Near Baripada, the Simlipal National Park is known for hiking and trekking in the India state of Orissa. It is a 845 square kilometer national park known for elephants, leopards and tigers. Within Simlipal National Park is an ecosystem complete with forest vegetation (mainly sal trees), fauna and the adjoining Santhal tribal settlements. High plateaus and hills, the highest peak being the Mangesheri, surround the forest. This sprawling forest also has many waterfalls that are a perpetual attraction. The most scenic waterfalls are found in the Barheipani region and at Joranda.
The Simlipal National Park is located 50k from Baripada.
Reaching Simlipal National Park is very easy. There are three major airports and rail junctions in the vicinity. These include Jamshedpur (140 km), Bhubaneswar (320 km) and Calcutta (240 km). Road network and highway links in the area are quite efficient. In addition, there is an airport in Kolkata, which may be closer but requires a private taxi.
To reach the park from Bhubaneswar, follow National Highway #5 to Baripadavia Baleshwar. Turn onto forest road to Pithabata.
To reach the park from Kolkata, follow National Highway #6 to Jashipur via Panskura and Kharagpur. From here, take the forest road to Gudgudia/Chahala.
Similipal remains open for visitors from 1st November to 15th June. Tourists are allowed in the tourism zone only. Entry permits are issued at Pithabata and Jashipur. Reservation for accommodation is made at Baripada, Karanjia and Jashipur. About twenty thousand tourists visit the reserve annually. The meadow of Chahala, magnificent waterfall at Barheipani, the Nawana valley, the bank of the river Budhabalanga near Jamboo, the waterfall and majestic hills at Joranda, Lulung and the shrine at Deokund attract the tourists. Camping facilities have been developed in the periphery along the bank of the river Khairi-Bhandan at Ramtirtha Mugger Project Campus.
Note: In any national park known to have lions or tigers, hikers need to exercise extreme caution. It is highly recommended to us a park-approved guide prior to hiking or trekking in these regions.
Overall, Simlipal National Park is the 15th most popular hiking trail of all 42 hikes in India.