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Kudremukh Trek – A Leechelicious Monsoon Trek

Trek to Kudremukha - Kudremukha Trek

Yes! That’s me, hiking towards the beautiful peak of Kudremukh. Our group was the first one to enter the range –  thanks to our trek leader Naveen. Hence, when we reached atop, there was no one and I was the first one to summit the peak that day!!!!

Someone once said – ‘Great fear is concealed under daring….’

June 30, 2018, was the date when I overcame my one of the greatest fears – leeches – by embarking on one of the most beautiful monsoon treks of Karnataka – Kudremukh. 

Trek to Kudremukh was in my to-do list from past one year but somehow I wasn’t able to do it. But on June 30, 2018, I finally summited the Kudremukh peak and trust me, it is my most beautiful and thrilling trekking experience.

Starting from the dense rainforest of Kudremukh National Park, followed by the mountainous trails covered with the blankets of green grass and clouds, Kudremukh Trek during the monsoon is one hell of a sight. 

I went to Kudremukh Trek via an amazing trekking group called TrekNomads. You can find more about the group by following their Facebook page

TrekNomads conduct treks every weekend and you can find the schedule from their events page.

About Kudremukh Peak

Nestled amidst the Kudremukh National Park, which is the second largest wildlife protected area of Western Ghats, Kudremukh Peak is in the Chikmagalur District. 

About Kudremukh Peak - Kudremukh Trek

Kudremukh is the second highest peak of Karnataka with the height of 1894 meters or 6214 feet from the mean sea level. Literally meaning ‘horse-face‘ in Kannada, Kudremukh Peak boasts some of the most beautiful views of Western Ghats.

The trek to Kudremukh Peak is one of the longest treks of Karnataka with a distance of around 10 KM one-way.

The Journey From Bangalore to Mullodi

The starting point of Kudremukh Peak trek is Mullodi Village in the Chikmagalur District and is around 340 KM from Bangalore. Hence, to start the trek to Kudremukh in the morning, we left Bangalore at around 10.30 PM.

Overnight Journey to Balagal - Kudremukh Trek

Overnight Journey to Balagal

An 8-hours overnight drive and you wake up to the misty hills of Kudremukh Range. Our tempo traveler reached Balagal Village at around 6.30 AM, which is the base and entrance gate for Kudremukh Trek

Jeep Ride From Balagal To Mullodi - Kudremukh Trek

Next comes up an adventurous 30-45 minutes off-road jeep ride for about 6 KM, which takes you to your homestay in Mullodi Village. 

Off-Roading Mullodi to Belagal - Kudremukha Trek

The journey till Mullodi is one of the bumpiest rides I’ve been to. We were literally driving into muds. You can guess the amount of adventure we had while reaching our homestay from the pictures.

Western Ghats in Kudremukh National Park - Kudremukha Trek

Off-Road Jeep Ride - Kudremukh Trek

It was the end of June and rains were at their peak. We found various small streams whilst driving towards Mullodi. Also, the scenery was breathtaking.

The Stay At Mullodi

There are only four homestays in Mullodi, which accommodate the guests who come to summit the Kudremukh Peak.

When we reached the homestay, the scenery was something like this…

Homestay at Mullodi - Kudremukh Trek

View from the Homestay at Mullodi Village

Our homestay was beautiful with a number of rooms to accommodate guests; Indian & western style toilets, running hot water and an amazing host. After reaching the homestay, we freshened up and had a hot & delicious breakfast prepared by our host. 

Homestay at Mullodi Village - Kudremukh Trek

Mullodi Homestay - Kudremukh Trek

There was ample space outside where you can sit and enjoy a bonfire and get rid of the trekking tiredness aftermath. 

Open Space at homestay in Mullodi - Kudremukh Trek

It was cloudy and drizzling when we geared up for the trek. I was super excited to begin the trek as I waited for this moment from past one year. However, at the same time, I was quite nervous.

I was about to face my one of the biggest fears – leeches. I had a good idea what leeches do but I had no idea how to save myself from leeches, and I had no idea what I’m going to do if a leech climbs up my body! 

And So It Begins – Trek To Kudremukh Peak

Part 1 – Reaching Check-post

At around 8.30 AM, we all were set to leave. After a small briefing from our trek leader Naveen, we started to walk.

Geared Up For Trek - Kudremukh Trek

Geared Up For Trek

Around half a kilometer from the homestay is the check-post of Kudremukh National Park, which is the entry point to trek range. You have to have the permission before you can embark on the trek to Kudremukh Peak otherwise they won’t allow you.

Kudremukh Check-post - Kudremukh Trek

Kudremukh Check-post

There are strict entry and exit timings to the National Park. You HAVE TO cross the check-post by 9 AM and exit it by 6 PM. Also, you need to carry an ID proof otherwise you won’t be allowed to go for the trek.

When we reached check-post there were already a number of trekking groups waiting to enter the Kudremukh National Park. 

Waiting at Kudremukh Check-post - Kudremukh Trek

Linedup at Check-post - Kudremukh Trek

Waiting at Kudremukh Check-post

Standing and waiting there for our turn, we got the gist of what was waiting for us ahead on the journey. It was all green and fresh at the time. The surrounding mountains were covered with clouds making it breathtakingly beautiful.

Views from Kudremukh Check-post - Kudremukh Trek

View from the Kudremukh Check-post

After around 15 minutes, it was our turn to enter the trek range. Surprisingly, despite a number of groups who were present there before us, we were the first one to cross that check-post. All credit goes to our amazingly amazing trek leader – Naveen!

Part 2 – The First 3-KM

It was the month of June, and hence, the monsoon in the Western Ghats was at its peak. The complete trail to Kudremukh Peak was muddy and slippery, making it a little difficult to walk especially where the trail was rocky.

Kudremukh Start Trail - Kudremukh Trek

Naveen TrekNomads Kudremukh - Kudremukh Trek

One with the Trek Leader – Naveen

As we started walking, I started getting a little scared, because I knew, that the time has come to face the biggest fear of this trek – LEECHES.

Whilst walking, I was staring on the ground and constantly checking for the leeches, trying to avoid them at any cost. 

But the truth – my dear friends – is that you just CANNOT avoid them. 

The whole trekking group walks between a trek leader and a sweeper, the guy who walks at the end and makes sure no one is left behind. In our group, Naveen was our leader and a local villager was the sweeper.

As I was constantly checking for the leeches, my speed was comparatively slow and without any surprise, I was the last one in the group.

One kilometer in the trekking and I had my first encounter with the leech. I had no idea when it climbed to my legs, I just felt that someone’s moving up my body.

Obviously, I got anxious but then I calmed myself down and peacefully removed the leech from my body. After this, I gained a little confidence and was no longer afraid of the leeches. However, I kept constantly checking for them throughout the trek.

Our first stop during the Kudremukh Trek was at ‘Onti-mara’, meaning ‘The Lone Tree.’ 

Onti Mara Kudremukh - Kudremukh Trek

Onti Mara – The Lone Tree

Literally, this is the only tree standing in the vicinity!

TrekNomads Kudremukh Trek - Kudremukh Trek

This tree is a fixed photo-stop for everyone who comes for the trek to Kudremukh Peak

On the way, the small streams were flowing in all their glory because of the rainy season. Hence, unlike my trek to Tadiandamol Peak, I did not have to worry about the shortage of water. Throughout the journey, I had sources of fresh water flowing down from the peak.

The trail here was muddy but with no inclination. It was a comfortable and easy walk up to a few kilometers. At the 3rd KM, you reach your first waypoint where the board says ‘7 KM to Kudremukh Peak.’

7 KM to Kudremukh Peak - Kudremukh Trek

First Waypoint

At this point, everyone in the group relaxed a bit and re-energized themselves along with the mandatory group photo.

3 KM Mark - Kudremukh Trek

After a while, we continued our trek to Kudremukh Peak. The trail from here up to a few 100 meters passed through the open marshy lands.

Open Mashy Lands - Kudremukh Trek

TrekNomads Group - Kudremukh Trek

Trail at Kudremukh - Kudremukh Trek

Throughout the Kudremukh trek, it was drizzling and a few times in between it rained heavily, which made us wear raincoat the whole time. Overall the weather was amazing and perfect to call it a monsoon trek.

Selfie before the ascent - Kudremukh Trek

One before the initial ascent

Part 3 – The Half Way

Once we crossed the marshy lands, the initial ascent to Kudremukh welcomed us. The terrain changed from open lands to narrow trail with an inclination. Everyone slowed down a bit, first because of the inclination and second because of the slippery trails, making it a little difficult to form the grip.

Initial Ascent - Kudremukh Trek

Kudremukh Range - Kudremukh Trek

Leeches were also on their full glory throughout the trek to Kudremukh Peak. Moreover, constant rains and muddy trails were their support.

Tired-Kudremukh Trek

Once I was at a little height, I stopped for a small rest and looked back! The scenery from there was so breathtaking, which is indescribable in words.

Trek to Kudremukh Peak offers a wide variety of trails. From open marshy lands and narrow mountainous trails to trails passing through the thick forest of Kudremukh National Park, you get the taste of every type. 

After some time, we entered the dense forest of Kudremukh National Park, which is full of rich flora and fauna. Primarily covered with evergreen forest, you can find the plantation of Acacia Auriculiromis, Casuarinas, Eucalyptus, Grevillea Robusta and much more. Tea & coffee plantation are also a major part of Kudremukh National Park.

Bamboo Forest - Kudremukh Trek

River Stream - Kudremukh Trek

It is recommended that you pack light. I carried a bottle of water because of available water streams, a packed lunch, which our host gave us, power bank and raincoat. A small backpack will be enough to carry all these things. 

If you’re planning your first trek to anywhere, do not miss reading my trekking tips for first-time trekkers, which I learned during my trek to Tadiandamol Peak in Coorg

As you can see in the pictures, the streams were overflowing, providing a source of fresh water. It was so sweet that our fellow trekker Krithi lied down and freshened himself up with some water directly from the stream.

Keerthi Drinking Water-Kudremukh Trek

Passing through these dense jungles made me a little anxious. Though I was pretty confident in dealing with the leeches, still I wanted to avoid them at any cost and hence, as usual, I was constantly checking for them. Because the forest was dense and it was difficult getting any sunlight here, the number of leeches were double than normal. 

Dense Kudremukh National Forest - Kudremukh Trek

Dense Trails - Kudremukh Trek

I just wanted to cross this part as soon as possible and hence, I didn’t stop anywhere in between, not even to drink water or to take any rest.

2 KM of walking and these dense forests open up to a mesmerizing view of green velvety mountains and there is yet another lone tree, which is the sign that you’ve come halfway. Meaning, another chance to stop and re-energize yourself. 

Halfway to Kudremukh Summit - Kudremukh Trek

It is the last stop before the final ascent. From here, the inclination was about to increase to a great extent but the good part was that the weather was getting better. 

Part 4 – The Final Ascent

At around 11.30 AM, we started our final ascent to Kudremukh Peak. I was excited and tired at the same time. But the beautiful scenery of Kudremukh Range and amazing weather kept pushing me during my entire trek to Kudremukh Peak. 

Beginning Final Ascent - Kudremukh Trek

Also, it became a little sunny during the final ascent of Kudremukh trek and hence, the number of leeches on the trail reduced to a great extent.

Taking Shortcuts at Kudremukh Peak Trail - Kudremukh Trek

The final two kilometers were pretty easy. It was almost a straight walk to the peak. However, we were walking constantly for around four hours and everyone was too tired. Moreover, there were no water sources at the top to refill our water bottles.

Final ascent at Kudremukh Peak - Kudremukh Trek

Me, our trek leader Naveen and Kirthi, our fellow trekker, were the first one to reach near the summit. When we reached here, I saw other groups coming behind us. At this point, I decided that I want to be the first one today to reach the summit. I was dead tired but Naveen kept pushing me constantly and finally I made it.

Yes! I was the first one to reach at the Kudremukh Peak that day. The first thing after reaching the peak, even before taking rest, I did was to take a picture with 0 KM mark.

At the Kudremukh Peak - Kudremukh Trek

At 0 KM mark of Kudremukh Peak

Kudremukh Peak - Kudremukh Trek

One with the group

It was an indescribable feeling for me because I was waiting for this moment from past one year and TrekNomads made this possible for me.

Scars of trekking - Kudremukh Trek

Scars of Trekking

This Kudremukh Trek was exactly the way I wanted it to be. The weather throughout the trek was pleasant; the trail was full of leeches and clouds were below us when we reached atop.

Kudremukh Peak 0 KM Mark - Kudremukh Trek

Once at the top, we all rested for a bit, clicked a few pictures had our remaining packed lunch and started our journey back to the Mullodi Village, which is the starting point of Kudremukh Peak.

Final Descent - Kudremukh Trek

Whilst returning back it was all sunny – Thank God – which made leeches disappear completely, meaning there were no leeches on the entire trail, except where it was dense forest. We reached our homestay at around 5.30 PM.

Cleaning of Trekking Trails

TrekNomads is completely against polluting the trekking trails as these trails are the part of nature and it is the duty of every trekker to keep them clean and preserve nature.

Cleaning Kudremukh Trek Trail - Kudremukh Trek

Collected Garbage at Kudremukh Trail - Kudremukh Trek

Garbage collected during the Kudremukh Trek

Therefore, everyone in the TrekNomads group carries a garbage bag where they can dump their waste during the trek. Moreover, they also encourage to clean the trails and collect the garbage, if found during the trek and dump them at the check-post in dustbins.

So, this was my Kudremukh Trekking experience. During the entire trek, I had a lot of fun. No, it was not an easy trek but it’s worth doing at least once, whether you love or hate trekking because the views are really mesmerizing.

Also, I gained confidence in dealing with leeches but NO I don’t want to deal with them ever again.

My Trek To Kudremukh Peak - Kudremukh Trek

I hope you liked this blog on the trek to Kudremukh Peak. If yes, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Also, follow TrekNomads to get their updates and check their events page to know about their upcoming treks.

Please let me know in comments if you have any suggestions or ideas about trekking to Kudremukh Peak or in general. 🙂

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