As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to love Darjeeling, the quaint hill station has given us one more with a 20km cycling trail. Perfect for those who are willing to break a sweat to get a magnificent view of the Himalayas minus the crowds.
What was once an old route connecting Darjeeling and Kurseong has now been refurbished into a trail for cyclists to enjoy a rolling view of the mountains. This 20km-long trail starts from the main gate of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary at Jorbangla and ends at Chatakpur village. The trail meanders through thick pine forests and promises a panoramic view of the mountain ranges which might be hard to get from the other crowded viewpoints.
The exciting part? The highest point of this trail is at an elevation of 2,600 metres! The sanctuary is also known to have a wide range of wildlife like Himalayan leopards, wild boar, barking deer and more. Anyone with a cycle and an urge for adventure can venture out on this trail anytime between sunrise and sunset (it shall however stay shut during monsoons from August to the middle of September). If you’re savvying to try this out, Darjeeling has numerous rental services just a few minutes away from the trail, that provide mountain bikes for around INR 800 a day.
All you need to do is hire a bike, get a permit from the sanctuary entrance for just INR 50, and off you go (don’t forget to wear the helmet!). Not only is the trail perfect for beginners, but the locals have also taken special care to make the it tourist-friendly with ample signboards, bike racks and designated viewpoints. According to the district magistrate, the trail offers simple, smooth slopes which are great even for novice cyclists who just want to get a taste of how it feels to bike along the hills.