Corbett National Park was set up in 1936 as Hailey National Park. Then, it was renamed as Ram Ganga National Park. It was in the year 1957, that it was rechristened as Corbett national Park to honour the legendary Jim Corbett. Jim Corbett had got the area free of the man eating tigers.
His most famous book is "The man-eaters of Kumaon". His house in Kaladungi (25km from Ramnagar) is now preserved as a museum giving you insights into his life. After killing man-eating tigers he became so enamored of them and the wildlife around that he became an ardent conservationist using his camera instead of his gun.
Today unfortunately the tiger numbers have been substantially reduced (there are only some 150-160 in Corbett) but even so visitors will enjoy a visit to this park. The best time to visit is 15 November to 15 June as major portions of the Park, particularly around Dhikala), are closed during the rest of the year because of the Monsoon and the breeding season.
So check before you visit.
The best part of the Park is the Dhikala area, which is also the core Park area. About 50 Km northwest of Ramnagar (where the main reception Center is located) Dhikala is deep inside the Reserve and even offers accommodation for overnight stays, provided you book ahead of time.
Take an elephant safari at Dhikala (first come first served...so come early) leaving 6am and again 4pm. Indian wildlife is largely nocturnal so these are the best viewing times in the Park. If you are lucky you may even see the tiger in the wild.
Today tracking of tigers and tying of "kills" is not allowed so you have to be really fortunate to see the tiger. Even so wildlife enthusiasts will not come away disappointed, as there is a lot of wildlife to see in the Park. Located as it is in the foothills of the Himalayas, with a Sal forest, grasslands and river running through it, it provides a habitat for herds of wild elephants, sloth bears and several kinds of deer (sambhar, hog deer, barking deer, spotted deer or chital). Just keep your binoculars handy and also your cameras.
The black-faced monkeys (langurs) and the red-faced and red-bottomed ones (rhesus Macaques) can be seen jumping from tree to tree and are the first to raise an alarm on spotting the tiger. Leopards have often been sighted as have wild boars and jackals. The cries of peacocks are heard as they run across the paths providing a splash of colour. The crocodiles, both mugger and gharials can be seen sunning themselves on the banks of the Ramganga River.
Birders can see several kinds of birds who make their home in the Park. The Ramganga Resevoir attracts a large number of migratory birds (mid-December-March) who come here to escape the harsh Central Asian/Siberian Winter.
Those not lucky enough to get on an elephant can rent a 4 Wheel drive vehicle permitted in the Park for wildlife viewing. Book this when you get your Park permit at the Ramnagar Reception center. Anglers can get a permit to fish in the Ramganga outside the Park. If you are lucky you can catch mahseer, a game fish, which is also good to eat.
The nearest rail head is Ramnagar, which is the terminus of Delhi-Moradabad-Ramnagar broad gauge branch of North East Railway. Ramnagar is connected by road to Delhi as well as Lucknow. Delhi is 240 km away via Kashipur-Moradabad-Ghaziabad, while Lucknow is 432 km via Kashipur-Rampur & Bareilly. The nearest airport is at Pantnagar about 80 km from Ramnagar.