Now that I have about completed all six (1–6) numbered Hiking trails on Margalla Hills Islamabad, I can safely say, Trail 1 is the best of them all.
- Trails 1 starts at E-8 Sector in front of National Defense University and ends at Talhar Village.
- The total Time to complete Trail 1 is 4.5 h
- The intensity level of Trail 1 is moderately tough.
There are three ridges before you get to Pir Sohawa Road or the top Margalla Ridge.
The reason why Trail 1 Margalla Hills Islamabad is the best
- Trail 1 Margalla Islamabad is tougher than the rest.
- This trail has some sub trails, which makes it more adventurous.
- It has danger too, which makes it exciting
- They recently found that there are 5 leopards roaming these hills after dark and one of them is called Shehzadi.
- At some spots, rocky formations rise to above 1000 meters.
- Water streams on the track flow pretty fast in the rainy season.
- Drinking water must be carried on the trail during winters.
- There are no hawkers and locals hanging around the track.
- Views of Islamabad, Faisal mosque and the Sunset are excellent from Trail 1 first rest point.
- You can catch glimpse of wild boars, snakes, horses, Hawks, and beautiful birds in these mountains.
- Some spots lead to scary cliffs and high rock faces.
- A few Wild Olive Groves on the second ridge along Trail 1 are an excellent place to camp for the weekend.
- Not too many people go there, so you have the place all to yourself.
- Trail 1 Margalla Islamabad gives you a good feel of your fitness level for the real hikes and climbs up north in Gilgit Baltistan.
- It is safe.
Details of Trail 1 Margalla Hills
- Trail 1 Google Maps Route is posted here https://goo.gl/maps/2G6j8HtjbD95K7rV6
- Coordinates Kilenger Village Start Point 33.73188804802678, 73.01617844813866
Trail 1 Margalla Islamabad starts at Kilenger/Gandhian Village, just beside the Pizza restaurant at the end of the double road between E-9 PAF AHQ and E-8 Navy HQ.
The starting point is opposite National Defense University.
A guard on the check post between Air University and Bahria University will ask for your ID Card.
If you say you must go to the Gandhian village, they let you go.
The track is not marked, so take visual clues from the canopy installed at the top of the first ridge.
There are three ridges before you get to Pir Sohawa Road or the top Margalla Ridge.
Ending Point can be either of
- Talhar Village across the top Ridge
- Sinyari Village Behind E-10 Sector Islamabad
- Pir Sohawa Road; I could not find the route, but here is one if you walk Eastwards.
This hike is of medium intensity, but at a few spots, the track disappears with a drop of 30 feet on one side and a rock wall on the other.
Women, children, and families can do the easier first leg and return after watching the sunset under the shaded seating area.
As the track is not marked, starting off early is imperative, or you might find yourself lost after sunset.
There are only woodcutters and random Bakarwal goat herders that you meet during the climb, and that is after walking for hours.
The total time from E-8 Sector to
- Kilenger village E-8 Sector to Talhar Junction is 5 h
- Gandhian/Kilenger village E-8 Sector to Sinyari Village E-10 is 4 h
- Kilenger village to Talhar village is 4.5 h
- Gandhian/Kilenger to first rest stop sunset viewpoint is one hour
Women and elders over 60 will not be able to do any of these tracks on trail 1 Margalla Islamabad.
What else can be done there?
- Camping overnight at the Wild Olive Wood in the summers.
- Sipping Tea and Barbecuing on the cliff with a clear view of Faisal mosque and Rawal Lake with hawks flying beneath you
- Just below Margalla top Ridgeline, there is an abandoned ranger post from where you can get a panoramic 270-Degree view of Islamabad
- The view starts from Bari Imam in the East, Rawal Lake, and Faisal mosque on to GT road on the Western side.
Essential Equipment to carry along on Trial One Hike Margalla
- SunGlasses, as the Sun is dazzling above the city smog.
- Proper hiking boots, with high angles.
- Wooly Cap, Fleece, and inner thermals during winters.
- Night headlamp, with a headband.
- Accurate GPS cell phone, with spare power pack.
- A pocket knife.
- Fingerless Gloves to hold on to the rocks and not cut your hands on the prickly bushes
- The water bladder with 3 liters of water with ORS mixed into it.
- Hiking stick with handle securing loops.
- Dates, Chickpeas, Fruits such as Banana and Oranges.
- A white scarf in summers.
- Money, in case you do not get a lift where you end up.
- An adventurous spirit.
- Good company.
PRO TIP 1
Foreigners might have a problem of being stopped and questioned by the Pakistan Air Force and Navy guards at the post just inside Shaheen chowk, not Pakistani nationals.
I wish the military authorities allow everyone to enjoy this wonderful excursion that would build brownie points for our security forces.
My super hike on Trail 1 Margalla Hills Islamabad
I started off late at 12 o’clock from Gandhian Village and I discovered, in the evening that it was dangerously late.
You must get there latest by 8 am to have sufficient time to recover, in case you get lost.
I walked along the Pakistan Navy Golf Club wall till the time I reached a small Nullah with water trickling down.
At this point, I turned left toward Margalla.
The well-used hiking track goes in the general direction of the metal canopy on top of the first ridge.
After about 1.5 h I was at the first ridge when I discovered there was another ridge behind the first one.
To ghetto the second ridge, I had to pass through two tricky spots where I had to slide over the rock, with a precarious drop on one side.
This is the spot where the park rangers have stopped maintaining the trail
I had to rethink my priorities for a while before moving ahead since the hawk flying below my ledge seemed to be waiting for me to fall.
It was a pleasant time there.
After circumventing a 100-foot rock face, I reached the first clearing.
There were several dried-up streams along the way with abandoned Shrine and Hermitages.
Before I reached the second clearing, I met two menacing goat herders with axes slung on their shoulders.
The Axes I gathered, were meant for the rampant illegal logging everyone is doing on Margalla Hills.
The goat herders give me clear instructions on how to get to a road before sunset, which I hereby produce for you all.
I was not listening to these guys and nearly ended up in trouble, so read this carefully
- At the abandoned shrine, the track splits up into three routes.
- If you take the leftmost route or the Eastern Route, you end up in Sinyari Village in 1.0-hour.
- If you climbing straight you end up on the Margalla Top ridge passing through Goat Herder Shacks.
Take the Western track, on your right side, you will end up at Talhar village after 1.5 h.
All these tracks are quite well used, so do not test the mountains and try to course a new path- the mountain always wins.
If you do end up at any of these places, the local people are friendly and they would give hitch you a ride on the back of their motorcycles or even cars for free.
From Talhar, Pir Sohawa road is a 15-minute ride.
PRO TIP 2
GPS and Mobile signals stay strong throughout the hike.
I didn’t feel threatened or unsafe on the way, maybe because I had a knife on my belt, but I would recommend going there in pairs.
Just do not run on the hills, or you will twist your ankle and there will be no one to carry you out.
It gets dark early in the mountains so you will have to turn on your headlamp exactly 15 minutes after sunset time on google.
The wild animals on Margalla Hills Islamabad
I saw plenty of birds and small animals rustling in the bushes close by, but I didn’t see any leopards, Boars, or foxes that are known to be around in Margalla hills.
Which are the 10 Hiking trails in Islamabad Margalla hills?
Trail 1 Islamabad
Between Kilenger / Gandian Village E-8 Sector and Sinyari village E-10.
Trail 2 Islamabad
This is a short and easy trail Between Marghzar Zoo and Damne Koh, suitable for all family members
Trail 3 Islamabad
Between F-6 and Monal Restaurant, Pir Sohawa. People generally climb straight up the fire lane and then pop pain killers for the next whole week.
Trail 4 Islamabad
Between Trail 3 and Trial 5
Trail 5 Margalla Islamabad
Starts 300 meters ahead of Trail 3 in F-6 and ends at Pir Sohawa
Trail 6 Islamabad
Starts behind Faisal Mosque from the Parking to Pir Sohawa, with a mountain bike lane too.
Margalla Ridge Hike Islamabad
Between Kehntala Village Laosar Bauli above Shah Allah Ditta and Talhar Village.
- Also, see Sunset Spot at Laosar Bauli Shah Allah Ditta Islamabad
Makhniyal Second Ridge Hike Islamabad
This is between Makhnial village Pir Sohawa Road to Gokina Village.
Bruti Water Fall Trail Islamabad
This hike starts from the Parking behind Bari Imam, called Loh e Dandi near the old municipal building and goes up to Pir Sohawa passing through Bruti Waller fall.
- Also, see Shumber Waterfall and Leopards of Margalla
HazirPirTrail Margalla Pass Islamabad / Rawalpindi
Starts at the foothills of Faisal-Hills town, close to Margalla Pass, and ends up a Hazer Pir Mizar Shrine.
- Pir Sohawa to Bara kahu Hike