Binsar Trek – Walk with Nature!
- Trek Difficulty: Easy
- Highest Elevation: 8000 feet
- Trek Duration: 02 Days
- Trek Distance: Approximately 30 km
- Region: Uttarakhand
- Base Camp: Almora
- Nearest Bus Stand: Almora
- Railway Station/Airport:Kathgodam / Pantnagar Airport, Uttarakhand
- Best time to do: October to March
- Approximate Temperature Range: Summer (22 to 40°C), Winter (12 to 33°C)
Situated in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas, Binsar trek is a rare combination of a thrilling and adventurous yet relaxing break from the busy life. It is a much sought out destination for a weekend adrenaline push as the trail traverses through the Binsar wildlife sanctuary giving us an experience of witnessing rare wildlife species, to Dhaulchhina, a small village that instantly connects you back to nature. This village is surrounded by lush green forests and provides us some splendid views. The trail further takes us through Kumaon hamlets to Jageshwar, from where we will drive back to Kathgodam. This weekend getaway not only pushes our physical stamina boundaries, but also lets us soak up the beauty of the Himalayan flora and fauna, all in the most minimal time leaving us with refreshing and mesmerising memories. This certainly can be called a trekker’s paradise.
Binsar wildlife sanctuary
Formerly a summer capital of the Chand kings who ruled over Binsar, the sanctuary was established for the conservation and protection of broadleaf oak forests of the central Himalayan region. It has now grown to conserve and protect over 200 bird species. The sanctuary along with being abundantly rich with flora and fauna is located on top of the Jhandi Dar hills in the Himalayas, spreads over 45 kms, and because of its high altitudes, it gives us the most scenic view of the Himalayan peaks like Kedarkantha, Nandadevi, Trishul from a place called ‘zero point’.
The sanctuary houses 25 types of trees, 24 types of bushes, and several types of grass. The higher we ascend, the more oak and rhododendron trees we can spot. The sanctuary is a home to animal species like leopards, musk deer, red fox, himalayan gorals, black bears, and Indian muntjac to name a few. If you are a bird enthusiast, this is the place to be as over 200 species of bird that includes forktail, parakeets, magpipes, laughingthrush can be spotted.
Binsar Trek – Short itinerary:
Day 00 – Reach Kathgodam by train/bus after an overnight journey from Delhi. Approximately an 8 hour journey.
Day 01 – Arrival at Kathgodam and pickup from the place early in the morning – drive to Almora, a small village town, approximately a 3 hours journey by road. Trekking and exploring in and around Almora. Stay overnight in Almora base camp.
Day 02 – Travel from Almora to Dhauchhina and Jawalbanj roughly a 2 hours journey, via the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. Later on, an 8 km trek, summing upto 4 hours, to Jageshwar temple. From where we will drive back to Kathgodam, a 3-4 hours journey.
Binsar Trek – Detailed itinerary:
Day 00 – One has an option to reach Kathgodam by either rail or road. On rail, it is an overnight journey and a drive down the road takes up 6 hours for a distance of approximately 300 kms.
Day 01 – After a 3 hours drive to reach Almora, this, as the base camp, we trek to explore this beautiful small village town till Kasar Devi temple, which will be an 8 km trek. Almora is a truly Indian hill station with temples and old bazaars. The trekking trail to Kasar Devi temple starts from near the Almora bus station.
The trail is very commonly used by the villagers to commute from one village to another, and hence it does not branch out in different directions to confuse. The path being straight-forward leads us into a forest, and within no time, gigantic trees of oak, pine and deodar on both sides welcome us into their serene surroundings and never seem to leave us throughout the journey of our trek.
Spellbound in the engulfed warmth of the forest, as we proceed higher up the ascend we start to witness migratory birds chirping and flying above our heads. On reaching the top, we can view a panorama of the Himalayan ranges and peaks kissing the sky with the slight warmth of the sun hitting our face, it is the most refreshed feeling anyone could ever experience. Standing at an altitude of 6300 feet, the view sure makes our legs tremble taking our breath away. After spending a brief amount of time, we revert to the base camp to spend the rest of our night under the gleaming light of the stars.
Day 02 – We are going to be on the road driving from Almora to Dhaulchhina and Jawalbanj. Our main itinerary for today is the Binsar wildlife sanctuary on the way to our destination. The fee to enter the sanctuary is 150/- per person, and 250/- for each car taken inside. Located at the top, this wildlife sanctuary serves as giving us one of the best views of the Himalayan ranges. A certain point called ‘zero point’ in the sanctuary, a 2 km walk from the parking space lets us soak up the out-standing view of peaks like Kedarkantha, Trishul, Nanda Devi, Panchchuli, etc.
Further continuing to trek, a tiny shop 500 mts into the walk appears to be the only point serving food and water and is also an identification point for the trekkers. Easy ascends and descends through thick forests, Himalayan hamlets, and making our way through lush green blankets, flora and fauna, we reach Jawalbanj after 4 hours. Overnight stay at Jawalbanj. The next morning we drive back to Kathgodam, and back our own lives.
How to reach?
By Road: One can catch a bus to Binsar from Delhi, 8 hrs 30 mins journey. Direct buses are not available to Binsar or Kathgodam, and all are via Nainital, and one can catch a cab from there, which will take 2 hours.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam which is 105 kms from Binsar. The government provides two trains from Delhi to Kathgodam daily.
By Air: The nearest local airport is Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. One can catch a cab to reach Kathgodam which takes 50 mins on road, and takes 5 hours to reach Binsar by road.
One of the best weekend treks summed up for you. What are you waiting for? Grab your backpack and explore this beautiful trek with your family or friends. Stay safe, Travel safer!