India is a country blessed with incredible natural beauty and diverse landscapes that are perfect for trekking. From the mighty Himalayas in the north to the Western Ghats down south, India offers trek routes for all levels of experience. Trekking through India is an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in nature, encounter fascinating cultures and people, and challenge yourself physically and mentally. If you are looking for the best treks in India for exploring and fun, here are my top 10 recommendations:
1. Chadar Trek, Ladakh
The Chadar Trek in Ladakh is considered one of the most thrilling and challenging treks in India. It involves walking on the frozen Zanskar River in the middle of winter! The icy trail takes you through breathtaking canyons, waterfalls, and cliffs in the Zanskar Valley region of Ladakh. As you trek from Chilling to Nerak pulling your luggage on sledges, the frozen river makes crackling and crunching sounds which give the trek its name ‘Chadar’ meaning blanket. The crystal clear turquoise waters, remote mountain villagers, and magnificent frozen waterfalls along the route make this 7-8 day trek at altitudes up to 11,123 ft an unforgettable Himalayan adventure. The best time is mid-Jan to end Feb.
2. Roopkund Trek, Uttarakhand
The Roopkund trek takes you to the eerie skeletal lake at 16,499 ft in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The trek starts from Lohajung and involves a steep climb through rhododendrons and oak forests to reach the snowclad mountains. The rewarding sight of hundreds of human skeletons and skulls lying at the bottom of the lake is haunting. Local legend has it that the bones belong to unlucky pilgrims caught in a storm. Scientifically, they have been dated back to the 9th century AD. The scenic meadows and solo camping by the lake along with the mysterious skeletons make Roopkund an unforgettable Himalayan trek. The best season is May to June and Sep to Oct.
3. Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh
The Markha Valley trek is one of the most popular treks in Ladakh. This moderate 7-8-day trek takes you through remote Buddhist villages, beautiful valleys, and high-altitude passes. You start from the village of Chilling, crossing the Zanskar River to reach the Nimaling plateau at 16,207 ft. Other highlights include spending a night in a traditional homestay at Markha, seeing monasteries and stupas, and getting incredible views of Kang Yaze Peak. Its easy accessibility and diverse landscapes of green valleys, barren gorges, and snowy mountains make Markha Valley suitable for all ages. The best times are May-June or September when wildflowers bloom.
4. Valley of Flowers Trek, Uttarakhand
Named after its countless varieties of exotic Himalayan wildflowers, Valley of Flowers is all about natural beauty. This easy-moderate trek near Badrinath in Uttarakhand takes you through meadows carpeted with flowers like Blue Poppies, Marigolds, Primulas, and Orchids. The highlight is seeing the splendid Valley of Flowers National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in full bloom in monsoon. The valley surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers is truly a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. You can also visit the ancient Hindu temples at Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib, associated with Sikh guru Gobind Singh. July to early September is the best time.
5. Sandakphu Trek, West Bengal
Sandakphu in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal offers the highest point for trekkers to witness the Kanchenjunga range and Mt Everest. This 6-day moderate trek begins at Maneybhanjang, climbing through forests of rhododendron, bamboo, and oak to reach Sandakphu at 3636 m. The peak offers mesmerizing 180-degree views of the Sleeping Buddha ridge of Kanchenjunga along with Lhotse, Makalu, and Mt Everest on the horizon. You can also see the vast Singalila National Park beneath. Enjoy sunrises lighting up the snowy peaks in different hues. April-May and October-November are ideal for clearer views.
6. Hampta Pass Trek, Himachal Pradesh
Hampta Pass is one of the most exciting high-altitude Himalayan trails in Himachal at an altitude of 4270 m. This moderate 5-day trek from Manali takes you through beautiful valleys, lush forests, torrential streams, lush green meadows, and frozen rivers. Get incredible views of the towering Indrasan and Deo Tibba peaks along the trail. The trek from Jobra to Chika Meadow is a photographer’s paradise with amazing landscapes. You also cross the breathtaking Hemis National Park. September to November is the best season for this trek.
7. Kuari Pass Trek, Uttarakhand
Explore the best of the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand with the Kuari Pass trek. This popular 4-5 day winter trek offers fabulous views of peaks like Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Kamet, and Changabang. Kuari means “doorway”; the pass acts as a doorway to these majestic Himalayan peaks. Starting from Auli, you traverse through oak and rhododendron forests, meadows like Khullara and Chitrakantha, waterfalls, and hamlets, before reaching the Kuari Pass at 12500 ft. Enjoy breathtaking sunrises over Himalayan giants and camp under starry night skies. December-January is the best season.
8. Kasol Kheerganga Trek, Himachal Pradesh
The Kasol to Kheerganga trek is a refreshing short 2-day trek in Himachal’s gorgeous Parvati Valley. It starts from Kasol and winds uphill through pine and rhododendron forests to reach Kheerganga hot springs at 9860 ft. After trekking for 5-6 hours each day, relax your feet in the natural hot water springs. The sound of the Parvati River for the company is soothing. You can also camp out under the stars and enjoy the stunning sunrise and sunset. The greenery, villages, and welcoming locals make this an easy trek suitable for beginners and families. May-June is the ideal season.
9. Dodital Trek, Uttarakhand
Nestled amidst rhododendron forests below Hanuman Peak, Dodital or Dodi Lake is a refreshing trek in Uttarakhand. This easy-grade Himalayan trek begins from Sangamchatti. An uphill climb through oak and rhododendron forests leads to Darwa Top. From here, descend to reach the pristine emerald waters of Dodital. You can also visit the ancient Hanuman Temple beside the lake. For birdwatchers, it’s a delight to see Himalayan species like Himalayan monal, owls, and laughing thrush. Camp under the stars by the lakeside. Mid-May to mid-November are suitable to trek here.
10. Beas Kund Trek, Himachal Pradesh
The Beas Kund alpine lake trek offers stunning views of the Pir Pinjal mountains in Himachal Pradesh. This moderate 3-day trek from Manali involves climbing through meadows and moraines to reach the glacial lake at 12000 ft. Perched amidst snowy peaks, the emerald green Beas Kund trek reflects the surrounding landscape beautifully. The glacial Solang Valley is a feast for the eyes with its little mountain streams and flower beds. You can also visit the ancient Shiva temple midway. Mid-May to October are ideal months for this stunning mountain and glacial lake trek.
India offers incredible diversity when it comes to trekking. From easy meadow walks to difficult high-altitude snowy treks, there are trails to match every fitness level and preference. The Himalayas, Garhwal, and Ladakh regions are particular trekking hotspots. The best seasons are usually Spring (April-June) and Autumn (September-November) when the weather is pleasant and suitable for trekking. From wildlife spotting to temple hopping, you can combine your love for nature, adventure, and culture on these treks. So get your trekking shoes on and get ready to be mesmerized by incredible India while on these 10 best treks!