Summer and monsoon treks get all love but there is something undeniably satisfying about feeling the crunch of snow under your boots. It is magical to fall under the bed of clear skies of the year and to wake up to vast expanses of all white landscapes that stretch as far as you will see. The best thing about winter treks is that for the most part. Get ready and get moving on these gorgeous mountain trails.
Hikes to take during winter in India:
Kedarkantha Trek, Uttarakhand
Duration: 6 days
Highest point: 3,810m
Starting point: Gaichawan Gaon, 10 hrs from Dehradun.
The Kedarkantha trek is a six-day trek in Uttarakhand’s Govind Pashu Vihar National Park. Kedarkantha is a standalone mountain and there are several routes to reach the trek. This trek is accessible year-round but if you love challenges go in the winter months of December and January. It is visible right from the base camp and as you climb higher through snow-covered grasslands and forests, the Himalayas come into sight. Along with some of the most dramatic sunsets, trek gives you a taste of the local culture and food, you will spend your first and last night at homestays in Gaichwangaon.
Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh
Duration: 6-9 days
Highest point: 4,150 m
Starting point: Leh
It is one of Ladakh’s most famous summer treks due to its close proximity to Leh. A quiet getaway and the chance of spotting the snow leopard is what you are here for, so you should opt for a winter trek between January and February. It takes you past the Indus river, Buddhist monasteries, mountain, the willow-lined Zingchen gorge, and Hemis National Park. During the walk to the highest point of the trek in Markha, you can see fascinating geological creations and large boulders before you head down to camp in Taichung Tse. One can watch herds of blue sheep scale steep cliffs with great agility.
Dodital Trek, Uttarakhand
Duration: 6 days
Highest point: 3,900m
Starting point: Kuflon Basics Village, Uttarkashi
The Dodital trekking site is said to be beautiful all year round, but all the more gorgeous in winters (October- March), it’s covered in inches of snow. Dodital lies in Garhwal Himalayas on one side is the Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini ranges and on the other side is Darwa. While going downhill wind with a dip in a natural water pool and dinner by bonfire.
Dayara Bugyal Trek, Uttarakhand
Duration: 4-8 days
Highest point: 3,606 m
Starting point: Raithal
Snow-covered meadows as far as your eyes reach out. While the trek is accessible for eight months of the year, the Dayara Bugyal is a sight to behold in the winter months due to the sheer vastness of meadows. Involve trekking through forests and thick snow. While you climb the trek you get to witness breathtaking views. At 12,000 ft. you can see Mt. Bandarpoonch and Black peak at 21,000 ft. as well as Mt. Srikanth, Draupadi ka Danda, and mt. Jaunli is also visible.
Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek, Uttarakhand
Duration: 6 days
Highest point: 3,562m
Starting point: Lohajung, 10 hrs drive from Rishikesh
The Bedni Bugyal trek is a great alternative route for trekking as camping is banned in Uttarakhand’s high-altitude meadows. From here you can see Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti and can stay to also view the sunsets. To reach the highest point which is 3,562 m you will pass through dense oak and rhododendron forests. The trek is perfect for beginners with just a few tricky and challenging sections. The trek is open all year round except the monsoon months from June to September. However, the winters bring a different kind of beauty to the region.
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Brahmatal Trek, Uttarakhand
Duration: 4-6 days
Highest point: 3,733m
Starting point: Lohajung, 10 hrs, drive from Rishikesh
The Brahmatal trek leads you to a frozen alpine lake and you can spend a few hours there. If the weather holds up and there is no heavy snow, you can also camp by the lake. One will definitely admire the beauty of the frozen ice mirroring the majestic Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti. There is also a lake Bekaltal which is worth a visit and usually has views of forests and lakes. The best part is that you don’t have to work too hard to soak in these views. The trek offers a ridge where you can walk along to reach the summit.
Q: What are some of the best snow treks in India?
A: Some of the best snow treks in India include the Chadar Trek in Ladakh, the Roopkund Trek in Uttarakhand, the Kedarkantha Trek in Uttarakhand, the Hampta Pass Trek in Himachal Pradesh, and the Tarsar Marsar Trek in Jammu and Kashmir.
Q: When is the best time to go on a snow trek in India?
A: The best time for snow treks in India is usually during the winter months, from December to February. However, the exact timing may vary depending on the region and trek you choose. It is important to check the weather conditions and consult with local trekking agencies or experts before planning your trip.
Q: What level of fitness is required for snow treks in India?
A: Snow treks in India can vary in difficulty level, but most of them require a moderate to high level of fitness. Trekking in snowy and icy conditions can be physically demanding, so it is recommended to have prior trekking experience and engage in regular fitness activities to build stamina and endurance. Training and preparation before the trek are essential.
Q: What are some safety precautions to consider while going on a snow trek?
A: Safety is crucial when undertaking snow treks. Here are a few precautions to consider:
- Trek with a knowledgeable guide or join a reputable trekking agency.
- Carry proper winter clothing, including insulated layers, waterproof gear, and sturdy trekking boots.
- Stay hydrated and carry ample food supplies.
- Acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.
- Follow the instructions of your guide and avoid risky or uncharted routes.
- Carry essential equipment like trekking poles, ice axes, and crampons, depending on the trek’s requirements.
Q: Are there any age restrictions for snow treks in India?
A: Age restrictions may vary depending on the trek and the trekking agency’s policies. Some treks have a minimum age requirement, typically around 12 to 14 years old, due to the physical demands and potential risks involved. It is advisable to check with the trek organizers or agencies for specific age restrictions before planning a snow trek.
India offers a plethora of breathtaking snow treks that attract adventure enthusiasts from around the world. From the mesmerizing frozen Zanskar River on the Chadar Trek to the mysterious skeletal remains at Roopkund Lake, each trek offers its unique charm and challenges. By selecting the right trek, being well-prepared, and considering safety precautions, you can embark on an unforgettable snow trekking experience in India. So gear up, embrace the snowy landscapes, and create lasting memories amidst the pristine beauty of the Indian Himalayas.