5 must-do Himalayan Treks for Beginners
This blog is a part of our Trekking 101 series, powered by ULTIMATE TREKKER – the Outdoor Leadership Program for pro trekkers.
Trekking in the Himalayas is fast becoming a favorite leisure/sport activity among people from all backgrounds and ages, and for good reason- there are lots of remote, beautiful trails, lakes and peaks in the Himalayas that are only accessible by trekking in the mountains. Himalayan treks in India are varied in their range of intensity, duration and resources needed.
Here are five of the best Himalayan treks for beginners if you’re just starting out. All of these are physically easy, short in duration, and can be done self-sufficiently without the need of trekking agencies, and since you won’t need guides, or cooks or mules, they are the most budget friendly treks in India.
“Stok Kangri is classified as a trekking peak by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, the governing body that issues permits for climbing mountains in India. It is an attainable climb for novice and intermediate mountaineers and offers great views of the main Great Himalayan ranges from its summit. Stok Kangri is a “snow climb” that can sometimes be climbed without crampons, depending on the conditions. Sometimes, it can require a mountaineering axe and roping together with teammates”, says Luke Smithwick one of the best technical mountain guides working in the Himalayas.
Luke Smithwick is an American climber living in the Himalayas, with about 50 ascents over 6000m to his credit, the summit of Everest and even a descent of Shishapangma.
Chopta is a small hamlet in Uttarakhand near Rudraprayag, and Chandrashila is a peak at 4000 m. The trek to the summit and back can be done in a single day. The trail is beautiful and passes through forests of rhododendron and deodar trees, and the highest Shiva Temple at Tungnath before it opens up to panoramic views of big himalayan mountains near the summit of Chandrashila. Food and accommodation are available at Chopta or you can camp if you’re carrying your tent. A longer trail to Deoriatal can also be taken if you have the time.
Recommended by Mohammed Izhaar, a cyclist, runner and trekker. Driven by his love for the outdoors he has been on the road and travelling across the Himalayas for the last 3 years.
Bhrigu lake is an alpine lake near Manali, situated at 4300m amidst vast grassy meadows. Two separate trails – one from Vashisht, and the other from Gulaba-take you to Bhrigu lake. From Gulaba the trail is shorter and the lake can be easily reached in a day. If you’re carrying some food and a tent you can camp in the meadows on the way to the lake. The lake is accessible from June-October, and the lake changes shape and colour depending on the time of day and the month of the year.
Recommended by Prashant Bhatt (Creative Lead – 4Play) a filmmaker who loves to find inspiration in the mountains. His work has taken him deep in the depths of Garwhal Himalayas, through temperate forests of Himanchal Pradesh and up huge cliffs of Ladakh.
Connecting Mandi (Churah Valley) with Kullu (Lugh Valley) this trek walks through villages and this pass is frequented by a lot of villagers until late October/Early November. Earlier this was a trade pass used by people of Kullu/Mandi. One has to walk a minimum of 8-10km on this trek with the maximum altitude being 2900m.
Recommended by Tarun Goel a seasoned trekker, writer and blogger from Himanchal Pradesh. He has been travelling around Himalayas since 2011 and in the process has reached some of the remotest corners through high-altitude passes and dangerous roads. His first book “Sabse Ucha Pahar-31treks in Himanchal Pradesh” is a manifestation of all his adventures from the far flung areas of Himachal Pradesh.
The Triund trek is the best trek in India for beginners for a few reasons- It starts from Mcleodganj/Dharamkot which is easily accessible and has great food options, the trail is easy and well marked and takes you to an altitude of almost 3000 metres in a day, the views from the top are spectacular, and you will find food and tents for rent at the top so you don’t have to carry anything along.The trek to Triund and back can be done in a single day but if you want to enjoy the spectacular night skies and the profound view of the Moon peak it is advised to stay a night.
Recommended by Sukrit Gupta (Co-founder 4Play), an avid climber and day dreamer, Sukrit is a fan of everything that is self managed and solo. In his free time you can find him running up and down multi-day trekking trails or slithering over rock faces in Manali.
We hope this article helps you choose your first trek in the Himalayas. Read this to know what to expect on your first trek.
What’s your suggestion for the easiest trek in India that is perfect for beginners?
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Author: Aditya Pande
A climber hailing from a quaint hill town of Kumaon, Uttaranchal. Focused towards staying healthy and efficient, in the mountains and in the cities.