Trail near geroge everest.
Trail to George Everest; PC: Abhishek Sohu

George Everest was the Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, under whose leadership a great part of the Great Trigonometrical Survey in India was completed. George Everest Peak near Mussoorie derives its name by the presence of his house that is situated 300 meters down the top of this hill. We begin the day hike a kilometer short of the George Everest peak and make our way to the top. The under 30 minute hike brings us to the top of the hill and we can get a good view of the house. We descend down the hill and take the course leading towards the house. After visiting the house we continue further and find our way across scattered rural settlements and towards the reserved forest area of Mussoorie, known as Benog Wildlife Sanctuary, which we enter right after crossing the road leading to Cloud's End, another popular motorable view point for visitors in Mussoorie.
After a quick descent through the forest we begin to climb back up on the opposite hill, the Benog Hill which houses a temple dedicated to goddess Jwala Devi. The route is scarcely hiked but is a wide and clearly marked trail all the way up to the top of the hill. The ridge that rises in the West to East direction provides a good view of the Mussoorie town to its East, while the Yamuna river and its encompassing valleys can be seen in the distance, slight east of north alongwith many rural settlements spread across the neighbouring hills.
We return back along the same route upto the road head (Cloud's end road) and drive back to Dehradun via Mussoorie. Alternatively we can camp at a secluded place nearby and choose to return to Dehradun the consecutive day, early in the morning.

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  • Day 1: Dehradun to Pantwari(1,400 m) to Kathian campsite(2,265 m)

    We begin the day early from Dehradun so that we can avoid the traffic towards Mussoorie and Kempty falls. Mussoorie is 22 km from Dehradun and Kempty falls another 17 km ahead. The road continues downhill from here towards the Yamuna river bed and reaches the town of Nainbagh. One road continues towards Yamunotri while we take the narrower road which climbs uphill towards Pantwari village. This takes us behind the Mussoorie ridge and into shepherd territory. Gujjars with their domesticated sheep and goats are seen on hill tops. Terraced farms and hill slopes dotted with Bauhinia trees with their purple blossoms are a sight to photograph. These flowering trees are easily identified by their leaves which are in the shape of a camels' foot.

    After an hour, we reach Pantwari village and begin our ascent to our camping site. One can enjoy the village setting and life. Women are seen working on the wheat and green pea fields. Men are mainly employed in government jobs in the plains or work as porters and guides. Our trekking trail rises beyond the farms and enters wild territory. Flowers and birds are in plenty here. Most prominent flowers are white anemones (a flowering shrub) while among birds the jungle babbler, red vented bulbul, blue cheeked bulbul, hill myna, warblers and tits are common. We reach our camping ground by late afternoon and enjoy the sunset over the hill spurs. The camping ground is flush with mint leaves which can be mixed to form a delightful brew of mint tea or the Kandali shrub can be washed and cooked to form a tasty saag.

  • Day 2: Trek from campsite to Nagtibba top(3,020 m) and back to Pantwari; Drive back to Dehradun.

    We start the second day post breakfast and climb to the Nag Devta temple. It is an ill maintained temple premise with a pujari, who is present occasionally. The locals come here frequently to pay their obeisance. There is a vast open space near the temple which is often used as a grazing ground for sheep and goats. The Nag Tibba ridge rises further up and is another 2 hours hike ahead. There is a distinct change in vegetation from here. The forests become dense and is dominated by oaks and rhododendrons. The forest floor is also damp indicating the lack of sunlight reaching it.

    This is an ideal habitat for a variety of orchids (locally called kachanar) to grow. However, with the pressure of grazing, lopping of oaks and trekking, this region is under anthropogenic pressure. A variety of birds like the niltava and flameback woodpecker are seen in the barks of oak trees. We follow the trail back to our campsite and after lunch head down to Pantwari village. The trek down is easy and fast and can be covered in a couple of hours. We then proceed onwards to Dehradun by our transport.

  • Yamuna is visible from Benog Hill top.

Transport support from and to Dehradun: starting from pickup and drop on day 1.

Guide and cook fees.

Rent for camping equipment.

Forest entry charges. (Non Indian Nationals will be charged an extra 500 rupees for Forest Permit)

Porter and mule support to carry camping equipment. Please note that personal luggage can be carried by mules and/or porters on chargeable basis.

Vegetarian breakfast and packed lunch.

Transport to reach Dehradun from hometown.

Personal expenses like tips, personal medicines, phone calls etc.

Any transport support during the trek apart from what is included above.

Accommodation in Dehradun.

Personal luggage with mass not exceeding 12 kg per bag per person can be carried by porters/mules @ Rs 250 per day per bag.

  • Trekking Boots: Waterproof, high ankle with good grip.
  • One Raincoat/Poncho
  • 1-2 t-shirts/shirts – preferably quick dry
  • 1 trouser (avoid shorts, fitting denims, capris)
  • Waterproof Rucksack or Rucksack with rain-cover
  • Water Bottle
  • Hat or sun protection cap
  • Woolen cap/scarf
  • Warm Fleece, needed in winters or bad weather
  • Identitiy cards
  • Personal Toiletries (toothbrush,toothpaste etc)
  • Sunscreen cream/moisturizer/lip balm
  • Extra pair of socks

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