15 Best Himalayan Treks For Beginners in 2022

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15 Best Himalayan Treks For Beginners in 2022

Category Trekking Tips Expert Opinion

By Swathi Chatrapathy

2022-08-18

Over the past decade, we have noticed that the trekking demography in our country is changing. What used to be hardcore adventurers heading into the mountains has now transformed into regular people from cities heading outdoors for treks.

Given this reality, several trekkers write to us asking for advice on which trek to choose as their first trek. 

This is why we are putting together this list of the best Himalayan treks for beginners.

These are suggestions from the past 13 years of guiding trekkers onto their first Himalayan treks.

Quick navigation list

Best Treks For Beginners

Duration

Difficulty

Highest altitude

1. Dayara Bugyal

6 days

Easy-Moderate | Level 1

11,950 ft

2. Deoriatal-Chandrashila

6 days

Easy-Moderate | Level 2

12,083 ft

3. Kuari Pass

6 days

Easy-Moderate | Level 3

12,598 ft

4. Brahmatal

6 days

Easy-Moderate | Level 2

12,250 ft

5. Kedarkantha

6 days

Easy-Moderate | Level 2

12,500 ft

6. Ali Bedni Bugyal

6 days

Moderate | Level 2

12,550 ft

7. Phulara Ridge

6 days

Moderate | Level 3

12,345 ft

8. Valley of Flowers

6 days

Moderate | Level 2

14,107 ft

9. Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal

8 days

Moderate | Level 3

11,850 ft

10. Bhrigu Lake

4 days

Moderate | Level 2

14,009 ft

11. Beas Kund

4 days

Moderate | Level 1

12,772 ft

12. Hampta Pass

6 days

Moderate | Level 3

14,065 ft

13. Tarsar Marsar

7 days

Moderate | Level 3

13,165 ft

14. Nafran Valley

7 days

Moderate - Difficult | Level 1

13,789 ft

15. Sandakphu

7 days

Moderate | Level 3

11,930 ft

Before we get into details, here are a few points to note about these treks for beginners: 

  • These treks are suitable for those who have never stepped into trekking trails (even locally) 
  • No matter the difficulty ratings of these treks, they require at least 1 month of fitness training before the trek. 
  • These treks can be accessed for almost 10 months in a year. (It’s a myth that all Himalayan treks can be done only in summer).
  • All these treks will give you a good mix of jungle trails, grasslands and mountain views — some have more than the others. So run through the highlights of the treks to make your decision.
  • You can expect snow on most of them between December and April.

Having said that, here is the list of the best high-altitude treks suited for beginners! 

15 Best Himalayan Treks For Beginners in India

Best Treks For Beginners In Uttarakhand 

1) Dayara Bugyal Trek

Duration: 6 days from Rishikesh to Rishikesh 
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Level 1
Highest Altitude: 11,950 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
* Child-friendly: For children from 8 years onwards
View trek: Dayara Bugyal 

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Dayara Bugyal is a highly recommended trek for beginners because of the grand rewards for the little effort put in. It is suitable not only for beginners but also for families with children. 

Most people don’t know this, but it is also a favourite trek among a few of the most seasoned trekkers at Indiahikes. “This trek is superbly rewarding at any time of the year. The forests are splendid in spring, the meadows are an unbeatable green in summer, and they turn orange in autumn, with striking mountain views. The snowscape in winter is a world on its own. You can go any time, and you’ll not be let down,” shares Sandhya UC, co-founder and COO of Indiahikes. 

View Dayara Bugyal trek

2) Deoriatal-Chandrashila  

Duration: 6 days  
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Level 2
Highest Altitude: 12,083 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
* Child-friendly: For children from 10 years onwards
View trek: Deoriatal-Chandrashila

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Deoriatal-Chandrashila is another go-to Himalayan trek for beginners. Over the years, it has become a stepping stone for beginners to test themselves and progress to lengthier and tougher treks. 

What we love about this trek is that it is enriching from the get-go. Within two hours of trekking, you reach the Deoriatal lake and see stunning views of Chaukhamba and the neighbouring ranges from the lakeside. The forests over the next few hours are another huge reward. Within a day, you feel you’ve got your money’s worth. Yet, the trek only becomes more and more rewarding as you climb to the Chandrashila summit for the 360-degree views! 

View Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek

3) Kuari Pass 

Duration: 6 days 
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Level 3
Highest Altitude: 12,598 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
* Child-friendly: For children from 10 years onwards
View trek: Kuari Pass

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Kuari Pass is a trek that beginners often forget, and they’re making a big mistake! Because once you step onto the Kuari Pass trail, you will feel that very few treks come close.

On this trek, you get the closest views of Mt Nanda Devi and Mt Dronagiri. They are your constant companions on the trek. While these mountains are busy taking your breath away, the oak forests and meadows of Gorson Bugyal compete to steal your attention. It has too many highlights for such a short trek, which is a huge blessing for beginners. 

View Kuari Pass trek

4) Brahmatal 

Duration:  6 days
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Level 2
Highest Altitude: 12,250 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
* Child-friendly: For children from 10 years onwards
View trek: Brahmatal

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Brahmatal has become popular over the past three years as a winter trek among beginners. And why not? It has a few terrific winter settings:

  • Two frozen lakes
  • Forests laden with snow
  • Incredible views of Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti 

Yet, the mistake trekkers make missing out on this trek in all other seasons — spring, summer and autumn. Few people know this, but Brahmatal has a few of the best rhododendron forests in spring (between March and April). It has rarely seen greenery in summer and striking views in autumn. You can do it in all four seasons and see a different side of the trek.

5) Kedarkantha 

Duration:  6 days
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Level 2
Highest Altitude: 12,500 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
* Child-friendly: For children from 8 years onwards
View trek: Kedarkantha

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Kedarkantha is a Himalayan trek that needs no introduction among beginners or seasoned trekkers. It has risen in popularity so much that we often discourage trekkers from going there in winter, its most popular season. 

But here’s the secret. While the trek may be incredibly crowded in winter, it is beautifully isolated in other seasons. This is especially true on the route we take at Indiahikes, starting from Kotgaon and not from Sankri. The walk through the forests, the camps in the clearings and the summit climb to Kedarkantha become extremely pleasurable in all seasons.

View Kedarkantha Trek 

6) Ali Bedni Bugyal 

Duration: 6 days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 2
ighest Altitude:
 12,550 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
* Child-friendly: For children from 10 years onwards
View trek: Ali Bedni Bugyal

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Ali Bedni Bugyal is an excellent Himalayan trek for beginners because it gives you a taste of what an expedition might look like. After all, it takes you almost halfway up the famous Roopkund trek.

Yet, Ali Bedni Bugyal has all the softness and charm of walking through lovely forests and meadows. These are a few of the most pristine meadows in our country. A sunrise or a sunset from these meadows, with golden light falling on Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti, will remain one of your best memories for life.

View Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek

7) Phulara Ridge 

Duration: 6 Days
Difficulty: 
Moderate | Level 3
Highest Altitude: 12,345 ft
Best time: Summer, Autumn
View trek: Phulara Ridge 

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Phulara Ridge is not your traditional beginner’s trek. It is usually for the most nuanced trekker, who understands the rarity of such splendid ridge walks. Yet, we have seen that several beginners have gone on this trek and come out as trekkers for life. 

It’s a trek that instils a deep love for the mountains in you. This happens for quite a few reasons. First, the ridge walks, where you’re at a vantage point for over 5-6 hours, trekking in parallel with a few tallest mountain peaks. Second, the pretty campsites give you an authentic feel of camping in the wilderness, mainly because there are hardly any other trekkers. Thirdly, because you’re in the vicinity of many trekking trails (like Kedarkantha and Har Ki Dun), you feel a natural urge to explore more. 

View Phulara Ridge Trek

8) Valley of Flowers

Duration:  6 Days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 2
Highest Altitude: 14,107 ft
Best time: Monsoon
View trek: Valley of Flowers

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This list of the best Himalayan treks for beginners in India would be incomplete without a mention of the Valley of Flowers. One of the most ancient trekking trails in our country, this trail has introduced tens of thousands of Indians to the concept of trekking. 

The perks of going to Valley of Flowers as a beginner? It does not throw you into the deep end. You don’t camp in the wild or trek into the unknown. You are in civilization, staying in lodges and treading on well-laid trails. Helicopter evacuations are possible at your beck and call. So if you’re fearful of going on an isolated trek, this is a comfortable taste of the mountains. 

View Valley of Flowers Trek

9) Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Tal 

Duration:  8 Days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 3
Highest Altitude: 11,850 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
View trek: Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Tal

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Har Ki Dun is another ancient Himalayan trek of our country that is suitable for beginners. It’s a trail dotted with remote villages of Uttarakhand, which are, to date, steeped in traditions. You get to observe this ancient culture at close quarters on this trek. 

Of course, we must warn you that this trek is slightly harder on the legs. We mark it as a moderate trek because the days involve long walking hours. In our itinerary at Indiahikes, we also visit the Ruinsara Valley, which is almost like doing a separate trek on its own. It’s an enriching valley walk (many of our Trek Leaders claim it’s more rewarding than the original HKD valley). Still, it does require an equal amount of effort on the part of the trekker. 

View Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal Trek

Best Treks For Beginners In Himachal Pradesh

10) Bhrigu Lake 

Duration:  4 Days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 2
Highest Altitude: 14,009 ft
Best time: Monsoon
View trek: Bhrigu Lake

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Bhrigu Lake is one of our most recommended suggestions for beginners because, within 4 days, you trek to a lake at 14,000 ft and back without travelling much from a central place like Manali. (Most other treks involve an 8-hour journey to the base camp alone, from a central location like Dehradun).

While it has the perk of being easily accessible, the trek on its own is a feast to the eyes. With vast, unending grasslands spread against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, it is a rare experience in 4 days. To top it off, you climb to Bhrigu Lake, the highest point on the trek, a frozen lake in June that turns a pretty blue and is surrounded by grassy knolls during the rest of the season. 

View Bhrigu Lake Trek

11) Beas Kund

Duration: 4 days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 1 
Highest Altitude:
 12,772 ft
Best time: Monsoon
View trek:  Beas Kund

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Here’s another twin of the Bhrigu Lake trek, which is suitable for beginners. Similar in duration and accessibility (4-day trek from Manali), it is the lesser-known among the two. 

Frankly, at Indiahikes, we find it hard to pick between the two treks because despite being so close, they are very different. Beas Kund is a valley walk where the Beas River accompanies you. You trek to the source of the river and back. The campsites, the snow-covered mountains, and the lush greenery in the valley make a great introduction to a typical valley trek in Himachal for beginners. 

View Beas Kund Trek

12) Hampta Pass

Duration:  6 Days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 3
Highest Altitude: 14,065 ft
Best time: Monsoon
View trek: Hampta Pass 

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We’ll be honest with you. Hampta Pass is not a trek we usually recommend for beginners. It is a high mountain pass-crossing in the heart of the Himalayas. Yet, if you have a good fitness routine or are prepared to put in the 2 months of effort it takes to train for Hampta Pass, it would be an excellent trek for beginners. 

It is one of the most dramatic experiences you’ll have as a beginner, trekking from the greenery of Kullu to the stark and barren landscapes of Lahaul. If you have never trekked before, these are views that will stick with you for life! 

 View Hampta Pass Trek

Best Treks For Beginners In Kashmir 

13) Tarsar Marsar 

Duration:  7 Days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 3
Highest Altitude: 13,165 ft
Best time: Monsoon
View trek: Tarsar Marsar 

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We almost don’t want to recommend Tarsar Marsar as a trek for beginners because it’s too good a trek to be your first Himalayan trek. You’ll be spoiled once you do this trek because once you’ve seen the landscapes of Kashmir and the alpine lakes here, you’ll rarely see anything that comes close. 

But this is one of those few treks that are easy-moderate in Kashmir. Despite crossing two mountain passes, it does not test your endurance or prior experience too much. You will need good fitness levels, much like any other trek, but if you have that, Tarsar Marsar could be the best trek you’ll do as a beginner. 

View Tarsar Marsar Trek 

14) Nafran Valley 

Duration:  7 Days
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult | Level 1
Highest Altitude: 13,789 ft
Best time: Monsoon
View trek: Nafran Valley

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Nafran Valley is a new trek in our country. Indian trekkers barely step on it. We explored it only in 2021 and found it to be a trek that came at par with the iconic Kashmir treks like Tarsar Marsar and Kashmir Great Lakes. 

While it does not have the length or variety of KGL, it has the typical Kashmiri landscapes celebrating meadows and the Kashmir valley. It has two alpine lakes that are typical of Kashmir. It also has high alpine sections, giving you a taste of an excellent high-altitude trek. 

View Nafran Valley Trek

Best Treks For Beginners In West Bengal

15) Sandakphu  

Duration:  7 Days
Difficulty: Moderate | Level 3
Highest Altitude: 11,930 ft
Best time: All year, except monsoon
View trek: Sandakphu

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Sandakphu is a relatively long trek compared to all other treks on this list, but it is still a good Himalayan trek for fit beginners. It is a rare experience that takes you along the Indo-Nepal border, where you’re constantly flitting between the borders of the two countries. 

On the other hand, it spoils you with views of 4 out of 5 of the tallest mountains in the world — Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu. You have the privilege of trekking in this esteemed company throughout. We would say it isn’t a very typical first time experience because camping / staying in tea houses, the way the trail is laid out, the culture on the trek, is a very different experience from most other treks in our country. But it gives you a good idea of what to expect out of a week-long Himalayan trek. 

View Sandakphu trek

That brings us to the end of this list of the best Himalayan treks for beginners in India. 

Does it mean that other treks cannot be attempted by beginners? 

Not at all. There are several treks like Buran Ghati, Rupin Pass, Kashmir Great Lakes and Gaumukh Tapovan that can be attempted by beginners. They only require higher levels of fitness and endurance. 

There are, of course, some treks like Kedartal, Warwan Valley and Goechala that require prior experience. But one or two of the beginner level treks will beautifully prep you for the tougher treks. 

We hope this list helps you plan your first Himalayan trek better. 

If you would like personal guidance to help choose a trek, you’re welcome to write to info@indiahikes.com , or give us a call on the number you’ll find here.

We’ll be happy to guide you. 

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Swathi Chatrapathy

Chief Editor

About the author

Swathi Chatrapathy heads the digital content team at Indiahikes. She is also the face behind India's popular trekking video channel, Trek With Swathi. Unknown to many, Swathi also writes a weekly column at Indiahikes which has more than 100,000 followers. A TEDx speaker and a frequent guest at other events, Swathi is a much sought after resource for her expertise in digital content. Before joining Indiahikes, Swathi worked as a reporter and sub-editor at a daily newspaper. She holds a Masters's in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates the mind more than anything else. Through trekking, Swathi hopes to bring about a profound impact on a person's mind, body and spirit.

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