India has so many fascinating places to visit and so much culture to soak in that people often forget that the Northern regions of India back onto the incredible Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, and thus offer awesome trekking experiences.
Below we have provided a summary of useful information that you will want to read before going to trek in India. These are our most frequently asked questions.
Where appropriate, we have provided links to more in-depth guidance articles within the Indian trekking section of our site.
Overview of India Hikes
But don’t be misled by the frenetic cities of India, there are huge swaths of the Indian landscape that offer some of the best treks in the world.
From the incredible desert scenes of Rajastan and tea plantations of West Ghats, to the awe-inspiring Himalayan landscapes of Ladakh and Sikkim, there is literally something for every type of trekker or holiday walker in India.
And the best part? Many of the trekking routes in India are still relatively untrodden when compared to popular tracks like the Everest Base Camp trek or the Annapurna Circuit, which both sit inside India’s neighbour, Nepal.
So, without further ado, let’s jump in and see what Indian hikes are on offer!
India Hiking Regions and Routes
There are a number of major trekking regions in India, but we think these five areas offer the best trekking experiences:
Situated in the Jammu and Kasmir region of India, Ladakh is an awesome trekking destination. The region sits in the rain-shadow of the Himalaya, which means the landscape is arid and wild. Summer is the best time to visit and the two treks, we highly recommend here are the Markha Valley Trek and the Chadar trek. It is also home to the famous Stok Kangri region.
Himachal Pradesh Region
Just south of Ladakh is the Himachal Pradesh region, situated in the North Western Himalayas.
This region is a wonderful part of India characterised by beautiful valleys – like the Kangra, Kullu, Sangla Valleys – and widely varying altitudes ranging from the 600m to well over 6000m.
Just south of the Himachal Pradesh region is Uttarakhand, which is wedged between Tibet to the North and Nepal to the East.
The region is home to the pilgrimage centres of Haridwar and Rishikesh, and is the main gateway to the amazing Garhwal Himalayas. Check out one of the region's best hikes - the Roopkund Trek, also known as the Roop Kund Trail.
Sikkim is a landlocked state of India, sandwiched between Nepal, China and Bhutan and dominated by Kangchenjunga, the world’s 3rd highest peak on the Indian-Nepalese border.
Sikkim offers superb high altitude trekking experiences, the best known being the Singalila Ridge Trek, which provides unparalleled views of Kangchenjunga and the high Himalayas. Goecha La trek is also in the Sikkim region.
See our detailed Sikkim hiking guide.
Arunachal Pradesh Region
Further to the far north-east of India are the ranges of the Arunachal Pradesh region, which offer many high altitude off-the-beaten path treks.
Preparing For Hiking in India FAQ
When is the best time to hike in India?
The best time to trek in India varies by region and by trekking route. Generally speaking, the late Spring and Summer period (June-August) are good times to trek in the Ladakh region, as it falls in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas and is therefore not impacted by the monsoon rains that batter the sub-continent in July and August.
For treks in Zanskar, like the Chadar Trek, the best time is in the heart of winter (January or February), as this is when the lake is frozen and allows for trekkers to traverse.
May and June, along with September and October are the best times to visit Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The Autumn (September, October and November) makes for great trekking in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh region.
What gear do I need for hiking in India?
Here are some essential trekking gear items we strongly advise to bring with you; for more information, see our multi-day hiking packing list.
Is trekking safe in India?
Trekking in India can be safe if appropriate precautions are taken. It is important to choose a reputable trekking company, stay on established routes, and take measures to prevent altitude sickness and other health risks.
The UK's official travel advice for India can be found on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india
The US's official travel advice for India can be found on the US Department of State's travel website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/India.html
See more information on India. Or check out these other Asian Hiking articles: