Trekking in Uttarakhand Himalayas

  • Post last modified:9 January 2023
  • Reading time:20 mins read

Uttarakhand is a state in northern India that is home to the Himalayas. Trekking in the Himalayas can be a thrilling and rewarding experience. It is an excellent way to experience the beauty of the mountain range and the culture of the region. There are many different treks to choose from in Uttarakhand, ranging from easy to challenging and varying in length from a few days to several weeks.

Trekking in Uttarakhand Himalaya

Har Ki Doon Trek

Har ki Doon, the cradle shaped valley is a home of some of the best flora and fauna in Uttarakhand Himalayas. The valley equally magnetizes trekkers, botanist, bird watchers, explorers, photographers and the nature lovers alike. The trek runs through alpine vegetation and wildlife. The valley falls within the Govind Pashu Vihar and offers carpet of flowers during flowering season in monsoon.

The other striking feature of the valley is the inhabitants of the region traditionally worship, the Kaurava prince, Druyodhana.

  • Altitude: 3500 m
  • Duration: 9 to 10 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: June to October

Dodital Trek

Dodital is associated to Lord Ganesha as it is said to be his birthplace. The temple of lord Ganesha stand beside the lake and above it lays the beautiful meadow Darwa Top. The freshwater of the lake is full of trout fishes. The Dodital trek can be approached from various locations but the shortest one is from Sangamchatti.

The approach from here is a steep uphill climb till Agoda from here the route is slightly easy and leads to Dodital. Another route from Barsu village en-route Gangotri road diverting from Bhatwari can lead you to Dodital that also includes Barnalatal and Dayara bugyal. From Dayara top a shortcut directly leads one to Asiganga and from there an uphill climb of 10km one can reach Dodital.

This particular route is much popular as one can explore the beauty of Dayara bugyal and Barnalatal which is an upcoming ski destination en-route, and is an easy approach compared to the previous one. Another route is also available from Bhatwari to Raithal and from Raithal the trek leads you to Dodital but is less popular.

  • Altitude: 4150m
  • Duration: 6 to 8 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: May to October

Gangotri Gaumukh Trek

The road head Gangotri sanctum is the best setting to start a trek is home of Hindus most sacred place and serve as doorway to reach Gaumukh (literary means cows mouth), which is the source of the River Ganges, the most sacred river for Hindus.

The 18 km trek move along the Bhagirathi River and once the trekker reaches the vicinity of Gangotri glacier, the valley broadens and open to different valleys like Tapovan, Nandanvan, Raktvan etc. at the upper end of the Gangotri glacier. The area is also most frequented by mountaineers as some of the world’s best Himalayan passes and peaks lie in this region.

  • Altitude: 4463m
  • Duration: 6 to 8 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: May to October

Khatling Glacier Trek

The Khatling glacier is the source of the river Bhilangana. The two beautiful Himalayan lakes, Sahasratal (to west) and Masartal (to east) lie in the Khatling region. The Valley offers a panoramic view of magnificent snow-capped peaks like Jogin group, Kirtistambha and Meru.

The trek starts from Malla some 25km from Uttarkashi leads from various villages en-route and finally crossing two passes above 17000ft reaches Kedarnath.

  • Altitude: 4200m
  • Duration: 12 to 14 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: May to October.

Devariatal, Tungnath, Chandrashila Trek

Devariatal Situated at 14 km from Ukhimath enroute Chopta near Saari village, which is the last motorable point from where a steep climb of 1.5km gets you to Devariatal. The beautiful lake at an altitude of 2438 m gives a spectacular reflection of Chaukhamba Peak.30km from Ukhimath is the place called Chopta from where the trek to Tungnath temple starts.

According to mythology when Pandavas where in search for Lord Shiva to sanctify there sin for killing their brothers in Kurukshetra they found Lord Shiva in Kedarnath he disguised himself in the form of a bull. Bhim caught him from behind and the Hump of Shiva remained there in Kedarnath but the rest of the body parts emerged at four different places and all together formed the Panch Kedars. The arm of Shiva emerged at Tungnath and worshipped at Tungnath temple.

Tungnath temple at an altitude of 3680 m is the highest amongst the Panch Kedar’s. The trek from chopta to Tungnath is of 3.4km amidst dense alpine forest, meadows and rhododendron thickets. The beauty of Tungnath is unsurpassed, further 1km uphill is the Chandrashila top which provides a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges from Gangotri I to the Nandaghunti about 1800 . The area comes under Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary and had a musk deer breeding centre at Kanchulakhark.

  • Altitude: Devariatal 2438m/ Tungnath3680m
  • Duration: 2 to 3 days
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Best Season: May to October.

The Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Trek

High in the Himalayan ranges of Garhwal, India, in the state of Uttarakhand lies an enchanted valley. In 1931, Frank S. Smythe – mountaineer, explorer, botanist, romantic and much else — chanced upon this valley with its colourful fairy land of flowers. Entranced, he named it the Valley of Flowers, He returned from England to visit it again in 1937.

The beautiful valley from the local pretext known as Nandankanan was believed to be home of fairies and spirits, which resist them to enter. However, since Smythe made it popular, it is regarded as one of the best alpine valleys in the world. Situated at an altitude of 3650m it is heaven for nature lovers. In 1982 it was declared as a national park for its preservation.

The botanist suggested that there are about 520 species of flowers bloom in the valley, no doubt why Smythe named it valley of flowers. River Pushpawati streams through the valley. A rich diversity of birds and butterflies are found in abundance. The faunae such as Musk deer, Himalayan black and brown bears are also found in the valley.

The sacred Lokpal Lake, Lakshman Siddha Temple and an important pilgrim centre of Sikh Sect Gurdwara of Hemkund, lies near the Valley of Flowers. The holy Gurdwara is visited by large number of pilgrims from all over the world.

  • Altitude: 3853m
  • Duration: 9 to 10 days
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Best Season: May to October.

Roopkund

The legend and the folk traditions reveal that the king Jasdhaval and his wife rani Balapa took the pilgrimage to Nanda Devi and the Roopkund with their subjects. Unfortunately they all perished due to hailstorm and could not complete the sanctified journey. Their skeletons are still a common site in the mystical lake, Roopkund.

As per the mythology while moving from Nauti the Mayaka (Parents Home) of Godess Nanda to her husband’s abode at Trishul peak they stopped at this place as Nanda was thirsty and asked for water Lord Shiva with his trident made a hole in this place and the water emerged and formed a lake. Nanda looked at the lake and the clear water of the lake worked as a mirror and reflected her image she was amazed with her beautiful looks in the lake and the name Roopkund emerged. (Mythological story behind Mystery Lake).

The pilgrim to Roopkund still prevails and the journey happens to be taken by the locals of the area once in every twelve year. The journey popularly known as ‘Nanda Devi Raj Jat’, the mystical journey.

The route to Roopkund is delight for every trekker. The aura of Bedni Bugyal and Aali bugyal and the vista of Trishul, Nanda Ghunti and Chaukhamba take every one’s breath away with surprise.

  • Altitude: 5029m
  • Duration: 7 to 9 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: May to October.

The Kuari Pass Trek (Lord Curzon’s Trail)

The Kauri pass trek is also known as Curzon’s trail, is very famous amongst the foreign trekkers. The trek runs through beautiful alpine pastures, remote villages and solitary forests. The trek also offers a magnificent view of Nanda Devi, Hati-Ghodi (Twin Peak), Kamet and Dronagiri.

The trek starts from Ghat via Ramni to Kuari pass and descends at Tapovan that has number of sulphur springs. One can take the trek on the reverse direction starting from Tapovan and ending at Ghat one other alternate route can lead you to Auli via Gorson that diverts from Gailgarh.

  • Altitude: 4575m
  • Duration: 9 to 12 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: April to mid-June and mid-August to September.

Pindari/Kafni Glacier Trek

Pindari glacier is the most easily approachable glacier in the Kumaun region. The valley offers Pindari glacier, which is almost 3 kilometres in length and 0.25 kilometres in breadth. The river Pindar originates from the Pindari glacier and meets the river Alaknanda at Karanprayag forming one among the sacred Panchprayags. Nanda Khat, Nanda Kot, Changguch, Panwali Dwar and Maiktoli are some of the peaks in the vicinity of the valley.

The Kafni Glacier lies left to the Pindar Valley, south of Mt. Nanda Kot. From Dwali the route opens, the left goes to Pindari and the right goes to Kafni. Nandakot and Nandabhanar are the peaks standing over Kafni glacier. Both the glacier region is rich in flora and fauna. On way villages are hospitable and have easy approach.

  • Altitude: 3990m Pindari/ 3892m Kafni
  • Duration: 11 to 13 days & +1 day for Kafni
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Best Season: May to October.

Milam Glacier

Milam Glacier is the biggest glacier of the Kumaun region. The trek is famous for its grand trail and the enormous panoramas of the Himalayas. Situated on the south-facing slope of the Himalayan range, Milam glacier originates from the slope of Kohli and Trishuli peaks.

  • Altitude: 4150m
  • Duration: 13 to 15 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Best Season: June to October.

Panchachuli Base Camp Trek

The Hindu mythology believed that the Pandavas of Mahabharata cooked their last meal in these five Chulis i.e., cooking hearths, before moving to the heaven. (Mythology)

The five mountains of the Panchachuli massif form a natural barrier between Darma and Gauri valley. The base camp trek is one among the best to offer splendid streams, alpine pastures, a rich diversity of flora & fauna. Panoramic beauty of the valley is incomparable.

  • Altitude: 4260m
  • Duration: 7 to 10 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: May to October.

FAQ

When is the best time to go trekking in Uttarakhand?

The best time to go trekking in Uttarakhand depends on the specific trek and the weather conditions you prefer. The peak trekking season in Uttarakhand is generally from April to June and from September to November, when the weather is generally pleasant and dry. However, some treks, such as those at higher elevations, may be more suitable for colder months.

Do I need a guide for trekking in Uttarakhand?

It is not required to have a guide for trekking in Uttarakhand, but it is generally recommended, especially for those who are new to trekking or unfamiliar with the area. Guides can provide valuable information about the trek, help to ensure your safety, and assist with any logistical issues that may arise.

What should I pack for a trek in Uttarakhand?

When packing for a trek in Uttarakhand, it is important to bring appropriate clothing and equipment for the expected weather and terrain conditions. This may include items such as a warm and waterproof jacket, trekking boots, a hat and gloves, and a first aid kit. You should also bring plenty of water and high-energy snacks to fuel your trek.

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