Gulmarg is 50km east of Srinagar at an altitude of 2,900 meters. The quiet township is in a large bowl shaped meadow that is covered with wild flowers in the spring and summer months. It has an 18-hole golf course (the highest in the world) that hosts a number of prestigious tournaments every year and offers some interesting challenges. The town's main attractions are its walks that run through thick pine forests rich with bird life. Gulmarg is also the base for short treks into the Pir Panjal Mountains. A popular day hike is to Khilanmarg and Alpathar Lake. Khilanmarg is a lush meadow surrounded by thick pine forests, five kilometres from Gulmarg at 3,000 metres; Alpathar is a further 8 km on a pony track. Alpathar is a frozen lake and one of the most scenic spots in the Pir Panjal range. Another popular short trek is to Ningel Nallah, a pleasant 8 km walk along brooks and through forests and meadows. More intrepid trekkers can take the five-day walk to Tosamaidan. The trek originates at Gulmarg, and branches off from the Ferozpur Nala and beyond to the hamlets of Danwas, Tejjan, and Tosamaidan.
Literally translated, Sonmarg means a 'meadow of gold'. The most important township in the fertile Sind valley, Sonmarg is the last major township on the road to Ladakh. Sonmarg is also the staging point for some of the most popular treks to higher altitudes. A pleasant one-day excursion from Sonmarg is to the Thajiwas glacier 8km away, approachable by a pony over a well-maintained track. The most popular trek originating from Sonmarg is the Kashmir Lake Trek. It covers the lakes of Gangabal, Vishansar, Kishansar, and goes close to the Harrnukh peak. The trail first crosses the Nichinai Pass (13,387 ft) and then enters the alpine valleys that eventually lead to the Gangabal Lake. Vishansar (Vishnu’s Lake) is at just over 12,000 feet and slightly larger than the 12,500 feet Kishansar (Krishna's Lake). Gangabal Lake is the highlight of this trip. Protected by the three peaks of Mount Harrnukh, Gangabal is 5 miles in circumference and offers the finest trout fishing anywhere in Kashmir.
Pahalgam is a township situated on the banks of the Lidder River at an altitude of 7,000 ft. For the day visitor, the favorite pastime at Pahalgam is to hire a pony and ride along the Lidder River and the Aru Stream. There are also a number of trout fishing beats in the Pahalgam area, but permits have to be obtained in advance from Srinagar. The resort also offers a number of short day-hikes to the neighboring mountains and glades. One popular day walk is to Aru (12 km) on a trail that follows the road almost all the way to Aru. Enroute are spectacular views looking back down the valley to Pahalgam. Another excellent day hike is to follow the pony trail to Bhai Saran (7,500 ft), just 5 km from Pahalgam. The trekker can also continue from Bhai Saran to the Tuliyan Lake, 12 km further, for an overnight trek.