Trek to Horse Face (Kudremukha)...
This is undoubtedly one of the scenic and famous trek in the southern India. There is no way we at Hilltrotters could have resisted ourselves from trekking the Kudremukh Peak.
As we have completed this trek almost 5+ times, we thought of writing few things about this trek just like the hundreds of bloggers who have already done extensive writing about Kudremukha trek.
Kudremukha peak stands tall at 1892 meters above MSL and its part of the greater Kudremukha national park spreading across Udupi, Chikkamagalur and Dakshina Kannada district. Kudremukha national park comes under of one of the 34 bio diversity hot spots of the world. The national park which is a evergreen rain forest, boasts the biodiversity and wildlife which it sustains such as Tigers, Malabar Civets, Spotted Deer and specially the endangered lion tailed macaque.
The kudremukha trek is one of the well known in the Trekking circuits in south India, specially from Mangalore and Bangalore side trekkers. Now a days there are numerous restrictions on the trekking in the light of protecting the natural forest region from the excessive human intervention.
The trek starts from Balagal bus stop (between Samse and Kudremukha National park HQ) which also has a small forest entry check post. Here you can get breakfast as well in the nearby small shop/hotel.
The small concrete road in the left side goes all the way till Mullodi house (6kms approx - Balagal to Mullodi road) which takes you to Satish Mullodi home stay, you will see plenty of other home stays as well like Raje Gowda home stay, Mohan's home stay and plenty more.
You can contact these home stay in advance and ask them to pick you up from Balagal itself in their 4x4 jeeps or you in non monsoon season you can take your Bikes all the way up if you are good with riding extreme. We at hilltortters always preferred Satish Mullodi home stay for our stay and food arrangements. They will arrange buffet breaksfast and dinner and provide packed lunch for the day trek.
The forest office is just 500 mtrs from Mullodi home stay and you can get your trek permit from there along with your local guide which can be arranged by Home stay itself. We trekked Kudremukha back in 2015, 2016 and 2017, that time the entry permit was at 400-450 rupees per head and guide charges were 500/- per group (plus any additional tip).
The trek continues from Forest check point and crosses plenty of streams and forest cover to reach first point which is Lobo House which is a ramshackle house which might have been used earlier for emergency purpose. From Lobo house the ascent becomes a bit more moderate till you reach a natural rest point under a huge tree, which gives a panoramic view of Kudremukha valley (once famous for Coal Mining). From here till the zig zag pass just below the Kudremukha peak, the trek is easy grade and you will cross over lots of streams, forest patches and a point called Onti mara (single tree on the ridge like trek path).
From the zig zag pass the trek becomes moderate again till you get to the top, on the way to the top you will find a small stream and during monsoon it might look like top of the waterfalls where you can fill your bottles.
From the peak, you get a 360 degree panoramic view of entire Kudremukha National park and other smaller peaks, meadows and forest cover. It is one of the fulfilling experiences that we can have in our short lifetime, spending quality time at the center of western ghats, one of the world's 34 bio diversity hot spots.
And that's not all, when you get back to Mullodi home stay, you can take a dip into the Somavathi waterfalls just next to Home stay.
How to Reach Kudremukha Trek trail:
1. By bus : Both private and Govt KSRTC bus options are available. KSRTC has many busses towards Horanadu and Kalasa, but these will drop you at either Kalsa or Horanadu. Opt for bus going to towards Karkala (overnight journey) and get down at Balagal bus stop.
2. By Private vehicle/Bike: it will be 340 kms approx from Bangalore and around 150kms from Udupi or Mangalore.
Trek Distance & Difficulty:
The trek is around 10.5 kms (one way) from Mullodi Homestay till peak.
Difficulty is Easy-Moderate (during monsoon it becomes moderate trek)
The trail is well marked (but requires a local guide to avoid risks during monsoon season)
During monsoon season and some times till September you will find leeches on the trail since it is a evergreen rain forest.
Best season to Trek:
September to February.
Avoid peak monsoon (most of the time trek will be closed out from March to July). Contact home stay to know such restrictions before hand.
The day time temperature will be normal from 25 - 30 degrees, but night time it will be around 15 degrees during winters, so plan accordingly.
Things to do after the trek:
1. Dip into the Somavathi waterfalls (right next to Mullodi homestay - waterfalls is good to visit only till December, post that water will be very less)
2. Day hike to Baamikonda and Kilchikia ridge walk - check with Mullodi guides for the arrangements.
In this way you will two treks in one weekend :)
3. Head to Bhagavathi Nature camp (now under Jungle Lodges and Resorts) - they offer few more short day hikes to Kurinjal and other nearby forest treks and provide pleasant stay with tasty food (might not be pocket friendly).
4. Samse tea estates - on the way to Bangalore, before Kalasa town for a cup of fresh brewed coffee or tea.
5. Kalaseshwara Temple - Just at the end of Kalasa town (on the Horanadu road) for the religious people.
Home stay contact:
I have been always preferring Mullodi homestay of Satisha, who has very good facilities like breakfast, packed lunch, evening crispy snacks with tea/coffee and sumptuous night dinner (he can arrange non-veg items too on prior request). They have their house for putting sleeping bags and outside house large varandha for pitching tents. Thye have added a new 4 room cottage right next to their original home stay to extend the stay facilities.
Below are the contact details for
Satisha (Mullodi Homestay)
Arun's Homestay (Mullodi, Kudremukh)
Hilltrotters organised Kudremukha trek back in 2016, 2017, both the times post monsoon (September to October) which is the best season to visit.
Its a Easy-Moderate trek so, proper trek preparations are necessary such as physical fitness, good pair of trekking shoes and small backpack to carry essentials.
Night trekking is restricted as well as trekking without proper guide is not allowed as it is a national park.
For more detailed information or itinerary on Sahyadri Bike rides or Trekking in western ghats or other awesome places in India, please contact HillTrotters@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page "HillTrotters", also subscribe to us on YouTube channel with "HillTrotters Travelogues".
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