Welcome to God’s Own Country, Kerala, blessed with diverse landscapes, serene backwaters, and lush greenery. While it is known for its tranquil houseboat cruises and enchanting beaches, Kerala also offers many thrilling trekking opportunities that will awe every nature enthusiast and adventure seeker.
The state’s bountiful Western Ghats provide the perfect backdrop for an array of trekking trails, each offering unique experiences and glimpses of Kerala’s natural wonders. From misty mountains to dense forests and picturesque waterfalls, hiking through Kerala is an immersive journey into the lap of nature. So fasten your boots, embrace the spirit of exploration, and embark on an unforgettable adventure through the top 15 treks in God’s Own Country.
1. Chembra Peak
Chembra Peak, located in the Wayanad district of Kerala, is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and one of the most popular trekking destinations in the state. It stands at an elevation of approximately 2,100 metres above sea level, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, tea estates, and the beautiful heart-shaped Chembra Lake.
The trek to Chembra Peak usually starts from the Meppady base camp, and it takes about 4-5 hours to reach the summit, depending on the weather and the trekker’s pace. The trek begins through dense forests, and as you ascend, you are greeted with picturesque landscapes and refreshing natural beauty.
One of the highlights of the Chembra Peak trek is the heart-shaped lake, which is believed to have never dried up, adding to the allure of the place. The lake is located about halfway to the summit, and it is a popular spot for trekkers to take a break and capture some memorable photographs.
2. Anamudi Trek
Anamudi, situated in the Eravikulam National Park near Munnar, is the highest peak in South India, standing tall at an impressive height of 2,695 metres above sea level. The name “Anamudi” translates to “elephant’s forehead,” reflecting the unique shape of the peak.
The trek to Anamudi is a moderate to challenging, as it involves traversing through rugged terrain and grasslands. Eravikulam National Park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, and the trek provides an opportunity to spot these rare and elusive creatures in their natural habitat.
Trekkers are required to obtain permission from the forest department before embarking on the trek to preserve the park’s delicate ecosystem.
3. Meesapulimala Trek
Meesapulimala, located near Munnar, is the second-highest peak in the Western Ghats and a sought-after trekking destination in Kerala. The name “Meesapulimala” translates to “face of the tiger,” owing to the unique contours of the mountain resembling a tiger’s face.
The trek to Meesapulimala takes you through the shola forests and vast grasslands, offering stunning views of the neighbouring hills and tea plantations. One of the distinctive aspects of this trek is the opportunity to witness the beautiful phenomenon of Neelakurinji flowers blooming once every twelve years.
These vibrant blue flowers blanket the hillsides in a mesmerising display of nature’s beauty. The trek to Meesapulimala is usually a full-day adventure, and guides accompany trekkers to ensure their safety and prevent any harm to the delicate ecosystem.
4. Agasthyakoodam Trek
Agasthyakoodam, also known as Agasthyamalai, is a prominent peak in the Western Ghats of Kerala, standing at an impressive height of 1,890 metres (6,201 feet) above sea level. The trek to Agasthyakoodam is one of the most challenging and sought-after adventures for trekkers and nature enthusiasts in Kerala.
The peak is considered sacred and is named after the sage Agastya, believed to have lived here and performed penance. To undertake the Agasthyakoodam Trek, one must obtain prior permission from the Kerala Forest Department, as the peak is located within the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The trek is usually allowed during the winter months, from December to February, when the weather is relatively favourable. The journey to the summit takes two days, with trekkers passing through diverse landscapes like grasslands, dense forests, and steep rocky terrains.
Along the way, trekkers may spot various wildlife species, including the Nilgiri tahr, elephants, and endemic bird species. The trek holds cultural significance as it attracts pilgrims seeking blessings from Agastya Muni, an important figure in Hindu mythology.
peak also offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding hills, valleys, and the Arabian Sea. The Agasthyakoodam Trek is a challenging yet rewarding experience that allows trekkers to connect with nature’s beauty and spirituality.
5. Periyar Tiger Reserve Trek
Periyar Tiger Reserve, located in the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats, is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The reserve spans the Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts in Kerala and covers an area of approximately 925 square kilometres.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve Trek offers an immersive experience in the lush forest’s heart, allowing visitors to observe diverse flora and fauna up close. The trekking trails within the Periyar Tiger Reserve cater to varying levels of difficulty, making it accessible for both novice and experienced trekkers.
The guided treks take visitors through dense evergreen forests, moist deciduous habitats, and bamboo groves. Trekkers might encounter various wildlife species like elephants, sambar deer, wild boars, and even the elusive Bengal tiger.
Periyar Lake, situated within the reserve, allows tourists to enjoy a boat safari and spot wildlife from the water. The reserve is also known for its ecotourism initiatives and responsible wildlife conservation efforts. With its picturesque landscapes and rich biodiversity, the Periyar Tiger Reserve Trek offers a remarkable experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in the wilderness of Kerala Treks.
6. Mathikettan Shola Trek
Nestled in the picturesque hill station of Munnar, Mathikettan Shola is a lesser-known gem that attracts trekkers looking for a peaceful, offbeat experience. The trek to Mathikettan Shola takes visitors through dense shola forests unique to the Western Ghats.
Shola forests are characterised by their stunted trees, lush greenery, and mist-covered ambiance, creating a surreal and enchanting trekking environment. The trek starts from the village of Koviloor, situated at the foothills of Mathikettan Shola.
As trekkers ascend through the forest, they may encounter various wildlife, including endemic birds and small mammals. The trail is relatively easy, making it suitable for families and beginners. However, the true charm lies in the tranquillity and serenity of the surroundings.
Mathikettan Shola is also known for its vital role in conserving the water sources of the region. The shola forests act as natural catchment areas, contributing to the ecological balance and providing water to nearby rivers and streams. With its pristine beauty and ecological significance, the Mathikettan Shola Trek is a wonderful opportunity to explore the unexplored corners of Kerala’s natural treasures. If you are planning a trip to Kerala, you can also explore the beaches of Kerala here.
7. Banasura Hill Trek
The Banasura Hill Trek is a popular trekking route located in Wayanad, Kerala. It takes its name from the Banasura Hill, which is the second-highest peak in the Western Ghats. The trek offers an enchanting experience as trekkers traverse through dense forests, lush meadows, and gushing streams.
The highlight of the trek is the breathtaking view of the Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earthen dam in India and a major tourist attraction in the region. The dam, built across the Karamanathodu River, forms a picturesque reservoir surrounded by Banasura Hill on one side and the majestic Western Ghats on the other.
According to legend, Banasura, a mythical demon king, performed severe penance to Lord Shiva on this hill, which makes it a place of historical and mythological significance.
The trekking trail meanders through the rich biodiversity of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, making it an excellent opportunity for nature enthusiasts to spot various species of flora and fauna. The best time to embark on the Banasura Hill Trek is during the post-monsoon season when the weather is pleasant and the surrounding landscape is green.
8. Poonjar to Meenuli Trek
The Poonjar to Meenuli Trek is a lesser-known yet captivating trek in the Kottayam district of Kerala. The trek starts from the historical Poonjar Palace, which was once the seat of the Poonjar dynasty. This ancient palace showcases a beautiful blend of traditional Kerala architecture and is steeped in history.
As trekkers begin their journey, they are treated to picturesque landscapes, passing through quaint villages, lush paddy fields, and rolling hills. The trail leads to the Meenuli Waterfalls, a hidden gem nestled amidst the verdant forests.
The sight of the cascading water amidst the serene ambiance is truly mesmerising. The trek provides an opportunity to connect with the local culture and interact with the warm and hospitable villagers living along the route.
The Poonjar to Meenuli Trek is moderately difficult, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers. It is recommended to visit this region during the winter months when the weather is pleasant and the waterfalls are at their full glory.
9. Ilaveezhapoonchira Trek
The Ilaveezhapoonchira Trek takes adventurers to one of Kerala’s most unique and breathtaking landscapes. Ilaveezhapoonchira is a scenic hill station in Kottayam district, known for its picturesque valleys that remain untouched by trees.
The name “Ilaveezhapoonchira” translates to “flower pond where leaves don’t fall,” which aptly describes the stunning landscape of this region. The valley is believed to have been formed when the Pandavas visited this area during their exile and used it as a bathing spot.
The trek starts from the base village, and as trekkers ascend, they are greeted with panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The vast expanse of greenery, rolling hills, and distant mountains make this trek a photographer’s delight.
The absence of trees allows for uninterrupted views of the clear blue skies, adding to the surreal experience of being amidst nature. The best time to undertake the Ilaveezhapoonchira Trek is during the post-monsoon season, from September to February, when the weather is cool and pleasant, and the valley is at its most vibrant.
10. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary Trek
The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is a mesmerising destination for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Located in the Idukki district of Kerala, this sanctuary covers an area of about 70 square kilometres and is a part of the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The trek through the sanctuary journeys through dense evergreen and deciduous forests, grasslands, and rugged terrains. The sanctuary is home to diverse flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the Nilgiri tahr and the grizzled giant squirrel.
The trek also offers ample opportunities for birdwatching, with numerous avian species like the Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and Indian pied hornbill gracing the skies. As you explore the sanctuary, you’ll be surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature, making it a truly enriching and rejuvenating experience.
11. Ranipuram Trek
Ranipuram, also known as the “Ooty of Kerala,” is a beautiful hill station in the Kasaragod district. The Ranipuram Trek offers a captivating journey through dense forests, rolling hills, and grasslands, allowing trekkers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Kerala Treks.
The trek starts from the base of the hill, and as you ascend, you are greeted with panoramic views of the Western Ghats and the mesmerising sight of the Arabian Sea on the horizon. The history of Ranipuram dates back to the days of the British Raj when it was a favoured summer retreat for the colonial officials.
Today, the hill station is a popular destination for trekkers and nature enthusiasts. The trail leads you through a variety of flora and fauna, and if you’re lucky, you may spot some rare species of birds and butterflies.
As you hike up the hill, you can encounter small streams and waterfalls that add to the allure of the trek. The summit rewards trekkers with stunning vistas, making it an ideal spot for photography and capturing memories.
12. Dhoni Hills Trek
Nestled in the picturesque district of Palakkad, the Dhoni Hills offer a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The trek to Dhoni Hills takes you through spice plantations, dense forests, and rolling hills, presenting stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
One of the highlights of this trek is the Dhoni Waterfalls, a majestic cascade surrounded by lush greenery. The trek is relatively easy, making it suitable for families and casual trekkers as well.
Dhoni Hills hold historical significance as it is believed that ancient tribes once inhabited these hills. As you walk through the trail, you can feel this enchanting place’s mystical charm and cultural heritage.
13. Kurisumala Trek
Kurisumala, also known as the “Mountain of the Cross,” is Located near Vagamon in the Idukki district, Kurisumala is a renowned Christian pilgrim centre and an excellent trekking destination. The Kurisumala Trek takes you through the picturesque Western Ghats, passing through tea gardens and pine forests.
The journey to the Kurisumala Ashram, perched atop a hill, is considered a spiritual experience by many. The history of Kurisumala is closely tied to its religious significance. The ashram is home to a community of monks who lead a life of simplicity and prayer.
The trek, often undertaken by devotees seeking spiritual solace, offers breathtaking views and a tranquil environment to contemplate and meditate. The ashram’s church is a place of pilgrimage for Christians, especially during the holy week leading up to Easter.
14. Silent Valley Trek
The Silent Valley National Park, situated in the Palakkad district, is a pristine haven of biodiversity and is one of the last remaining tropical evergreen forests in the Western Ghats.
The trek through Silent Valley takes you deep into the heart of this untouched wilderness, surrounded by majestic trees, gurgling streams, and cascading waterfalls.
The park is home to many flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to this region. The name “Silent Valley” originates from the absence of cicadas chirping, usually heard in other forests, which adds to the aura of mystery and tranquillity.
As you trek through this unique ecosystem, you will witness nature in its purest form, making it an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
15. Madammakkulam Trek
Madammakkulam, situated in the Malayattoor forest range of Ernakulam district, is an enchanting destination for trekkers seeking solitude and natural beauty. The trek starts from the Malayattoor Church, an important Christian pilgrimage site.
As you delve into the forest, you are greeted with serene landscapes and the soothing sound of flowing streams. The history of Madammakkulam is intertwined with the religious significance of the area. According to local beliefs, Mother Mary appeared to a group of shepherds near the springs of Madammakkulam, leading to the establishment of the Malayattoor Church.
Today, the church attracts many pilgrims, especially during the Malayattoor Perunnal festival. The Madammakkulam Trek offers an opportunity to experience the harmony between nature and spirituality, making it a unique and soul-stirring trekking experience in Kerala.
Kerala, “God’s Own Country,” lives up to its title with diverse landscapes, warm hospitality, and vibrant flora and fauna. From challenging peaks to serene countryside, each trek offers a unique tale woven with history and mythology.
Beyond the thrill, Kerala’s natural beauty nourishes the soul with cascading waterfalls, lush plantations, misty hills, and dense forests. These breathtaking landscapes remind us of the importance of conserving fragile ecosystems.
Whether seeking solitude or adventure, Kerala’s treks fulfill the heart’s desires, leaving lasting memories of nature’s magic. Embrace the joy of hiking through Kerala’s verdant trails, where every step reveals nature’s artistry. Let Kerala beckon the adventurer in you for an unforgettable experience amidst its warm embrace.