Nag Tibba translates to Serpents Peak and has the Nag temple at its base which is famous amongst the locals and hence the route has been used for ages now.
Given that you can complete the whole thing in two days I decided to do it by myself entirely.
Here is a quick guide if you plan to go by yourself too:
1. Getting to Dehradun
Multiple Sleeper Volvo buses and a couple of trains leave every night for Dehradun. The fastest way is to take the Nanda Devi Express (booked in Tatkal). Both of these will reach early morning around 5-6 AM
2. Getting to Pantwari
I personally wanted to spend a day in Mussoorie so it took me an extra day to reach Pantwari. Otherwise you can get buses from Dehradun Bus Station directly to Pantwari - cost less than Rs 150 (look for buses to Purola). You can also ask around the station and book shared Boleros directly to Pantwari or to Mussorie and then onwards - cost between 500-700 in total. After spending a day in Mussorrie, I got on the highway to get on one of these Boleros to Nainbagh and then another shared cab to Pantwari.
3. To Base Camp
I had lunch at Pantwari and started walking. Its very easy to ask and spot the trail on your right going upwards once you reach Pantwari. The trail is very well marked. If you walk continuously 4-4.5km for around 2 hours, you will reach the first camping site (Pic 1). If you do not have a tent, sleeping bag and food, then this is your best point to manage something over the weekend otherwise there is no point in camping here. The disadvantage of staying here is that you will have to spend an extra couple of hours the next morning to reach the summit
Keep moving ahead upwards into the forest trail that starts from an arched gate (Pic 2) at the end of the first camping site. You should be able to spot a clearing high above which is where you need to aim.
Once you reach this clearing (Pic 3) after another 45 minutes, you will spot some camps upwards on your right - you do not have to go here and instead take the route that goes further upwards straight ahead.
After 20 minutes you’ll find the next camping site which has two levels. I camped towards the end of the second level (Pic 4 and 5). There is a water source on the left hand side while going towards the second level and you can refill your water there (you can ask the camp site guys in case you are not sure). I managed to get some food from the professional camps around but I would recommend anyone to carry their own food entirely as these camps carry only for their group and you could go hungry (as did one group that had no arrangement at all).
4. Summit Day
Started early around 530 after having some boiled eggs and hot water. The trail is towards the right hand side into the forest and is a 4-4.5km stretch which takes about 2-2.5 hours on continuous walking. You will pass the detour point to the Nag Temple (Pic 6) and need to go up further for the summit.
I went around mid-Feb and there was snow only after this point. Because of the crowd that Nag Tibba attracts the snow trail (Pic 7) further has gotten beaten up and hence slippery. Its ideal to carry spikes but good quality trekking shoes would also do well for these couple of hours. The local gum boots available from Pantwari are also a good option.
On a clear day you can spot multiple peaks including Nanda Devi from the summit (Pic 9) but it had been raining and I couldn’t spot much and came back after a quick snack on the summit. Pic 8 is the last few metres to the summit
5. To Pantwari and Dehradun
Climbing down in the slippery snow can be tricky and once in a while you can think of just sliding if you have a waterproof lower. You can eat lunch at Base Camp (again managed to get it from the other camps - again wouldn’t advise it) and come down to Pantwari. Reaching by 12 - 1 PM, you can catch the regular shared cabs to Dehradun else you can tag along with other groups for coming back. I took the same late night train back to Delhi.
In my Walker 65 Litre rucksack/ ideal packing list
6. For trekking - Lightweight synthetic trousers, breathable wicking inner, 2 pair light weight synthetic T shirts
7. For night - fleece lower and fleece jacket (use clean undergarments for the night if possible)
8. For the cold/ snow hiking - Down Jacket, waterproof snow hiking pants, waterproof snow gloves, warm cap
9. For the rain - Waterproof lightweight jacket with hood and Rain Cover for the sack
10. Footwear - Ankle length waterproof trekking shoes, 2 pair regular socks, 2 pair woolen socks, light weight shoes/ sandals (handy after you reach camp)
11. Accessories - Snow hiking UV Res shades (different from regular ones), head torch, Foldable knife, power bank, chargers, earphones, fitness band/watch
12. First aid - Allergy pills, paracetamol, lose motion pills, band aid, medical tape, savlon, cotton
13. Food - Light weight stove and butane gas cylinder, titanium mug (heats up faster than a regular one), dry fruits (almonds, resins, figs), Maggi Cuppa Noodles, Boiled Eggs, Apples, Chocolate Bar X 2, Juice Can X 2 (Try and buy this from Dehradun/ Mussorie because you won't find much of this afterwards) - Would recommend to carry more soup and porridge if you don't want to be dependent on the professional camps.
I generally use the Tripole Fanny Pack to keep things handy and organizer pouches to roll up all the stuff mentioned above according to utility.
Overall this is a fun weekend trek close to Delhi if you’re short on time but high on spirits.
Carry proper gear, follow the trail, be on time and most importantly stay hydrated.