Top 10 Treks in the Himalayas
If you are an outdoor person, and love trekking, the mighty Himalayas, have a lot to offer. Avid Travellers and Trekkers themselves have recommended these Top 10 Treks in the Himalayas, which you as an adventure enthusiast, should tick off your bucket list.
Annapurna Circuit | Nepal
By Wendy Werneth from The Nomadic Vegan
Walking the Annapurna Circuit is one of the best things I’ve done in 20 years of traveling the world. The trek begins in Besisahar, which is easily accessed by bus from the popular lakeside town of Pokhara.
It’s a 300km, two-and-a-half week walk which begins through rice fields and pine forests, past endless streams and waterfalls, through Hindu villages and ancient Tibetan Buddhist ones.
As you keep walking up to higher elevations, you will eventually see five 7000m+ peaks with one tilt of your head, with the sky such a deep blue that it’s almost black. At the summit, you will cross one of the highest passes in the world, 4700m higher than you were when you started walking.
The Annapurna Circuit is all that and more, a wonderful journey that changes every day and offers effortless mountain views and beautiful villages, sometimes mixed together in outrageously beautiful scenes that will stay with you forever. If you plan on doing such high altitude treks, you should make it a point to invest in a mountain climbing insurance to be on the safer side at all times.
The best scenery is around the Braga area – with superb views of Annapurna II (7939m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Annapurna III (7555m), Gangapurna (7454m) and Tilicho (7134m) The village itself is also picturesque, with a historic gompa (Tibetan monastery).
My favorite village of the entire trek was Jharkot, with its ruined fortress towers, picturesque old residential architecture, and Buddhist monks playing trumpets on the roof of our guesthouse.
This is a “teahouse trek”, meaning you will stay in and eat at small guesthouses along the way. There’s no need to bring camping gear or food, although it’s wise to carry some snacks. Meals served at the guesthouses include dal bhat and other dishes from the Indian subcontinent as well as more international fare, like spaghetti or chow mein noodles.
Chadar Trek | India
By Amrita and Agniswar from Tale of 2 Backpackers
Chadar Frozen River Trek in Ladakh is one of the ultimate trekking experiences in the Himalayas. Just imagine walking over a sheet of frozen ice with the knowledge that the river flows just below you. With the rugged trans Himalayan ranges on both sides of the river, Chadar Frozen River trek is definitely an experience of the lifetime. In the morning, the temperature is five degrees below zero and in the nights, it can go to as low as -35 degrees. But all the discomforts feel nothing when you ultimately see the frozen Nerak waterfall, or you master the art of walking over the ice after 9 days of the arduous trek. It is true that trekking along the Zanskar River on the Chadar Trek is an experience of a lifetime.
The trek starts from Shingra Koma, an hour drive from Leh town. It is a circular trek ending at the same place. Nerak is the last point of the trek and after that, you return by the same route. The only time you can to do this trek is in January and February when the river freezes completely and there is a thick blanket (chadar) of ice over the river and you can walk over it.
A word of caution about this trek: The ecosystem in this region is very fragile. Of recent excessive trekking on the Chadar has taken its toll. Too many people walking on the chadar often breaks it at places. Also, the problem of contamination is there. So, while you are off to Chadar, please be a responsible trekker.
Leh is the base camp of the trek. You can reach Leh only by air during January and February.
Also check out 24 Treks for 12 months of the Year – Part 1
Everest Base Camp with Gokyo Lake Trek | Nepal
By Michelle Della Giovanna from The Full Time Explorer
The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular treks in Nepal and for good reason. While it offers several side trek options, a visit to Gokyo Lake is a must. The combined trek for Everest Base Camp and Gokyo is 17 days long. Some people chose to cross the Cho La Pass, but we opted to go south from Gokyo back towards Lukla into less visited villages. From there, we joined back onto the main Everest Base Camp route.
In order to complete the trek in 17 days, you need to fly in and out of Lukla Airport which is known for its level of adventure. You spend a few days hiking to the famous city of Namche Bazaar which sits in a U shape on the side of a mountain. It’s really such a sight to see a city as well built in such an odd area. On route to Gokyo, you’ll pass through small villages and reach the gorgeous turquoise blue lakes. The view from on top of Gokyo Ri is the most beautiful view I’ve seen in my entire life. The water here is considered holy, and it’s said that if you pray during a full moon and touch the water, your prayers will come true.
On the way down from Gokyo, you’ll get to see the small town of Phortse which is usually bypassed by visitors. This makes it an off the beaten path route where few foreigners stay overnight. Finally, you’ll work your way up to Everest Base Camp where mountaineers camp out to climb the highest mountain in the world. You get to walk on the actual glacier and stand in the middle of a historic place with stunning views. This trek offers the experience of a lifetime in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Ghorepani – Poon Hill Trek | Nepal
By Dave Briggs from Dave’s Travel Pages
Nepal is well known as a major trekking destination in the Himalayas, with treks to suit people of all abilities. Whether you want to trek to Everest Base Camp, or simply take a day hike, there’s something for everyone.
One of the most popular treks in Nepal, is known as the Ghorepani – Poon Hill circuit in the Annapurna region. The exact length, route and stops can differ depending on the length of time hikers have, although 4 nights and 5 days is about the optimal time.
The access point for the Ghorepani – Poon Hill trek, is the outdoor centre of Pokhara. From here, people generally take transport to Nayapul which is an hour away, where the trek will begin. The route is non-technical, and can be completed without a guide or porters if you so wish. The best option though, is to use a qualified guide and porters.
The route follows a loop through the region, passing through various villages along the way, with nightly stops at teahouse. The route could be as follows: Nayapul – Tirkhedhunga – Ghorepani – Hike to Poonhill – Trek to Tadapani – Ghandruk – Kimche – Drive to Pokhara
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Goechela trek | India
By Amrita and Agniswar from Tale of 2 Backpackers
Goechela Trek is one of the grandest treks in the eastern Himalayas. The main reason that we love this trek is because of the varied summits that we get to see on the trek. It’s not just one, but 14 of them. This 11 days trek starts from Yuksom in West Sikkim and traverses Sikkimese Himalayas to Dzongri Top and all the way to Samiti Lake. One of the biggest attractions of this trek is definitely the view of sunrise from Kanchenjunga ranges. Though we are actually not allowed to trek all the way upto the Goechela Pass, but the view from Dzongri top and viewpoint 1 is simply breathtaking.
The big mountains that you see from the trek are Pandim, Kabru, Rathong apart from Kanchenjunga. The Samiti Lake and the reflection of Mt. Pandim is another big attraction of this trek. Goechela is one of the treks where the trail goes through the dense rhododendron forests. During the months of March and April, the whole place seems to be lit up with the different colours of rhododendrons.
To be honest, the trek is a bit challenging but the scenery and landscapes make up for all the hardship. Goechela has the best of mountain views, jungle trails and exotic Himalayan birds. It definitely remains one of our favourites.
Yuksom is the base camp of the trek. You can reach Yuksom from Gangtok by shared cabs. The distance between the two places is about 125 km and takes about 5 hours in the hilly roads of Sikkim.
Hampta Pass Trek | India
By Manu Khandelwal from Harstuff Travel
Duration- 5 Days
Difficulty level- Moderate
Altitude- 14,100 feet
Hampta Pass is one of the best multiday treks in Himachal Pradesh. The best thing about this trek is that one can easily notice a change in the landscape. This crossover trek commences from lush green Kullu valley from a village called Jobra which is around an hour journey from the most popular hill station of Himachal Pradesh, Manali. The trek continues from Jobra to Chika along the Rani river and further to Balu ka Gera. As one approaches Balu ka Gera, the greenery starts declining.
The pass is crossed on the third day of the trek and the day ends at Sheagoru, which is considered the coldest campsite on the trek. After crossing the Hampta Pass, one enters into the Spiti Valley having cold weather, sour winds and barren beauty. Finally, the trek terminates at Chattru in Lahaul and Spiti Valley. In this trek, one gets to encounter lofty peaks, vast gorges, gushing rivers, blooming flowers and close views of mighty Indrasan peak.
The added advantage of this trek is that one gets to visit the magnificent Chandratal lake. The gradient of this trek is moderate and it can be done by seasoned trekkers as well as amateurs.
Also check out 24 Treks for 12 months of the Year – Part 2
Kheerganga Trek | India
By Arnav Mathur from Eat Travel Live Repeat
Kheerganga is a must do when in Kasol or Manali, India. Kasol, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh is the hippie paradise with the weed growing freely everywhere. Malana, the magical valley producing the best hash in the world is a half day trek from Kasol. The base point of the trek is from Barshani which is 20 km from Kasol and one can reach Barshani via private cabs or via local buses.
The highest point of this trek is 13,025 feet. Kheerganga is also the first halt if you are going for the Pin Parvati Trek. Its a 12-14 km trail one way and it is mostly acclivity for the majority of the part. The trail passes through villages, apple orchards and finally through a mountain trail and there are a lot of cafes en route to grab a quick bite and refresh.
Generally the trail is an easy one but during monsoons it becomes a bit challenging as it is all slushy slushy.We crossed a waterfall and a landslide en route which was an experience in itself. The reward of trekking for 4-5 hours over a distance of 12-14 km is taking a relaxing dip in the hot water springs which are the highlight of the trek.
The springs are sure to relax your muscles and shoo away the tiredness and it is said that the water has some therapeutic properties.
The trail to Kheerganga is not exactly a hike, and not exactly a trek, as its only 12-14 KM’s one way. But nevertheless, its a nice weekend getaway, and the experience of waking up to the mighty Himalayas staring at you is priceless. For anyone who wants to get initiated in the world of trekking, Kheerganga is a nice trail to start off with.
Mera Peak Trek | Nepal
By Michelle Della Giovanna from The Full Time Explorer
The Mera Peak Trek in Nepal is known as the highest trekking peak in the world. This means that no mountaineering experience is required, yet it reaches a height of almost 6,500m at the summit. It’s a great peak for avid trekkers who want to up their game and reach new heights (literally). While no mountaineering experience is required, you will learn a few basics on the way like how to use fixed ropes, mountaineering boots, and an ice axe.
Mera Peak is located in the Khumbu Region of Nepal near the famous Mt. Everest. From High Camp and the Summit, you can actually see Everest on a clear day. The trek can take between 13 and 16 days depending on the route you take. It all starts with a flight into Lukla Airport which is lovingly known as the “Most Dangerous Airport in the World.” From there, you can either take a roundabout route or go straight over a 4,600m pass on day 2! This trip definitely doesn’t lack adventure.
On the final days headed up to the summit, you get to spend a night in High Camp. On our way there, we were hit with a snow storm which created white out conditions. It was one of the most mentally challenging things I’ve ever done. We had to walk for 8 hours with no idea of how far we’d come, or how far we had left to go. We finally reached High Camp and went to sleep in a blizzard. When we woke the next morning, the sky was crystal clear and the view was beyond my wildest dreams.
Rupin Pass | India
By Amrita and Agniswar from Tale of 2 Backpackers
We had fallen in love with the name once we heard it about it. And it is not only in the name, Rupin Pass trek is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Himalayan treks that has the ability to spring surprises at you at every nook and corners. A cross over trek from Uttrakhand to Himachal Pradesh, Rupin Pass Trek will take you through hanging villages, green forests and glacial meadows as well as the numerous white snowfields. The Kinnaur ranges can be seen at the eye level. The best part of the trek is that the crescendo is built up gradually. The first few days are traversing through the villages and meadows and the momentum rises with the three-stage waterfall of the Rupin. Crossing the Rupin pass is the ultimate experience, a well-earned reward for the difficulty endured for getting to the top of the pass.
Rupin Pass trek has been one of the most memorable treks for us. We loved every bit of the adventure and savoured all the beauty of the landscape during the nine days of trekking. Drinking water from the mountain river or sliding down the snow fields or getting caught in a hailstorm just before passing the cross – all the experiences are cherished.
The trek is a moderate Himalayan trek starting at Dhaula in Uttarakhand. You have to reach Dehradun from where Dhaula is approximately a 10-11 hours’ drive. The trek ends at Sangla in Himachal Pradesh.
Three Passes trek | Nepal
By Juozapas Žygas from Nomad Joseph
Three Passes hike in Nepal is the ultimate trek in Himalayas. Most of the people trekking in Khumbu valley are choosing between Gokyo Lakes and Everest basecamp hikes. Three Passes trek itinerary covers both of them and much more! While trekking Three Passes you will need to go over 3 high passes above 5000 meters. It is possible to start your hike in Lukla or in Phaplu if you want a longer experience. Flying to Lukla is more expensive option, but it is shorter. It is possible to take a jeep from Kathamndu to Phaplu, but the hike will get longer that way. While hiking Three Passes it is recommended to stay at teahouses along the way. You can rest there, get some food and good sleep. Don’t forget warm sleeping bag as the nights in Khumbu get pretty cold!
It is possible to combine your trek with some of the higher Trekking peaks. The most popular one is Island Peak (also known as Imja Tse). Another option might be Lobuche peak. You can rent all the needed gear in the villages near the peaks, pay the fees and hire the guide. While hiking three passes I also climbed to Island Peak and for 2 days climb I paid 500$. This included a guide, a permit, food and tent in the basecamp.
The Himalayas have plenty of treks to offer, and if you have had an amazing experience on some other trek in the Himalayas, do write to us at contribute@highONhimalayas.com, and we would love to include your contributions in the Part 2 of this list.