Treks in India bring to mind snowy cliffs and deodar flanked paths of the Himalayas or the dense mountain peaks of Western Ghats. Which is why the Gokarna Beach trek (or hike if you are a purist) is a delightful surprise. The trail is along the coastline over rocky hills giving way to beautiful coconut tree fringed beaches.
Gokarna Beach Trek and Camping: Plan the Unplanned
Several travel groups in Bangalore offer Gokarna beach treks. I went on one conducted by Plan The Unplanned. In spite of the heat, I found the enchanting views and sometimes challenging terrain, made for an interesting trek.
- Difficulty: Easy/moderate
- Trekking distance: 10 km
- Trekking time: 11 a.m to 10:30 p.m
- Trail type: Beaches, rocky and forest trails
- Description: A hike along the coast with short stops at several beaches to bathe in the sea and explore the beach. Night stay in a beach camp followed by stops at Vibhooti falls.
We started the trek at one of Gokarna’s remotest beaches, Belekan beach. Belekan is a fishing village at port Tadadi. The sand here is covered with layers of black tar generated from fuel used by fishing boats – which is why you won’t find any tourists bathing here.
From Belekan beach, we had a short 20-minute hike over a hill to reach Paradise beach. The fine sand peppered with black rocks fringed by palms and coconut trees makes for a heavenly retreat indeed. Since the beach is not accessible by road, it is clean and peaceful.
Half Moon beach
Half Moon beach is one of the prettiest beaches of Gokarna and the perfect spot to swim and play in the sea. The fine sand here does not stick to your body, unlike the sand of the eastern coast.
Half Moon beach: watermelons and mangoes, freshly cut, proved just the thing to snap us out of the heat-induced exhaustion.
The trail from Half Moon beach to Om beach is the longest and most scenic bit of the hike. On the way, there is a short deviation leading to a huge rock called the Rock of Peace – it is the throne to witness one of the best sunsets. This spot is also known as the Om Beach sunset point. You will know why it’s named Rock of Peace only after you have experienced it.
We sat here for a while, gazing into the sea, watching boats pass by and waving at them, looking out for and not finding any Dolphins, and waiting for the sun to set.
Finally, when the sun started to touch the horizon we headed back to Om beach which was unexpectedly empty and beautiful. The most famous of the Gokarna beaches, this is a little hippie oasis. Since it was off season, most of the shacks and shops were closed. If you like watersports, this is the beach to try out banana boat rides and other fun activities.
The walk from Om beach to Kudle beach is a leisurely one over steps, a concrete path, and an open hilly road. By the time we walked this bit, it was late evening and there was a full moon in the sky.
With easy access via road, this beach is a popular tourist spot and offers a host of eating joints with seafood and continental cuisine. We had dinner at this beach. While a section of our group walked from here to Gokarna main beach, the rest of us took an auto to our campsite on the Gokarna main beach.
Camping at Gokarna main beach
After a long day of walking along the sea, we came back to our campsite and found a cozy bonfire waiting for us. Sitting by the sea, watching the moonlight highlight the waves, I thought to myself, I could fall asleep to the waves crashing every night.
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Goats Foot or Morning Glory – a seaside creeper I've seen this lush, thriving creeper in most beaches of Karnataka . The notched leaves and bright flowers add to its appeal. And, the fact that it thrives in unforgiving conditions … Such is life. @harame.co thanks for helping me with identification and the facts about this interesting creeper. #uskbengaluru #urbansketch #traveljournal #traveldiary #travelstories #beachtrek #plantheunplanned @plantheunplanned #travelkarnataka #global_sketchers #travelartjournal #urbansketching #travelsketchbook #travelsketch #sketchandtravel #drawyourday #moleskinewatercolor #moleskineart #primamarketinginc #primawatercolors #nammakarnataka #illustrationartist #botanicalwatercolor #botanicalillustration #goatsfoot #lonelycanopygokarna
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On a Gokarna beach trek with @plantheunplanned #urbansketch #urbansketchersindia #uskbengaluru #usk #penandwash #penandpaper #sketch_daily #sketch_collector #sketchinindia #beachsketch #primawatercolors #primamarketinginc #moleskinewatercolor #moleskineart #watercolouronpaper #nammakarnataka #plantheunplanned #traveljournal #arttherapy #pleinairpainting #watercolorsketchbook #gokarnadiaries #lonelycanopygokarna