With lush evergreen forests, snow-capped mountains, golden farmlands, flowing rivers and misty waterfalls, Arunachal Pradesh is an exquisite place with many wonderful hiking trails to explore.
Here are my picks for the best hikes in Arunachal Pradesh.
Please Note: If you want to explore Arunachal Pradesh, you will need to obtain an Inner Line Permit, which will allow you access to certain sectors.
Arunachal Pradesh Hikes
Arunachal Pradesh is one of India's least explored areas and has a beautifully diverse landscape, with the Great Himalayan Mountain Range dividing the land into several river valleys, there are many, diverse places to trek along.
The land is mostly undeveloped and left to flourish, which results in a natural paradise with breathtaking views for hikers to enjoy.
Here are 6 Arunachal Pradesh day hikes worth exploring.
The Ziro / Talley Valley Trek
- Area: Lower Subansiri
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Highest Elevation: 9000 feet (2743m)
- Trekking Time: 8 Days
This moderate trek takes you from the town of Ziro in Ziro Valley to a beautiful place called Talley Valley. Talley Valley is a wildlife sanctuary and has incredible biodiversity.
Along the journey, you will see breathtaking mountain views and amazing stretches of dense, green vegetation. There is minimal human development along the trail so you can enjoy a complete natural wilderness.
This trek is also where you are most likely to see the endangered clouded leopard, which is a rare and exciting sight itself.
Most organized treks will start in Guwahati, from where you will travel to Ziro and begin the trek to Talley Valley.
You will hike through dense jungle, where your guide might have to cut through overgrowth with a machete to keep on the path. The campsites are located along the Pange River where you will fall asleep to the quiet sound of flowing water.
- Area: West Kameng
- Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
- Highest Elevation: 9842 feet (3 000 m )
- Best Time to Hike: October to December; February to May
Thembang is a fascinating village situated to the east of Bomdila in Kameng, at an elevation of about 2 000 meters.
The area is quiet and peaceful, with clear blue skies and thick green forest. An ancient monastery can be found as you make your way through the dense woods and the Dirang River can be seen winding around the hilly terrain.
There are many different trails and routes to take in the Thembang area. You can trek to the small villages of Pangma, Semnak, or Chander - which offers spectacular views from an elevation of 3 000 meters. Both the cultural and the scenic opportunities around Thembang are wonderful to experience as you explore the trails.
Along the trails in Thembang you will find stone benches on which Buddhist chants are engraved to keep out evil spirits. This area is also where the popular Bailey Trail.
The best time to go is from October to December and from February to May, when birding is at its best and flowers are in full bloom.
The Bailey Trail
- Area: Arunachal Pradesh
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Highest Elevation: 16,348 feet (4 983m)
- Time Hiking: 12-22 Days
- Best Time to Hike: May-June & September-October
The Bailey Trail is one of the most popular trekking trails in Arunachal Pradesh and is very long. If you don't want to take on the entire route, there are various places you can start from.
The trail journeys along the multiple valleys in Arunachal Pradesh, which are formed by the Himalayas. The Bailey Trail offers magnificent views throughout the trek.
The highest point, at 4,983 meters, is the Sela Pass. There are many tours that do a portion of the Bailey Trail, mainly to reach the snowy Sela Pass, from where the views of the eastern Himalayan mountains are just breathtaking.
The Sela Lake is also located at the pass and is one of the most stunning lakes to see in Arunachal.
- Area: between Tawang and West Kameng
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Highest Elevation: 500 feet (6858 meters)
- Best Time to Hike: April to June, September to October
Sitting at 22 500 feet (6858 meters) above sea level, Gorichen Peak is one of the highest points in Arunachal Pradesh and is considered a sacred place by the locals.
The peak was originally named Sa-Nga Phu, which translates to "Kingdom of Deity". The trek to Gorichen Peak is a difficult one. However, the journey it takes you on is worth every tough step.
This is the perfect trail for more experience hikers and mountaineers. The best time to take on this challenging trek is from April to June (during the summertime).
The Mechuka Trek
- Area: West Siang District
- Difficulty: Moderate
Mechuka is a small, picturesque town situated at 6 000 meters above sea level and only about 30 km from the Tibetan border.
The area is great for exploring and hiking around, with many trails and high mountains to adventure along. The interesting mix of tribes and culture, along with the striking views and pretty surroundings, make hiking around Mechuka a very worthwhile and rewarding experience.
The area is secluded and peaceful - a place where you can let your mind wander and simply enjoy being in the unspoiled natural land.
Booking an organized tour around the Mechuka valley will allow you to learn about the various cultures, meet fascinating people of different tribes as well as wander through the beautifully diverse landscape.
The Seven Lake Trek
- Area: Dibang Valley
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Highest Elevation: 13123 (4000 meters)
- Time Hiking: 11 Day
- Best Time to Hike: February to June
The Seven Lake Trek is a trail located in the Dibang Valley, which takes you on a journey to seven pristine alpine lakes.
The lakes are hidden within the hills so the trail will take you from gorgeous open valleys, along green mountainsides to higher altitudes where you can see the glaciers that supply the lakes and rivers with water.
The lakes are simply breathtaking as they lie calm and still in the hidden, unexplored valleys.
The best time to visit is during the spring or summer months as the land is covered in blooming wildflowers during that time and is an awesome sight to see.
The Seven Lake Trek involves climbing a lot of steep inclines and declines. So it's better if you have a good amount of mountaineering experience under your belt if you want to take it on.
Arunachal Pradesh FAQ
What is the highest mountain in Arunachal Pradesh?
Kanto is the highest point in Arunachal Pradesh at 23,163 feet (7,060 meters) high.
What are some quick facts about Arunachal Pradesh?
- Its name Arunachal Pradesh translates to "the land of dawn-lit mountains"
- It is home to over 20 major tribes with even more sub-tribes
- The land is also claimed by China as "South Tibet"
- Even Indian citizens need a permit to visit Arunachal Pradesh
- Neolithic tools that date back to about 11 000 years ago have been discovered there
- It has an extremely low population with only 17 people per km2
- The official language is English
- The mithun or gayal is the national animal
What's the typography like in Arunachal Pradesh?
The landscape of is dominated by the Himalayas, which makes the terrain very hilly and mountainous.
With deep valleys, high plateaus and the snowy peaks of the mountains, the land is perfect for hikes and treks.
Foothills start in the southern reaches of the land, rise to the Lesser Himalayas and then to the Great Himalayas along the Tibetan border in the northernmost areas.
The highest peak in Arunachal Pradesh is called Kangto and rises up to about 23 163 feet (7 060 meters). With its mountainous topography, Aruncahal Pradesh offers a wide range of elevations for hikers to explore with varying levels of difficulty.
The main rivers of the land include the Kameng, Brahmaputra, Siang, Lohit, Subansiri, Noa-Dihing, and the Dibang.
The abundant forests and summer snow-melt feed the rivers and keep them flowing. River rafting is a popular activity on some of the rivers, especially on the Brahmaputra.
What wildlife and plants will I see in Arunachal Pradesh?
Most of Arunachal Pradesh is covered in dense forests of evergreen and pine trees, with areas of rainforest around the foothills.
The forests lead into more alpine and subalpine plants as the elevation increases up the hills and mountains.
Many different types of medicinal plants can be found around the land, which are used by the local people.
There are many exciting animals to encounter throughout the land of Arunachal Pradesh. So be sure to keep an eye open for them.
From big cats such as clouded leopards, snow leopards and tigers, to elephants, deer, goats and primates, the land is abundant with wildlife. Red pandas and black bear can also be found at higher elevations.
What guidebook to Arunachal Pradesh do you recommend?
One of the most thrilling books about the region is Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains: A Journey across Arunachal Pradesh - India's Forgotten Frontier by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent. Shortlisted for the 2018 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award, it is a great book to take with you on your adventure in Arunachal Pradesh.
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