Introducing Bagrot Valley
Fifteen kilometres downriver from Gilgit, a broad alluvial fan marks the Bagrot (ba-grote) Valley. Its lower reaches are like a marbled moonscape, and a ride up the narrow, perched road is unforgettable. The upper valley is huge, rugged and densely cultivated. The Shina-speaking, Shiite Bagrotis see few foreigners other than passing trekkers.
Oshikandas is a mainly Ismaili village on the road from Gilgit. Across the river is Jalalabad. Bagrot’s main village is Sinakkar, two hours from Gilgit. At the end of the jeep road, 1½ hours on, is the last year-round village, Chirah, with a view of Hinarche Glacier and a series of ridges culminating in Diran Peak (7270m). Nagyr is on the other side. The prominent peak to the southeast is 6134m Dobani.
From Chirah there’s a spectacular trek up to Diran Base Camp. In another direction, four to five hours’ walking will bring you to Dar, and the same distance on again is Gargoh. These are seasonal villages where a large part of the valley’s population migrates with their goats and sheep each summer. Hikers (some trekkers, but day hikers too) go as far as Gargoh (ie a day east of Chirah) but not across Rakhan Gali. Lonely Planet’s Trekking in the Karakoram & Hindukush has further details on this and other treks.