8 treks that your kids will love

We bring you a list of easy treks and trails that can be enjoyed by the whole family
8 treks that your kids will love

Ajoba, Maharashtra
Located about 70km from Mumbai, Asangaon is the gateway to Ajoba, one of the highest peaks of the Sahyadri range. Halfway to the peak is Valmiki Ashram, a popular tourist attraction. From Asangaon, take a local bus/drive to Dehnne, the village at the foot of the hill, the starting point of the trek. It takes around three hours to reach the Valmiki Ashram. After a brief rest, you can trek further to explore the Lav Kush caves &ndash during monsoon, the way lies through a waterfalls. This is a popular night trekking trail. But it is better to go with an experienced adventure tour group if you want to enjoy a night trail (https://www.mumbaitravellers.in/).

Beas Kund, Himachal Pradesh
Solang valley, about 15km from Manali, is known for its summer and winter sports activities. From Solang valley, you can go on a three-four day trip to Beas Kund. The easy to moderately difficult trail will take you to Beas Kund, a glacial lake that is the source of the Beas River. Stay the night in Solang before embarking on the trek. Next morning, follow the trail through Dhundi to spend the night at the Bhakarthatch meadow (3300 metres). Next day, you start for Beas Kund (4471metres). It is a steep climb and a round trip takes around 6-7hours. Spend the night once again in Bhakarthatch. Next day, descend to Solang Valley and continue to Manali by car if you have to.  
Those who cannot make the longer trip, can go on a two-day trekking trip to the Patalsu Peak (3963 metres) from Solang. The round trip to the peak will take a good part of the day.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Maharashtra
Located on the Mumbai-Goa highway, the sanctuary is about 60km from Mumbai. A hike to the Karnala fort inside the forest could be strenuous for children, but you can easily follow the trail through the moist deciduous base forest and try bird watching. There is a forest check gate where you can park your car for a fee. A day outing, it can also be turned into an overnight trip. Big Red Tent (https://www.bigredtent.in/) offers accommodation and various activities in its camp site located near the Sanctuary.

Kondana Caves, Maharashtra
Karjat town is about 90km from Mumbai. From Karjat, drive down to Kondana village, the gateway to the hill top Buddhist caves of Kondana. It takes about an hour to trek to the top. During monsoon, waterfalls cascade over the caves. Enthusiasts try waterfall rappelling but it should be done under supervision. Several adventure tour operators offer day trips from Mumbai (https://www.trekmatesindia.com/ https://www.mumbaitravellers.in/).

Mawthadraishan, Meghalaya
The trek to Mawthadraishan peak (1800 metres) begins from Nongshillong village on Shillong-Nongstoin Road. The trail passes through the picturesque Khasi hills of Meghalaya. It takes about two hours to reach the top from where you can have a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and the plains of Assam. On a clear day, you can also see the Himalayas on the north. Not far from the peak is a place called Mawphanlur where you will find several pools. From Mawphanlur, you can trek past Markasa to reach Nongshillong. The entire trek will take a good part of the day. It is better to be accompanied by a local guide.

Ramanagara, Karnataka
Located about 50km from Bengaluru, the boulder-packed landscape of Ramanagara became famous after being portrayed as the Ramgarh village in the Hindi film Sholay. Most people try the trek to Ramdevara Betta and its temples. There are 400 steps that lead to the hill-top temple. But those looking for adventure, often try the trek route. What makes climbing a challenge is the steep gradient of the rocks, which calls for some good gripping. Proper trekking shoes a must.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, Maharashtra
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), located in Borivali, Mumbai has several interesting trails taking off from various directions that can be visited as part of a half day trip.

The Shilonda Trail starts a little beyond SGNP&rsquos main entrance. The 1.5km trail goes through a lightly wooded forest and ends at a stream (seasonal). You need special permission to access this trail. Mumbai-based BNHS-India (www.bnhs.org/) conducts special half-day treks here. The accompanying naturalists ensure that children and adults observe and learn about the plants, insects, butterflies and birds found here. Note You need to walk for about 15 minutes from the SGNP gate to the start of the trail.

On the northern end of SGNP is the Nagla block, which has to be approached through Thane, to the north of Mumbai. It is an easy trek, especially enjoyable during monsoon and winter. The 3km long trail is a good place to get the children interested in insect study, bird watching and photography. The trail ends in a small jetty overlooking the Vasai creek. Note Stay in a group. The area is visited by the occasional leopard.

Go slow but steady on this slightly steep trail that takes off from premises of the Goregaon-based Conservation Education Centre (near Film City) and goes up to the Salim Ali Point, the highest point of SGNP. From the top, you can see the Vihar Lake and parts of Mumbai, if the weather is clear. The trail is best visited with the naturalists from BNHS and CEC. Note If you are a large group, you can approach CEC to provide breakfast (separate payment) after the walk. The CEC is closed until June 2015.

Sandakphu, West Bengal
Tucked into the Darjeeling Himalayas, Sandakphu is the highest peak in West Bengal. Although advanced trekkers can complete the trek in two days, it is better to spend three-four days to enjoy the trek. The initial part of the trek goes through the Singalila National Park (entry permits available at the forest check gate). The trek starts from Maneybhanjyang (26km from Darjeeling). Stop at Meghma for tea and snacks. The next 2km is a steep climb to Tonglu, near the Indo-Nepal border. Spend the night here. The next day, descend to Gairibas and then climb to Kalipokhri. Take a small break. Because you now have to descend to Bikeybhyanjang and a little after Bikeybhyanjang starts the steepest climb, to Sandakphu. Sandakphu offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan snow peaks, including Kanchenjunga. You can return the next day via a different route through Rammam to a village called Rimbick. Spend a night at a homestay in Rimbick before returning to Darjeeling the following day. Or, you can go to Phalut, a slightly difficult trek, and then return via Rammam and Rimbick. The best part of this trek is that trekkers&rsquo huts are available at a lot of places, such as Maneybhanjyang, Tonglu, Gairibas, Sandakphu, Phalut, Gorkhey, Rammam, Shirikhola and Rimbick   (contact  Deputy Director of Tourism, Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, Darjeeling tel 0354-2254879/2255351 fax 0354-2254214).

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