Fairy Meadows, named by German climbers (German M?rchenwiese, ?fairy tale meadows?) and locally known as Joot, is a grassland near one of the base camp sites of the Nanga Parbat, located in Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan province Pakistan at an altitude of about 3,300 meters above the sea level, it serves as the launching point for trekkers summiting on the Raikot face of the Nanga Parbat. In 1995, the Government of Pakistan declared Fairy Meadows a National Park.
Fairy Meadows is approachable by a twelve kilometer-long jeepable trek starting from Raikot bridge on Karakoram Highway to the village Tato. Further from Tato, it takes about two to three hours hiking by a five kilometer trek to Fairy Meadows. The grassland is located in the Raikot valley, at one end of the Raikot glacier which originates from the Nanga Parbat and feeds a stream that finally falls in the River Indus. Since 1992, locals have operated camping sites, wooden guesthouse/huts in the area.
The six-month tourist season at Fairy Meadows starts in April and continues until the end of September. Tourists lodge at the camping sites/wooden huts spread over the fairy meadows. Both domestic and international tourists cab be seen in large numbers during this six months.
Flora and fauna
The grassland is surrounded by thick alpine forest. The high altitude area and north-facing slopes mostly consist of coniferous forest having Pinus wallichiana, Picea smithiana and Abies pindrow trees, while in the high altitude areas with little sunlight are birch and willow dwarf shrubs. The southern slopes are concentrated with juniper and scrubs, namely Juniperus excelsa and J. turkesticana. In the low altitudes, the major plant found is Artemisia, with yellow ash, stone oaks and Pinus gerardiana spread among it. Research has suggested similarities between Pinus wallichiana found in the meadows with a sister species, Pinus peuce, found in the Balkans, based on leaf size.
Among mammals, a few brown bears are found in the region, with their numbers declining. Some musk deer, regarded as an endangered species, are also present.