Many of us often find ourselves heading to the capital for official meetings and business ventures. But we do not always find the time to accommodate an adventurous spree to Murree or other famous tourist points. Little do we know that there are many absolutely stunning, picturesque adventure locations very close to Islamabad! You can surely accommodate an adventure escape during that short business trip!
All of these locations are located either in Islamabad or within a couple of hours’ drive.
Margalla Hills Hiking Trails
The nearest and probably some of the best places to go on an adventure hike are the trails in the Margalla hills. There are several of them of varying length and difficulty. The most popular among them are the trails 3 and 5 which lead to Pir Sohawa. You can have a challenging, tiring yet fulfilling walk and at the top, excellent restaurants will be waiting to prop you up for the trip down. The forested Margalla hills make for a splendid view and the track going right through them is like a trek through heaven.
One thing I wasn’t expecting when I went there for the first time was the amazing view of the Faisal Mosque I got halfway through the walk. The angle and the elevation of the vantage point let you see the mosque like you haven’t seen it before; serene and beautiful.
One thing though, if you are hiking in the summers, beware of extra humidity because the trail goes right through a heavy mass of trees!
Eating at Monal is one of the best dining experiences you can have in Pakistan. Not only is the food splendid, the view from the top of Margalla hills is just stunning. With the whole of Islamabad beneath your eyes, the food on your table tastes even better. You can reach Monal either through trekking or by car.
If you’re looking for a picnic spot, then the waterfall at Sajikot is the perfect place. Reaching Sajikot from Islamabad can take a few hours but it is totally worth it. The waterfall there is at least 50 to 60 feet high. The water from the cascade collects into a lake and then continues on into a stream.
We had a BBQ at this spot and had the perfect picnic. A few of our party also felt like getting a dip, so we descended into the cool water of the lake. The fun we had in the lake was the best time of the trip!
For people looking for more water and fewer mountains, Khanpur dam is the answer, just an hour’s drive away from the capital. At Khanpur dam, there is a lake resort which gives you a chance to take part in all sorts of water sports activities. The lake itself is pretty big, very deep and enchantingly beautiful with clear blue water. From boating, jet skiing, swimming, cliff diving and even archery, Khanpur dam has it all.
Khanpur dam is probably the best place in Pakistan if you are looking for a cliff diving adventure. The cliff isn’t too high, ranging from 10 feet up to maybe 20 feet. Being a beginner at cliff diving, it was all I was hoping for and definitely the most fulfilling part of my journey to Khanpur dam. And don’t worry, there are always lifeguards and professionals around to look after you!
Saidpur Village is a small village located at the corner of the city of Islamabad. The village has recently undergone a transformation and has been turned into a tourist spot. Restaurants at Saidpur capture the traditional vibe and offer amazing food. Beyond the village are again the hills and streams that make so many of the places in Islamabad so beautiful.
Saidpur also offers rock climbing experience. The rock at Saidpur we climbed was a tough one, though it was more fun that I would have thought it would be.
You can have an adventure experience even without going into the Northern Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan and a memorable one too!