There is no shortage of trekking destinations in Pakistan. There is a trek for all level of trekkers. Whether you are just getting started into trekking or a seasoned trekker, there is always something to explore in northern areas of Pakistan.
Some trekking destinations are lesser know than others. Since social media and Google maps has made it very easy to gather or share information regarding different treks so travelers are now venturing into the unknowns.
Recommended Trekking Destinations for Summer 2019
Following are some of the mid size trekking destinations which I would recommend for summer 2019.
01- Bashkargol Lake Trek
Bashkargol lake is a true hidden gem of Chitral region of Khyberpakhtunkhwa. It is one of the biggest lakes of northern areas of Pakistan. Bashkargol is located in Sor Laspur, Chitral. It is a 24km long trek to lake. Though the trek is very dry and tough but it is worth hiking it.
Best time to do Bashkargol lake trek is from June to September. One must be physically super fit to do this trek in 2 days (1 day for ascend and 1 day for descend). If you plan to reach the lake in single day then make sure to start the trek as early as possible 24km distance uphill is a big number.
Make sure to keep plenty of clean water with you because there is only 1 clean water stream which comes in your way. Also best to arrange a guide in advance because not many will be willing to take you to Bashkargol lake as they are not used to it. There are some tour companies in Harchin which provide guiding and touring services for Bashkargol lake.
Bashkargol lake can also be approached from Kumrat or Swat side but one has to cross high mountain passes to reach Bashkargol lake. For example from Kumrat valley you can hike beyond Do Janga and cross Thalo pass to reach Bashkargol lake. It takes 4 days of trekking from Kumrat to Bashkargol lake.
02- Kutwal lake, Haramosh valley
Kutwal lake is situated in Haramosh valley of Gilgit district in Gilgit Baltistan region. Haramosh valley is relatively less known among tourists but it is among popular trekking destinations for adventure seekers. Experienced trekkers cross Haramosh pass from Kutwal valley into Arandu valley of Baltistan region.
The trip to Kutwal lake starts from Sassi village. Sassi is located on Skardu road at 2 hours distance from Gilgit. From Sassi you hire 4×4 jeep to take you to deep inside Haramosh valley. Jeeps go till Iskere and then it is further 4-5 hours trek upto Kutwal lake.
You can trek further towards Haramosh pass base camp from where you can also view Laila peak.
I am organizing a 5 days trip to Kutwal lake, Haramosh valley in end June. Click here to find out the details and sign up for my tirp.
03- Rush Lake Trek
Rush lake trek is a moderate to strenuous trek with very steep hiking. Rush lake is located in Hoper valley of Nagar district in Gilgit Baltistan.
Hopper valley is a very popular tourist destination hence hotels and guides are readily available there. Rush lake trek can be completed at least in 4 days from Hopper village. Best to do it in 5 days so that you can further hike to Rush Phari peak to view K2 peak. It takes 2-3 hours to hike to Rush Phari peak from Rush lake.
Rush lake trek is very dry and clean water is only available at Barichkor while hiking to lake. 2nd day of the trek is the most strenuous so you must start early and keep at 1.5 litter of water with you. Also keep some energy snacks in your daypack. Dates are best for boosting your energy at such treks.
04- Chitta Katha Lake Trek
Chitta Katha lake (4,115 m) trek is one of my favorite trekking destinations. I have done it 4 times already (as of 2018) and I highly recommend it.
Chitta Katha lake is situated in Shounter valley, which is a sub-valley of Neelum valley in Azad Kashmir. Shounter valley is accessible via a 4×4 bumpy jeep track from Kel. Shounter valley is a 45km long valley.
The trek is along a gushing water stream. It is a easy to moderate level trek. Guides and porters are available from Shounter valley. There are two small meadows, Dak-1 and Dak-2, which come in your way while hiking to Chitta Kath lake. In peak summer camping facility is available at Dak-1 otherwise one has to make his/her own arrangements.
Best to divide the hike in 2 days. First day from Shounter valley to Dak-1 and second day you hike to lake and then come back for a night at Shounter valley. Some people even manage to reach Kel on 2nd day. It is one of those treks which needs to enjoyed so avoid doing it in touch and go style. I personally do it 3 days (with 1 night at lake) from Shounter valley and back to Kel.
05- Katora Lake Trek
Katora lake (3,505 m) is a bowl shaped lake in the Upper Dir Kohistan region of Khyberpakhtunkhwa province. Due to popularity of Kumrat valley in Upper Dir Kohistan nearby hiking destinations are also being exposed rapidly. Katora lake is also one of the favorite trekking destinations of mine.
Katora lake hike starts from Jandrai village which is accessible via local cars/jeeps from Thal bazaar. From Jandrai guides, porters and mules can be hired for the trek. One can further go to Takai top in 4×4 jeeps and then start the trek from there.
From Jandrai it is 4-5 hours trek to Jahaz banda meadows and then further 3-4 hours trek to Katora lake. Hence it is advisable to divide the hike to Katora lake in 2 days with 1 night stay at Jahaz banda meadows.
There are further hiking options around Katora lake. For example from Jahaz banda one can trek to Shad(r) banda or cross Jahaz banda pass to reach Utror in Swat valley.
I am organizing a 4 days trip to Katora lake, Jahaz banda meadows and Kumrat valley in June after Eid ul Fitr. Click here to find out the details and sign up for my tirp.
06- Kandol Lake Trek
Kandol lake is located in Utror valley of Swat region of Khyberpakhtunkhwa province. Trek to Kandol lake starts from Laddu in Utror valley. There is a camping site in Laddu from where you can hire guide or you can arrange guide and porters from Utror village.
It is a 3-4 hours trek to lake from Laddu. Trek goes along the stream which comes from Kandol lake. It is a moderate trek and a small patch goes through boulders and that is the only tough part of the trek.
Utror valley has many attractions for explorers. If you have couple of more spare days then you can explore nearby Spin Khawar lake and Desan meadows.
Also checkout The Best Adventure Treks in Northern Areas of Pakistan
P.S. Visit my Instagram account @sheraliphotography for more photos from the above mentioned trekking destinations.