Located in the south of India, Karnataka is a blend of eccentric urban life, modern tech, ancient ruins, and untouched nature. Its green hills are crawling with trails that are perfect for beginners and professionals alike, making it a paradise for trekkers and adventure-seekers. From a slew of treks to travel tips, read up about trekking in Karnataka be as well prepared as possible.
There’s a range of treks for you to choose from, depending on factors like your health and physical capacity, the time you have, and how long the trails are. Keep in mind that it has been months since we’ve all sunk into a fairly sedentary lifestyle, and your body may not be as fit as it once was. Try not to get over-excited and opt for a tough, long trek; you want to be rejuvenated, not tired, sore and exhausted from overexertion.
Of course we had to start with Hampi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi is a ruin, yet is Karnataka’s crown jewel of heritage and culture. It sits on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and tells a tale of years gone by. Hampi has several trek routes to choose from, crawling across big and small rocky hills and outcrops.
One such route is the Anjeyanadri Hill that attracts trekkers and pilgrims alike, as it is known to be the birthplace of Hanuman. Yet another location with religious significance is the Hemakuta Hill Trek, leading to a cluster of ruinous temples. Comparatively easier is the Kampa Bhupa Path, perfect for beginners and people just looking to take in the view. These treks are best enjoyed from November to February—after the heavy rains, and before the sweltering summer heat.
A popular way to get from trek to trek is by bicycle, available in Hampi itself. This town attracts thousands of tourists every year, so there’s a good chance that you may come across other people. Hampi isn’t known so much for its treks as much as for its historical significance. Still, if you are keen on exploring other options, read on.
Also Read: Hampi Travel Guide
A trudge up to the second-largest monolith of Asia, atop which rests a 17th-century fort – the Madhugiri Trek is a memorable one indeed. Madhugiri is a town located in the Tumkur district of Karnataka and is home to the ruins of what was once a massive fort overlooking the area. The Madhugiri Fort trek is unlike most others simply because it is more historical than natural. Instead of leaves and mud, you tread on hewn stone and narrow rocks instead of passing under waterfalls you pass through old arches.
The trek takes 2.5 to 3 hours going up and around 45 minutes coming back down. But this is not one to be attempted for beginners. Sections of the trek involve steep climbing almost horizontally, carefully placing one foot ahead of the other in between the carved rock. There’s no need to take permission for the trek, but keep some government ID handy to show the office post at the start of the trek.
The Madhugiri Trek is quite famous and well known, so you may not be the only ones on the trail. Make sure there is sufficient distance between you and other people, and keep sanitizing your hands. Most importantly, avoid touching your face: wipe off sweat with a handkerchief. The good thing is that Madhugiri is just a 2.5-hour drive away from Bangalore, so you can easily take your own vehicle to the site.
The Kurinjal Peak Trek is shrouded in greenery, hidden deep in the heart of the Kudremukh National Park in Karnataka. Though it is fairly well known, it is a less-frequented trek due to its relative inaccessibility. The trek route takes you past streams and over a river, tramping through a lush forest and up some steep inclines, to a view so stunning it will leave you breathless.
Since it is located in a national park, you will require permission to take the trek. Camping is not allowed either, and there are strict rules to be followed about littering and carrying food or plastic with you on the trek. Newcomers can pay an additional fee for a guide to accompany them; just make sure you follow the social distancing norm as much as possible while on the trek. The difficulty of the trek is easy to moderate, and it is a one-day trek.
A word of caution: there’s steep ground to cover before you reach the summit, making it a doable trek for beginners who are fit and healthy, and who engage in some level of physical activity. The best season for this trek is from June to February. The monsoon brings with it low visibility, chill winds and rain, and slippery trails. Only experienced trekkers should attempt the Kurinjal Peak trek during the monsoon, and we recommend taking a guide along for the extra help at the last steep bits.
This trek is perfect for beginners looking to isolate and stay as far away from other tourists as possible. Aane Gudda means Elephant Hill, but you won’t be bumping into any of these gentle giants while on the trek. The shape of the hills here resembles an elephant, which is why it is known as the Elephant Hill Trek. It is an offbeat trek, not very popular, which means there’s no need to share the trek and the unbeatable views with other groups of trekkers.
The Aane Gudda trek is a one-day trek and is easy enough for everyone to go on. Your route takes you through a small stretch of the thick Shola forest, opening out onto grasslands and leading up to the top of the hill. On the way, you pass a few bubbling brooks and a waterfall. The best time to go on the trek is after the monsoons and before the heat of the summer, from the end of September to February.
Karnataka itself is very well interconnected by road and rail. Most often, trek organizers will arrange for a bus or a train journey to get trekkers to base camp.
Which Is The Toughest Trek In Karnataka?
The Kumara Parvatha Trek in the Kodagu district is considered to be the toughest trek in Karnataka. You’ll be climbing over 1,700 meters and traversing through thickly forested areas in this trek.
Is Trekking Allowed In Karnataka?
Yes, trekking is allowed in Karnataka but there are certain trails that are declared illegal. To add to that, the state has also introduced a ‘green passport’ on which you can keep track of all the trails you’ve conquered!
Which Is The Toughest Trek In India?
India has not one, but multiple treks that are considered to be its toughest. Some of these are the Auden’s Col (Uttarakhand), Chadar Trek (Ladakh), the Pin Parvati Pass (Himachal Pradesh, and the Stok Kangri Trek (Ladakh).
How Long Is Mullayanagiri Trek?
The Mullayanagiri Trek in Chikmagalur is a rather simple trek that would take you about 3-4 hours to complete.
Which Is The Nearest Railway Station To Hampi?
The nearest railhead to Hampi is in Hospet, which is 13 km away.