From the mist covered coffee plantations and tall palm trees that you pass by while traversing the winding roads from Samse to Mullodi in a jeep, the landscape changes many shades of green as you reach the base camp and the forest entry further up for Kudremukh national park. Nestled amidst the rich coffee plantations of Chikmagalur, Kudremukh national park at more than 6214 feet is the third highest peak in Karnataka and is believed to have one of the most encapsulating landscapes in the western ghats. A popular one, the 11 KM trek to Kudremukh peak is known for its breathtaking landscapes laced with widespread grasslands, sprawling meadows, shola forests, undulating hills, gurgling streams, treacherous paths and unending vistas. Kudremukh gets its name from the shape of the peak which resembles a horse's face.
The base camp provides basic accommodation and vegetarian food. They also provide packed lunch which you can carry during the trek. The lovely views of the surrounding hills here is an absolute delight to wake up to.
Interspersed with shola forests, the trek has numerous such small forests which gives a respite from the harsh sun. Lined with tall moss laden trees, fallen dry leaves, thick foliage, narrow trail and percolating light, these short forest stretches frequently appear and disappear during the first half of the trek.
There are numerous streams to cross, most of which swell during the monsoon. Trekking Kudremukh during the rains is an enthralling experience as you need to wade through these flowing waters. The water is clean and probably the only means to fill up your bottle during the trek.
The trek route has very less trees, though there are a few lonely ones like the one below. This is known as the peace tree and it offers shade and lovely views of the surrounding hills. An ideal place to rest after the first couple of kilometers.
The initial path meanders its way through lush greenery, tall grasses and expansive green hills with Kudremukh peak popping up in the distance. If lucky, one might spot deer, peacock and wild boars.
Every shola forest opens out into sprawling grasslands, yellow meadows, distant hills engulfed in greenery, deep valleys, and winding trek path. As the landscape changes dramatically with the inclination, the trail too gets strenuous with the steep ascent after the forest stretches. The horse face summit can be seen for most part of the trail.
The final stretch is a zig-zag trail with constant view of the summit through meadows. With breathtaking vistas of undulating hills, shola forests wedged in-between, gorgeous valleys and unending horizon, this stretch is definitely the most beautiful part during the trek.
Once on top, Kudremukh summit offers a 360 degree view of the surroundings with the green carpeted hills stretching forever, hazy blue horizon and floating clouds. Undoubtedly a rewarding experience after the long climb.
- Kudremukh national park is located near Kalasa. Private vehicles can travel only up to Samse, from where jeeps transport you to the base camp at Mullodi.
- Base camp has a couple of stay options such as Sathish's house (Mobile- 9481074530), Rajappa's house etc. They also provide vegetarian food and packed lunch which can be had during the trek.
- Though there are numerous trekking clubs which conduct tours to Kudremukh peak, one can also opt to trek with a guide (can be arranged at the base camp) and avoid the crowd. I trekked with BMC.
- Forest entry charges are Rs.450 per person.
- Make sure to carry sufficient water, chocolates and energy bars to keep you running.
- There is no camping allowed inside the national park.
- Trek distance- 11 KMS one way.
Bangalore to Kalasa- 310 Kms
Kalasa to Samse- 15 Kms
Samse to Mullodi- 6 Kms