Perilous mountain slopes, pristine valleys, dense forests and a sense of adventure – the magnificent Himalayas offer all that and more. But despite being home to some of the most popular destinations in the country, only a fraction of visitors manage to experience the Himalayas as intimately as one can. This, of course, includes trekkers. Trekking is all about experiencing the region on foot, exploring the raw landscape in all its glory – the undisturbed woods, meadows of wildflowers and snow, not to mention the glacial streams and gushing waterfalls. Trekking in the Himalayas is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Some of these treks can range from moderate to difficult, and for those who like a challenge, it can be the much-needed break. Here are our picks for top treks in the Himalayas.
Top treks in the Himalayas that you must take in 2022
The trail to Roopkund is often touted as one of the top treks in Uttarakhand. Sometimes referred to as the Skeleton Lake, the glacial lake of Roopkund is known for the skeletons that cover the shallow lake bed. You will be following a well-marked out trail with some of the most stunning views one can encounter on this 8-day trek. One of the lesser known attractions on the Roopkund trek are the two high-altitude meadows you encounter along the way, the largest of their kind in India. While the trail is well-laid out, the high altitude (nearly 4,800 meters) is what makes it a challenge, making it a moderate to difficult trek. From an unbridled view of Mount Trishul along the way to the sight of hundreds of skeletons visible in the clear waters at the destination, the Roopkund trek is one of a kind and definitely a must.
Hampta Pass Trek
The Hampta Pass trek is a crossover from the lush green valley of Kullu to the dry landscape of Lahaul and Spiti. Himachal Pradesh is known for the verdant mountain slopes and gushing rivers, but not as many know about the partially barren landscape of Spiti. The trek through Hampta Pass offers a splendid view of the stark contradiction between the lush green valley of Kullu on one side, and the semi-desert mountains of Lahaul & Spiti on the other. The trail takes you through the wildflower meadows of Jwara, the bubbling waters of the river Chandra, and the mixed forests of Jarba, filled with silver birches and green pine trees. A trek of moderate difficulty, the Hampta Pass trail can take anywhere from four to six days to cover. It is ideal for anyone looking to explore more of the hidden charm of the Himalayas.
Har Ki Doon Trek
A trail that takes you through the ‘Valley of Gods’ in Uttarakhand, the Har Ki Doon trek takes you through ancient villages and virgin landscapes. With the gorgeous views of the Swargarohini mountain peaks along the way, it is one of the top treks in the Himalayas that is on the bucket list of many. The trek typically begins at the Govind National Park and moves through wildflower meadows, gushing streams, and pristine waterfalls of the Gharwal region of Himalayas. You are treated to a plethora of exotic plants and trees that are indigenous to this region. The challenge lies in a perilous journey through slippery slopes of the mountains, and a harsh weather depending on the time of the year.
Beginning in the dense pine forest, carpeted with brown leaves, the snowy slopes of Kedarkantha are certain to be one of the most top treks in the Himalayas. The extreme cold and snow-laden slopes pose a challenge. As you ascend 2000 meters every day, you will be trekking along the untouched snow, through undisturbed alpine forests, with clear views of the mountains that surround the region. With beautiful forest clearings that are perfect to set up camp, temperatures are known to drop as low as -7 degrees Celsius at nightfall. Camping under the stars with a crackling campfire to keep you warm, surrounded by alpine trees in the magnificent Himalayas is an experience this stunning trek offers.
In India’s smallest state Sikkim, the Goechala trek is a nine-day trek that takes you on a journey towards the majestic Kanchenjunga. The high altitude trek is only for trekkers above the age of 14. There are no easy exit points, and each day is marked by a 12-hour trek. The ascent up these dangerous slopes is made worthwhile by the stunning natural beauty that surrounds every step one takes. An unhindered view of the fourteen mountains summits en route is an incentive to embark on this trek, along with the landscape covered in virgin snow during the months of winter.
The Chadar trek, often referred to as frozen river trek, takes you through one of the unique landscapes in Western Himalayas, in the Zanskar region of Ladakh. The arid yet stunning landscape of Ladakh is nothing short of amazing, as most would already know. Letting you experience the best of it is this winter trek, marked by the ‘Chadar‘ (which translates to ‘blanket’) of the frozen River Tsarap which connects one part of the landscape to the other. It was one of the key trade routes in the region for centuries, back when the only time to make a relatively safe transit was during the harsh winter months.
With sub-zero temperatures ranging from minus 10 to minus 25 degrees, the frozen river is known to change structure every few hours, depending on the time of the day and region. The challenge lies in finding new paths along and around the ice, and occasionally wading through icy waters. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, the trek is one of the few in the region that lets you experience the challenges faced by traders and explorers in the region for centuries. Though high Chadar trek on the difficulty level, the captivating beauty of Zanskar is just as rewarding. Best time to do the trek is deep into winter, usually in February, when the ice is the most stable and usually lasts nine days.
If a classic winter trek is what you are seeking, the Brahmatal trek is the ideal choice. It is a lesser known trail, far removed from the throng of trekkers that visit the region every year. The trek offers views of Mount Nanda Gunti and Mount Trishul like none other along a trail that takes you through mountain slopes covered in snow. One must be able to trek up to 8 kilometres a day and survive freezing temperatures, not to mention the high altitude of the trek. Ideal for seasoned trekkers, the challenging conditions make it totally worth the effort.
Trekking up these mountains is certainly a good way to build your endurance and escape the distractions of modern life. As some of the top treks in the Himalayas that you must take in 2018, one must begin preparing right away. The natural beauty and wonderful memories you are certain to make will make it worth your while.