The Indian state of Uttarakhand–west of Nepal and north-east of Delhi–provides many opportunities for adventure-seeking travelers to climb its mountain peaks and explore its nature. It is also possible to trek in the Himalayas there year-round, including in winter and during the monsoon. Here are some of the best treks that can be done in Uttarakhand.
Valley of Flowers
The Valley of Flowers National Park, located near Ghangaria in Chamoli district, is a UNESCO heritage site that draws thousands of hikers every year. It is open to visitors only during the monsoon season (July to September). The valley is home to some of the most beautiful, rare species of flowers, and also some wild animals, such as jungle cats, leopards, tigers and elephants.
Start this trek in the village of Ghangaria. It takes to two to three days to complete this trek. It is a relatively easy trek, located at an altitude of over 3100 meters.
Located in Uttarkashi region, this nine kilometre long trek, at over 3000 meters, is filled with picturesque, lush green meadows, and a backdrop of the snow-capped peaks. You will encounter many gorgeous streams and unique flora.
The trek starts at Barsu village and ends at Dayara Bugyal. It takes up to four days, depending on where you begin the trek.
Har Ki Dun
Located close to the border of Himachal Pradesh in Garhwal region, Har Ki Dun (the ‘Green Valley’) is home to numerous streams, meadows and hidden lakes. It passes through some remote villages that remain isolated from urban life.
It can be considered as an easy trek. Har Ki Dun is located at an elevation of over 3500 metres. It is recommended that you stay here for at least two days, then continue to the border village of Borasu.
Located in the famed Nanda Devi National Park, Bagini Glacier is famous among seasoned trekkers in Uttarakhand. The trek offers splendid views of the Himalayas, giving views of Dronagiri, Kalanka and Changa Banga peaks.
The trek begins at Joshimath in Chamoli district, and the overall distance is about 24 kilometres. The highest altitude reached during the trek is over 4000 meters, making it both challenging and adventurous.
Roopkund, popularly known as the ‘Mystery Lake,’ is located at the base of Mount Trishul. Skeletons of humans and horses from the Paleolithic Age were found in this lake. The lake remains frozen throughout the year, and it is located at 4100 metres.
The trek is only possible from May to October. Thick layers of rocky glaciers surround this mystic lake. The full trek is about 38 kilometres. Unpredictable weather adds to the difficulty of this trek, which starts at Lohajung.
Rupin Pass is a rare trek that stretches into two of India’s Himalayan states — Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The trek is known for its arduous climbs, steep valleys, and changing terrain.
This strenuous trek spans about 58 kilometres and reaches an altitude of over 4600 metres. Be prepared to hike for at least 10 hours a day, as the camps are chosen according to the changeable weather conditions, so it is important to stick to the schedule. The trek begins in Dhaula in Uttarakhand and ends at Sangla in Himachal Pradesh. The trek takes 10 to 11 days. The best times to do this trek are pre and post monsoon: May and June, and September and October.
Article by Reshma Narasing.
Top image by Abhijit Kar Gupta.