Trekking trails that sneak down the roads of Islamabad from different steep sides of the majestic Margalla Hills are some of the most amazing natural landscapes of the capital city.
Hundreds of people including foreigners visit these trails every day and enjoy the natural environment and health-recreational-activities.
The Margalla Hills had about thirty well-identified trails that the locals and tourists use. Nonetheless, the capital city administration has been working on and improving six of them for public hiking.
Margalla is a 40 km long hill range that covers an area of approximately 12,605 hectares. The highest peak of the range is Tilla Charouni with an elevation of 1604 meters.
The Hills stretch from Shahdara Valley in the east to Shah Allah Ditta village in the west covering the area between shrines of ‘Bari Imam’ in the east and ‘Golra Sharif’ in the west. Margalla Hills almost stand like a wall between two lakes of ‘Khanpur’ in the far north and ‘Rawal’ in near south.
Islamabad Wildlife Management said
Talking to APP, an official of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) said that these trails and Margalla National Park are home for locals, athletes and foreigners who are fond of trekking, hiking and walking in the twisted paths that are finding their way right up to the hills.
He said a number of visitors to trails and Margalla national park increases in spring and summers. “Approximately 250-300 trekkers including locals, who live uphill, use these tracks for hiking, jogging and walking daily”, he added.
All these trails offer unique opportunities for hiking and can be easily managed as half-day weekend hikes. Trail-1 takes off behind the E-8 and E-9 lines. The easiest way to the trailhead is to reach Kalinger village from the intersection between Agha Shahi Avenue and the University of National Defence.
Hiking can start from a small complex of Mazar in the village of Klinger. The path travels initially along a stream of water that leads up into the mountains. Unlike other officially recognized trails, this isn’t well marked and navigating the route requires considerable effort.
Among all the six officially recognized trails, trail-2 leading up to Damn-e-Koh is the shortest. It has two distinct trailheads. The first is located at a narrow dirt track astride Marghazar Zoo.
Alternately, a well-marked trailhead is present at the start of Pir Sohawa Road.
Trail-3 is the most famous and beautiful hiking trail which is well marked and properly maintained. The trailhead is located opposite Sector F-6 on Margalla Road and a parking area is also available at that point.
Due to the proximity of various embassies, the trail is frequently visited by foreigners. The initial ascent of the trail is steep and it takes almost an hour of moderate hike to reach the ‘Viewpoint.’
The viewpoint offers great sights of Islamabad and almost all major buildings, monuments, avenues are identifiable with the naked eye from here.
For the majority of the hikers with families, the viewpoint marks as the culmination point of trail-3. However, for the more enthusiastic ones, it is just one-third of the journey.
Trail-4 is quite challenging and strenuous. Initially, it moves along the Pir Sohawa Road and then takes a westward turn further into the Margalla Hills. At the top, the trail offers beautiful scenes of the city including a rare glimpse of Faisal Mosque.
Trail-5 or the Dera Janglan Trail is also quite popular. The start point of the trail is located a few hundred meters ahead of trail-3, opposite Sector F-5 on Margalla Road, and it leads up to Pir Sohawa Road. This trail has about three subtracts that are also connected to the adjacent trail-3.
Trail-6 or the Chak Jabbi Trail is one of the latest trails that has officially been recognized and made available to the general public after necessary works.
The trailhead is located at the rear of the Faisal Mosque near car parking. After about half an hour from the start point, it takes you to a beautiful water spring with the date and palm trees around it.
A regular hiker and local of Islamabad, Jawad Ali Shah said that the picnickers who come to trek on these trails also turn the resting places into BBQ points where they use wood from trees and leave behind their waste.
“To maintain this scenic beauty, it is our civic duty to take our waste back with us and not litter the place with a plastic bottle and other junks”, he added.