Adventure sports have gained significance in Pakistan in the last couple of years with a large number of people travelling overseas and increased access to information on various adventure sports in online space.
Increased exposure to media has developed a keen interest in various outdoor activities for which rough terrain and mountains of Northern Pakistan offers an ideal setting.
A number of adventure clubs have been formed in Pakistan, which has made it easier for people to explore the exciting spots and adventure sports in Pakistan. To encourage outdoor sports, activities are organized on regular basis around the country by clubs like "Adventure Foundation of Pakistan", which encourage youth participation and engage a number of students from various schools and colleges. Historically these clubs have been limited to memberships providing access to only a few select. However, with increased awareness and higher spending power of people, similar clubs have Started initiates across various cities of Pakistan.
Other high-end adventure activities like a trek to K-2 base camp and mountaineering expeditions are organized by local companies in conjunction with international travel groups. Their activities are more specialized and catered towards international travellers due to high cost and skill level involved.
Local adventure clubs and tourism businesses have introduced skiing, scuba diving, paragliding, trekking, camping as well as snowmobiling. People from all over the world now have the opportunity to make their summer and winter holidays more adventurous and memorable. The beautiful valleys, rivers, deserts and plains in Pakistan are now becoming famous on the international level because of the adventures being offered there.
Hiking and Trekking Pakistan
Northern areas have always attracted people interested in hiking, trekking and mountaineering. In recent years with a number of universities set up in Abbottabad, Manshera and other areas up Norther, have attracted number of young people from all over the country. With easy access to the internet, there is an increased interest in exploring northern areas.
Young men from Punjab are seen riding their bikes all the way to Khunjerab Pass during the summer seasons. The road networks have improved substantially in the last 5 years providing an easy access to more destinations which we unexplored previously.
Pakistan is home to three mountain chains including the Karakorum, Hindukush and Himalayas. With altitude continuously increasing from Abbottabad onwards there are plenty of places for hiking and trekking across the region.
Margella hills in Islamabad has hiking trails that are very popular with local residents. Annual events are organized to promote healthy activities like trekking and bush-walking on regular basis. You can also do biking on these trails. For further help, you can also contact Margalla Hiking Club and Islamabad Hiking Club there. Adjacent to Islamabad, Murree and Ayubia are situated. In Murree, you can hike to Mushkpuri Top while Dunga Gali to Ayubia is another easy hike track. This track also presents you the Stunning beauty of fresh pine forests. Pipeline track in Dunga Gali is more than 150 years-old and undoubtedly one of the best-managed tracks in the country.
Trekking in Pakistan is also gaining fame day by day. Karakoram and Himalayas, Ever Ruling Mountain ranges of Pakistan, offer a wide range of trekking opportunities to tourists. K2 Gondogoro La Trek is one of the world’s classics Trek. From the top of this trek, one can see all the prominent mountains of Shigar Valley and Hushey Valley. Great Karakoram Traverse Trek is a combination of Gondogoro glacier, Baltoro Glacier, Hispar Pass trek. This trek lies in the heart of the Karakoram. Laila Trek is another famous trek in the Karakoram Mountains. This trek gives you the stunning views of Haramosh Peak, Karakoram. Shimshal Manglik Sar Trek and Khurdopin Pass Shimshal Trek are also among the world’s challenging treks. These treks also give you beautiful views of the Karakoram Mountains. While travelling on KKH, one can also stop there to visit Fairy Meadows. If you want to make your trip more adventurous then you can also enjoy 4 hours trekking on Fairy Meadow Nanga Parbat Trek.
Skiing in Pakistan is promoted by two main ski resorts. Skiing is one of the most top Northern Pakistan adventures. For tourists, there are many skiing spots in the Gilgit-Baltistan region but the most famous skiing spot is Malam Jabba Ski Resort. This resort is the largest and oldest resort in Pakistan. It is situated in the Hindu Kush range of the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This resort offers you two 800 meter ski runs. Nathiagali in the Himalayas also offers you this adventurous sport. Naltar Ski Resort is another famous ski resort of Pakistan. It belongs to Pakistan Air Force so before going there permission may require. It is situated in the Karakoram Range of the Naltar Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan province, Pakistan. One can also find skiing opportunities in other sites of Gilgit like Rattu, Astore and Burzil valleys.
Camping is one of the other things to do in Northern Pakistan. Camping in Pakistan is a very beautiful and adventuring experience because of the stunning campsites being offered by northern areas. Pir Chanasi is located 30 kilometres from Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. It is an easily accessible spot through public transport and private vehicles due to the paved road built in this region. June to September is an ideal time to camp here. Ratti Gali Lake is another good campsite for visitors, located 200 kilometres away from Muzaffarabad. Upper Neelum is one of the most popular campsites in Azad Kashmir and has been developed beautifully. Arang Kel is another beautiful spot in Azad Kashmir to camp. A hike or chairlift trip is required to reach there from Kel. The best time to camp here is from June to August.
Camping a great way to explore the Northern Pakistan
In the Northern areas of Pakistan, Shogran is one of the most easily accessible campsites. You can camp here from June to September. It is located at the distance of 234km from Islamabad. In Gilgit region. Naltar Lake is a beautiful site to camp. Fairy Meadows is another beautiful spot to camp between July to September. Beyal Camp or Nanga Parbat Base Camp comes after 4 hours of trekking from Fairy Meadows. The most ideal time to camp here is in July and August but this will be the ultimate camping experience for tourists.
Winter in Pakistan has its own charm. Some of the winter sports in Pakistan include snowboarding, kayaking, polo, white water rafting and snowmobiling. Snowmobiling in the northern areas of Pakistan is the latest trend that is attracting tourists from all over the world. In order to become a part of this thrilling experience, you can contact the Bravo Adventures in F-11 Markaz, Islamabad. It offers you three exciting snowmobiling tours. The first one is in frozen Saif-ul-malook Lake. The next tour, they will let you explore is the ultimate beauty of Chillam and Rattu Valleys, Gilgit- Baltistan. The special feature of this tour is that it takes place at night time which gives you beautiful and stunning scenes of mountain peaks and valleys in the moonlight. In the third tour, you will ride up to the stunning Astore Mountain, Himalayas.
Paragliding in Pakistan started in the 1980s. The major paragliding site in Pakistan is Mung, Khanpur. Sky Hawk Paragliding and Adventure Club, Khanpur offers you decent paragliding packages. You can also enjoy paragliding in northern areas of Pakistan. In Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza Adventure Tours will let you experience the bird’s eye view of the stunning sceneries present in Karakoram, Himalaya and Hindukush Mountains.
Recently water rafting is introduced in the fast flowing rapids in the river near Naran. Rafting is a great sport and young and adventurous travellers. The basic course is relatively easy and is designed keeping safety and fun in mind. Rafting is becoming a popular activity with travellers to Northern areas.
The above-discussed sports-hiking, trekking, skiing, camping, snowmobiling and paragliding, define the excitement level, offered by Pakistan. Apart from the beautiful sceneries in northern areas, these sports are also becoming popular among international tourists.
With a number of unsealed roads and beautiful areas to explore, Northern Pakistan is a heaven for 4-wheel jeep adventures. Several clubs operate in Nothern areas and organize rallies to encourage 4-wheel driving in the territory.
Most locations off the main road are not accessible with a sedan or smaller cars. Travellers to Northern Pakistan destinations will sooner or later rent a jeep to continue to some of the most scenic lookouts.