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7 Stunning March Treks And Their Specialties

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7 Stunning March Treks And Their Specialties

The month of blooming rhododendrons!

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By Latika Payak

We’re anticipating an early spring this year. This winter has seen less snowfall. The season will begin to shift sooner than expected.

Come March, Himalayan rhododendrons begin to bloom, dazzling the hillsides with vibrant layers of red and pink. 

One of my fondest memories is of a short trek I took in the mountains above Lohajung (the start of our Ali Bedni Bugyal and Brahmatal treks). Around a bend, I stumbled upon a cluster of blooming rhododendron trees. Mt Trishul was framed in its backdrop.

The sheer number of flowers and the variety even in the scarlet shades was breathtaking. I stood in awe for a moment, taking in the beauty of the scene. The bright pink and red flowers seemed to radiate warmth and life.

Seeing so many rhododendrons bloom at once is rare for two reasons. One, you find rhododendrons only above 7,000 ft. And two, the flowers on these trees bloom only once in the year, in March

Simply put, if you want to see blooming rhododendrons, trek in March

I’ll share two top treks that hit the bull’s eye when it comes to blooming rhododendrons. 

But before that, there’s another thing you should know about this month: March is also a month of transition. It’s winter transitioning into spring. This brings out a unique combination of white and green in the Himalayas. The whites of the lingering snow still stay on the flanks of the mountains, and the melting snow starts to bring out the greens from the ground. 

This transition brings out a charm in the forest sections too. The forests start to come alive. There is a new sound in the forest. Birds are beginning to flutter about. 

As a nature lover, there is nothing quite like seeing the first signs of spring after a long, cold winter.

On the other hand, in March, the sharpness of the mountain views still hangs in the air. The blue sky is still around. The forest fires and the pollution from the plains are yet to reach the mountains. By April there is smog in the air. 

Treks to do for the Rhododendrons

With the scant snowfall that we have experienced this year, spring is going to arrive sooner. There are already reports of stray rhododendrons starting to bloom on the slopes.

We’re expecting most rhododendrons to bloom in March. Choose one of these two treks if you want to witness the magic of Rhododenderons. 

Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek

This trek is usually at the top of a trekker’s list for rhododendrons. And rightfully so! Deoriatal-Chandrashila has a terrific rhododendron forest. 

The top rhodo sections are around the Deoriatal lake and around the forests of Chopta.

View Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek

In the section that connects upper Rohini Bugyal with the forest ridge, you’ll see an astonishing canopy of vibrant rhododendrons. Locals call this spot as Tikidi Khal. Photo by Jothiranjan

You’ve probably seen nothing like it till now. The fiery slopes with the jaw-dropping view of Mt. Chaukhamba in the backdrop is a sight to behold. Photo by Manasa Gollapinni

March is a perfect time for families and children to start trekking. With harsh winters behind us, temperatures now start rising. Last year, we had families and children trekking comfortably through these dense rhododendron forests. Photo by Jothiranjan

Sandakphu-Phalut trek

In March, the entire trail of Sandakphu-Phalut is speckled with various types of flowers. But Rhododendrons steal the show. Red, pink Rhododendrons dominate the landscape.

View Sandakphu-Phalut trek

Notice how the entire slope is punctuated with vibrant rhododendron trees. Photo by Nikhil Jain

Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. And on Sandakphu-Phalut trek you skirt the border of India-Nepal all along the trail. So you’ll notice that rhododendrons play a prominent role in the menu during March. You’ll find juices and wines made of rhododendron in the tea houses. Photo by Sharat Kolke

For Mountain Views

In March, the mountain views are at their sharpest and clearest, as the air is still crisp and clean from the winter months. The blue sky seems to stretch on forever. The landscape is unmarred by the haze and smog that can often plague the plains. The snow-capped peaks glisten in the sunlight. 

Ali-Bedni Bugyal trek

This is a trek is known for its commanding views of Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti. But in March, you see one of the sharpest views of these mountains.
The peaks tower over the landscape, their snow-capped summits piercing the sky. The view is particularly striking in March, when the air is clear and the mountains seem to be within arm's reach. The panorama is truly awe-inspiring, and it is easy to understand why the Ali Bugyal trek is considered one of the best in India for these commanding views.

View Ali Bedni Bugyal trek

Notice how the sunlight lights up the jagged contours of Mt. Trishul. Photo by Jothiranjan

Kuari Pass

It is very straightforward. One of the big reasons to do the Kuari Pass trek is for the big mountain views. And to catch these views, March is one of the best time. (Watch: Why we love Kuari Pass). 

You’ll also find a good dusting of snow on this trek as a large portion of this trek is in the shadow side. So even with the temperatures turning warmer, you’ll find snow persisting on this trek. 

The snow-capped peaks, and the snow-covered trails make the trek even more picturesque, adding an element of serenity and tranquility to the trek.

For photography enthusiasts, the snow brings out different textures and features of the mountain that may not be visible during the warmer months. It creates a perfect backdrop for photography.

View Kuari Pass trek

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The brilliant view of Mt. Nanda Devi from Gorson Bugyal. Photo by Vaibhav Jain

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March brings out the unique combination of receding snow and brilliant mountain views. It’s a treat to walk on the ridge when the colours of spring start showing on the mountains. Photo by Arindam Seth

For Forest Sections

Himalayan treks have a distinct forest section. The heady scent of pine, oak and rhododendrons. Dried leaves crackling under your feet. These form the first, indelible memories of your trek. 

After a cold spell, these forests start stirring to life in March. Colour starts returning to the forest. 

Brahmatal trek

Brahmatal has mesmerizing forest walks. You get to walk through centuries-old forests of Oaks and Rhododendrons.

View Brahmatal trek

It’s a treat to walk through the oak and rhododendron forest of Brahmatal. Mornings are toasty. As temperatures are not freezing anymore, you enjoy walking under the dark canopy of this dense forest. Photo by Jothiranjan.

You also find snow patches in certain sections. Especially around Bekaltal as it’s in a depression and light does not reach much. Photo by Vishwas Krishnamurthy

Dayara Bugyal

The forest section of Dayara Bugyal is a favourite of many at Indiahikes. (Watch: Why we love Dayara Bugyal

Right from the base camp until you break out of the forests into the meadows, the trail is in the good shade with lovely forest cover. The biodiversity is high. This is why you'll hear a lot of bird calls. While we talk about the meadows, don’t miss out on the forest.

View Dayara Bugyal trek

Walking eastward, towards the rising sun in the Dayara forests is an incredible experience. The sunlight cuts through the trees in so many magical ways that you'll never want the morning to end. Photo by Sudheer Hegde

Photo by Anubhav Bhatt

A Bonus Trek: March is a special month for the Kedarkantha trek

Three routes lead to Kedarkantha. But the most scenic among them is the route from Kotagon. Unfortunately, this route is rarely done by trekkers. 

We usually open this route in March. So if you’re planning Kedarkantha, the Kotgaon route must be there on your list.

View Kedarkantha trek

You start from the village of Kotgaon, which is right out of a storybook. Our campus at Kotgaon is an experience in itself. Photo from Indiahikes Archive.

Unlike other Kedarkantha routes that have trails on roads or mud tracks for a long distance, this route immediately enters thick forests of oak. As you get used to the wilderness and cross a few streams, you enter the lovely clearings of Mohlani Thatch. Photo by Abhishek.

The trail has a charming dusting of snow as you climb the Kedarkantha summit. It no longer feels like a winter expedition. Photo by Arjun Majumdar

With that, we come to the end of the list of some great treks you can do in March 2023. This is a unique and special month for trekking, offering clear views and lingering snow. If you're looking for an unforgettable trekking experience, I highly recommend taking advantage of the seasonal wonders of March.

If you've experienced a Himalayan trek in March, I would love to hear about your experience. I want to share your stories with others who are considering a trek in March. 

And if you're planning to trek in March and have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would be happy to share my knowledge and help you plan the trek.

Latika Payak

Senior Content Writer

About the author

Latika is a Senior Content Writer who started trekking after joining Indiahikes. She has trekked to Roopkund, Hampta Pass, Kedarkantha, Dayara Bugyal, Tarsar Marsar, and Har Ki Dun.
Before joining Indiahikes in 2014, she was a lifestyle journalist with print and online media.
Latika is always hunting for great stories hidden in the folds of the mountains. Horror stories from ancient routes and villages of the Himalayas are her favourite. If you have an interesting story from your trek, share it with her on latika@indiahikes.com.

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