Uttarakhand is a prime destination for both trekkers and adventurers from around the world. But with so many spectacular treks to choose from it can be difficult narrowing down your choice.
This is a comprehensive guide to the 5 best trails in the state of Uttarakhand.
See Best hikes in India for a complete list of hiking trails.
Uttarakhand is an Indian state that lies just west of Nepal. It is the geographic centre of the greater Himalayas.
There are many easy to moderate trails that are both beautiful and unforgettable. This area gives trekkers plenty of opportunities to explore the hidden jewels in this incredible area.
The topography of Uttarakhand varies greatly.
Trekkers will experience snow-covered peaks, glaciers, deep canyons, roaring streams, beautiful lakes as well as a few dusty plains in the south of the state.
Some of the highest mountains are located in Uttarakhand and over 60% of the state is covered in forests.
Explore towns, temples, alpine meadows and deciduous forest amongst other attractions.
Uttarakhand has an impressive variety of plant and animal species and is in fact one of the finest places for wildlife tourism in India.
The state is home to 12 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that cover about 13.8% of the total area. There are also 2 conservation reserves.
There are two World Heritage Sites; the Valley of the Flowers and the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which is home to 300 species of flowering plants and several rare and endangered animals. The Valley of the Flowers is the site of extensive seasonal flower blooming.
The animals that can be found in Uttarakhand include tigers, deer, sloth bear, black bear, Indian elephants, leopard, jungle cats and many more. There are also a large number of birds which nest in the varied trees.
Uttarakhand is a hotspot for many incredible treks and is home to some of the most incredible and incredible treks in India, if not the world.
There are many treks to choose from, each with their own unique features.
To trek in Uttarakhand, you must be prepared to deal with the altitude, cold and other obstacles that can be encountered on treks.
The treks range from moderately easy to quite difficult and strenuous and it is important that you choose the best trek to suit your needs and capabilities, so you can fully enjoy your trek and this incredible state.
The Valley of the Flowers is the most famous area for wildflowers in the Himalayas where you will get to experience rare and exotic Himalayan flora.
You will trek 9km along the Lakshman Ganga river until you get to Ghangaria, where you will spend the night. From Ghangaria you will trek for 3.7km to the Valley of the Flowers.
Although the flowers are the main attraction, don’t forget to look out for any wildlife in the area, such as musk deer or Himalayan black bears.
You will encounter slim passages, craggy terrains, sharp climbs and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
You can stay in one of the lodges at Ghangaria.
Check the VagabondMinds video for a beautiful overview of the trail.
Har Ki Dun is known as the “Valley of the Gods.” It is one of the most remote places to visit in Uttarakhand and offers spectacular views of untouched valleys. It is easily one of the most beautiful places in India.
The highlight of the trail is the incredible view of the Himalayan peaks which can only be reached by crossing ancient villages, alpine meadows, glacier basins, moraine ridges and pine forests.
This hike is excellent for first timers and goes along the Supin River and ends at the remote and isolated Har Ki Dun Valley. It goes through the Govind National Park and offers a great opportunity to view amazing fauna and flora.
There are a few private hotels and government run guest houses to accommodate trekkers.
The Roopkund Trek takes you to the “Haunted” Lake of Roopkund, which is a lake in which lies the remains of several hundred people, the reason for them being there is unclear.
The trek begins at Lohajung in dense oak and rhododendrons forest before emerging above the treeline where trekkers can see incredible views of the peaks.
You will also traverse the breath-taking meadows, it is a tedious journey with rewarding views it is full of steep climbs and slippery descents and is certainly a memorable trek.
Camps, tents and guesthouses.
Pindari Glacier, which is known as the “Soul of Kumoan” is 3.2km in length and 1.5km wide.
The trek heads into the Kumaon part of the Garwhal Himalayas. You will trek along the banks of the Pindari River to reach the glacier. This is the most accessible of all the glacier treks and is popular amongst both amateur and professional trekkers.
The glacier is one of the most popular attractions in Uttarakhand.
You will trek through dense forests and grand glaciers. The trek does not test your endurance and is smooth most of the time. However, the trail does become challenging and trekkers will have to cross mountain ranges, spider walls and streams.
This trek will require you to camp.
This is a high-altitude trek and Auden’s Col is considered the most dangerous pass in the Garwhal Himalayas. The pass and the Khatling glacier are heavily infested with crevasses along the entire route.
Auden’s Col connects Gangotri Valley and Kedar Valley. It requires walking along glaciers and using ropes occasionally. This is an extremely strenuous hike and should only be done by experienced trekkers.
Although very difficult the trek is absolutely amazing and if you are a highly skilled trekker this trek is highly recommended.
You will be required to camp at base camps throughout your trek.
If you are ready to embark on your Uttarakhand adventure, it is recommended that you get a detailed guidebook.
Here is an in-depth and award winning Lonely Planet guidebook to keep you informed. But there is also a great specialised guidebook you can get to research the region in more detail. See RBS Visitors Guide India - Uttarakhand to get this guide.
Due to the potential dangers that come with any trek, it is highly recommended that your purchase travel insurance if you are going to be trekking in Uttarakhand.
It is far better to be safe than sorry as accidents can happen.
There are a number of travel insurance companies in India that offer you a number of travel and health benefits.
Check out the World Nomads calculator for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip to the States.