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Hiking in the Margalla Hills

The Margalla Hills are the continuation of the Himalayan mountain range. The soil on the hill is fertile and completely covered with green trees, herbaceous plants and rocks. The forest on the hills is the natural habitat for a variety of animals and birds. The forestry department of Pakistan and the authorities has tried their level best to revive tourism in this area. Every year, many private clubs along with the authorities conduct a hiking excursion to fetch up the importance of the Margalla Hills among all age groups. The authorities have made possible for people to visit the forest, roam about safely, and explore the natural resort. For people who wants to experience hiking and overnight camping can come here as it is the safest place for the purpose.

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The two sides of Islamabad are surrounded by the hills. Therefore, it is possible and much easier to access. There are eight trails that vary in distances, and are assigned with numbers, i.e Trails # 1,2,3,4, 5, and 6. The remaining two tracks are named as; the Saidpur trail, and Bari Imam Trail.

Most Trails in Margalla Hills:
  • Trail 1 - will lead you to the top terminal of the Pir Sohawa road, in more or less two hours. Upon extending the walkway, you will reach Monal Restaurant in twenty minutes.
  • Trail 2 - starts out just above the Pir Sohawa, the point located near Islamabad Zoo. It is 1 – 1.5 hours walk and leads you to Daman-e-Koh. You can move beyond this spot upward to the cactus ridge.
  • Track 3 – It starts from the Margalla road F-7. The track is exhausting to some extent, due to steep hills. The course will lead you to the summit, and draw near to the three famous restaurants at Pir Sohawa. It is approximately one hour thirty minute walk
  • Track 4 – It is the link between Trails 3 and 5.
  • Trail 5 – Begins from Margalla Road in sector F-5, and people find it easier to climb. The trails 3 and 5 run parallel up to some distance, and is connected via trail 4 at certain points. The trail 5 will lead you to the top of Pir Sohawa road. You can switch trail 3 to 5 by walking an extra distance of 1.5 Kms. The estimated time to cover the distance on the trail is about 2.5 – 3.5 hours.
  • Trail 6 – This trail is sparingly used as the entrance is not known to many people. It starts from the back of the Faisal Mosque in Sector E7, near tree planting Project sign is polled. Trails will run you through a valley along a well defined route that guides you to the top terminal of the Pir Sohawa road. The trail has a track for mountain bikes, and a bird watching point.
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  • Saidpur trail - travel along the river through the village and you'll emerge in a valley and a trail that leads up to the Monal restaurant. Saidpur trail is not much used by the outsiders, but only the local residents.
  • Bari Imam trail – To draw onto this trail you need to ride to the other terminal on the Margalla road i.e near the Government Complex. The trail starts near the Bari Imam Cave, climb up the steep hills and you will come close to the Pir Sohawa road. From here you need to walk 5.5 Km to reach trail 3. Continue on the path, or else you will be drifting into KPK (the other province of Pakistan).
You can get more information from the office of city planner near the Hills. Pick out any trial to enjoy and experience the Hiking. It is advised to use trail 3 or 5 the first time you go for hiking. These two trails have more panels and maps affixed for guidance and have less chances of becoming misplaced in the woods.
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Margalla Hills National Park Islamabad Pakistan

Margalla Hills National Park is located in the foothills of the Himalayan range. The topography is rugged, with numerous valleys and many steep and even precipitous slopes. The area is drained by the River Kurang and its tributaries, which flow into the River Soan. This park is the most accessible park in Pakistan due to its close proximity to the national capital, Islamabad. A visitor centre is planned for Daman-E-Koh, providing lounge accommodation and an information service. Lodges, camping grounds and picnic sites are also planned and the provision of a chair lift may be considered.

Wildlife at Margalla Hills National Park:

Margalla Hills are unique in Pakistan, being rich in Sino Himalayan fauna, some species (especially birds) of which are at the western extremity of their distribution. It is an extention of the Islamabad wildlife sanctuary, which includes the Shakar Parian Hills and the Rawal Lake. The park was setup to provide refugee to the Gray Goral, Barking deer and the Leopard. Protection to these animals have benefitted other unusual and interesting smaller animal as well. Margalla Hills National Park provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching. A Cheer Pheasant hatchery has been established at Chak Jabri and Dhok Jewan to raise captive Cheer pheasants that have become extinct in the hills. These are then released in the wild.

Mammals at Margalla Hills National Park:

Mammals in the park include–Asiatic leopard (T), Wild boar (C), Golden Jackal (C), Rhesus Macaque (V), Leopard cat (R), Gray Goral sheep (V), Barking deer (V), Chinkara gazelle (R), Red fox (C), Pangolin (R), Porcupine (C), Yellow throated marten (R) and Fruit bats (C).

Note: T=Threatened, V=Vulnerable, R=Rare, C=Common, ?=Unknown.

Birds at Margalla Hills National Park:

Birds in the park are–Himalayan Griffon vulture, Laggar falcon, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, Egyptian vulture, White cheeked bulbul, yellow vented bulbul, Paradise flycatcher, Black partridge, Cheer pheasant, Khalij pheasant, Golden oriole, Spotted dove, Collared dove, Larks, Shrikes, Wheatears and buntings.

Reptiles at Margalla Hills National Park:

Reptiles in the park are–Russell’s viper, Indian cobra, Himalayan pit viper and Saw scaled viper.