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Makhnial Ridge Trail on Margalla

I did the Makhnial Ridge Trail on Margalla Hills Hiking track, just to see what was so special about it.

Makhnial Ridge Trail is behind the Trail No 1-6 Margalla Trails, that’s why it is called second ridge trail.

This Makhnial Ridge Trail is also the second leg of the 44 Km Ridge Track from Shah Allah Ditta to Murree.

Makhnial Forest Rest House
Makhnial Forest Rest House

Shah Allah Ditta to Talhar Ridge Hike Phase-1

I had already done the first leg from Shah Allah Ditta to Talhar Village on the 1st Ridge overlooking Islamabad’ E-11 through E8 sectors and could wait to do this 2nd leg too.

Makhnial Trail Starting Point
Makhnial Trail Starting Point

Margalla Ridge Hike

I don’t think it is a good idea to complete the 44 km track from Shah Allah Ditta to Murree in one go, after all the intention is to enjoy the trip, not conquer a country.

Makhnial Ridge Trail
Makhnial Ridge Trail

Makhnial Margalla 2nd Ridge Hike Travelogue

Makhnial Hike Starting point

(33.816648, 73.131599) I started the trip from Makhnial Village at the signboard that reads “Masta Village” at 7:00 am on Saturday.

makhnial ridge trail starting point
Makhnial trail starting point

I reached there on a Careem Ride and they charged me Rs 1400

A motorcycle ride on Careem would be cheaper though, but you get one later in the day, as the riders wake up late.

The earlier to get there, the better, as the Sun starts heating up immediately after 7 am.

Makhnial Ridge Trail Margalla
Makhnial Ridge Trail Margalla Off-road

Hiking Equipment necessary to Hike on Margalla

I was carrying the following equipment:-

  • Rugged Hiking boots
  • Reliable Cell phone with a quality camera and GPS, including Google Maps.
  • 3 liters water with ORS mixed into it.
  • Lunch of Dates, and Egg roll Paratha
  • A hunting knife with a belt pouch
  • Head Scarf
  • Full Sleeves Cotton T-Shirt and Jeans
  • Hiking Buddy
Makhniyal Second Ridge Margalla Hike Track
Makhniyal Second Ridge Margalla Hike Track

Makhnial Ridge Hike Total Distance and Time

The total time of the hike from Makhnial to Talhar is 4 hours if you rest in between, but the distance is about 18 km. The shorter hike is to climb down from  Masta Village to Gokina, which will be a total hike of 14 Km and 3 hours.

Makhnial Ridge Trail Islamabad
Makhnial Ridge Trail Islamabad looking towards Haripur
Makhnial Second Ridge Trail Forest Cover
Makhnial Second Ridge Trail Forest Cover

Makhnial Forest Rest House

As soon as I started the hike from the Pir Sohawa Road, I saw the Colonial British Forest Rest House of Makhnial that I didn’t even know existed.

I had to cross the road and check out the place for myself.

Makhnial was probably a wonderful forest site once, but extensive illegal logging has not left much to see there.

The Makhnial Forest Rest house is still frozen in time since 1923 when it was constructed.

I then started my walk on the dirt track from Makhnial to Talhar.

Makhnial second Ridge Trail Google Maps route
Makhnial second Ridge Trail Google Maps route

Makhnial is a Jeep-able Off-Road Track and a Bicycle track too

The track is more of a jeep-able Off-Road track, not really a hiking path.

Even for Jeeps it at a few places it is quite dangerous with sudden climbs and narrow channels with dangerous drops on the side.

But I did see a Suzuki Hi roof standing mid-track, hauling illegal logs from the Forest.

Some tough bicycle groups like MTB use this route to Khanpur Dam sometimes.

Makhnial Track View of Khanpur Dam
View of Khanpur Dam in the distance, behind the Smog

How is the weather at Makhnial Track?

The hike is easy and cool, as the Sun is shaded by the 2nd Margalla Ridge.

At the midway point, where the track opens up into a high altitude prairie for grazing, the forest is very thick and the breeze picks up speed.

So, take a Fleece jacket with you in autumn.

Gokina Village
Gokina Village Stream

Things to see during Makhnial Ridge Hike

  • Makhniyal Forest Resthouse.
  • At this point, you can see Khanpur Lake and Rawal Lake standing at the same spot, on a clear day.
  • Autumn, especially November is not a clear view month, because of the haze.
  • There are several cliffs along the way with drops greater than 500 feet, perfect for base jumping and Rock repelling.
  • Then there are bands of monkeys roaming about here and foraging on the Forest canopies.
  • People told me the Margalla Leopard also roams these areas, as they are still relatively isolated from intrusive people.
  • The mountain deer of Margalla has also been spotted on this 2nd Ridge of Margalla.
  • Then there are weird sounding birds.
  • The one thing I noticed that all the ponds and streams had dried out. Thank God for the water bladder that I carry on my back.
  • Some cliff sites, overlooking the villages down below are ideal for a family picnic on weekends.

PRO TIP

Stick to the dirt road, because if you do venture on one of the several goat trails, you’d end up in dangerously narrow rock cliffs – as I did

After 3 hours of leisurely walk on the dirt road, you’d reach the village of Masta.

At the village of Masta, you can take the track down to Gokina Village and then hitch a ride towards the right side to Talhar village or towards the left side back to Pir Sohawa.

Makhniyal Hike End Point at Talhar (33.773418, 73.051712)

How to get back to Islamabad

If you still have the energy to press on ahead, then walk all the way to Talhar, on the same dirt road, and then pay Rs 100 to anyone driving on the road to take you to Monal Restaurant, on top of the First Ridge of Margalla.

From Margalla, you can again hitch a ride to Islamabad, as motorcyclists let to ride pillion for free.

From Islamabad, I booked a Careem Ride to my home.

I was back at home at 1:00 pm.

The total time from door to door was 5.5 hours.

Makhnial to Talhar Trekking time was 4 hours tops and that is because I lost my way in-between.

Makhniyal Track View
Makhniyal Track View

Last leg of Margalla Ridge Hike Makhnial to Murree

The Third Leg of the 44 km Margalla Ridge trail is from Makhnial too Murree, but I do not intend to do that because there it is very populated on the way.

Other Hiking Trails on Margalla Hills

Margalla Trail 1 – The tough hike from NDU to Shah Allah Ditta, behind E-9 Sector.

Margalla Trail 2 – The easy hike from Murghzaar Zoo to Pir Sohawa

Margalla Trail 3 – Moderate intensity hike from the F-6 parking lot to Monal Restaurant
Margalla Trail 4 – This moderate hike starts from Pir Sohawa trail-4 parking, loops around Dhok Jeevan, and ends at Faisal Mosque Parking.

Margalla Trail 5 – Trail 3 and 5 are more or less the same. Trail 5 has better streams.

Margalla Trail 6 – Starts from behind Faisal Mosque Parking and rises to Dhok Jabbi and merges with Trail 4. You can take it all the way to Monal on the Top of Pir Sohawa.

Margalla Pass Trail to Ghaib Peer – This trail is on the Margalla Ridge beyond Margalla Pass on GT Road.

I’d rather do Trails 1, which is behind NDU, E-9, or Trail 6 from Faisal Mosque Parking, all the way to the top.

Trails 2, 3, 4, and 5 have very little mystery left in them, because of extensive use.

Happy Hiking!

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2 Comments

    1. Thank you for reading it sir

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