Sharan Forest in Kaghan Valley is one of the few remaining Colonial British era summer retreats that is reasonably preserved in its original beauty.
Why go to Sharan Forest?
- The greenery,
- floating clouds,
- remote location,
- peaceful jungle,
- cool weather and
- clean environment
- A chance encounter with wildlife
Things to do in Sharan Forest
- Sharan forest waterfall
- Manshi Top (2867 meters)
- Camping Pods
- Hike to Musa Ka Musalla
- See Makra, MKM and Malika Parbat peaks from a distance
- Check out wildlife
All these make Sharan the top place to visit in summer.
Sharan Forest Google Maps location
Sharan distance from Islamabad
Sharan Forest is 233 km from Islamabad and it takes 4 hours 30 minutes to get there when you leave early in the morning.
The forests at Sharan is 16 km from Paras town and it takes 30 minutes to get there.
Pine Jungle at Sharan Forest
Pine trees at this forest have survived the brutal onslaught of illegal loggers because it is very remote and is government land.
Even now the road to Sharan Forest can only be negotiated by local jeeps.
Height of Sharan
The Camping Pod site is at 7900 feet.
Sharan Forest is so high above Kaghan-Naran road that you can see all the way to Kaghan from the mountain top.
Trip to Sharan Forest
We decided to go on Eid Holidays to Sharan forest because we were already too late to book for anything else in Hunza – and it was an excellent decision.
I drove from Islamabad to Paras on the Naran road and parked our car at the makeshift parking on the left side of the N-15 highway.
Best time to travel during Eid Holidays
Luckily, the Eid traffic was coming back to join work on the second day of Eid and we managed to slip through the horrific traffic jam at Balakot.
As local tourism is growing by about 50% every year, the petrol stations at Naran Kaghan road ran out of petrol on the first day of Eid and didn’t get refilled till the third day.
I think it is never a good idea to travel on the first day of Eid; you should leave two days prior to Eid or the second day after Eid.
Traffic Jams to Avoid
I also got lucky at Kiwai, which is the second bottleneck on this highway after Balakot.
Right up to Balakot, we had no problem as the new Hazara motorway takes you all the way to the new Balakot city turn without any stop.
Time to reach Paras from Islamabad
It took us 4.5 hours to reach Paras from Islamabad after covering 215 km.
Sharan Forest Route
We took the Islamabad Peshawar motorway and turned northward on the Hazara Motorway.
We had to exit on the narrow exit road, before Balakot, called the new Balakot City turn.
Drive through the new Balakot Housing scheme and then join the old Mansehra Balakot Naran road to reach Paras.
Paras comes before Naran, and that is what saved us.
Parking at Paras
The parking guy Charges Rs 200 for one night stop and guards your car very responsibly, although there is no shade there.
This is the parking guy’s number 03429142910.
Hiring a Jeep for Sharan
I hired a Jeep to take me to Chinar Lodge Guesthouse Sharan, which is 12 km from Paras turning.
This guy Abdul Qayyum 03459464648 has a lot of driving experience on these mountain roads as he has 5 modified Land cruiser jeeps running on this route.
You can book jeeps for other places like
- Siri Paye, and
- Kaghan with this jeep guy
And he will give you a concession if you mention my blog.
PRO TIP 1
Do not try to take your own 4×4 vehicles to Sharan forest as recently a vehicle drove off the cliff on the way back from Sharan forest.
The suspicious thing about this incidence is that the driver and his cousins got out alive without a scratch and the poor couple in the back got killed.
There was no sign of braking or skidding before the vehicle drove straight off the high cliff into the river several hundred meters below.
The police have yet to find the cause of the occurrence.
Who is conducting the investigation? Even I know who did this.
Buying a modified 4×4 Toyota jeep
Abdul Qayyum can buy you a modified 4×4 Toyota Jeep in Rs 13 lakh if you ask him to.
Chinar Lodge Sharan Forest
It took us 45 min to get to Chinar Lodge which is located on a sharp ledge overlooking Naran Kaghan highway.
I could see from the top deck of Chinar Lodges.
- Musa Ka Musalla Peak at my right,
- Malika Parbat straight in Front,
- Makra Peak towards my right
- Kunhar River
These lodges are being run by retired army officers and you will notice the discipline of the staff and the attempt to keep the place clean and presentable.
Best things about Chinar Lodges, Sharan
I found the
- rooms clean,
- washrooms wide,
- the food quite good and
- The attendants were on their feet.
Room Charges at Chinar Lodges Sharan Forest
- They charge Rs 6000 for a normal two-bedroom with
- one mattress is permitted for Rs 1000 and
- Rs 8000 for a deluxe room which has a better view of the mountains from the terrace ahead of them.
What needs improvement at Chinar Lodges Sharan?
What they didn’t have was
- Running hot water after 6 pm,
- WIFI although Telenor Data did reach the rooms.
- The food is a little expensive, but that is understandable as Paras is at quite a distance.
You can keep the food cost manageable by bringing stuff to make your own breakfast and lunch.
Dinner on the top terrace is absolutely essential as the weather is gorgeous and you can see a long line of twinkling cars on the highway far below.
The sky looks dazzling from here too.
Sharan forest-Camping Pods
The same day we drove right up to Sharan Forest Camping Pods site.
This journey from Chinar Lodges to the camping pods was about half an hour.
Time and distance from Paras to Sharan forest Camping Pods
The total time from Paras to the camping pod is therefore 4.8 km and 30 minutes.
Cutting down Trees at Sharan
All, and I do mean ALL the trees around Paras that were unlucky to have grown on private lands, have been chopped down.
When will the government disallow people chopping down trees? Aren’t we in an environmental catastrophe?
Will we move when Mother Nature gives us a kick in the behind?
Even the trees around Chinar Lodges and in the compound of the Sharan Forest Camping pods have been chopped down
Some genius in the forest department thought it was a good idea to plant potatoes in place of priceless Pine trees.
We have so much brilliance in our Government officers, I am astonished why we are not a superpower yet.
Booking at Sharan Camping Pods
Anyway, coming back to the Camping pods, these are around 28 in number and can be booked online from the TDCKP website.
You must book these pods at least 5 months in advance or you will not get them around scheduled holidays.
It is worth spending one night in the camping pods in the middle of the jungle.
- The camping pod charges are Rs 4500 for a two-bed pod, Rs 7000 for a 4-bed pod
- The pods and bedding are clean and so is the detached washroom.
- There is solar power available, running water and heating too.
The only problem is that they only have 12 V available in the sockets which means that you cannot charge your cellphone or any battery from it.
So bring your extra batteries and power banks with you.
Food at Sharan Forest
The Camping pod has a mess and a kitchen complex as well where you can get all sorts of Pakistani food, which is a little expensive too.
Wildlife at Sharan Forest
There are quite a few wild animals in the Sharan Forest around the camp like Big Black bears, Leopards, monkeys, and wild pheasants.
Although wild animals fear wild Pakistani poachers more and stay far away from people.
Sharan Forest Waterfall
I booked a guide for Rs 500 and he took me to the Sharan forest waterfall down below in the ravine.
It took me 45 minutes to get there.
The waterfall is about 30 feet and is crystal clear with beautiful stones on its bed.
Hike to Dabran Top from Sharan Waterfall side
If you climb up this ravine on the other side, you reach Dabran top after a 4 hours hike.
Coming back up from the Sharan Forest waterfall is quite a feat.
Ladies and kids usually hire a horse at Rs 750 per person to take them up to the Sharan Forest Pods.
Manshi Top from Sharan Forest Camping Pods
The next day we hike 3 hours to the Manshi top on a relatively level track.
From Manshi Top I could see
- Musa Ka Musalla (4419m)
- Makra (3885m)
- Malika Parbat (5290m)
You can also hike all the way to Musa ka Musalla from Sharan forest too, but that would take quite an effort and logistics planning.
If you want a porter who can cook karahi for you on the way, call this number 03489501960 Nazakat.
PRO TIP 2
Do not forget to switch off your cellphones on Manshi top as the lightning follows transmitting cellphones and people have died on such peaks.
We came back from the other route that ended up at Jabra and it took us just 1.5 hours to get there as the incline is a lot more.
Private Glamping Pods near Sharan Forest
Jabra has another private cabin complex that charges Rs 7000 per pod, and the place is quite neat and clean.
Ghaleb Shah 03469700797 is the owner.
Youth Hostel Sharan Forest
If you intend to set up your own tents and camp, the youth hostel inside Sharan forest is a good choice.
The attendant there is very accommodating and he also has one big room in case it rains too heavily on your tents.
He doesn’t have food rations though.
The next day, I paid my bills and drove back all the way to Islamabad on a clear road, with no traffic at all.
Total Cost for a two day trip to Sharan Forest
The total cost for 4 adults was Rs 45000
Equipment to take to Sharan Forest
It was good that I brought along my
- my waterproof hiking boots,
- my water carrier,
- ready to eat meals,
- 250 ml bottle to use as Lota,
- sunscreen and
To really enjoy Sharan Forest, you must have at least two nights stay there and have at least Rs 15000 in your pocket.
If you want me to arrange your tour, text me at 03005111523