When I talk to people about Pakistan they often will refer to the history and the incredible heritage of the country but what most people don’t know is that it has exceptionally beautiful scenery with mountains and lush green valleys with waterfalls just like Shumber waterfall.
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and has been my home for the last one and a half years. Along with the busy city life and trendy cafes, the hiking trails in the Margalla Hills are a popular thing to do by both tourists and locals alike.
These hills are part of the Himalayas located within the Margalla Hills National Park right here in Islamabad where you will probably get the best views in town.
A few months ago as Pakistan was going through lock down, pretty much everything was closed in the city and I saw myself with really limited options of things to do.
As soon as the hiking trails opened I knew I had to explore them. Although I love the outdoors I never really did them before as most times we were traveling outside Pakistan and there was just never enough time.
When I heard about the Shumber waterfall I knew I had to explore it! It just looked like something fun and refreshing to do during the intense heat last July.
Now, I’m sharing all the details on how to reach the waterfall and some other few tips to make your trip as easy as possible!
Hidden away in the Margalla Hills surrounded by massive rocks and dense green trees is the beautiful Shumber waterfall with a small water slide that ends up in a cute little natural pool with crystal clear waters.
The nature that surrounds the pool and the view of the hills are a pleasure for the eyes and give a sense of peace.
This is a seasonal waterfall, which means that the water level is high during rainy season and during the peak of summer gets dry. I visited at the start of July and it was partly dry but still really nice to swim around in the waterfall pool.
How to Get to Shumber Waterfall
The Shumber waterfall is located just past Shahdara Village. Once you reach the Shahdara Valley you will see a little ‘river café’ on your right. Continue to drive for about 5-10 minutes more and you get to a bumpy road under construction.
You can park just around there as there’s no proper parking anywhere. According to google maps you could drive further 10 minutes but our car is not 4×4 so I didn’t want to risk going further up.
HIKING TO THE WATERFALL
We started the hiking at about 6am because of the hot weather in July and that in itself was an extra effort that made it a little bit harder towards the end.
Initially is a good solid 20 minutes walking straight and then it gets harder and rocky. We walked along the river bed as it was dry and it’s the quickest way but not sure how it would be now during winter.
In the end it took us about 45 minutes to reach the waterfall as we made a few stops to just rest and swap carrying our son which we carried on a baby backpack for hiking.
Also I would add that we visited during the week so no one was around. It probably gets busy during weeks and evenings.
After our hike and swim we stopped at Shahdara Valley in the river café for a quick drink.
I recommend you to come and try this at any time, even if you don’t feel like hiking because it was unique to be sitting in the traditional wooden beds placed in the middle of the river stream while enjoying the water on my feet and the fresh air.
This is a particularly nice place to visit during the hot summer months. The Shahdara Valley Restaurant is also located just above the café.
ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO TAKE WITH YOU
As you venture into the middle of the mountains it’s always wise to pack a considerable amount of food and water. Take at least 2L per person if you are expecting to be out for half day. A good rule of thumb is to plan for about 2 cups of fluid for every hour of hiking.
For food consider to take fruits that don’t require refrigeration such as apples and bananas for example, they maintain the sugar level and provide energy. Also a few other food ideas to take are things like nuts, seed, and tortillas or parathas (a common flatbread here in Pakistan).
Another important item to look into is to wear good shoes; most of the path is really rocky and in some parts slippery.
The Shumber waterfall is a really nice place to explore and be outdoors. It makes an excellent day trip out just near Islamabad.
I truly enjoyed the little challenge of hiking to reach the waterfall as we walked along the beautiful valley and it was great to cool down and have a swim in the middle of the hills with such hot weather back in July.
Have you visited or have plans to visit? Let’s talk about your experiences!
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