India is a hiking paradise.
Every part of this country offers some amazing hiking trails.
Northern region offers the Himalayan ranges with beautiful landscapes, snow-capped mountains, high altitude glaciers, clear water streams. In South there are the Western Ghats that offer lush green forests and vast wildlife.
Here is our list of the most exciting hiking trails in India:
Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu
A forest trail through Nilgiris crossing emerald blue lakes, milky waterfalls, massively magnificent reservoirs, gigantic dams, lush green grassy meadows, tea plantations and huge eucalyptus trees is the Nilgiris hike. Animals like Nilgiri langoors, the lion-tailed macaque, tigers, bison and more can be spotted in this rarely used by humans trail.
Nilgiri hills are at its best to explore from May to June.
Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka, stands magnificently above the rest of the Western Ghats, this hill offers unparalleled views of all its neighbouring ranges. And at its foothills is situated a small town Chikmagalur. You take a bus from Chikmagalur to Sarpadhari, from where this hike begins.
The best time for thus hike is from September to March.
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Situated in the western coast of India, Gokarna is a temple town. Gokarna houses several beaches and its hiking trail is called the Golden Trail. The hike starts from Belekhan Village and ends at Kudle Beach. Crossing several beaches and climbing boulders is what makes this hike a fun and interesting one for beginners.
The best time for this hike is from October until March.
Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Also known as the “Paragliding Capital” of India, Bir is a village located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The Raj Gundha trek in Bir is something you must go for if you are looking for a retreat from your urban life and for some quiet time with nature. Raj Gundha is arguably the most rewarding beginners trek in the Himalayas.
The best time to visit is from April to June.
Dzongri & Goecha-La, Sikkim
Through Kanchenjunga National Park, witnessing the beautiful tropical coniferous woodlands and a spectrum of colourful flora and fauna, is the most stunning Dzongri & Goecha-La trek. The trek begins from Yuksum, follows through Sachen Pass and goes all way up the Dzongri- Goechala Trail. The trek covers a distance of around 90kms and the highest altitude on the trail is of 16000 ft.
The best time for this trek are the months of months of September, October and April–May. During this time the forests are covered with orchids and various kinds of Rhododendron flowers.
Hemkund and Valley of Flowers, Garhwal
At an altitude of 3,600 metres above sea-level is this valley of flowers hike that takes you through fairyland-like beautiful trail.
The best time to visit is from July to early September, which is right after the monsoon season in India. During spring and autumn the valley is filled with amazing colours and scent of hundreds of variety of flowers that bloom after the monsoons. Flowers like Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy, Geraniums and the Cobra Lily cover up the valley, making it an amazing hiking trail. This hiking trail is a haven for flower lovers, nature enthusiasts and botanists.
Zanskar Frozen River, Ladakh
Also known as ‘Chadar Trek’, is a trekking expedition on the frozen river through the mountains blanketed with snow all around. During summers Zanskar is free flowing river but during winters it is freezes solid and is the only passage to the valley because the heavy snowfall blocks the entire region.
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This is a trek of about 105kms and takes 9-10 days to complete. It is one of the trickiest treks in India as if the ice below feet slips or cracks, you have complete the trek by climbing on to the boulders alongside the river. The temperature during the night time reaches around -24 to -25 degree Celsius, which also makes it a difficult one.
Pin Parvati Pass, Himachal Pradesh
Situated at an altitude of 5,319 metres above sea level and with a total distance of approx. 110 kms, Pin Parvati Pass is a great trekking experience for experienced trekkers. This is an exciting adventurous trek but is definitely not for beginners because of its challenging trail. It take around 11 days to complete this trek.
Nanda Devi East Base Camp and Milam Glacier, Kumaon Himalayas
With a maximum elevation point of 4000m above sea level, this is a moderately difficult trek that starts at the famous hill station, Munsiyari. Followed by the milam glacier, this trek takes you through Mapang, Martoli, Ghanghar, Panchu and then ends at the Nanda Devi base camp.
Pink and white Rhododendron bushes blooming all over this Alpine meadow, stretches of glacial ice and the magnificent Nanda Devi mountain emerging in front makes for the scenery of this trek.
The best time for this trek are the months of May, June, September and October.
Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh
Considered to be one of the easiest among the treks in the Himalayas, Humpta pass trek usually attracts a lot of beginners who want to explore some high altitude trekking in the Himalayas. The trek covers a distance of approx. 26kms and the maximum altitude of 14,100 ft.
The easy access, green pastures, glacial valleys and amazing landscapes make this expedition an exciting one.
The best time to trek here is from May to June and August to October.
Stok Kangri Summit or Markha Valley, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
At 6153m (almost 70% of mt. Everest), Stok Kangri is the highest trekking point in India. It is the most exciting but also the most challenging trek in Ladakh. This trek is so challenging because of thin air, it is also the reason many people return from the base camp and do no attempt climbing the peak.
This trek is only recommended for seasoned trekkers with a good fitness record and require acclimatisation of at least 3-4 days before starting the trek. The route takes you through the gorgeous Stok Village. The trail offers clear views of Ladakh Range, Zanskar Range, Indus-Markha Valley and the city of Leh.
It takes approximately 9-10 days to complete this trek of 40 kms. And the best time for attempting it is from July to September.
In the Garhwal Himalayas in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, is a mountain lake Roopkund. Which is also called as the ‘mystery lake’, or the ‘skeletal lake’ because of the many skeletons found in and around the lake. Due to its peculiar nature the lake attracts many visitors all-round the trekking season.
The trek is moderately challenging with a maximum altitude of 15,696 ft and takes about 9-10 days to complete the entire trail of 53 kms. Snow-capped peaks to forests, meadows, lakes and folklore, this trek offers everything a trekker wishes for.
The best season for trekking here is from mid-May to mid-June, and September to November and December.
Great Lakes, Jammu and Kashmir
“If there is Heaven on Earth, it is here”, is a very popular and undeniable saying about Jammu and Kashmir. It is true, Kashmir’s beauty is unearthly and breath-taking. It is a paradise for trekkers. The Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir is said to be the most scenic and picturesque trek in India.
Srinagar is the starting point and Naranag the end of this 7 days expedition. The highest altitude of this trek is of 13750ft. The gorgeous peaks you will come across during the first few days of the trek are Sirbal, Kolhoi, Amarnath, Machoi. Later, you will feast your eyes with the captivating view of Mount Haramukh. The lakes you will come across on this trail are Vishansar Lake, a massive lake nestled between four mountains; Krishansar Lake and Vishansar Lake, long stretch of twin lakes. A mind- blowing site of seven mountain lakes will cross your path as you move towards Satsar; the twin lakes of Gangabal, and lastly the end point of this trek will be a village called Naranag.
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Gomukh Tapovan, Garhwal
This trek in the rugged terrains of Himalaya takes 12-13 days covering a maximum altitude of 4463 m above sea level, is of moderate difficulty.
Gomukh is in the Gangotri glacier, which is the source of the sacred Hindu river-Ganges. Surrounded by several peaks of Gangotri range of mountains, this glacier is 30 kms long. The highest peak of the range is the Chaukhamba mountain, of which you can have a stunning view from this trek. Other peaks from the range invlude Other peaks include Shivling, Thalay Sagar, Meru, and Bhagirathi III.
A steep ascend from the Gomukh glacier takes you to one of the most stunning high altitude alpine meadow- Tapovan. The trek from Tapovan to the base camp- Shivling peak offers a breathtakingly amazing view.
The best time go for this trek is May to June, and from August to mid-October.
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
One of the most popular hiking destinations and the epicentre of adventure in Himachal Pradesh is Manali. Locally also called as the ‘snow point’, Solang valley is the best place to start hiking in Manali. Starting from the snow point, the trek goes up to Dhundi passing picturesque valleys, Beas river and amazing view. Some of the famous treks in Manali are Bijli Mahadev and Dashaur Lake. The former is a trek to Bijli Mahadev and back.
The best time to visit Manali on a trekking trip are the months of May and June.
The above mentioned hiking trails offer serenity, adventure and the required adrenaline rush. These are also the handpicked trails from our travel bloggers who believe in being bohemian. If you know of any more exciting hiking trails of India do share with us in the comments and we would be happy to update the list for our readers. Until then keep up the spirit bohemian!