For those interested in Kareri lake trek here’s a short Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) compilation. This FAQ sums up all questions that we received over email on this popular Dhauladhar trek.
How to get to Kareri village by Public transport?
Kareri village has no public transport (yet). ‘Ghera‘ is the nearest village that is linked via public transport. Ghera is 17 kilometres from Dharamshala and has a regular bus service. Buses leave Ghera for Dharamshala at 0930, 1230 hours with the last bus leaving at 1630 hours. If you miss the last bus, you can rent a car/jeep taxi from Ghera. Taxi costs between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1500 depending on your situation and desperation.
From Ghera you can share a jeep till Kareri (Rs. 50 / passenger) or rent a complete jeep for about Rs. 500 one way.
What facilities are available at Ghera village?
Ghera village has two small shops where you can buy groceries, not so fresh fruit, biscuits and snacks. There is a tea shop that makes samosas and other assorted deep fried food articles. You do not get a lot of choices. Ghera also has a liquor shop.
What facilities are available at Kareri village?
Kareri village has a Forest Rest House and a small home based shop that stocks basic groceries, biscuits and snacks.
How to get to Kareri lake trek road head by my own car / motorcycle?
As of June 2016, there are two routes to get to the Kareri lake trek starting point.
Route one: If you are driving from Dharamshala, you can take the Dharamshala-Ghera-Kareri road. The Ghera-Kareri road stretch is dusty, unpaved and steep. Exercise caution on this stretch. Kareri village has a secure parking.
Route two: If you are driving from Pathankot. You can use the recently constructed and partly metalled Salli-Kareri link road. Just after Shahpur, leave the National Highway and take a left towards Salli village (view in google maps) . From Salli, hydel power project, a recently constructed link road connects Kareri Village. As of now (10/06/2016) you can motorcycle all the way to Kareri from Salli. Four wheelers have to stop half a kilometre before Kareri village (near Nauhli) as the last bridge on this road is incomplete. There is no secure parking and you will have to park at the bridge over Nyund stream or at Nauhli village.
Where can I stay at Kareri village?
Kareri village boasts of a Forest Rest House (FRH). The FRH chowkidar/caretaker will rent you a room after 1700 hrs if there is no booking.
Caretaker Phone: +91-9736525486.
Call the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) in Dharamshala for FRH booking.
D.F.O. Phone: 01892-224887 / 01892-224959 / 01892-223345
Villagers at Kareri are helpful and will provide you with a homestay. At Kareri you can contact the house which hosts the only shop in the village for a meal and overnight stay.
How difficult is the Kareri lake trekking trail?
The Kareri lake trek is long (11.5 kilometres from Kareri village) but the grade is moderate. It starts off steep and then levels out as is evident in our elevation graph below.
The average grade on this trek is 10.3% which is moderate.
What is the best time for Kareri lake trek?
There are many reasons to visit Kareri Lake in different seasons.
April – Spring is the best time to watch the rhododendron forest around Kareri in full bloom. This is a quiet time at the lake and we reckon the best month to complete this trek. Yet, the temple may not be open in early April.
June – Summer is the high trekking season at Kareri. This is the time to visit if you want to go beyond Kareri on to Minkiani Pass and/or Baleni Pass
August – Monsoon is Krishna Janmashtami month. Locals flock to Kareri lake and then on to Lam Dal for pilgrimage. This is the time to watch local religious fervour.
October – Autumn marks the end of trekking season to Kareri Lake. The shops begin to wind down, yet the post monsoon lush green foliage interspersed with autumn colours is worth a visit.
January – Winter is for the experienced trekker. Kareri lake receives on an average one to two meters of snow in winters. So if you are looking for a challenging trek, this is the right time for you. Remember, this is also the time when wild encounters are most common on this trail. Read all about our leopard encounter in January 2015.
This flickr photo stream provides a glimpse of snow covered trail.
What facilities are available at Kareri Lake?
Kareri lake has a Shiv Shakti temple and a shop. The temple has open rooms for visitors available free of cost. The shop stocks ample snacks, biscuits, chocolates, candy, noodles etc. The shopkeeper will provide meals and chai cooked over a wood fired stove.
Should I be worried about wild animals on this trek?
The area around Kareri lake is notorious for leopard sightings and this valley is also known as the Bear Valley. During the peak trekking season (May-October) wild animals tend to keep away from the trail. Nevertheless, in off-peak months wild animal encounters increase as these animals descend to lower altitudes due to lack of food. This is not meant to scare the potential trekker. Yet, it helps to keep your wits about you and be cautious!
How much rain should I expect?
The weather pattern in Dhauladhar mountains is extremely fickle due to their relative high relief over Kangra valley. We always recommend carrying rain gear irrespective of the weather prediction in the Dhauladhars. Rain clouds may appear over Minkiani pass with little to no warning. A snow flurry as late as May or June is not unheard of.
What minimum temperature can I expect at Kareri lake?
From June – September expect the minimum temperature to hover close to 1 degree on a clear night. If it rains, expect this temperature to drop even further. Remember it usually gets windy in the late afternoon. The wind usually dies off late in the evenings till sunrise.
Is there a shelter at Kareri lake for an overnight stay?
Kareri lake has a Shiv-Shakti temple with 6-7 rooms. The rooms have no doors. Each room can sleep 3-4 people comfortably or 10 people at a stretch. The rooms are free yet, the shopkeeper appreciates a contribution to the temple fund.
Do I need to carry a tent on this trek?
You do not ‘need’ a tent since shelter is available at the temple. However, we recommend carrying one for three reasons. One, the camping spots to the east and west end of the lake are extremely scenic. Two, you can avoid the temple premises in case it gets too noisy. Three, it gives you the option to explore surrounding areas.
Do I need to carry my own food?
We recommend ditching the stove and food during the trekking season. The shop next to the temple dishes simple yet palatable food at reasonable prices. Even so, we do recommend carrying trail snacks. They come in handy over a five-hour trek especially if you intend to explore the area around the lake. Good old raisins and peanuts (GORP) make an excellent trail snack. You can supplement this snack with bread and cheese singles as you ready-to-eat meal. This simple meal does not need a stove.
Can I drink water at Kareri lake without filtration?
We would not recommend drinking from the lake per se. But there are numerous streams that feed the lake on the east end of the lake. These tiny streams provide drinkable water. We drank unfiltered water from these streams for three days without any ill effect. Still, we recommend carrying a portable water filter like Lifestraw (read our complete review) or Sawyer Mini. These filters weigh and cost next to nothing and ensure you are not debilitated by some stomach ailment.
Do I need to carry water on this trek?
Since you will be walking along Nyund stream, water is not needed. But a litre bottle saves you from making a frequent descent to the stream.
Can I swim/bathe at Kareri Lake?
Definitely, as long as you are careful. Do not attempt to take selfies while you do (read this) and remember not to use soap. Most soaps are non-biodegradable and go against our Leave No Trace philosophy.
What shoes are best for this trek?
We recommend shoes with less flex and a stiffer outsole. The trail is rocky and shoes/boots with less flex and stiffer sole will help keep your feet more comfortable. Quechua Forclaz 100 High (read our complete review) make a good companion for this trek.
Can I trek to Kareri lake with children?
This is a difficult question to answer. We have seen school children from Dharamshala trekking up this trail on a school outing. Yet, we have also seen school children turning back before the midway point as they were to tired or not feeling well. If you do have to trek with children make sure it is not their first Himalayan trek. Take them on other shorter hikes first. Triund, Guna Devi temple and around Dharamkot make excellent starter children-friendly treks. Another strategy that works is to take an overnight break near the second tea shop (see GPS logs). This place has an excellent camping ground next to the gurgling Nyund stream.
Can this trek be combined with other treks?
There are many options to trek beyond Kareri lake. You can continue to Chamba via Baleni pass (3750 Meters) or Minkiani pass (4250 Metres). Trek reports coming soon! Or you could explore seven alpine lakes that lie beyond Minkiani pass.
Another option is to walk to Guna Devi temple from Kareri lake via Raeel. Yet, this trail is difficult to find we recommend taking a local guide along.
Is there an alcohol shop nearby?
Nearest alcohol shop is in Ghera. We do not recommend drinking and trekking 🙂
Did we miss an important question in our FAQs? Let us know in the comments below.