Uttarakhand Treks – Guide To Trekking In Uttarakhand

Updated: April 21, 2023
uttarakhand india

Uttarakhand is a prime destination for both trekkers and adventurers from around the world.

But with so many spectacular Uttarakhand treks to choose from, it can be difficult narrowing down your choice. 

This is a comprehensive guide to the 5 best hikes in Uttarakhand.

Best Treks In Uttarakhand

valley of the flowers India

Photo by Belur Ashok

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.

Here are my five favourite treks in Uttarakhand.

The Valley of the Flowers Trek

  • Area: Chamoli District, Uttarakhand
  • Permit: Permits are required
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Distance: 8.7 miles (14km) + 1.9 miles (3km) to reach the valley (one way)
  • Elevation: 6299ft - 11499ft (1920m - 3505m)
  • Time Hiking: 4 - 5 days
  • Best Time to Hike: Best done during monsoon season when the flowers are in bloom. July - August
Har Ki Dun Trek India

Photo by Bhrigzz

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.

Accommodation: You can stay in one of the lodges at Ghangaria.

The Valley of the Flowers Tips

  • Plan accordingly and bring supplies and clothing to protect yourself. You will most likely be trekking during monsoon season, so you should expect a lot of rain. 
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera to take shots of the amazing flowers.

Har Ki Dun Trek

  • Area: Govind Ballabh Pant National Park
  • Permit: Permits are required
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 63.3 miles (98.7km)
  • Elevation: 6394ft - 11765ft (1949m - 3586m)
  • Hiking Time: 9 days (7 days of trekking and 2 days of travel)
  • Best Time to Hike:  March – August

Photo by Tarun Gupta

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.

Accommodation: There are a few private hotels and government run guest houses to accommodate trekkers.

Har Ki Dun Trek Tips

  • Take pictures.
  • Enjoy the immense serenity and untouched beauty.

Roopkund Trek

  • Area:  Chamoli District of Garwhal
  • Permit: Permits are required
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 33.5miles (54 km)
  • Elevation: 7998ft - 15997ft (2438m - 4876m_
  • Hiking Time: 8 days (5 days trekking + 3 days travelling) 
  • Best Time to Hike: May – June and September – October

Photo by Justin White

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 wonderful journey with rewarding views, full of steep climbs and slippery descents and is certainly a memorable trek.

Accommodation: Camps, tents and guesthouses.

Roopkund Trek Tips

  • Make sure you are mentally and physically fit.
  • Train and get as fit as you can be in order to be able to handle the altitude.
  • Get porters to carry your luggage at an extra cost.

Pindari Glacier Trek

  • Area: Kumaon Himalayas, Bageshwar District
  • Permit: No permits are required
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 68 miles (110 km)
  • Elevation: 1817ft - 12372ft (554m - 3771m)
  • Time Hiking: 7 - 10 days
  • Best Time to Hike: April – June and September – October

Photo by Akshay Bharadwaj

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.

Accommodation: This trek will require you to camp.

Pindari Glacier Trek Tip

  • Explore the towns of Bageshwar and Almora and immerse yourself in the rich culture of their everyday life.

5. Auden’s Col Trek

  • Area: Garwhal Himalayas, Uttarakhand
  • Difficulty: Strenuous/ Advanced
  • Distance: 71miles (115 km)
  • Elevation: 10000ft - 17716ft (3048m - 5400m)
  • Time Hiking: 14 - 20 days
  • Best Time to Hike:  Mid-May to early October

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.

Accommodation: You will be required to camp at base camps throughout your trek.

Auden’s Col Trek Tips

  • Only pursue this trail if you're an experienced trekker.
  • Choose a very experienced guide who is very familiar with the route to accompany you so you avoid falls into any of the many crevasses along the route.

Treks In Uttarakhand FAQ

How many treks are there in Uttarakhand?

As the region is so vast, there are over 100 diverse Uttarakhand treks.

Do you need permits to trek in Uttarakhand?

Very few Uttarakhand routes require a trekking permit. More often than that, you will just be required to pay a camping fee.

Is there internet or phone connectivity along the Uttarakhand routes?

Internet and phone connectivity facilities are available sporadically along Uttarakhand trails.

Are there toilet facilities along the Uttarakhand routes?

Unfortunately, there aren't toilet facilities along the Uttarakhand routes, but it’s all a part of the experience.

What food arrangements will need to be made along the Uttarakhand routes?

Food shops are available along all well-established Uttarakhand routes.

Are there any recommended guidebooks for the Uttarakhand region? 

Yes, there are some great guidebooks on the Uttarakhand region of India. 

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 the RBS Visitors Guide India - Uttarakhand for more info on Uttarakhand.

What topography can I expect in Uttarakhand?

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.

What wildlife and plants might I see in Uttarakhand? 

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.

Should I go hiking in Uttarakhand? 

Yes, Uttarakhand is a hotspot for many incredible treks and is home to some of the most 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.

What interesting facts should I know about Uttarakhand?

  • Uttarakhand is often referred to as the “Land of the Gods.”
  • It is home to the Nanda Devi, the second tallest peak in India.
  • It is home to 2 World Heritage Sites.
  • It is the proud proprietor of India’s oldest national park, Corbett, which is also the oldest tiger reserve.
  • Its 12 national parks cover about 13.8% of the total area of the state.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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  1. Hi Mark,
    Your article on treks in Uttarakhand is very clear and to the point. Thank you!! My friend and I would like to hike in Uttarakhand in early October. We are both in our early 60s and in good shape. Can you recommend a reliable guided tour trek?

    Thanks for your help.
    Dina Berray

    1. Hi Dina, thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately we currently don’t have a recommended guide for this region. I hope you manage to make a plan!

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