We found our destination as pleasing as our journey when we reached Nilnag lake after trekking through pine forests walking past the water streams flowing with us as if showing us the path to the lake.
On our visit to Yusmarg (Read more about our Yusmarg Trip here: Silent valley of Yusmarg, Kashmir), we decided to go for a hike to Nilnag Lake. Nilnag lake is located around 5 KMs from Yusmarg tourist huts from where we started our trek at 8:45 AM. Trek begins up hill by the side of the mosque with a mud road that soon converges to a small path within the pine forest. It was quite slippery owing to the snow fall that happened just couple of days ago and we somehow managed to cross the initial stretch without falling off and spoiling ourselves.
Walk through Pine Forest
Mohammad Gulam guided us through the forest as mud path merged with the grass and we started walking through the pine forest with no defined path. We walked along multiple water streams and met no one in the forest except for few langoors hanging on the trees.
After walking for an hour through the forest, we reached to the view point from where we could see the lake at a far off point and a small village spreading down the hill till the lake. There was a concrete road round the village to reach up to the lake but we took another route passing through the village. As we walked down for another hour, we passed through the apple orchards and also interacted with villagers and children that we met on our way.
Finally after walking ~5 KMs and for 2 hours, we reached to Nilnag lake. During our onward walk, We did not have any break or stopped for rest. Nilnag lake is certainly a beauty and a pleasure to eyes. Despite us being walking for hours, we felt rejuvenated as we sat by the side of the lake. Water has blue colour, thus lake named as ‘Nilnag’ and you can see fishes swimming the water.
We spent some 20 minutes at the lake and then headed back for Yusmarg. This time, we took another route which is round the village through the forest. This route goes along the stream flowing down from the forest to the lake and has a straight slope. This is primarily a trail going up the mountain through the forest.At times, we had to explore our way out as trail was lost in the forest grass.
We stopped a few times on the way to catch our breath and also enjoy the surroundings and silence and it took us around 2.5 hours to reach back to our starting point. Despite being tired, we thoroughly enjoyed our trek, both the journey and our destination – Nilnag Lake. There is also a separate route (concrete road) through which you can reach to the lake through your vehicle.
About Our Guide: Nilnag Lake & Doodh Ganga River Trek
Mohammad Gulam is very energetic and guided us very way on both of our treks – Doodh Ganga River and Nilnag lake. During our walk through the forest, he taught us the different words in Kashmiri language. At village, he helped us to connect with the villagers to visit Apple orchard. You can meet him at Yusmarg Tourist Huts only.