Brahmatal Trek, complete guide

The mighty Himalayas is a paradise for every trekker. Similarly, I crave to visit the Himalayas as often as I can. And in that quest to be in the Himalayas, I decided to head to the Brahmatal trek during the winter season.

Also Read – In the Himalayas, I have done the 11 days trek to the Saurkundi Pass, a trek to Vaishnodevi shrine and 9 days trek to the Everest Base Camp.

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Brahmatal Trek, complete guide
PIN for later reference – Brahmatal trek

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About Brahmatal trek

Considered as one of the best winter hikes in the state of Uttarakhand, the Brahmatal trek is very popular among the trekkers who are just starting out in the Himalayas. Dedicated to Lord Brahma, Brahmatal trek is a 6 day Himalayan trek starting from a small town called Lohajung in Uttarkhand.

The Brahmatal trek takes the trekkers through to a maximum height of 12260 feet (3734 metres). One can get spectacular views of Mount Nanda Ghunti and Mount Trishul from the trails of Brahmatal trek. The trail passes through the old oak forests and is one of the treks in the Himalayas that has an alpine lake.

  • Maximum height: Summit at 12260 feet and Brahmatal lake at 10200 feet.
  • Trail: Lohajung – Gujreni campsite – Thilandi campsite – Summit – Brahmatal campsite – Lohajung.
  • Nature of the trail: Oak forests, Snow during winter season, Well marked trail.
View from Brahmatal trek trail
View from Brahmatal trek trail

Trekking agency

I went with India Hikes as I had been following them on social media for sometime. Even though I had a few issues that I ran into before the trek because of miscommunication or change of plans informed by the trek organiser, I still had a good time on the trek. The treks were very well organised and safety was their number one priority.

Frequently asked questions about Brahmatal trek

Note: Most of these questions are answered based on what the trekking agency I went with did.

How many days is the trek?

The Brahmatal trek is a 6 days trekking trip, out of which you only trek for 4 days (2.5 days ascend and 1.5 days descend).

What is the fitness level required for the trail?

The trail does demand a reasonable fitness level as it is a high altitude trek. It is surely good for beginners as long as you follow a regime and prepare for the trek prior to attempting the trail. Also, if you have any medical conditions, then definitely consult your doctor before going on the trek.

Lohajung to Gujreni - Brahmata trek
Lohajung to Gujreni – Brahmata trek

Where is the starting point of the trek?

The base camp is at a small town called Lohajung (at 7000 ft). The trekking agency organises the pick up and drop from Rishikesh at an extra cost (For us, it cost about INR 1300 per person) and the stay was at Lohajung lodge which was covered in the trekking amount paid to the trekking agency.

What are the statistics of the trek?

  • Starting and finishing points: Lohajung town in Uttarakhand.
  • Total distance: Around 30 kilometres return.
  • Time taken: 4 days return.
  • Grade: Moderate.

What is the itinerary of the trek?

Day 1 – Rishikesh to Lohajung

The entire day was spent in a tempo traveler where we traveled from Rishikesh to Lohajung. The roads are very windy and are along the mountains and valleys. If you have motion sickness, then definitely pop up the pill.

There are plenty of food options (road side dhabas) along the way. And the food purchased is an extra expense.

Rishikesh to Lohajung - Brahmatal trek
Rishikesh to Lohajung

Day 2 – Lohajung to Gujreni campsite

Day 2 is the official trek start day. After breakfast at Lohajung, the trekkers start their trek from Lohajung to Gujreni campsite. The trail is completely in the forest.

  • Lohajung (at 7000 feet) to Gujreni campsite (at 9200 feet).
  • Elevation gained: 2200 feet.
  • Distance: Around 5 kilometres.
  • Time taken: The entire morning and you will reach before lunch.
  • Grade: Easy.
Gujreni campsite - Brahmatal trek
Gujreni campsite

Mountain dogs in the Himalayas are love. They guide and are always with you.

Day 3 – Gujreni campsite to Thilandi campsite

On day 3, the trekkers move up from Gujreri campsite to Thilandi campsite.

  • Gujreni campsite (at 9200 feet) to Thilandi campsite (at 11120 feet) via Bekaltal.
  • Elevation gained: 2000 feet.
  • Distance: Around 6 to 7 kilometres.
  • Time taken: Morning, you will reach at the campsite for lunch.
  • Grade: Easy.
Thilandi campsite - Brahmatal
Thilandi campsite – Brahmatal

Day 4 – Thilandi campsite to Brahmatal campsite view the Summit

Day 4 is one of the longest and hardest days in the trek. The distance that need to be covered is more and this is the day where the trekkers reach the Summit before descending to Brahmatal campsite.

  • Thilandi campsite (11200 feet) to Brahmatal campsite (at 10200 feet) via The Summit (at 12250 feet).
  • Elevation gained and lost: 1050 feet gained and 1950 feet lost.
  • Distance: Around 7 to 8 kilometres.
  • Time taken: Early morning to after lunch. Note that the start of the day is very early.
  • Grade: Moderate to Hard.
Brahmatal campsite
Snowman at Brahmatal campsite

Day 5 – Brahmatal campsite to Lohajung

This is the last day of the actual trek and this is the day when all the trekkers return to the base camp at Lohajung.

  • Brahmatal campsite (at 10200 feet) to Lohajung (7000 feet).
  • Elevation lost: 3200 feet.
  • Distance: Around 10 kilometres.
  • Time taken: Evening. Lunch (packed lunch) is on the way.
  • Grade: Hard especially during winter and rainy season as the slopes are very slippery.
One of the small ponds - Brahmatal trek
One of the small ponds – Brahmatal trek

Day 6 – Lohajung to Rishikesh

This entire day is again spent in traveling back to Rishikesh. The stay is at Rishikesh for extra cost. I stayed at Live Free Hostel, suggested by the trekking agency. The hostels in Rishikesh are very good. They have amazing chilled vibes and they are good places to make new friends.

Which is the best season to do the trek?

  • The Brahmatal trek is amazing in winter season (December to February) because of the snow capped mountains and blanket of snow on the trails. But be prepared for really cold weather.
  • Spring season (March to May) is very pretty and the trail looks beautiful because of the rhododendrons flowers.
  • Autumn season (September to November) is also very nice with chilly weather and views of the snow capped mountains.

It is not advisable to do the trek during the summer (June to August) and rainy seasons.

View from Thilandi campsite
View from Thilandi campsite

What to pack for the trek?

Ensure to carry an extra bag so you can store it at Lohajung with all the things and clothes not required for the trail. Also, carry a day pack if you are offloading the backpack.

Backpack

  • Sleeping bag – Trekking agency will give you sleeping bag every night. However, during the winter season, I carried my own sleeping bag which I used under the sleeping bag that I got.
  • Inner blanket – This will also be provided by trekking agency. And the inner blanket/ liner needs to be used everyday within the sleeping bag.
  • Hiking t-shirts (3 pairs) and pants (2 pairs).
  • Breathable underwear (clean ones for each day + an extra two pairs).
  • Thermal top and pant (1 to 2 pairs).
  • Sweater (1).
  • Fleece jacket (1).
  • Socks – good hiking socks, one for each day and extra two pairs.
  • Woollen socks for the night.
  • Night clothes (1 pair) with a sweater.
  • Flip flops.
  • Lunch box (tight and secured) and a mug.
  • Toilet rolls.
  • Deodorant (small one).
  • Eco friendly paper soaps.
  • Tooth paste and brush, and tongue cleaner.
  • Safety pins.
  • Personal medications with Diamox.
  • Power bank and chord.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • Rain cover.
  • Whistle and match box.

Daypack

  • Refillable water bottle.
  • Emergency thermal blanket.
  • Eco friendly paper soaps.
  • Head lamp with extra batteries.
  • Trail snacks (dry fruits, chocolates, biscuits).
  • First aid kit and personal medications.
  • Rain cover.
  • Cash.
  • Poncho/ Rain coat.
  • Fleece jacket.
  • Beanie and Balaclava.
  • Hand gloves (inner and outer (waterproof)).
  • Sun protection cap.
  • Sun glasses and sunscreen.
  • Chapstick.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Safety pins.
  • Camera (optional).

Other things required for the trail

  • Trekking shoes – a good pair of sturdy and comfortable trekking shoes.
  • Trekking pole(s).

How many layers of clothes do I need?

I suggest having 5 layers of clothing for the evening and the night, one layer of thermals, then a T-shirt, a sweater, fleece jacket and then a padded/ down jacket. This is required at the campsites after sunset as the temperature drops quickly.

While trekking, one need not need so many layers of clothing. You just need a T-shirt, and a fleece jacket.

Ensure to cover your neck, ears and head at all times including when you are trekking.

Do we need to carry our backpack throughout the trek?

There is an option to offload your backpacks where the ponies carry the packs for you. This is at an extra cost at INR 250 per day per person. You must carry a day pack for the trail if you are selecting this option.

How much did the trek cost?

Note: I traveled from Bangalore so my expenses are based on the travel from Bangalore.

  • Trek charges – INR 10309.
  • Extra includes:
    • Backpack offload option – INR 1000.
    • Transportation between Rishikesh and Lohajung – INR 2600 per person (both ways).
    • Flight charges between Bangalore and Delhi – INR 8500 return.
    • Bus charges between Delhi and Rishikesh – INR 1200 return.
    • Stay at Rishikesh – INR 1500 for private room.
    • Taxi charges and miscellaneous – INR 2000.

Total – INR 27109 per person.

Are there any wildlife on the trail?

Yes, there is abundant wildlife on the trail. We had an encounter with a bear on our last trekking day. The bear tried to chase and attack one of the fellow trekkers but fortunately, we were all together in a group the bear decided to back off with a huge roar.

At Thilandi campsite, we also spotted the Himalayan Griffon vulture, which was pretty cool.

How are the toilets at the campsites and on the trails?

At campsites, its the dry toilets where there is a pit that is dug up and is covered with standing tents. Instead of water, you put the sand dust to cover the poop. No water or wet tissues are to be used and only toilet papers are used.

On the trails, it is the wild behind the trees. Unfortunately and fortunately, the trail still has its wild nature and is not commercialised with tea houses or toilets along the way.

How was the food provided by India Hikes?

The food was amazing and this is one of the reasons why I had booked the trek with India Hikes. It was fresh and hot every single time and the best was when we were served hot and delicious gulab jamoons at the Brahmatal campsite.

What was the paperwork required?

The Brahmatal trek did require us to do some paperwork.

  • Medical certificate signed by a physician. The details included any pre exiting diseases and the BP check.
  • Waiver form signed by the participants.
  • Proof of COVID vaccination certificate (two doses).
  • Proof of ID.
  • Pre-filled form (Interstate COVID pass) required by the Uttarakhand government.

If you have a pre-existing disease, then definitely consult your doctor before attempting the trek.

Lessons learned

  • For interstate buses, best to go with Government buses. They are safe and they do not get cancelled. If going to Uttarakhand, then go with Uttarakhand Transport Corporation.
  • For flights, pre check in and be ready with documents required. As things are changing fast, make sure to check the interstate rules for traveling.
  • Take dry fit clothes. For trek pants, have pockets so you can keep your phones (for quick pictures) and trail snacks.
  • Layer up. If it gets too hot during the trail, you can remove layers and be comfortable.
  • Even if you have rain cover for your backpack, ensure to keep your clothes and electronics in extra carry bags. This way they are double protected.
  • Take one or two pairs of warm socks for the night.
  • Even though the trekking agency provided two pairs of sleeping bags, I carried an extra sleeping bag as I do get very cold.
  • Take dry fruits as trail snacks.
  • Take hand warmers if you feel really cold. I used to carry them in Australia. I did not know they were available here as well. Supposedly you do get them in Decathlon.
  • Carry extra shoe laces.
  • Even though I like having my own gear, do rent out the best quality ones from the trekking agency if you do not have good ones.
  • Carry some cash for the trail. There are many dhabas where you can buy tea, maggie, chocolates or omelette.
  • Keep headlamps handy and at reach.
  • Trekking pole is your friend on the trail.
  • Be slow and alert on the trail. Remember to take small steps and do not race.

How to get to Rishikesh?

Flights

There is no airport at Rishikesh. The closest airport is at Dehradun but we came via Delhi. If you are traveling alone, then I suggest going to Dehradun and taking a bus from Dehradun to Rishikesh. Indigo and Air Vistara are the airline providers that run flights between major cities and Delhi/ Dehradun.

Driving

The distance between Dehradun and Rishikesh is just 50 kilometres and the journey by road takes about an hour.

The distance between Delhi and Rishikesh is around 250 kilometres and the journey is about 4 to 5 hours by car.

Public transport

  • Bus –
    • The best way to reach Rishikesh from Delhi is by bus. The bus journey is around 5 hours by road.
      • Do not book any private buses as they usually cancel at the last minute which happened to me. The bus was scheduled to depart at 8 PM and I received a message about the cancelation at 6:30 PM. Unfortunately, I did not get any other bus and had to take a local red coloured bus with very uncomfortable seats.
    • There are many frequent buses between Dehradun and Delhi. The bus journey is just over an hour.
    • Refer Uttarakhand Transport Corporation for buses.
  • Train –
    • There is a train from Delhi to Haridwar. And one can change at Haridwar to take a bus to Rishikesh.
    • From Dehradun, there is a train as well to Haridwar and then a train from Haridwar to Rishikesh. The total journey takes around 3 hours 30 minutes.
    • For up to date information on trains, refer IRCTC website.

Safety for solo female trekkers

As a rule, trekking is always best to be done with a trekking buddy or with a reputed trekking agency. I would not suggest doing this trek on your own or with your group as well without a local guide. The trekking agency that I went with was very good for solo female trekkers.

Download Emergency Plus app for any unforeseen situations. The app does not require mobile network and it shows the location of where you are. This is useful to let the emergency services know, in case there is any emergency.

If you are a tourist, always make sure to have a good comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself in case of any emergency.

Closing Notes

Trekking in the Himalayas is addiction. The more you do it, the more you crave for it. The spectacular scenes during the treks, listening to the stories of strangers, sky full of stars, the cold blanket of snow, the mountain dogs. These get engraved and etched so deeply under your heart. And all you want to do after coming home, is to go back and relive those days. This is exactly what I have been feeling after coming back from the Brahmatal trek.

Do you have any more questions about the Brahmatal trek? Let me know in the comments below and I will answer them.

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Brahmatal Trek, complete guide
PIN for later reference – Brahmatal trek

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