For avid trekkers, few states in India compare to Himachal Pradesh. Boasting immense natural beauty, the region is filled with jaw-dropping trekking routes for every age and difficulty level. Whether you like the forest or snow-clad mountains, there’s a trekking route in and around Himachal Pradesh’s top vacation spots for every type of trekker.
1. Pin Parvati
A view of Mantalai lake. Source
Connecting Parvati Valley in Kullu with Spiti’s Pin Valley, this mountain pass is considered to be one of the most thrilling trekking sites in the state. At over 5,000 mt, it is, however, no easy task — even veteran trekkers admit that it is an accomplishment to complete the hike. The pass was discovered in 1884 by Englishman Sir Louis Dane who was looking for an alternate route into Spiti Valley.
The mountain pass may be approached from either way. Trekkers recommend starting from places like Barsheni in Kullu, or Mudh in Spiti. Some of the notable destinations during the trek include Mantalai Lake, Kheerganga, the makeshift bridges of Parvati river and Tunda Bhoj, among others. Trekking in the area can take up to 12 days and is a strenuous activity.
2. Rupin Pass
Trekkers at Lower Waterfall Camp. Source
Located on a traditional shepherd’s trail, Rupin Pass is popular among trekkers for its picturesque sights. From lush green fields covered with rhododendrons to snowy peaks, the route embodies nature in all its perfection.
The trail is located between Uttarakhand’s Dhaula and HP’s Sangla districts, and can be approached through multiple routes. Routes start from places like the Gosangu village or Naitwar (in Uttarakhand). The hanging village of Jhaka is one of the most beautiful attractions of the trek, along with natural attractions like waterfall camps, forests and glaciers.
3. Bhaba Pass
A mountainous view from Thuskeo Dhar. Source
Connecting the Pin valley to Kinnaur, this verdant trail is located at an altitude of 5,300 mt (17,450 ft). Traditionally used among local communities, the route has now become popular among trekkers and travellers too, thanks to the delightful mix of forests, mountains and water bodies.
Most of the trekkers begin their journey from the villages of Kinnaur, like Thuskeo Dhar, navigating their way to the arresting arid landscape of the Spitian valley. The trail may be challenging for beginners and trekking experience is certainly recommended. The high altuitudes of the Bhabha Pass offer a spectacular view of the region all around.
4. Kangra Valley Trek
Kangra is one of the most popular destinations in Himachal Pradesh, but there’s more to it than Dharamshala and the Masroor Rock Cut Temple. The Kangra valley trek is another attraction, leading to attractions like Dhauladhar range and Kareri Lake.
Located at 3,300 mt above sea level, Kareri Lake is a sight to behold. Particularly in winter when the entire lake is frozen. The lake is fed by the melting glaciers from the Dhauladhars and situated around are numerous forests, walking trails and meadows. A easy-level route, this is an ideal trek for families to undertake too.
5. Tosh Valley Trek
Tosh village. Source
Perched at the end of the Parvati valley, Tosh village is filled with rustic homes and smiling people, and surrounded by by rivulets and towering trees. The Tosh river, an offshoot of Parvati River gently flows through the landscape.
Kasol is the ideal starting point of the trek, and the tour cover sights such as Barsheni village and Buddhaban before you reach Tosh Village which is the ideal site for an overnight camp. From here, you can either head to the Tosh glacier or make your way to the more demanding Animal Pass.
6. Baralacha-Chandrataal Pass
Located at an altitude of 4,890 m (16,043 ft), Bara-lacha la is a land steeped in legends and once even found mention in Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim. Connecting Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh, the trekking trail from Baralacha leads to the Chandrataal Lake.
Like Baralacha, Chandrataal is also rooted in old legends—due to its crescent shape,t he lake is believed to be an embodiment of the moon. Trekkers head here for the spectacular starlit skies at night, making the tour over 5-7 days.
7. Janjehli Valley
Located at a distance of 67km from Manali, the scenic locales of Janjehli have always been popular among hiking enthusiasts. And why not? The region abounds in farms and meadows, hills and rivulets—an infallible vacation package for nature lovers.
A trek at Janjehli can lead to the iconic Shikari Devi Temple, Saryolsar Lake, Magru Gala, wildlife haven Banjar or the nearby Bheemshila. You choice for destination determine the difficulty level of the trek—the route to the Shikari Devi temple is an apt choice for beginners.
8. Triund Trek
This is an ideal trail for trekkers in their early stage of learning. A hill station, Triund is nestled amidst the mighty Dhauladhar mountains and offers the most gorgeous views of the mountains and countryside.
Trekkers usually begin at Mcleodganj or Dharamkot, finishing at Triund and going ahead to the Kareri Lake. The region is also home to many birds and animals, and veteran travellers recommend staying her overnight and making a pit stop to Gallu Devi Temple and Bhagsu Falls during the trek as well.
9. Kinnaur Kailash
The gruelling Kinnaur-Kailash trail is not everybody’s cup of tea. Popular among pilgrims as well as experienced trekkers, the mountainous region is renowned for the Kinner Kailash Shivlingam, a 79 ft vertical rock which changes colour naturally through the course of day.
The Tang Ling village has traditionally been the base of the trek, which passes through the Shivalingam before going towards Sangla. One can also trek only to the pinnacle of the Shivalingam. Nevertheless, the trek is an intensive one with high-altitude rocky paths.
Difficult as it is, the Churdhar peak has long been a popular destination for trekkers who usually arrive her from Nohradhar, in the Sirmour district, or Sarahan, of the Chaupal district. At 11,965 ft, it is the highest mountains in the Outer Himalayas and also gives its name to the nearby wildlife sanctuary, home to musk deer and monal birds.
Not just forests and wildlife, trekkers also come across religious sites along the route. A gigantic idol of Shiva adorns the peak as well.
Image source: Youtube
You don’t have to be a mountaineer to ace this peak. At 19,553 ft, the Kanamo peak trek, also known as the White Goddess, is no small matter. Yet, it is one of the few mountainous regions that can be accessed by trekkers with high-altitude training experience.
Treks usually begin with the Kanamo Lake as base, before travellers make their way up the snowy climes. A few days of trekking will take you to the top and reveal a breathtaking view of surrounding peaks, going as far as Ladakh.
12. Deo Tibba Base Camp
Image source: Youtube
Located in the Manali region, Deo Tibba is a peak in proximity to the Pir Panjal Range and Hampta Pass. It was traditionally used by local inhabitants during their travel, but the area has now emerged as a moderate trekking zone too.
Starting from the lush locales of the Manali valley, trekkers make their stop at the Deo Tibba Base Camp, often as a break on a longer journey to Lahaul. As with much of Himachal Pradesh, this trail too abounds in flora and fauna, glaciers and snowy peaks.
13. Hampta Pass
Image source: Raja Selvaraj
One of the most sought-after trekking trails in the region, Hampta Pass owes its popularity to the incredible geographical diversity it showcases. Kullu’s greenery is juxtaposed magnificently with the desert landscapes of Lahaul, the two regions bridged by the pass.
You might come across horses grazing on meadows or sit among flowers on river banks (you can even set up camp on the bank). Many hikers start their journey from Manali, with stops in Prini, Chikka, Balu ka Gera, Chatru and other places. The trek can be done between 4-6 days, and is relatively simple to undertake.