Why Mid-March To April Is Superb For Trekking But Needs Planning Now

Across India, from mid March until April, people are not really trekking. Parents are overwrought with kids’ exams. Deadlines in offices somehow hang in the air. Or trekkers simply seem to be keen on the trekking rush in May/June. 

Meanwhile, quietly on the side, a splendid season of trekking between Mid March and April slips by. 

This worries me. I’ll tell you why.

Mid-March marks the beginning of spring

In mid March, when winter starts winding up its business, snow is still around. A carpet of fresh grass sprouts around these snow patches. It makes meadows and clearings above 10,000 feet a delight. The lush grass with ankle-length flowers against the backdrop of snow is a visual treat. Shaking off the harshness of winter, new leaves start sprouting on trees and old leaves fall. Flowers bloom. The landscape is a riot of colours. Spring is in the air. 

Just to see this magic one must trek between mid March and April. 

In spring, birds wake up from their winter slumber. In the lower hills colourful birds flirt here, there and everywhere. Bird calls ring through the forests. For those who love bird photography this is the time of the year to trek. 

If these were not enough, there is the magic of rhododendrons.

For me, the rhodos are reason enough to go trekking between mid March and the end of April. What a sight they make! In this season, rhododendrons burst into full bloom. It is as if the hills are on fire! When rhodos bloom they envelop trees. Sometimes it is difficult to spot leaves through the flowers! 

Rhododendron tress lining the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trail. Picture by Yogesh Shinde

My favourite, of course, are the scarlet rhododendrons. In a rhodo forest of pink, suddenly there’s a scarlet bloom! They are not very common so it is terrific to trek a little ahead just to see if there is a scarlet playing hide and seek around the bend!

The most common are the pink rhodos. And they usually come in a row. So you could be walking for half a kilometer under a hue of pink. Some slopes have the yellows and whites in betweens the pinks. Sunlight flirting through these blooms make trekking a joy!

Rhododendrons in bloom on the Deoriatal trek. Picture by Yogesh Shinde

On a more practical front, trekking in March and April is great for the crackling summit views.

Let me explain. Two months later, in May and June, when it is peak trekking season there is a smoky haze over the mountains. Forest fires, smog, heat and dust, everything contributes to this. The long distance mountain views are disappointing. 

Worse, in May and June when the sun heats up the earth, past 10 am, wisps of clouds start floating in. The big mountains that you have been planning to see since the start of the trek are now almost hidden. 

In March and April, mountain views are worth dying for. You get clear blue skies that stretch from horizon to horizon. The air is crisp — the views stunning. 

goechala trek - indiahikes
The Kanchenjunga massif at dawn on the Goechala Trek. Picture by Ashish Bhatt

I remember last year when I was trekking to the top of Chandrashila summit, I stood for a moment to take in what I was seeing around me. There they were, right in front of me, like a fan of playing cards, the entire range of eastern and western Gharwal mountains of India. I was seeing the greatest mountain ranges in India at their sharpest best. 

Another time, I took a short walk to the summit of Hatu peak near Shimla. It was the second week of March. There too the sprawling summit views took my breath away. This time I was gazing at summits of eastern Himachal. So sharp they were that I could tick off almost thirty or forty summits in the horizon.  

When you walk into a tourist office and see a big landscape picture of mountain ranges — the photographs are almost always taken in early winter or in March/April. 

In March and April, outside the rhododendrons, go on treks for the clear views of mountain ranges.” 

Mt Nanda Ghunti on the Brahmatal trek. Picture by Vishwajeet Chavan

While the thoughts of spring flowers and snowy mountains linger in your mind, I’m sharing with you a list of the best treks to do in between Mid-March and April end. Do any of the treks on this list and you’ll absolutely love it! 

13 Best Himalayan treks to do from Mid-March to April

Click on the names of treks for the dates, itinerary and costs. 

1. Deoriatal-Chandrashila

THE best rhododendron trek of our country. And to damn everything, it also has the best mountain views from the summit. Can’t ask for more.

2. Brahmatal

Another trail blessed with superb rhodo forests. Kills it with the meadows on top, the lovely Brahmatal lake and jaw dropping views of Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti. This trek is a trekkers favourite.

3. Sandakphu

Super crystal clear views of the sleeping Buddha (Mt Kanchenjunga range). And then you also see 4 of the tallest mountains in the world (Mt Everest included). Not to forget the Indo-Nepal trek experience. Yes, rhodos too.

4. Goechala  

The closest you can get to the Kanchenjunga massif without actually climbing it. It is right under your nose. Also it is the trek to do for rhododendrons in the east.

5. Kedarkantha

Our most popular trek. All the goodness of a winter trek. The snow is still around minus the bone-chilling temperatures. Terrific campsites and a thrilling summit climb. Again, a very complete trek. Can’t ask for more.

6. Dayara Bugyal

One of the best meadow trek of our country, with powdery snow still on them. The views of Mt Bandarpoonch from the meadows can flatten anyone. Great trek for families.

7. Mukta Top

Do the trek for the superb variety in the forests. It changes every day. Charming campsites and a nice climb to the summit. The trek is gaining popularity. I don’t know how long it will stay secluded. Do it while it is.

8. Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal

The cultural favourite — in the early part of the trek you pass through ancient wooden villages that still stand the same despite being many centuries old. The stories and legends of these villages date back to the mythologies. Later, the astounding scenery changes every day can leave anyone breathless. And then Ruinsara Tal pulls all possible expectations from under our feet. Such places exist in our country?

9. Annapurna Base Camp

At the Annapurna Base camp you are standing right below the full south face of Annapurna massif. The entire 10,000 feet of the famous wall is right in front. If this view doesn’t give you goosebumps, we don’t know what will.

10. Khopra Ridge Trek

Our trek leaders rate this trek even better than the Annapurna Base Camp trek. You get to see 23 big Himalayan summits from this trek, including the favourites Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Macharapuche. Lack of crowd on this Nepali trail with excellent tea houses is a big plus. The Khayer lake climb at above 15,500 feet is a huge adventure.

11. Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Ri

The Everest Base Camp is the world’s most favourite trek. But doing it via the Gokyo Ri changes everything. 5 alpine lakes, crossing the Ngozumpa glacier. Climbing the summits of Gokyo and Kala Patthar, even better views of Mt Everest and fewer crowds. We don’t even know why trekkers stick to the traditional EBC route. Very small window to do this trek though, March April being one of them.

12. Nag Tibba Weekend trek

A trek so close to Mussoorie but packs in everything of a big trek. Lovely forests, good rhodos too, terrific sunset views, all packed in a weekend! You can even see snow in early March here.

13. Deoban Weekend trek

Best deodar trail out of all our treks. Deodar are the native coniferous trees of India. The heavenly scent of the pines, easy on the legs makes it ideal for anyone looking for a weekend trek near Delhi. Highly recommended.

So those are our best treks from mid-March to April. 

Exclusive treks for families:

In the same season, we also have exclusive family treks to Kedarkantha and Dayara Bugyal. We organise the trek specially for families with children, to enhance their learning from the outdoors. You’ll find all the details and dates here.

Most of the groups already have registrations going up, though not full yet. It’s best to sign up now if you want the luxury of choosing dates that suit you. 

If you have any thoughts or questions, drop in a comment below. One of us from Indiahikes will get back to you.

Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking. Arjun leads Indiahikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India. He has written extensively for Discover India magazine and is a TedX speaker. He frequently talks at institutions about his entrepreneurial journey, but his favourite topic is always the impact of trekking on the mind, body and spirit. Read Arjun's other articles. Watch Arjun's TedX talk. Watch Arjun speak about our trekking trails. Learn from Arjun about what it's like to work at Indiahikes.

17 thoughts on “Why Mid-March To April Is Superb For Trekking But Needs Planning Now

    1. Hi Asit, the trek fees of almost all the treks we have shared on this page are below Rs 10,000, except perhaps the Nepal treks. So you could choose any of them.

  1. Can I go for Buran ghati trek in February or March month coming year. Is the trek accessible during this time and will it have snow?

    1. Buran Ghati is blocked with too much snow all the way until May. The trek opens up only from May onwards and remains open till June end. Then it closes during monsoon and opens up again in September.

  2. We, a group of 6 friends, are going to Deoriatal Chandrashila trek in 2nd Week of April. My question is what will be the condition of Chopta to Chandrashila stretch in that time? Will it be totally snow covered or very diffcult to trek? Will my shoe Quechua MH100 be able to handle that portion??

    1. Hi Souvik, what a lovely trek you’ve chosen in April. 🙂 Around the second week of April, expect to see some snow on the climb to Chandrashila. May not be too much, but there will be dome. It will definitely not be difficult to trek. The trail is nearly laid out on this trek, so at least the trail will be clear of snow. There might be snow on either sides of it.

      The MH100 shoes are good enough to tackle this snow!

  3. I have done Kedarkantha and Kashmir Great Lakes with Indiahikes. Now confused between Deoriatal-Chandrashila and Sandakphu for March end. Do suggest which one to choose.

    1. Hi Shubham, it’s a tough choice between the two. But your past treks makes this decision easier. If you have done KK and KGL, then do Sandakphu. It’s a very different trek from the past two treks and will make for a whole new trek experience.

  4. HI, Can we expect rhododendrons in bloom in Kedarkanth trek from mid March to April?
    I want to choose between Deoriatal-Chandrashila and Kedarkanth as a first time trekker.

    1. Hi Unmesh, Kedarkantha doesn’t have rhodo forests like Deoriatal or Brahmatal. It has shorter dwarf rhododendrons on the way to the summit. They will be in bloom. But if you want to see real rhodos, choose Deoriatal. 🙂

  5. I recently did Sandakphu trek. The variety of landscapes we came across, thick pine forests, bamboo forests, clear meadows, beautiful summit views, it was really amazing.
    I want to go on a summer trek and again I want a variety of landscapes. Which one would you suggest among moderate level treks?

    1. Definitely the Har Ki Dun trek, especially if you are going in April. If not Har Ki Dun, then Buran Ghati later in May/June. Both of these have lots of variety and are a good follow-up to Sandakphu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *