This is day 2 of the Kashmir Great Lakes trek, and the true hiking begins from Sonamarg all the way to Nichnai. The trail is also known by the name Alpine Lakes trek or KGL trek. This day will take you through several high-altitude forests of Maple, Pine, and Silver Birch with the beautiful view of Sonamarg and the hanging glaciers. On Day 1 it was more of traveling by Sumo/Jeep journey from Srinagar airport to Sonamarg, on National Highway One, Srinagar-Leh Highway. Once you are at Sonamarg, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Sonamarg Valley, a place known for its beautiful landscapes.
KGL Trek starts from Sonamarg
The real hike begins somewhere near Sonamarg. There is an iron bridge just before reaching Sonamarg. Before crossing the bridge, turn left and walk for about 10 minutes till you reach the meadow. It’s a really serene and pleasant spot, and it’s a great site to camp along the Sindh River. As of this writing, this is the final spot to charge your electrical devices or buy anything because you will have no choice for the following one week on the trekking trail till you reach Naranag.
Beautiful view of Sonamarg Valley
Begin walking after breakfast, and expect a difficult ascent for roughly an hour. Don’t forget to turn around and take in the most spectacular early morning beauty in Sonamarg Valley. A snapshot taken here at this time will resemble a postcard or something you may display in your showcase. Continue trekking up through the meadows until you reach a wonderful deep forest of maple and pine.
Crossing the forests and Shekdur meadows
Along the trip, you’ll come across a number of one-of-a-kind shepherds’ huts. The view from here is breathtaking. If you have a few days to spare, you might want to consider staying with the local Gujjars in their hut; trust me, it’s really warm inside and the hut is well insulated, while it’s freezing outside at night. The Sonamarg valley is on one side, while the three hanging glaciers are on top of the mountain area on the other. After roughly an hour of climbing upwards, rest around Shekdur. From the Sonamarg campground, it takes roughly 2 to 3 hours to get here.
A walk across the Shekdur meadows, followed by a steady ascent through the Silver Birchwoods. Simply continue the track until you reach the end of the Birch forest, where the Nichnai River Valley begins. Trek upstream along the river’s bank for the next two hours, or until you locate flat land to pitch your tent.
Hidden lake at Nichnai Camp
Check with your trip guide whether there is a secret lake here. They might not suggest it because it’s a one-hour hike to the left of the campground. Only a little waterfall is visible from this campground, but it is fed by the lake above, which is not visible from your location.
The ascent is a little perilous. There is no path up and the area is littered with rocks caused by small landslides. You might try it if you have enough time in the evening because it may take up to 2 hours and is not simple to climb. This lake is rarely seen yet is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. If you’re travelling alone, you may do this.
The Nichnai campsite is located at an elevation of 11,500 feet and is an excellent location for experimenting with low light photography and long exposure shots. The sky may clear quickly after the rain, and thunderstorms are possible at night. If you have a tripod and a remote trigger, you may attempt some star trail photos here. Check out this virtual video of my second-day trip to the Kashmir Great Lakes below.
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There are many trekking groups like Indiahikes, Trek the Himalayas, Youth Hostels (which is for Indian nationals and is cheaper) who can organize the trek or you can go on your own with locals. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. Buy me a coffee to support my work or you can go to my store to buy some of my images. Also, do not forget to join my FriendZone by signing up for my newsletter. Consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.