Green lushes cover the mountain. It is strikingly beautiful with the picturesque beauty of nature, evergreen plants, and a magnificent waterfall. It's the god's own country, Kerala. For its lustrous greenery, pristine backwaters, lush-filled mountains, and rich wildlife, Kerala attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. Experienced Trekkers would know the popularity, as hiking in Kerala is a new experience. The green trail amidst nature will replicate paradise on Earth.
Trekking Kerala is a mixed adventure, the western Ghat ranges give a thrilling experience, hiking in Munnar is going to be a steep climb along with dangerous terrain, and hiking in Wayanad is considered to be trekking heaven as it builds a strong connection with mother earth. Hiking in Kerala is a soul search for trekkers. Here is the guide to trekking in Kerala with the top hiking places.
Best time to go hiking in Kerala
The winter season, between September to March, is the best time to go hiking in Kerala. The weather during winter is very pleasant and less humid, making it ideal for hiking trails. The monsoon trekking is quite popular here for its experience.
If you choose hiking in Wayanad, there are wide ranges of mountains that would leave you with choices, be it an amateur or an expert in trekking. The Chembra Peak Trek is frequently visited by tourists throughout the year. Edakkal Caves, which is easiest for beginners, and Kalladi Forest Trek, which is an extension of the Chembra ranges of the western ghat.
The best time to go hiking in Munnar is after the monsoon season and before summer commences. Though it has moderate weather, hiking in Munnar is best between September and March. While the pathway is very slippery in monsoon, roads get slippery, it is better to avoid trekking in monsoon.
Top 5 places for hiking in Kerala
While traveling in Kerala, you get to witness literacy, Dravidian culture, backwater, tea plantation, soul-touching food, coconuts, and many more to add to the list. From trade routes to trekking spots, hiking in Kerala gives a wider scope of opportunities for trekkers to merge with nature. Here are the details of the top 5 places for hiking in Kerala:
Agastyarkoodam Peak trek
Distance: 56 km
Altitude: 6200 ft
Base Camp: Athirumala
Agastyarkoodam Peak is the second-highest peak in Kerala. It is located in Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary near Trivandrum. It is a popular trek from Bonacaud, and you can hike through the Kerala Forest Department. It is a 56 km long trek and would require three days to complete. The wildlife is abundant in this region as you see exotic birds, elephants, tiger leopards, Malabar squirrels, etc.
Along with wildlife, there are thousands of rare medicinal plants which are unique in their properties. It is also believed that the pristine air itself has healing properties. The hiking trail is through grassland and evergreen forest and ends with rock climbing. The area is protected under the control of the Kerala Forest Department. Prior booking must be made through the official website of the forest department. The height of Agasthyarkoodam Peak Trek is 6200 ft. The trek is moderately difficult.
How to get there?
Agasthyarkoodam is located in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The base village is Bonacaud. Buses are operated from Thiruvananthapuram to Bonacaud during the trekking season.
Distance: 1.5 km
Altitude: 7130 ft
Base Camp: Suryanelli village
It is a peak trek that captures the sunrise and takes you through the tea plantation in Theni District. Kolukkumalai trek is considered a trekkers paradise for its heavenly sunrise and is the second highest peak in the western ghats. Because of the rugged terrain, it is accessible only through jeeps to reach the drop-off points, from there, the trek starts. It is about 1.5 km which makes it easy to trek.
You can camp in Kolukkumalai, and enjoy a bonfire night to catch up the early sunrise. As you trek along the downward trail, you will reach the tiger-faced rock. It is a naturally formed rock in the shape of a roaring tiger. The height of Kolukkumalai is 7130 ft. The path gets slippery during monsoon, but the difficulty level is fairly easy.
How to get there?
The only way to reach Kolukkumalai is through Munnar town, i.e. Suryanelli, which is approximately 32 km away from Munnar. Though the hill is situated in Tamil Nadu, the route to trek is from Suryanelli.
Distance: 8 km
Altitude: 8660 ft
Base Camp: Munnar
It is one of the top destinations for trekkers, as the trek is through 8 hills. This trek is located between the borders of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Meesapulimala is the longest trek in the southern region. Meesapulimala is an extension of Kolukkumalai. The trek takes you through green valleys, rhododendrons, tea estates, etc. Meesapulimala trekking is organized by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. All other trekking is considered to be illegal. The trail is surrounded by Rhododendron woody plants.
The peak is named Meesa means “mustache”, puli means “tiger” and mala means “hills”, as it resembles a tiger's face. The distance covered in this trek through Rhodovalley is 8 km, and 15 km through Kurangini. It is a moderately difficult trek. The height is about 8661 ft above sea level.
How to get there?
The trek is reached through two trials, the shorter one through Rhodovalley and the longer route through Kurangani.
Distance: 3-4 km
Altitude: 3438 ft
Base Camp: Panathur
One of the largest hills in North Kerala is also called Kerala’s Ooty. To strike off this place, you will need to climb gigantic rocks. The mountains are surrounded by hanging clouds and the mist at its shoulder. This attractive hill is shared between the borders of Karnataka and Kerala, Kasargod district. Earlier, it was known as Madauthumala and its extensions merged with the mountains of Coorg.
The trail is around 3-4 km, and takes about 45 minutes to trek up the hill. This trek is a combination of solace and adventure. Be aware of leeches, and ensure you carry salt to prevent leech bites. The best time to trek is between sunrise and sunset.
While it takes effort to reach the top, exposing the beauty of shola woods and monsoon forest. There are massive boulders at the top which are naturally cut by the wind force. The best time to visit Ranipuram Hills is between October and February. To stay late, special permission is required from the forest officer. The height of Ranipuram hills is 3438 ft above sea level. It is easy to moderate level.
How to get there?
Ranipuram Hills is 85 km away from Kasaragod and 43 km away from Kanhangad.
Chembra Peak Trek
Distance: 7 km
Altitude: 6890 ft
Base Camp: Wayanad
It is the highest mountain peak in Wayanad, surrounded by tea plantations and valleys. The trekking spot is completely protected by the forest department. The trek is organized by the forest departments and takes you through the flowing waterfall and lush-covered forest, and as you reach the top, there is a heart-shaped lake, namely “Hridayasarassu”. This is the ideal destination if you are one of those who enjoy the walk in nature.
The peak trek gives an exotic view of the flora and fauna of that region. The best time to visit is between August and May. It is one of the perfect spots for hiking in Wayanad along with your family and friends. The overall distance of the trek is 4.5 km, and the trek to the lake is about 2 km uphill, so ideally, the trek distance is about 3-3.5 km. The height of the trek is 6890 ft above sea level. The trek is moderately difficult.
How to get there?
The trek is 35 km away from Wayanad. The nearest place to the chembra peak trek is Meppadi, which is about 10 km away from the peak trek. There is no public transport from Meppadi to Chembra Peak Trek, travel is only through jeeps and private vehicles.
Things to carry on a hike in Kerala
Essential items are a must for trekking, making it a habit would help you in the long run if you are an adventurous person. Here is the list of things to carry on a hike in Kerala:
Trekking Bag : Trekking bags should have sufficient space to hold all the essential items. It should be lightweight but spacious enough to carry. Make sure you go hands-free for trekking. Backpacks with rain covers or rain covers can be carried essentially with the backpack to protect it from the rain.
Hiking boots: It has to be tough as well as comfortable, they should not be tight as it may lead to infection. Ensure to get waterproof shoes which will be great protection during monsoon treks.
Caps/ Hats : In the cold season, it is important to carry a woolen cap to protect your ears. These caps shall keep you warm and prevent you from falling sick. Cap is essential during summer treks and prevents heat exhaustion and heat burns.
Sunglasses and Sunscreen : The sun is strong in the mountains, and summer trekking could cause sunburns, it is important to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harsh sun rays. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
Raincoats: Wet dress can get messy and make it difficult to trek, carry a raincoat for the trekking. Take coloured raincoats, which make it easier to identify.
Extra Clothing: Always have an extra pair of clothes despite which season you are trekking. Clothing should be comfortable for the trekkers and not fashionable.
Jackets/Fleeces (Add product image): Sweaters or jackets are ideal as they won't take up much space. Get a high neck to protect yourself from the cold.
Socks: Socks protect you during summer and monsoon treks. During summer treks, it absorbs sweat keeping the skin fungal-free. During the monsoon, it gives warmth and keeps you warmer.
Hiking essential checklist
Here is the list of hiking essential checklist, which is going to make your trekking hassle-free:
Route Map: Always carry a hard copy of the route map, which would help you navigate and avoid getting into the wrong path. Though we have digital maps today, charging them becomes difficult. The traditional way is the hassle-free way.
Water: Dehydration can lead to several other problems, additional to this is trekking in a remote location, where you can't seek help immediately. Carry enough water to keep yourself hydrated. You can also add glucose to the water to boost your energy.
Torch: The torch is a life saviour for a trekker, in case of a night stay or delay, a torch is the guide. Headlamps are preferably great, which keep you hands-free and focus on your operation.
First-aid kit: Bruises and cuts are a part of trekking. The moment through rock, boulders are highly risky and may cause injury. A first aid kit should be among the top essentials on the list.
Snacks: Carry healthy snacks to munch during break time. Make sure they are healthy such as dry fruits, nuts, and protein bars that would boost your energy level immediately.
Insect Repellent: You're prone to mosquito bites while you trek. Your essentials must include insect repellent lotions and spray in your bag.
Medicine kit: With the change of place, food, and environment, the body gets prone to sickness. Always carry a basic medicine kit in case of an emergency.
Hiking in Kerala is a thrilling experience. Kerala has a rich biodiversity, which includes about 1800-2000 species of flora and fauna and the sight of rare birds. The mystical rocks and green forests are the favourite grounds for hiking in Kerala. I hope the guide for trekking in Kerala will navigate your new beginning and open new chapters.
1. Which is the hardest trek in Kerala?
Chokramudi Peak is the hardest trek in Kerala. Followed by the elephant trial, which involves a lot of rock climbing. Chokramudi Peak is a one-hour drive from Munnar to a place called Pothamedu, from there, you will be accompanied by forest department officials. It is a moderately difficult trek.
2. Why is Kerala famous for trekking?
Kerala state is blessed with magnificent western ghat ranges, mountains filled with lushes, and picturesque waterfalls that make Kerala famous for trekking.
3. What will be the duration of forest trekking in Kerala?
The average duration of a forest trek in Kerala would take 3 hours.
4. What is the best time to go to Kerala for trekking?
The best time to visit Kerala for trekking is during monsoons, between August and September. The monsoon season will give a pleasant experience, as it will be a non-humid climate.
5. Which is the highest trekking point in Kerala?
Anamudi Peak is the highest trekking point in Kerala, at 8842 ft. It is located in Munnar, within the Eravikulam National Park.