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A complete guide to treks and waterfalls in Chikmagalur

A complete guide to treks and waterfalls in Chikmagalur

By Soumya Pawaskar

02 Jun, 2024

When you think of Chikmagalur, the first thing that comes to mind is coffee, rightfully earning the title of the coffee land of Karnataka. But this offbeat destination in South India extends far beyond its coffee plantations.

Chikmagalur is quite popular among trekkers and nature lovers for its beautiful waterfalls and treks. While this place gracefully dons its beauty throughout the year, rainfall in Chikmagalur brings out the best of its green landscapes.

Here’s a list of the best treks and waterfalls in Chikmagalur that will totally leave you awestruck by the beauty that this town beholds.

Best waterfalls in Chikmagalur :

First, let’s explore the waterfalls in Chikmagalur, based on their drive time from The Hosteller, Chikmagalur

Jhari Falls, 30 Mins

The beautiful Jhari Falls in Chikmagalur, also known as Buttermilk Falls, is situated right in the middle of a dense forest. The best way to reach its base is by hiking through a private coffee estate. Alternatively, private jeeps are also available to take you there. Don’t miss taking a dip in the pool at the base of the waterfall post-hike. Jhari Falls in Chikmagalur is a perfect weekend getaway for Bangaloreans, considering the mere 5 hour-drive from Bangalore to Chikmagalur.

Shankar Falls, 55 Mins

Shankar Falls is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Chikmagalur and is quite popular among adventure lovers. This hidden gem is located deep inside the forest, and you need to trek on a narrow path to reach there. Along the way, all you hear is birds chirping and the sound of water gushing with great force. We guarantee that the moment freshwater touches your feet, all your tiredness from the trek will wash away!

Manikyadhara Falls, 57 Mins

The breathtaking Manikyadhara Falls is among the most famous waterfalls in Chikmagalur. Located on the Baba Budan Giri hills, this waterfall is believed to be sacred and holds religious significance. Many devotees walk down 200 steps to reach its base and take a dip in its holy waters. Often, both the adventurers and pilgrims trek to the Baba Budan Giri caves, which are a few km away from Manikyadhara Falls.

A traveler enjoying the view of majestic waterfall

A traveller enjoying the view of majestic waterfall (Source - midjourney.com)

Kallathigiri Falls/ Kalhatti Falls, 1 hour

Kallathigiri or Kalhatti Waterfall in Chikmagalur, originates and gushes down from the Chandra Drona Hills. The major highlight of Kalhatti Falls is the Veerabhadreshwara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Try to visit this waterfall early in the morning as it offers a mesmerising view of the surrounding valleys. Rainfall in Chikmagalur flourishes the flora and fauna of this region in abundance, making it a truly magical experience!

Hebbe Falls, 1 hour 24 min

Hebbe Falls is a stunning waterfall in Chikmagalur situated amidst dense forest and coffee plantations in Chikmagalur. It cascades down from a height of 550 feet in two stages to form Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls). A small pool formed by the falls at its base is ideal for a dip and short swim. It is believed that the waters of these falls are infused with herbs and can cure skin diseases, thus attracting a large number of tourists.

Kadambi & Elaneeru Falls, 3 hours

Nestled within the lush surroundings of Kudremukh National Park, Kadambi and Elaneeru Falls are two seasonal waterfalls in Chikmagalur. This is an exciting 3-in-1 experience for all adventurer lovers. A delightful trek leads you to the Kadambi Waterfall, where you can rejuvenate by taking a dip in its chilling water.

A short 45-minute journey from Kadambi Falls brings you to Elaneeru Falls, popularly known as Coconut Falls. The laid-back atmosphere of the waterfall is perfect for a picnic with friends and family.

Best treks in Chikmagalur :

Having explored the scenic waterfalls in Chikmagalur, let's move to another dimension of adventure travel – trekking. We've narrowed down on 4 best treks in Chikmagalur based on their popularity, accessibility and stunning views that you cannot miss!

Group of friends enjoying serene trek

Group of friends enjoying the serene hiking trail (Source - MidJourney.com)

Mullayanagiri Trek; Grade - Easy

Did you know? Even though Mullayanagiri holds the title of the highest peak in Karnataka, standing tall at 1930 metres, the trek is surprisingly easy. The name ‘Mullayanagiri’ comes from Saint Mulappa, who is believed to have meditated in the caves near the summit. The Mullayanagiri Trek starts from a place called Sarpadhari and involves approximately 500 steps to reach its peak. The summit has a small Shiva temple. Mullayanagiri Trek is easily accessible from Bangalore, considering the mere 4-hour drive from Bangalore to Chikmagalur.

Baba Budangiri Trek; Grade - Moderate

Baba Budangiri is the second-highest peak in Karnataka and is one of the best treks in Chikmagalur. This is a moderate-level trek and can be completed in approximately 5-6 hours. The starting point of the trek is the Shiva temple at the Mullayanagiri Peak. The best time to visit Baba Budangiri is March-April since it’s the primary flowering season in these hills.

History of Baba Budangiri : The place got its name from a 17th-century Sufi saint, Baba Budan. Legend holds that he introduced coffee to India. Baba Budan carried 7 raw beans while returning from his pilgrimage to Mecca. Later, these beans were planted on the slopes of Chandradorna Hills in Chikmagalur.

Kemmanagundi Trek; Grade - Easy

Kemmanagundi, popularly known as KR Hills, is among the most beautiful treks in Chikmagalur. The trek is considered easy and can be done as a fun activity with your family. The Kemmanagundi Peak offers stunning views of the green valleys, gushing waterfalls and streams. The location is approximately 300 km from Bangalore, and you can easily take both public and private transportation from Bangalore to Chikmagalur.

Netravati Peak; Grade - Moderate

Situated in the Kudremukh forest range, the Netravati trek is one of the best treks in Chikmagalur. The peak gets its name from the Netravati River, which originates at the base of the Netravati Peak. The trek is of moderate level but it will surely test your endurance. The best time to go for the Netravati trek is during the post-monsoon season, from August to October. Rainfall in Chikmagalur truly enhances the beauty of this place.

Pro tips for fellow trekkers : 

1. Due to the prevalence of leeches in this area, it is advisable to wear suitable attire as a precautionary measure to protect yourself from any harm.

2. Carry an extra pair of clothes in case you want to take a dip in the waterfall.

3. Make sure you descend before sunset to safely reach the starting point before dark. Once it's dark, there are higher chances of getting lost and encountering wild animals.

4. It’s very important that you’re stocked with enough water and food during a trek (hydration is key!).

5. While you’re in training mode, try to eat and drink ‘on the go’ as much as you can, so your body can get used to digesting during strenuous exercise.

Imagine sipping coffee amid lush landscapes of Western Ghats, and witness the mesmerising waterfalls and best treks in Chikmagalur – what more could you ask for? Pull out your best trekking shoes and get ready to explore this beautiful coffee land of Karnataka.


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