Winter-time at Ayubia to Doonga Gali pipeline track is between December thru February, each year. It snows around December and the weather at the Ayubia pipeline track is a cold 5 Deg Celsius during the time.
The five most enjoyable things about the winter time Ayubia – Doonga Gali Hike are: 1) The views; 2) The Snow; 3) The Tandoor waali Roti, Daal and Chai; 4) The people; 5) The open jeep ride back.
British colonials constructed this water pipeline from Doonga Gali in Pindi Gheb to Ayubia and then on to Muree in 1930. Doonga Gali had its own church, post office and rest house for the Gora Sahib to relax and recuperate from saving locals from ‘native tyranny’. Google map of the Ayubia Pipeline track has to be saved before you get there.
The hike starts at Ayubia entrance to the park, near the Ayubia chair lift and ends at Doonga Gali bazar, after 4 kilometers. Doonga Gali Ayubia Pipeline track is inside the Ayubia National Park. The total length of Ayubia Pipeline track is four kilometers but it is not too easy. During winter time, it takes about an hour per kilometer. The snow is up to 4 feet deep; at some places it is not even firm. I almost slid down heaps of snow to the valley down below. The snow doesn’t harden and hides the hazards along the route.
There are acceptably clean hotels in Doonga Gali with LPG heaters. The Ayubia hotel food is sufficiently clean as long as you stick to Daal. Although the Chicken Karahi didn’t cause any indigestion, but I avoid meat, in order to enjoy the rest of the trip. The Tandoor Chapatti was too delicious to handle. I probably ate a truck load after the hike.
There is a museum at Doonga Gali with the stuffed remains of the killer leopard that was blamed for the death of seven women. The coroner never found any evidence of human remains in the poor creature’s bowels. The ‘ghost of galiat’ was probably a psychopath who was never found.
Ayubia Chair Lift is worth a ride at least once.
The best part of Doonga Gali to Ayubia hike during winters is the peace and calm you don’t get any other time. I personally loved the white blanket over the coniferous forest, which is probably the last remaining forest still worth walking through. It seemed like Santa Clause would ride in with his reindeers’ like in the movies.
Like-minded trekkers, the kind that appreciates the open air, are a bonus. Otherwise, it becomes a nuisance babysitting fussy people all the way. I was fortunate to have had fun with a great bunch of fun loving and talented people. Not the weirdos’ with an attitude.
Essential Information regarding Ayubia – Doonga Gali Pipeline track hike in winters:-
- Ayubia is about three hours from Rawalpindi (67 kms) in perfect conditions. When the people pour out into streets for their daily activities, after 10, the time taken could stretch to six hours.
- When you exit the pipeline track at Doonga Gali, you’d have to hire a jeep to drive you down 13 Kms through mounds of snow to Barian, where the road is mostly clear. You’d have to pay Rs 5000 for the ride. Normal vehicles cannot make it up to Doonga Gali when it is snows, and stop at
- There is no water either in Ayubia or Doonga Gali during snow season, i.e. between December and February, so carry your water and cleaning pads.
- The people in Doonga Gali are better behaved as compared to Muree people, so try staying there.
- Carry a local hiking stick or ‘khundi’ as they call it in the local dialect, which you can purchase on site for Rs 50. The dude will try to get it back from you at the other side, but take it with you as a sovenir.
- There are no toilets in the 4.5 km pipeline track, so pace yourself accordingly.
- Lots of girls from various universities do this track on weekends and they know how to intermingle with guys. This makes the trip even more interesting.
- Try to join a travel tour group, as the people that join in are mostly of the same kind; adventurous, fun-loving, accommodating and there for fun. Furthermore, the charges are shared by all. I chose the Ultra adventure club and these guys from Gilgit-Baltistan sure know how to handle treks. It was good fun.
- It is very expensive to book a car or even Uber to Ayubia, if you get stuck in traffic. So, leave very early in your own transport.
- Although, you can do the Mukhshpuri track and Pipeline track both on the same day (four hours total trek time), it will be too hectic to enjoy both.