil and Kashmir.
About an hour into the journey, the moraine section unveils its big black crevasses. You can find many glacial water streams flowing through the rocks and falling deep inside the crevasses. Once we cover a distance of 2 km, the trail descends and takes us to a special vantage point that holds the front-row view for the colossal Kaintal Glacier. If you carefully listen to the streams, you can hear the water flowing behind the huge bracken surface of the glacier. It is an actual glacier in the making.
The trails from the vantage point get steeper with a 45-degree descent for 3 km. After descending through the glacier surface, we walk on a unique type of surface mixed with moraine, ice, and crevasses. Be careful when you step on the ice floor. They are extremely slippery and dangerous. Following the leader is the best way to be safe. The icy moraine section continues for 5 km and open up to an extensive expanse of the Kashmir valleys. The boulder section transits to a flat grassland and a heavy stream of the Kaintal glacier flows to the left side of the trail. The flat trail runs for another 1 km and ends at Kaintal Campsite.
Kaintal (3,505M) to Humpet (3,322M)
Distance: 16 km
Duration: 7 hours
Today is much easier as compared to yesterday. The gradient runs flat with small ascents and descents. There are plenty of water streams to fill our bottles throughout the journey.
We start from the campsite at around 9 AM to walk along the huge Kaintal stream. The terrain is full of small pebbles, light-colored flowers, and a subtle hint of brown boulders. About 1 hour into the journey, we cross a couple of streams. The adventure and thrill here is amplified by the glacial water. The river crossing from the river basin was just a sample. The icy vibes of the Kaintal stream holds the ability to jolt you back to your senses with a merry dance thrown into the deal as a bonus!
As we cover more distance, the land automatically shuffles between grass, rocks, and slush. A major section of the path runs parallel to the massive river stream. You can find streaks of trail marks paved on the top of the grass mounds. The nature of the grasslands changes when you gain a little height. The grass becomes greener and softer on the top. When you descend a bit downwards, the hues of green reduce and rocks take over. One of the main attractions on this route is the Kota - shepherds' huts. They are perfect structures made by just rocks and mud. If you get a chance, you can enter one and check the form from inside.
Once you cross a distance of 10 km, the snow-capped peaks of the Ladakh range fade into the distance and a small range of the Kashmir valley appears with a punch of vibrancy. The basin and the land next to it get wider and wider with every kilometer. Finally, at the end of an enormous space, when we find the tree line for the first time in the trek, we would have reached the Humpet campsite. Imagine 10 golf courses together in a single space, Humpet holds a massive expanse. After reaching the campsite, you can roam around and enjoy the beautiful sunset with some extra space and privacy.
Humpet (3,322M) to Sukhnai (2,840M)
Distance covered: 18 km
Duration: 7 hours
Today is the day we finally enter the Warwan Valley. The gradient for the day is moderate with a few steep descents and gradual ascents. We start from the campsite around 9 AM and ascend through a lush meadow section. Compared to the campsite, the meadows are smaller in size with huge boulders. Here, get ready to be surprised by the golden brown rodent, marmot. Not one, not a few, you can spot more than 100 signaling each other from a distance. These adorable beasts playfully run across the rocks and cross your trail. Keep your cameras ready, a few might even pose for you.
The trail gradually ascends for 2 - 3 kilometers and opens up to a ridge. The ridge is the entry point for the Warwan Valley. Once you cross the ridge, you will start descending towards the valley side. The valley is composed of a slim pathway with silver birch trees. The Kaintal stream gushes its way through the narrow spaces creating a roar between the mountains. The soothing shade of the silver birch trees offer a good spot for a quick refreshing break to gather back our energy.
Note - Since the route is less traveled, it doesn't have proper trails or markings. Follow the leader's command and walk with flat-footing.
We continue descending for another 3 kilometers until we land on a flat area. The flat expanse takes us through a distinct kind of surprise - a confluence point of two rivers. Crystal blue river stream from the Sheshnag region mixes with Kaintal. Locals call the river Sain nallah. The flat trail gains several twists and turns from the confluence point. Sometimes they run through a waterfall, sometimes they run close to a river stream and many times they might get steep and slippery. Again, following the leader and watching your footing will help you traverse safely. At the end of the narrow trail, we get to an old wooden bridge. By this time, we have covered around 9 km.
The valley gets wider, denser, and greener from the bridge. The trails are partially paved across several boulders, waterfalls, and tree line. We frequently toggle between forest areas and clearings here. About 2 hours and 5 km from the bridge, the space expands to give us a glimpse of the lush Sukhnai village from a long distance. On our way to Sukhnai, we cross several interesting shepherds of Kashmir. This is where we witness the magic of a single person and a dog managing more than 500-600 sheep at a time. If luck is on our side, they even offer their traditional tea made of goat milk. Finally, when the trails change into a proper paved path and end on a farm, we would have reached the exteriors of Sukhnai. We camp here for the night.
Sukhnai (2,840M) to Gumri (2,100M)
Distance: 8 km
Duration: 5 hours
Even the last day of trek serves up a different kind of soul-feeding experience. The gradient for the day is easy with flat pathways. We start from our campsite at around 8 AM and walk towards the Sukhnai village. As soon as we get closer to the village, authentic imagery from the folktales of Kashmir will present itself to surprise you with its heritage and culture. Golden crops adorn the land with their lustrous sheen, the charming wooden bridge in the extreme corner of the village adds antique value and the age-old houses sing of the simplicity of the village. Overall, we witness an ancient lifestyle untainted by modernism. About 30 minutes into the village, we walk out of Sukhnai and get on a proper track built by the villagers. The track between the river streams and layers of lush mountains is a portrayal from heaven's paintings. Every part of the landscape is worth being displayed on a calendar.
Once we cover a distance of 4 kilometers, we cross a massive bridge and enter into a second quaint village called Rekenwas. We find our first and last ascend for the day when we enter Rekenwas. The landscape here offers a view of wooden structures and villagers working on their daily chores. Twenty minutes into the village, the trail goes deeper into elephantine agriculture lands. Every house on the agricultural lands at least have a distance of 500 meters between them. These massive distances are filled with crops and plantations. At the end of 7 km, we leave the agricultural lands behind and enter Gumri, the final village of our journey. After walking for another kilometer through the village, our trail ends on a roadway. A vehicle arranged by Bikat Adventures picks us up from here to drop us at Srinagar by the night. It is around 200 km and should take close to 8 hours to reach Srinagar from Gumri. It would be ideal to stay for the night and plan your return journey the next day.
The Warwan Valley Trek is a moderate plus trek i.e. it requires more strength and endurance than moderate level treks. It is a high altitude trek climbing to a height of 4410 meters. Therefore, it is recommended that you first gain experience of trekking to altitudes of 3700 meters and learn about campsite basics, ascending descending on mountain trails, basics of high altitude acclimatization process and then move up a notch with Warwan Valley Trek. The trek also involves long walks on uneven harsh terrain each day which demands a good physical and mental endurance. On Bikat scale Warwan Valley trek difficulty level is 5. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
One should have at least 7-10 trek days in the Himalayas in his/her kitty. Warwan Valley Trek is more than 4400 meters, a person must have prior experience of trekking at altitudes of or more than 3700 meters.
One should be familiar with the following:
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
The best Season for Warwan Valley Trek is from June to October.
Click here for packing list.
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied by their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accomodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks. Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.
Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek.These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable. There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.
You will be provided with good quality of gaiters and microspikes from us depending upon the situation of the snow. Our trek leaders will also be carrying ropes and ice axe.
Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfil the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on the journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.
A team of participant will be led by a course certified trek leader and a local guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have a certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.
Panikher is a quaint village in the Suru Valley of Zanskar, Ladakh. There are hardly any shops where you can buy. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.
ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried) and Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) are the mandatory documents required for this trek.
Our community is an integral part of us and we take pride in our trekkers and climbers. When you complete at least three days on any trek or expedition with us, you become eligible for our membership and referral programs.
For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure