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Walk The Walk On These Lesser-Known Hiking Trails In Karnataka

    Karnataka has many adventures strewn across its landscape. These include hiking trails {they range from easy-peasy to tricky} that give you a chance to explore nature and get fitter. If you are suitably excited, then get into those hiking boots and make your way through wildlife sanctuaries, riversides, hillocks and even railway lines. LBB tracks down the state’s lesser-known hiking trails (we’ve left out the obvious ones such as Skandagiri, Savanadurga and Anthargange to make way for more adventurous ones).

    Pushpagiri Hills

    North of Kodagu, the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary’s highest peak, Kumara Parvatha, has all the makings for an exciting hike. Steep cliffs, lush green woods and gurgling rivers are all part of the trails. You can also spot exotic birds and wildlife as you trudge along. Drop by the forest office at the foot of the hills to obtain the necessary permissions (especially if you are camping there for the night) and get going. If you like, you can take along a local for a guide or you can sign up with Thrillophilia for their packages. It is located around 278 kms from Bangalore. 


    The coastal town of Murudeshwar is speckled with a handful of hiking trails that you can explore. About 43 kilometers from the place, the gushing Kudumari Falls can be reached through a thick forest that surrounds. If the promise of just one waterfall is not enough for you to get walking, then try the Hidlumane Falls, where six cascades make for a breathtaking sight. Prefer an escape to the hills? Then head over to the Kodachadri Hills that surround Hidlumane. Apart from the natural beauty there are old forts, temples and a splendid sunset that you can look forward to. These treks can all be quite tricky so it’s best you sign up with Hikeezee to ensure that you stay on track and are safe. Also, avoid these trails in the monsoons. It is located around 512 kms from Bangalore.


    Just outside Madikeri, Kotebetta is one of the highest peaks around the area. However, it can easily be conquered on your own and you won’t need a guide. You will, first, have to get to Madapura, that’s just a few kilometres away from Madikeri. Once there, get a jeep or an auto ride to the base (the hike will start off on tarred roads before turning into muddy terrain). You can weave your way past the river Hatti, and tread on rickety bridges, before you scale the heights of the hillock. When you reach the top, the sight of the hills make for a panoramic view. Kotabetta is 270 kms away from Bangalore. 


    Head to Sakleshpur for a trek across the tracks. Start off at the Donigal railway station, where you can amble on the old railway tracks that are nestled in the Western Ghats. As the scenery before you unfolds, you’ll pass by bridges and dark tunnels that make for a thrilling hike till Yedakumeri. This trek can be done with a bunch of your friends, you only have to stick to the railway tracks to know that you are on course. The distance from Bangalore is 222 kms. 


    Another gorgeous trail along the Western Ghats, the blue skies and green hills at Bababudangiri make you forget your aching feet. Your trek will start off at a small arch at Sarpadhari and you can take the muddy trail upwards to the peak. Along the way, you can stop by the shrine of a Sufi saint, peek into caves, and gape at cascading waterfalls. If you are unsure of making it on your own, you can also sign up for a Thrillophilia experience. It is located around 250 kms from Bangalore.


    If you are an avid trekker (or not), Dudhsagar needs to be on your bucket list. Dudhsagar is best discovered during the monsoon and can be done only through the railway network. Get off at the Castle Rock station and embark on an 11-kilometre hike, along the railway tracks, to the gorgeous Dudhsagar Falls that tumble down from the mountains and through lush greenery. It is located around 570 kms from Bangalore.

    Nishani Motte

    One of the lesser-known hiking trails in Coorg, this short trek will take you through dense foliage, slopes covered in mist, and gentle brooks. The sights and sounds of the wild will keep you company through this one. Sign up with Thrillophilia or Get Beyond Limits for a guided trek. You will have to take the necessary permissions and help from the Talacauvery Forest Department to ensure your safety through the thick forests. It is 287 kms away from Bangalore. 

    Ombattu Gudda

    Tucked in the Kabbinhole Forest Reserve, the rugged terrain of Ombattu Gudda (it translates to ‘nine peaks’) is worth exploring if you are an experienced trekker (this is a difficult trail). The trail starts off at the Gundya Check Post (Mangalore Highway) and you will need your GPS tracker, maps and your wits about you to not get lost in the forests. On your way up, you can soak your feet in the cool waters of the Kabbinhole River and make your way through abundant grasslands. If you prefer a guided tour, then sign up for one on Thrillophilia. Ombattu Gudda is located 350 kms away from Bangalore.  

    Kanoor Kote

    Shimoga’s Sharavathy Reserve Forest is where you can get on the Kanoor Kote trail. On either side you’ll be flanked by the forest, while you embark on the hike trail. Look out for the remains of an ancient fort, abandoned shrines and gentle waterways on the way up. The trails start at Hosgadde (a KSRTC bus will get you there) but it isn’t the easiest of treks since you’ll have to negotiate steep climbs and verdant forests. So, make sure you sign up for a guided tour with Thrillophilia to make the most of it. The distance from Bangalore is 335 kms. 


    One of the more well-known hiking trails on this list, Bheemeshwari is a nature lover’s delight and offers many scenic sights. The boulder -speckled hills, the green pathways, and the River Cauvery make for gorgeous views. Make sure you carry a pair of binoculars so that you don’t miss spotting the wildlife and the birds. There are several ways you can trek through Bheemeshwari — you can hire a forest guard to take you around at the Muthathi Forest Department office, you can camp at the Jungle Lodges close by and sign up for their nature walk or you can choose the experience on Thrillophilia. It is just 102 kms away from Bangalore. 


    Overlooking a lake, the Makalidurga Hill is marked by dense grassland and offers breathtaking views of the hills that majestically stand around. A crumbling fort that dates back to the Vijayanagar empire and a Shiva Temple are worth gawking at as you climb up. Night-time treks are popular at Makalidurga. You can either trek from the local train station itself (it leads to the foot of the hill) or you can park your vehicle at the base. Helpful folks have marked the trail with white arrows that indicate the path you should take, follow them and you’ll make it to the top without much trouble. It is just 58 kms away from Bangalore. 


    A lone monolith is what you are tasked with conquering at Madhugiri. Before you get cocky, let us remind you that Madhugiri is the second largest monolith in Asia and its steep, smooth slopes make for a tricky climb. A 17th century fort, with three entrance doors and a ruined temple at the top make for noteworthy sights. You can make it to the top on your own but ensure that you wear shoes with a firm grip since the slopes can be slippery. Madhugiri is located 105 kms away from Bangalore.