Serolsar Lake is one of the hidden gems of the Himalaya. This lake is such a treat for the eyes of the perfectionists. It’s of a round shape, clean, there are no dry leaves on the surface and it reflects the tall trees and rocks surrounding it.
Since you have to hike there through Jalori Pass, it is not that touristy as many places where anyone can reach by car. This is a quick guide on how to reach the Serolsar lake from North Indian cities and how to plan your journey. Here are two focus questions for today:
- How to reach Jalori Pass?
- Jalori Pass to Serolsar lake hike
How to reach Jalori Pass?
If you are interested in the hike to Serolsar lake, you need to reach the Banjar Valley first. It is a picturesque area with a few small Himalayan villages showcasing traditional wooden houses, clean streams and green hills covered with pine trees.
It can take you 8-9 hours till Banjar if you start from big cities in North India (Delhi, Manali, Chandigarh). I recommend choosing one of the villages in the valley as a base. Shoja is the nearest village to Jalori Pass though. It’s roughly 5 km away.
Note: if you come by bus and would like to stay overnight in Shoja, the last bus from Banjar starts at 4 p.m. (better don’t count on the last bus and try to take the earlier one). I will take Jibhi (a cute village in Banjar Valley) as a starting point in this article, as I stayed there and loved it, but you can adjust the bus timings depending on your village choice.
Read also: How to reach Jibhi from Delhi or Manali?
If you go by car/bike, you have all the flexibility to travel as you like. If you go by public transport, you have to take the first morning bus to the pass and finish your trek till the last bus returns from the pass.
The first bus starts from Jibhi at 8 a.m. in the morning. It stops for 20 min breakfast in Ghiyagi village. Although the pass is just 11km away from Jibhi, the road condition is not always good. The overall journey from Jibhi to Jalori pass takes 1.5 hours together with a food break.
The bus ticket costs 14 INR for women and 18 INR for men (in this area there is a special discounted ticket price for ladies). At the Jalori pass, there are a few food joints in case you need some snacks or water.
Jalori Pass to Serolsar Lake hike
Serolsar lake is surrounded by a dense forest. It is an easy and enjoyable 5 km hike. The path to the lake starts just behind the temple at Jalori Pass. There are a few ascents and descends on the way to Serolsar, though the path is mostly straight. I even saw a few old people slowly walking down the path.
It took me around 1.5 hours of moderate walk to reach the lake, though I also climbed two small side hills on the way to see the view of the valley from above. There are a couple of campsites on the way if you would like to stay at the pass longer.
On the way to the lake, you will see a few houses literally under the rock. I’ve noticed even one of them giving a basic room for rent.
The lake is so clean that you can see through it. I’ve met a shepherd there with a flock of sheep. He told that whichever season you visit the lake, you will not find fallen leaves on the lake itself. The birds keep it clean throughout the year.
Though there were plenty of fallen leaves on the path, I didn’t see any in the lake. But, hey, I’ve been just an hour there. If you stay longer, let me know!
Close to the lake, you will see a few tents where you can buy basic snacks and light meals. They come at the same price as food at Jalori pass.
Note, the last bus from Jalori Pass is at 14.30. Sometimes it can be late and start at 15.00 but try to arrive earlier at the pass. If you miss the bus, your only hope is private cars. As per my observation, the cars were filled with families as a rule. It’s not the main road, so there are no trucks or other transport you can hail to go back.
Overall time: I started the hike from the pass at 9.30 a.m. and reached the lake at 11.00 a.m. Roamed around the lake for a while. Started from the lake at 12.00 and reached Jalori Pass at 13.30. Since I had time till the last bus, I walked by foot to Shoja (5 km) and roamed around Shoja for a while. Note, my walking itinerary is roughly 15 km. I don’t recommend it if you are new to hiking or don’t have comfortable shoes.
The hike to the lake and back is already 10 km and it’s more than a common person is habitual to walk per day. See according to your physical state and decide how to go about it.
Interested in other short treks? Check out the rolling hills of Dzukou Valley.
- If you start from Delhi, you need to reserve three days for this journey. One day to reach Banjar valley, another for trekking, third day for going back. You can also manage it in two days if you are very organized with timings and ready to spend the whole day on the road.
- Please carry your plastic back to the big city. Serolsar Lake is one of the few places which is so well maintained and clean. If you buy biscuits, it doesn’t hurt to carry its cover until you reach home.
Hope this post will help you plan your hike in a better way. Talking about hikes, have you done any other lake treks in the mountains?