The Binsar Forest Trail

About

the binsar wildlife sanctuary is a protected nature reserve that is home to oak, rhododendron, and pine trees. walking amongst this jaw dropping landscape are leopards, barking deer, porcupines, langurs, and over 200 species of birds.

The trail in pictures

Kathdhara

Leopard's trail

Zero point

Golu Devi Mandir

Satri and beyond

What to expect

This forest trail is punctuated with breaks at four or five villages inside the sanctuary. Each village consists of only 3 to 10 households, and together, these kindly folk run and manage comfortable guesthouses and feed you steaming hot Kumaoni food straight from their wood fires and farms.

Rest up, eat well, and unwind on beautiful porches with your fellow hikers and engage the locals in discussions that we promise will give you a new perspective on mountain culture. The people here are intelligent, good-humoured, and excited to welcome you to their corner of the world.

We have conceptualized this experience as the perfect balance of active holidaying, nature therapy, and cultural immersion without compromising on comfort, privacy, and safety. At the heart of this are the core principles of sustainable travel:
a non-intrusive holiday that does not disturb the traditional, agricultural, and economic aspects of our community partners.

RT CP

RC TP 2

More about

The trail is set at an average altitude of 1500 to 2500 meters above sea level. From various points, you are blessed with panoramic views of Himalayan peaks such as Trishul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, and the Panchachulis. Imagine being at eye level with some of the highest mountains in the world!

Lodging

Each house has a common dining room and a small terrace outside with comfortable seating so you can soak in the sublime scenery.

There are three bedrooms in every guesthouse that hold two beds each. You will sleep on soft mattresses, clean sheets, and have thick blankets to comfort you at night.

All the guesthouses are equipped with a combination of shared and common washrooms with hot water, as well as shared and common restrooms with spick-and-span western commodes.

Kathdhara

An idyllic village with only 9 family homes, Kathdhara is filled with lemon trees and terraced farms. A hot meal awaits you as you reach this jewel box of a village at the heart of Binsar. Watch the sun set in front of a toasty fire and listen to Mr. Happy (Puran Ji) tell you stories of the region.
You might be lucky to spot a crimson sunbird or a greater woodpecker!

Gonap

The village of Gonap is full of small terraced farms that grow chillies, onions, garlic, turmeric, and cucumbers. Walk through a canopy of delicate bamboo and you will arrive at your home for the night. Take in the sight of a stunning valley and forests that transform in the early sunset. Look northward, and you might be lucky to see the snow-capped peaks of western Nepal.

The local Golu Devi temple is a short hike away. From here, you can see a 200 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains.

Risal

On the slopes of a forest-covered valley is the tiny hamlet of Risal.

There are only 8 families residing here. All practice farming and grow a variety of vegetable crops.

You might have to cross a leopard’s trail on your way to Risal. In the morning, you may be able to hear the call of barking deer over the constant sound of the gushing river.

Cpt 1

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Satri

This is the smallest and most secluded of all the villages with just 3 homes.

This won’t change the quality of care and love you will receive upon arrival.

Satri is situated on a high ridge surrounded by uninterrupted views of the peaks.

Dalar

Dalar is a village with around 48 people and is slightly larger than the other villages. Dalar is divided into two hamlets: Valli (“This Side”) and Palli (“That Side”). From here, you can see the peaks of Kamet, Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Trishul. Dalar is the closest village to the Binsar forest gate.

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Food and hospitality

Meals are fresh, simple, nutritious, and cooked in a traditional kitchen, on wood-fire.

The village community team has received training in hygiene, home management, and cooking – but they aren’t professional hoteliers. Their welcome is genuine and their sense of hospitality comes naturally.

Your hosts, guides, cooks, housekeepers, and porters are all drawn from different families across each village, sharing both the pleasure of hosting you and the financial benefit. There is ongoing monitoring to check that these benefits are spread around the households over each travel season.

The Guides

Our guides, all from our partner village communities, drive the walks. They are crucial to making this a truly inspiring and stimulating experience.

What stands out about our guides is their pure, unadulterated passion for the forest and its many creatures. With their help, we promise you’ll have a newfound appreciation for every little stream, leaf, and rock that you walk past.

The guides will accompany you throughout your journey, and will introduce you to the area, flora, fauna, local traditions, and to the people you meet during your visit. They are trained in wilderness first aid and are equipped to deal with minor injuries. Their guiding style is natural, unscripted, and unobtrusive.

Responsible practices

We’ve conceptualized a holiday that focusses on the preservation of the forest, and the communities within it. This is why we encourage small groups of no more than 6 guests at a time.

We practice the Leave No Trace principles. We discourage guests from picking up anything from the forest such as pinecones, flowers, feathers, rocks, etc.

Apart from being the collective stakeholders of the guesthouses, our village communities employ low-usage water systems in order to conserve water. All the water comes from natural springs that are boiled and filtered. We do not provide single use plastic bottles.

Our partners encourage gender equality and the representation of minority castes on the committees that manage the guesthouses.

All our guesthouses are built using local materials by native craftsmen. Employment is strictly local starting from our guides to our drivers.

Binsar Forest

What quote?

Yolo - Nupur Bala, 2023

Images from the previous tours

Video of the experience

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What altitude will we be hiking?

At an average of 1800 to 2500 meters.

How cold would it be?

There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!

Will our guides walk with us throughout?

Yes, you will be led by an able team of guides on both private and group trips.

Will they serve non-veg?

No, only veg food is served.

Can I camp?

No, camping is not permitted within the sanctuary.

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Cost includes

all accommodation, all meals, transfers to and from Kathgodam, a Knowhere Travel representative, local guides, porters, forest entry fees, all applicable taxes and service charges.

Cost excludes

flight/railway/bus fares, tips, trip extensions, travel insurance, alcoholic beverages, anything not mentioned under ‘includes’

Pricing

Cost for 1 to 3 guests

Rs. 39,999 per person

Cost for 4 to 6 guests

Rs. 35,999 per person

Cost for children between 6 and 12 years

50% of the adult charges

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