Karnala is one of the closest treks to Mumbai, and is located only 10 kms from Panvel. Karnala fort is located inside the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, making it a prime spot for nature lovers. You’ll be trekking through the bird sanctuary and might be able to spot some of the 200 species of birds that live here. At the top, the fort is a beautiful monument, with a towering pinnacle and winding ramparts at different levels. You’ll get great views of the valley below, as well as Prabalgad, Chanderi Fort, and Manikgad.Route for the Karnala trek:
Because it is located so close to Mumbai, most trekking groups arrive here by public or private transport. You’ll park in the parking spot just outside the gates of Karnala Bird Sanctuary and then begin the route upwards. You’ll trek along a thickly forested trail, and up to the top of a ridge. From the ridge, you’ll get views of the valley on one side, which used to be a trade route at one time. The trail continues along the top of the ridge for a long way, and is a great spot for photography and birdwatching as it looks over the treetops below.
The trek takes about 2 hours one way, and you’ll arrive at the fort, at the end. You can explore the ruins here, and eat lunch. You’ll descend after lunch, and will return to the parking lot. You’ll arrive in Mumbai by late evening.Best time to visit Karnala:
The trek to Karnala is good during the monsoon and the winter. In the monsoon, you’ll walk through the sanctuary, with bird calls and thriving greenery all around. From the ridge leading to Karnala fort, you’ll be able to see the dark rain clouds gathering around the rocky tower of the fort. However, do be prepared to get soaked and muddy! The Karnala trek is popular in winter too, when the morning mist takes longer to clear, and you’ll have cool climbing weather.What to carry for the Karnala trek:
For your Karnala fort trek, you should take appropriate rainwear and trekking shoes. Do carry your essentials like water, snacks, insect repellent, first aid kit, and camera in a small day pack. Don’t forget to pack a rain cover for your bag, or pack your belongings in plastic to protect it from getting wet. Also, carry a change of dry clothes and a long-sleeved jacket or sweatshirt to keep you warm on your return.