The Roopkund Trek is also known as the Skeleton Lake Trek because of the skeletons that surround the final destination of the trek: Roopkund Lake. Many theories, stories, and tales have been made to explain the skeletons found in the lake. Some say that the skeletons were the victims of a landslide in the area, while some believe that they are skeletons of soldiers who died in World War II. Apart from its mystery, the trek is famous for the forests, animals, brooks, waterfalls, and temples throughout the journey.

The Roopkund Trek is not for the weak. The eight-day tour consists of six days of trekking ascends and descends. To survive the Roopkund Trek, you must be fit and have the stamina to be able to walk the distance of five kilometers within 30 minutes. Since it is a long trek with different campsites, you should prepare to tote a 10 to 15-kg backpack. It is not recommended for people with heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma, and epilepsy to climb the Roopkund Trek. Their condition might put them in danger during the trip.

Destination Highlights

  • Roopkund Lake. The lake of skeletons in Roopkund is one of the most mysterious places in the world. You will see hundreds of skeletons of humans and horses in this lake. Should you wish to see the view of the skeletons, opt to schedule your trip in the autumn.
  • Nanda Devi Temple and the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. On the descent from Roopkund Lake, you will see the Nanda Devi temple and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The area features a picturesque view where you can take photos of the site as well as your pictures with the rest of the trekkers.
  • Bedni Bugyal. Bedni Bugyal is one of the campsites throughout the whole trip. It showcases a beautiful sight of the peak of Trishul, as well as a lush green area suitable for camping. The area is also near the temple of Bedni Kund which you may also visit.

Location of Roopkund

Roopkund is at the base of Trishul and Nandghungti peaks in the Himalayas. It is located in the Chamoli district of Garhwal. It sits at an altitude of nearly 4,800 meters. It is 235 km away from the hill station of Kathgodam where the trekking itinerary begins.

Best Time to trek Roopkund

Anytime can be the best time to travel Roopkund, depending on your preference. However, sources recommend summer treks (from April to June) and autumn treks (September to November).

During summer, the Roopkund trek is less cold, yet windier. The weather can be unpredictable during the summer. However, you may not see human skeletons during this time.

During the autumn, the trek is less windy but colder. Autumn offers mostly clear weather in Roopkund. At this time, travelers can see human skeletons around the like as it is most adequately visible at this time of the year.

From Kathgodam to Kathgodam

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Day 01 - Ride from Kathgodam to Lohajung

You will begin your journey with a 10 to 11-hour ride from Kathgodam to Lohajung. Enjoy the scenery along the road, which features curves and forests. There will be two stops on this trip which will lead you to Lohajung, where you will stay for the night at a lodge or a rest house.
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Day 02 - Trek to Didna Village

This is the official beginning of the Roopkund Trek. You will hike an ascending road to the village of Wan, then walk a flat surface to Kulling, a peaceful village in the district of Garhwal. You may take your break at Kulling and enjoy the sight of nature, breathe fresh, crisp air, and spot exotic birds. You will then walk further to the Neel Ganga River and cross the cemented bridge to get to the other side of the river. You will then climb the ridge that leads to moderately steep roads that will take you to the village of Didna. The whole day trek will be over at around 3 pm. You may enjoy your lunch and stay for the night at a traditional guest house.
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Day 03 - Trek to Bedni Bugyal

Upon leaving Didna Village, the road will lead you to an ascent. On the way to Ali Bugyal, one trail is less steep, yet longer. This trail will lead you to temporary local shepherd settlements called Tolpani. These locals are welcoming and view that sharing their lunch with guests as true virtue. The other trail is shorter and steeper. Upon reaching the peak of the path, you will see fewer tree lines, and you will encounter more grasslands. After three to four hours of climbing, Ali Bugyal will welcome you with a beautiful sight.

The location features the view of the peaks of Trishul and Mrighthuni, the two tallest crests in this area of the Himalayas. You will then cross the meadows until you reach Bedni Bugyal where you can camp for the night. In here, you may visit the temple in Bedni Kund. If weather permits, you may have a great view of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges.

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Day 04 - Trek to Ghora Lotani

You will be walking further in an ascent to Ghora Lotani. Through this trek, you will cross the landmass of Patat Nacholi. For this day’s trek, you will climb from an altitude of 12,500 feet to 14, 500 feet. Be aware that you may feel muscle pains from the long walks at this time. Breathing on higher elevation may be more difficult as well, so brace yourself at this point of the tour. To help you in your journey, you may look through the view to inspire you to keep on going through this trek. The route will lead you to your campsite, Ghora Lotani, where you should relax and prepare for the longest trekking day of your trip.
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Day 05 - Trek to Bhagwabasa

This day is the longest trekking day of the trip. The trek consists of 10 km of steep slopes. You will travel towards Bagubasa, which is around 14,000 feet above sea level. Then, you will pass through an uneven zigzag road to go across Kalyuvinayak Temple, which is at an altitude of about 200 feet. The climb is quite challenging since the air gets thinner and the oxygen decreases as you walk to a higher altitude.

You might experience headache and stomach pain at this point, so don’t forget that you are allowed to rest every once in a while. Taking a rest will also allow you to view the beautiful sights. Also, from the Kalyuvinayak temple, you may already see the final trekking destination, Roopkung Lake, surrounded by Trishul and Nandagunti. Walk further up the trail leading to Bhagwabasa at a one-kilometer distance from the temple. You will then camp at Bhagwabasa and stay for the night.

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Day 06 - Trek to Roopkund and back to Bedni Bugyal

Start the trek early to Roopkund, located at an altitude of 16,000 feet. It is a difficult climb because of the condition of the air at higher altitude. Your first stop for the day is Chhirianag (meaning ladder-like snake.) From Chhirianag, you will trek to Roopkund Lake. The trek is also called the Skeleton Trek as you will be astonished by hundreds of skeletons around the lake. You will then trek further to Nanda Devi temple near the Nanda Devi Biosphere. From here you will begin your descent where you will pass through Bhagwabasa, Patar Nachuni, Ghora Lautani, and Back to Bedni Bugyal where you will stay for the night.
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Day 07 - Trek to Loharjung

Your descending trek from Bedni Bugyal to Loharjung may seem easy, but you have to walk with caution as there might be rough and slippery slopes on the way. You will walk through the forest of Gahroli Patal until you reach Neel Ganga. Walk further to the village of Ran ka Dhar and then to the village of Wan. You may then ride to Loharjung where you will sleep for the night in an inn.
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Day 08 - Loharjung to Kathgodam

You will ride to back to Kathgodam for 10 hours. The railway from Kathgodam leads to different destinations.

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