The beautiful lake of Kedartal near Gangotri is one of the most blissful destinations in Uttarakhand. Resting peacefully between the big Himalayas, the Kedartal lake is situated next to Kedar Bamak Glacier. This is a high-altitude lake at an elevation of 15,583 ft encircled by Bhoj and Alpine trees. The Kedartal trek takes you through a remote and rough trail with steep ascents and descents that place a lot of challenges across the journey. The trail of this trek is the most enthralling part with steep climbs and slant rocks, famously known as Spider Wall in the world of mountaineering. Possessing the utmost beauty of Glacial valleys, the trek is worth taking every step for. The Kedartal lake offers you a glimpse of sacred Gangotri and reflects the mountains of Thalaysagar and Brigupanth peaks. Throughout the trek, you will witness rare flora and snow-covered mountain peaks. The campsites will be near exceptional places that will present you with colossal mountain views. After succeeding through all the hurdles and steep obstacles, you will witness the Kedartal lake showcasing its emerald shades that reflect one’s soul. As you trek back, you can seek blessings from Goddess Ganga in the sacred temple of Gangotri.
Kedartal Trek is one of the highest treks that take you to an altitude of 4780 ft meters. Experienced trekkers can take this trek as it is graded “3” with difficult level participation. The trek takes you through steep and slant rocks- the 8-kilometer long Spider Wall trail, Gila Pahar zone, snow, moraines, and glaciers. The trek can finish in around 4 days with a trekking distance of 38 kilometers. The nearest railway head to the trek is Rishikesh at 234 kilometers. Jolly Grant airport is the nearest one at 250 kilometers. The railway station airport offers accessibility across major Indian cities. The best season to experience the breathtaking trek is around Autumn from mid-September to mid-October. You will find snow every time as this place witnesses heavy snowfall even in summers with the Kedartal lake being frozen.
Maximum altitude- 15,583 ft.
Trekking distance- 38 km
Trail type- Moderate
Rail head- Rishikesh
Airport- Jolly Grant
Snow Season- All months
Best season- May, June, September and, October
Who can participate: People above the age of 7 years with high physical fitness.
Itinerary at a glance
On Day 1, you will travel to Gangotri via Dehradun and take blessings from the sacred temple. If time allows, you can take a quick hike to 500 meters high Surya Kund.
On Day 2, you will go on the thrilling 8-kilometer-long spider wall trek to reach Bhoj Kharak.
On Day 3, you will trek to the 5-kilometer long Kedar Kharak trail and witness the mesmerizing views of Bhrighupanth peak.
On Day 4, you trek to the main goal of the trek, the emerald lake of Kedartal.
On Day 5 or the final day of the trek, your trek goes back to Gangotri, where you can pay your respects in the temple.
On the last day, you will head back to Dehradun, ending your Kedartal trek package.
Transfer to Gangotri
Arrive in Dehradun and transfer to Rispana Pull in Uttarkashi.
Travel 5-6 hours through Mussoorie Bypass Road while witnessing Tehri Dam Lake.
Proceed to Chilyanisaur and reach Uttarkashi.
Take a small break at Uttarkashi before reaching Gangotri via Harsil in approx 4 hours. You will have to take a different shared cab from Uttarkashi to Gngotri.
Visit the Gangotri temple and be a part of the evening Aarti, after which you can explore the National Park of Gangotri.
If you still have time in hand then you can go for a quick hike to Surya Kund at 500 meters.
Stay overnight in the hotel in Gangotri.
Carry a backpack with a capacity of 35 to 40 liters.
Small 20-liter daypack (camera, and water)
Hiking shirts and pants
Hiking shoes that can be worn on any ground, especially snow
Thermal layers of sweaters, and pants
Woolen scarf, and ear coverings
Coat or sweater that is warm
Several pairs of socks and gloves
Raincoat—for when it rains
Flashlight and extra batteries
Eatables- biscuits, protein bars, glucose-based chocolates, cup noodles, dry fruits, and quick energy bites.
Toiletry-Toothpaste, tissues, soaps, cold coral, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, and anti-fungal cream are among the toiletries.
Medical kit with medicines and first-aid supplies.
Kedartal lake is believed to have originated after the melting of the Kedartal Glacier.
The Hindu legend says King Bhagirath prayed to the lord for the deliverance of the souls of his 60,000 sons. Lord Shiva blessed him and requested Goddess Ganga to release the water for purification of his soul and ashes. Kedartal Lake is believed to be Lord Shiva’s contribution to the Bhagirathi river.
If you choose Kedartal Trek in may-June, you will witness thousands of pilgrims at Gangotri. This is due to the Chardham Yatra season.
The trek is suitable for experienced trekkers as the terrain is extremely difficult.
Throughout Kedartal Trek, there is no village or no human population that you will come across.
The terrain is extremely difficult with steep climbs, slanty rocks, snow, and moraines.
You will encounter the infamous 'Spider Wall', watch and measure each footstep.
Visit a doctor prior to the trek to assess your level of fitness and to receive any necessary checkups.
After Gangotri, there wouldn't be a mobile phone network. Therefore, you should notify your family and close friends in advance.
As the atmospheric pressure drops at such high altitudes with less oxygen inhaled, practice ventilation techniques.
You will gain high altitudes in three days with increased chances of elevation and mountain sickness.
Uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, hypoxic conditions, vomiting, and many other medical issues may result from the sudden drop in oxygen levels.
So, keep medications on hand and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
To ward off the cold, dress in thermal layers or several layers of clothing.
As cold waves hit your face and head, your body temperature will begin to drop.
Avoid climbing too quickly because it could wear you out or result in an unfortunate accident.
Since snow reflects the sun and can result in snow blindness, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage.
Have 7-9 hours of quality sleep the night before your trek because moving around restlessly will make it difficult for you to travel and will make you uncomfortable.
You will witness snow plumes, the phenomenon of snow flying off a mountain cliff by the wind. Be careful as it can be intense enough to block your vision.
You must go on Kedartal Trek because this trek will reward you with the breathtaking look of the blissful lake with the reflection of the mighty Himalayas. The trek takes you through difficult terrain, each step worth taking for the look of the world of glaciers and icy lakes. You will get a boost of adrenaline by crossing the 8-kilometer long enthralling trail of steep and slant rocks, known as Spider Wall. The Kedartal lake presents you with the looks of sacred Gangotri and reflects the mountains of Thalaysagar and Brigupanth peaks. Throughout the trek, you will witness the rare mountain flora and snow-covered peaks.
The trek requires you to ascend and descend 38 km, walking an average of 8-9 km daily. For carrying out this trek and covering such distance, you need to be physically sound and active. You can start to train yourself a month prior to the trek by walking 10 km daily.
No, the Kedartal trek is not beginner friendly. You must be experienced enough to travel difficult and steep terrain as a beginner might not be able to do so.
The trek is 38 kilometers long and covers ascend in 3 days and descend in a single day. The trek is not a long trek but a difficult one.
You will find snow almost every time you visit as the Himalayan region is extremely cold throughout the year. Even in summer, you will witness large amounts of snow, which starts to melt during monsoon and autumn. Even after melting, you will find snow in the upper regions of the journey.
During the summer season, Kedartal lake is completely frozen and snow still prevails throughout the trek.
Beyond Kedartal lake at 4780 meters, the Jogin advance base camp lies at 4900 meters. On the day of reaching the lake, you can take a quick trek to explore the place and come back to rest at the campsite beside the lake.
The trek is safe for experienced trekkers as the terrain is very difficult for first-timers to attempt. The trail takes you through moraines, snow, spider walls, glacier-walks, rockfall zones, near-vertical sections, and boulder and scree sections. This kind of terrain can be successfully conquered by experienced ones.
Beyond Uttarkashi, mobile networks aren’t accessible. You should inform your family and loved ones before heading out from Uttarkashi on the Trek.