Roopkund Trek:

Updates on Roopkund trek 2023: Erstwhile the most popular high altitude trek Roopkund remains CLOSED as of 2023. You may check Ali Bedni Bugyal trek which covers almost all attractions of the trail without the lake! The trail is in pristine condition due to very rare visits by the trekkers and is an excellent choice who wish to avoid crowds, yet wish to get fantastic mountain views and some significant general aspects of a Himalayan hike.

As per Uttarakhand High Court order (Petition No. : 123 / 2014) in August 2018, one can not camp on alpine meadows or grassland, locally called Bugyal. Therefore we inform you with regret that we won’t be able to run any Roopkund trek for this season. Check here the notice issued by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Uttarakhand in accord with the court verdict. On 26th Sep’18 a reconsideration appeal is also turned down by the court and the possibility to arrange Roopkund trek is next to nil.

Roopkund – India’s most popular summer trek is closed due to Bugyal camping ban:

As we update this page on March 2019, there has been no positive outcome on trekking to Roopkund. As a responsible tour operator we are always committed to Green, Eco Friendly treks which are sustainable and have minimal impact on the environment. However the honourable court had a different opinion which put a bar on camping at Bedni Bugyal and Patar Nachuni, two back to back campsites on Roopkund trail. In reality this means, one has to push 16 hours or probably more to reach Roopkund from a permitted campsite and return! Who would have thought last summer that this will be the end of it? Below pictures are shared by our trekkers during 2018 summer treks.

Bedni Bugyal: No more camping as per UK high court order
Bedni Bugyal: Sunset time

As Roopkund trek is closed, which trek I may consider?

It is still possible to enjoy the magnificent peak views and sprawling meadows through our Ali Bugyal and Bedni Bugyal trek. It is true that you can’t reach Roopkund anymore, but you will literally spend two full days on alpine meadows while camping inside jungle. Needless to say that you will get to see all the peaks in this trek as well. This is certainly a suitable alternate for those who want to avoid large trekking groups during peak season and enjoy the tranquillity of nature. Remember that the proposed trek is shorter in duration, still imposes a “Moderate” trekking grade. Also Check our Fixed Departure Trek Calendar 2019  for a general listing of available treks.

Roopkund an alpine medium size lake, situated at an altitude of 16000 ft inside the district of Chamoli in Garhwal region (State of Uttarakhand), bordering western flank of Kumaon. Roopkund trek route has almost everything a high Himalayan trek can offer. Two seasons, first one in Summer/Pre Monsoon ( around two months starting in early May) and the other being Post Monsoon/Fall ( for 2 months, starting from early September) spanning around a window of 4 months in a calendar year.

Moods of Roopkund: Summer & Fall P.C. Mukul Jain, Akshat Dixit and HT staff
At Baguabasa

The trekking trail in the lower altitude goes through interior villages, inside the Banj Oak and then Kharsu Oak jungles to finally Rhododendrons. Around ~ 3300 m/11000 ft the Tree Line recedes and alpine meadow or locally called “Bugyal” starts. Sprawling meadow, common to this altitude in Himalaya, but this picturesque span needs a special mention. Ali Bugyal, combined with Bedni Bugyal arguably delivers finest of alpine meadows that you can see on the Himalayas. Mighty Himalayan peaks peep behind while tiny little myriads of wild flower carpet the grassy slopes during monsoon . On higher altitude barren rocky terrain coupled with snow and ice ignite the adventurous mind. Trishul and Nandaghunti peaks cordon the area while Mrigthuni Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and other peaks set the backdrop.

Ali Bugyal: Refreshing Windows XP days 🙂
Bedni Bugyal
Chaukhamba, Nilkanth and other peaks from Bedni Bugyal

This is not all. The lake is often called Mystery Lake or Skeleton Lake. Skeletons of over 200 people remain in and around this shallow lake of maximum 2 metre depth. The cold climate helped to preserve the hairs and soft tissues. Stories and legends meet to a logical conclusion that a group of pilgrims reached the lake with locals and were crossing the Junargali Pass above Roopkund. Bad weather sealed their fate. Scientific research unveil that the skeletons are as old as dating back to ~ 850 A.D. ( Source : The Nanda Devi Affair, Bill Aitken, ISBN: 9780140240450; National Geographic : Riddles of the dead: Skeleton Lake). Recently in August 2019 an experiment result is published regarding these skeletons in Nature magazine. Read here for the revelations of the Roopkund skeletons.  It is truly a fascinating journey to listen the legends from the local and experiencing the present.

Hunia Thar at Baguabasa
Towards Roopkund
Roopkund: Remains of the story

Watch this fantastic short film “Roopkund – Rocking The Himalayas” depicting the journey to Roopkund. This is filmed and edited by Mario Yáñez Aller. He trekked with HT during May/June 2015 season. This is shared for viewing purpose only.

Filming and editing: Mario Yáñez Aller
Music: Dirty Paws .-. Of Monsters and Men
Cameras: GoPro 4 Silver Edition, Canon EOS 70D, Canon EOS 350 D

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Drive from Kathgodam to Lohajung – 220 Km – 10/11 hours
Day 2: Lohajung to Didna – 10 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 3: Didna to Bedni Bugyal – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
Day 4: Bedni Bugyal to Patar Nachuni – 4 Km – 2/3 hour
Day 5: Patar Nachuni to Baguabasa – 5 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 6: Baguabasa to Roopkund and back to Patar Nachuni – 12 Km – 8/10 hours
Day 7: Patar Nachuni to Wan – 17 Km – 8/9 hr – 1 hour drive back to Lohajung
Day 8: Drive from Lohajung to Kathgodam – 220 Km – 10 hours

*** Trekkers need to reach on their own to Kathgodam on Day 1 morning (by 7 am) or the previous night. Return to Kathgodam on Day 8 evening (by 7 pm). Arrange your tickets for inward journey and return from Kathgodam accordingly ***

Update of treks in May/June 2018:

This season, weather unusually turned rough during early weeks of May. It snowed in first and second week, as low down till Ali Bugyal (~ 11000 ft), accumulating more than one foot of snow at Baguabasa. Groups started reaching Roopkund including HT’s only after mid of May. At the end of May snow condition reduced naturally, having 3/4 hours walking on snow, all together. Weather is also cleared up, with great views of the mountains. Some moments from our May teams.

Snowfall during first and second week of May
Groups started reaching Roopkund
Roopkund late May 2018

Why Roopkund with HT?

We believe that we have the best local support team in the region with whom you are probably safest on the trail. From our inception in 2010 we have arranged this trek and we know the seasonal variations, changing weather patterns and rightly judge the adverse conditions. Our group size for Moderate treks like Roopkund is limited to a maximum of 15 trekkers that you can enjoy and at the same time we can manage efficiently. Apart from the standardised camping equipment and medical kit, you are accidentally insured in your Roopkund trek with us.

Roopkund trek with HT: From 2010

Altitude and distance profile graph for Roopkund trek:

Below is a graphical representation of the altitude and distance of major points on Roopkund trek trail.


roopkund trek altitude and distance profile
Roopkund trek altitude and distance profile graph

Can I try Roopkund trek as my first hiking/trekking on the Himalayas?

Yes you can try Roopkund trek as your first trek. It is always better if you have prior hiking/trek experience(s) like in Sahyadris or in Deccan or perhaps on any trail. Experiences walking on snow/icy conditions definitely helps in pre monsoon/summer season. This is NOT a Difficult but a Moderate grade trek and we do encourage first timers on this trail. But not to forget that this takes you to an alpine lake which is really high altitude in any standard (Just less than 16000 ft). To minimise the risk (as that any high altitude Himalayan trekking) you must have the following:

  • A healthy physical condition [as well as mental; You need to adjust and share on mountains :-)] without any known issues related to heart or lungs.
  • Must be in a fitness training schedule. Your focus should be achieving more cardio vascular output through a regular aerobic training. A minimum of 2 months training is a must that you can walk comfortably on the slope. People will find it easier who are already following a routine. It is it highly advised that you follow a minimum of 6 months routine (weekly 4/5 days of training for an hour or more) if you are not living an active life at present. To know more on how to prepare, click here.
  •  Specialised personal gears like waterproof trekking shoes, warm jacket, wind cum waterproof jacket are must.  To read on how to choose the right gear click here.
  • And most importantly you need reliable and experienced support team who know every corner of the trail. In high altitude an unexpected weather can increase the risk many fold. Trekkers who wish to go independently must have an experienced freelance guide and his team to provide support and guidance that you are safely back to trek base.

Is Roopkund trek better in Summer (May/Jun) or Post Monsoon Sep/Oct)?

Well, each season has its own beauty, and advantages. In India, summer treks are popular for much anticipated reasons. A summer vacation, respite from scorching days along with snowy alpine lake are solid to be a compelling proposition. No wonder that Roopkund trek is de facto the most popular summer trek in India. If you are not keen on these but like to hike on the same trail over lush greener meadows (Bugyals are indeed best in Aug/Sep), flowers in abundance then post monsoon is the right choice for you. So the journey of the frozen Roopkund in summer is a different one than the original skeletal lake as seen in post monsoon. Actually there is no disadvantage in any season (assuming you have a solid support team) and you may choose as per your own taste 🙂

snow-at-baguabasa-campsite-during summer
Baguabasa campsite in summer
Brahma Kamal the iconic state flower of Uttarakhand in abundance during mid September

Access to Roopkund trek base (Lohajung) and Kathgodam:

We will arrange a pickup  from Kathgodam railway station to trek base Lohajung and drop to Kathgodam. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and paid directly to the driver. his will be shared equally by the team members on actual basis (usually Rs 800/1000 one way). You pay directly to the driver/transporter. The fare is Rs 5500 for a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx one way. This can accommodate 6 to 8 people. A Tempo Traveller charges Rs 9000 (12-14 seat) one way. This is NOT included in TREK FEE.

From Lohajung, Didna (closer) and Wan village  P.C. Titas Chanda

It takes 8/9 hours to reach Kathgodam from Delhi.

Take overnight Ranikhet Express (Train No 15013) from Delhi  Junction(STN Code: DLI), which departs at 10 pm. From New Delhi (NDLS), it is hardly 4 Km, but may take 30 min in Auto Rickshaw. Just adjacent metro station is Chandni Chowk. If the tickets are already wait-listed you can:

Book online Volvo/AC bus from Delhi UTC (Uttarakhand Transport Corporation Select Anand Vihar ISBT (45 mins in Blue line metro from New Delhi, NDLS) to Haldwani city, 7 Km before Kathgodam. Reserve an auto rickshaw/shared from Haldwani to Kathgodam. There are frequent ordinary/regular busses by state corporations from Anand Vihar ISBT/Terminal to Haldwani in the evening. Tickets are on boarding. You can get private busses from booking portals.

While returning from Kathgodam to Delhi, similar options for overnight

To reach the trek base Lohajung independently/public transportation and more, check the details in GETTING THERE TAB.

Download the list of things to carry in Roopkund trek

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Why treks with HT?

Highest Point4800 m/15750 ft
Trail Length55 Km
Roopkund trek

Tour Reviews

4.86 based on 7 reviews
May 23, 2018

have been with Himalaya Trekkers for Roopkund trek! The weather was the worst of the time with severe snowfall throughout 3 days of the trek. The entire team of Himalayan trekkers made sure that we are comfortable and continued serving hot and tasty food, tea throughout the day in our tent. Their hospitality was far beyond expectations with very knowledgeable and experienced trek guides! Worth an experience to cherish.

October 26, 2015

Fantastic. Overall package is very good. I would like to trek in future with your group. Please send me some information on how can I patch up for a trek on a fixed departure schedule as a single member. One thing I like to mention is that when many groups are trekking on same day and staying at same place. It will lucrative if you spend some money on colourful tent and equipment (like banner, walking stick etc.).

September 28, 2015

Very exciting and thrilling. Wonderful experience of the trek and local people. All were very helpful.

October 25, 2014

Excellent support staff with superb behaviour and knowledge especially Dev Singh Ji and Sheru, good food, top guide, good arrangements all around under very tough conditions.

June 20, 2012

Really fantastic experience with Himalaya Trekkers on the Roopkund trek. We were guided through beautiful villages and mountain scenery, enjoyed the company of our guides who shared their stories and jokes with us, finished off the day with an absolutely delicious hot meal, and slept very comfortably in warm tents they provided. I really can’t say enough good things about my experience with Himalaya Trekkers and I can’t wait to go back! Hiking in the Himalayas was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so glad I chose to travel with Himalaya Trekkers! It is the most comfortable and fun way to experience the Himalayas. It is also an incredible price for the many services they provide during the trek (mules, setting up tents, cooking dinner, help with any odd problem that might arise during the trek). Definitely a five star experience. Hoping to do a longer glacier trek next summer!

June 11, 2011

It was a perfect trekking experience. The trek offered all kinds of landscape, meadows, forests, snow; weather varied from rainy to foggy to bright sunny, and the views were awe-inspiring. The trek was very well organized; transport was well arranged, food was very good, camping was a comfortable affair, and the support staff was knowledgeable and experienced. I enjoyed every minute of it, and will always cherish it.

June 20, 2010

It was my first trip to Himalayas, and I joined HT for Roopkund trek which takes you to an altitude of 1600 ft above sea level. The route is very scenic. The climb is not a very easy for a beginner – however I received excellent guidance on how to prepare and what to expect. Support and assistance was provided at every stage of the trip, from the very beginning. Importantly, it was a very friendly group. All the staff members in HT proved to be highly experienced, passionate and know what they do. The routes they planned, the meals they provided, the stories they shared with us, the way they took care of the team, the way they encouraged us when the going got tough, – it all made the trek a successful one. And one that I would cherish for a life time! The feeling standing there on that snowy peak is an unforgettable one.. Would love to do another challenging trek with HT another day!

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