Kuari Pass (Curzon Trail)

  • © flickr user- Idranx
  • nanda Devi East - © Flickr User - Michael Scalet
  • kuari pass camp  - © alpenglow
  • Kuari Pass Camo  - © flickr user
  • Kuari Passed by our mules - © flickr user
  • Tornant del Kuari - © flickr user- Idranx
  • Tornant del Kuari  - © flickr user- Idranx
  • © flickr user- Rick McCharles
  • © flickr user - deeltijdgod

Key information: Kuari Pass (Curzon Trail)

    • The Nanda Devi area's best-known trek, the Curzon Trail, winds upward near the western edge of the reserve, crossing the Kuari Pass and gaining outstanding views of the high range.
      • Walking in remote mountains, where altitude can affect you. Come fully prepared.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating90
  • Beauty35
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest8
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points3
  • Total rating90
  • Note: Negs: altitude

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 7+ days
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,658m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
© flickr user - deeltijdgod


The Nanda Devi area is home to miraculous mountains (most famously the Nanda Devi Sanctuary), and remains one the loveliest and remotest areas of the Indian Himalayas.

As well as Nanda Devi itself, at 7,817m, India's highest (exclusive) mountain, other peaks in the massif include the pyramidic Kamet (at 7,756m), and Trisul (7,12m). To the west, the mountains curve round in a huge horseshoe, to create the vast and dramatic Nanda Devi Sanctuary.

The area's best-known trek, the so-called Curzon Trail is named after the famous Viceroy, who walked here in 1905 (although his party had to abandon its walk to the 3,658m Kuari Pass after an attack of wild bees he did apparently get there later on). Its winds for 5 days upward in the "Outer Sanctuary" near the western edge of the reserve, crossing the pass and gaining outstanding views (claimed to be among the best in the world) both there and at nearby Gorson Top, a side-walk you should not miss.

There are many variants of the route: you can walk the essentials in 5 days, and we have seen a 13-day wander in the area, which perhaps is overdoing it. Most versions approach from the south and start at Wan, or soon get to it, and often end at the ski centre of Joshimath, heading northward toward the high range. You can walk it southward - this gets you to the Kuari Pass quite quickly, though (Day 2 or 3).

From the south, you will spend some time (the first 3 days or more) in lower farmland and old forest including oak, rhododendron and bamboo, a delightful counterpoint to the highlands later. You will cross rivers, enjoy waterfalls and investigate a still-intact way of life in the high valleys. At the heart of the trek, you will spend 3 days or so on higher ridges and meadowlands above the treeline, with their outstanding views of the high massif (do try to ensure you get the chance to climb Gorson Top), then make a long final day's descent to Joshimath.

The trek has the great appeal of being relatively moderate altitude-wise (the Kuari Pass isn't all that high, at 3,658m, after several days' acclimatization), although quite a rollercoaster, involving a lot of up and down - but providing a platform for outstanding views into the heart of the array of grand but gorgeous mountains, and with some particularly lovely campsites.

The trek can be made mid-May to end of October. For best conditions, mid-September to mid-October.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by recommending your best walks in the area, making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

For more information and photos, see also Nanda Devi Area page 

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Kuari Passed by our mules - © flickr user

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Tornant del Kuari - © flickr user- Idranx...

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