The locals of Kareri Village have a certain fascination with the word 'crazy'. The Gaddi shepherds of this region have gradually picked up bits of some hipster jargon from travellers who reach this north-western end of the Kangra district for short weekend hikes during their stays in Dharamshala, Mcleodganj or Dharamkot. Now when you ask these wandering shepherds questions about the Kareri Lake trek, or the weather, they will quickly pull out the word they love off the cuff and say, "Crazy hai, crazy."
Unlike most of the short hikes around Kangra, the Kareri Lake trek still remains lesser known. My research before the trek included reading a few blogs online that told us that a classic Himalayan stone trail marks the way to the lake, but it's broken in parts.
Several trekking outfits organise a 3-day Kareri Lake trek, but if you're familiar with the mountains and are prepared for the uncertain weather conditions, Kareri is a complete DIY (do-it-yourself) trail. To help you plan a weekend trek to Kareri, here's a short itinerary and tips that I picked up during my experience at Kareri last week.
Complete itinerary to Kareri Lake trek
Take a bus to Dharamshala from Delhi. Night buses that take you to this hill town of Himachal during the early morning hours are ideal.
You can choose to take a bus or taxi to Kareri Village. Keep note that there are only two buses that leave for Kareri Village from Dharamshala in the morning. Taxis run all day long from the Ex-Service Men Taxi Stand at Dharamshala and leave you at Kareri Village in two hours.
Accommodation at Kareri Village: Those who wish to spend a night at Kareri Village can stay at the Forest Rest House. There are hardly any shops here, so you will have to buy all that you need from Ghera, a village enroute Kareri from Dharamshala. Contact number for Kareri Forest Rest House: 097365 25486.
Walking distance from Kareri Village to Reoti: 7km
You can easily start the trek the same day to Reoti, the first pitstop on this trail. Start the trek from behind the Forest Rest House from where there is a 3km paved road taking you to a bridge that connects to the nearby village of Nolli. Do not cross the bridge, but follow the trail that descends down the bridge. On this route you walk along the river side for almost 2km and the trail then diverges and the steep ascent begins. After almost 2km you have to crossover to the left side of the river jumping over the big river boulders. From there onwards, the trail will be visible again, and this broken stone trail will take you to a small shack that serves as a resting spot. Reoti is almost 4km from here and the trail is not steep, but quite narrow with the valley view on your right.
Accommodation at Reoti: A small shop at Reoti also provides tents, but it is best to contact the shop from Kareri Village before starting the trek to check for availability of tents and sleeping bags. This shop at the Reoti campsite also has provisions for dinner, drinking water and snacks.
Walking distance from Reoti to Kareri Lake: 6km
Start your trek to the lake and remember to stock up on snacks and water for the hike ahead for the next day. The stone trail continues from Reoti and the beautiful vista of the fresh Nyund river unfurls towards your left. The trail is a mix of steep stone pathways and clear green meadows by the riverside. Crossover to the other side of the river, jumping over the river boulders right at the end of the trail. Walk up the last hillock beyond which lies the majestic Kareri Lake.
Accommodation at Kareri Lake: If you're carrying your own tent, you can pick a location of your choice around the lake to pitch the tent. Usually hikers camp near the Shiv Shakti Temple, since the only shop here has provisions for food and water. To save yourself from the harsh winds at night, you can also pitch a tent inside one of the vacant Gaddi shelters near the temple.
Walking distance from Kareri Lake to Kareri Village: 13km
The next day follow the same trail all the way down to Kareri Village. You can choose to have breakfast at Kareri Lake or at Reoti, but do not continue the hike from Reoti without a heavy meal. This downhill walk should not take you more than 3 to 4 hours and there are at least 3 to 4 shacks where you can refill water bottles and grab some snacks.
Guides and tents
Tents on rent and local guides can be arranged at Sunrise Cafe, the only shack at Kareri Village. A guide can accompany you on the trail ahead if you're not confident on walking ahead alone. You can rent tents at Kareri Village, and either they will be made available to you at Reoti, or you will have to carry them yourself till your destination. The same tents can be carried all the way to Kareri Village ahead on the next day.
Tips to remember
* The weather here is quite unpredictable. Always carry your rain gear and time your hike, especially when you're in Kareri during the monsoon.
* If you plan to stay at Kareri Village for more than a day, make arrangements for food and water from Ghera.
* ATMs can be accessed only in Dharamshala and there are no provisions to withdraw cash ahead on the route.
* Avoid drinking river water. You must carry 2 litres of water every day. The bottles can be refilled from the shacks midway.
* You can make arrangements for a taxi back to Dharamshala at Sunrise Cafe in Kareri Village. It's best to enquire and make prior arrangements for return taxis before starting the trek.
There are alternate routes for the trek that start from Ghera and another route that takes you via Nolli village. But apart from the initial detours, the trail after the Nolli bridge remains the same.
If you took an alternate route to the lake, give us all information you can in the comments section below and tell us all about your tips and tricks for the Kareri Lake trek.
Have you been to Kareri Lake? Tell us all about your experiences and share your stories with travellers on Tripoto to help them plan this trek.
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