Karnala Fort Trek: Great trekking spot near Mumbai

Karnala fort trek near Panvel is a good weekend gateway option near Mumbai. Let’s see entry fees, timings, difficulty level & information about this fort!

Location Address: 14 km from Panvel, Inside Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Panvel-Goa Highway, Maharashtra (India).

Best Time To Visit: July to December is the best time to visit this fort. Beautiful natural scenery and panoramic views of surrounding region amazes you in these months!

Fort Elevation: The fort stands at an elevtion of 439 m (1140 ft) above mean sea level.

Karnala Fort Information:

The fort of Karnala stands near the Panvel suburbs of Mumbai. This fort lies within the protected region of Karnala Bird Sanctuary. It is quiet closed to the Mumbai city as compared to other forts. This region has maintained its natural habitat very nicely. The entrance gate of the fort and sanctuary is common which is on the Mumbai-Goa highway just before PEN village.

karnala fort photos
Misty view of fort in monsoons!

©Unknown Source

The Karnala fort trek has 2 routes to reach at the top. As you enter from the main entrance gate of sanctuary, 1st route goes towrds right and 2nd route goes towards left. Right one is shorter but had hard and steep climb. Whereas left route is longer but easy to climb. Just like Peb Fort, Chanderi Fort, Dhak Bahiri & Kalavantin Durg, this fort lies close to the Mumbai. 

Karnala Fort Trek:

The trek to the fort starts from the main gate of sanctuary which is right on the Panvel-Goa highway. It is 13 km from Panvel and just before the Pen village. You need to undergo the forest department checking’s at the entrance gate. Forest officials are strict about the use of plastic. So try not to carry any plastic with you. The Karnala fort trek route passes through the forest. It is one of the scenic treks in Maharashtra.

karnala fort images
Peak of Karnala!

©Vivek Shedge

It takes about 45-50 minutes to climb up from the base. The fort is about 1140 feet from mean sea level. You can see ruins of building, water tank & granary near peak. The middle peak is quiet difficult to climb due to its hard endurance. Only rock climbers can climb on this peak with the help of safety equipment’s. It also has many dangerous Beehives on it. Some years ago one brave trekker attempted to climb this peak but died due to attack of the bees. Hence one should take utmost care while trying to climb on this peak.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary

This region is also very much popular due to Karnala Bird Sanctuary. The whole area around fort is now a protected wildlife sanctuary. The natural beauty of Karnala is amazing. The whole region has dense forest cover and the highway passes from the middle of this sanctuary dividing it into 2 parts. The sanctuary has spread over the area of 4 square km and is a home to various animals and birds. Sanctuary acts as a home to 141 species of birds and animals like Monkeys, Foxes, Mongoose, Bears, Lizards etc.

Karnala bird sanctuary images
Beautiful view of the Karnala Sanctuary region!

©Unknown Source


Karnala Fort Entry Fees/Ticket Charges:

  • Indian Kids (5-12 Years): 15/person & Foreign Kids: Rs.30/person.
  • Indian Adult: 30/person & Foreign Adult: Rs.60/person.
  • Still Camera Charges: 100/camera for Indians and Rs.200/camera for Foreigners.
  • Video Camera Charges: 250/camera for Indians and Rs.500/camera for Foreigners.
  • Parking Charges: 25/Two Wheeler, Rs.100/LUV and Rs.150/Bus.

Timings/ Opening Hours: You can visit this fort on any day of the week. However, the forest department allows to enter inside the sanctuary only between 07:00 am to 05:00 pm.

Time Required: It takes about 2 hours to reach at the top from sanctuary entrance.

Difficulty Level: Medium. Even first timers can do the Karnala fort trek.

How To Reach Karnala Fort

You can take your own vehicles till the base of the fort. Forest department has paid parking facility near the entrance gate. A lot of ST buses passes from the Sanctuary gate, so you can catch them from Panvel ST Stand.

  • By Road: You can catch ST bus or private vehicles like Tum-tum till the sanctuary gate. As the gate of the sanctuary is right on the Panvel-Goa highway, you can reach here very easily.
  • Nearest Railway Station: Panvel railway station is the convenient railhead to reach the Karnala fort. You can hire tum-tum or jeeps outside the station till base of the fort.
  • Nearest Airport: Mumbai airport is the closest airport to Karnala fort.

Accommodation/ Staying Options: As the fort stands close to Panvel city, you can get lot of accommodation options in Panvel city. If you want to stay inside the sanctuary region, then forest department have few rest houses at the base of the fort.

Restaurants Nearby/ Eating Stuff: No restaurants or eateries are available near Sanctuary region. It is advisable to carry your own food and water while visiting this fort. Please note that forest department is very strict about plastic bags, wrappers and bottles. Hence carry your food in proper tiffin boxes and good plastic bottles.

Map To Reach:

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Karnala fort trek is a good spot for one-day trek near Mumbai. You can even see variety of birds while doing this trek!