Maximum Altitude: 16500 ft
Duration: 9 days
A journey to the picturesque North Sikkim, a beautiful alpine lake and the peak of mighty Mt Kanchenjunga glistening in the background. It can’t get better than this. The Green Lake located in the North of Sikkim is known to be one of the most captivating of all treks in the area. It shows you places around Sikkim that you would not have imagined.
This hidden gem in North Sikkim takes you to the majestic Green Lake, scenically placed on the lap of Kanchenjunga (8586 meters/28,169 feet), the 3rd highest peak in the world, and many other glimmering mountaintops. This is a very picturesque trail which combines natural beauty with spectacular views of high peaks. There are vast tracts of thick forest, with several varieties of rhododendrons, blue poppies and primulas, chirping birds and many waterfalls on both sides of the trail. If you are lucky, you will see some of the rare, exotic wildlife found in the region. Some stretches of the trail are a bit challenging, but the end result is well worth it! In addition to seeing Kanchenjunga, you will also see a panorama of jagged peaks, including Yalung Kang (8505 meters), Kangbachen (7903 meters), and others while walking alongside the awe-inspiring Zemu Glacier.
Kanchenjunga was one of the first peaks to be attempted by expeditions before World War II. As Nepal was closed, the approach from Sikkim via the Zemu Glacier,was followed instead. Pre-war Everest expeditions also passed through North Sikkim and this trail was part of their route. Today, it is still largely unexplored region as not many people have been allowed across to Green Lake. Enjoy the unexplored wilderness of North Sikkim on the Green Lake Trek. Find yourself in Mother Nature’s lap, exploring all that she has to offer. With colorful forests, towering peaks, high-altitude lakes, gushing rivers, rolling meadows and rare alpine flowers, there is never a dull moment on the Green Lake Trek. It is a truly an alpine paradise.
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Day 1: Lachen – Tallem
The trek starts from Zema. You can walk or drive there. At Zema there is confluence of Zemu Chu and Thangu Chu. You will cross many bridges and can expect boulders and rhododendron thickets .Arriving in Zema, get started with the very first phase of this trek and start hiking along the Zemu River that will take you towards west. The source of this river is the Zemu glacier. As you will be trekking through the dense rhododendron forests and uneven terrains, the trek will be a slower one. Follow the river to the camp at Tallem at the junction of Lhonak chu and the Zemu rivers. Tallem is surrounded by a beautiful forest. On reaching Talem, you can also go for a short excursion around the region and discover its natural beauty.
Day 2: Tallem – Jakthang
From Tallem the trail enters some of the magnificent forest for which Sikkim is famous, and is reasonably flat for half an hour. Crossing a bridge over a fierce torrent you enter a dense and wet forest. This route is a walk in the paradise passing through at least twenty different kinds of Rhododendron varying in colours from white to the deepest red and in height from trees of 6m to scrubs of not more than a foot. You climb through this forest to Shobuk and then descend steeply for 12 km to Jakthang, a small meadow, with broken-down herdsmen’s huts, which makes a convenient night’s halt.
Day 3: Jakthang – Yabuk
The trail continues through forest on this day. After a short climb it crosses a bridge over Thombak Chu. There are several ascents and descends on the route, and is often wiped out of floods. After 3 hrs of walk, you will reach the snout of Zemu Glacier. From here, you can enjoy the demanding views of the Zemu Glacier. Here onwards, trek for another 1-2 hours and reach the Yabuk campsite.
Day 4: Yabuk – Rest camp
The trek now follows the Zemu glacier. From Yabuk the trail enters the moraine field of the Zemu Glacier, crossing boulders and pebbles. It is a tiring route with increasing altitude and is like a walk in high altitude desert but the enthralling views will keep you going. The Zemu Chu rushes through the glacier and as the valley opens up the great peaks come into view. Mt Siniolchu, Simvo, Twin Peaks, Nepal Peak and The majestic Kanchenjunga are some of the giants that dominate the horizon. The Rest Camp is situated right opposite Siniolchu and has a fabulous view of one of the most beautiful mountains in Sikkim. Bharal or Blue sheep are often sighted on the hill opposite and this also the area where many sightings of the elusive snow leopard have been noted. Therefore this place is also known as the Snow leopard country.
Day 5: Rest Camp – Green Lake
Today’s is the most beautiful walk of the entire trek. The trail from Rest Camp gently ascends up the valley. Mt Siniolchu, Simvo, Twin Peaks, Nepal Peak and The Kanchenjunga are some of the giants that dominate the horizon. The walk is usually slow because of the altitude. Trekking for around 5-6 hours, you will finally reach the Green Lake. Take in the alluring charm of the lake and enjoy the clear reflection of the Mt. Kanchenjunga on the lake waters before you sign up for your overnight stay in a camp along a flat grassy meadow beside the Green Lake.
Day 6: Green Lake
After so much of tiring and exhilarating ascends and descends, you have earned a rest day next to this pretty lake. Spend the day lazing in the sun watching the panoramic view of the great mountains of Sikkim. A climb for about an hour or so to a hill behind the Green Lake will take you to a high point that offers the Majestic view of the Mt Kanchenjunga divide and the distant Mt. Chomolhari in Bhutan.
Day 7: Green Lake – Yabuk
Follow the trails that you have traced since last few days and trek downhill to the reach the Yabuk campsite for an overnight stay.It is possible to make the trek from Green Lake to Yabuk in one day as the trail is mostly downhill.
Day 8: Yabuk- Tallem
Start descending toward to the valley. The first part of the downhill is quite steep and later it gets gradual as you walk along the Zemu Chu river again. Reach Tallem and pitch a tent in the campsite. Watch the beautiful night sky, talk about your favourite moments on the trek and enjoy your last night in the tents.
Day 9: Tallem – Lachen
This is the last day of the trek. The route is generally downhill and is an easy walk. Walk along the Zemu Chu river to the road head at Zema. It is day to stop quite frequently and absorb the great valley view and the beautiful forest which is just unforgettable.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to proceed on the Green Lake Trek in Sikkim is from March to May when the different varieties of rhododendron and high altitude plant life are in full bloom. Spring/summer treks are also of interest to birdwatchers.
October-November is also the best time to venture out on this trek because the three months of monsoon rain clears the atmosphere of all impurities that results in clear weather and good mountain views.
How To Reach
By Air: If you wish to take a plane, Bagdogra is the nearest Domestic Airport to Lachen. On reaching the airport one can easily hire a taxi to Lachen.
By Railways: Darjeeling Railway Station, is the nearest to Lachen and is well-connected with most of the cities of Sikkim.
By Road: Lachen has a well- knit road network, one who wishes to take the roads, can easily take a bus run by Sikkim State Road Transport Corporation (SSRTC) . There are several private services that one can avail to reach the major cities across Sikkim. Lachen is 117 km from Gangtok.
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