During the winter, the Himalayan mountain trails feel like a winter wonderland covered in beautiful sheets of snow. It’s every adventurer’s dream to journey through the narrow passes, the steeps ascents and the incredible view.
We've compiled a selection of some of the best Indian winter treks for the novice and the expert trekkers that promise you an experience of a lifetime.
Introduction To Winter Treks
Winters are spectacular, with knee-deep snow, the glow of the sun, frozen lakes, and cold mist on the trees. To trek through this is something you must undertake!
Winter hiking in India, particularly in the Himalayas, is lovely and exciting, but only if you're well-equipped. The weather in the highlands may be exceedingly harsh and unpredictable, with temperatures varying from 20° to 10° Celsius during the day, falling to -10° or even -20° at night. For this, make sure you gear up the right way. Carry specific trekking jackets, trekking backpacks and rucksacks, rain pants, rain jackets, sleeping bags and camping tents and of course, accessories like gloves, trekking poles.
What Are The Different Winter Treks In India?
Some of the most sought-after winter trekking places in the country, we’ve ordered them according to difficulty level, starting from the easiest.
3. Dayara Bugyal
4. Goecha La
5. Spiti Valley
The Brahmatal Trek
One of the most enchanting treks in the country, the Brahmatal trek is a 6-day trip, covering a total distance of 30km, starting from the Lohajung base camp in Uttarakhand, to see the Mt. Trisul and Nanda Ghunti peaks on top! It is said to be one of the simpler treks to start off with.
During this, you will witness some of the most the amazing landscapes and practically continuous views of snow-clad mountains around you will hold your interest, especially if you undertake sometime between mid-December and January end.
The temperature during the daytime is around 3 to 10°C while the nights are freezing with temperatures falling to -5°C.
During March to April, you'll be ecstatic to see the rhododendrons blooming in a rainbow of colours all along the route. You may see red, white, and pink flowers, which are a visual delight.
Difficult level – Easy
The Kedarkantha Trek
When first opened up in the winter of 2011, it became an instant hit. It features charming campsites, a dramatic summit ascent, and is easily one of the greatest Himalayan winter experiences. Most trekkers see it as a "bucket list" adventure and it’s often referred to as the “Queen of Winter Treks”.
This is a 6-day long trek in Govind Pashu Vihar National Park, Uttarakhand. The trail is 20km, starting from the Sankri village all the way up to the majestic Kedarkantha summit, at an elevation of 12,500 feet. This trek is riveting, with beautiful blossoming flowers on the way, majestic snow-covered landscapes and tall pine and oak trees.
The best season to do this trek is December to mid-January when there’s fresh snow during the day and the gleam of the sun that strikes in the evening is blissful! The temperatures range from 13-18°C during the day to as low as -7°C at night.
Difficult level – Easy to moderate
The Dayara Bugyal Trek
Dayara Bugyal is regarded as one of India's most beautiful meadows. In the local dialect, "Bugyal" refers to a high-altitude grazing region. It one of Uttarakhand's most attractive and spectacular hikes.
This 6-day long trek is basically a journey from the Natin Village to Dayara top, through dark oak and maple woods and beyond the green reaches, a glowing snowline of the Bandarpoonch and other ranges, to a 12,100 feet high peak, covering a total distance of approximately 22km.
A leisurely stroll through Dayara's undulating meadows, the whispering wilderness of the woodlands, fresh water lakes and yellow wildflowers; it’s an absolute delight for nature-lovers!
The ideal time to visit would be March-April, when the weather remains mild; it’s neither too cold nor too hot. December to January is a great time if you wish to experience snowfall and are ready to battle the sub-zero temperatures, it can drop to -3°C at night!
Difficult level – Easy to moderate
The Goecha La Trek
The Goecha La Trek will make you sizzle in the sensual spirits of Sikkim!
At an altitude of 15,100 feet and overlooking the Kanchenjunga, the tear-shaped Goecha lake and the mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets behind the snow-covered Himalayas, it’s an adventure of a lifetime.
The trekking trail starts from Yuksom town, where you can explore the rich culture of Sikkim. The total distance of the trek is 90km. You go through lush meadows, dense rhododendron forests and enjoy the breath-taking views of Mount Pandim, Kabru, Rotang.
The best time to hit this trail is March-April, since the first view point of Goecha La remains under snow till early May and the temperatures are not too low; 15 to 22°C during the day and drops to 7 to -1°C at night.
June to September is a risky time, since there are high chances of landslides occurring due to heavy monsoons.
Difficult level – Moderate to difficult
The Spiti Valley Trek
The Spiti valley is a fantastic adventure location, with a terrain that is genuinely hard but a landscape that is drop-dead magnificent and worth the taking up the challenge!
There are parts of India that are bounded by perilous lanes that are buried for the majority of the year by hardened snow. One such location is the Spiti Valley. Spiti is home to some of the world's tallest communities, oldest monasteries, and most beautiful scenery. The Spiti Valley, also known as the “Middle Land’, at an elevation of 13,000 feet, is a barren and untouched jewel in Himachal Pradesh that is a wonderful illustration of nature's surrealism.
In this thorough guide to the grit-testing 9-day trek, from Manali to Spiti Valley, covering a distance of 55km, prepare to be astonished by the striking snow-capped mountains, see old monasteries, and experience the wonder of this ancient civilisation.
The best time to carry out this journey is between the months of July to October, the only time the roads are clear of ice and accessible. The temperatures are generally 6-10°C, and go up to a maximum high of 16°C.
Difficulty level – Difficult, challenging
The Chadar Trek
This incredible trek in Ladakh is unquestionably one of India's most demanding. It links Zanskar Valley and Chilling hamlet, and it requires walking along the Zanskar River and wading through extremely cold water to complete. Mostly, one must walk past icy rocks, boulders and even across a frozen river, which may occasionally generate unexpected fractures!
Generally a 5-day trek, it requires you to hike to an altitude of almost 12,000 feet, from the Leh base camp, covering almost 20km each day. The temperatures are usually 15 to 20°C during the day time and plummet to -25 to -35°C during the night in this region.
Difficult level – Challenging, difficult, harsh conditions
Here are some of the other popular Indian winter treks that you can look at –
1. Deoriatal – Chandrashila
3. Sandakphu – Phalut
4. Kuari Pass
5. Nag Tibba - Weekend Trek
6. Har Ki Dun
7. Hampta Pass
8. Baes Kund
9. Patalsu Peak
10. Annapurna Base Camp
Test your grit, do the trek. After all, it’s the journey that matters!