Driving from Lucknow to Nainital and Corbett – Road Review

My summer trip to Nainital and then to Corbett started from Lucknow, the place where I live. I initially thought of writing all of this in one long story but someone suggested that it might be better to separate stories, it might be easier to read.

So here’s on my first post, I am writing about a Road-Review. It’s not very detailed but I would love to answer any comments or questions fellow ghumakkars might have.


Reliance A-1, Sitapur

The first leg is Lucknow to Nainital by road
We started from Lucknow at 6 in the morning. We would have started earlier but past experience taught us that with a longer drive one tends to get sleepy in the afternoons which is dangerous. So we decided to allow just enough time to get out of the city. Breakfast was at a Reliance A-1 just 50 km before Sitapur. Good infrastructure but lonely little spot cos petrol costs 10 bucks more. No one really stops. However, the man at the counter said they do get some customers for lunch and dinner.

The route was Lucknow-Sitapur-Shahjahanpur-Bareilly. From Bareilly there’s a turn off to Lalkuan-Haldwani-Kathgodham and onwards to Nainital. The road upto Bareilly was generally good, just bad in a few patches. However, Bareilly to Lalkuan was a different story altogether. I believe there is a bypass outside of Bareilly but I couldn’t find it so I had to go through the city. If someone gets to know of the location of the bypass do inform. The number of trucks have to be seen to be believed. Coupled with bad roads it’s definitely a slow track. There’s some kinda factory before Lalkuan and trucks are lined up on both sides of the road. Where there are trucks, there are traffic jams and coupled with atrocious truck drivers the experience is tough. There is also extensive construction work on this sector.

The road improves dramatically from Lalkuan. A stop is advised before the climb from Kathghodham to Nainital. The Drive from this point on is smooth cos the roads are very good, maintained well and aren’t as steep as people would have you believe.

Lucknow Nainital Road

Kathgodam Nainital road

Nainital – Corbett
On top of the lake there is a mosque. Just in front is the parking lot for the mall road (costs Rs. 50/- for 24 hrs). In between the road breaks into 3 – one leads to the parking lot, one to Raj Bhavan, which by the way is a must see, and one leads to Kaladhungi. It’s a curvy road with many junctions. The main branch leads to Kaladhungi and on to Corbett. There are also helpful directions on the way.

Nainital Kaladhungi Road

Nainital Kaladhungi Road

Corbett – Lucknow
Corbett to Lucknow is via Haldwani and then on by the same route by which we came. The lorry’s are a pain and watch out for the bypasses. There are no sign boards to indicate bypasses through smaller towns so if not sure, get down and ask the locals. Return journeys are always more tiresome than onward journeys, so take adequate stretch and drink stops and don’t push it.


  • nandanjha says:

    Welcome aboard Patrick. Now we have two Patricks at ghumakkar. We already had two Manishs here.

    Road reviews are always very helpful and they are really difficult to find. Thanks for sharing this.

    Looking fwd to your story on Nainital and beyond.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    So off you went to Corbett. Did you manage to get accommodation at Dhikala, Pat Jasper?

    It would be helpful if you elaborate a little more about the driving conditions. Things like distance covered and time taken, roadside scenes etc. would be appreciated.

    Waiting for your next post.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Your well written post brought back our memories of our trips to Nainital and Corbett. The stretch between Kilbury/Pangoot/Kaladhungi is simply fabulous. The Corbett Museum enroute is also worth a visit.

    Welcome aboard.

    Would look forward to your next posts.

  • Patrick says:

    Hi everyone.
    Thanks for the warm welcome. I came across this site while i was searching for details on corbett. Thanks to Nandan i have been able to post my first post. Sorry for the delay in replying as i was out of station and just returned.

  • Patrick says:

    I did try for Dhikala at the KMVN Office but they were fully booked. In any case as i found out out, of all the rooms at Dhikala only the annexes are alloted for booking to the KMVN by the Forest Department.

    As for distances, i have a peculiar problem. I own a fiat palio. About 2 yrs ago the speedo conked out and fiat tells me they are unable to repair it and that the only solution is to replace the whole instrument cluster for a cost which i am loath to do. so i can’t even calculate my mileage let alone distances. However i did check up with mapmyindia.com and this is what i came up with.

    Lucknow to Sitapur – 77 km
    Sitapur to Shahjahanpur – 85 km
    Shahjahanpur to Bareilly – 77 km
    Bareilly to Haldwani – 147 km
    Haldwani to Nainital – 56 km
    Total – 442 km.

    Nainital to Corbett – 72 km – this a very good stretch to drive

    Corbett to Haldwani – 108 km

  • Patrick says:

    Thanks for the comment. Do read the next post on corbett that i will be posting soon.

  • Rajeev Tivari says:

    Patrick, Thanks for the post that answers my query on the Bareilly Lalkuan road. Google returned thsi post on my search for Bareilly-Nainital.

    The mini bypass is from the NH-24 after crossing the overbridge, probably from CB ganj in Bareilly.

    Roads in Uttarakhand sound much better than the UP roads.

    Someone told me that Bareilly to Nainital is 125km!


  • Anil Verma says:

    I want to go Nainital from Delhi , Please advice me whether I can go to by my own car , I have never drive in hilly area, Can I go or we can take taxi .

  • KK Mishra says:

    I wanna go to nainital from my maruti car, I am living in lakhimpur kheri so my journey start from lakhimpur via pilibhit to nainital, how can I go there which way will be good please tell me

  • KK Mishra says:

    and tell me also I never drive my car on hills so tell me I can be drive there

  • Anand Bharti says:

    some one asked about bypass in Bareilly for going to Nainital if coming from Lucknow. If you are coming from Lucknow take the left turn from satelite bus stand at Bareilly. This road goes to Pilibhit. after passing about 3-4 km you will find a road to Nainital.

  • abhijeet says:

    we are planning to go to nainital from kanpur by car.
    how much time will it take ?

  • Shivani says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Can you tell me in all what is the average travelling time to Nanitial from Lucknow? And how about visiting ranikhet instead of Jim Corbett in this monsoon time when all forst zones of corbett are closed?

  • Patrick says:

    Sorry for the late replies everyone but I am not in Uttar Pradesh right now so i really don’t know of road conditions there now. been three years actually.

  • Vimlesh says:


    Thanks for the post.

    Please let me know if we can drive or advisable to hire a driver. I have a santro car & total persons are 3



  • Patrick says:

    Vimlesh – depends on how long you can drive. Me am a self driver so i love driving round. If you are more of a back seat person hire a driver….

  • Rajesh says:

    I am a frequent traveller from Lucknow to Haldwani/ Nainital. Though the Road till Sitapur is quite good, but after that the road becomes quite bad, with lots of traffic and jam. Instead of the regular route, I suggest an alternative route, which is quite good, has much less traffic and passes through some rather scenic jungles. The route is Lucknow – Sitapur- Lakhimpur- GolaGokaranath-Puranpur- Pilibhit-Sitarganj-Chorgaliya- Kathgodam- Nainital. Though it is longer by around 28 kms, but is madeup by very less traffic.

  • Vivek Ratan says:

    Thanks Rajesh,
    Am planning to go to Nainital, but daunted by the bad road conditions from sitapur to haldwani, which I have travelled a number of times earlier. Haven’t tried the Sitapur – Lakhimpur – Pilibhit route. Will now do so and update you all.

  • Sanidhya Singh says:

    I rather prefer to go via the Hardoi,Nigoha,Pilibhit and Haldwani Road.
    Will it be more suitable than the sitapur road?
    Its also lesser in distance than the Sitapur road.
    Also would like to know about the road conditions from Haldwani to Nainital.

  • som says:

    How many hours it actually took from Lucknow to Nainital.

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