Roopkund trek is one of the best hikes in Uttarakhand, and has been a special hike for a long time.
Hiking up snowy exposed ridges to Junargali is sure to give you an adrenaline rush, and this is paired with the mystery around the Roopkund Lake, meaning that your hike is bound to be spectacular, memorable and exciting for a variety of reasons.
From its beautiful dense forests, to awe-inspiring meadows and snow-capped peaks, the route winds its way through a diversity of landscapes.
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Roopkund Trek Overview
The topography of the hike is diverse, and you will hike through forests, alpine meadows and across mountainous ridges.
Initially you will hike through dense forest before they give way to the beautiful meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal, which stretch onwards for miles.
Roopkund itself, is a high altitude, glacial lake and is famous for the hundreds of ancient skeletons found in and around it.
Interestingly, research concluded that the ancient local people died from a sudden and severe hailstorm here, with hailstones the size of cricket balls.
Wildlife and Plants
On the first day of this spectacular hike you will walk through the Oak and Rhododendron forests of Ghairoli Patal.
You will also pass through the Bugyals, which are spectacular alpine pastures. In winter the area is covered with snow, and in summer it becomes a beautiful carpet of colourful flowers and emerald grass.
The area is used by traditional herdsmen to graze their cattle.
It is easy to see why the Roopkund trek is one of the best in Uttarakhand.
One of the reasons the trail is so popular is its amazing alpine meadows located above 4,000 feet, which are so big it takes days to cross them.
Another is the Oak and Rhododendron forests which are very dense. You will hike through the forest for almost a day, and will pass through it on both the ascent and the descent.
Lastly, the mountainous section of the hike is truly an adventure. All in all, the this Indian trail is definitely one for your trekking bucket list.
Roopkund Quick Facts
- When the ice of Roopkund Lake melts, hundreds of human skeletons are revealed.
- The skeletons were first reported in the 19th century, but the news failed to spread.
- The area of Uttarakhand is known for its Hindu Pilgrimage sites.
- The highest peak in Uttarakhand is Nanda Devi.
- Bedni Bugyal is largely considered the most beautiful.
Here is a digital map of the area which gives you an idea of what to expect, more extensive maps can be found the guide books.
There are two recommended guide books. First, is the Uttarakhand & Haryana - Blue Guide Chapter from Blue Guide India.
The guide comes with a map as well as detailed information on Indian history and culture, and eating and accommodation tips.
The second is the Trekking in the Indian Himalaya by Lonely Planet which covers the region’s top treks.
Roopkund Trek Routes - Typical Itinerary
The recent High Court order (dated 28 August) has banned overnight camping in the meadows Uttarakhand which effects this hike. If you are looking for advice on the Roopkund trek, you are in the right place. We have curated information on Roopkund that you can use when planning your next hike along the spectacular trail. The Roopkund trek is based in Uttarakhand, northern India.
Day One: Base Camp - Lohajung
Day Two: Drive from Lohajung to Wan. Trek to Ghairoli Patal
Day Three: Ghairoli Patal to Bedni Bugyal
Optional day (recommended) - Excursion to Bedni Top
Day Four: Bedni Bugyal to Patar Nachauni
Day Five: Patar Nachauni to Bhagwabhasa
Day Six: Bhagwabasa to Roopkund to Junargali. Return to Patar Nachauni via Bhagwabasa
Day Seven: Patar Nachauni to Lohajung via Bedni and Wan
Video Overview of the Roopkund Treks
While more a documentary, than a brief overview, Praveen Mullimath Basavaraj’s video covers the entire Roopkund trek. It will give you a good idea of what to expect from start to end.
Preparing for Roopkund Hikes - Important Details
Best Time To Go
The best time to do the Roopkund trek is in the summer, between May and June, as it means that you will get to see many of the flowers in the area in bloom.
September is also a good time to go, as this is just before the region freezes over, with late September having a lot of snow on the trek.
It is a good idea to note that almost throughout the year Roopkund is covered in snow.
The difficulty of the trek will ultimately depend on your level of fitness, in combination with factors such as the weather, your experience in hiking and a little bit of luck, however, the route is not overly technical.
You can do the Roopkund without a guide, but you will have to do a fair bit of planning beforehand.
Currently, there is High Court order (28 August 2018) that has banned camping in the Uttarakhand meadows which has had a direct impact on the hike.
Many of the nights you are supposed to camp in the meadows, which means that presently the trek cannot be completed unless the ban is lifted.
This ban will have a major impact on tourism in the area.
Frequently Asked Questions about Roopkund Treks
When is the best time to visit Roopkund?
The best time to hike Roopkund depends on what you want to see. If you looking for snow, then around late May is the best time, however, if you want to see vegetation then September is a good time.
Do I need a reservation to go on Roopkund hikes?
Presently (28 August 2018) there is a ban on camping in the Uttarakhand meadows so until the ban is lifted, trekking in the Uttarakhand meadows has come to a stop.
Are permits required for Manaslu Curcuit trek?
You need a Restricted Area Permit costing $50 a week, a Manaslu Conservation Area Project permit costing $30 and an Annapurna Conservation Area Project permit costing $30. Four passport-sized photographs will be needed.
Are the Roopkund hikes difficult?
The difficulty is rated between moderate and difficult, as some days are harder than others.
Generally, you should be hiking fit and have a good understanding of the route prior to setting off.
Is altitude sickness a risk?
Yes, as the hike is at a relatively high altitude. You will have to keep this in mind and avoid hiking two quickly so as to allow your body to acclimatize.
If you are fit before hiking, and you take an acclimatization day at Bedni Bugyal you reduce the risk of sickness.
However, remember to be aware of your body and drink lots of water along the way.
We recommend you read our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.
What gear do I need for Roopkund?
Two essential items you will need on this trek are a good, study pair of hiking boots, as well as a good quality hiking backpack, between 40 and 60 l is a good idea in terms of volume.
Be aware that the evenings can be cold, and certain times of year are snowy - so check the weather conditions and pack accordingly.
Generally clothing that you can easily layer is recommendable. Lastly, a trekking pole will come in handy, especially on the day that you hike up to Roopkund and Junargali.
What insurance do I need for Roopkund?
Trekking in India comes with some obvious risks. Many of the treks are multi-day and take hikers well away from populated areas.
We suggest taking out trekking travel insurance policy if you plan to trek or travel in India
Check out the World Nomads calculator for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip.