Fun treks in Karnataka – Do you know about them?
What do we encounter on a daily basis? Over-populated streets, dusty air, uneven roads, serpentine traffic lines, men polluting the streets and so on. The assault on our senses makes us regularly seek gateways which will refresh our mind, body and soul. If you, like us, love visiting hill stations and mountainous regions, you must be on the lookout for thick forests, waterfalls hidden amidst nature, hiking trails leading to beautiful peaks. Adventurous activities like trekking have become one of the most popular stress-busting and rejuvenation methods.
College students and people working in IT and other corporate companies are mostly the ones who always seek a break where they can do river rafting, hiking, trekking, rappelling and other such thrilling activities. There are many adventure places in Karnataka which makes it a heaven for the thrill-seeking city dwellers as there are quite a few mountains which are great for trekking. These trekking places are so beautiful that you will always remember about them fondly, once you visit those spots. The availability of so many lovely trekking spots in Karnataka make it one of South India’s best destinations. The trails are absolutely mesmerizing and the scenery makes the adventures all worth-while.
There are almost 200 trekking places in Karnataka and these perfect terrains are mostly all around Bangalore. Trekking enthusiasts are now aware of the charismatic trekking destinations that this state has to offer. The dense forests and the scenic mountains make it a destination where you can go for treks anytime of the year. You can select which ones are the best for you depending on the number of days you have in hand and your fitness level.
Go on for an adventurous trek to any of the places listed below. The weather remains pleasant and the abundance of nature makes all these treks special. There are great sightseeing spots where you will feel one with nature. You can also trek during the night on some of these trails. This list has been curated with the top trekking places in Karnataka:
1. Uttari Betta
You will be crossing thick greenery while you are on this 5km trek. The mix of panoramic beauty and level of adventure is just excellent in Uttari Betta. You will find the Shankeshwar Temple on top of the peak. The views of the Western Ghats that you will be able to see from here are just extraordinary.
Wondering how Gokarna with its pristine beaches and blue water is listed as a trekking destination? Yes, you are right. It is a well-known destination for Hindu pilgrims because of the presence of the Mahabaleshwar temple. Apart from being a pilgrimage destination, it is also popular with the beach lovers of the nation. You might not know but there is a famous beach trek which travellers go on in Gokarna. You can start trekking from the Kudle beach and trek to Paradise Beach by trekking through Om Beach and Half Moon Beach. You can start the trek from Paradise and reach Kudle too, depending on where you want to stay. The Kudle beach and the Om beach are a bit different from the rest as they are outside the town.
The beaches with its golden sand and palm trees lined up by the beach makes Gokarna an exotic location. It is also popular with hippies. The beaches on the coast of Karwar are popular with foreign beach-lovers too. Gokarna is one of the top ten places to visit in Karnataka and there are opportunities for water sports and activities too.The best time to go trekking here is between October and March.
3. Kurinjal Gudda
The trek to reach Kurinjal Gudda is 7 kms long and the peak is at a height of 1752 m. It is one of the treks which are done in the premises of Kudremukh National Park. One has to get permission from the forest department for trekking here. The National Park falls under the Chikmagalur district. Different kinds of flora and fauna, the green valleys and the steep hills makes the trek one of the best ones of Karnataka and provides trekkers with a unique experience. The scenic beauty of the National Park is known by nature-lovers. Camping in the national park is not allowed all the time. If you start trekking early in the morning, you will be able to return by evening.
4. Kunti Betta
This peak has been named after the mother of the Pandavas, Kunti. Paddy fields, sugarcanes and coconut trees sets this trek apart from the rest. Kunti Betta is a beautiful trekking spot. This hill is at a height of 2282 feet which gives trekkes a number of picturesque views. You will be able to see unique rocks with eye-catching shapes in this area. There are actually two rocky hills.
Kunti Betta is located in Mandya district’s Pandavapura taluk and is believed that it was home to the Pandavas during their last days of exile so the town has been named after them too. Hiking on Kunti Betta hill is an enjoyable experience.
This trek is best for a one-day trip from Mysore and Bangalore. For getting a bird’s view of the region, you have to go near the rock which is shaped like a crocodile’s mouth. You will also find rocks which look like utensils. It is believed that the Pandavas cooked in them. You will be astonished to see the Bheemana Pada which is a formation looking like a giant footprint.,. So this place is historically significant too.
The slope of the hill here is not very steep. But then again the trail is not bereft of challenges though it is short. The ascents and descents can be steep at certain points. The surroundings are so enchanting that they give a boost to the trekkers immediately. Night trek, rappelling and high rope traversing can be carried out in this spot.
At the foothills, there is a pond and a temple where pilgrims love to visit. The temple has rooms to accommodate the pilgrims for an overnight stay.
The starting point of the trek is the right side of this pond. You will have to do a sixty degree climb in the first few meters. If trekkers want to reach the rock at the edge of the hilltop, they have to be extremely careful. There is inclination on one side and a sheer drop on the other. You will be able to see Kunti kund, paddy fields, coconut trees and the second hill from here. If you face rainfall and go there after dark, you can stay at this spot for the night.
The Kunti Betta trek is a two-hours long trek starting from base at the temple area to the hilltop. The months between October to May are ideal for this trek. Don’t forget to carry essentials as there are no shops in the area, even for food and water.
5. Didupe & Ermayi waterfalls
You might not find reference to this trek when you are reading about the top or best trekking trails in Karnataka but this is the speciality of this trek. This is an offbeat trek where the trail goes through peaceful areas but the climb is going to be challenging and difficult as you hike and crawl ahead towards these two waterfalls. The trek is based on Charmadi Ghat’s base in Chikmagalur. The terrain is slippery but that should not be a hindrance to avid trekkers.
The Didupe Fall is multi-folded and creates a structure much like the pond. This area is very peaceful. As mentioned earlier, the base of the Ghat is the starting point of the trail. To reach the top, the climb upwards will be on steep surfaces. Amateur and first-time trekkers can trek till Didupe and enjoy the nature or take a swim.
People who have gone on challenging treks before can continue trekking to reach the top of Ermayi Falls. Trekkers can swim here too and can also camp.
26 kms away from Kudremukh town, the trek is one of Karnataka’s best. The peak is at a height of 1894 m and one of the highest peaks that are there in Western Ghats. It is the third highest peak, situated among rolling meadows and surrounded by steep hills. To do the trek, a permission from the RFO is mandatory. This trek is done in the National Park where camping might not be allowed when you go there. The beauty of the Kudremukh cannot be justified by using any words. The peak has been named so as it looks like a horse’s mouth. The trekking trails and landscapes in Kudremukh are diverse.
Whether you are nature-lover or trekker, the paths on the mountain and the flora and fauna of the place are going to attract and amaze you a lot. From the peak, you will be overlooking the Arabian Sean and the skies and clouds will make you feel you are in paradise.
While you hike towards the peak, the change in the landscapes will take you by surprise. At some places you will find shola trees and bamboo forests and at some places you will see rolling hills and at some places you will see streams flowing with a gushing noise. If you are lucky, you might be able to see wild animals and also beautiful birds which we don’t see in our cities.
The Samse-Mullodi route on the Kudremukh Trek is better than all other trails. One can reach Mullodi by jeep from the town, crossing Samse on the way. The actual trekking starts from Mullodi, ardent trekkers start doing so from Samse itself. Samse is 4 KMs prior to Mullodi.
This trek will take 5 hours if started from Mulldi village and the trail is about14 KMs long. After you trek for about 9 kms and arrive at an elevation of 1894 km, the sight of coffee plantations, waterfalls, streams and the entire surrounding will take your breath away. Do not miss the Hanuman Gundi Falls as you trek uphill towards the peak. Situated in the eastern Ghats, this cascading waterfall is another major attraction of the trek.
There are homestays at Mullodi where you can stay after trekking for eight to nine hours in total. Out of all the treks that are done in Kudremukh, the one leading to Kudremukh Peak is not only the most popular but also the most scenic one. The wildlife sanctuary is a home to wild dogs, tigers, deer, leopards and a wide range of fauna.
7. Kumara Parvatha
The Kumara Parvatha trek is also known as the Pushpagiri Trek as this mountain peak lies in the Pushpagiri reserve forest. This is again located in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district and is close to Kukke Subramanya town. This trek will take you to a height of 1712 m above sea level. The popularity of this trek also lies in its difficulty level. This is a trek which is going to be significantly tough, so first-time trekkers can give this a miss.
The Kumara Parvatha peak is the state’s third tallest. If you are an avid trekker who can’t wait to go on a trekking trip on a treacherous trail, this is for you! This trek actually needs two days to be completed as you have to trek almost 25 kms in total. The vista is so luxurious at the top that it makes up for all the effort you will put in to reach there. This is one of the state’s most challenging and longest treks.
The Pushpagiri peak is Coorg’s second highest and lies in the district’s northern side. This trek is carried out near Kumaralli and Somwarpet. The trek poses a little bit of challenge which also makes reaching the top a fun activity.
There are two routes which trekkers can use to reach the peak. Amateur or beginner trekkers and nature enthusiasts who like to pause and take in the beauty of nature should take the route which goes via the Somwarpet Wildlife Range’s checkpost. The seasoned trekkers will enjoy the route Beedenhalli, the eatern entrance.
There are two things which make the trek different – the presence of Saligramams or white stones on the peak and Kumaralingas or the Shivalingas having six faces.
This is a trek which will take ten hours so overnight stay or camping is going to be a necessity, so necessary planning should be done before going on the trek. There are a few good campsites where tents can be pitched. The best time to go on this trek is between October and February.
The trekking trail to reach Coorg’s highest peak is very well-maintained and the beauty of this trek has found followers in both foreign and Indian trekkers. Coorg in South India is a hill station which is popular for its cool weather and natural beauty. Coorg’s Tadiyandamol lies at a distance of 250 KMs from Bangalore. The word ‘Tadiyandamol’ means highest peak in the local language.
The cool weather and the mind-boggling panorama keeps the trekkers rejuvenated throughout the trek. To view the landscape in full bloom, the best time to go for this trek is the winter season. The trek is heavenly with the gurgling streams, clouds floating like cotton against blue sky and the lush green surroundings.
Tadiandamol Peak, Kodagu’s tallest mountain peak, lies at a distance of 7 kilometers from the Nalknad Palace. It is near Kakkabe and is at an elevation of 5730 feet. There are not too many people attempting this trek till now and that is what makes the trek exquisite too.
You will be hiking through Shola forests, streams and grasslands as you do a 7 km trek on each side. You can start the trek from the palace at the foothill. The Nalakand Palace was built in 1792 by Dodda Veerarajendra for sheltering his soldiers from the British army.
The trek is suitable for both experienced and new trekkers and best for people living in nearby cities as it can be done as a day-trip. It will only take about three to four hours to reach the trek from the palace. The ideal time for this trek is between the months of September and May. We would also recommend that you take a guide along with you while going on this trek.
Camping at Tadiandamol Peak is permitted and you should camp for a night if you can to experience camping when the wind is blowing with strong gusts.
Antharagange is another fun and thrilling trek as there will be caves along the trekking route. The landscape of the place is all about boulders, rocky hills and caves. The rugged terrains make it a top trekking spot in Karnataka. As you trek, you will be able to have glimpses of the picturesque beauty of the countryside and see caves that have developed from volcanic boulders and rocks. If you hire a guide, they will be able to share more knowledge and also help you to enter and exit the caves safely. The more adventurous can try rappelling. The trek is not hard though and the best time for it is from November to February.
The mountains at a height of 1712 meters with rocks of all sizes, dense forests and natural springs make Anthargange Trek exceptional. The place has multiple opportunities for thrill-seekers like exploration of caves, trekking and rock climbing.
10. Channarayana Durga
The route of this trek poses proper challenges but also the endless beautiful scenes that you will get to see are superb. It is situated in Karnataka’s Tumkur district. This hill is believed to have seen the rise and fall of various empires. This picturesque trek is going to give a nice break from city life.
The Channarayana Durga trek has not become very popular till now and is one of the trek routes which are less explored. If you are a History enthusiast or have a knack for mysterious places, this trek is ideal for you. It is believed that there might be a hidden treasure somewhere over there.
The thrill of the trek lies in the fact that you have to figure out and trek on the correct trail to reach the top. There are no signboards to help the tourists. Once you reach the top, the sight of the whole way you took to trek up will enthrall you.
Multiple waterfalls and thick forests are specialities of this trek. The Kodachadri Peak is Karnataka’s 13th highest, located at a height of 1343 meters. The trek to Kodachadri peak is popular with pilgrims because of the presence of the well-known Mookambika Temple. The different kinds of wildlife and vegetation made the difficult trek much pleasant and enjoyable.
After trekking for about ten kilometers, you will reach the Hidlumane Falls. The ArasinaGundi Falls and the Bellakallu Theertha Falls will be a little further ahead. At a distance of around 25 kms from Kodachadri, there lies the Nagara Fort.
You can trek during the monsoon too and stay in bamboo huts. The adventure-freaks can indulge in high rope traversing and jumaring.
12. Kalavarahalli Betta
This trek is popularly known as the Skandagiri Trek and is also called the Kalava Durga trek. The trails of this trek are really difficult but one should at least witness either the sunrise or sunset from this point.
Nandi Hills surrounds Kalavara Durga and it is located at a height of 1450 meters. Close to Bangalore, this hill town gives trekkers a chance to trek during the night. The experience of trekking under moonlight is unbelievable.
If you are a fan of horror movies, you might get the feel that you are trekking in a spooky location, especially when you come across a ruined fort. Once you climp to the top, you can camp there too. You can get your mind all cleared and relaxed as you sit by a bonfire in the tranquil location.
13. Narasimha Parvatha
People who have gone for hard treks earlier would love to go on this trek. This is the tallest peak that one can find in Agumbe Ghats of Western Ghats and that makes it a great hiking spot.
This trek will need around ten hours so you will have to allot two days for this trek. The location is at a distance of 350 KMs from Bangalore. You will be walking through grassy patches and forests in the hills. The landscape during the sunset becomes jaw-droppingly stunning. Barkana Falls is another attraction of the trek.
What makes this trek unusual is that it is a monolithic hill. The route on the Kabbaladurga trek is easy and that is why it is also favored by those who love to go on night treks. The Kabbaladurga night trek is popular in the Kanakapura area though there are many trails, because of how picturesque it is.
You can plan to go on this trek with your colleagues if they are trek-loving people too. The diverse terrain is going to be enjoyed by all of you. It is a great mixture of sightseeing and trekking.
Kanakapura town is 55 KMs from Bangalore and is at a height of 2090 feet. This town is known for its granite and silk industries. It is located on the banks of the Arkavathi river. The verdant greenery and tranquil atmosphere makes it a great holiday spot which can be visited with family, friends or co-workers. You can always make the trip more fun by taking part in a paintball game, ATV ride or Kayaking.
15. Nijagal Betta
Nijagal Betta is quite popular and draws tourists from all corners of the country. This place is actually very good for meditating when someone is seeking inner peace. Witnessing the sunrise will also be a grand experience from this spot.
The highlights of the Nijagal Betta trek are the Hanuman temple, rock climbing, camping and the Dargah. This trek can be completed in only half a day as it is an easy one. You can go for this trek at any time of the year. Temple ruins, paths covered with mud, bushes and ponds make the trail fun and adventurous. You can put up a tent at the top for an overnight stay. You will not regret the experience. The trek ends when you arrive at the Dargah on top of the hill.Locals also call this peak ‘Siddara Betta’.
Now that you have a whole list at your disposal, having the names of the best trekking places in Karnataka, which ones have you added to your bucket list? Karnataka has so many trekking destinations and trekkers of all capabilities, whether extremely new or extremely seasoned, will find a trekking route as per their liking or capability.