The thing that draws us back to Kerala time and time again is the marvellous variety of the region. Rolling hills and tea plantations tumble into tranquil tropical beaches, and wildlife reserves spill into the placid backwaters. The landscape of Kerala is always surprising and what better way to see it than from above, from some of the highest peaks with the prettiest views in the world? We have gathered together our favourite places to trek in South India – from the scenic to the steep – there is something to cater to all tastes. Which mountain will you climb?
Munnar is the home of South India’s highest peak, the Anamudi hills. These hills rise up into the clouds to a height of 2695 m and the verdant surroundings make this the perfect place for a hike on a sunny day. If you would like to journey up Anamudi then you have to apply for permission from the forestry department but trust us, the extra admin is worth it! When you are wandering these hills, if you time your visit just right, then you might have a chance of seeing the Neelakurinji flower which blooms only once every 12 years.
2. Chembra Peak
You can see Chembra Peak from all across Wayanad. Covered in a thick carpet of grass it gleams an emerald green and when the sun hits the mountain in just the right way it seems to really sparkle – thanks to reflections from the myriad waterfalls. This trekking site is a little more accessible than Munnar. The forestry department provides guidebooks, sleeping bags and even tents to any intrepid adventurers. A hike to the top takes around 3 hours and can get a bit hairy at times but when you finally reach the summit and see all of Wayanad stretching into the horizon you will know why Chemra has made our top 5.
3. Soochipara Waterfalls
Not necessarily a trek in itself but a great stop off if you are hiking around to the Lakkidi View Point or Chembra, the Soochipara Falls are a majestic setting in which to unwind. You can soak in the views of the tea plantations and spice farms all around while you are literally soaked in the falls’ spray. This waterfall is an eternally popular tourist spot as those less keen on trekking for hours can drive most of the way and park a few minutes from the destination. Your trip to Kerala isn’t complete unless you have whiled away the hours swimming in the serene waters of the Soochipara falls.
4. Agasthyarkoodam Peak
Besides being quite the tongue twister, Agasthyarkoodam Peak is also an area of sublime natural beauty. Unlike some of the other treks on this list it is accessible only on foot – so no cheating with a scenic jeep drive! The locals will tell you that women should not go on this trek because Saint Agasthya (who is said to have made the mountain his home) would not approve. So if you are looking for mystery and magic in the misty hills of India this is the place for you!
This trekking trail is one for any nature enthusiasts who want to find themselves in unspoilt surroundings. Chimmini is a wildlife sanctuary in South India that 160 varieties of birds and scores of butterflies make their home, therefore, if you are on the hunt for some of Kerala’s rarest creatures then this is the place to do it. If you are not wanting to go into the sanctuary itself then you can trek around the outskirts of the sanctuary for some beautiful views of the reserve. Taking a hike through the dense jungle at the centre of the park is, however, our top trekking tip.
Start planning your trekking trip to Kerala now, with luxury accommodation to rest your feet in between each mountain!