Kedarkantha trek is among the most beautiful winter treks offering spectacular views of Uttarakhand’s mountains. In terms of season for scaling Kedarkantha Peak (12,500 ft.), December through February are the best months to go for it. The most amazing part is this easy to moderate level trek is a great one for beginners trying their first taste of Himalayan trekking. You just need to be fully fit and good on stamina. Here is what qualifies this high altitude Kedarkantha trek in India worth the maiden hike attempt. Do remember that Kedarkantha trek is not a part of Char Dham Yatra package.
Manageable Distances: Despite being a high-altitude trek, the fairly mild and friendly terrain helps you cover large distances, while getting stunning views with just moderate climbing up and down. The path mostly is not very challenging to negotiate and you walk for around 4-5 kms per day, a good pace for anyone who is just starting out. This is quite an easy distance to cover even though it’s a winter trek with snow all around.
High Altitude: An altitude of 10,000+ ft. is graded as high. Right at your maiden Kedarkantha trek you manage a good 12,500 feet! While this altitude is above the 10,000ft mark, it’s just barely beyond, and so is a gentle introduction to trekking that far above sea level. You get a first manageable experience of breathing in less-dense air. You also warm up to the challenge of carrying your heavy backpack despite difficult breathing. Your stamina will play the key role here. It’s a good test of your preparation for the treks of higher gradient.
Alpine Forests: On your way from Dehradun (1,434 ft.) to Sankri (6,400 ft.) on the first day, the 8-hour route is full of forests and valleys. The magnificence enhances as you near Sankri particularly after Mori (3,773 ft.) and Purola (5,000 ft.). The last lap of 22kms is through breathtaking Govind Wildlife Sanctuary (12,467 ft.). Sankri is a village near Uttarkashi (3,800 ft.) and is the trek initiation point. On the second day you head for Juda ka Tal (9,900 ft.). Just within initial 10 minutes of walking, you hit a beautiful pine forest. Keep an eye for woodpeckers. Pine forests surround your day 2 camp at Juda ka Tal too.
Stunning Snow: A rare sight for many, you see and walk through snow from the 10,000 ft. mark onward right with a starter trek! On day 3 itself, as you proceed for Kedarkantha Base Camp, you reach Juda ka Tal, which is actually a lake that freezes in winters. You can walk over it or glide for some fun! You see clearings amidst alpine forests, which give a splendid view and feel. In winters the snow coated wide meadows with the green, dense and beautiful pine trees forest bordering it at a distance, is a view to die for. Sights with such snow far and wide usually are available at quite a high altitude, which mostly the experienced trekkers scale. Very early in the morning of day 4, you start walking over the snow slopes towards summit. The incline starts turning sharp midway, and the snow can be as much as knee deep.
The Mystic Himalayan Peaks: As you gain altitude day 2 onward, you see the majestic Himalayan summits. The most famous one you see for a long stretch is Swargarohini (20,500 ft.). Day 3 too packs devouring sights for you. From the Kedarkantha Base Camp, the snow clad peaks, including Kedarkantha, fence around. Standing at the Kedarkantha Peak you get a 360 degrees’ view of some of the famous Himalayan peaks at eye-level. It’s an incredible experience and an excellent introduction to the world of trekking for a beginner. Try summiting before the dawn to get the full view of sunrise on the snowclad peaks all around. The most famous Himalayan peaks visible are Swargarohini, Black Peak (9,000 ft.), Bandarpoonch (20,722 ft.), Gangotri (11,204 ft.), Yamunotri (10,797 ft.), Har Ki Dun (11,768 ft.), and Rupin Range (15,250 ft.). The change in colors and shades is breathtaking with the sunrise.
Stunning Campsites: The grounds you fix your tents on offer incredible views. Again, on other Himalayan hikes these views are achieved after climbing steep inclines and negotiating rocks. In this expedition every campsite is almost easily reachable and enthralls you with the views.
Trek Stretch: Most high-altitude Himalayan hikes are for 5-7 days on an average. Kedarkantha trek too is a 5-days Dehradun to Dehradun circuit. You learn to live and manage things at heights. Right from using the makeshift loo to living without taking bath for days, managing clothing, negotiating terrain, managing water supplies, fixing the tent, handling fatigue adjusting to group camaraderie and dynamics – to name a few – you get a thorough experience and grooming to take your next bigger leap forward.
Despite Kedarkantha trek potentially being your first major trek, you get a high altitude Himalayan trek experience with the journey to Kedarkantha. With virgin snow around and the sight of spectacular Himalayan peaks, whichever way you look and stay you make memories of a lifetime!