When you go for the Roopkund trek, a lot of mystery and natural charm is in store for you. The Roopkund alpine lake is situated roughly at 16499 feet above sea level. It is also called Skeleton Lake due to the human skeletons, which have been discovered in and around it. There have been various theories on who these skeletons are of and when did they die. Some say that they belong to Japanese soldiers who died here during WWII. Studies have determined that they are of people from an Indian tribe, who died here in the 9th century because of a severe hailstorm.
Roopkund trekking begins in the town of Loharjung and takes you through mountains replete with rich biodiversity and picturesque surroundings. You travel through little hilly villages before arriving in Ali Bugyal. It is an alpine meadow at an elevation of about 10830 feet above sea level. As you ascend, you meander through forests of fir, spruce and deodars, and as you reach the top, the trees disappear and expansive and lush green flat lands greet you. You may also be able to see animals that come here to graze during summers.
A Journey To An Unusual ‘Skeleton Lake’ That Remains Frozen In Past
Your next stop Ghora Lotani, which is around 12500 feet above the sea level, is another alpine meadow, and is named so perhaps due to the abundance of horses here. Once you reach the campsite near the meadow, retire for the night. Most hikers choose to stay here for an entire day and acclimatise before moving on further, and you may do so too. From here, your trek will take you to the lake itself and from there, back to Loharjung.
The Awe, The Charm and The Beauty of Roopkund
On the way to Loharjung, you will arrive in Bedini Bugyal, about 11003 feet above sea level. It is yet another tranquil alpine meadow of enchanting beauty, and is covered with green grass. There are some stone huts here, where shepherds live in summers. In winters, they abandon them and move to lower altitudes.
Roopkund Trek – A Travelogue!
This hike is not too difficult, but you are advised to be completely fit and observe great caution while attempting it. After the excursion, you will surely return to the mountains of India for yet another expedition.
Know more about other popular options for Trekking in Uttarakhand
Day 01: KATHGODAM - LOHARJUNG (2130M) (DRIVE / 250 KMS / 8 - 9 HRS)
After you arrive in Kathgodam, proceed towards Loharjung. From Kathgodam, you will travel through the scenic hilly routes in order to reach your destination. On arriving in this little village, find your lodging and rest for the day.
Day 02: LOHARJUNG (2130M) - DIDANA (2550M) (TREK / 5 - 6 HRS)
Your Roopkund trek begins near the bus stand of the town. You start climbing from an altitude of 10,500 feet and walk through a picturesque forest comprising Himalayan cedar and oak trees. After an easy walk for about 2.5 hours, you will reach the spot called Ruan Bagad, where you cross an old bridge across the Neel Ganga River.
Alternatively, you can also take the road through Wan village, and on the way along this route, you pass by the village of Kulling. From here, the steepness of the trail towards Ruan Bagad increases, which continues till you reach Didna. The hike from Ruan Bagad to Didna village, despite its tough terrain, takes only about 1.5 hours.
Day 03: DIDANA (2550M) - ALI BUGYAL (3350M) (TREK / 6 - 7 HRS)
Continue Roopkund trekking after waking up early in the morning and climbing to Ali Bugyal. There are two routes that you can take to reach your destination. You can either climb the mountains directly or take a detour and continue through Tolpani. The first route is difficult due to the high gradient of the climb while the other one can take two hours more than the former. Whichever way you choose, you should try to reach Ali Bugyal by noon to behold the enchanting views of Nanda Ghunti and Trishul peaks.
Day 04: ALI BUGYAL (3350M) - GHORA LOTANI
Today being the fourth day of your trek, you will feel a little tired. So, you can sleep in just a bit more than usual and start out later than usual. Your destination for the day is Ghora Lotani which is a great camping spot. On you way through picturesque locations, you will reach Patat Nacholi, an unused vast piece of land.
For the day, you will be making a climb from 12,500 ft to 14,500 ft. So, the change in weather and altitude are likely to take a toll on your body. There will be exertion from the climb as well. However, the support from your trek mates and the breathtaking beauty around you will give you all the strength you need. After a journey of 10 kms, you will reach Ghora Lotani.
Sleep on time for tomorrow is going to be an important day of your trek.
Day 05: GHORA LOTANI - BHAGUBASA (4100M) (TREK / 5 - 6 HRS)
The ensuing stage of this Roopkund trek is relatively tougher because of the considerable gain in altitude. As you will enter an area of high elevation, you will need to take all necessary precautions to avoid altitude sickness. Hiking up a zigzag path, you reach the temple of Kalu Vinayak, which houses an idol of Lord Ganesha. The temple is constructed by arranging irregular pebbles and bricks atop each other. You may stop here and pray to the deity for good luck before hiking further.
Up here, you can enjoy the stupendous views of Chaukhamba, Neelkanth and Hathi peaks. Depending on the season, you will find snow here as the terrain becomes a little harder. At a short distance from here is located the campsite of Bhagubasa. Reach the campsite and acclimatize yourself to the altitude. Overnight stay in tents.
Day 06: BHAGUBASA (4100M) - ROOPKUND (4750M) - PATAL NAUCHANIYA (3850M) - BEDNI BUGYAL (TREK / 10-15 HRS)
Multiple checkpoints today for you to cross on what will seem like a long day. You will be walking around 15 kms in a duration of 10-15 hours. It is a crucial day which will begin with you heading out for Roopkund Lake at 1600 ft, the highest you will get on this trek.
Starting out from Bhagwabasa, your first checkpoint is Chirianag (translated to snake like ladder) which will lead you to the mystery lake. On a lucky day, standing at the edge of the lake, you can look at hundreds of human skeleton pieces. This view alone is chilling and makes the long trek so worth it. From here on, the steep climb and rugged terrain will lead you to Nanda Devi temple, a picture perfect spot. This temple lies close to the Nanda Devi Biosphere.
Climbing up to Junargalli (16,700 ft) is optional. It is a steep climb and will take you 45 minutes on a good weather day.
On the return journey, you will be passing the cave of Bhagwabasa or ‘abode of the tiger’. Walk down to reach Patal Nauchaniya and from here, walk back through Ghora Lotani back to Bedni Bugyal.
It will have been a long day of trekking so you would sleep like a child at night in your camps.
Day 07: BEDNI BUGYAL (3350M) - WAN (2550M) - LOHARJUNG (TREK / 5 - 6 HRS) (DRIVE / 30 MINS)
Rise up today to trek down the gorgeous meadows, forest sections of pine, rhododendron and oak to reach a village called Wan. The village is overlooked by a lot of hills and mountains on the edges. Interact with locals and visit the temple here. The trek ends here. The distance of descent covered today is approx 18 kms and will take around 10 hours or less.
Once in Wan, you will be driven back to Loharjung from here. Once arrived, spend the night in tents at the beautiful campsite.
Day 08: LOHARJUNG - KATHGODAM (DRIVE / 7 - 8 HRS)
After breakfast, you will be driven back to Kathgodam railway station. Carry mint and tablets to prevent nausea. The trip ends here.
1. When is the best time for Roopkund trek?
Any season can be chosen to attempt it, depending on your desire. If you like snow and want a challenging hike, then the months of May and June are perfect for you. On the other hand if you want to see the mysterious skeletons, then you should plan the excursion in September or October.
2. How difficult is the expedition?
The difficulty of the hike depends on the amount of snow along the trail. Generally speaking, its difficulty level is moderate, but the weather at higher reaches is not stable, amounting for some level of toughness.
3. How cold can it get along the way?
The lower sites do not experience extreme cold, but at higher spots, it is essential that you wear multiple layers of clothes. At moderately high camps, the days are not that cold, but the night temperature can drop to -6 degree Celsius.
4. How long do we have to walk each day?
Every day, travellers will have to travel 10-12 km and the time taken will be 6-7 hours. Do not be disheartened seeing these numbers as the scenery will be so amazing that you will not be able to keep a track of anything else.
5. Is Diamox (anti-altitude sickness drug) advisable?
No, the use of Diamox is not advisable, but in case you have it, consult your doctor in advance. There are many myths about the drug, and for more information, you are advised to read articles about acute mountain sickness.
6. How big are the groups?
Our aim is to bring small groups of like-minded people on the trip, and usually we carry 20 - 25 hikers in one batch. There has to be a minimum of six travellers for a fixed departure, but if it is a customised trip, the size does not matter.
7. I am the only girl in the trek. Is it safe?
Yes, your safety is the most important thing to us. All our guides are carefully chosen and are well-behaved with females. You are however advised to take care of your own belongings.
8. What do we need to carry?
Once the booking is done, you will be sent a list of essential things to carry on the tour.
9. Can anyone carry my bag in case I am not able to?
Yes, but you will have to state it 15 days in advance so that porters can be arranged.
10. What type of shoes should I bring?
Good trekking shoes are required and you should be careful while buying them.
11. How many trekkers will stay in one tent?
Three persons will be accommodated in one tent.
12. What is the level of fitness expected from the participants?
Every trek calls for the utmost level of physical fitness.
13. What type of food is served during the expedition?
Vegetarian Indian food and eggs will be served on the trip.
14. From where can safe drinking water be obtained during the hike?
Water of mountainous streams is considered safe, but as an added caution, we use boiled water and chlorine pills. While hiking, you can ask your group leader or guide to know the source of clean drinking water.
15. What kind of ground transportation is used on the excursion?
We arrange for Bolero, Max or any other vehicle equivalent to these.
16. Will a doctor accompany us?
No, but our guides have medical certificates in Wilderness First Aid, and are aware of the health problems that you may face at high altitudes. Additionally, we carry a first aid kit and all necessary medicines with us. You should make sure that you are physically fit to undertake the hike, and in case you are not sure, take professional help.
17. Should I bring medicines?
Yes, you should always carry your own medication even if your guides are carrying some with them.
18. Can we change the itinerary?
That depends on the situation; however the date of completion of the changed itinerary has to coincide with that of the original. You should remember that this hike takes you to some of the remotest regions, and some unforeseen events may force a change of itinerary. If this happens, you will be informed of the best possible alternative by your leader or guide.
19. Can you customize a trip?
Absolutely. If you want to travel independently, then you may pick any of our trips at a convenient time for yourself and the group accompanying you. The cost of a private trip is set considering the group size, type of trek, area of excursion and duration.
If Minimum group strength is not met , we have the right to cancel the departure.
Should you wish to customise the trip as per your preferred date, separate charges will apply.
Temperature in May & Jun :
Daytime 15° to 20°C, Nighttime : 4° to 7°C.
Temp at highest camp, Bhagwabasa: Day 5°C to 10°C. Night: 3° to -2°C.
Temperature in Sept and Oct :
Day: 13° to 20°C. Night: 2° to 7°C. Temp at highest camp,
Bhagwabasa: Day 3°C to 10°C. Night: 3° to -4°C.
Rains : Rainy season is from the second week of July to mid September. May/June is not the rainy season but afternoon showers are very common in the mountains. These are not the monsoon rains.
Snow : High snow in May from Kalu Vinayak onwards. Decreases in June. Comfortable snow during the last half of June. September has little snow. In the first week of October, the first winter snow is likely to fall in the upper reaches. Usually melts in a few days.
Max Altitude:15696 ft.
Approx Trekking Km: 59 Kms
Best Time to go: May to June, September to October
Firstly thanks for the wonderfully planned trip. The Guides were excellent always ensuring that no one is lagging behind. The overall preparations were quite satisfactory, the food very tasty. I would definitely recommend this to my friends, even for a second trip for myself in the near future.
Hey guys! The roopkund trek was one of my best experiences till date. I enjoyed a lot .. the crew and guide were all very helpful and would love to plan other trips through your company .. everything was perfect and please inform me through mail about the upcoming treks and trips.. and yes I would recommend Adventure Nation to my friends.. Thank you!
We have done the Roopkund trek. Thanks for providing us this great trek. Thanks everyone in Adventure Nation team. The entire trek team was very helpful. Very good food provided by the team. We have no doubt to again connect with you for our next trek.
Thanks for providing me the opportunity to be part of such a adventurous trekking expedition . It was an amazing experience to be on Roopkund Trek.
The trek was a superb success. Everything was perfectly organized and we had a wonderful time up in the mountains. - Travelled on 20th May, 2016
Firstly I would prefer to say we are back at home safely. I would like to thank the whole Adventure Nation team for giving us a immense and memorable trip and trek of life. It was heaven there. Your service in all the department pick up, drop, food, accommodation, each and every tiny thing we thoroughly loved it. So far it was our best trek and experience. Though it was our first trek 9 out of 10 from our group and 13 out of 16 climb to Junargali and all of us made to Roopkund and summit-ed successfully. Only one of our friend couldn't make it to Junargali he was a bit weak. But keeping it a part we loved the whole experience you made us fell in love with the mountains with your great on ground team . No words are enough to thank you for this journey. But on behalf of 10 of us I would like to thank all the team members. Thank you so much. We would love to plan another trip with you in near future.
It was my first trek and you made it memorable for life! You guys did a marvelous job. Thank you!
Hands down to the amazing crew that came along for the Roopkund Trek. THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. Honestly they've set a bar for hospitality which cannot be compared to. The experience was brilliant and overwhelmed by the beauty this trek holds. Each one of us bonded so well with each other that I would suggest more promotion for this trek as it's a trek everyone should attempt at least once. Great trekkers in the group, different age groups and it only added that flavor to this trek. Had an amazing time.Thank you so much
I came back very recently from Roopkund Trek with Adventure Nation. What an experience! Honestly, I was mildly nervous about the whole thing even after booking the trek but I was constantly reassured by the welcoming people at Adventure Nation. Like almost everyone else in my trekking batch would tell you, the skeletal lake gives you chills, to say the least. The trek up to the lake tests your competence, but the sight of the lake and the feeling of having accomplished such a feat is so positively overwhelming, you can barely comprehend the magnanimity of it all. My most favorite memory from the trek is from the first day while we were on our way to Lohagunj. I was traveling solo and I almost wanted to go back. But trust me, the views on the way to Lohagunj are so scenic, they inspired me enough to go through the entire trek. And I don't regret my decision of going ahead with it one bit.
Trekking to Roopkund is definitely not easy as I thought it would be. But it's an experience to be had, for sure! Generally, on a long trek, you will have some days that are just work and no fun. But on this trek not even one day was spent not being in awe of the beautiful natural scenery all along the way, from the first day in Kathgodam, to the last day in Bedni Bugyal. I made some lasting memories! The natural beauty of the many forests we went through was so refreshing from the packed cities we live in. PS: The guide was very cooperative as well as the food was very tasty.
The skeletal lake, the alpine meadows, the villages in hills...I had done a lot of research before booking the Roopkund Trek package with Adventure Nation. I was not disappointed at all. It's a tough height to scale but so worth it! I was looking forward to the experience for so long, it was finally a treat to have the opportunity of making it. I was especially impressed by how nicely the tour operator took care of us. He was constantly supportive and the locations for setting up the campsite were also strategically planned. The food was great and there wasn't much pressure of covering up distances in short time. On a moderate pace, we made sure all the important spots were visited and each time we were back to our campsites in time. It was the longest trek I've ever been on, but I was still sad that it had to come to an end.
I felt like the itinerary was perfect. This is why I booked with Adventure Nation in the first place. I did a thorough research and spoke to a few people before I booked and went on this trek. It is a week long trek and trust me, each day is full of exotic nature and refreshing beauty all around you. I had such a nice time. From Bedni Bugyal to Bhagubasa waterfall to Roopkund and Junargalli, the whole thing is so scenic and beautiful. Definitely going to come back to relive all the memories I made here!
Seven days of Roopkund Trek went by without notice. Thanks a lot, Adventure Nation, for letting me and my friends join others on this amazing trek. I had been on simpler treks before, but this one is the longest I have been on. It is a bit tiring but each night at the campsite, you will forget all the hard work and lose yourself and wake up in the meadows next morning to feel completely renewed with energy. I loved this! The skeletal lake is a must visit.
The skeletal lake is not the only reason why you should take this exhilarating experience. Roopkund trek is an experience that only the true nature lovers should take. This trek has EVERYTHING-gorgeous waterfalls, vast lands of rhododendron and oak forests, amazing peaks, beautiful campsites. Basically, it is one of those treks which gives you an overall experience of trekking in North India. One of the best experiences of my life, definitely! Thanks, Adventure Nation and the guides who were super supportive throughout. Food and accommodation equipment was satisfactory.
The unfrozen skeletal lake, with all the skulls and other remains lying there in the ground, is an amazing sight to behold. My whole Roopkund Trek experience was full of mystery and awe. The beauty of nature surrounding us on this trek is definitely such an inspiration for all of us to do this once again! Going to come here with my friends next time.
Will forever remember my trek to Roopkund trek because of all the fun I had, all the memories I made with my friends. Absolute best experience with the staff guide that accompanied us. The food, the sleeping bags and the refreshments were great! Love love love the whole route. We met a lot of trekkers that were either returning or going with us while we trekked to Roopkund lake. It?s a popular trek and safe one. Get this experience as soon as you can.
This one is a great trek. It gets booked really immediately so book well in advance and make sure you go in September-October if you want to really enjoy the scenery and want to see the green grasslands and the bugyals and everything natural. It is so green and so fresh, the feeling is unmatched. Loved my experience.
Trekked to the Roopkund Pass in late May. The snow is still there at that time, do not worry. Book in advance because the tickets get booked really quickly. And then in the months after booking until the trek, invest in some really good trekking gear because you are going to be needing it. The trek gets a little tough to scale for a little while but otherwise if you have trekked before, this one is moderate only. You are going to love it! Good luck.