The rains have stopped, the lush green grass on the meadows are turning golden brown and the clouds have given way to the brilliant views of the snow capped mountains. If this description sounds familiar to you, yes, I’m talking about Post-monsoon treks!
Post-monsoon and the following Autumn — Mid-September to Mid-October — are the best months to trek in the Himalayas for the following reasons.
If you’re a photographer looking for the picture-perfect scenery — be it the forests, the mountains or the skies — there is no other season as tailor-made as post-monsoon and autumn for you.
Trekking post-monsoon is like getting the best seats at the theatre. Since monsoon takes away with it the summer haze, it leaves the sky squeaky clean! During the day, you can see the crystal clear views of the mountains as far as the horizon can stretch. And during the night, you’ll see more stars than black sky.
So here, after much debate, we have put down 14 of the best treks to do post-monsoon.
Table of Contents
- Phulara Ridge
- Gidara Bugyal
- Bali Pass – Ruinsara Tal
- Gaumukh Tapovan
- Rupin Pass
- Buran Ghati
- Ali Bedni Bugyal
- Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal
- Deoriatal – Chandrashila
- Dayara Bugyal
- Beas Kund
1. Phulara Ridge
To start the list of the best post-monsoon treks, here we are with surprisingly an Indian ridge trek. Ridge treks in India are an absolute rarity, maybe just a handful of such treks exist in India.
Now, a ridge is a place where two sides of the mountain meet. So the walk on a ridge is almost like one on a knife-edge, where there are just flanks of the mountain sloping down from either side of you. There are small ridge sections on a few Himalayan treks. However, to have an entire’s day trek on a ridge is unparalleled.
If you have done a summit climb, you would know that you stand at the highest point for perhaps 20-30 minutes. This is where you get great views of the mountains around. On this trek though, you’re at a high point of 12,000 ft for day’s worth of trek (4-5 hours!).
The 250-degree panorama of snow-capped mountains stays with you throughout! It almost gives you the feeling that these mountains are trekking along with you, as you traverse the ridge that curves its way into the landscape.
Below you, the ground sweeps down on either side – one into a meadow, one into a valley. These dramatic views and ever-changing landscapes are what makes Phulara Ridge Trek a unique experience.
2. Gidara Bugyal
Gidara Bugyal is an ancient, pristine meadow that is known in the trekking circles. It is one of the largest high altitude meadows you will set foot on. It is larger than its twin Dayara Bugyal. Possibly larger than the twin meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal as well. It takes at least two days to traverse!
Even though it is known in the trekking circles, Gidara is extremely secluded. There are very few people that actually trek in these meadows. The only signs of civilisation you are likely to spot are the shepherds and their settlements around your first campsite, Rikoda. You may see a mountain dog or two. But you are likely to be the only group trekking and camping in these meadows!
3. Bali Pass – Ruinsara Tal
There aren’t many treks that let one experience the raw grandeur of a Himalayan pass crossing, that too in the post-monsoon season. Connecting Har Ki Dun valley with Yamunotri, the Bali Pass is an exhilarating trail. It traverses the confluence of Tons and Ruinsara rivers, the undisturbed serenity of the Ruinsara Valley and the lush meadows of Devsu Thach.
Soon, golden-brown grass on the trek of post-monsoon paves way for an alpine zone. At 16,207 ft, the Bali Pass trek offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the Bandarpoonch, Kalanag and Swargarohini peaks. This reward doesn’t come easy, as this trek is a difficult one, not suitable for beginners.
The biggest reason to do the Goechala trek is the grand views of big mountains that you see. You don’t just see one summit — the Kanchenjunga — but 14 other big summits. That’s a lot for any trek — especially as close to the eyes as on the Goechala trek. It is no wonder that trekkers consider Goechala to be the closest to the big mountain treks of Nepal.
The trail to Goechala is blessed with rhododendron forests. And come spring-summer months of April and May, they burst to life with pink and red flowers! It’s an enormously pleasing walk through the wooden-log trails of these jungles!
The Samiti Lake is another big attraction on the Goechala trek. The view of the still waters, and the reflection of Mt Pandim in the lake, especially in the early hours, is a visual treat.
One of our tougher treks, definitely not for beginners. It climbs up to 16,000 ft to the Kedartal Lake. You get up close to big mountains Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth.
This trek rates high on adventure. It is also an endurance test of sorts, since it has long days, tough terrain and climbs to a very high altitude. If you want to avoid treks like Rupin Pass and Gaumukh Tapovan, and yet experience the same adventure, then choose this trek.
Choose this trek only if you are very fit and have some prior high altitude trek experience.
6. Gaumukh Tapovan
The trek that takes you to the source of river Ganga, the Gaumukh glacier. Not only that, it is the only trek in the country that takes you closer to Mt Shivling where you see it from the base to the summit, in one gigantic frame!
Along with Mt Shivling, Mt Meru and the Bhagirathi sisters keep close company at Tapovan.
On the Brahmatal trek, you walk on a high-point with the mountain dropping on either side. This is called a ridgeline. A ridgeline often gives the feeling of an extended summit.
What’s delightful is that you also get to camp on the ridge – at Tilandi. From here, you get to see the Himalayan landscape rolling out on both sides.
As you are on a high point at Tilandi, you get to witness the sunset and sunrise from the same campsite. And being at the high-point also makes it the windiest campsite of the trek.
To top it all, you get to see Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti up close from Brahmatal Top!
8. Rupin Pass
If there is a classic trek in India, it has to be the Rupin Pass. This trek is like an orchestra, building up momentum with surprises in scenery every hour or so. With every step, the trek throws up a new vista to see, a new scenery to unfold. Quite suddenly too!
The surprises begin right from your first day of trekking. When, around 20 minutes into the trail, you see the Rupin River make an appearance, fanning out into a wide bed below you. And it doesn’t stop here.
From here, the trail takes you through hanging villages and then quite suddenly, it plunges into a deep pine forest! That’s not all. The trail then meanders through glacial meadows, snow bridges, glacial valleys, snow fields and hundreds of waterfalls!
9. Buran Ghati
Most trekkers head over to the Buran Ghati trek to rappel down the snow wall in June. But if you think this is not one of the best post-monsoon treks, then you are making a huge mistake.
Any nature lover will go weak at the knees on this trek. As the weather changes, the colours of the forests take on an orange tinge. There are pines, maples, oaks, and for good long hours! You’ll not want to step out of the forests.
But how can you resist, because, at the edge of the forest, you get a glimpse of the gorgeous Dayara meadows. We call this place where you enter the meadows the “Wow Point.” Try not to say wow when you stand here!
Post-monsoon, bright blue skies drop down behind the honey-tinged meadows. And you get to camp here. It’s an experience you’ll not get anywhere else at any other time of the year.
I’d strongly recommend doing it in October. It’s early winter, you might experience the first winter snow (just a little bit).
Just one thing to keep in mind if you’re going here in October, the temperatures will drop to negative numbers. So carry at least 4-5 warm layers. Thermals are a must too! There won’t be a snow wall, but everything else is worth every step you take!
10. Ali Bedni Bugyal
Out of all the meadow treks in our country, Ali Bedni Bugyal has the grandest mountain views during post-monsoon. Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti are an arm’s distance away from Bedni Bugyal.
The Ali and Bedni meadows are themselves an attraction, as they span as far and wide as your eyes can see. They are one of the largest high altitude meadows of our country!
Not just that, the unforgettable sunrises and sunsets while camping at Abin Kharak and a unique experience of trekking through ancient and dense forests makes this trek a treasure in itself.
11. Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal
The Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal trek hasn’t seen much human footprint, leaving many birds and animals to thrive in this region. You can spot Langoor families near Puani Garaat. Chances are, that you might even spot Black bears, wild boars and Barasingha amongst other animals owing to the good weather and complete absence of haze.
The trail lets you enjoy their habitat of pine forest at its colourful best.
It’s probably the only valley from which you can see Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Black peak, all together. Getting such a clear view of Swargarohini, makes you feel like a Pandava ascending to the heavens. You can also see the Ruinsara Peaks.
Often you are accompanied by swollen streams that flow mellifluously down the hills. The Har Ki Dun trek is definitely one of the best post-monsoon treks and it is at its colourful best in the months of September, October and November.
12. Deoriatal – Chandrashila
Set in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand, the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek is a treat for wildlife lovers. And it is also a great summit climb (12,083 ft) for those who are beginning to start trekking in the Himalayas.
You see, summit climbs are rewarding, and trudge up a mountain for hours during the wee hours. You reach its highest point like the rays of the sun lighten the sky. Everything is below you — the clouds, the hills, the tiny specks of civilization. On a Himalayan trek, you usually see mountain ranges in the distance.
This is where Deoriatal Chandrashila is special. It is not a section of Himalayan ranges that you see. You see all the major summits of Western and Eastern Uttarakhand from the summit. By all, we mean all.
13. Dayara Bugyal
Very few trekkers have set foot on the Dayara Bugyal trek, even though it lies very close to the Gangotri region.
Dayara Bugyal is one of those off-beat treks which takes your breath away! It is so rewarding for very little effort.
The vast meadows, beautiful campsites and stunning mountain views make Dayara Bugyal an ideal summer trek. Especially if there are kids aged 7 years and above, because it makes for a perfect family trek, just like the Phulara Ridge trek above.
14. Beas Kund
For a long time, we had pushed the Beas Kund trek aside as a very easy trek that people could do independently.
But little did we realise that Beas Kund can be such a stunner of a trek right out of Manali! October is one of the best months to do this trek. Simply because you’re trekking so close to big mountains like Friendship Peak, Ladakhi Peak and Hanuman Tibba.
Expeditions to all these peaks start from Beas Kund as the Advance Base Camp. So you’re literally at their base, seeing them towering over you. If you time it in post-monsoon, the views are like no other time in the year – clear as day!
Apart from the mountain views, this trek has a lot of colours. The valley itself is wide, which is rare. Most valleys are narrow. This one is wide with the Beas river flowing in between. The deodar forests at the beginning of the trek are stunning too, with massive trunks shooting up to the sky! Added to this, are the stunning Bhakarthach and Dhuni meadows.
With the rain not bothering you in autumn, it’s an absolute pleasure to be on this trail!
What do you think about our Top 14 post-monsoon treks? Have you been to any other trek that you think was best in the post-monsoon months of mid-September to mid-October?