Best Activities to Do and Top Places to Visit in Margalla Hills

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Margalla Hills make the natural boundary of the Islamabad Capital Territory. The hills themselves hold thousands of pleasures for the visitors. Here, every climb offers a new magnificent vista. There are several best activities to do and top places to visit in Margalla hills.

Margalla hills are spread across an area of 31 thousand acres that includes numerous high mountain peaks and steep valleys. They are the best place to visit in Islamabad. Full of nature, fresh air, beautiful views, rejuvenating hikes, and a peaceful and clean environment; you will find all this in these valleys. 

Margalla Hills has several places to visit with your family as well such as pir sohawa, daman-e-Koh, and Saidpur village. These places are connected with roads and have some of the best restaurants in Islamabad. 

Daman-e-Koh is an Islamabad viewing point as this place offers a panoramic glimpse of the capital. Pir Sohawa is located high up on the cliff at the height of 3,600 feet. This place also has some restaurants that offer delicious food so that you can enjoy both good food and a good view at the same time.

Best Activities to Do and Top Places to Visit in Margalla Hills

How to Access Margalla Hills?

Margalla Hills are accessible by road as well as on foot. You can either drive your car up on Pir Sohawa Road or you can hike through one of the trails. Both ways are equally enjoyable. 

Activities To Do In Margalla Hills

  1. Hiking
  2. Bird Watching
  3. Exploring Nature
  4. Rock Climbing

These are the activities to do and top places to visit in Margalla hills

Hiking

Margalla Hills has several hiking trails where you can hike alone or with your friends. If you are planning to hike on Margalla hills one of these days, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure the best experience. Firstly, consider the climate. Islamabad has a hot and dry climate in summer which is not suitable for hiking. The best time to hike is between November-January. The climate is pleasant and a little chilly in these months which is suitable for hiking. However, you can also choose to hike in rainy weather when it is cool and mild.

Secondly, wear good shoes as the tracks are full of edged rocks that can tear your shoes. Thirdly, keep a bottle of water and a first aid kit with you to deal with any kind of accident on the spot. Fourthly, do not hike alone especially in the off-season as you can encounter dangerous animals on the tracks.

You can pick from 6 different trails which start from different places in the hills and lead up to different peaks. Trail 3 and 5 are the most famous ones as they are easily accessible to the citizens of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. 

The hiking tracks are pretty straight and simple so you shouldn’t be worried about getting lost. You will come across hiking milestones that will keep you on the tracks and chances are you will meet other people hiking on the tracks.

Here is the list of hiking trails in Margalla hills so you can pick one to hike this season.

Trail 1:

Trail 1 starts from Kilenger/Gandhian village at the end of the double road between E-8 Navy HQ and E-9 PAF HQ. The starting point of this trail is just across National Defense University.

There will be a guard on the check post between Bahria University and Air university who might ask for your ID card.

The track is not marked so you may have to take clues from the canopy affixed at the top of the hill.

Trail 1 has three ridges before you reach Pir Sohawa Road or the Margalla main ridge. There are three different routes that can lead to different places that are:

  1. Sinyari Village near E-10
  2. Talhar Village on the other side of the Margalla hills
  3. Pir Sohawa Road

Trail 2:

Trail 2 on Margalla Hills starts from Islamabad Marghazar zoo near the monkey-feeding point. You will come across a signboard saying “trail 2 Islamabad) on the Pir Sohawa road.[1] The trail goes uphill and culminates at Daman e Koh after a hike of about 1.5 km.

This trail has another route that starts from about 500m ahead of the first route and goes up past Daman e Koh. This is a less frequent route than the first one so if you want to hike in seclusion, this is the route for you. However, make sure you have your food and water.

Trail 3:

Trail 3 is the most popular trail on Margalla hills starting from the Main Margalla Road in F-6. The track has some steep hikes but mostly it is easy. It is suitable for everyone, young and old. You will reach the Viewpoint on the cliff in about 30-50 minutes depending on your speed. You can continue hiking from the Viewpoint to reach the Pir Sohawa, The Monal, and La Montana restaurants within 45-60 minutes.

Trail 4:

Trail 4 entirely lies within the Margalla hills. It connects Trail 3 and 5. The trail is approximately 1.5 kilometers long. You can get on this track if you want to add another mile to your hike.

Trail 5:

Trail 5 starts from F-5 on Main Margalla Road. It is close to Trail 3 and there are several tracks that connect the two trails. It is one of the longest trails on Margalla Hills. Except for some steep hikes, it is a fairly easy trail that leads to Pir Sohawa Road after a walk of about 2.5 to 3.5 hours. This trial has several waterfalls that make the hiking experience invigorating. However, these waterfalls are seasonal so there may not be any water in summers.

Trail 6:

The entrance of trail 6 is located just behind Faisal Mosque in E-7. The track goes winding through a valley on a well-defined route that leads to the top terminal of the Pir Sohawa Road. It has a track for mountain bikes. 

Bari Imam Trail:

The Bari Imam trail starts from the end of the Main Margalla Road near the Bari Imam. This track has several steep hikes and leads to Pir Sohawa Road. From there, you can reach trail 3 after a walk of about 5.5 km. It is a rather long track so make sure you are fully prepared.

Saidpur Trail:

It is located near Saidpur Village hence the name. It runs along a small river, passes through the village, and enters a valley from where a track leads to The Monal restaurant on Pir Sohawa Road.

Bird Watching:

Margalla Hills has several bird-watching points from where you can spot a wide variety of birds. So pick a good weather day, pack a pair of binoculars and other stuff for a picnic with your family, and head to one of the bird watching points in the Margalla hills. Chances are that you will come across one of the birds listed below:

  • Pheasants
  • Yellow Vented Bulbul
  • Paradise Flycatchers
  • Hawks
  • Spotted Doves
  • Eagles
  • Himalayan Griffon Vulture
  • Falcons

The birds that live in that area are spotted all year round, while some are winter migrants coming from northern areas. Some birds visit these hills only in the summer and spring seasons.

Exploring Nature:

Margalla hills are enriched with nature. They provide you with an escape from the smoke and concrete in the cities. In Margalla hills alone, there are about 300 different types of plants, 380 kinds of birds, 54 different species of butterflies, 37 species of fish, 21 species of small mammals, 20 different kinds of reptiles, 15 kinds of large mammals, and 9 types of amphibians.

Here are the different kinds of animals you can come across while hiking on the Margalla hills.

Mammals Reptiles
Barking Deer Indian Cobra
Asiatic Leopard Saw-scaled Viper
Red Fox Russell’s Viper
Golden Jackal
Wild Boar
Fruit Bats
Porcupine
Rhesus Macaque
Grey Goral

Rock Climbing:

Margalla Hills provides hikers and climbers with a great opportunity to have an adventure. There are a few climbing cliffs to host those who love to climb. Try one of the following cliffs if you too are a climbing enthusiast.

  • Saidpur Village
  • Jasmine Corner
  • Shahdra Wall
  • Musical Lounge
  • Shah Allah Dita

Jasmine Corner and Saidpur Village are for beginner climbers. Shahdra Wall and Musical Lounge are for skilled climbers and Shah Allah Dita is for experts. For more information click here.

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