Living in India, we are fortunate to have a great many awe-inspiring trekking routes, which are open for thrill-seeking people to explore.
They also provide you opportunity to get relieved from your monotonous life.
If you have experienced trekking before and now want to go on a trek which challenges your stamina, endurance and willpower then Roopkund Trek would be a great choice.
Want to know everything about Roopkund Trek?
In this detailed article, I have included everything you want to know about Roopkund Trek.
You can click any of the sub-topics and reach to that specific section in the article.
List of Sub-Topics:
About Roopkund trek
Trek Details- What all is waiting for you
Location and how to reach
How to prepare for Roopkund trek?
Connectivity and ATMs
Best season to go on Roopkund Trek
Things to Carry
Necessary Trekking Equipment
Where can I rent Trekking Equipment?
What will be the Total Expense?
My experience about Roopkund Trek
Best things to do on Roopkund Trek
Is guide necessary?
How good is Roopkund trek for a solo travel plan?
About RoopKund Trek
Out of the umpteen best trekking places in India, Roopkund trek in Uttarakhand is the most popular and picturesque trek in the country.
Roopkund (locally known as Mystery Lake) is a small lake in a depression and covered in snow for the most part of the year.
The Roopkund trek lies in the magnificent Himalayan kingdom and emerges out of the rich dark forests flaring up into Ali and Bedini Bugyal, the exquisite high altitude meadows.
From the meadows, the trail enters the beautiful snowy Alpine stretches.
Situated at a height of 5229 M Roopkund is also called Mystery Lake or Roopkund skeleton lake because of the mysterious remains of humans and horse bones that are found around it which are said to be around 500-600 years old.
The trek offers splendid views of peaks Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Ronti, Chaukhamba and more.
Considered as one of the best trekking places in India, the Roopkund trek has a trail that passes through the most beautiful and encapsulating locations.
In your trek towards the lake, you would pass through the gorgeous waterfalls, vast lands of rhododendron and oak forests, amazing peaks, beautiful campsites.
As you move ahead, you can devour the natural and lush green beauty of nature with the pleasant breeze that soothes your senses and soul.
The Roopkund lake trek is a must do if you are looking for best trekking camps in India for it comprises of everything you look for in a trek.
Dark virgin forests, gushing streams, exquisite meadows, snow covered mountains and stunning campsites, the trek allows you to experience nature as a part of it.
Trek Details – What all is waiting for you
DAY 1. Reach the base camp, Lohajung
On the first day of the trek, you reach Lohajung, which is a 10-11 car/bus drive from Kathgodam (a town in the Nainital) district of Uttarakhand).
Driving through the beautiful Kumaon Mountains via Almora and Kausani, you enter Garhwal and drive up to Lohajung.
Lohajung is a small village and offers splendid views of Didina valley.
The place has mobile networks in most parts and also has a shop where you can get some trekking gear including jackets, shoes, gloves, etc.
You can spare some time to visit the Ajan top, a beautiful meadow patch near Lohajung Base camp, from where Nanda ghunti, Trishul & other peaks can be seen.
At Lohajung base camp, you will stay overnight in tents.
DAY 2. Lohajung Base Camp to Didina
Early in the morning, amidst the beaming sun rays and the beautiful view of Himalayas, you will start your second day of the trek.
Soon after having breakfast, you can head off to Didina village, a small and charming village in Garhwal, located at an altitude of 8,200 ft and is approximately 8.5 km from the Lohajung.
Didina will be your first camp in the Roopkund trek.
On your way to Didina, you will cross the delightful waters of Neel Ganga, a locally sacred river. You would cross the river via the Raun Bagad iron bridge.
On crossing the river, you will climb through a forest of oak and Bamboo, to reach the enchanting meadows of Didina village.
On reaching the culturally rich Didina village, you would spend the night there and this would mark the end of your day 2 of Roopkund trek.
DAY 3. Didna Village to Bedini Bugyal via Ali Bugyal
Day 3 of the Roopkund lake trek comprises of a steady ascent through dense oak and bamboo forests with a majestic view of Garhwal Mountains.
As you move forward you reach Ali Bugyal, a stunning grazing meadow that lies on top of a hill which makes a great spot to take a break.
While relaxing and having your mid-trek snacks, you can enjoy the bewitching 360 degree view of the snow coated mountain peaks like Trishul peak, Chaukhambha and Neelkanth.
The place is a complete treat to eyes as well as provides peace to the soul.
From Ali Bugyal, you would continue your trek for about an hour to reach Bedini Bugyal, a fine camping site with vast grazing pastures and closer views of the Trishul & Nanda Ghunti peaks.
Here you can stay overnight in tents.
DAY4. Ali Bugyal – Patar Nachauni
The trek on the 4th day will be slightly short and easy as compared to rest of the days. On this day of the trek, you will head towards Patar Nachauni.
On this trail, you would pass through a distinctively capturing landscape of alpine meadows and dense oak, burans and bamboo forests.
You will also cross a number of mountains, water bodies and some leftover winter snow on the mountains. The camp site is not very far, thus this day will be a simple, continuous wonder.
On reaching Patar Nachauni, you can cherish the splendid landscape while sipping on a cup of tea or coffee.
The view of the snow-capped ranges is something you would never forget.
DAY 6. Patar Nachauni to Bhagwabasa bia Kalu Vinayak
On day 6 of the trek, you would head off to Bhagwabasa, which is situated at a height of 14,029 feet and is about 5 km away from the lake.
It is the last camping site, from where you will commence your final climb to Roopkund Lake.
On your way to Bhagwabasa, you will pass Kalu vinayak. It is a lofty- crisscross climb up the mountain. You can complete this climb slowly as the distance between Kalu Vinayak and Bhagwabasa is not a lot.
Even if you move at your slowest pace, you will manage to reach Bhagwabasa in a comfortable time.
I would suggest to take small breaks during this climb, for some people start feeling dizzy and due to the thinness in the air.
It might pose a problem for you if you are planning to carry out the Roopkund climb the very next day.
The trail from Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa is a less complicated one. The trail is easy and delicately sloping downwards.
Bhagwabasa is 2 km away and you can spot the Bhagwabasa huts. You will reach Bhagwabasa after crossing the Kelwa Vinayak temple.
Bhagwabasa is a small isolated cluster of stone huts built by locals. You can either rent huts or can carry your own sleeping bags.
Be careful as the nights here are really cold.
Roopkund temperature inside the tents goes as low as 1 degree Centigrade. Thus it is important to carry warm gear and other important stuff to prevent yourself from turning into an ice sculpture! Read “Things to Carry” for Roopkund Trek.
DAY-7 Bhagwabasa to the “MYSTERY LAKE”
DAY 7 is the day you had been waiting for. From Bhagwabasa, it is a 5 km trail to Roopkund which is situated at a height of 15750 ft.
The trek will usually start early morning and it takes about 2.5-5 hours to reach the “mystery lake.” You will climb through moraine, rock gardens and snow patches to finally reach the much awaited lake.
Also, known as Roopkund skeleton lake, the trek has steep ascends in between and all around are cold flanks of the mountain. You will have to move down about 250 ft to reach the lake.
This trail has steep ascents in between and there are possibilities of it being under snow for about 9-10 months of the year.
If there is not too much of snow around the lake, you will get to see human bones and skeletons.
The mystery of the skeletons was recently solved and they are attributed to a huge hailstorm, centuries ago, which caught many pilgrims.
The place offers picturesque views and offers great peace and a sense of achievement to the mind.
If Roopkund weather permits, you can trek to Junargali which is just 250 ft up from Roopkund skeleton lake and takes about 20 minutes to reach.
After spending some time at the mystery lake, you will head back to Bhagwabasa and then Pathar Nachuni, where you can stay overnight and have a peaceful sleep for you’d have achieved your trek-goal!
DAY 8. Patar Nachauni to Lohajung via Bedini Bugyal
On this day, you can start your journey back. Start early from Patar Nachauni to reach Bedini Bugyal on the way.
You can enjoy a leisurely walk through the pine and oak forests with encapsulating views of Mount Trishul. You will reach Wan after crossing the Neel Ganga River.
From here, you can take a vehicle to reach to Lohajung.
The 1 hour road journey might be a little bumpy, but you can enjoy the enchanting views of the Himalayan villages and take plenty of photographs on your way whilst enjoying Roopkund weather.
Day 9- Lohajung to Kathgodam
On the final day of your long trekking journey, head off to kathgodam, following the breakfast.
At kathgodam you and your fellow trekkers will bid farewell to each other after having spent such amazing time together and will head off to your respective destinations!
Location and How to Reach
If you are wondering where the Roopkund is located and how to reach there, then let me answer your query.
The Roopkund lake, the ultimate destination of the Roopkund lake trek, is located in the Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand.
It resides in the lap of the two famous Himalayan ranges- Trishul and Nanda Ghunti.
The lake is located at an altitude of over 5000 feet. Surrounded by a breathtaking landscape of snow-capped mountain ranges, it makes one of the greatest trekking destinations.
If you are travelling by road or by train, you will be asked to assemble at Kathgodam in Uttarakhand.
From Kathgodam, a road journey will take you to Lohajung pass, which is well-connected by motorable roads.
From Lohajung, your trek will start!
If you want to reach by air, the nearest airport is Dehradun Jolly Grant airport.
From the airport, you can follow the road to reach Kathgodam or Lohajung, from where the trek will commence.
Here I will try to answer your query “how difficult is the Roopkund trek? Will I be able to make it?
Like most treks, the Roopkund lake trek may be slightly toilsome for those who aren’t used to trekking. However, in general, the difficulty level of this trek falls in the moderate to difficult category.
How tough this trek can get on you depends upon the season in which you plan to go.
As per the guides of the area, most first timers avoid the trek during the months of May to June as the snow level is high during these months, making the trek more difficult.
Thus, the months of September and October are preferred. So, take all the necessary information if you’re planning to visit Roopkund in June.
At higher altitudes, the air gets thinner leading to a decreased amount of oxygen, which may cause slight inconvenience for some trekkers.
After reaching a height of 7000 Ft above sea level, the level of oxygen in the blood begins to plummet. However, the body has the ability to partially compensate for this lack of oxygen, usually causing minor problems.
If you are a regular trekker, the trek may not be back-breaking for you.
If you are a beginner, it’s advisable to prepare your body for about 1 month prior to the trek.
Training the body would be helpful and you would be fit enough to walk for 7-8 hours at a stretch.
On your way, you may be faced with steep ascends and descends, but they can be passed carefully with complete presence of mind.
Water is available all through the trek.
The trek, like any other treks in Uttarakhand, may cause some difficulties for both beginners are well as regulars at trekking, but as they say-
“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”
How to prepare for Roopkund trek?
Treks in the Himalayas can be strenuous and, if you are first time trekker, it may get a little rough on you.
Thus, in order to ensure an easy peasy trail, it is suggested to do some preparations before the trek.
- Fitness: Treks demand you to be a little extra fit. Thus, you require at least a month of regular exercise to prepare your body to bear the stress of 6-7 hour long treks that are carried out at a single stretch.
- Things to carry along: As you will be going to a higher altitude, where you won’t find a lot of stores. It is suggested to carry a few things including warm clothes, boots, first aid, etc. (Refer the section “Things to carry on Roopkund Trek”)
Connectivity and ATMs
Lack of connectivity on trekking routes has led to tremendous difficulties for trekkers who lose their way.
Signals are intermittent in the mountains and you can not completely depend on it. It is recommended that you inform your families of the unreliable signals beforehand.
However, we have some good news for future trekkers.
According to UITDA Director, Amit Sinha, The Roopkund trek would be the first out of the 126 selected treks in the country, to get wifi connectivity. The survey work for installing the towers is in progress.
On the way to Roopkund lake trek, you would find ATM’s in the following places:
- Wan Village
It is suggested to make use of these ATM’s if needed, as you might not find any ATM’s beyond Wan village.
You are required to obtain a permit for several checkpoint along the trek. The permission pass or permit can be acquired from the office of forest officer at Lohajung.
The cost of permit is Rs 60. Documents that you need to obtain the permit
- Self-attested document of your voluntary participation in the trek
- Fitness certificate
- Address proof
- Passport size photo
Best Season to go on Roopkund Trek
If you are planning to go on Roopkund Trek, let me tell you the best season to go to Roopkund so that you enjoy your trekking experience to fullest.
The Roopkund trek is usually carried out twice a year- in May – June or in September – October and most people look for trekking packages in India in this season only.
If you are planning to go on Roopkund Trek in June, there would be snow on higher reaches, and you may not get to see the famous skeletons around the “skeleton lake”.
If you wish to trek in heavy snow and the lovely green meadows, the Roopkund trek best time would be from May to June.
The month of September is considered best time for Roopkund as there is less snow and you will get a crystal clear view of the scenic mountain ranges and the mystery lake.
If you wish to see the skeletons (The major highlight of the trek) September-October is a better choice when there is usually no snow at all at the lake.
If you are someone who doesn’t like the crowd, you can carry out the trek in autumn. Roopkund temperature is also perfect during this season.
The trek is not crowded in June. The views are stunning and the forests look beautiful.
Things to carry to Roopkund trek
You must be thinking what all things are required to be carried on Roopkund Trek.
I have prepared a list of things that you should take with you on Roopkund lake trek, where you won’t find much, except for a good view and skeletons (of course).
The list mentioned below is only a reminder of the things that might be essential for your convenience and comfort, and are not a “necessary” requirement.
- Warm Clothes as per Roopkund weather
- Ankle high trekking boots
- Long johns or thermal underwear
- Quick dry trousers
- Wind and rain protection gear
- Woollen or hard shell hand gloves
- Nylon or woollen socks
- Woolen, sun hat, bandana etc.
- Rucksack/ tough duffel bag/ soft travel bag
- Ruck pack
- 4 season sleeping bag (suited for -5c or lower Roopkund temperature)
- Trekking Poles
- Water Bottle ( At least 2 bottles of 1 Litre, with hard plastic to easily carry hot water)
- Recreation- Camera’s, books, cards, books etc.
- Personal toiletries such as toothbrush, comb, lip balms, sunscreen, etc.
- Personal first-aid kit
- Money- The trekkers are advised to carry an amount that is easily manageable and can be used in situations of emergency. Also, some money may be required to tip the staff including the cooks, guides and others.
- Personal first-aid kit- It is recommended to carry a personal mini-first aid kit as minor injuries are common during treks.
- Medicines- if you have any medical conditions, it is suggested to carry your medicines along to avoid any inconvenience.
Necessary Trekking Equipment
When you trek to the places like Roopkund Lake, you shouldn’t go about without proper planning. You need to carry certain trekking equipment that will serve as your best pals during the trek.
Here is a list of important trekking equipment:
A backpack is your best friend during your trip. It is the most important part of trekking for it is where you keep everything else.
Make sure your bag is neither too big nor too small. Backpacks with wide shoulder straps and pads provide comfortable support.
For Roopkund Trek, carry a sleeping bag that can protect you from up to -5 degree Celsius temperature.
You may want to buy a bag that has an extra layer of fleece inside as it can get really cold at some spots.
A camping tent is your only shelter during at the remote places. Thus, it is important to choose the right camping tent.
The weight of the tent is very important. Make sure you buy a tent that can fit in your bag easily.
Ankle-high shoes are must for any trek. These are comfortable and provide great support to your feet at steep and uneven mountain trails.
Sunglasses are necessary to protect your eyes as the sun rays can be blinding in the noon. We recommend you to buy glasses with minimum category 3 lenses and 100% UV protection.
Trekking pole is needed to walk on snowy trails.
Carrying a torchlight or a headlamp is a nice idea.
Where can I rent Trekking Equipment?
If the cost of the trekking expedition is expensive for you and you wish to cost cut in some sphere, you can do that by renting your trekking equipment! Yes!
Gone are the days when you had to spend thousands on your trekking gear. There are a number of online rentals and stores near Roopkund, from where you can rent your gear in pocket-friendly amounts.
You can rent from websites like:
You may also find rentals in Kathgodam, however, it is recommended to be prepared prior to the trip and not rely completely on these stores.
What will be the total expense of Roopkund trek?
Roopkund Trekking Packages will cost around Rs.10000 to Rs. 11000 (per person) for a duration of 8-9 days.
The charges usually include:
- Travelling Roopkund Trek cost
- Accommodation including- Guesthouse, Homestay, Camping
- Meals while on trek (Veg and Non-veg)
- All necessary permits and entry fees.
- Trek equipment including Sleeping bag, mattress, crampon, tent, Kitchen & dining tent, utensils,
- First aid medical kits, stretcher and oxygen cylinder.
- Support team- Trek leaders, assistant leader, local guide.
- Personal expenses like telephone, laundry etc.
- Tips, gratitude to the team.
My Experience of Roopkund Trek
Excited to go on my third trekking expedition, I started my journey with a group.
We took a train from Delhi and reached Kathgodam.
From Kathgodam, we hit the road to reach Lohajung base camp, where our 7 day trek began.
We passed through the beautiful houses, Neel Ganga and lush green forests to reach our first campsite at Didna village.
With a hot cup of tea, some snacks, followed by an appetizing dinner, we marked the end of our first day.
The following morning, after sipping a cup of scrumptious tea while enjoying a captivating early sunrise, we headed off on a steep trek to Ali Bugyal.
On our way to Ali Bugyal, we passed through the lush oak and bamboo forests.
The panorama of the magnificent Garhwal Mountains left us all spellbound and I can still see as soon as I close my eyes.
On reaching the campsite, tired but jolly, we spent the night in the lap of nature.
The next day, we woke up to a new and mesmerizing sunrise. This day was less tiring than the rest of the days as we travelled to Ghora Latoni.
This is a place where the beautiful meadows and mountains meet, and the water stream beautifully flows down the slopes which makes the place an eye-candy for all the trekkers.
Here, we spent our time, exploring the place and ended our day with a bowl of hot and tempting Maggi and finally retiring off to our tents.
New day meant new adventures and even spellbinding views. It was time to reach the snowy patches of Bhagwabasa and Kalu Vinayak.
The challenge was to reach an altitude of 14,500 feet.
The trail here was criss-cross, the level of oxygen slightly declined, and the icy northern winds were hard to bear, but my determination to reach the ultimate summit kept me going.
Finally, the day came to an end, and we all slept well, regaining energy for next day’s trek to Roopkund.
The next morning was the day of judgement! The final step of the ladder that we had been climbing for the past days.
Roopkund lake was 5 km away from our campsite in Bhagwabasa, however, we had to start early in the morning, as the ice patches start to melt as the day progresses making it difficult to trek.
After walking for about 3 hours, our eyes caught glimpse of the gem that sits hidden in the lap of the Himalayan kingdom! We sighed, as we saw the clear and unruffled Roopkund, surrounded by snow-laden mountains!
Overwhelmed and beaming in happiness, we looked around and also found the “famous” skeletons.
Reaching Roopkund filled me and my fellow trekkers with a sense of achievement.
We also went to the Junargali, the highest point of Roopkund trek. After capturing the unspoiled view of nature, in both our cameras, as well as hearts, we started our journey to return back.
The Roopkund trek is one trek that would remain in my heart and memories forever.
Trekking to Roopkund is definitely not easy but, it’s an experience to be had, for sure!
The preserved beauty and grace of this place is unmatched and casts an impression on your soul which will remain with you till eternity.
Any Precautions to take for Roopkund trek?
Here are certain things you must take care of while on the trek-
- Stay hydrated. The trek maybe tiring and it is very important to stay hydrated. You must carry 2-3 bottles of water along with you.
- Carry proper clothing/ gear to stay warm- As you move upwards on the trek, the winds get really cold. Thus you need to carry proper warm clothing including- gloves, warmers, jackets, ankle high boots, etc.
- Clothing / staying warm (‘Cover your head if your feet are cold gentlemen’ is an old English saying)
- Carry rucksack
- Maintain a pace- Try to maintain a steady pace with at the trek with the rest of the group in order to avoid getting left behind.
- Carry your medicines- If you have any health issues, make sure to carry the necessary prescribed medicines to avoid any inconvenience. Remember, you may not find a medical shop on your way.
- Eat a high carbohydrate diet while at altitude.
- If your body begins to show symptoms of moderate altitude illness, take a break and don’t go higher until subside.
Best things to do on Roopkund Trek
While Trekking is on top of priority, there are a number of things that you can do on your trek, to make your experience even more interesting.
Here is a list of things you can do on the Roopkund trek:
Click Click Click
Carry your cameras and extra batteries, because this enchanting landscape of this trek will force you to take pictures at every step. Strike your favorite poses and click the best pictures which you can cherish all your life!
The Roopkund trek can be really chilly thus some head could help! Gather some wood and light up a bonfire. You can sing songs, sip a cup of warm cup of tea while warming yourself up.
Cards are the best pass time, aren’t they? You will get a number of breaks in between trek. You can pass your time during these breaks by indulging in a fun game of cards with the rest of the travelers.
Learn about local culture
Are you intrigued by different cultures? If yes, then this trek can be a great way for you to learn more about the local culture of the area.
You can talk to the local people on your way, try their local cuisine and learn about their culture. The local guides can also tell you stories about the region and their prior trekking expeditions.
If you get spare time and you are fond of writing, you can write a diary entry of your day to day experience.
Is Guide necessary for Roopkund Trek?
While you can carry out the Roopkund trek on your own, it is always advised to have an expert with you.
The Roopkund trek is never isolated, and you will find trekkers at all times.
However, travelling without a guide is something we would not recommend.
A professional guide is qualified in mountaineering techniques, rescue operations and certified in First aid and CPR.
Treks may sound fun and adventure, but they are no stroll in the park. A guide can rescue from unforeseen dangers and provide you with medical aid.
Going to the Roopkund trek without a professional guide is not advised.
How good is Roopkund trek for a solo travel plan?
If your friends have spoiled your trekking plans earlier by doing last minute cancellations, then you must be thinking whether you can go solo on Roopkund Trek.
The Roopkund trek is a moderate to difficult trek. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to go on the trek with a group of experienced trekkers or trainers as well as guides.
However many people do this trek solo. If you are a regular at trekking, with some preparation, you can carry out this trek solo as well.
There are many benefits of travelling solo, it’s why many people are opting for it now a days.
Travelling solo is a therapy in itself. You become more aware of yourself and of the surroundings.
Another exciting part about travelling solo is that you will get to meet the local people and make new friends on your way to the mystery lake.
If you go during the right season, the trail is crystal clear and not very confusing. During the peak seasons, there are a lot of trekkers on this trail.
You can pitch your tent somewhere, sipping on a cup of tea, read a book and enjoy the mesmerizing views with yourself.
The Roopkund trek is one of the best treks in India, for a reason.
The quaint snow-capped mountains and the beautiful meadows and forests will leave an everlasting impression on your mind and soul.
The Roopkund trek is an experience that will touch your soul and will give you memories for life.
If you have any other query which is not resolved by this article then put a comment below.
And if you have gone on Roopkund Trek, share your experience.
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