If you are into trekking and have done the valley of Gods, Har Ki Dun Trek, then this question must have ringed in your mind just like it did in ours when we first visited Har Ki Dun. What lies beyond Har Ki Dun is Bali Pass, which connects it to Yamunotri on the other side of the pass. Regarded as one of the difficult treks of Garhwal region. Bali Pass Trek offers splendid panoramic views of Kalanag, Swargarohini and Bandarpoonch peaks. While these views get better and better as we climb higher towards the pass, the beautiful Ruinsara lake has unmatched beauty and stories that tingle with mythology. Passing through the dense Ruinsara forest, Devsu Bugyal appears as a grand surprise to trekkers.

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All this natural beauty unfolds once we are deep into the mountains, while we are approaching these high mountains we pass through some scenic villages of Himalaya. The very first day on trail takes us into the ancient villages of Osla and Gangad, a very rare chance of getting to know about life in its true and raw form. To know about the traditions and lifestyle of these villagers can be an enthralling experience.

One of the less explored regions of Himalaya, Bali Pass is a difficult trek and is not meant for first timers, it is a true delight for experienced trekkers who are looking for some offbeat treks and unexplored regions.

Trip Highlights
  • Popular trekking Pass at 16250 ft Connecting Yamunotri dham.
  • Breathtaking views of Himalayan peaks Swargarohini Massif, Kalanag and Banderpoonch.
  • Camp around Ruinsara Lake overlooking Kalanag Peak.
  • Camp at Lush Vast grasslands; walk through pine forests, and jaw dropping views of deep valleys of Himalayas.
  • Explore the hamlets of Osla, Jaunsari enroute known for artistically built houses.
Trip Facts
  • Base Camp : Sankri
  • Duration : 7 Nights – 8 Days
  • Sankri Altitude : 6300 feet
  • Chelugad Camp Altitude : 8530 feet
  • Ruinsra lake Altitude : 11490 feet
  • Best season : May - June & Sep - Oct
  • Devsu Bugyal Camp Altitude : 9850 ft
  • Trek Grade : Difficult (Subjective to Individual)
  • Total Trek Distance : On foot 64 kilometers and by taxi 425 kilometers.
Trip Cost Includes
  • Food : During Stay and Snacks during Evening Refreshments only
  • Travel : Tempo Traveler/SUV Similar Non/Ac/Bus
  • Accommodation : Basic Multiple sharing or dormitory/Tent.
  • Group Size : Group size 12 and Above.
Trip Cost Excludes
  • Any trip extensions, Stay due to road blocks or landslides, extra meals, Accommodation
Why Bali pass?

Even though multiple trekking trails are available to choose from, it is essential to understand the very reason to opt for Bali Pass Trek is..

  • The Altitude gain is 16,300 feet and not too high, the distance of 56 km covered in 7 days.
  • The ultimate journey through remote Himalayan range connects Yamunotri dham.
  • A moderate trek, and an individual with fitness can do with gradual acclimatization and with no fear of Altitude sickness. The trail is scenic with forest cover, fresh air and Perennial water all along the trail.
  • It has much more to offer than hiking, like interaction with locals, Lifestyle, Variety of flora and fauna, rich heritage, High altitude Ruinsara lake, close view of Kalanag - Black peak, Swargarohini , Bandarpoonch - Monkey tail and other peaks.
  • During winter, this valley transforms into wonderland and will be covered with white sheet of snow. In summers the valley turns into different hues, with Kaleidoscope of colors, wildflowers and woods in different shades & colors.
Itinerary:
Day one - Pick up to you from Dehradun railway station – Drive to Sankri Market – 210 Km (8/9 Hours (1920 Meters)
After a brief meet and greet at Dehradun Railway Station we start our drive for Sankri. Sankri is base camp for several famous and less explored treks alike, with very limited access to modern facilities it is a charming little Himalayan village.
Day two - Trek from Sankri to Taluka by taxi – 11 km same day trek to Cheludgad camp (12 km - 4/5 Hrs - 2600 Mts) campsite.
Taluka is connected to Sankri by a motorable road of 12 kilometers which takes almost an hour to cover. Our trek to Bali pass starts from Taluka, a small cluster of concrete houses that seems out of the place in the beautiful Himalayan settings. The road that connects Sankri and Taluka is not in good condition and is very prone to landslides especially during the months of monsoon, rains can lead to closure of this road. One can find some basic facilities in Taluka, and a forest guest house. The trail descends towards the Supin river valley, starting right next to the forest guest house in Taluka.
Leaving the village as we go ahead on the trail, the river remains on our right while on our left we can see some forest. In the starting hour of the trek we would come across two bridges, one is a cemented bridge and is about 10 minute from the village while the other one is wooden, about 15 minutes from the first bridge. About one and half hours after starting from Taluka, we come across another village right below the village of Datmir. Next is a patch of trail that is prone to landslide prone and sometimes we would have to come down to the level of the river and cross the washed away section. Half an hour through this landslide prone area we pass by a wooden bridge over the Supin river to get to a muddy zig zag section.
After the zig zag section the trail opens up a bit and goes into the village of Gangad, an easy walk of 30 minutes. The village of Gangad is famous for a flour mill that is powered by running water. Once out of the village of Gangad we keep walking for about an hour through a similar landscape and flat trail to reach our campsite of the day, Chelugad. It can be identified by some cemented houses nestled among fields of Barley and wheat. Make yourself comfortable and get ready for s celestial show stars where the stage the night sky.
Day three - Trek from Cheludgad camp to Devsu Bugyal (07 km) (3/4 Hours) (2890 Meters).
Our destination for today is Devsu Bugyal, which is about 7 kilometers from our campsite at Chelugad campsite. Starting early we will be carrying on the well defined trail going towards Seema village. A little out of the village, we are at a bridge which is not to be crossed, from the bridge we take the trail going down along the Supin river, on our left. About half an hour from the bridge, walking over several streams and landslides we will reach the entry point of Ruinsara forest, which is marked by the presence of huge boulders. The trail then takes a sharp ascent over the boulders and climbs into the forest, take a look back if you want to see the villages of Supin River valley.
About half an hour of trek through the dense Ruinsara forest, we can see a meadow in the distance. Devsu Thatch, a two-kilometre-long meadow is one of the highlights of this trek, is a true delight to walk upon. This is also our campsite for the day.
Day four - Trek from Devsu Bugyal to Ruinsara Tal (12 km) (5/6 Hours) (3500 Meters).
Today will be a bit earlier start then the last three days, for a 10 kilometre long trek on the trail that will be a good exercise for the knees. Out of Devsu Thatch we take on the trail descending down into the Ruinsara forest, right at the start of the day we would be getting a glimpse of what is in store for next days. The trail through forest takes a rapid and steep descent to reach a wooden bridge over Ruinsara river.
Get on the other side of the bridge and continue on the trail with Ruinsara river on the right. Next hour or so, over boulder mainly with some level walk and gradual ascents, will bring the trail to a hut, a nice spot for catching breath. From this hut, the trail starts to deteriorate as we get deep into the valley. Due to frequent and several landslides we might get a trail that has been washed out totally, it is advised to take extra precautions while crossing these parts. Sometimes these patches may require ropes to cross. It would take no more than two hours to cross this section.
Getting through this trick section requires some precautions but once we reach a waterfall on our left, it marks the end of this treacherous part and from here the trail takes a sharp, steep ascent to enter a meadow with silver birch at the end of it. Cross over a tributary of Ruinsara and get back on the trail, a bit ahead of this water crossing we can see a clearing on the left side of a wooden bridge. It is known as Untigad campsite. Ruinsara lake, our finale destination for the day is a little less than an hour from this campsite.
Keep on the true left of the river from here and cross a boulder zone to come out of the forest. From here we keep walking on the left till we cannot see a hut on the right in the distance. The Ruinsara lake is just ahead of this hut, on the left. Tonight we will be camping on the meadows surrounding the lake.
Day five - Trek from Ruinsara Lake to Odari camp (7 km) (4/5 Hours) (3815 Meters).
Our destination for today is a rock cave, which is used by local shepherds as a shelter from rain during monsoon months. The cave is located about 7 kilometers from the Ruinsara lake and it takes 4 to 5 hours to reach the campsite. Have a good breakfast and some hot tea, as the first hurdle of the day is an icy cold stream, after a 10 minute descent from the lake. A good rest will be needed to warm up the body, and for the steep ascent about to come.
About an hour after we get going from water crossing we will be at the top with some magnificent views of surrounding peaks such as Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini. From here it would take us one more hour to reach a point known as Thanga, the trail to Thanga is pretty level and mostly on alpine meadows. About 20 minutes or so from Thenga, we will be facing yet another water crossing, to reach this water crossing we have to cross over a wooden makeshift bridge.
Depending on the speed of walking it may take one or two hours to reach our campsite for the day, Odari. There is also folklore associated with Odari cave.
Day six - Trek from Odari camp to Bali pass Summit – down to upper Damni (11 km) (3800 Meters) (7/8 Hours)
By any measure Bali pass should not be taken lightly, the ascent to pass is steep and it gets harder and harder with rise in altitude to find the right trail. Luckily the trail is not littered with crevasses, still there will be a lot of snow and an ice axe or micro crampons might come handy. Every pass crossing day in any Himalayan trek requires an early start, today will be no exception too. We will be on trail even before the dawn shows up. The altitude of 4,950 meters means that the trail to pass will be covered in a thick layer of snow. Follow the guide and trek leader as they make a trail in thick snow.
Crossing over a series of ridges, we get a first glimpse of a snow ridge with a steep ascent, that is when we get our first view of Bali Pass. The initial path is a gradual ascent but the amount of the snow can make it tiring and lengthy. From the base of the pass it may take from one to two hours to reach the top of the pass, depending upon the condition of snow, weather and walking speed. Most of the ascent to pass is steep and bit demanding too but none of it can be termed in technical category, ropes and anchoring are not required but ice axes might come handy for the climb, in some sections.
Bali pass offers a great view of Yamunotri valley, the top of the pass is quite broad compared to other passes of himalayas and it can easily accommodate a large group. It is a great vantage point for a 360 degree view of Ruinsara and Yamunotri valley. Observing all the magical views from the pass, we look at the connecting ridge that is going to be our trail for descent. While ascending fixed ropes were not required but descending down on the Yamunotri side requires fixed ropes for the initial section of 100 meters. Once through this section we can just slide over snow towards the base of the pass. Before going all the down to the base camp, one more tricky section has to be cleared.
At the base of the pass we can see forest ridges of Damini, but reaching that forest involves threading over a boulder infested non existential trail which may require more than one hour to cross. Once we get into the forest we find the suitable place for camping and retire for the night.
Day seven - Trek from Upper Damni to Yamunotri temple or Jankichatti (11km) (2650 Meters) (6/7 Hours)
Start your trek to Yamunotri with a well laid trail from upper Damini. From upper Damini we trek 3 kilometers to reach lower Damini. From lower Damini it is an easy trek to Yamunotri Temple. We take a detour from the main trail and get on an old trail that goes towards the temple. Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna river and among the holiest places in Hindu mythology. We will be spending a night here.
Day eight - Drive from Jankichatti to Dehradun by taxi (185 km) (8/9 Hours)
Through the winding roads of Himalaya we drive to Dehradun.
Important Information:
Things To Carry
  • 1 pair of Shoes : Carry well broken/used Shoes with good Sole & ankle protection and that will sustain usage during the trek. Avoid wearing new shoes to avoid bite and blisters.
  • 1 Backpack : Light Weighted & approx 30 litres in volume with multiple pouches,good zip & straps.
  • Clothing & Toiletries : For your daily usage
  • 1 Jacket : Early mornings and nights can get really cold.
  • 1 Cap/hat : help in protecting your head and face from direct sunlight during treks.
  • 1 Water bottle : carry some reusable water bottles along.
  • 1 Towel : quick dry light towel.
  • 1 Head lamp / Torch : Keep it handy and use it only required.
  • 1 Personal Medical Kit : Carry few tablets such as crocin, Paracetamol, Band aid, cotton. ORS satchets. Glucose, Volini spray and crape bandage.
  • 1 Medic Kit : always pack a first-aid kit in case things go the other way.
  • 2 Batteries: Carry recharged spare batteries.
  • Gloves : Gloves that will keep your palms warm during extreme cold.
  • 1 Whistle : Whistle for signalling and use in times of distress only.
  • 1 Sun glasses : Carry tested and right one to protect from harsh Sunlight only.
  • Sleeping Bag : At times, there might be extreme cold and the camp beds might not be good enough to give you a good night’s sleep. It is better if you have your own warm sleeping bag.
  • Mobile : Use if for communication only. Check with trek coordinator of network availibility carry BSNL SIM if required.
  • 1 Poly Bags : To carry trash and wet clothes.
  • 1 ID Proof : Carry Photo ID proof DL / Voter Id/ similar.
Routes to reach
    • By Train : We recommend to Overnight train to Dehradun from Capital city of Delhi. New Delhi to Dehradun A/c special train from New Delhi is the best option. The Scheduled reaching time to Dehradun Railway station is at 5:40 am.
      Nanda Devi Express – Train No 12205 (Departure 11:50 pm: Arrival 5:40 am)
      Dehradun Express - Train No 12687 (Departure 21:10 pm: Arrival 5:00 am)
    • By Flight : Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to reach Dehradun, located about 25 km from the city. There are daily flights from Delhi to Dehradun.
    • By Bus : Buses ply frequently from New Delhi to Dehradun from ISBT Kashmere Gate. Private buses options too are available.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the suitability clause for this trek?
A. This trekking expedition is definitely suited for a person who is physically fit to walk approximately 6 to 7 kilometres per day without facing any health issues on a normal day. A person suffering from heart ailments, asthma and such similar problems may consult a doctor before registering for this trek. It is suggested that the doctor is aware of the schedule and climatic conditions before approving for participation in the trek.

Q. How can I best prepare myself for the trek?
A. You are advised to exercise and go on daily long walks and jogs for a few weeks before your trek.

Q. What are the expected adversities in climatic conditions during the trip?
A. The temperature can get as cold as -5 degrees in few regions during the night. It basically depends on where you come from. If you are an Indian, you will feel very cold in these places and it is advised that you carry warm clothing and other required supplementary like a high altitude professional jacket along with your other essentials.

Q. What type of food will be provided during the trip?
A. Edible vegetarian/ non-vegetarian Indian food will be provided throughout the trek. We do not take you hunting for food. Relishing food while trekking in the glorious Himalayas will be one of the best you can get.

Q. Is it safe to consume water from streams in the mountain?
A. The water found in these regions is pure and consumable. You will always have the option of buying mineral water when available.

Q. Do mobile phones work in these locations?
A. You may charge your phones wherever electricity is available during your stay. The last point where you can charge your phone is at Dehradun. Although, there is a chance you might get electric points in villages further high up.

Q. How many members will be staying in the dome tent?
A. About 3 members will be staying in the tent. It would be warm and comfortable.

Q. What about ATMs?
A. Carry sufficient cash with you and keep it safe. After Dehradun last point to withdraw cash is at Purola.

Q. Which Vehicle is used for Transportation?
A. Most of the Himalayan roads towards the trek are rugged and in bad shape, so vehicle with high ground clearance like Mahindra Bolero, Tata Sumo, Scorpio, Max, Tempo Traveller etc are normally used for transportation.

Q. How is emergency situation handled by Trek leaders?
A. Trekking in remote high Himalayan altitudes is always a rewarding experience. However, it is important that you should keep your safety in mind. Emergencies, like illness, Acclimitization, AMS, storms, missteps, landslides and even avalanches, are rare but can happen anytime during the trekking. Be prepared for any such emergencies. To deal with any emergencies your local guides, who are an expert mountaineer will be there for your rescue. Your tour guide will always carry a first aid kit to deal with any medical emergencies. In the case of some rescue operation, extra charges of Evacuation have to be borne by the trekkers.

Q. What is the Minimum age for doing Bali Pass Trek?
A. Bali Pass Trek is tough trek with a maximum altitude of 16250ft minimum age required is 15 years.

Q. Normally what would be the ideal weight of Rucksack?
A. Pack your personal Rucksack as per list. Total weight of the backpack should not exceed 12 kg. You should carry all those things, listed in the itinerary are Mandatory.

Q. What if I don’t desire to carry my Rucksack and want to off load it?
A. Personal porters to carry Rucksack and who assist you during trek can be arranged. You need to confirm it 2 -3 days before the departure date. Charges/Wages for extra porter on per day basis including Transport/ Food and shelter has to be borne by Individual at actuals.