2019 Uttarakhand Trek Updates: Impact of camping ban on Bugyal and meadows


As the summer has already in its course, many of you are looking for the trekking routes to explore. Uttarakhand treks become a major focus for many trekkers and mountain lovers. And why not so? Uttarakhand is indeed the heartland of Indian Himalayas. Before reaching to a conclusion and choosing your trekking trail, you must be aware of a court order in place at present.

So what is the Uttarakhand High court order?

In response to a PIL filed in Uttarakhand High Court, the division bench laid out certain rules and issued certain directions. In attempt to conserve the fragile Himalayan ecosystem the court  ruled that “the overnight stay in the Alpine meadows/Subalpine meadows/Bugyals is banned“. Read full order here.

This is certainly a catastrophic setback for people of Uttarakhand who are directly or indirectly related to trekking and tourism. What may have triggered such an aggressive order from high court needs our attention and introspection. Though,it is currently out of scope for this update.

The above order impacted some popular trekking trails within the state of Uttarakhand. In accord with the court order, Forest Department of Uttarakhand issued restrictions on camping to places, on trek route basis. To understand the implications more, give us a call or drop an email.

Here is an attempt to summarise the impact and current status of some popular trails.

Summary of some popular Uttarakhand treks affected due to camping ban on Bugyal/meadows
Trek Name Permit issued by Forest Department Impact and status
Roopkund No camping is allowed at Ali-Bedni Bugyal, Patar Nachuni and Baguabasa Severe. It is almost impossible for one to reach and return from Roopkund to permitted campsites. Trek is closed.
Tapovan No camping at Tapovan. High. It will be a strenuous and difficult day to reach and return from Tapovan to Bhojbasa campsite. Estimated time 10/12 hours on moraine.
Deoriatal Chopta Chandrashila No camping at Deoriatal, Chopta and Tunganath. High. You have to camp near Baniya Kund below Chopta and visit Chandrashila and back.
Winter Kuari Pass Only two campsites are allowed, Gulling and Tali forest camp. Medium. During winter on snow it is a long day’s walk to reach and return from Kuari Pass to the permitted campsites.
Satopanth Tal No camps above Chakrateerth. Low. No camping at Satopanth Tal.
Kedartal Highest camp is before Kedar Kharak. Low. No camping at Kedartal.
Har Ki Dun Highest camp at Simatra. Low. No camping at Har Ki Dun.
Dayara Bugyal Highest camp inside forest at Tilapra. Low. No camping on Dayara.
Bali Pass No camping at Ruinsara Low

So the question arises what’s next?

  • You can certainly choose the Low impacted trek routes. Banning a camp at a particular place or two doesn’t take away the beauty of the route. It helps in protecting the environment of those fragile campsites to an extent.
  • It is better that you fully understand the implications of High impacted treks. A particular day may become strenuous than you actually anticipated.
  • Popular winter trek destinations are mostly not impacted.
  • There are other popular treks and new trails in accord with the order. Check here our list of Uttarakhand treks.
  • In case you are looking for more options, then you can check our Sikkim/Darjeeling treks or Himachal Pradesh treks.

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