Central Karakoram National Park

Few places in the world can match the sheer mountains grandeur and breath taking panoramas of Karakoram Mountains of Northern Pakistan. The Northern Areas (NAs) of Pakistan encompass 72,496 sq km in the north bordering China, Afghanistan, and India. Their geographical position represents a section of the Asian high-mountain system of Hindu Kush-Karakorum-West Himalaya. Since 1965, roads to the southern lowlands of Pakistan have connected the Northern Areas, and since 1978, the Karakorum Highway (KKH) crosses through them. In recognition to its exceptional natural values the Government of Pakistan established the Central Karakoram National Park in 1993. With K2 (8611m) the second highest peak in the world as its center piece, this 10,000 sq km national park encompasses some of the world's highest peaks and largest glaciers. Internationally renowned for work class mountaineering and trekking opportunities, the park protects the greatest concentration of high mountains on earth. Sixty peaks over 7,000 m, and ten of the world's highest and most famous mountains, including Gasherbrum, Broad Peak, and Masherbrum are located within the park's boundaries. This cluster of peaks, many of which river vertically from the valley floor for over 5,000m, attract 60 to 70 mountaineering expeditions to the Central Karakoram each year. It falls into the administrative boundaries of districts of Gilgit, Skardu, and Ghanche. Both Gilgit and Skardu are accessible by air (subject to weather) and surface transport. Approximately 230 villages, 97,608 people and 13,159 households are located in areas adjacent to CKNP.

General Information:

Landscape: Karakoram-Pamir Protected Area Type: National Park
Established Year: 1995 Area: 10000 sq. km.

Geographical Features:

Min: 35.1660325195673 Max: 36.4911312647315
Min: 74.2624745055531 Max: 76.8455414427125
From: 2000 meter To: 8611 meter
Average rainfall (m): 100-300 mm
Climate: The climate of the area is predominantly cold arid and temperate situated in the lower elevations. The climatic variation in the area is greatly influenced by altitudinal differences. Lower altitude (below 2300m) experience marked diurnal as well as seasonal temperature variations and scanty precipitation. The areas between 2300 and 3300m receive sufficient snow and enjoy a temperate climate. Areas above 3300m are very cold with a limiting growing season.

Biodiversity Features:

Province: Himalayan Highlands
Biomes: Eurasian High Montane
Vegetation: The spatial patterns of distribution and the functioning of Land Cover types are predominantly determined by climate; principally the factors of precipitation and temperature, whose effects are modified by soil factors.
The vegetation classes represented in the area are: Closed to Open Herbs; Dwarf Open Shrubs; Cultivated Areas, Needle Leaved Open Shrubland; Needle Leaved Open Forest; Broad Leaved Closed Forest; and Broad Leaved Plantation.

Socioeconomic Features:

Community Structure: Approximately 230 villages, 97,608 people and 13,159 households are located in areas adjacent to CKNP.
Natural Heritage:
Cultural Significance:
Livelihood strategies: Jeep tracks extend into many of the valleys. The provision of feeder roads has allowed communities like Thalley to take advantage of the KKH and move from subsistence agriculture into cash cropping and improved access to health and education facilities in Khaplu, Gilgit and Skardu. Examples of other types of infrastructure developed through collective community effort with donor funding include the maintenance and expansion of water channels, the provision of piped water for household use, and the construction of education and health facilities. The construction of link roads, health centers, schools, and administrative buildings is the responsibility of the Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD). Along with the government, important providers of infrastructure and associated services are NGOs and INGOs such as the AKRSP, Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), AKHS, Himalayan Green Club (HGC), and Central Asia Institute (CAI). Most of the areas surveyed have access to transport services: the Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO), which was founded in 1974, runs intra- and interregional services. Depending on the condition of the road, most of the respondents reported regularity in service, although residents of isolated valleys requested more frequency with which the service was provided.

Conservation Management:

IUCN Category: II - National Park
Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.
Management Authority:
Park Head Quarter:
Conservation History: National Parks in Northern Areas are the responsibility of the Forest Department falling under the Directorate of Parks and Wildlife. The Park is governed by the 1975 Northern Areas Wildlife Preservation Act. The District Forest Officer, Skardu is the ex-officio Director of CKNP.
Conservation Challenges: People place high pressure on the natural forest and wildlife resources causing degradation of local forests and wildlife and posing a threat to the biodiversity balance and environment.
Conservation Efforts:
Transboundary Features: The park is situated adjacent to Taxkorgan Nature Reserve (TNR) of China and separated only by the political boundary between the two countries. In this respect, the national park has a high degree of regional importance and for maintain the entirety of Greater Karakorum landscape.
Base Layers
Other Layers
  • Important Bird Areas
  • Protected Area
  • Corridor
  • Ecology
  • Globe Land Cover
  • Landscape
  • HKH Boundary