Roopkund Lake (Skeletal Lake) Trek

The Roopkund trek in Uttarakhand, India, leads to a mysterious glacial lake known as Skeleton Lake, famous for human skeletal remains visible at its bottom. This high-altitude trek offers stunning Himalayan views, dense forests, alpine meadows, and challenging terrain, making it a popular choice for adventurers.

Max Altitude

15696 ft

Duration

8 days

Difficulty Level

Moderate-Difficult

Total Distance

55 KM

Suitable for

15+ Years Old People

Experience Level

Previous experience of 1 high altitude trek above 12000 ft is preferred.

Fitness Level

Covers 5 kms distance in 35 mins

Overview

Package from and to

Kathgodam

Region

Uttarakhand / India

Base Camp

Wan

Rail Head

Kathgodam

Airport

Jolly Grant Airport

Trail type

Round Trail. The trek starts and ends at Wan village.

Best Season

Summer : May June Autumn : October, Noember

Snow Period

December to May

Meals

Veg + Egg

Accomodation type

Guest House + Camping

Package Price

₹ 17000/person

Available Batches

4th – 11th May

11th – 18th May

5th – 12th October

12th – 19th October

19th – 26th October

26th October – 2nd November

2nd – 9th November

9th – 16th November

 

Informations

Roopkund Lake (Skeletal Lake) Trek

The Roopkund trek in Uttarakhand, India, leads to a mysterious glacial lake known as Skeleton Lake, famous for human skeletal remains visible at its bottom. This high-altitude trek offers stunning Himalayan views, dense forests, alpine meadows, and challenging terrain, making it a popular choice for adventurers.

Roopkund, locally known as Mystery Lake, is a high altitude glacial lake in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Roopkund lies in the lap of Trishul massif and is famous because of the hundreds of human skeletons found at the edge of the lake. The Roopkund (lake) is located at an altitude of about 15,696 feet. It is surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow clad mountains, making it a good trekking destination. The route leading to Roopkund passes through the twin Bugyals of Ali & Bedni. All along the Roopkund trail, you get amazing views of peaks like Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Neelkantha, Trishul & Nanda Ghunti. The beautiful campsites of Roopkund trek are a sight to behold. Roopkund is recommended for experienced trekkers because of it’s moderate plus difficulty level.

Itinenary

The drive from Kathgodam to Wan village takes you through picturesque landscapes of the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand, India. Kathgodam serves as a gateway to the Kumaon Himalayas and is well-connected by road. The journey to Wan village involves navigating winding mountain roads, passing through charming hill towns, lush forests, and terraced fields. It typically takes around 1-110 hours by road, covering a distance of approximately 220-250 kilometers, depending on the route taken and road conditions. Travelers can expect breathtaking views of the Himalayan foothills and traditional village life along the way, making it a memorable journey through the scenic beauty of Uttarakhand.

Wan (7800 ft) to Gehroli Patal (10100 ft) Trek. Approx 6 kms – 4/5 hours trek.

The initial trail is cemented through a cluster of houses. 15 minutes into your trek, you will find a cluster of centuries-old Cypress trees. It would take four people to circumvent the tree! Try hugging it.

From here, there are two trails you can spot. One goes straight ahead to the ridge. The second one acts as a deviation from the Latu Devta temple. Latu Devta is a local deity, who is believed to protect the area.  The mountain folk pay obeisance to him before ascending higher on the Nanda Devi Yatra. Ring the temple bell here for a safe trek before going back to the ascending trail to the ridge – Ranaka Dhar. It takes 30-45 minutes to ascend from Wan to Ranaka Dhar. At Ranaka Dhar, take in the view of Lohajung, Wan and the valley below! The name Ranaka Dhar comes from the battle Parvati had with the demon Lohasur. Their battle, which started in Lohajung, culminated here. The name Ranaka Dhar means “flowing blood”.

From here, it is a short descent to the gurgling Neel Ganga. The bridge on Neel Ganga is an idyllic location to take a breather. Trees overhang the river and the water trips and fall over boulders in the shade. The water here is cool and refreshing. From here begins the beautiful ascent to the first campsite, Gehroli Patal. The trail now winds through Oak and Rhododendron forests and the path is strewn with dry leaves that crunch and crackle beneath your trekking shoes. There are walnut, pear, Himalayan roses and other flora you can find on this climb. You may even spot birds like a flycatcher, and magpies. Keep a lookout.

The initial trail is cemented through a cluster of houses. 15 minutes into your trek, you will find a cluster of centuries-old Cypress trees. It would take four people to circumvent the tree! Try hugging it.

From here, there are two trails you can spot. One goes straight ahead to the ridge. The second one acts as a deviation from the Latu Devta temple. Latu Devta is a local deity, who is believed to protect the area.  The mountain folk pay obeisance to him before ascending higher on the Nanda Devi Yatra. Ring the temple bell here for a safe trek before going back to the ascending trail to the ridge – Ranaka Dhar. It takes 30-45 minutes to ascend from Wan to Ranaka Dhar. At Ranaka Dhar, take in the view of Lohajung, Wan and the valley below! The name Ranaka Dhar comes from the battle Parvati had with the demon Lohasur. Their battle, which started in Lohajung, culminated here. The name Ranaka Dhar means “flowing blood”.

From here, it is a short descent to the gurgling Neel Ganga. The bridge on Neel Ganga is an idyllic location to take a breather. Trees overhang the river and the water trips and fall over boulders in the shade. The water here is cool and refreshing. From here begins the beautiful ascent to the first campsite, Gehroli Patal. The trail now winds through Oak and Rhododendron forests and the path is strewn with dry leaves that crunch and crackle beneath your trekking shoes. There are walnut, pear, Himalayan roses and other flora you can find on this climb. You may even spot birds like a flycatcher, and magpies. Keep a lookout.

This is a trek of about 3 hours that brings you to a clearing with a green trekker’s hut and the welcome sight of Trishul. This is Gehroli Patal.

This is a trek of about 3 hours that brings you to a clearing with a green trekker’s hut and the welcome sight of Trishul. This is Gehroli Patal.

Gehroli Patal (10100 ft) to Ali Bugiyal (11320 ft) Trek. Approx 8 kms – 6/7 hours trek.

The trail begins to climb steeply into an oak and rhododendron forest. And after half an hour of ascending stoned steps, the trail opens up to a huge meadow. Take the trail to the right that will take you to Ali Bugyal.

The forest starts to thin after about 1½ hrs of climb (make it 2 if you are slow). Suddenly, abruptly, the oak and Rhododendrons fall behind you, and stretched in front of you is the largest, greenest rolling carpet ever laid out for you. You’ve arrived at Ali Bugyal.

All tiredness forgotten, soak in the mesmerising sight of the undulating meadows of Ali Bugyal. You are on the top of a ridge that spreads in every direction – acres and acres of green meadow scooped out of the mountainside.

Clouds drift in from below, glide over the ridge and slide down either side, all in a slow swift motion. You watch countless horses grazing on the bounty of nature. Foals tear themselves across the turf in an uninhibited abandon.

Ali Bugiyal (11320 ft) to Patthar Nachani (12818 ft) Trek via Bedini Bugiyal and Ghora Lotani. Approx 7 kms – 4/5 hours trek.

The trail from Ali Bugiyal to Bedni Bugyal is a gradual ascent surrounded by beatiful Himalayan Peaks. If you are tempted to take off your shoes and allow the feel of the carpet on your toes, just go ahead and do it! Towards the end of Ali Bugyal, there’s a short switchback climb of 20 minutes before the trail levels out to a gentle trail to Bedni Bugyal. It takes about an hour to get to Bedni Bugyal from this point.

The trail from Bedini Bugiyal to Patthar Nachani via Ghora Lotani is a mix of gradual ascent with steep menuovers in beetweens.

The trail to Patar Nachauni climbs out of the Bedni campsite in a gradual, easy meander. From your Bedni campsite, you can follow it with your eye for 3 km before it disappears into a saddle in the mountain. When you cross the saddle, the trek exposes you to the other side of the ridge. The scenery is differently mesmerizing.

It is still meadow country and below you are the meadows of Ghora Lotani, the last stop for the horses. Beyond Ghora Lotani the meadows merge into the mountainside.

Another 1 kms on the trail and you reach the Pathar Nachani campsite where you can witness various shape and sized rocks suddenly protruding from the valley. There is a mythological stody behind it too.

Loss of tree line makes the area exposed to chilly winds and drop in temperature.

Patthar Nachani (12818 ft) to Bhaguwasa (14117 ft) Trek via Kalu Vinayak Temple.                              Approx. 4 kms – 5 hours trek.

The climb to Kalu Vinayak is a steep zig-zag up the mountainside. The distance isn’t much, and the zig-zag trails make you gain height very rapidly. Climb this section very slowly. There is no hurry and even if you are the slowest on the team you can reach Bhagwabasa in a comfortable time. This is a crucial height where most trekkers feel the thinness in the air. You get breathless very soon and sometimes even feel dizzy.

Kalu Vinayak gets its name from the black Ganesh idol enclosed in a stone shrine just as you finish the climb from Patthar Nachani. Lots of temple bells and a large plate for you to donate. Everyone offers a prayer here for a safe pilgrimage to Roopkund.

The trail from Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa is easy and gently sloping downwards. Bhagwabasa is 2 km away and you can see the Bhagwabasa huts if you follow the trail with your eye.

At Bhagwabasa, nights turn extremely cold. Inside the tent, temperatures dip to 1°C. Outside measured at -2°C at 2.30 in the night. These are mid-summer temperatures. In September-October temperature will dip further to -5°C or -6°C. Bhagwabasa is windy too. In the wind chill the -2°C feels like -6°C. You need to put on all your warm clothing and then get inside your sleeping bag to brave the night.

Bhaguwasa (14117 ft) to Roopkund (15696 ft) Lake and Junargali (16156 ft) summit. Back to Bedini Bugiyal Trek. Approx. Approx 15 kms – 12/14 hours trek.

You need to start your push to Roopkund at 2:00 am. You need to climb up to Roopkund while the snow is still hard. In the mid-morning the snow becomes soft and your feet start sinking in. You want to avoid this. There’s plenty of snow even in the middle of summer.

From Bhagwabasa it is a 5 km gradually ascending walk to Roopkund. Towards the end, the trail climbs sharply through a series of switchbacks and a steep climb over a snowy flank to reach Roopkund. The stretch isn’t long, but the entire stretch is on snow patches. At some parts the slope is steep but most parts are easily trekkable. The climb is deliriously exhilarating. The last stretch of climbing over the snowy flank on the left requires the support of all four limbs but is over in 10 mins. Roopkund is right over the edge, two minutes away and yet you can’t see it unless you get there.

Roopkund is a crater on the mountain face, a dip at the cusp of the mountain. It is much bigger than what most internet pictures suggest. All around are snowy flanks of the mountain. You have to climb down 50 ft to reach the edge of the lake.

The Roopkund Mystery: The “Skeleton Lake” has intrigued anthropologists, scientists, historians and the local people ever since. Who were these people? What were they doing in the inhospitable regions of the Garhwal Himalayas? Local folklore has it that in medieval times, King Jasdhawal of Kanauj wanted to celebrate the birth of an heir by undertaking a pilgrimage to the Nanda Devi mountains in the Garhwal Himalaya. However, he disregarded the rules of pilgrimage by boisterous singing and dancing. The entourage earned the wrath of the local deity, Latu. They were caught in a terrible hailstorm and were thrown into the Roopkund lake!

Trekkers must attempt Junargali unless the weather does not permit it. From Roopkund, the sharp ridge line that towers above you is Junargali. It doesn’t take much time to get to Junargali. The route is over snow that gently inclines upwards until it reaches the face of the mountain. After which it is a steep clamber on the mountain face to reach Junargali. The climb isn’t for long; perhaps 250 ft. It gets over in perhaps 15-20 minutes. Care must be taken while you are climbing to Junargali.

Start your return by 9.30 am from Junargali, timing yourself such that you are back at Roopkund by 10.00 am and after a brief rest, you are on your way down. Trekkers often find getting down from Roopkund difficult. The snowy slope looks tricky and dangerously sloping. You may need to squat on all fours to negotiate the immediate flank of snow as you get off Roopkund. This is the difficult part but the lower you get, it gets easier progressively. Once out of the switchback descent, it is an easy walk back to Bhagwabasa. However, step carefully on the snow patches. You should reach Bhagwabasa within 2½ hours. There is a 5km descent from Bhagwabhasa to Patha Nachauni which you will cover in 3 hours. You can camp at Pathar Nachauni for the night. We further descend down to Bedini Bugiyal to rest for the night.

Bedini Bugiyal to Wan Trek down.                  Approx 15 kms – 6/7 hours Trek.

Today we bid goodbye to all the beautiful views and descend down to Wan village after a long trek.

 

Wan to Kathgodam drive. 220 kms – Approx 10/11 hours drive.

Finally we come back to the city life with a bag full of memories to cherish forever.

You will reach Kathgodam by 7 pm. You can arrange your onward journey after 8 pm.

Inclusions in the package

* Kathgodam to Wan and Wan to Kathgodam transportation in a shared Bolero/Sumo/tempo traveller or similar kind of vehicle
* Guest House stay at Wan on sharing basis (3/4 person sharing in a room)
* All meals from Day 1 night till Day 8 Breakfast ( veg + egg ). Meals during trek ( Breakfast, Lunch, Evening snacks, Dinner ).
* Stay during trek on twin sharing basis in good quality tents
* Tent, Sleeping bag, Mattress, Kitchen tent, Dining Tent, Toilet tent, Kitchen utensils
* Mules / Porters to carry central luggage
* Medical kit for common health issues
* All necessary permits and entry fees
* Experienced trek leader and guide

Excluded from the package

* Transportation to and from Kathgodam
* All meals during transit(Kathgodam to Wan and Wan to Kathgodam)
* Any personal or group insurance
* Personal Backpack offloading charges ( INR 2000/Bag – your bag should not weigh more than 12 kgs )
* Additional accommodation and food expenses if trek gets delayed due to weather, health or any other reason.
* Expenses for evacuation and rescue operations due to natural calamity, mishaps, injury or any health issues.
* Tips for guide and kitchen staff.
*Anything that is NOT mentioned under Inclusions

Payment, cancellation & refund policy
Payment Policy 
 
50% advance during booking time & balance on or before 15 days to trek start date.
 
 
 Cancellations and refund policy
 
1. Cancellations prior to 30 days from the trek start date : 100% money refund
2. Cancellations prior to 15 days from the trek start date : 70% money refund or 100% voucher refund for any of our treks till one year
3. Cancellations prior to 7 days from the trek start date : No cash refund. Transfer your trek (same trek, same batch) to your friend or 100% voucher refund for any of our treks till one year
4. Cancellation within less than 7 days from trek start date, no cash refund or voucher refund.
 
**In case due to any unforeseen circumstances, if our company cancels the trek before starting, we would refund you your full cash paid amount.
Health Awareness
  • Pulse rate at rest must be in between (60 to 90 beats per minute)
  • Blood Pressure Reading must be in between (DIASTOLIC 75 – 85, SYSTOLIC 100 – 130 mm Hg)
  • Respiratory rate at rest must be in between (12 to 20 breaths per minute)
  • Should not have Liver and kidney issues
  • Should not have Diabetes Mellitus, Bronchial Asthma, Epilepsy, Heart problems, Hypertension etc
  • No pacemaker implant
  • People with the Sinus issues please contact to trek coordinator before booking the trek
  • If your BMI is not normal, Please contact our Trek coordinator before Trek booking.
Please Note
  • Junior trekkers (below 15 years) should have a company of parent/guardian.
  • Trekkers between 15 to 18 years can come solo with the disclaimer form signed by parent/guardian.
  • Medical & Disclaimer Form (Mandatory Documents)
    Click here to download the form”
Fitness
  • If your BMI is normal, you can plan your fitness regime as mentioned.
  • If your BMI is not normal, consult your trusted physician before you plan your fitness regime.
  • If you’re suffering from any chronic illnesses consult a medical practitioner.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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