Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its rolling hills, dense forests, and scenic landscapes, Islamabad offers a variety of hiking and trekking trails to suit every level of fitness. From easy nature walks to challenging mountain treks, these trails offer an opportunity to escape the city life and immerse oneself in the breath-taking beauty of Islamabad’s landscape. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a beginner, there is a trail waiting for you in this picturesque city. Know Famous Hiking Trails in Islamabad.
List of Essentials for Hiking Trails in Islamabad
Here is a list of things to consider when preparing for a hike:
- Good hiking shoes or boots
- Comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather
- A backpack to carry your essentials
- Plenty of water and a hydration system
- Snacks or a packed lunch
- Sun protection, such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- A first-aid kit, including any personal medications
- A map or navigation tool, such as a GPS device or a compass
- A flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
- A rain jacket or poncho in case of rain
- Warm layers, such as a fleece or jacket, for cooler temperatures
- Insect repellent
- A multi-tool or knife
- A whistle for emergency situations
- Trash bags to carry out any litter.
It is important to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before your hike, and to adjust your packing list accordingly. Additionally, let someone know your hiking plans and expected return time, and always carry your cell phone in case of an emergency.
For those unfamiliar, Trail 3 begins on the right side of Margalla Road across from Sector F 6/3 (approximately at GPS coordinates 33.741955 and 73.081806). The use of technology has made it easier to locate the trail, which can be found on Google Maps by searching for “Trail 3 Parking, Islamabad.”
The trek to Monal Restaurant in Islamabad is a must-visit for all nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers are welcomed by a large map at the start of the trail, with the regular track stretching 6.1 km and taking around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. The steeper path is 5 km long, so it’s recommended to plan your journey beforehand.
The trail offers multiple undiscovered paths through the Margalla Hills, allowing for an adventure and the possibility of getting lost. The first leg of the journey is 1.8 km and features a wooden canopy and prayer place for rest. Along the way, local kids sell water and refreshments to hikers. After about 10-15 minutes of hiking, you’ll reach “The Pines,” a steep path leading towards the summit.
About 1.4 km from “The Pines,” you’ll reach the third leg of the journey, which brings you closer to the summit and your ultimate destination, the Monal Restaurant. The final stretch of the hike, 1.2 km, is easy if you stay on the regular track.
If you want to make the most of your trip, consider availing the services of a trusted travel agency in Pakistan. They offer affordable and exceptional services, ensuring a hassle-free and enjoyable journey with loved ones.
Trail 5 in Islamabad is highly sought after by hikers due to its diverse terrain. This trail runs parallel to Trail 3 at certain points and is considered less challenging than the latter. Starting from Margalla Road in Sector F-5, Trail 5 leads to the top of Pir Sohawa Road and covers a distance of 5.08 km, taking an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 hours to complete. You can also start from Trail 3.
At the start of the trail, hikers are greeted by a stream of fresh water and a beautiful seating area where they can wash away their worries before continuing on. The trail is divided into three different tracks, with the first one being a regular and tranquil path that passes by the famous Ficus Spring.
The second track, known as “Trail-5 Dangerous,” offers more challenging and adventurous routes with breath-taking views. Most parts of Trail 5 run through the serene and peaceful areas of Haripur district and provide ample camping opportunities.
Along the way, hikers will also come across a famous pitstop called “Gurr ki Chai.” This tea is known for its strong, robust flavour, which is achieved by adding gur (unrefined sugar) to the mix. Whether you need a warm drink before starting your hike or a soothing refreshment after, this tea is sure to hit the spot.
This track opened to the public in 2013 and starts behind the well-known Shah Faisal Mosque, where visitors can also park their vehicles. The trail covers a distance of 8.21 km and has an elevation range from 601 meters to 995 meters, taking roughly 3-3.5 hours to complete.
At the start of the trail, there is a large map to help hikers plan their route and avoid any unnecessary detours. Hikers can also leave their pets with CDA staff if they are unable to bring them along on the hike. This trail also features a mountain biking track.
The first 1.8 km of Trail 6 is relatively flat, with a water stream appearing after 1.1 km of hiking. This stream can be difficult to navigate in the summer, and hikers may need to cross it multiple times to stay on the marked path. It’s important to remember to carry an extra pair of shoes or protect the ones being worn, as the next 2 km of the trail is steep.
Trail 6 offers both a fire lane and a regular trail, with the regular trail turning left at 2.1 km and becoming steeper. The fire lane, which turns right, is the toughest of all and can save hikers 20 minutes, but it also lacks a water source, making it a challenging option.
The hike to the summit of Trail 6 in Islamabad offers a unique chance to immerse in nature while residing in a city environment. Once you reach the end of the trail, the breath-taking panoramic views will leave you feeling like the ruler of the world.
Pir Sohawa to Ghora Gali
The trail from Pir Sohawa to Ghora Gali in Islamabad is a challenging hike and is ranked second among the toughest hiking trails in the area. The trek is 28 km long and takes 7-9 hours to complete. It starts at Pir Sohawa Road, passes through Pharilla and other villages, and ends at Lora Road near Ghora Gali.
Hikers often camp along the trail to enjoy the serenity of nature. Keep in mind that there is no return trail, so make sure to plan your journey accordingly. The trail runs along a ridge and offers stunning views of the surroundings, including the Kashmir and Hazara region on a clear day.
It is recommended only for experienced hikers or those under the supervision of experienced individuals. Make sure to prepare well for this challenging trek by bringing all necessary items.
Makhniyal Second Ridge Trail
The Makhniyal Second Ridge Trail is another challenging hiking trail that offers stunning views of the hills and is covered by pine trees. It can be completed in 2-2.5 hours and starts from the Makhniyal Village, where cars can be parked. Along the trail, hikers will come across a viewpoint where they can see the Rawal Dam and the Khanpur Dam.
Nooran di Galli & Talhaar Ridge Trail
The Talhaar Ridge Trail is a strenuous hike that can be accessed from different points like the Faisal Mosque Trail 4 and Monal Road. You can park your car in the parking lot behind the Faisal Mosque and start your journey.
This trail combines two separate trails in the Margalla Hills and is not recommended for beginners. The hike offers breathtaking views of Islamabad and Talhaar Valley, providing a truly memorable experience. On the way back, hikers can take the Nooran di Galli trail which leads down to Islamabad through the village of Kalinjer in the Margalla Hills.
Islamabad is home to some of the most beautiful and challenging hiking trails in Pakistan. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, the city has a trail to suit your skill level. From the tough trek from Pir Sohawa to Ghora Gali to the more leisurely Makhniyal Second Ridge Trail, the city has something for everyone. These trails offer an opportunity to explore the breath-taking beauty of the city and to lose yourself in the serenity of nature.