Northern areas of Pakistan is full of adventure treks which include K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La (5,940m) trek, Snow lake trek, Karomber lake trek, Fairy Meadows & Nanga Parbat base camp trek, Ratti Gali lake trek, Dudipatsar lake trek and many more. Looking for the best trekking options in the Northern Areas of Pakistan? I have picked some of the best based on ease of access, trail conditions, accessibility and perhaps more importantly scenic beauty and the chance to see the fascinating cultural of the region.
K2 Base Camp and Gondogoro La Trek
This is mother of all treks in northern areas of Pakistan. It is one of the best adventure treks in the Central Karakoram National Park. K2 (8611m) is the second tallest mountain in the world and this 18 days trek is a once in life experience. This trek provides one of best views of some of the world’s tallest moutains. Especially Concordia, which is at the junction of the Godwin Austen and Baltoro glaciers, often referred to as “The Throne Room of Gods” provides the best panoramic view of the mighty mountains of Karakoram region including 4 of the 14 8-thousanders high mountains which include K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum-1 and Gasherbrum-2. To reach Concordia trekkers have to walk on Baltoro glacier (63 km), longest glacier outside the polar region, and witness the beauty of Trango Towers, Masherbrum and so many well known peaks of Karakoram in Gilgit Baltistan.
Gondogoro La (5940m) is a high mountain pass which connects Concordia with Hushe valley in Ghangche District of northern Pakistan. This is a highly technical pass and requires usage of fixed ropes and crampons.
Snow Lake Trek
Snow lake is actually it a leveled ground of snow having about 16km of diameter at about 16,000 feet (4,877 m) above sea level. This lake forms two great glaicers i.e Biafo & Hisper. one flows down to skardu while the other to the Hisper Nagar. The journey to Snow Lake typically starts from Skardu, which can be reached in 45 minutes by plane or in 2 days by road from Islamabad. From Skardu, a jeep takes travelers through the Braldu Gorge to the last inhabitable village of Askole. Askole is the same place from where the trek to both Snow lake and K2 starts initially. After 2 of hours long trek to Khorofong the trek then turns northwest up the Biafo Glacier to Snow Lake.
Snow lake is 21 days long trek from Islamabad to Islamabad. This one of the toughest treks in Gilgit-Baltistan region. The trekkers have to be roped for almost the whole trek duration as there are chances of being falling into crevasses. Snow lake provides one of the best panoramic views of high mountains. The end of trek leads to Hunza valley which itself is one of the most beautiful valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan region and offers stunning views of Rakaposhi (7788m), Lady-Finger and various other sky-rocketing peaks.
Karomber Lake Trek
Karomber lake is not only one of the highest lakes of Pakistan but also unspoiled by human beings so far. I believe the main reason that Karomber still safe from human encroachment is because that it is located in one of the remotest areas. To reach here from Islamabad it takes at least 5 days.
Karomber lake is situated at the boundary of Broghil valley, Chitral, KP and Ishkoman, Gilgit Baltistan but is considered to be part of Ishkoman, Gilgit Baltistan.
There are multiple treks which lead to Karomber lake. Most of the trekkers use the Chitral route to complete this trek but few daring souls have completed this trek via Chillinji pass (5,335 m) from Chuparsan, Gilgit Baltistan side. Another famous mountain pass which is often combined with Karomber lake trek is Darkot pass (4,703 m). Normally trekkers go to Karomber lake via Chitral-Mastuj-Kashmanja route and exit via Chikar-Darkut-Yasin-Gilgit route. An alternate option is to exit via Ishkoman valley in Gilgit Baltistan.
Broghil valley is known to be largest wetlands of Pakistan. It runs in parallel to Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan and the people on both sides not only share the Wakhi culture but also have family relationships with each other. Another major attraction of Karomber lake trek is Yaks which you will find in abundance in Broghil valley.
Karomber lake trek is among one of the most beautiful adventure treks.
Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek
Nanga Parbat (8126 m) base camp trek is another good trek in the north of Pakistan. Nanga Parbat is 9th highest mountain in the world and 2nd highest in Pakistan after K2 hence it doesn’t only attract trekkers but also climbers.
The adventurous trek of Nanga Parbat base camp starts from Raikot bridge on Karakoram Highway road which is 61km away from the nearest city of Chillas. First a jeep ride of 1-2 hours takes you to Tattu village and believe me this jeep ride is one of the most adventurous and thrilling one in the world. From Tattu village you trek continuously for 3-4 hours to reach Fairy Meadows which is a piece of heaven at 3,300 meters above sea level.
The Nanga Parbat base camp trek starts from Fairy Meadows. The first 30-40 minutes of hiking is very easy and takes you through the beautiful Beyal camp. From Beyal camp it is a steep hike of 4-5 hours to reach base camp. Once you are base camp then you can relax there or may be have a bowl of soap and a cup of tea from a small hut operated by a local.
It is one of the most popular adventure treks in the northern areas of Pakistan. It serves as a launching pad for those who are new into adventure travel.
Chitta Katha Lake Trek
Chitta Katha lake (13,500 feet or 4,100 m) is situated in the Shounter valley and has a unique water color and landscape around it. Chitta Katha lake is accessible from Kel by a 20 km long jeep track and then further 5-6 km hiking trek leads to the lake.
An adrenaline jeep ride of 2 hours takes you to upper Domel. From upper Domel you start hiking towards the lake and camp at either deck-1 or deck-2. Next morning you start hiking towards the lake and and after couple of hours of steep hike you reach the lake.
The best time to do this trek is August to September because this is the period in which the lake melts fully. This trek can be done in 4 days starting from Islamabad.
This one is my favorite among short adventure treks.
Which ones are your favorite adventure treks and why (share your thoughts through the comments section below)?
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