Adventure / Trekking | Lake / Backwaters
At a distance of 32 km from Dharamshala and 39 km from McLeod Ganj, Kareri Lake, also known as Kumarwah Lake, is a high altitude lake south of the Dhauladhar range in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Trek to Kareri Lake is one of the top things to do in Dharamshala and it's also one the best short treks near Dharamshala town.
Kareri Lake is situated at an altitude of 3100 m and is a fresh water lake. Snow melting from the Dhauladhar range serves as the source of the lake and a stream, Nyund is the outflow. Since the source is fresh melting snow and the lake is shallow the lake bed can be seen clearly.
Kareri Lake is best known for being a trekking destination in the Dhauladhar range. The trek starts from Ghera village, which is about 22 km from McLeod Ganj. Ghera is accessed either by shared jeep from Dharamsala or on foot from Naddi. It has a few shops from where one can purchase few supplies. The trekking starts from Ghera village. A 9 km dirt road links Ghera to Kareri village which has a Forest Rest House for overnight stay and continue the trek on next day. The 8 km trail from Kareri village leads to the Kareri Lake. Most of this trail is along the Nyund stream right up to the Lake. The trek usually takes between 3-4 days.
The lake remains frozen from early December to early April. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti on a hilltop overlooking the lake. A few Gaddi kothis (stone caves) are present on the other side of the lake, which is used by the gaddis as a grazing ground for their animals. Trekker can carry own tents, or stay in the temple complex on the hill overlooking the Lake.
The trail is mostly well marked, but having a guide is definitely recommended. The trail is long but not a difficult trek like other Himalayan trails. The trek passes through pristine Oak, Pine and Rhododendron forests. This trek is great for beginners and is a perfect introduction to the great Himalayan ranges. Kareri Lake serves as a base for trekking further into the Dhauladhar and onward to Chamba and Bharmour via the Minkaini Pass (5 km from Kareri Lake) and Baleni Pass (20 km from Kareri Pass).
This is usually a 3-night and 4-day leisure trek with 2-nights stay in Kareri Rest House (onwards and return stay) and one-night stay at the Kareri Lake. Alternatively, the lake can be visited from Kareri Rest House and returned to Rest House on same day making the trek a 3-day trip.