With a unique blend of nature and culture, the numerous trekking routes of India provide an unparalleled experience. From the majestic Himalayas in the North to the beautiful Western Ghats towards the South, every trek has something different to offer. Going trekking in India is one of the best ways to experience the biodiversity, the mountains, the beaches, and the culture. Here is a list of some of the best treks across India:
Valley of flowers
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This region takes its name from the countless species of flowers blooming in the entire valley. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a trek distance of 55 km and a maximum elevation of 3658 meters. The trek is lovely, surrounded by snow-capped mountains on all sides and covered in flowers of all colors. The trek starts at Govindghat, via Joshimath, and towards a steep climb neat Ghangharia. On the way, you come across Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers that form the Ganges near Devprayag. At an altitude of 14,440 feet, a large clear water lake is one of the most picture-perfect sights here. The lake is teeming with various species of wildflowers and diverse wildlife. This trek grants immense spiritual bliss as you feel at one with nature. Valley of Flowers trek is suitable for trekkers of all age groups.
Sandakphu, West Bengal
The Sandakpu trek, meandering through the splendid landscape of Darjeeling, is one of the most exciting trails in India. Sakdaphu, the highest point in West Bengal, is known as “Trekkers’ Wonderland.” It gives you spectacular views of four of the five highest peaks in the world. The trek has two routes- you can either hike through Tonglu or take the course via Phalut. The 51 km long trek takes you to the “mountain of poisonous plants,” thanks to an abundance of Himalayan Cobra Lilies. The journey, taking you through different terrains, is considered arduous, and therefore, hikers should undertake it only after ensuring complete fitness. The challenge of the trek is worth it, though, because it rewards you with stunning views of the valleys and lush green lands dotted with vibrant vegetation like magnolias, rhododendrons, and primulas. Another attraction here is the Black Pond, or Kalapokhri, which is considered holy by Buddhists.
Dzukou Valley, Nagaland
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Nagaland is often called “Switzerland of the East,” and for a good reason- Dzukou valley and Japfu Peak offer one of the most stunning views to the most magnificent landscape in India. The Dzukou valley is located at the bottom of a volcanic crater, at an elevation of 2450 meters. Starting your journey at Dimapur, you travel across villages and towns, mingle with locals, enjoy the food, and understand the rich culture and heritage of the region. The trek provides panoramic views of the rolling hills and the valley carpeted with flowers. The trek is steep and challenging at some points and tests the endurance of hikers. However, the testing trek is worth it, as you are treated to captivating views along the journey.
Har ki Doon, Uttarakhand
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This trail, nestled in the stunning Garhwal Mountains, takes you through forests teeming with flora and fauna. This region has a significant mythological association and is associated with many stories of Mahabharata. This cradle-shaped valley has a maximum elevation of 3566 meters, and its gradual ascents and descents make it a suitable trekking destination for beginners. Dense forests of deodar, chestnut, and sycamore surround the beautiful trek. With sprawling views of the snow-covered Himalayas, flowering streams, and sparkling waterfalls, this is one of the most beautiful treks in Uttarakhand.
Stok Kangri, Ladakh
One of the highest trekkable peaks in India at the height of 6153 meters, this is the perfect hike for experienced trekkers. The nine-day expedition starts at Leh and takes you through green fields, chilling rivers, and glaciers. The final climb towards the summit ridge is steep and requires technical expertise. Trekking amidst the beautiful Himalayan peaks is a fascinating experience and full of adventure. Once you reach the summit, you can see the entire Zanskar and Indus Valley, making the arduous journey worth it. The trek is especially exhilarating during winters when snow blankets the whole region. The region is much less crowded, as very few experienced hikers brave the chilling temperatures to complete the trek.
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Also known as Zanskar Trek, this remarkable experience includes a trek over the frozen river Zanskar. This thrilling trek takes you through pristine nature, icy routes, and bone-chilling temperatures. In fact, this region records the lowest temperatures in India, making Chadar Trek one of the most high-altitude treks. The journey starts at Chilling and takes you to Lingshed, from where you walk across the frozen river. This trek, over thick sheets of a frozen river, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While the trek doesn’t have many undulating ascents or descents, and the maximum elevation is around 3390 meters. Nevertheless, it is an arduous journey, thanks to the sub-zero temperatures. However, the experience you get out of it is unlike any other, as you traverse the snow-capped mountains of Leh.
Pin Parvati Trek, Himachal Pradesh
This scenic trek traverses through numerous waterfalls, meadows, and a glacier. This challenging yet beautiful trek takes the hikers to an elevation of 5320 meters. From the pastures of the Parvati Valley to the Buddhist villages of Spiti, this trek takes you through varying landscapes, culture, vegetation, and wildlife. The trek commences at Barsheni Village, through Rudranath, and the dense forests of Khirganga, to Mantalai Lake. Best taken between the summer months of June and September, this exhilarating journey makes a transition from the green Pin Valley to the ice-cold glacier. After a hard day of trekking, you can experience a hot water bath at Parvati Kund at Kheerganga, a five-star sauna experience that you rarely get on a trek. The 11 days long journey culminates in the beautiful town of Manali.
Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh
One of the most sought after trails in Ladakh region, this captivating trek takes you through dry mountains, streams, Buddhist villages, high passes, and vast canyons. Traveling through the areas of Sara, Skiu, Chilling, Nimaling, and Hankar, you come across ancient forts, temples, and monasteries, all adding to your Ladakhi experience. The trail offers stunning views of the famous peaks like Kang Yatse and Stok Kangri, as well as the Zanskar Range. This challenging trek has some steep ascents and descents, and the hikers are rewarded by fantastic views of the colorful landscapes of “Little Tibet.” The 65 kilometer-long hike starts at Leh and crosses two passes, namely Ganda La and Kongmaru La.
Kudremukh trek, Karnataka
Known for the distinctive shape of its peak, Kudremukh is the third highest peak of Karnataka, at an elevation of 1900 meters. The lush green meadows of the Western Ghats are a sight to behold, and Kudremukh trek grants you picturesque views of the region. The trek has a gentle gradient in its initial stage, but it gets steeper and challenging as you near the summit. The trek takes you through dense foliage with meandering streams. The lush green grasslands are home to several species of flora and fauna. You may also spot an occasional peacock or a Sambhar Deer. Apart from this, trekkers also love camping and enjoying bonfires on their journey. For an excellent trekking experience in the southern parts of India and a tremendous experience of the local culture, this trek is the best choice.
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