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Keep Walking: Naina Range and Naina Peak Trail

Its only after 3 or 4 days into our Uttarakhand stay (Shyamkhet), we had the wisdom to search Google for ‘trekking trails near Nainital’. We had initially dismissed Nainital as a crowded tourist destination. While it might be true, there are a few trekking trails one can enjoy away from the crowds. Naina Peak (earlier called Cheeni Peak) trek was one such. The trail starts from a point at the Nainital–Kilbury Road, which itself is a narrow road that leads to Kilbury and Pangot Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary.

View from Naina Peak West, Nainital
From Naina Peak West

The forest department team issued an entry ticket at the entrance and instructed us not to stray from marked trails. Somewhere in the middle, the trail forks, with one going up the peak and the other to Kilbury and Pangot. We had read about the Pangot trail option as well, but it was too late and too little planning.

Naina Peak Trek Map
Naina Peak Trail

The distance till the repeater station is barely 2 km, but it was a steep trail and hence tiring. We probably took close to an hour to reach up, with frequent stops. Once at the top, we explored the East Peak and West Peak trails (each not more than 600 meters apart). The East Peak gives a fantastic view of Nainital lake and the town, while the West Peak gives a view of the unending ranges of mountains to Kilbury and beyond. Apart from these two trails, we explored a wide mud path that descended on the north-western side for a couple of kilometers. Later we were told that the trail leads to Kilbury.

Nainital View from Naina Peak Trek
From Naina Peak East

On our return, at the fork, we took the trail to Kilbury for little over a kilometer. Mostly flat but narrow, through the forests with a valley to one side, the trail felt sparsely used. A trek/hike through the forests till Kilbury and Pangot seemed a promising one. And that’s for a later trip.

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