If you are from one of the northern states of India, chances are, that you have already been to Nainital as a young child. Even those that haven’t been to Nainital know about its significance as a tourist hill station.
With that said, young adventurers often think that there is not a lot of adventure in the Nainital Valley. A bit of boating in the Naini Jheel (Lake), a stroll down the infamous Mall Road, and picturesque views of the valley are all that most visitors expect from their Nainital trip. The same, however, is far from the truth, at least for those that are willing to go the extra mile in search of adventure. If you count yourself in this category, read on to find out about exciting trails for hiking and trekking near Nainital.
6 Spots That Are Best For Trekking Near Nainital
For an interesting trip around the town of Nainital, you must consider planning an adventurous experience at the below-listed treks that are located at a close distance from the town!
1. Tiffin’s Top
Among the known things to do in Nainital, besides the ones mentioned earlier, is taking a ride in the Nainital trolley. The trolley car takes visitors up to a nearby peak known as Tiffin’s Top (also known as Dorothy’s Peak).
While the ride in the trolley car does offer some breathtaking views of the mountain city and its surroundings, it’s not exactly an adventurous experience.
Those looking to add a bit of a thrill to their journey to Tiffin’s Top can take the alternative route, that involves a short hike to the top of the Tiffin Top peak.
The hike starts at the centre of Nainital city and is perfect for all interests and fitness levels. It takes you through lush green forests and awe-inspiring views will keep you company throughout the 4 kilometer trek.
Additional Info: For Bollywood fans, the view from Tiffin’s Top offers a small surprise. From the top, you can see a storybook (Bollywood) mountain school. Hritik Roshan’s character in early 2000s film Koi Mil Gaya was a student of this school. Moreover, those that find the hike too much of a challenge can opt for a happy horseback ride to the top.
Altitude: 2292 Meters
Distance: 4 Kilometer
Difficulty Level: Easy/Beginner
2. Kunjkharak Trek
Those looking for an offbeat experience near Nainital should not miss Kunjkharak Trek. There are a number of things that make this destination unique.
For starters, KunjKharak is not a hilly trek but a jungle trek, which are very rare in the northern parts of the country. Moreover, the destination is relatively untouched, especially when compared to nearby tourist spots like Nainital and Jim Corbett National Park.
The trek starts in Pangot, which is roughly a 40 minute drive from Nainital, takes two to three days to complete and takes adventurers through dense deodar, rhododendron and oak forests.
Total trekking distance is approximately 36 kilometers, most of which is either a walk on the plains of a downhill hike. One of the portions of the trek follows Kosi river, which makes for a perfect chance to take a dip and re energize your body.
Additional Info: While the Kunjkharak trek does go through the villages of Domas and Kumeria, there are hardly any shops on the trail itself. For this reason, it is advisable to carry water, snacks, and other essentials to keep your hunger satisfied during the trek.
Altitude: 1343 Meters
Distance: 36 Kilometers
Difficulty Level: Moderate
3. Naini Peak-Pangot Trek
One of the most frequented treks in the area, the Naini Peak-Pankgot trek is the perfect two day adventure for trekking enthusiasts. The trek starts at Mallital in Nainital and goest through the famous Snow View hill to reach Naini Peak (also known as China Peak).
Naini Peak, as the name suggests, is the highest peak (2611 meters) overlooking Nainital and offers breathtaking views of the storybook town, the mighty Naina Devi Temple, and the surrounding himalayan mountain ranges.
After trekking for a few more hours, and covering a distance of approximately 14 kilometers, you will reach the mountain village of Pangot. For most travellers, this village is the rest point before trekking back to Nainital the next day.
Pangot has quite a reputation for bird watching activities, thanks to the rich flora and fauna that surrounds the area. Add picture-perfect sunsets to the mix, and you get the perfect place to pitch your camps and spend the night after a tiring hike.
Additional Info: While trekking back to Nainital, there is an alternative route that goes through the village of Kilbury. While the trail is a bit more tricky to maneuver, the views on this trail make the extra investment of time and effort worthwhile.
Altitude: 2611 Meters
Distance: 14 Kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
Suggested Read: 15 Best Things To Do In Nainital For An Amazing Holiday In 2022
4. Guano Hills
If you’re one of the travelers that have spent enough time in the crowds of tourists flocking to Nainital and want to get away from the maddening crowds and the noise they accompany, take a trip to Guano Hills.
Famous for its bird watching potential, Guano Hills replace the crazy sounds of the crowds and traffic jams with an endless symphony created by thousands of birds.
Located at just a bit over 1800 meters from sea level, Guano Hills have been described as a “hiker’s paradise”. The sound of birds chirping, coupled with an enchanting forest full of bamboo, oak, and deodar trees make the spot a must visit for travelers visiting Nainital.
Additional Info: The hike to Guano Hills starts from Pangot village. The hills are open for tourists only between 8 AM and 6 PM. It is thus advisable to plan your day extensively to make the most of your trip to these enchanting hills.
Altitude: 1800 Meters
Distance: >5 Kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
Suggested Read: 10 Gorgeous Cottages In Nainital For Different Budgets
5. Land’s End
Do you know those places that have awesome names but disappointing views? Well, Land’s End is not one of them.
The 4 kilometer hike is perhaps the most rewarding hike in the region. Living up to its unique name, Land’s End peak is literally where the land ends. Beyond the peak, there is several hundred meters of nothingness. Thanks to this, it offers incredible views of the surrounding Himalayas, valleys, and lakes.
The short distance of the hike makes it perfect for adventure enthusiasts that are strapped for time. At the same time, the incredible views that surround the trail and the peak are perfect for a day-hike or a picnic with your loved ones.
Additional Info: Like most day hikes that originate from Nainital, there are pony rides available to Land’s end. While these have their own charm, it is recommended to take this hike on foot to be able to absorb the glory of mother nature the way it’s meant to be.
Altitude: 2118 Meters
Distance: 4 Kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
6. Snow View Peak
Another day hike that delivers exactly what its name promises, the Snow View Peak is among the most frequented tourist spots near Nainital, and for good reason.
With a quaint complex of temples at the top, the Snow View Peak offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. In fact, it is said that on a clear day, you can see places that are at a distance of over 350 kilometers from the Snow View Peak.
While the hike distance is just 3 kilometers, travelers frequently describe the hike as a challenging feat. So if you are a beginner, it pays to remember to come prepared, both with the right footwear and the right mindset.
Additional Info: If you are visiting Snow View Peak, pay special attention to the weather forecast. unpleasant weather doesn’t just make the trail a bit more dangerous, it also dulls the views surrounding the otherwise beautiful peak.
Altitude: 2270 Meters
Distance: 3 Kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
Nainital is a travelers’ paradise. Not just because it is one of the most iconic hill stations in Uttarakhand, but because it offers something for every kind of travellers. While other aspects of travelling in Nainital such as shopping, quaint mountain homestays and luxurious resorts are well known, the hill station is usually overlooked by adventure seekers. For optimistic travelers, nothing can be better. The reason? Since the destination is relatively unexplored, the hikes and treks can truly offer visitors the sense of solitude that gravitates us to the hills.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Nainital Trekking:
If you still have questions about visiting Nainital, don’t forget to scroll down to our FAQs section:
How Can I Reach Nainital?
Reaching Nainital is not much of a challenge as the city is well connected to airports, railways stations and major national and state highways. Nainital is a 7-8 hour drive from Delhi (approx 320 kilometers) and the route is frequented by many private and government operated bus services. The nearest railway station to Nainital is Kathgodam which is at a distance of about 65 kilometers from the city. The nearest major airports are Delhi airport and Dehradun airport. Finding public transport, including buses and cabs, is very easy from both the points.
When is the best time to visit Nainital for trekking?
Summer is the most favourable season for adventure seekers to visit Nainital. With that said, most hiking and trekking activities are conducted throughout the year, except monsoons. During the monsoon season, most trails are closed for tourists.
Is it safe to trek in Nainital?
Yes, trekking in Nainital is perfectly safe and there is a hike or a trek for travelers of every kind of fitness and enthusiasm levels. With that said, trekking is an adventure activity and basic precautions must be taken at all times. This includes carrying basic first aid kit, avoiding trekking during the nighttime, and traveling in groups. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and make sure you carry your identification documents with you at all times.
What kind of accommodation can I expect when trekking near Nainital?
After day hikes, you can come back to Nainital where there are plenty of accommodation options that fit all budgets and needs. For treks that last 2-3 days, be prepared to stay in tents. While some may find it uncomfortable, the experience of staying in tents, especially in the picturesque surroundings of Nainital is a truly rewarding experience. There are also a number of forest guest houses near famous trekking routes but they have limited availability and are booked well in advance, especially during peak season (March-June).
What should I pack for a trek in Nainital?
The answer largely depends on the duration of the trek you plan to undertake. For day hikes, it is recommended to travel light and only pack the basics such as a trusty pair of comfortable hiking boots, water, snacks, and a first aid kit. For longer treks, you can trek with the same kind of luggage, if you are being accompanied by a tour operator. In any other case, you will have to carry food and tents for your own accommodation. Traveling with a tour operator is highly recommended as they employ seasoned professionals that know the area, and take care of much of the planning that you would otherwise have to do.
Which are some of the famous winter treks in Nainital?
Most hiking and trekking trails in and near Nainital are open year round, except the monsoon season. The same trekking trails will offer different charms and present travelers with different difficulty levels in different seasons. Thanks to the high altitude and low temperatures in the area, hiking and trekking activities during the winter months are a bit more challenging.