Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve was set up in 1936 as the first National Park in India. The successful Project Tiger was inaugurated here in 1937.Today there are over 130 tigers in the park. This 520 sq.km National park is essentially the valley of the Ram Ganga River with a ridge running through it and watered by many subsidiary streams and wetlands. The hardwood trees of Sal predominate and there are also interesting stretches of the cury leaf. Mixed dry deciduous forests spread in the gravel or bhabar flats with bamboo on the margins of the ravines and streams.
An interesting feature is the enormous stretches of grasslands called chaurs. Famed Anglo-Indian hunter Jim Corbett was responsible for the configuration of the Park and it has been named in his honor. Corbett ensured that the Park held a wide range of terrain providing natural habitats for a large and varied amount of wildlife. Today you are likely to see elephant, sambar, spotted dear, hog deer, the shy barking deer, jackal, wildboar and a number of birds. The sanctuary is also home to the rhesus and langur monkeys, tiger, leopard, jungle cat, leopard cat and fishing cat.
Visitors opt to stay in Dhikala because it has basic amenities. Here too you can improve your chances of spotting animals if you look across the river valley at dawn. Softened by the mist, glowing in the first light of the rising sun, herds of deer and more massive herds of elephants drift across these wetlands. A two hour elephant ride through this valley and into the jungles will offer close encounters of the wild kind including if you are in luck with a tiger. Your best chance of spotting crocodiles and their long snouted fish eating cousins gharials is during a morning drive. The park is closed from 16th June to 14th November.