Alternatives To Treks Affected By High Court Ban

Last week we wrote about the High Court’s ban on overnight camping in the meadows of Uttarakhand.

A gist of what happened: Even though the order would ban only specific trails with alpine meadows, the forest department quickly called for a clamp down on all treks — meadows or no meadows. Read about it here.

It created a furore amongst trekkers and local folk. Trekkers strongly voiced their thoughts and suggested sending a petition to the High court, whereas locals headed to the High Court to get reasonable regulations.

It’s natural that trekkers are annoyed by the overnight ban. Their plans have gone haywire and it’s a huge loss for everyone.

At Indiahikes, we have been pushing our boundaries as much as we can. Our team has been working round the clock to make alternate options.

We have opened up new treks in Himachal, extended the Kashmir season and opened fresh dates for existing treks.

I have a good list of alternate treks for you. I’ll get to that in a bit.

But first, let me give you a quick update on what has been happening with the High Court order.

Two days ago, the Indiahikes team, headed by Izzat (the head of our Outdoor Education team) met with the Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF HoFF) of Uttarakhand.

Having known him for quite some time, we know that he’s always had right intentions when it comes to trekking and the environment. We had a long discussion with him.

Honestly, he is quite aware of the implications of the High Court ban. They are going to approach the Supreme Court to appeal against it.

But the entire process is going to take some time. Going to the Supreme Court means going with a lot of data to back up our cause.

They have requested Indiahikes to share some solid data about the consequences of the ban — about the number of people affected and its impact on tourism in Uttarakhand. We have compiled a report and sent it to them.

He also sent out a notice to all the local DFOs to allow treks that don’t involve camping in alpine meadows or sub-alpine meadows.

It’s a rather broad notice to all DFOs. It does not specify trek names. But they are doing everything they can to let trekking continue.

So we are hopeful about treks like KedarkanthaKuari Pass (with a slightly changed route), Brahmatal and perhaps Dayara Bugyal (we’ll camp on the edges of meadows).

But hope is all we have. We do not have a confirmation yet.

The only Uttarakhand treks that are running for sure right now are
– Har Ki Dun (minus camping at the Har Ki Dun campsite)
– Gaumukh Tapovan (no camping at Tapovan — the bridge to Tapovan is still unconstructed)
– Kedartal
– Rupin Pass (the trail is mostly in Himachal but starts in Uttarakhand)
– Nag Tibba
Mukta Top
Phulara Ridge
Deoban Weekend trek

These trails are nowhere near meadows, which is why they have not been affected.

But I cannot comment on which other treks will run.

What about winter treks?

Well, we do have dates open on our website.

My advice to you is this – Book your trek now. Book your travel about 15 days later.

If the trek isn’t going to run, we’ll switch you to an alternate trek that will run. You have the flexibility to switch to any trek, any available date. We’ll either refund the difference in the trek fee or make provisions for you to pay the balance. We’re hoping it won’t come to that.

I understand that the travel fare might increase with time, but it’s still cheaper than having to cancel and re-book.

I hope that helps.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier, we have opened up more alternatives for you.

We have just added fresh dates for all these treks.

If you’re keen on planning your trek quickly and booking your travel then these are the best options for you.

– Hampta Pass (A dramatic pass-crossing in Himachal)
– Bhrigu Lake (Do this for the grand alpine meadows of Himachal)
– Beas Kund (A trek very close to Manali, a stunner at that!)
– Buran Ghati (Our most photogenic trek in Himachal)
– Tarsar Marsar (A brilliant alpine lake trek in Kashmir)
– Kashmir Great Lakes (This is why people call Kashmir paradise)
– Sandakphu (You see few of the tallest mountains in the world here.)
– Goechala (One of the best trails for a view of Mt Kanchenjunga)

Here are the dates available for September.

Infographic-Indiahikes-SeptemberTreks
The 6 alternate treks in the month of September.

Here are the dates available for October.

These treks are getting filled up as I write this. So if you’re keen on planning any of these above treks, now is a good time.

If you have any thoughts around this ban, drop in a comment on this page.

The comments have been extremely useful so far because through them, we have been able to share the voice of trekkers with the government. So keep your thoughts coming.

If you need any help registering for a trek, give us a call or mail us. You’ll find the right person to get in touch with on this page.

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Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is the Chief Editor at Indiahikes. She also runs a video series, Trek With Swathi. Before joining Indiahikes, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates that mind like nothing else can.Read Swathi's other articles. Watch Swathi's video series here.

75 thoughts on “Alternatives To Treks Affected By High Court Ban

    1. Well, the Tungnath Chandrashila trek has been off the map for a few months because camping at Deoriatal and at Chopta are not allowed. But the Gaumukh Tapovan trek is running. So you could consider that.

  1. Hey Aditya

    Will the existing trekkers whose treks got affected be booked onto these batches and hence clubbing them with the folks on these batches? Or will there be a separate batch for affected treks?

    Thanks
    Vishal

    1. Hi Vishal, we have extended seasons and added fresh, separate dates for most of the treks to accommodate those who have registered for the affected treks. Even if we are accommodating trekkers in the same batches, we will be maintaining our limit on the number of people in each team.

  2. Any word upon the Kedarkantha trek? I’m planning to go in the month of December. Will the HC order affect Kedarkantha trek in the month of December?

    1. Hi Srivathsa,
      You can book your Kedarkantha trek but do not make any travel arrangements yet. If you must, then book your tickets only till New Delhi for now. If by December we get a green signal on Kedarkantha from the government then the trek will be conducted as usual. But if trekking is still banned at that time, then you will have the option of either shifting to an alternate trek or taking a voucher instead.

  3. Two questions.
    1.) Is Har ki dun trek not affected by HC ruling? whats your suggestion on doing this on October second week?
    2.) I see that treks in Kashmir and Hampta pass closes by 1st week of October, any chances these may be extended till second week of October?

    1. Hi Sanjay,
      1. The Har Ki Dun trek is on and unaffected. And October is a great time to do it!
      2. There are no Kashmir treks or Hampta Pass trek that will be extended to the second week of October.

  4. Appreciate if you can give some clarity on this.
    1. Are trekking happening now?.
    2. what is the ground reality right now, Uttarakhand Govt is planning to file a counter in SC, any update o this.

    I have searched online and have not found any satisfactory info.

    Thanks
    Chandu

    1. Hi Chandu,
      1. Only three treks are running in Uttarakhand right now.
      2. The information that we have received is that government will take this case up with the court. We hope to see some positive news in the coming weeks.

  5. I have booked Kuari Pass trek in December(24-29). I’m interested in Hampta pass as an alternative trek. Will it be available in December as well?

    1. Hi Manish, if you’re trekking in December, I’d suggest give it a few weeks and then make a decision. The High Court may lift the ban on some treks that don’t involve too many meadows. As for Hampta Pass, it will not be accessible in December. The pass will be blocked with too much snow. The latest you can do Hampta Pass is perhaps mid to end of October.

  6. Hi Lavanya, which 3 treks are running in Uttarkhand right now? Just curious how those 3 treks are not impacted by High Court Order which seem to affect all treks in general.

    1. Hi Naga, the Gaumukh Tapovan, Kedartal and Har Ki Dun treks are still running because they do not have meadows. Only the trails with meadows have been affected since you cannot camp in meadows.

      1. Thanks. Is the forest department issuing permits for Har Ki Dun? I heard they stopped issuing permits due to confusion on the ground.

  7. I’m willing to change my trek to Kashmir Great lakes for 22nd Sept Batch. Since I and my friend have taken approved leaves considering Roopkund trek dates, pls confirm our trek on same dates for Kashmir Great lakes trek i.e 22nd Sept Batch. 

    This is my request. Pls confirm earliest I can make travel plan to srinagar.

    1. Hi Harideep, please get in touch with your trek coordinator about this over email. She’ll be able to help you out.

    1. Hi Arani, we have no update as of now. Your trek coordinator will be in touch with you if there are any big updates.

    1. Hi Srinivas, if you’re planning to Brahmatal, just wait for a couple of days. The court and the forest department are in talks to work something out and allow treks without too many meadows. So Brahmatal might be a possibility in winter. Just wait for a couple of days and then plan your trek once we have a solid update.

  8. I have booked Hampta pass from 10th November to 18th November, will that be operational, if not what will be operational and by when can I expect the information about the same.

    1. Hi Ruchit, Hampta Pass that late in November! That’s a little surprising. The trails could possibly be blocked with too much snow. In terms of the government and forest departments, there’s no problem in Himachal. So Hampta is safe. But I’d say reassess your options. We don’t run Hampta Pass beyond mid-October because we expect the first winter snow to come in by the end of October, blocking the higher reaches of the trail.

  9. Hello team,

    Can we do har ki dun or brahmatal trek in the month of December as an alternate trek to kedarkantha trek ?
    Or kedarkantha trek is as per schedule in December ??

    1. Hi Dharmik, as of now if you have booked a trek to KEdarkantha, stick to your plan. Har Ki Dun is not a possibility in winter — the trek is off limits because wild animals hibernate there during winter (it’s in the heart of the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park). Brahmatal and Kedarkantha though might be possible. We are in talks with the forest department to sort this problem out.

    1. Hi Varun, we’ll be opening up more winter treks in Himachal this December. Sandakphu is a good option in West Bengal. Apart from that, we’ll mostly have permission to run treks such as Kedarkantha and Brahmatal as there are no meadows on these treks.

  10. Hello Team,
    I am looking for kauri pass trek.
    I have already booked my tickets for 15th – 20th October batch. I was eagerly waiting for this trek as this was my first trek in himalaya. Should I change my trek? Or what else you suggest as easy treks in the month of October for beginners.

    1. Hi Itesh, if you have registered with Indiahikes, then wait for your trek coordinator to get in touch with you. They’ll tell you if you have to make a change in your plan.

  11. Thank you so much mam!…When can I come to know that trek to kedarkantha and/or brahmatal is on?…When will you list the treks in himachal in december?

    1. Hi Varun, give it a week or so. Then we’ll know. About the treks in Himachal in December, that might take some time as our teams have gone exploring. It might take around 3 weeks.

  12. Hi, I read that camping in Har ki Doon valley isn’t allowed as of now, so is there a change in the itinerary for the trek?

    1. There will be a slight change. You will be going from Kalkathiyadhar to Har Ki Dun and coming back to Kalkathiyadhar. It’s going to be a little more strenuous, but if you’re working on your fitness, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

      1. Hi, thanks for the reply. I had one more question, are excursions/camping to Maninda Taal or Juandhar Glacier allowed?

  13. Hi 🙂 I will be doing the Har ki Dun trek from 20th-27th October. As glad as I am that the trek is not affected, well, at least most of it, I can’t help but think that not being able to camp at the Har Ki Dun campsite (whose pictures Indiahikes have uploaded and lured me to choose this trek over the others) is a major downgrade for the trek. I’m aware there would be more pressing concerns Indiahikes are going through, but it would be great if you can make it clear if we are banned from just camping there or banned from even stepping foot in the Har Ki Dun campsite area. Thanks in advance.

  14. Hello,
    I had my trek planned for roopkund between Oct 27 to Nov 4. I got a mail regarding alternative plan for roopkund. I see har ki dun as the only alternative between those dates. We are a group of 11. Can we have more options with in Himachal and Uttarakhand.
    Regards,
    Sharath

    1. Hi Rajul you could do the trek, but we are not running the trek in October. There are high chances of the first winter snow coming in. So we’ll be ending the season in September.

    1. Hi Dinesh, things are looking up. Just stick to your plan and don’t look for alternatives just yet. We might be able to run the Brahmatal trek.

  15. Hi Swathi. Really appreciate your work. Just wanted to know about Har ki Dun trek whether camping is still allowed in that region? Planning for 24th November batch so would that be fine?

    1. Hi Pratik, they are not letting us camp at Har Ki Dun. You will be visiting Har Ki Dun and coming back to Kalkathiyadhar. They classify the HKD campsite as a meadow, which is why they aren’t letting anyone camp there now.

    1. Hi Sunayana, we still haven’t received permission for the Kuari Pass trek from the local DFO. Your trek coordinator will be in touch with you with alternatives, if he isn’t already.

  16. Hi,
    On the Buran Ghati trek, the Litham and dayara campsites are in the meadows. So those would also be affected by the Uttarakhand ban ? What is the plan for those campsites ?

  17. Hi Swathi. I have booked Brahmatal Trek from 30th December to 4th January. I haven’t booked my flight tickets. Was thinking to book tickets in a day or two as the prices may go up due to New Year. Should I go ahead and book my tickets or wait?

    1. Hi Dimple, if you’re flying to Delhi, then you can book your tickets. Because even in case we have to shift your trek, then you’ll just have to change the last leg of your travel (train or bus). So go ahead and book that.

  18. Myself and one of my schoolmates contemplating to register our names for Har ki Doon trek starting on 14th October. Both of us are senior citizens. We came to know from your post that camping at Har ki Doon last campsite is still not permitted. My specific quiry is how this rider has been plannedhat to tackle- where the trekkers are likely to spend the night.

    1. Hi sir, you will be camping at Simatra instead of Kalkathiyadhar. Here is the new itinerary.
      Dehradun → Sankri → Drive to Taluka and trek to Gangaad → Osla → Simatra → Simatra to HKD and back → Chilurgad → Trek to Taluka and drive to Sankri → Dehradun

      Simatra is closer to Har Ki Dun. So you get to spend a little more time at Har Ki Dun.

      You’ll find all latest updates about our treks here – https://indiahikes.com/latest-updates-about-treks-affected-by-high-court-order/

        1. Hi Pashmi,

          The trail is unchanged. We’ve just changed our campsites on the same trail in accordance with HC’s ruling. Few campsites had to be shifted so that the daily trek distance is not too much.

          Thanks
          Aditya

  19. Ref : Gaumukh Tapovan Trek
    Problem with Tapovan Camp

    Swathi Chatrapathy,
    I have booked for Tapovan trek & understand problems with camping at Tapovan meadow due to High Court order.
    I have noted change in itinary. I have done Tapovan trek twice earlier with similar to-and-fro trek. Going to Tapovan & back in single day leaves very little time at Tapovan. You will agree that Tapovan halt is the highlight of this trek.
    Since camping is not allowed now at Tapovan meadow, I have a suggestion to make. Instead of camping at Tapovan meadow, why not walk further for 2 km or so towards Neelatal and camp there. It is possible to camp near Neelatal. Next day we can enjoy Tapovan & return back. This way we neither violate court order nor miss the highlight of the trek.
    Hope you note this suggestion & try to work on it.
    Sanjay Purohit

  20. Hi Guys,

    Just completed Gaumukh Tapovan trek. Permission for Tapovan wont be provided so I would suggest you to camp near Khadapathar. It is a couple of kilometers ahead of Tapovan and permission will be available for that.

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