The Dudipatsar Trail is an approximately 18 km (11 mi) hiking trail in the Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in northern Pakistan. The trail goes along a tributary of the Kunhar River called Poorbi Narr in the northern Kaghan Valley. The headwater for the particular tributary is the Dudipat Lake and the trail has a cumulative elevation gain of 640 metres (2,100 ft). The average time taken to complete the trail is 5 to 8 hours.
The trail is entirely within the national park and passes through multiple life zones of the park, from lowland forests to alpine meadows of wildflowers. As the trail climbs up to the plateau, hikers see different wildlife in the region including marmots and different species of birds.
The trail is of medium difficulty. The overall elevation gain isn’t great but climbing at a high altitude makes the trail more demanding. During the course of the trail, one encounters boulders, meadows, plateaus, snow (in early summer) and streams. The trail and the surrounding mountains are frequently used by cattle herders who set up summer homes in the area.
How to reach Dudipatsar Lake?
There are many ways to get there at Dudipatsar Lake but the most easily accessible one is from Behsal (Besal) via Mulla ki Basti. Leave early from Naran, then hire a Jeep to go to Behsal (Besal). It takes max 2 hours to reach there. From Behsal it’s approx. 7-8 hours trek to Dudipatsar Lake. Then you can hire a guide as well as Horses from here. You’ll see a narrow way at the start of the journey and also a couple of glaciers on the way. Then the path widens up after approx. 6-hour drive, then you’ll see “Mulla Ki Basti”. Mulla ki Basti is a small village where you can get something to eat. But it will be more convenient if you carry packed food with you. Then you’ll have to hike for 2 hours further to reach Dudipatar Lake. Some people camp & relax here & go to the lake the next morning. Some go directly to the lake & finally relax there.
Dudipatsar Trail – General path of the trail
The main hiking season is mid-summer, which is often dry and sunny. Hikers early in the season can see snow in the ravine that runs down from the plateau. The plateau is marshy in places (waterproof boots advised). There are a number of river crossings on the trail including one buggy bridge. The same river tributary is crossed on log bridges in a couple of locations.
The trail starts at Besal, where there is a driver hotel and a police check post. Lodging is available as well as space for setting up camp. Parking of vehicles is done at one’s own risk but someone can be hired to look after vehicles for a day or two.
There are three ways to hike the trail:
One-day trek (advised for moderate to experienced hikers) will not require a night stay.
Going up to the lake can be done in about 3–5 hours while coming down it will take 3–4 hours.
A two-day trek (for novice to moderate hikers) will require a night stay either in Mulla ki Basti (2 km (1.2 mi) short of Dudipatsar) or at Dudipat Lake itself. Going up to the lake can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours. Coming back is generally quicker, around 5–6 hours. Mules can be rented at Besal to carry luggage for the trek.
A three-day trek will require two night stays in Mulla ki Basti or at Dudipatsar.
Hikers can reach the planned destination and after an overnight stay has a full day to tour the lake. Again after a night stay, they can get back easily. Guides are available at Besal for hikes to Dudipatsar. Experienced hikers can wing it and go off on their own – remember to follow the water tributary as Dudipatsar is at the head.
Mid-September, most of the herding flocks and inhabitants of Mullah ki Basti come down in preparation for winter. So if one plans to head towards Dudipat Lake at that time, it is necessary to take an ample amount of food and preferably tents as no lodging is available for 9–10 km (5.6–6.2 mi) from the starting point. The makeshift hotels are also shut down so no food is available. If one reaches Mullah ki Basti, abandoned stone houses are available to camp and rest for the night.
For the two-day trek option, a night stay can be done either in Mulla ki Basti (2 km short of Dudipatsar) or at Dudipat Lake.
You have the option of either carrying along with your camping gear or alternatively using the facilities at the makeshift hotel at Mulla ki Basti. The price for food generally runs at twice of that Besal. (someone adds lodging cost here for the makeshift hotel)
Best Time to Visit Dudipatsar Lake in Pakistan with family
If you visit a beautiful venue at the wrong time, it will spoil the fun it offers and you won’t be able to avail of its beauty to the fullest. So the perfect time to visit Dudipatsar Lake is summer, from Late July till the end of September.
In the summer, the Lake has a beautiful view and eye-catching scenery, the reflection of mirror-like water makes it more adorable for the visitors from different regions of the country and even from abroad, who travel all the way from their places to witness these enchanting views.