The Himalayan mountain range runs from the northwest to the southeast of the Indian subcontinent. The world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, and the third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga, are located in the Himalayas.
There are three parallel and distinct mountain chains in the Himalayas: the greater or Himadri range, the middle or Himachal range, and the lesser or Shivalik range.
Trekking in the Himalayas
High altitude treks such as Everest base camp trek, is in the Greater Himalayas. Glaciers in the greater Himalayas are the source of most of the rivers flowing in the Indian plane.
The beautiful valleys of Kashmir, Kullu and Kangra are located in the middle Himalayas. Some of the most sought-after treks like Prashar Lake trek and Kashmir Great Lake trek run through these valleys.
The Himalayas have always been a destination for tourists and adventure-hungry people. Gigantic awe-inspiring, snow-capped mountains, huge glaciers, diverse terrain, and a broad-spectrum of flora and fauna make the Himalayas an ideal place for trekkers. Nature, which exists here in its full glory and splendor, attracts trekkers from all over the world.
If you’re ever wanted to go trekking in the Himalayas, here’s our guide to the best treks in the Himalayan Mountains, from beginner to expert treks.
Best Weekend Treks in the Himalayas
Nag Tibba Trek
Nag Tibba is a 9,915 ft foot high mountain peak in Uttarakhand. This relatively short trek, which starts and ends in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, covers 20 km and can be completed in two days.
If you want to experience climbing the mountain range, crossing diverse landscapes of forests, rugged mountains, snow-covered trails, and sunsets from beautiful campsites all in just two days, then the Nag Tibba trek is perfectly tailored for you.
This trek will allow you to set up camp in places where you can see six mountain peaks, including Gangotri and Kedarnath peak and Doon valley.
Following the Yamuna river when driving on the zigzag road from Dehradun to Pantwari village is the most significant appeal of this trek.
Prashar Lake Trek
This is a two-day trek to the beautiful destination of Prashar Lake, which is surrounded by the Dhauladhar Range in the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. There is no fixed time for this trek, and you can visit Prashar Lake any time in a year. The trek starts from Panarsa, and after a 15 km walk in roughly two days, Prashar lake comes into view at the height of 8,900 ft.
In this trek, you will come across wonderful 180-degree views of the Pir Panjal, Dhauladhar and Kinnaur range from the bank of Prashar lake. A small oval sized island floats in the beautiful water of the lake.
One unique opportunity is that trekkers are allowed to camp near the lake. Everyone is mesmerized by the sight of the sky filled with stars reflecting in the deep blue water of the lake at night. There is a temple dedicated to Sage Parashar at the lakeshore, which displays excellent Himachali architecture.
Triund is a velvety green meadow at the top of a hill in Himachal Pradesh, where the gorgeous snow-clad Dhauladhar range and the Kangra valley are visible.
This easy and popular trek starts from and ends in Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh. In every season, the trek takes just 6-7 hours to complete, and therefore a good match for your quick weekend trip.
The journey towards Triund through the forest of oak and rhododendron trees is sometimes steep, but it adds a spice of adventure in this trek, which otherwise feels like a monotonous walk for several hours along the trail.
Beginner Treks in the Himalayas
Brahmatal trek is a six-day trek that will take you from Lohajung to Brahmatal lake, a frozen lake located at an altitude of 12,250 ft in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Brahmatal trek is a hidden gem because this underrated trek offers an unforgettable scenic view of a thick blanket of ice covering not only the summit but also the trail itself.
The sunlight reflecting from the ice sheet on the Brahmatal lake’s surface and the spectacular view of the Mt Trishul, Nanda Ghunti and Hathi-Ghoda peaks during the trek create a serene and a calm vibe.
This trek is predominantly a winter trek and the best time to visit Brahmatal lake is from December to March. From mid-December, you can enjoy snowfalls right on your way. In Spring and Summer, you get a clear view of the landscape due to the absence of fog and snow and the clear skies.
Kedarkantha is a mountain peak at the height of 12,500 ft in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. Kedarkantha Trek is a popular winter trek of six days, located in Govind Ballabh Wildlife.
Sanctuary and National Park
The trek starts from base camp in Sankri, a village 10-11 hours away from Dehradun by road. From Sankri, the trail passes through the dense forest of Garhwal Himalayas.
On the way, there is a lake ‘Juda ka Talab’, which is sacred to the locals. As the legend goes, once lord shiva meditated in Kedarkantha peak and the water fell from his bun, Juda gave birth to this beautiful lake at 9000 ft. Trekkers set camps near this picture-perfect lake.
Crystal clear water of Yamuna, Kedarganga, and Kamal Ganga flows by the side of the trail. The view from the Kedarkantha summit is no doubt stunning. In the north, you will see the Swargarohini and the Bandarpoonch of the Uttarakhand Range. Himachal ranges are also visible in the north-west from the hilltop.
Kedarkantha trek is one of the best winter treks to visit from mid-November to March or April.
Har Ki Dun Trek
At an altitude of 11,675 ft, Har ki Dun trek in Fateh Parvat of the Garhwal Himalaya is considered a relatively easy trek, suitable for beginners, even for families with children 10 or older.
This week-long trek makes its way through Govind National Park in Uttarakhand where one can get a chance to see wild animals like langurs, black bears and experience the incredible scenic beauty of green orchid filled lands, glaciers and more.
Har ki Dun is a cradle-shaped valley, which has mythological significance. The Pandavas followed this path during the ascend into heaven. The trek to Har ki Dun valley starts from Sankri village from where Kedarkantha trek also begins.
This trek is ideal for Summer and Autumn seasons when temperature and climate remain favorable. From April to June in Summer and from September to December in Autumn is the best season for this trek.
Chopta Chandrashila Trek
Chopta Chandrashila trek takes four days and covers 15 km through the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand.
From the base camp of Chopta, 162 km away from Rishikesh, the journey moves towards the Tunganath temple, the oldest and highest temple of Lord Shiva and one of the Panch Kedar. From there, the trip extends towards Chandrashila peak, the final destination for the trek.
The trek offers a panoramic view of the Chaukhamba, Trishul and Nanda Devi mountain peaks from the Chandrashila summit. Rare mountain birds and animal sightings are common during the journey. This trek also covers the beautiful lake, Deoria Tal, situated near the trail.
The Chopta Chandrashila trek is best suitable in Summer and Winter from December to February. In the Winter, the sky remains clear and you can enjoy amazing views of the snow-white Chandrashila peak and the temple.
Bhrigu Lake Trek
This trek is one of the best Himalayan treks out there for the jaw-dropping beauty of the destination, Bhrigu Lake. The lake derives its name from the great sage, Bhrigu, who once went there to perform austerities. The trek takes four days and starts from Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Bhrigu Lake is 14,000 ft above the sea level and situated in the east of Rohtang pass in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
The main attraction of the lake is the changing color of the frozen water in different seasons. At the start of Summer, you can see blue and green ice rings and in the late Summer, those ice sheets turn into a deep blue, while in Winter, it is white.
The best time to embark on the Bhrigu Lake trek is either Summer or Autumn. Winter and monsoon season should be strictly avoided because of the harsh climate and landslides.
Beas Kund Trek
Beas Kund is the origin point of the river Beas. This trek will take you from Manali to Lake Beas Kund, covering 20 km in three days.
The best reason to do this trek is close views of the big mountains of Pir Panjal. This type of view comes days after strenuous trekking on other routes.
At the foot of the mountains are two green meadows, Bakarthach and Dhundi, which enhance the beauty of the rugged mountain area. Shepherds are often seen grazing their livestock in Bakarthach.
In Dhundi Beas, the river flows through the middle of the grassland with colorful flowers blooming on the river’s side. From Beas Kund, treks towards Hanuman Tibba, Indrasen Peak, Friendship Peak, and Ladakhi peak begin. Beas Kund trek can be the initial trek before undertaking a journey for those mountain peaks.
This trek is preferable from May to September but not in Winter due to heavy snowfall, which covers the entire region with snow.
Valley of Flowers Trek in the Himalayas
Valley of Flowers is not only one of the best treks in the Himalayas, but it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reserved the title of National Park back in 1982.
The trek has a base camp at Ghangaria, Uttarakhand and usually takes six days from start to finish at Joshimath. It is one of those treks that are accessible in monsoon season from July to August.
It is the most popular trekking destination for otherworldly beauty, created by white snow-covered mountain peaks and greenery. White cotton-like clouds surround the valley where colorful flowers of different and rare species bloom.
This is a legendary trek and if you are planning to trek in the mountains, then it should be on your bucket list. White, pink, yellow, purple flowers- any color you name, the valley has it.
It seems impossible sometimes to count how many varieties of flower species bloom there. The sweet smell from the flowers always lingers in the valley. The scenery will make you blink twice and pinch yourself as it’s not easy to digest the magnificent view of the valley at once. Like flora, you will see different fauna varieties, like the snow leopard, musk deer, and more.
The entire Valley of Flowers is in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. From Haridwar to Joshimath, you will witness the grand confluence of river Bhagirathi and Alaknanda, both emerging as the Ganges.
Hemkund Sahib, a high altitude lake nestled at 14,100 ft at Hathi Parvat, is another big attraction of this trek. Adjacent to the lake, Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara is a pilgrimage for Sikhs.
Though overnight stays are not allowed in the Gurdwara, when you go trekking to the Valley of Flowers, don’t miss a visit to the lake and the Gurdwara during the daytime.
Tarsar and Marsar Trek
This trek will take you to twin lakes- Tarsar and Marsar situated 13,500 ft above the ground level in Kashmir near Dachigam National Park.
The 7-day long trek to lake Tarsar and Marsar starts from Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir. Tarsar lake is located at the top of Kolahoi mountain and Marsar lake is separated from it by another mountain.
From Tarsar lake, trekkers usually climb 5 km to reach Sundarsar valley, a green meadow with horses and sheep grazing through the grassland.
You have to climb Marsar ridge and then Marsar lake with royal blue water will reveal itself to you. This trek is worth your time and strenuous effort, as nothing can compare to the ethereal beauty of the lakes.
The best time to go for this trek is April through September, with June and July being the two most ideal months for visiting the twin lakes.
Moderate to Difficult Treks in the Himalayas
Hampta Pass Trek
Hampta Pass trek is one of a kind because you see velvety green meadows, trees, forests, and all types of vegetation on one side of the trail but on the other side is a barren landscape of the cool desert.
Hampta Pass trek usually takes five days to complete. Nestled in the Pir Panjal range of Himachal Pradesh, the trek to Hampta Pass from Manali gives you a thrilling expedition.
Hampta Pass Trek is a crossover trek, as it leads you from the lush green Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh to the rocky, arid land of Lahaul Valley.
On your way to Hampta pass, you will cross a forest of pine, maple and birch trees in Chika, a small but fast-flowing mountain stream, and a sand-covered trail towards Balu Ka Ghera.
The trip to Hampta Pass also rewards you with the stunning view of Chandratal lake. ‘Chandra’ means “moon,” and ‘Chandratal’ means “moon-shaped lake.” The lake at the top of the Hampta pass appears curved in the shape of a crescent moon.
Visiting Chandratal lake in Spiti valley will leave you with a magical experience. In the daytime, the lake’s crystal clear water reflects the sky above it, and at night the still water glitters with moonlight.
This trek is best suited for the monsoon season from mid-June to October. At the beginning of May-June and near the end of October, you can spot snow, but sunny and rainy weather prevails in August.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Trekking in the Himalayas will never complete if you miss the Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal. This trek is just as beautiful as it is dangerous because of its treacherous trails prone to fatal accidents.
The trek takes a total time of nine days and covers 160 km from Pokhara, Nepal. On the way, you will visit diverse terrain, rhododendron forest, majestic mountain summits and crop fields.
Annapurna Base Camp trek offers impressive views of Annapurna South, Machapuchare, and Hiunchuli mountains. The trail to Annapurna Base camp goes through Annapurna Sanctuary, which is another attraction of this trek for its wide variety of flora and fauna.
Annapurna Base Camp trek can be difficult for beginners due to the towering height of 13,545 ft. The air is thinner at that lofty terrain, which can induce altitude sickness and exhaustion if you don’t prepare well yourself for the trek before embarking on the journey.
From April to October, the fall and spring seasons are ideal for undertaking the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
Buran Ghati Trek
Buran Ghati trek is one of the most arduous treks, where you must climb a staggering 15,000 ft altitude crossing 39 km in seven days.
Situated in Pabbar valley in Himachal Pradesh, Buran Ghati trek starts from a village called Janglik, 150 km away from Shimla.
During the trek, as you proceed through the deep alpine forest being oblivious of what will come next, nature will surprise you with a sudden change of landscape from dense alpine forest to the strikingly beautiful Dayara meadow. Dayara is a green rolling meadow with mountains in its background.
Chandranahan lake and Chandranahan waterfall are other highlights of the Buran Ghati trek. The source of Chandranahan waterfall is Chandranahan Lake, a pristine glacial lake at 14,000 ft near Litham.
The lake and the surrounding green landscape, including some waterfalls opening up into the lake, is undoubtedly a treat for your eye.
Buran Ghati trek, also known as Barua Pass, is not for newcomers as trekkers are not supposed to walk along the trail because it includes sliding down the snow sometimes.
Still, this trek is a complete package for adventure junkies and nature photographers for its pine and oak forest, stunning picturesque landscape, quiet villages in the mountain slope, small glacial streams, and white snowy mountain peaks of Kinnaur-Kailash. From April to mid-June and September-October is the best time to go for the Buran Ghati trek.
Rupin Pass Trek
If you have an appetite for adventure, surprise, natural beauty, and spiritualism, Rupin Pass trek is one of the best Himalayan treks in India.
This Himalayan trek will take you to 15,250 ft covering 52 km in 8 days. The trek starts from Dhaula in Uttarakhand and moves towards Sangla in Himachal Pradesh through green valleys, infertile lands, glaciers, small mountain springs, temples, and medieval-looking tribal villages.
This path’s grandeur is such that you will wonder, “why didn’t I come here before?”
It’s a high altitude trek and you may face acute mountain sickness, but you can overcome it by staying hydrated and following trek leader’s tips.
In Summer, from April to June and in Spring from September to October, you can opt for the Rupin pass trek
Trekking in the Himalayas is incomplete if you miss this particular one. Gomukh trek starts from Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
On this eight-day trek, you will visit the birthplace of the mighty Ganges River, Gomukh, and witness one of the best-looking summits in the Himalayas, Mount Shivling.
You will come across Bhagirathi Sister’s peak and Mount Shivling on your way. The lively Bhagirathi River extending from the Gangotri glacier and flowing through boulders and rocky terrain will make you feel larger than life.
Gomukh trek is suitable for Summer, especially from May to June. This trek is slightly a difficult one but not entirely. Beginners should not consider going for this trek without substantial experience.
Kashmir Great Lake Trek
The Kashmir region’s natural beauty is known as “Paradise on Earth.”
This trek will traverse seven picturesque lakes in Kashmir valley, rolling green meadows with maple and pine trees where horses and sheep graze under the deep blue sky and cotton ball-like floating clouds.
A vast glacier surrounds Gadsar lake and a colorful valley filled with blooming flowers and views of the twin lakes, Vishansar and Kishansar. From Gadsar pass, the rich green Satsar meadow with narrow streams flowing by is a sight from this trek that you will cherish a lifetime.
From July to August, when the weather remains pleasant, trekkers worldwide come to experience this once-in-a-lifetime 8-day program in 13,700 ft elevation.
Difficult Treks in the Himalayas
Kedartal is a high altitude glacial lake lying at 15,580 ft. This lake is located near Mount Meru in Garhwal Himalayas. Snowfall from the surrounding Thalay Sagar, Bhrigupanth, and Meru peak feed Kedartal Lake, the source of Kedar Ganga. This lake is sacred to Hindus for a popular belief of the lake’s connection to Lord Shiva.
The Kedartal trek starts from Gangotri base camp, mainly in May-June and again in September to October. You will spend six days trekking to Kedartal lake.
Kedartal trek is considered a difficult trek because it will take you to a very high altitude crossing rugged rocky terrain, narrow trails, huge boulders and unpredictable weather. So, if you don’t have trekking experience and are not physically fit, you should not think of it to start.
Everest Base Camp Trek
The most adventurous among all trekking in the Himalayas is Everest Base Camp Trek. This trek is incredibly arduous and takes 15 days, but in reward, you will come face to face with the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.
Following the trail, you will reach a staggering height of 18,513 ft where sub-zero temperature and harsh climate always prevail. If you think of a snow-capped mountain surrounded by barren land when Mount Everest comes in your mind, let me tell you that’s not the reality. This trek has a lot more to offer.
You can visit local monasteries, villages along the trail. You can explore Kathmandu, the Hindu and Buddhist temples in the city, make friends with sherpas, and listen to their mountain adventure stories.
The best time to undertake this trek is from April to early-June and from September to early-November.
It is another high altitude trek taking 11 days crossing the Goecha La pass in Sikkim in the eastern Himalayas. The most significant offering of this trek is the intimate view of the world’s third-highest mountain, Kanchenjunga, from the pass and beautiful view of the Singalila mountain range.
At a staggering elevation of 15,100 ft, the Goechala trek rewards you with an alluring view of mount Pandim’s reflection in the still water of Samiti lake.
Apart from this, the heavenly sight of the rising sun with the backdrop of the Kanchenjunga mountain and red and pink flower covered rhododendron forest along the trail is a sight beyond words.
Sunrise and sunset from Dzongri top, Samiti lake, and the rhododendron forest are some exclusive attractions to this trek.
To participate in the Goechala trek, you have to travel to Yuksom, a city in Sikkim. The best time for this trek is in Summer and Autumn. From April to June in Summer and from September to October during Autumn.
Chadar trek is an exclusive winter trek of nine days at 11,483 ft altitude. The starting point of the Chadar trek is Leh, Ladakh.
Every year in January and February, when the temperature goes down to -30 degrees centigrade in the Zanskar region in Jammu & Kashmir, the water of the Zanskar river turns into ice. It looks like a blanket upon the river, that’s why the name ‘Chadar.’
Chadar trek is for those who can journey in a hostile rough climate in the chilling Winter. Trekkers follow the trail on the frozen Zanskar river, requiring more physical endurance than those previously mentioned.
Trekkers usually plan for Chadar trek from December to February, as it’s the best time to witness the Zanskar river freeze and experience the thrill of walking on the ice blanket.
Author Bio: Deepabali Saha lives in a beautiful town in West Bengal and is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from MAKAUT, Kolkata, West Bengal. Her passion for doing something creative and appealing with words has led her to be a content writer. She has learned and practiced Indian classical music and Rabindrasangeet for a decade starting from her childhood.
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