Best Hiking Trails in the Margalla Hills – Islamabad

Best Hiking Trails in the Margalla Hills – Islamabad

Islamabad is a heaven for the adventure loving people. Situated besides the Margalla Hills, the foothills of the great Himalayas, it gives unlimited outdoor activity opportunities to the people. There are many hiking trails in the Margallas, easy to extremely hardcore ones to suit the hikers of every age and skill. I am listing the ten best hiking routes in the Margallas in reverse order of awesomeness. The downloadable maps and guiding instructions are also provided to help anyone willing to undertake these adventures. There are of course many other trails as well which did not make the cut. Tell us your favorite trails in the comments below.

10. Trail3

 The most famous and the oldest trail, maintained by the CDA. Thousands of people visit this trail daily to enjoy nature. There are multiple variants of this trail to be enjoyed by ever skill level.


Difficulty: Easy/Medium/Tough

What to Do: Go to Trail3 parking on Margalla Road and do either short loop or hike all the way to Monal.

Estimated Time: 3 hrs for return hike

Parking Space: Yes

Total distance: 5.57 km
Max elevation: 1177 m
Min elevation: 615 m
Total climbing: 672 m


9. Trail6

Like Trail3, the Trail 6 is also maintained by the CDA. Its not very steep and does not provide us with stunning views of Islamabad like other trails but it does give us opportunity to enjoy nature a bit more with a fresh water stream and jungle walk.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

What to Do: Start point is behind Faisal Mosque. You can do the trail and be back in a couple of hours.

Estimated Time: 2 hrs

Parking Space: Yes at Faisal Mosque

Total distance: 8.21 km
Max elevation: 995 m
Min elevation: 601 m
Total climbing: 522 m


8. Trail5

Trail 5 is also on the CDA list of trails. It starts close to Trail3 and there are also different variants of this trail as well. First couple of kilometers is flat terrain and it runs parralel to a fresh water stream. After the stream sitting area there is an abrupt rise that leads to the top of the ridge. It provides us with some stunning views of the Islamabad like Trail3.

Difficulty: Easy/Tough

What to Do: Start point is near Trail3 on the Margalla Road. You can do either of the options between, Trail5, Trail 5 Fireline and Trail 5A and be back in about 3 hours.

Not to be missed is the tea at the dhaba in the parking.

Estimated Time: 3 hrs return

Parking Space: Yes

Total distance: 5.08 km
Max elevation: 1129 m
Min elevation: 620 m
Total climbing: 534 m


7. Talhaar Ridge Trail & Nooran Di Gali

These are actually two separate trails but they can be combined to make an awesome hiking route in the Margallas. The ridge trail is actually the top of the ridge near Talhaar valley. On one side there are amazing views of Talhaar, while on the other side you can view the beautiful Islamabad. The ridge extends all the way to Sandhuri and Kot Jandaan, another valley on the western part of the Margallas.It can be approached through different places like the Monal road, Trail6 and Trail4.

From Kot Jandaan, another trail, Nooran di Gali, goes down back to Islamabad side through a village Kalinjer.

Difficulty: Tough

What to Do: You can start the hike from either Faisal Mosque, or Trail4 start, or the Talhaar turn on the way to Monal and explore the beauty of the Margallas.

Estimated Time: 4-5 hrs

Parking Space: Yes if started from Faisal Mosque (Trail6,4)

Total distance: 18.86 km
Max elevation: 1232 m
Min elevation: 599 m
Total climbing: 1459 m


6. Bruti & Tila Charouni

Tila Charouni is the highest point of the Margalla Hills. A couple of long trails start near NoorPur Shahan village and goes to the top passing through either Bruti water stream and PirSohawa, or through Loh Dandi caves.

Difficulty: Tough

What to Do: Best way is to start from Loh Dandi parking and go all the way. There is another shorter option of starting from PirSohawa. The one thing not to be missed is a dip in the beautiful water stream at Bruti.

Estimated Time: 5 hrs

Parking Space: Yes at Loh Dandi Track Parking

Total distance: 22.58 km
Max elevation: 1586 m
Min elevation: 636 m
Total climbing: 1869 m


5. Trail4 & 4A (LOTR trail)

Two of the most beautiful trails in the Margalla Hills, these variants of Trail4 give us ample opportunities to enjoy the Margallas to the fullest. The trail4 passes through the Air Blue Crash site as well.

Difficulty: Medium/Tough

Note: Trail4A can be overgrown in the rainy season so better be prepared beforehand.

What to Do: Best place to start is the Trail4 parking at Cafe Montanna near Zoo.

Estimated Time: 4 hrs

Parking Space: Yes at Cafe Montana

Total distance: 10.31 km
Max elevation: 1137 m
Min elevation: 616 m
Total climbing: 1011 m

4. Ratta Hotar Murad Gali

Ratta Hotar is an old village located in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Margallas. We can climb the Margallas from there all the way to the top where the Trail5 ends. One can combine this with Trail5 to make an epic long hike in the Margallas.

Difficulty: Medium/Tough

What to Do: Best way is to start from Trail5 parking, go to Ratta Hotar, climb to the top and return via Trail5.

Estimated Time: 4 hrs return via the same or Trail5

Parking Space: Yes at Trail5 parking or even at Ratta Hotar

Total distance: 5.81 km
Max elevation: 1174 m
Min elevation: 637 m
Total climbing: 1018 m



3. Talhaar to Khanpur

This is one of the must do hike in the Margallas. We can reach Khanpur through a couple of passes in the Margalla Hills starting from Talhaar.

Difficulty: Tough

What to Do: This is a one way hike. Start from the Talhaar valley and go all the way to Khanpur through some amazing hills.

Estimated Time: 4 hrs to end point

Parking Space: Not needed as its not a return hike

Total distance: 14.52 km
Max elevation: 1173 m
Min elevation: 637 m
Total climbing: 942 m



2. Makhniyal Second Ridge Trail

One of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Margallas, the second ridge provides us great opportunity to connect with nature. The highlight of this trail is the two lakes view point where you can view both Khanpur Lake and Rawal Lake.

The Second Ridge Trail

Difficulty: Easy

What to Do: The starting point is the Makhniyal village, about 25km from Zoo on the PirSohawa road. There is enough space there to park the cars.

Estimated Time: 3 hrs return to start point

Parking Space: Yes at Makhniyal village

Total distance: 12.74 km
Max elevation: 1518 m
Min elevation: 1409 m
Total climbing: 1064 m


1. PirSohawa to Ghora Gali

The most epic, and longest trail in the Margalla Hills is a long trek that takes you from the PirSohawa heights all the way to the gateway to Murree. Its a great test of endurance and fitness and people use it to train for the big treks of the North.

The PirSohawa to Ghora Gali Track

Difficulty: Tough

What to Do: This is also one way hike. Start point is around 18km from the Zoo on PirSohawa road. It passes through some of the great places in the hills. Most of the trek is on top of the ridge thus giving some stunning views of the valleys on both sides.

Estimated Time: 7-9 hrs to end point

Parking Space: Not needed as its not a return hike

Total distance: 29.25 km
Max elevation: 1627 m
Min elevation: 1173 m
Total climbing: 2028 m


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15 thoughts on “Best Hiking Trails in the Margalla Hills – Islamabad

  1. Very informative and encouraging article. Trekking is the best and most economical activity around Islamabad.
    We did two more treks in addition to those mentioned: one is a good trail from Shah Allah Ditta (near Golra Sharif) to Garm Thoon village across the margallas, possible extendable to Khanpur Lake; another begins from Shahdara village and takes to Nilan Bhotu village, extendable to Ruper and Jabri in Haripur district.
    Highly appreciate your knowledge and initiative.
    Let the efforts grow…
    Aziz Jamali

    1. Thank You Sir for your kind reply.
      we actually did bike ride to Khanpur via Shah Allah Ditta and Garam thoon a number of times. This misses the cut because we focused on pure hiking trails. Nilan Bhotu is one special trail thats missing in this list. Thanks for mentioning that. We’ll post a separate blog post on that along with all the necessary details.

      Best Regards,

    2. May I have your contact number as I want to take information regarding hiking tracks in Islamabad?

  2. very informative i appriciate ur hard work … stay blessed Kamran, u have always been helpful…Pakistan zindabaad

  3. Thankz for such an informative article.
    I would like to take information regarding this tracks as I don’t know these villages. I have visited train 3,6,5, Baruti, Said Pur villege track many times and Now, I would like to explore these tracks. Would you like to tell me where from I can get information regarding these tracks or if you have any contact number or map please provide me.

    1. Thank You for liking the article Sir.
      You can contact me anything. Would love to help.
      Contact me via Facebook message on the Hike&Bike Isloo page.

      All the maps are actually shared on this article. You can simply download the map and use it on your sports watch or GPS device. You can hike with any one of us. Last weekend we did the Trail4, Talhaar Ridge and Saidpur in one grand Hike.

  4. Please mention that people have been held up on gunpoint and robbed on a few of these hiking tracks also.

    1. I think it was near Pharilla, where this incident happened. Haven’t heard about others though.

      People have to be careful while undertaking such adventures but overall the local people in the Margallas are found to be pretty much supportive.

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