Known as the Queen of hill stations in India, Ooty is filled with pine trees, valleys, trekking spots, and some amazing views. So, there are many places to visit in Ooty and many one-day trips that you can take from Ooty as well. And one of the best things about this Ooty is that since it is such a popular tourist destination, it is quite easy to plan a trip and explore these places on your own.
In this article, we have listed down a few of the places to visit in Ooty and a few nearby spots as well. So, make sure that you check these places out and make the most of your time in this small, lovely hill station of Tamil Nadu.
Top 12 Places to Visit in Ooty
1. Avalanche Forest Reserve
Located around 25 km away from Ooty is one of the best places to visit in Ooty, Avalanche Forest Reserve. Best known for the Avalanche lake, this area is one of the popular tourist spots in Ooty and offers several amazing treks and views to the visitors.
Situated near the Emerald Lake, Avalanche Lake is surrounded with beautiful blossoming flowers and is also the main source of water supply for the Hydro Power stations in and around Ooty. The avalanche forest is a dense forest and offers a peaceful and enjoyable environment for anyone who is traveling here.
There are daily 2.5 – 3 hours’ multiple tours which are conducted by the Forest department. In this tour, you see and learn about the Cauliflower shola, Thalai Bhavani, and Lakkidi. Thalai Bhavani is where you will find the Bhavani Amman Temple and the source of the Bhavani river.
As for Lakkidi, it is the backwater region of the Upper Bhavani lake.
Entry Fee: 150 INR (for Van), 1200 INR (for entire Jeep), 20 INR (Still Camera), 50 INR (Video Camera)
How to Reach Avalanche Forest Reserve
There aren’t many buses heading to Avalanche Forest Reserve so if you are planning by public transportation, you will have to ask the bus timings beforehand. Cabs are the best way to reach Avalanche Forest Reserve and spend quality time here. A cab will cost you around 2000 – 2500 INR for a trip to Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake, tea plantations, etc.
One of the better alternatives to Ooty nowadays, Kotagiri is one of the three major hill stations in Nilgiri Hills. Located at a distance of 33 km from Ooty, Kotagiri is a quieter and more beautiful hill station and should definitely be visited from Ooty.
This place is surrounded by blue mountains and is one of the first places in Nilgiri Hills where the British settled down. As a result, you will see a lot of colonial structures here which adds more charm to this place. This hill station is extremely scenic and has a wonderful road from Ooty as well during which you are blessed with some magical valley views.
In Kotagiri, you can visit several other places like the Catherine Falls, Elk Falls, Kodanad View Point, and so on.
How to Reach Kotagiri
You will get many buses from Ooty leaving at a gap of 1 hour to reach Kotagiri. The bus price will be between 15 – 20 INR and will take around an hour to reach Kotagiri. Apart from buses, you can also rent a cab which will cost around 2,000 INR but will take just 35-45 minutes to reach Kotagiri.
3. Kodanad View Point
One of the best places to visit in Kotagiri, Kodanad View Point is around 18 km from Kotagiri and is a beautiful place to visit in Nilgiri Hills. Although it has become a commercialized tourist spot now, you can still find a perfect view of the Kodanad peak just 10 minutes before the viewpoint.
Moreover, the ride to Kodanad View Point is much better than the viewpoint itself. There are food and drink stalls here and a proper deck built for the viewing of the peak. However, if you are like us then I would suggest you skip this spot and instead walk a little away from the viewpoint.
You will come across a tea plantation area from where you get an unobtrusive view of the Kodanad peak.
How to Reach Kodanad View Point
You get local buses from the Kotagiri bus stand at every half an hour to Kodanad Viewpoint and Tea Estate. The price of this bus ticket is just 10-15 INR and will take you around 45 minutes to reach the viewpoint.
A tiny village in the Nilgiri Hills district which is situated between Kodanad and Kotagiri is the Ellada Village. Located at a distance of 8 km from Kodanad Viewpoint, Ellada is one of the best places to visit in Kotagiri and offers amazing, unfiltered mountain views to the travelers around here.
It is not a tourist spot which is why we liked it so much and had so much fun walking around this path while admiring the mountain views around us. So, if you are looking for an offbeat location around Ooty which offers amazing tea estate and mountain views then Ellada is definitely the place for you.
How to Reach Ellada
Take a bus to Ellada from Kodanad Viewpoint which will cost around 5 INR. You can also walk from Kodanad Viewpoint which will take around 1.5-2 hours to reach.
5. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is a tiger reserve which shares a boundary with both Kerala and Karnataka. This reserve is divided into 5 regions and the protected area here serves as a home to endangered species like elephants, Bengal tigers, Indian leopard and so on. You can take a safari here to witness the 266 different types of bird species and several animals as well. So, if you are into safaris then this is one of the top places to visit in Ooty.
However, in order to enter this national park, you would require a permit from the Forest Reserve Department which is easy to obtain in Ooty itself. Just visit the Forest Reserve office there and get your permit. But make sure you don’t arrive there on a weekend for a permit because, on weekends, the office is closed.
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So, it will be difficult for you to get the permit. If you are going on a weekend, you can opt for prior permission by visiting Chennai office. Unfortunately for us, we were there on a weekend so we couldn’t do the safari here. You can contact here for more information about Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary:
Reception Range Officer, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National
Note: Mukurthi National Park has been closed for tourists and travelers now and so it is not possible to get a permit for this place.
On the way from Ooty to Kotagiri, you will come across a tiny village known as Chinanagar which is not available on Google Map. It is also likely that the name of this place has been changed now otherwise there will be a small board pointing to this location.
Do stop near this gorgeous place as it provides an awesome view of tea estates and sunset. There aren’t many tourists around here so you will be able to enjoy some peace and quiet here. Plus, you will be surrounded by a beautiful tea estate which looks particularly ravishing when the sun is about to go down.
How to Reach Chinanagar
Take a bus to Kotagiri and get down at the Chinanagar stop or the next stop. Walk to the tea estates here and enjoy a marvelous view of the Nilgiri mountains.
7. Emerald Lake
Situated at a distance of 22 km from Ooty, another one of the top places to visit in Ooty is the Emerald Lake near the Emerald village. A part of the Silent Valley National Park in Nilgiris district, this is a quiet and serene place and not crowded by tourists so you will really enjoy it.
One of the unexplored places to visit in Ooty, this place is great for nature lovers and you can easily spend 1-2 hours here, exploring and enjoying the view. It is also a good picnic spot and a perfect place for photography enthusiasts as you get to enjoy the beautiful Nilgiri hills view from here.
How to Reach Emerald Lake
There isn’t a good frequency of buses to this spot so you might need to rent a cab or take your own car to reach this place. Cabs can charge you around 2000 INR and will also include other places like Avalanche Lake, Tea Estates, etc. in the package.
8. Ooty Lake
One of the most popular places to visit in Ooty and is a famous tourist spot which is exactly why I would discourage to visit it, Ooty Lake is an artificial lake built in 1824. Originally made for fishing, this lake has lost its charm now and has become a crowded tourist destination nowadays.
One can go for boating here while being surrounded by the Eucalyptus trees. There is also a boat race every summer here which you can attend if interested. This place is primarily known for its boating activities and offers paddle boats, motor boats, and rowboats for the same.
How to Reach Ooty Lake
Ooty Lake is located at a distance of about 2 km from the Ooty bus stand. So, you have an option of taking an auto to reach the boathouse or you can walk and enjoy the beautiful view on the way.
Here are some other exciting things to do in Ooty to make your trip more happening!
9. Pykara Waterfalls and Lake
Pykara Waterfalls originates from the Mukurthi peak and is one of the most beautiful sights to witness in Ooty. Situated at a distance of 20 km from Ooty, Pykara lake and waterfalls has been turned into a popular tourist spot in the past few years. So, you will find a lot of families coming here for a picnic and enjoying food from one of the nearby restaurants here.
Known as a popular heritage site, the dam built on the Pykara river is also the source of hydroelectricity to the nearby regions. The lake is surrounded by the Toda tribe which adds a uniqueness to this place. Make sure that you carry some warm clothes when visiting this lake as it can get a bit chilly in the evenings.
Fee: 175 INR (for Boating)
How to Reach Pykara Waterfalls
There are less frequent buses on this route so taking a cab is the best way to reach this lake and waterfall.
10. Tiger Hills
Another picturesque spot in Ooty which doesn’t receive as many tourists as other places in Ooty, Tiger Hills is definitely a great place to catch a beautiful sunset or sunrise. It is located to the east of Ooty town and at the base of the Dodabetta peak and is a great location for staying as well.
There are a couple of resorts here which resemble English-styled cottages where you can stay for the night and enjoy the peace and quiet that surrounds this place. It is also a popular spot for a picnic and can be visited throughout the day.
How to Reach Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill is situated at a distance of just 4-5 km from the main market area in Ooty. So, you can hire an auto for 200-250 INR or you can walk to this hill.
11. Dodabetta Peak
Honestly, I wouldn’t suggest you head to the Dodabetta Peak as it is a popular tourist spot and you won’t find any peace or quiet here. However, it is the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hill Mountain range so if that is something which interests you then this is definitely one of the top places to visit in Ooty.
This popular tourist spot lies 9 km away from Ooty, on the Kotagiri road and Dodabetta is the fourth highest peak after Anamudi. This peak is surrounded by Shola forest and is located at a height of 2,627 meters. From Dodabetta peak, you get an amazing view of the Bandipur National Park and can also see the Karnataka and Kerala state border lines from the viewpoints here.
It is also a great trekking spot so you can trek to different forest areas and peaks for an exciting adventure here.
Entry Fee: 10 INR (Adults), 10 INR (Still Camera), 50 INR (Video Camera)
How to Reach Dodabetta Peak
You can take a bus to the Dodabetta junction which will cost around 7 INR from Ooty Bus Stand. From here, you can walk to the peak or you can take a shared jeep which will cost around 50 – 100 INR per person, depending on the number of people sharing the jeep.
12. Upper Bhavani Lake
When you take the Avalanche Forest Tour, you also come across the Upper Bhavani Lake Viewpoint from where you can see the backwater of the Upper Bhavani lake reservoir. This place is surrounded by Shola forest and is a good place for trekking as well but you need a permit from the Forest department to trek here. There is also a dam built on this lake which provides water to all the nearby regions.
The Upper Bhavani region is also the home to Nilgiri Tahrs, tigers, jungle cats, leopards, etc. which is why people aren’t allowed to enter here without a permit. This is definitely one of the most gorgeous lakes around Ooty and should definitely be visited when you are taking a trip to Ooty.
How to Reach Upper Bhavani Lake
You cannot reach this place using a private cab or vehicle. The only way to reach this lake is through the Avalanche Forest tour in the Forest Government jeep or bus. It costs around 150 – 200 INR for the tour, depending on your mode of transportation.
Click here for some travel tips for Ooty to make your trip smooth and hassle-free!