The Kareri Lake, or the Kareri Dal as the locals pronounce it, is perched at a height of about 3300 metres. It is located approximately 9 km away from Dharamshala, in the Kangra district of the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. The temperature at Kareri Lake varies with the seasons. It can go up to 43 degrees during the days in the summer season, while the temperature in the winters hits the negatives. Spring is the best time to take this trek, especially if you wish to see the flora and fauna of the area in full bloom. It is best to avoid the trek during the monsoon season as the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, where the lake is located, receives the highest amount of rainfall in the state. The route to the Kareri Lake can get slippery and dangerous in the monsoonal weather and can lead to accidents.
A trek to Kareri Lake takes its participants in the path of nature’s best - the dense forests consisting of huge pine and oak trees, the green moss covering the boulders around which the streams meander their way, and the spurts of wildflowers shooting out here and there. The lake itself offers to the takers a stunning view of the Dhauladhars, reflected in its surface. The flora during the trek changes with gain in height. It starts with forests of pine and broadleaf, and slowly transitions into grasslands, with patches of deodars and pine. You will also come across small waterfalls and a bubbling stream, which follows you along most of the way. If we were to map the gradient of the trek, it would become apparent that while the trek starts with a slow, gentle incline, it gets steeper, as you progress further the trek gets steeper in paths, however, a lot of the steep parts have steps cut into the rocks for convenience. The total distance covered during the trek is 27 km - one side - and the duration of the trek is short at 3 days. Therefore, the Kareri Lake trek is considered to be a relatively easy one, great for first-timers.
You have the chance of a lifetime to camp in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh - living in tents and sleeping bags, braving the cold! Or you can experience the wonderful hospitality of the natives of Kareri village in a homestay. Make your holidays memorable with this life-altering trek to Kareri Lake.
This backpackers’ adventure begins from Dharamkot. To reach Dharamkot, you can easily take an overnight bus from Delhi to McLeodganj, from where Dharamkot is only 2 km away, a distance which can easily be covered by a mere 30 minutes’ walk. Buses, taxis and autorickshaws also ply the distance frequently. You can fly to the Dharamshala airport, and from there catch a bus or take a taxi to Dharamkot. The nearest railway head is in Pathankot, which is about 90 km away. From there as well, a taxi willing to take you to Dharamkot can be found easily.
Special tips for trekkers:
The last stop with food along the Kareri Lake trek will be Kareri Village. Beyond that, you will only have your packed lunch to rely on. It is best to be prepared and carry ready to eat food with you, especially with high sugar content for energy like candies, energy bars, chikki, etc.!
The trek involves ascending up gentler and steeper slopes. However, the distances covered during the Kareri Lake trek are long and will take the major part of the day. In such circumstances, you must plan ahead and start exercising to get your body in the required state of physical fitness. Doing yoga and following a healthy diet chart are also good ideas.
Acute Mountain Sickness occurs at high elevations due to lack of oxygen. To protect yourself from this syndrome, it is advisable that you take your time acclimatizing yourself, especially during the hike to Kareri Lake from Kareri Village.
Be prepared for heavy downpours in case you are undertaking the Kareri Lake trek near the monsoons. Carry a raincoat and a windcheater to prevent the water from seeping through!
If you are a first-time trekker, it would be apt to acquire the requisite camping gear like trekking poles and trekking shoes. The poles really help you get the weight off of your legs and keep you going even in the steepest of routes.
Use your vacation days wisely and keep an extra day in hand as unpredictable weather conditions can often cause delays in the schedule, for eg. landslides, are frequent in the Kareri Lake region, following heavy rain. This leads to the destruction of the roads and traffic jams!
It is always advised to offload your backpack at the base camp or base village and carry only the essentials with you to the top at Kareri Lake. Keep your baggage to a minimum, otherwise, your body will start rebelling within the very first hour of the trek.
When you halt anywhere in the mountains, make your trip worth the effort and explore every nook and cranny of the area. During the Kareri Lake, don’t forget to go sightseeing in Kareri Village, and Dharamshala and McLeodganj.