Pakistan is a beautiful country and home of some of the best hiking in the world. Towering mountains, lush valleys, dramatic rivers and lakes… There’s more to Pakistan than travel warnings and what you see on the news. You guys know by now that I am super passionate about opening up Pakistan to the backpacker community.

I first came to Pakistan for the scenery, and because I thought I might get to shoot an AK into the air (I did), and it has never disappointed. Pakistan is packed to bursting with incredibly diverse landscapes and offers some of the best trekking in Asia – from easy day hikes to super tough expeditions, Pakistan has something for hikers of all abilities (and budgets).

The Himalayas in the north, where the most beautiful hikes in Pakistan are to be found, make the scenery incredibly dramatic, and increasing awareness of foreign tourists means it’s easier than ever to get lost, but not literally, in the true wonder of Pakistan.

To give you an idea of how amazing this country is, I assembled a list of 14 of the most spectacular treks in Pakistan. These are, hands-down, some of the best country; nay, the entire world. If anyone is still on the fence about visiting Pakistan, I suggest they give this article a look.

A little taste of what hiking in Pakistan is all about…

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    The 14 Best Hikes in Pakistan

    So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to fourteen of the best treks in Pakistan!

    will in passu pakistan near a bright blue lake
    Let’s get elevated.
    Photo: Chris Lininger

    The Best Overall Treks in Pakistan

    These Pakistani hikes are sure to blow your mind and give you some of the best views of your life!

    trekkers walking on white snow in Pakistan
    Talk about epic!


    1. Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat Base Camp

    nanga parbat at sunset as seen from fairy meadows
    Trust me, it’s better in person!
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Duration: 2 days
    • Region: Diamer, Gilgit Baltistan

    I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Fairy Meadows three times now while backpacking in Pakistan, it’s a truly amazing place. It’s not just the name that’s mythical, the place itself is magical. I’ve been to The Fairy Meadows in February (very challenging as there was waist-deep snow in places) and August and September.

    If you go at the right time of the year, i.e. when it’s not covered in snow, you can push on to Nanga Parbat Basecamp – an 8 hour round trip hike.

    Trekking to the Fairy Meadows itself is pretty easy and can be done in a couple of hours, the true challenge lies in the long but rewarding hike to Nanga Parbat Base Camp, where you can get SICK views of the 9th highest mountain in the world.


    2. Barah Broq

    best hikes in pakistan barah broq
    Somewhere in the solitude of Barah Broq.
    Photo: Roaming Ralph
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Duration: 2-3 days
    • Region: Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan

    If you’re looking to do a multi-day trek in Pakistan but don’t want to spend days on a glacier, the hike to Barah Broq may be the perfect one for you.

    Barah Broq is a relatively offbeat trail about a 3-hours drive from Skardu. The trail takes its name from the village of Barah, where the trail starts, and the village is about as authentic as it gets. The houses are still made from mud around here and the #1 commodity is apricots, which the village is famous for. Experiencing both make Barah worth visiting.

    Of course, the hike itself is the main attraction. The trail starts in a deep and arid gorge and makes its way up to the higher reaches of Barah Broq. Eventually, the trails tops out at 4300 meters and at this elevation you will find two beautiful alpine lakes with some of the purest water in the country.

    But that’s not the end of the trek; the best part is the optional day hike up to Moses Peak from the lakes. At 5350 meters, Moses Peak offers one of the most panoramic views I have ever seen. From here, you can see every single one of the greatest mountains in Pakistan, including K2, Nanga Parbat, and the Gasherbrums. This is one of the best views of the Karakoram you can get without doing the Concordia Trek.

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    3. Patundas

    a large white glacier seen from an elevated meadow best hikes in pakistan
    The iconic Batura Glacier as seen from a frosty day in Patundas
    Photo: Chris Lininger
    • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
    • Duration: 2-3 days
    • Region: Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan

    If you’re looking for a truly epic adventure, look no further than the Patundas trek. Starting from just above Borith Lake, the trek to Patundas will take you across the beautiful Passu Glacier to a meadow that sits at 4170m. From Patundas, you’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views of the Batura Glacier, the iconic Passu Cones, Shispare Peak, and more. 

    I’ve been lucky to take on the multi-day Patundas journey multiple times now, including a semi-frozen attempt in 2021. As cool as it was to see such a sick landscape covered in snow, the best time to trek to Patundas (which is located in Upper Hunza Valley, my favorite place in Pakistan) is undoubtedly from mid-late July when the lush meadow becomes filled with a sea of wildflowers and overnight temperatures are comfortable.

    Patundas is usually a 2-night/3-day excursion for most, which means two fantastic nights with your backpack and a tent, far away from sounds and sights of civilization.


    4. K2 Expedition via Baltoro Glacier – The Highest Mountain in Pakistan

    trekkers doing the k2 trek amongst the mountains of northern pakistan
    Does it get more adventurous than this?
    Photo: Chris Lininger
    • Difficulty: Hard
    • Duration: 10 days
    • Region: Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan

    It’s the granddaddy of all mountains in Pakistan; the singular reason why many people decide to travel to the country in the first place. At 8611 meters, K2 is the second-highest mountain in the world and without a doubt one of the greatest adventures we can think of.

    K2 is not an easy mountain to get to. Located at the far end of the Baltoro Glacier, which is 63 km long, the return trip to K2’s Base Camp takes over 2 weeks to finish.  You WILL need to go with a tour agency if you want to trek to K2. No one can survive 2 weeks on the glacier on their own; a good team will be your most valuable resource.

    Make no mistake: this trek is not for newbies and will require grit, determination, and a passion to complete. If you should undertake the hike though, you will be able to see the highest mountains in Pakistan and some of the most awe-inspiring alpine scenery in the world


    Best Day Hikes in Pakistan

    For those days when you just need a shot of nature. 


    5. Margalla Hills

    orange and purple sunset at margalla hills islamabad
    The Faisal Mosque as seen from Margalla Hills!
    • Difficulty: Easy (unless you go in summer)
    • Duration: 2-6 hours
    • Region: Islamabad

    It’s handy that there’s actually an extension of the Himalayas right on the doorstep of Islamabad. Chances are you will start your Pakistan backpacking adventure in either Lahore or Islamabad, so why not get into some of the best hiking tracks in Islamabad?

    Islamabad, Pakistan’s planned capital city, is where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the mighty Himalayas and where you can head off into the mountains for some easy day hikes that you don’t even need a proper hiking backpack for.

    The hills are a world away from the bustling city and a haven for nature, from birds to trees, it’s packed full of beautiful scenery. The views of the city from the vast hills are truly something else…

    There are 6 marked trails into the Margalla Hills National Park – unoriginally titled Trail No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and yes, 6. The most popular is Trail No. 3, which is very short, steep – you’ll be at a nice viewpoint in 30-45 minutes of hiking. 

    Actually, there’s been a trend for health and fitness amongst the locals of Islamabad in recent years, so you’ll probably get to mingle with people escaping the city on these trails. The hiking trails crisscross each other, so building your own longer hike is a good option when the longest of them only takes about 2 to 2.5 hours – measly by Pakistani hiking standards, but definitely not bad when they’re so close to the city!


    6. Dunga Gali-Ayubia Track

    expanisve forest view of ayubia national park
    Not bad for somewhere relatively close to Islamabad!
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Duration: 2-4 hours
    • Region: KPK

    This one is better known as the ‘Pipeline Track’ since it follows the route of an important water pipeline that used to service the historic hill station of Murree. That’s convenient because it now offers an easy hike from Dunga Gali to Ayubia within Ayubia National Park. 

    Think fresh pine forests and stunning scenery and you wouldn’t be far wrong… For those who are less keen on scrambling up mountains and camping in the middle of nowhere, this one might be a bit more up your street

    This easy 5km hike is popular with Pakistani tourists. So put your best selfie face on because you’ll probably get asked for a zillion of these when the route is popular in summer. It’s very close to the country’s capital, just a couple of hours’ drive northeast. Good to do en-route to the further northern reaches of Pakistan if you can spare the time.


    7. Miranjani

    the woods of the Miranjani Track best hikes in pakistan
    Photo: Saadbinshahbaz (Wikicommons)
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Duration: 2-3 hours
    • Region: KPK

    North of the Pipeline Hike is another hill station town, Nathia Gali, to the east of Abbottabad. From this former colonial hill station, you can walk just 2 to 3 hours to the summit of a nearby mountain, Miranjani. 

    The track up what is a hill by Himalayan standards begins at the Nathia Gali Bazar and passes through the serene Dagri Naka mountainous region, you’ll hike through lush and chill pine forests surrounded by subtropical evergreen forest.

    It’s not a challenging hike, but it is easy to get to and offers some pretty great views. There are places to stay in Nathia Gali too. If you want to visit a hill station in Pakistan, this is a good option as it’s nowhere near as crowded as Murree in summer – in my opinion though, you’re mad to go to Pakistan in the summer! Though summer is a perfect reason to travel to Pakistan.

     You will notice many places in this area have the word ‘gali’ in their name, which means basically ‘valley’ and is characteristic of this small region north of Islamabad called Galiyat.


    8. Passu to Borith Lake

    view of borith lake from above
    The magical, and WARM, Borith Lake.
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Duration: 3-4 hours
    • Region: Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan

    Passu is probably my favourite place in Pakistan, although honestly, it’s tough to pick as I also love Karimabad, Deosai, The Fairy Meadows and a string of other truly special places… OK, OK, back to Passu! Passu is a village famous for the Passu Cone mountains and an Indiana Jones-esque bridge crossing a raging river…

    Passu is found in the Hunza Valley, a remote area where the mountain scenery is truly stunning. This intermediate difficulty day hike begins at a (normal) bridge over the very short Passu River, passing the restaurant Glacier Breeze – from here you can see the impressive ridge of the Karakoram range, an amazing sight… Looking back after a few metres further up is equally amazing, where Passu looks like an oasis and the jagged mountains pierce the sky.

    Keep following the path until you hit Passu’s glacial lake at the end of the 18km long glacier itself. A scramble up the loose moraine, a view back to the Hunza River, and following the ridge on the other side you’ll find Borith Lake, and further in the distance Lake Attabad, a crazy bright turquoise lake created when a landslide dammed part of a river… This is a truly gorgeous place to chill out with a cheeky smoke.


    9. Naltar Valley Lakes

    naltar valley lakes trekking in pakistan
    The unbelievable hues of Naltar’s lakes.
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Duration: 2-6 hours
    • Region: Naltar, Gilgit Baltistan

    West of Rakaposhi is the magical Naltar Valley, famed in winter for its skiing as the ‘Magic Carpet of Pakistan’ – ski competitions are held here under the watchful eye of the Pakistan Air Force… But we are here for the hiking and luckily the natural scenery here is incredible and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to travel in Pakistan.  

    The village of Naltar is set in a pine forest with magnificent mountains rising up around, one of those captivating half-mythical, half-alpine places that make exploring Pakistan on foot so rewarding. Sure a jeep ride is fun but it can only really get you from A to B, whereas walking puts you directly in that landscape, and Naltar Valley is somewhere you really DO want to be!

    It will take a jeep ride to get to Naltar in the first place, most likely from Gilgit about 25 miles south. You can then hike a track from the village to the three Naltar lakes, one green, one dark, and the last one is this unreal azure that is truly spectacular… Early to mid-summer is the best time to visit as even up here at 3,000 metres above sea level it can get pretty uncomfortable.

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    Best Multi-Day Treks in Pakistan

    For those looking for a serious adrenaline rush.

     
    10. Minapin to Rakaposhi Base Camp

    One of the most epic places you can camp in Pakistan.
    Photo: @intentionaldetours
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Duration: 2-3 Days
    • Region: Nagar, Gilgit Baltistan

    In another section of the stunning Hunza Valley is this hike to the base camp of Rakaposhi, the 27th highest mountain in the world. It’s proven tricky to climb its summit over the years so there have only been 8 successful expeditions since it was first done in 1958! However, trekking to the Base Camp is relatively easy and you can do it with basic camping gear.

    Navigating this area seems daunting but it’s easier than you’d think. You can base yourself in the nearby town of Karimabad. If you decide you want to take a guide, get in touch with Rehman. The trek begins at a village called Minapin, picking up the trail behind the only guest house in town.

    The first few kilometres are tough, with steep glacial moraines to contend with, but stick to its left side and eventually, the ridge comes into sight. A couple of hours more leads you to a tiny cabin where you can spend the night. Then the route carries on the left side of the glacier till you reach a green pasture, the base camp… The panorama from here out over the Hunza Valley is mind-blowing!


    11. Chitta Katha Lake

    emerald chitta katha lake trekking in pakistan
    The magic of Chitta Katha Lake in Azad Kashmir.
    • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
    • Duration: 2-3 days
    • Region: Azad Kashmir

    Pakistan has a knack for offering up amazing pockets of lakeside paradise, mirror surfaces ringed with green nestled within jagged, snow-capped mountains. Chitta Katha is one of those lakes… It’s in the Shounter Valley, in the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan not far from Arang Kel, a hill station left over from colonial rule now turned into a popular resort. You can hike here in an hour or so if you wanted…

    But the hike to Chitta Katha Lake starts with a jeep ride from Kel to Shounter, where you may need to find a guide as the trails onward is not marked.  The climb from Shounter to the lake goes from around 3,000 metres to almost 4,000 – the scenery changes from an alpine forest to one that is much more barren… But the reward is worth it, the views over Chita Katha really are beyond words!

    The world’s ninth highest mountain and my happy place, Nanga Parbat, towers against the horizon in the distance, stunning with its beauty. You’ll be walking around 12 hours in all, with camping at one of two base camps, so equipment and food are essential. Needless to say, this is a hike for summer when the lake is actually accessible.

    Note: You probably won’t be able to get permission to do this hike if you are a foreigner.

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    12. Snow Lake 

    massive white mountains towering over a sea of snow in pakistan
    The insanity that is the Snow Lake trek, one of the hardest in Pakistan.
    • Difficulty: Hard
    • Duration: 10-14 days
    • Region: Gilgit Baltistan

    Out of all the treks on this list, only K2 could truly put up a fight against Snow Lake. Snow Lake isn’t really a lake at all, but rather a massive expanse of hundreds of feet of packed snow. And no–it never melts!

    Snow Lake is a glacial lake located at 4800m and the trek takes you over not just this majestic glacial basin, but also the Hisper La mountain pass and the Biafo Glacier which is often described as a “runway” due to how flat it is. 

    Most journeys to this winter wonderland begin in Askole in Skardu, though it can also be reached from the village of Hispar in Nagar. 

    Keep in mind that Snow Lake is one of the most extreme treks you can do in Pakistan short of summiting a mountain, and you absolutely, 100% need a guide and porters. And a really high-quality jacket. While it’s definitely one of the best hiking places in Pakistan, it’s also far more dangerous than most.

    Considering you’re also going to want to eat throughout the 10-14 day trek, you’re going to want to bring a cook along, too.

    Broke backpackers, keep in mind that treks are ALWAYS cheaper when you join forces with other adventurers! Also: don’t forget the altitude sickness medication. You’ll cover an altitude of over 16,800 ft when crossing Hispar La. 


    13. Broghil Valley to Karambar Lake

    feeet poking out of a tent at karambar lake hiking in pakistan
    An epic campsite at over 14,000 feet featuring Pakistan’s most biologically active lake.
    • Difficulty: Medium/Hard
    • Duration: 2-3 days
    • Region: Upper Chitral & Gilgit Baltistan

    If you’re a lover of truly off-the-beaten-path travel, then there isn’t a single trek in Pakistan that I could recommend more than the hike from Broghil Valley to Karambar Lake. Broghil is one of the most remote valleys in all of Pakistan, as it borders Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. 

    From the last village of Lashkargaz, the journey to one of Pakistan’s highest (and most biologically active) lakes begins. Expect for it to take between 9-10 hours to reach the lake and another 8-9 hours to return back to Broghil. 

    Despite being most accessible from Lashkargaz (which is a part of Upper Chitral, KPK) the lake is actually a part of Ishkoman Valley, Gilgit Baltistan. Accessing the lake from Ishkoman is physically easier than the Broghil route, but challenging to gain access to for both locals and foreigners. 

    14. Haramosh La

    beginning of the haramosh la trek from haramosh valley hikes in pakistan
    The Haramosh La begins at the left of the mountains.
    Photo: @intentionaldetours
    • Difficulty: Hard
    • Duration: 7-10 days
    • Region: Gilgit Baltistan

    The Haramosh La trek is easily one of the most underrated treks in Pakistan. The pass connects two glaciers and can be accessed from either Haramosh or Arandu Valleys, though it’s easier to go from Arandu.

    The trek will take you not only over the Haramosh La (4800 m) but will also allow you to camp at Laila Peak Basecamp (4535 m ) as well as Spantik Basecamp (4100 m).

    While this trek doesn’t require any permits for locals or foreigners, you will absolutely need a guide and likely some porters as it will take you a week or more.

    The Haramosh La trek involves crossing glaciers and using a rope at points due to crevasses. But with a good guide and a bit of experience, this trek is easily one of the most awe-inspiring in the country.


    What to Bring on a Trek in Pakistan

    While these items obviously don’t apply to day-hikes, good gear is essential for completing many of the best hikes in Pakistan. Here are some of my must-have pieces of kit:


    Product
    Description
    Duh
    Osprey Aether AG 70
    Duh

    Osprey Aether 70L Backpack

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    feathered friend backpacking sleeping bag
    Sleep ANYWHERE

    Feathered Friends Swift 20 YF

    My philosophy is that with an EPIC sleeping bag, you can sleep anywhere. A tent is a nice bonus, but a real sleek sleeping bag means you can roll out anywhere in a and stay warm in a pinch. And the Feathered Friends Swift bag is about as premium as it gets.

    Keeps Your Brews Hot and Bevvies Cold
    Grayls Geopress Water Bottle
    Keeps Your Brews Hot and Bevvies Cold

    Grayl Geopress Filtered Bottle

    Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator – so you can enjoy a cold red bull, or a hot coffee, no matter where you are.

    So You Can See
    So You Can See

    Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

    Every traveller should have a head torch! A decent head torch could save your life. When you’re camping, hiking, or even if the power just went out, a top-quality headlamp is a MUST. The Petzl Actik Core is an awesome piece of kit because it’s USB chargeable—batteries begone!

    Never Leave Home Without It!
    packable travel medical kit
    Never Leave Home Without It!

    First Aid Kit

    Never go off the beaten track (or even on it) without your first aid kit! Cuts, bruises, scrapes, third-degree sunburn: a first aid kit will be able to handle most of these minor situations.

    Travel Insurance for Trekking in Pakistan

    While I believe Pakistan to be a safe country to travel in, trekking requires good travel insurance, no matter where you’re planning to climb. And members of The Broke Backpacker team have made a few claims over the years.

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    Trekking in Pakistan: Last Bits

    Trekking in Pakistan has led to some of the most magical moments of my life. From jaw-dropping landscapes that even I had no idea could actually exist to moments of pain that lead to astonishing beauty, to many nights spent in my tent under a sea of Pakistani stars, I truly believe that there is no better trekking destination on this planet than Pakistan. 

    And yes, that absolutely includes Nepal. What it lacks in trekking infrastructure, Pakistan makes up for in remote experiences and complete and utter peace. So what are you waiting for? Lace-up those hiking boots, grab a sturdy trekking pole and get the hell out there!

    passu cones in passu pakistan
    Hand stand vibes somewhere near Passu. | Photo; Roaming Ralph

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