Top 10 treks in Sahyadri Ranges of Maharashtra

Our first trek individually and together was in the ranges of Sahyadris. Today we will be covering top 10 treks in Sahyadri Ranges that we have been to and feel should be in every trekkers bucket list.. We would also be rating each trek for difficulty and endurance levels as per our experience on the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest.

10. Rajmachi

Situated near Kondivade in Karjat region, this is one of the beautiful treks in Western Ghats. At the start of the trek you find almost 80 ft high Kondana waterfall. It is the beauty of this waterfall that attracts a lot of travellers to opt for this trek, especially in monsoons.  There is a cave, from the top of which emerges this waterfall. In the monsoons, it is one of the beautiful sights to behold and amazing fun as well.

Generally people go up till this waterfall only, when not interested in the trek. From that point on, it’s a 3-4 hrs steep hike to the Udhewadi village which is the base of Rajmachi Fort. While in other seasons, it’s a pretty decent hike but during the monsoons it can be a little challenging due to its slippery terrain.  Rajmachi is not a single fort – rather it’s 2 fortresses – Shrivardhan and Manaranjan and it takes almost 45 mins. to reach there from the base village. There is one other route to reach Rajmachi which starts at Lonavala and has a road till Udhewadi village for vehicles to ply. But for trekkers we would recommend taking the Karjat route. Whether you are a novice or an experienced trekker, you will surely love the trek to Rajmachi.

On difficulty levels we would rate it 7 whereas for endurance we would rate it 6.

9. Padargad a.k.a. Chimney trek of Sahyadris

Padargad offers an interesting route to reach the top. The trek is Enroute the way to Bhimashankar, in Karjat area. The route to trek is a bit difficult as you need to climb up using ropes through a chimney of rocks – that is a narrow passageway formed between 2 vertical rock patches.  One can either use rocks to climb or support himself to the top by moving legs on one patch and back on the other. There is a huge plateau on the top that hosts a large cave facing the valley and few dried up water cut cisterns. There is a narrow pinnacle on the top which is often attempted by experienced and technical trekkers. It’s a moderate trek and should be attempted along with an experienced trekker, whereas the pinnacle climb is a difficult one and would require all the technical assistance. So we would recommend this to go with a trekking group.

This trek can be attempted by even a novice trekker, but please go with a group as attempting to cross Chimney can be risky. Chimney is the only tricky part for this trek, rest trek can easily be hiked.

We would rate this one 6 on the difficulty level and 5 on endurance. 

8. Bhairavgarh

A thriller trek in Sahyadris, Bhairavgarh is a hillfort of Maharashtra located near Moroshi. The trek is difficult as it requires technical expertise. At many points you need to take help of the ropes to traverse through the route. I still remember traversing through a narrow patch holding onto the rope.  It was super exciting. There are a few caves located at the base of the fort where you could just chill, relax and have lunch/dinner. The top of the fort is a small plateau. We did a whole photo session up there.

On the way back there are a few patches where you need to rappel. WOW … that was super thrilling and fun. Even though the patch is just 15-20 ft high, it still manages to enthral you.  The trek can be completed in a day. Throughout the trek, you have the valley on one side. It’s a very rocky trek, with very less shade and should be commenced right after monsoons when it won’t be hot and also the rocks won’t be slippery.

We would rate this one 7 on the difficulty level and 5 on endurance. 

7. Range Trek from Ratangad to Harishchandragad

Range treks have their own charm and take you on an interesting journey. These are our personal favourites. Whenever we have long weekends or a little over a weekend to spend time, we plan for a Range trek. Trek to Harishchandragad has quite a few routes – one from Pichnai, one from Khireshwar, one from Nalichi vaat and one from Belpada. But the range trek of Ratan-Harish is very famous, which takes you from Ratangad all the way to Harishchandragad via Khireshwar route. It is usually attempted in 3 days but can be completed in 2 days as well, as we did it.

Harishchandragad – the jewel of Sahyadris is one trek that is in every trekker’s list who either lives in Maharashtra or wants to trek in Sahyadris. The heart of Harishchandragad is Konkankada – the cliff hanging down the valley. Sometimes a circular rainbow also known as Indravajra can be seen from this point in the monsoons. One more phenomenon that is quite interesting here is vertical cloud burst – this is exactly opposite of cloud waterfall. In this phenomenon there is a wall like formation of clouds – a wall more than 50 ft high. Pretty awesome huh.

Go ahead and plan your itinerary this monsoon, you might get lucky as well. As for the range trek, you will cover almost 50-55 kms over the span of 3 days.

We would rate this on 5 for difficulty and 8 for endurance because you really need to cover long distances. 

6. Lonavala to Bhimashankar Range Trek (a.k.a. Lobhi)

Lobhi is a 3 day trek, but again can be managed in 2 days. The trek is usually attempted in Monsoon, when the water is present throughout the route, making the trek manageable. And also making the entire route very scenic and beautiful. Along this route you will encounter lush green plateaus, beautiful streams, and dense forest. This trek is a combination of uphill, downhill and forest trails. You literally venture through the wildlife sanctuary of Bhimashankar.

We were lucky enough to spot a Lion tailed macaque and the giant squirrel otherwise known as shekhru in the local language. Don’t get surprised by the fancy name – a lion tail macaque is a sub-species of monkey with white mane and a black body. It is endemic to Western Ghats of India.

Lobhi is an intermediate level trek and should be in every trekker’s bucketlist. You cover a distance of around 70 kms which can be quite hectic and tiring when attempted in 2 days. So if you want a thrill, then you can try attempting it in 2 days. But if you want to enjoy the scenic beauty and nature, then we would recommend attempting it in 3 days.

On the level of difficulty, we would rate this one 6 while on endurance we would rate this 8. 

5. Alang Madan

Situated in the Kalsubai range of Sahayadris in Nasik district. Also called Alangad and Madangad – these 2 hill tops lie near to each other and hence are often trekked together over the 2 days. Some trekkers club this trek with one more peak – Kulang and call this trek as alang-madan-kulang – famous AMK. But we did Kulang separately and Alang-madan as a separate trek. This is a difficult trek and requires technical expertise as you have to climb up and rappel down(on your way back)  an 80 ft rock patch which is at a gradient of almost 90 degrees while scaling Alang.

First you cover Madangad as there is not much room to stay at the top there. And also it is less technical. But yeah it does require a rock climb and rappel – though a smaller rock patch. After this we head on to Alangad. The patch here is the most exciting and thrilling. There is a plateau at the top with lots of caves where you get to stay during the night. The trek offers scenic views with Kulang on one side and Kalsubai on the other.

The overall trek is very exciting and thrilling. We will not recommend this one to the first timers due to the difficult terrain and the dangerous long traverses enroute. Also it is not preferred for solo treks due to its technical nature.

On the scale of difficulty we will rate this 9 while for endurance we will rate this 6. 

4. Harihar trek

The trek to Harihar is famous for its fort entrance which is an ancient stairway carved on rocks with a 70-80 degree incline. This is the best feature of this trek as the peculiar stairway is so made that it acts as a wind-gateway.  It is so windy that it makes you feel as if you might lose your balance the next moment. You can practically feel the strength of the wind pushing you backwards. There are more than a hundred stairs and most of the trekkers visit this fort just to experience the thrill of them. Once you climb up the staircase, and reach the top, you will witness a huge plateau with many water cisterns. There are few temples as well. The trek to Harihar can be completed in a single day.

It’s a rather small trek but the iconic steps on this trek make it one of the most thrilling treks in Sahyadris.

3. Range trek from Rajgad to Torna.

This is one of the very interesting range treks that can be done just after the monsoons. The trek starts from the base village of Rajgad fort – Gunjavane. Rajgad is a historic fort and holds great importance in the history of Maharashtra. It is a royal fort and was the first capital of the Maratha empire during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Torna is one of the highest and massive hill forts in Sahayadris.

The forts of Rajgad and Torna are separated by a ridge of 7 interconnecting hills forming a beautiful trail. The total distance that we cover on this trek is approx 30kms. It’s not very difficult terrain to hike but at times you find small steep patches. When we did the trek we had planned to reach Torna by the evening, but we got delayed, and ended up spending the night in a small cottage of a villager in the middle of the jungle.

One of a kind experience. From Rajgad you can see Torna fort and it seems to be quite far. Remember we were wondering if we will be able to reach the fort in a few hrs – it seemed so distant. But we managed to reach there pretty quick. The whole trek is a trail through that ridge after you reach the top of Rajgad Fort. There are few rocky patches but that’s what makes the trek interesting. It’s an intermediate trek that can be completed in 2 days.

On the difficulty level, we will rate it 6 while on the endurance we will give it 7.

2. Kulang

One of the most famous treks in Sahyadris that might interest you. And when clubbed with Alang MAdan – it forms the famous range trek – AMK. Generally these are done together but if you want to enjoy Kulang we would recommend you to attempt it separately. Kulang is a very beautiful trek especially when you do it just prior to the monsoons – end of May or early June. It is a 2 day trek. If you want you can cover it in a day as well but you will have a better experience if you manage to stay over at night.

There is a huge plateau at the top to explore and amazing views of the valley beneath. This is one place where you get to witness a beautiful sunset and an amazing sunrise. There are huge natural caves at the top where you can spend your night and even cook your meals. That’s some experience. And yeah there are water cisterns available as well for your water needs. Nights are windy and cold so be prepared – whatever the season be.

And the best part of Kulang are the mornings – especially pre-monsoon ones, where you wake up to the spectacular play of nature. There are clouds floating all around and you feel literally above the clouds. Cloud waterfall is quite a unique phenomenon that we were lucky enough to witness there. Honestly we had not even heard about it before. An unforgettable experience.

The difficulty level for this trek would be 6 and even the endurance is 6.

1. Sandhan Valley

We did this trek a few years back but this is one of the treks which is quite a different one. Given the fact that during this trek you just descend down the valley , this is quite a unique one. This Trek is done in the winters – between November to February, reason being that the valley is filled with water in the monsoons and it is not possible to wade through those waters. Even when we did it in November, the water was almost 5 ft deep.

Though this water patch is quite small, the adventure of this trek begins right there. After this we come to the next level of adventure – hopping on the big boulders. These jumps and hops on those rocks is quite taxing on the knees. At places you even have to rappel your way down. Though not very high rappel patches, but still they make this trek an exciting one. And not one, rather there are about 3-4 rappel patches on this route. So all in all this trek keeps surprising you with different flavours along the route. But even then we will say It’s an intermediate level of trek that can be completed in 2 days. This trek requires technical assistance for sure owing to the fact that you have to rappel down so please venture out on this adventure with a guide or a trekking group.

On the difficulty level, we will rate this one 8 and on endurance we will keep it 8.

And with this we complete our list of top 10 treks in Sahyadri ranges. There are many other treks in Sahyadris as well which deserve special mention like Lingana, Chanderi, Siddhagad and few others. Each trek in Sahyadri is special and unique in itself. All the treks in Sahyadris that end with “Garh” – are the remains of forts and fortresses of earlier times. We would request you not to compare them with the royal forts of Mp and Rajasthan. These hill forts have stood their own struggle against time and have been more of defence forts rather than residential ones.

While we have covered places like Harishchandragarh, Bhimashankar, Ratangarh etc, in range treks but they are really great trekking experiences individually as well. One of the special mention would be trekking to Harishchandragarh via Nalichi vat, which is another thrilling trek in itself. And speaking of Harishchandragarh, besides trekking it also offers one more adventure activity – rappelling from Konkankada, in which you rappel down almost 800 Ft. But that’s for another podcast.

All the information that we have curated and presented to you is based on our experiences and research.

This we complete our list of top 10 treks in Sahyadri ranges. So stay tuned for this interesting and fun episode of Banjaaraa couple.

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