The Indian state of Uttarakhand is the epicenter of the Himalayan mountain ranges. With its stunning Himalayan scenery, Uttarakhand is a destination that any traveler would love. Featuring beautiful dense alpine forests, some of the world’s highest peaks, and so many rivers, it offers the kind of adventure you should experience at least once in your lifetime. Along with treks of Uttarakhand, the state has a lot of sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, that helps one gain knowledge about Hindu culture and beliefs and stories based on the same. Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kedarnath, Gangotri glacier, for example, offer much more than just pilgrimage sites. Nanda Devi, the second tallest mountain peak in India, is located in Uttarakhand at 25,643 feet above sea level.
In Uttarakhand alone, there are more than 50 treks that range from easy to difficult. You may have heard about some of them already. These treks and places are known for their beauty, but below are some that you might not have heard of, but have an equally amazing experience, which is perfect for those who love a little solitude and peace. You can book these treks from various trekking agencies and yet have an experience most are unaware of.
- Adi kailash and om parvat yatra
- Auli gorson bugyal trek
- Rupin pass trek
- Kalini khal trek
- Dayara bugyal trek
- Panwali kantha trek
- Dodital darwa pass trek
- Nag tibba trek
- Kugina pass trek
- Khatling sahastra tal trek
Breathtaking Uttarakhand Treks For Adventurers
Adi Kailash Trek
Adi kailash, known for its resemblance to kailash parvat, is also known as chota kailash. It is believed to be the oldest place where lord shiva and goddess parvati resided with their kids lord ganesh and kartik swami. It is also said that only 8 mountains in the Himalayas resemble the ‘OM’ symbol and only one has been discovered which is the adi kailash parvat.
Located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, it falls on the Indian Tibetan border, providing some breathtaking views of om parvat. The unusual om shape of this mountain peak is formed by the white snow on black mountain. A 12 day journey on foot takes you to the base of Om Parvat, pristine and undisturbed by humans. It starts from dharchula, going to a height of 3987m above sea level. The best time to take up a trek like this is between June and october.
As a part of the pithoragarh district of uttarakhand, adi kailash is believed to be the oldest resting place of lord shiva, with his family giving it a huge mythological importance. ‘
In the om parvat yatra, you will come across the stunning bhim tal, come on the way to pithoragarh, and you cannot miss it. Taking you through kumaon hamlets like lakhanpur and lamari which will give you brief insight on the rich cultural heritage of the state. A trek full of surprises by nature and mythology coming together, it is definitely a great place to visit for all those shiv bhakts and nature lovers.
Auli-Gorson Bugyal Trek
Imagine an expedition which involves riding a ropeway, skiing and walking through lush green meadows and dense forests, overlooking some of the highest peaks, sounds like a pleasant dream right? Well such is the auli bugyal trek, not only it has all the things i mentioned above, but also the longest and highest ropeway in asia. The Auli Gorson Bugyal trek is comparatively an easier trek and can be attempted by beginners. It will take you through some great trails of the Garhwali region, filled with rhododendron forests and meadows or “bugyals”.
This beautiful trek amongst all the treks of Uttarakhand, starts in Rishikesh, a hub for a lot of holy practices, and has a lot of treks starting from there. Trekkers are supposed to reach Auli by a ropeway and post that the trek starts to the gorson bugyal. You can catch the gorgeous peaks of Mt Nanda Devi(7817m), kamet(7756m), mana parvat(7273m) and dunagiri(7066m) gazing at you through the journey.
Even though the best time to visit these places are in summers and autumn, in April, May, October and November, you can still go there in winters and monsoons for some unique experiences. Winters can be harsh due to heavy snowfalls, but utterly mesmerizing views in the snow, while the meadows are in lush green with blooming flowers in summers and monsoons, which have their own beauty.
Rupin Pass Trek
A high altitude trek, Rupin pass is located in parts of traditional shepherd and hiking route. It starts from Dhaula in Uttarakhand and ends in Sangla in Himachal pradesh. The pass is located at 4650m above sea level, and takes about 6 days of trekking. An adventurous expedition like no other, this trek consists of twelve turns, implying twelve drastic changes in the views like a miracle by mother nature. It is quite hard to explain how dreamy and unusual it is, leaving one and all mesmerized by it. Snow capped mountain tops, feeling glittery as the sun shines upon them, a wide river flowing with full force brushing the rocks, lush meadows spread wide across are just a few scenes from this countryside aesthetic journey.
With the twelve surprises this trek has to provide, the first is at Rupin when the snowy mountains form the panoramic beauty you can just keep gazing at for hours at hand. Next is the temple of sewa, a Kinnaur temple resembling a watch tower, so high and so powerful. Menders at the Rupin pass is your third surprise, the border between himachal and uttarakhand, it’s there where you will realise himalayas in all states are so different from each other, in fact within the state too. Jhaka, a hanging village is your fourth treat of the trek. Pine trees as tall as 100 feet line up together to form the fifth surprise, and udukanal the sixth.
The very tell Rupin waterfall almost like water fall from the clouds is as stunning as it sounds, maybe more. Now that the snow takes the responsibility on itself, the gorgeous snow bridges over the ridges will leave spellbound. A view of a hundred tributaries flowing into the Rupin river and the views of kinnaur kailash will leave you stunned by the magic of nature. It is truly an amazing trek. Starting a trek paying homage to pokhu devta, followed by a trail through the woods and the meadows. Local stories and mythological scripts ar enever ending and thrilling, when you spend some time with locals in the valley, like the perfect end to the trip.
Best times to visit would be May- June during summers when the trees are lush green and flowers blooming are in autumn during September and october. The weather during these months is pleasant and also safe to be at any high altitude places. The trek is moderate level, spanning across 6 days and is 64 km long, with about 5-6 hours of trekking every day.
Kalindi Khal Trek
Kalindi Khal pass is one of the picturesque treks of Uttarakhand. It is located at the base of the kalindi peak(6102), is 5947 m above sea level and is surrounded by snow-clad mountains. It is the world’s highest trekkable mountain pass. shivling(6543m), meru(6630m), kedar dome(6808m), bhagirathi I, II, and III, nilkanth(6505m), chandra parvat(6728 m) and avalanche peak at 6413 m are some of the majestic peaks towering above the pass. Some higher peaks of above 7000m in altitude are also visible on bright sunny days, the trails take you through small streams of rivers, providing a feeling of freshness, adding the music of flowing rivers to already gorgeous views.
Not on this trek takes you through some gardens like meadows and alpine forests, you will also be able to spot some amazing birds and animals giving you some unique experiences to share with your peers. Steep climbs through glaciers above 5000m in height, like suryala bamak and sweta are exhausting but so thrilling. Covering a few high altitude treks like vasuki tal at 4800m and arwa tal at 3910m this trek has all in one indeed. Walking on thick beds of snow, using ice axes, crampons and fixed ropes adds to the adventure factor of the trek, making it not only a visual experience but much more.
Located in the garhwali region of uttarakhand, it is comparatively a tough trek, given the high altitudes and multiple adventures it involves. The best time to visit is between June and september. This trek spans over 12 days, each day being a unique experience. The total trek is 100km long and requires a lot of travelling and trekking. It is a must try for people who enjoy multi day treks and have a nac for trekking and reaching places like no other. One of the lesser known treks, it has so much to give!it’s just perfect.
Dayara Bugyal Trek
A breathtaking adventure, situated in the expanse of lush green meadows, in the northwestern regions of Uttarakhand, stands at an elevation of 10,000-12,500 ft, the Dayara Bugyal. This location lies amidst towering snow-peaked mountains and serves as an excellent destination for skiing during the months of winter.
On this memorable experience of the himalayan Dayara Bugyal trekking tour, you also get to catch sight of the lake of Barnala Tal spread across the green alpine prairies which makes the reflections look all the more worth the trek out of all the treks of Uttarakhand.
Starting from the tiny village of Barsu on the Haridwar-Gangotri road which is 32 km from the district of Uttarkashi. This route will take you through gorgeous Oak trees, small streams, and sprawling grasslands while offering views of specks of huts, grazing sheep all while overlooking tall and mighty mountains. Besides the views of the landscapes that Dayara Bugyal offers, you also get to experience the true fascinations of himalayan culture.
The trek comes at an easy to moderate difficulty for most trekkers and can be attempted by amateurs, people who have a keen interest in adventurous activities. A 6 day trek, takes you through some gorgeous villages of rishikesh, chamba and uttarkashi flowing along the bhagirathi river. It is a total of 29km trek. The next time to visit dayara bugyal is between april to october. It is a good lesser known trek for people who require peace and dont mind some hustle and adventure.
Panwali Kantha Trek
Panwali Kantha trek of the garhwali region takes you through beautiful grasslands between ranging altitudes of 2745m to 3970m. It is located on trails between the pilgrimage sites of Gangotri and kedarnath. Walking through thick dense forests and trails with wild orchids would be like a paradise for photographers and pretty much anyone who gets to witness the beauty. It is one of the most unesplored treks of Uttarakhand that you should plan on visiting.
One of the largest meadows or “bugyal” og garhwali region of uttarakhand, with a vast variety of flowers, wildlife and panoramic views of the mighty mountains. The meadow is at 10827 ft, and lies between mandakini and bhilangana rivers and himalayan region of tehri and Rudraprayag districts. You can spot bharal, ghoral, himalayan deer, rare musk deer and a few other high altitude animals. The trek starts in a small village called ghuttu, situated at 190km from rishikesh. Panwali kanth is situated at 4000m above sea level and this 65km expedition takes about 5 days of trekking. It is a moderate level trek and with a certain amount of fitness amateurs can attempt it. May to October are the best months to visit panwali kantha.
Dodital Darwa Pass Trek
Originating from the Bhagirathi valley at 1350m, the Dodital Darwa pass trail will take you through some dense forests, ascending to a lofty height of 4150m to Darwa top. Also known as Ganesh ka tal, it is one of the sacred lakes in garhwal region of uttarakhand. It is said to be the birth place of lord Ganesha. Surrounding the serene lake of Dodital, is a captivating view of the great himalayas in the background and the forestline adding to the beauty. It is an extended grassland and an amazing spot for overnight camping. Giving you an opportunity to explore nearby treks in Asi Ganga valley, taking you to Bhagirathi Ganga valley and Yamuna valley.
Dodital trek is also an amazing winter trek amongst all the treks of Uttarakhand. With its widespread grasslands covered in snow. It starts from Sangamchatti, heading to Agoda village at 2250m. The trail passes asi ganga river , taking you through secluded small villages of uttarakhand. As you reach Dodital, at 3307 m above the sea level, the stunning freshwater lake is absolutely the best place to camp. A 5 km walk takes you to darwa top passing through birch forests, rocky paths taking you to bandarpunch and swargarohini peaks.
Taking you through some amazing views and thrilling trails, it’s an expedition you can experience all round the year, with the landscape changing season to season. The trek is almost easy and can be attempted by everyone. It is a 5 day trek, however the pass can be accessed by travel in case you plan to visit otherwise. The total trek distance is 54 km and still lesser known and enjoyable throughout the year.
Nag Tibba Trek
Nag Tibba trek starts in north east of mussoorie, at the foothills of garhwal himalayas, at the height of 3048m. Popularly known as the ‘mountain of serpent’ is worshipped by the locals as the snake god or nag devta, at the peak. It is believed that the nag devta protects their cattle from the snakes in the region.
An ideal weekend trek as they may say, it is ideal for amateurs and people who have tried trekking before too. It offers some majestic views of the snow capped mountains and star lit skies in the night, while taking you through some lush green alpine forests. Nag tibba trek, begins in the village called pantwari, taking you through a number of small villages, tradition and vernacular written all over them. An 8 km trek from pantwari leads to nag tibba peak, walking through deodar and oak forests and coming across some amazing himalayan wildlife.
Greatest views nanda devi peak, bunderpunch and chaukhamba are to die for. The trails to nag tibba via chopta are open during months of winter for people who want to witness some gorgeous sparkling snowy trails. Out of all the treks of Uttarakhand, this trek is also a must visit during the months of summer, as the flowers and trees are in full bloom adding all the beautiful colours to the brown mountains. It is an easy level trek, and can be attempted by people of different age groups and beginners. It is a total 40 km trek and takes a duration of 5 days including trekking and some by road travelling.
Kugina Pass Trek
A less explored place, kugina pass would be a perfect short trek for people who like to visit such unexplored sound places, and enjoy the greatest views of the mountains by themselves. It is a beginner level trek and requires only a day, and can be termed one of the best weekend getaways for people from nearby cities.
The trail lies within the same vicinity as the famous roopkund and brahmatal trek, and can also be a nice acclimatization trek if you’re visiting one of the big ones. The pass is close to lohajung and begins from wan. Taking you through some dense oak and rhododendron forests, as you reach you will be greeted by 15 gigantic mountain peaks. One would wonder how such a small trek can take you to a spot like no other, so beautiful and so accessible yet so known by very few. It starts with a water stream flowing and tiny bridges and has some cute little rest stops for you.
The Kugina pass is located at a height of 10,318 ft, and very easy to ascend. The best time to visit the pass is during the winter months, taking you through the snowy paths during December to april. It is a short trek, and doesn’t require a major fitness level. You can visit Kugina Pass as a part of your longer trip and explore the villages around.
Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek
A dream of sorts, this lesser known trek, amongst treks of Uttarakhand, is a trail through a number of lakes and meadows. With Sahastra tal, Masar tal and Vasuki tal all being a part of this trail, it will almost leave astonished on how many lakes can there be around with a landscape spreading wide across in forms of fresh green meadows, vibrant flowers blooming and some high peaks like pristwar, barte kauter and meru forming a gorgeous backdrop to it. Khatling glacier is from where the river Bhilangana formed. At 5000 m above sea level, these glaciers and land filled with snow is the best place for skiing too.
The trek that starts from kush kalyani, takes you through numerous villages, lush meadows and flowery patches. The trek ends in extremely beautiful views of lakes, glaciers and snow capped mountains. The views are spectacular and have a lot of mythological importance, which you should catch the locals for. They will tell a number of fascinating stories of the lakes and the villages around, elevating the beauty of the place to a different level. River Bhilangana is named after a certain woman whose failed attempts at tempting Shiva with her beauty brought a curse on herself. She was cursed to flow in a liquid form, hence forming the river bhilangana.
This 11 day trek takes you through not only some great lakes but also to one of the most important holy pilgrimage sights for Hindus, kedarnath.
The best time to visit Bhilangana valley and the glaciers are in summer and autumn seasons during April to October( except July and August), as heavy rainfalls are subjected to fatal landslides. The trek is a rather tough one, requiring some level of fitness and understanding of treks. If you have been on multi day treks before, that will surely help you better with such expeditions. It is a long 120km trek, with a lot of places to cover on foot, it makes it a tough one but also very exciting and intriguing at the same time.
As I read about these treks and curated a list of treks in Uttarakhand, I realised these treks apart from being utterly beautiful and with the best of landscapes and views for you to enjoy, it has so much history and mythology behind it. I personally felt, these stories just elevate the experience of accomplishing these treks and observing all the unusual natural phenomena. The show these different elements of nature come together to put, is truly breathtaking, and I know none of us would trade an experience like this with something else. Uttarakhand with millions of stories and so many amazing treks, is just the place you need to be in! Be it for a short weekend trip to a long 15 day trek, it has one and all. I also hope this list, treks of Uttarakhand, helps you decide your next expedition too, or if its your first, it motivates you to go on one of these lesser known ones.