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Dudipatsar Lake - Dudipat Lake , Kaghan Valley, KPK, Pakistan




About

Dudipatsar Lake or Dudipat Lake is a lake encircled by snow clad peaks in Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park. The lake lies in the extreme north of the Kaghan Valley, in the Mansehra District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in northern Pakistan.


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The word "dudi" means white, "pat" means mountains and "sar" means lake. This name has been given to the lake because of the white color of snow at surrounding peaks. In summer the water of the lake reflects like a mirror. The word "sar" is used with the name of each lake in the area, translating as 'lake.'
The lake's water is a beautiful greenish blue hue and very cold, at an elevation of 12,500 ft. The surrounding mountains, with snow patches in the shady dales, average around 4,800 metres  in elevation. Their natural habitat is in the Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows ecoregion. The lake and its wetlands habitats are of significant ecological importance for resident fauna and migratory waterfowl.Some of the park's fauna includes the snow leopard, black bear, marmot, weasel, lynx, leopard, Himalayan snowcock, and snow partridge.

Lulusar Lake, also in the park, is the primary headwaters of the Kunhar River. Saiful Muluk National Park, with Saif ul Maluk Lake, is adjacent in the 150 kilometres long Kaghan Valley region and together the parks protect 88,000 hectares.
The trail goes along a tributary of the Kunhar River called Poorbi Narr in the northern Kaghan Valley. The headwater for the particular tributary is the Dudipat Lake and the trail has a cumulative elevation gain of 2,100 ft. The average time taken to complete the trail is 7 to 12 hours.

The trail is entirely within the national park and passes through multiple life zones of the park, from lowland forests to alpine meadows of wildflowers. As the trail climbs up to the plateau, hikers see different wildlife in the region including marmots and different species of birds.

The trail is of medium difficulty. The overall elevation gain isn't great but climbing at high altitude makes the trail more demanding. During the course of the trail, one encounters boulders, meadows, plateaus, snow (in early summer) and streams. The trail and the surrounding mountains are frequently used by cattle herders who set up summer homes in the area.
Dudipatsar Trail - General path of the trail

The main hiking season is mid-summer, which is often dry and sunny. Hikers early in the season can see snow in the ravine that runs down from the plateau. The plateau is marshy in places (waterproof boots advised). There are a number of river crossings on the trail including one buggy bridge. The same river tributary is crossed on log bridges on a couple of locations.

The trails starts at Besal, where there is a driver hotel and a police check post. Lodging is available as well as space for setting up camp. Parking of vehicles is done at one's own risk but someone can be hired to look after vehicles for a day or two.


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