Surrounded by the lush Nilgiris, Ooty casts its spell the moment you set foot in this beautiful destination. Replete with gardens, lakes, dams and much more, the stunning landscape of the Queen of Hills wins you over effortlessly. The cherry on the cake is the perfect Ooty weather that compels you to step out of your hotel room for a picnic lunch. Undoubtedly, you will have some fond memories of your time with friends or family in this hill station.
Here are some of the popular picnic spots in Ooty that you just cannot escape:
Picnic Spots in Ooty
1. Government Botanical Garden, Ooty
Government Botanical Garden is probably the first place that anyone would recommend you to visit in Ooty for a picnic. Spread over an area of 55 acres, this stunning garden on the lower slopes of Doddabetta Peak was established more than 170 years ago in the 1840s.
Besides the rare cork tree (the only one of its kind in India) and the 20-million-year-old fossil tree trunk, this garden boasts of a variety of flowers, ferns, bonsai, shrubs, and trees. All this greenery and spectacular views make it a popular picnic spot.
After enjoying your picnic lunch and admiring the scenery, go ahead and get acquainted with the life and culture of the Toda tribe of Nilgiris at Toda Mund.
- Location: Vannarapettai, Ooty
- Timings: 7 am to 6:30 pm
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2. Avalanche Lake, Ooty
Avalanche Lake is a popular picnic spot in Ooty that boasts of postcard picture-perfect beauty. The lake got its name, which is a misnomer, as it was formed naturally due to a landslide (not avalanche) in 1823.
The beautiful lake is adorned with a variety of colourful blooming flowers and is surrounded by towering mountains with waterfalls and dense forests that make for an enchanting view. Owing to its natural landscape, this spot is ideal for picnicking, trekking, photography, horse riding, and fishing, among other fun-filled activities.
You can either eat your picnic lunch by the lake or set up a camp and cook the fish that you catch here! So don’t forget to visit the Avalanche Lake as it is definitely worth your time.
- Location: Nilgiris district, Ooty
- Timings: 8 am to 6 pm
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3. Kamraj Sagar Dam, Ooty
Kamraj Sagar Dam, also referred to as Sandynallah Reservoir, is a must-visit tourist attraction and a wonderful picnic spot in Ooty. You can see many people here enjoying lunch or playing cards or simply relaxing by the water, any given day.
Fishing is common in the reservoir as different varieties of marine species dwell in its water. This place also has an abundance of flora and fauna, which makes it particularly popular with nature enthusiasts. Even birdwatchers have an amazing time here as they get to spot a variety of birds.
Moreover, the blue water with the mountains and forests in the backdrop, make a mystic set-up that is worth capturing through the lens.
- Location: Sholur, Ooty
- Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
4. Doddabetta Peak, Ooty
Doddabetta Peak is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ooty. In the Badaga language, Dodda means big and Betta means mountain, and thus, is the perfect moniker for this highest peak of the Nilgiris at 2637 m above the sea level.
The picture-perfect beauty of this popular picnic spot attracts both tourists and locals. Since the summit is flat, you can sit and enjoy the views as well as the company of your picnic mates. You can even indulge in photography, birdwatching, trekking, etc. at this spot.
There is a telescope installed at the top of the peak, from which panoramic views of the entire hill station and its surroundings can be enjoyed.
- Location: Ooty-Kotagiri Road, Ooty
- Timings: 7 am to 6 pm
5. Ooty Lake, Ooty
Ooty Lake, with its blue waters and surrounding green forest cover, makes for a mesmerising view. This sprawling artificial lake is nearly 200 years old and was built in 1824 by John Sullivan for fishing. One of the must-visit attractions in Ooty, the lake is perfect for family outings.
Leisurely boating in its calm waters is a must-do activity as you get to enjoy the scenic beauty up close. If you visit during the summer months, you get to witness enthralling boat races and boat pageantry here.
In case you have kids in tow then don’t miss to hop on the mini train. There are also a number of shops on the premises that sell knick-knacks, food items, etc.
- Location: West Mere, Ooty
- Timings: 10 am to 6:30 pm
6. Emerald Lake, Ooty
Emerald Lake, situated in the upper region of the Sigur Plateau, is the perfect place to spend some quality time in Ooty with family or friends. As you reach here, the first thing that will capture your attention is its beautiful setting: placid waters, green hills, and calmness.
You can enjoy your picnic lunch by the lake and then go on to explore the region’s indigenous flora and fauna. If you are an adventure enthusiast, you can go for mountain biking along the sides of the lake to lift the excitement quotient a few notches.
You can also engage in a number of other activities here, such as birdwatching, fishing, and trekking.
- Location: Emerald Village, Ooty
- Timings: 6 am to 5 pm
7. Pykara Lake and Falls, Ooty
Pykara Lake and Falls must be visited by everyone coming to Ooty. The majestic cascades are formed by the Pykara River originating from the Mukurthi Peak. The Pykara Lake, on the Ooty-Mysore Road, is actually a declared heritage site and attracts both visitors and locals.
Here, you can bask in the sun while enjoying a delicious picnic by the side of the lake and then go for a leisurely boat ride to soak in the mesmerising views of the surroundings. The area is also famous for housing one of the few remaining Toda settlements in the region.
- Location: Ooty-Mysore Road, Pykara
- Timings: 8:30 am to 5 pm
Read Also: Lakes in Ooty
Apart from these popular picnic spots, there are numerous other serene and beautiful places to visit in Ooty that you must explore.