5 Delightful Mountain Treks in Karnataka
Kudremukh: As far as trekking is considered, Kuduremukha peak is the numero uno destination in Karnataka. Situated amid western ghats, it is the second highest point in Karnataka approachable only by a long trek route. The name Kuduremukha translates into “horse face” as the peak resembles the face of a horse when viewed from a particular angle. At nearly 6000 feet above sea level, it is a biodiversity hotspot declared as a National Park in 1987. The rampant mining in the area had caused great damage to the ecosystem but now nature is bouncing back after the ban on mining. The trek to the peak takes about 4 hours and the path goes through rugged hill slopes, beautiful grasslands, old human settlements, patches of forests, zigzag paths, valleys, ridges and mountain faces before the scenic final gradual ascent that showcases the spectacular beauty of the Kudremukh range of forests for as far as the eyes can see. To trek to the Kudremukh peak, prior permission is to be taken from the range forest office at Malleshwara near the village of Samse in Chikkamagaluru district.
Kumara Parvatha: One of the most visited mountain peaks of Karnataka, this peak of western ghats is situated in the Coorg district. At about 5800 feet above sea level it is the third highest peak point of the state and one of the most trekked places too. There are two approaches to Kumara Parvatha. The first one, which is the longest as well, starts from the town of Kukke Subrahmanya and the path is about 14 kilometers long. The second route starts from Beedhalli village, about 20 kilometers from Somavarapete town. The peak is about 7 kilometers away from this route. Most of the trekkers opt for the first route, which, though longer, gives a complete trekking experience with a varied landscape and a great halting point in the form of a single house at a place called Girigadde halfway through the trek. Whereas, some experimental trekkers opt to ascend from one side and descend to the other side. Overall, Kumara Parvatha is a top notch trekking spot that puts your physical and mental strengths to the test.
Mullayanagiri: At 6300 feet above sea level, it is the highest point of the state. Located about 30 kilometers from Chikmagalur, the district headquarters, it is a hotspot of tourism. The narrow road provides connectivity to almost to the top of the hill with only a few hundreds of steps to ascend. Whereas there is a hiking route that starts with the ascent of a few steps from the side of the road and then turns into a narrow trekking path leading to the top of the hill after a hike of about 90 minutes. This trek route is just about normal and it turns spectacular if one continues further towards Dattapeetha from this peak. This peak-to-peak trek is about 15 kilometers long and takes nearly 6 hours to complete.
Madhugiri: Located approximately 100 kilometers away from Bengaluru, in the district of Tumkur, this hill houses a beautiful fort at the top and is a well-known tourist and trekking destination. A trail leads to the top of the hill which is of moderate trek level. The monolithic rock which makes up the summit is believed to be the second largest such rock in Asia. There is no shade, and there are no water points on the trek path. Early in the morning is the best time to begin the trek. Though the trek duration is just about 90 minutes, the path needs careful treading.
Kodachadri: At about 4400 feet above sea level, Kodachadri is an enchanting, revered, and religious place that invites travelers and trekkers alike. Located in the Shivamogga district but close to the town of Kolluru in the Udupi district, a small mantapa named Sarvajna Peetha is built on the peak. It is believed that Shankaracharya visited this place, and a small temple of Mookambika was in existence here from ancient times. The trekking route starts from the forest gate near Nagodi village, about 22 kilometers from Kollur, and it takes approximately 75 minutes to reach the peak. The trail is easy to navigate and passes through scenic locations and patches of forest. There are many attractive locations atop the mountain that can be visited. A jeep trail exists and pilgrims make use of jeep service to reach the summit and pay obeisance to Shankaracharya and Mookambika.