A holiday in the Kaghan Valley, the Himalayan hide-away, located north-east of the Hazara district of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, is an unforgettable experience. The Kaghan valley is named for the town of Kaghan rather than for the Kunhar River which flows to the length of the valley. The Valley extends for 155 kms rising from an elevation of 2,134 metres to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 4,173 metres. The local population is friendly and easygoing and speaks Hindko(a language spoken by the hill people in Hazara), Pushto, and/or Urdu. The region is Alpine in geography and climate, with forests and meadows dominating the landscape below peaks that reach over 17,000 feet.
Its mountains, dales, lakes, water-falls, streams and glaciers are still in an unbelievable pristine state. It is indeed an unspoiled paradise! This is why it can be a deeply satisfying experience to spend a few days in Kaghan. Kaghan is at its best during summer (months ranging from May to September). In May the temperature is: maximum 11 C and minimum 3 C. From the middle of July up to the end of September the road beyond Naran is open right upto Babusar Pass. Movement is restricted during the monsoon and winter seasons. The Kaghan area can reached by road via the towns of Balakot, Abbottabad and Mansehra. In Balakot, one may find buses and other transports to reach Kaghan or Naran.
The road from Balakot ascends along the Kunhar River through lovely forests and the villages of Paras, Shinu, Jared and Mahandri. The valley is somewhat narrow along this stretch and the views are limited but as you ascend, the sorrounding peaks come into view. One spot that is quite famous for its spectacular view and scenary is 'Shogran'. This village, sorrounded by peaks and forests, is east of the main Kunhar River. It hosts the famous Siri-Paya mountain with breathtaking views at its top.
Fishing is the chief sport in Kaghan. Brown Trout and Mahasheer are stocked in pure silvery waters between Kaghan and Naran. The Kunhar river trout is considered to be the best throughout the sub-continent. Fishing licenses are issued by the 'Fisheries Department at Naran' or by the 'Trout Hatchery' at Shinu.
Most visitors to Naran pay a visit to Saiful Maluk Lake (10,500 feet) 6 miles east of town. If the road is open you can arrange transportation by jeep. If the road is closed, it is an easy, gradual three-hour walk, and the lake is a lovely spot for a picnic.
If you are walking directly up-valley from Naran to Babusar "Top" the loveliest spots to camp on this trail is at "Lulusar Lake". Located just before the final grade to Babusar Top and sorrounded by tall peaks, Lulusar is just one many high elevation lakes that sit along the crest of the ridge.
One of the most interesting features of the Kaghan area is the Gujar (herder) families you'll see along the way bringing their animals upto the summer pastures. The Kaghan valley is one of their most popular destinations in Pakistan, and you'll find them camped along the road in their tents or moving up the valley with their goats, sheep and pack animals. For those with time and interest, this peaceful, lovely valley offers an interesting and enjoyable destination