Which is a better trek in winter? Deoriatal or Kedarkantha?

I‘ll admit right away that I am terribly biased about Kedarkantha. It was the first winter trek explored by Indiahikes. The trek left a deep emotional impact on me. Back in 2011, things were not exactly going right with Indiahikes. We had empty coffers, low registrations and morally wondering whether to give up on our quest to discover more trails. That is when we decided to explore Kedarkantha in winter.  I was spell bound by the trek. Somehow over the years I have not able to get out of my fondness for Kedarkantha.

But if I have to leave aside my personal biases and don the hat of an objective trekker — things become difficult. Deoriatal-Chandrashila, as a winter trek, took my breath away. It left me delirious with the experience.

If I compare day to day then, grudgingly, I have to give it to Deoriatal. Deoriatal pips Kedarkantha as a better winter trek by a shade. Mind you, it is only a shade. I’ll give you my reasons.

Day 1

Kedarkantha

The moment you step on the Kedarkantha trek you are in the forests. Tall pine trees, oaks are around you. This is mesmerizing. Walking on the brown carpet of leaves feels like another world. In a couple of hours most trekkers are transported to a land of beautiful clearings. If you are lucky, you get snow on the forest floor.

The Pine Forests
The Pine Forests at Kedarkantha

Deoriatal

Deoriatal is different. You climb over the picturesque village of Sari — a setting stolen off a postcard. The valley is deep and wide. In less than two hours trekkers get to Deoriatal. Mark my words, this campsite can leave even the skeptical gaping.

The snow-covered Deoriatal with the massive Mt Chaukhamba towering over the lake makes most trekkers stand rooted to the spot. The sight is unbelievable and so is the setting of the lake. Surrounded by grassy knolls, it makes a bewitching place to observe the sight of these big mountains. It takes a while for it to sink in that we actually camp here.

The Deoriatal campsite with Mt Chaukhamba in the background
The Deoriatal campsite with Mt Chaukhamba in the background

Day 2

Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha on Day 2, mostly on snow, climbs through oak forests, which incredibly get prettier as we get higher. It is almost like a fairy tale. The forest floor is covered by an unending carpet of untouched snow. In between, branches of trees climb to the sky. Through this you snake your way up the mountain. The sun plays tricks on the snowy landscape with its many designs of light and shade. It is like a vibrant wintry canvas coming alive.

Trekkers near KK Basecamp. Picture by Namrata Saxena

Deoriatal

Deoriatal on the other hand takes you through jungles on Day 2. These jungles are different every hour of the trek. I have yet to come across forests that have so much variety in a single day’s trek. There are dark forests and forests that look like tunnels. At other times the forests passes through clearings and streams. You will try and tip-toe your way to enjoy the humming of the various birds at Deoriatal. When you add the snow covered forest floor, frankly, it is too much of a good thing to take in a day.

Deoriatal chandrashila trek indiahikes
Burjgali campsite

At this stage both treks are neck to neck. It is hard to separate Kedarkantha from Deoriatal. Both treks are very different to each other, yet, they are equally beautiful. The climb through the forests of each trek has been exhilarating.

What sets the two treks apart

Deoriatal

The difference between the treks comes in the summit climb. This is where Chandrashila edges out Kedarkantha. It is the view that you get from the summit. From the Chandrashila summit you get to see all the big mountains of India. Not only do you see them, you see them very close. You see Mt Nanda Devi, Trishul, Chaukhamba, Kedarnath, Neelkant and almost every other well known summits you can think of. Almost every trekker breaks down in tears at the Chandrashila Summit.

Mt Nanda Devi from Chandrashila summit

Kedarkantha

On the Kedarkantha summit the view is terrific too. It is a 360 degree view of mountain ranges. You feel you have climbed the top of the world because everything else is below you. You can see mountain ranges far and wide. What you miss out are the big names in mountain summits.

View from the Kedarkantha summit. Picture by Indrajit Hazra

The verdict

So there you have it. While I rate both treks equally, I’ll give Deoriatal Chandrashila a slight higher grade for the grand summit views. And perhaps for the variety in the jungles.

As a winter trek, frankly don’t choose one over the other. Do one this year and the other next. You can’t miss out on either. If you find groups full in one of the treks, simply choose the other.

Get more details about the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek here.

Get more details about the Kedarkantha trek here.

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Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. Long years of trekking and facing problems in getting information about trails led Arjun to start Indiahikes. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indaihikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India.

95 thoughts on “Which is a better trek in winter? Deoriatal or Kedarkantha?

  1. Kedarkantha was my first himalayan trek, done in march 2015.. Absolutely bewitching! Got me hooked. Did Roopkund in sept-oct.2015 and it was grand but Kedarkantha holds a special place in my heart! Simply loved it

  2. Can kedarkantha or chandrashila trek be done on our own ? Though I would definitely like to go with Indiahikes, but would like to have answer for my question specially in respect to camps and food.

    1. Hi Rishab, you can do both the treks on your own. But you might need to hire a guide. You’ll have to take tents, sleeping bags and other equipment that will suit the kind of temperatures in winter in the Himalayas. You’ll have to carry gas and raw materials for food. It is more advisable to trek independently in summer than in winter, because finding drinking water is a little difficult in winter.

    1. Hi Akshay, that is not likely. The first winter snow falls only around mid-December. November will be cold and the mountain views will be crystal-clear, but there won’t be any snow!

  3. I would like to do a winter trek in mid Dec. I am willing for a snow trek. Which trek should i opt for Deoriatal Chandrashila or Kuari Pass.

    1. Hi Avishek, in mid-December, you can go for either Kuari or Deoriatal. Both of them will have snow. Assess your fitness and then choose the trek. Deoriatal is easier than Kuari Pass. So you can decide based on that.

  4. Hiiii swati. I have registered for my first ever Himalayan trek to Chandrashila. My tour date is on 18th December. Also this will be my solo hiking. I am a bit scared and excited as well. Need some guidance for my first ever solo Himalayan trek. Awaiting reply.

  5. Hi,
    Please advice, during January 1st week, which will be more hard trek between Har ki Dun and Kedar Kantha.
    Which one has the most scenic beauty and whether we will camp in snow.

    1. Hi Anuraag, Har Ki Dun is comparatively the more challenging trek. Both of these treks have entirely different kinds of scenic beauty and will have snow in December 🙂

  6. Hi, which is the best time for chandrashila trek if one wants to trek in snow, and see mountains beauty in clear weather ?

    1. December would be a good time for that. Specifically the second half of December. There will be snow and the weather is expected to be clear!

  7. Which one to choose among Kuari Pass trek, Kedarkantha trek and Chopta Chandrasheel Tunganath trek?
    Would be interested in trekking in snow. However, it would be my first trek.

    1. Hi Ashish, if it your first trek, then go for Chandrashila. If you’re trekking in the second half of December, there will be snow on all these treks. Chandrashila is the best of the lot for first timers. 🙂

    1. Hi Mandar, there will be snow on both the treks in March! Go for Deoriatal in March, because it is rhododendron season. It’s a grand experience seeing the forest trails full of flowers! 🙂

  8. Hi,
    Looking to do trek in january , would like to trek in snow and if camp site is in snow then would be best.
    which one is better kedarkantha, kuari pass or har ki dun?

    1. Hi Aashish, none of the above treks will be accessible in January. In January, the best trek to do to see snow would be Brahmatal. You can take a look at it here – indiahikes.com/brahmatal-trek/

  9. Hi. My trek window is about a week in the first week of April 2017. What would be best at that time – Kedarkantha or Deoriatal or something else. I have already done Chopta-Tungnath and Hamta Pass with other trek companies. Are these 2 easier than Hamta Pass (did in June 2016) or tougher?

    1. Hi Vikas

      The Hampta Pass trek is more challenging than the Deoriatal and Kedarkantha trek.

      In April, I think you should do the Kedarkantha trek. You will have tall pine trees surrounding your campsite. You do not see this en route Tungnath or on the Hampta Pass trek. 🙂

      Regards,

    1. Hi Janardhanan

      You can expect snow on the last day of your trek. This will be your summit climb to the top of Chandrashila. 🙂

      Regards

    2. Hi Janardhanan

      March is the best time to do the Deoriatal Chandrahsila trek. You will get to see snow on the last day of your trek – the Chandrashila summit climb.

      Regards

    1. Hi Neha
      You should do the Deoriatal Trek in March. This trek is laden with Rhododendrons. You will get to enjoy them in full bloom! And from the Deoriatal campsite, you will wake up to the sunrise on Mt Chaukhamba. It is truly amazing. These would be the two reasons for you to not miss out on the Deoriatal Trek.

      Regards

  10. Planning for a Deoriatal trek either in March or Apr (1st fortnight). Which one is advisable? Will there be snow in April?

    1. Hi Arijit, March- easily for the snow and the rhododendrons blooming along the lower trails. 🙂 The snow would be less in April.

  11. Hi,

    I am planning for a trek in Feb end or March 2017 and I have “Kedarkantha ” and “Har ki Dun” in mind. Can someone suggest which is a better option? I am looking for something around 7-8 days in total.

    1. Hi sonali we are also going there on 5th March and how many persons you have because we are 5 person and I think roopkund is not opened so we are now plan for kedarnath or Hari ki dun and we visited at chopta,tungnath and Chandragupta in Jan but we left 700 mts for Chandrashila because of too much snow like 4.5 feet snow there so we left and now going for kedarnath.

    1. Hi SJ

      March is not the time for challenging treks. There is way too much snow! You can only reach around 12,000 ft. April, however, has Goechala. You can look at doing that if you want a difficult trek.

      1. THanks for your response. Which is a better trek in last week of March – Kedarkantha or Deoriatal-chandrashila? Which has more snow, better views on more challengning. And lastly which of these two gives a feeling of wilderness?

    1. Hi Saksham, Deoriatal is a better option in March definitely. Rhododendrons will be in full bloom. It is a rare sight that you see only for a month or two in a year. It lights up any photograph!

  12. I have already done Kedarkantha last year in April. If I have to choose between Chandrashila or Deorital for the end of March, which one should I pick considering I would want to go for a moderate trek and would definitely like to witness snow up in the mountains?

    1. Hi Arun, Both Deoriatal and Chandrashila are part of the same trek.:) You don’t have to choose between them!

    1. Hi Shivam, you must go for Hampta Pass if you’re looking for something more challenging and adventurous.

  13. Hi,

    Which will be good option for trek in July-September window? This will be my first trek in Himalaya.

  14. Hi There : )

    My husband and I are planning our first trip to India at the end of the year and we’d really like to do a winter trek in the Himalayas with India Hikes. We are from Cape Town and spend a lot of our free time over weekends hiking (but these are usually day hikes).

    Could you recommend a winter trek for us? We’re torn between Kuari Pass, Chandrashila and Kedarkantha. We will be booking a trek for the last week of December and would really like to experience snow and be surrounded by high mountains. We would also like to do a trek that challenges us from a fitness point of view and where you get a feeling of “isolation/peacefulness”. I imagine all 3 treks are very busy over this period though?

    Will the trek dates be open shortly for December? When would you recommend we book?

    Looking forward to your feedback!

    1. Hi Catherine, it is wonderful to see you planning a winter trek in the Himalayas! 🙂

      Given you’re travelling all the way from there, I would suggest you go for the Kuari Pass trek. The Deoriatal trek is a bit dicey because the forest department is a bit iffy about letting trekkers on this trail. In case they withdraw permission in the last minute, it will be difficult for you.
      Kedarkantha on the other hand is a slightly crowded summit. Since you want to be isolated, I would suggest going to Kuari Pass. It shows you the best of the Indian Himalayas in terms of mountain views. And if you time it at the fag end of December, that is post December 26th, you’re surely going to experience snow.

      We’ll be putting out our December dates over the next month. So do keep a tab on the website. 🙂

  15. i have done both Kedarkantha and Deoriatal & Chandrashila . I second what Arjun has said , the view from Chandrashila peak does take an edge above . During winter Chandrashila is even mesmerising specially the sunrise and sunsets . Best part is one can enjoy the camping at Tugnath as well. One can have same experience in Bansi Narayan as well .

  16. hi all, I am planning for Deoriatal trek in september 30 to 5 October. Can somebody tell me whether we will get to walk through snow in this trek.

    1. Hi Hemant, Sept-Oct is autumn. There won’t be snow on any of these treks. December is a better time to see snow at Deoriatal. But autumn is a great time to see the best of the forest trails. 🙂

  17. I would like to do a trek in the Himalayas with India Hikes in the Month of October’17. I am torn between Har Ki Dun, Hampta Pass and Kedarkantha. I will be booking a trek for the last week of September or first week of October and would really like to experience snow and be surrounded by high mountains. Looking forward to your suggestion.

    1. Hi Subarno, it’s so nice to see that you want to trek in autumn. The thing is that is not really the season to see snow. All of the snow usually melts off after monsoon and the winter snow comes in during the second or third week of October at very high altitude (16,000 ft).

      Among the three treks you have mentioned, Hampta Pass is a great trek in September. Har Ki Dun is a very good trek in September and OCtober. Kedarkantha, we would say, is best done in winter. 🙂

      1. Hiiii . I am looking forward to do a Winter Trek during mid December. This is my first ever Himalayan trek Also this will be my solo hiking. which one i should opt Deoriatal Chandrashila or Kedarkantha please suggest

        1. Hello Sushma, Deoriatal has one really long day of trekking. I don’t know if you will like such a long day of trekking on your first trek. I’d suggest you go for the Dayara Bugyal trek. It is an easy-moderate trek great for beginners. You can find all the details for this trek here -https://indiahikes.com/dayara-bugyal-trek/

  18. Both these treks indeed deserve notable mentions in Himalayan Trek Discussions. Both are equally fabulous treks. Have been to Chandrashila three times already, during different seasons, first in winters, then in monsoons and this years summers. Each trip was like a new one. The 360 degree view from the top was awesome in all aspects. Would rate Chandrashila a 5 on 5. For kedarkantha, all I have to say is that this winter trek provides awesome views from the summit, but fantastic views from the slopes too. This deserves a high rating too.

  19. Hey, I am looking forward to do a Winter Trek during mid December. I had done the Hampta Pass trek last summer. I really want to do Kedarkantha ( or Har Ki Dun) this winter. It will be my first winter trek, any suggestions or advice?

  20. Hi Swathi,
    I have done a few day’s trek in the past and planning a himalayan trek in October, I am looking at moderate difficulty.Which one would you be a better trek to take up considering the beauty and the difficulty?

    FYI – going to be a solo trekker..

  21. Hiiii . I am looking forward to do a Winter Trek during mid December. This is my first ever Himalayan trek Also this will be my solo hiking. which one i should opt Deoriatal Chandrashila or Kedarkantha please suggest

    1. Hi Sushma
      Both the treks can be managed alone as they have well marked trails. Are you looking for something specific in your trek experience?

      1. Hi, I am looking forward to doing a solo winter Trek during mid-December. This will be my first ever winter trek. Which one i should opt Deoriatal Chandrashila or Kedarkantha? Also, plz tell me how much its gonna cost round trip from Delhi.

        1. Hello Vikas, both are great treks to do solo. The cost of each trek is given on the respective trek pages. We only take care of your travel from the pick up point to the drop point. You will have to travel on your own from Delhi to the pick up point of the respective treks.

  22. Hi,,
    I have done Hamta pass trek, i am looking for something like hamta pass trek which was very beautiful and difficult trek, Kindly suggest me any trek for December ??

    1. Hello, are you looking for another moderate trek like Hampta Pass? Brahmatal, Kuari Pass and Kedarkantha are all great treks to do in December. Deoriatal-Chandrashila is another beautiful trek with lots of bird watching. Lots of treks to choose from 🙂 Kuari Pass and Kedarkantha are easy-moderate treks while Brahmatal and Deoriatal-Chandrashila are moderate treks similar to Hampta Pass.

  23. which is a more difficult trek, kuari pass or chandarshila deorital ? and which is better in november end ? if im to do one in november and one in may which one should be done first ?

  24. Hi, I have done Chadar trek and kashmir-great-lakes… I want to do a trek this winter but it should be a difficult and challenging one like Kgl. Can you suggest a challenging trek?

    1. Hi Akbar, unfortunately most trails that climb above 13,000 ft (that are usually challenging) are closed in winter. They are not accessible. So all our treks are easy-moderate in winter. But you’ll still find it challenging to do a Brahmatal trek in January and February. The extreme temperatures coupled with the steep ascents and descents (which are absent on the Chadar trek) will surely challenge you. It will be like a combination of KGL (for the gradient) and Chadar (the sub zero temperatures). So Brahmatal in Jan / Feb is a good idea.

  25. which trek is better in October End or Nov Start.
    all winter treks are amazing wanted to know which is best to cover RoopKund Trek / Kedarnath Trek / Chopta Kuari Pass / or Pangarchula Trek.
    We want to do little snow treaking.
    Please suggest…

    1. Hello Paras
      You are likely to find snow on the Roopkund trek in end of October. But you you might not find snow on the Deoriatal trek in November. We do the Pangarchulla trek only in January because it can only be done after heavy snowfall. If its your first trek then go for the Kedarkantha or Deoriatal Chandrashila trek.

  26. Hi Swathi,

    We ( I and my wife) want to go on a winter trek in first week of January. Though we have done some small treks earlier but haven’t experienced a winter trek.
    I want your guidance in suggesting a trek which can be adventureous as well as fun in that duration. This will be our first Himalayan trek.

    Regards,
    Harsh

    1. Hi Harsh, if you want to go for a trek in January, then go for Brahmatal or Dayara Bugyal. Both of them are very good introductions to winter treks. But I must warn you, January is peak winter. So there will be a LOT of snow and the temperatures will dip very low to around -7 or -8 degrees at night!

  27. We want to do a trek on first or second week of march 2018. Which trek will be better at that time?
    Chopta chandrasila deoriatal, Kedarkanth or brahmatal?
    We want variety of sceneries.
    Could you suggest me rank wise?

    1. If you’re looking to trek in March, go for Brahmatal or Deoriatal. Both of them have extensive rhododendron forests and these rhododendron flowers bloom only in March and April. It’s a treat to the eyes! Considering you want more variety, I’d put Brahmatal first and then Deoraital. The mountain views are up close in Brahmatal, much closer than at Deoriatal. So go for Brahmatal.

      Kedarkantha is a great trek too, but Deoriatal and Brahmatal are better in Spring months of March and April. 🙂

  28. Hi,
    We want to trek in the December, preferably in the third week. This will be our first trek in Himalayas. We are considering Chandrashila, Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass, Dayara Bugyal.
    Which trek among these will have the most snow at that time? And although all of them will be stunning, which of them have the MOST breathtaking views? We are little flexible with the dates, so what will be the best time?

    1. Hello Sri
      I’d have to make a choice for you between the Kuari Pass trek and the Dayara Bugyal trek. Both are beautiful and Dayara Bugyal especially is quite a pretty trek. You are likely to find ample amount of snow on both these treks in the third week of December. I’d say if this is your first trek then go for the Dayara Bugyal trek. Its just stunning when buried under powdery white snow and has some great mountain views like the Bhagirathi peaks and Bandarpoonch which appear to be quite close to you.

  29. hi, planning to do a trek this november end (nov 25-dec 2). but confused between deoriatal and kuari pass. which one would have better scenic views around that time? which one would you recommend ? let me know thanks you

    1. Hey Amrita
      The autumn hues on the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek are quite stunning in November. I think it would be a great trek experience for you too 🙂

  30. I have registered for the kedarkantha trek for the 14-19 dec batch…it will be my first trek…and I am very excited about it and want it to be very amazing and thrilling…and want to experience the snow feel as well…so i want to know what are the chances of snowfall this time?

  31. Hi we are the group of 6 to 7 people we had naver gone on trakking so we are planning in december end or January starting so can u suggest us which track should we select

    1. Hi Satul, if this is going to be your first trek, Dayara Bugyal makes for a really good option. There is a lot of snow, and there are very good mountain views too! Take a look at the details here – indiahikes.com/dayara-bugyal-trek/

  32. I am planning for Deorital Trek in mid January for group of 7. But here I don’t see any dates in January.
    Is it not possible or strictly not advisable for Deoriatal trek in mid January.
    I have completed Kedarkantha trek last december. So any other option available for mid January.
    It would be nice to a have a trek suggestion with forest trails, something like kedarkantha.
    We have 3 beginners among us as well.

  33. Hi,

    I am planning a trek in Mid November i.e from 15th to 24th november. I have done day treks in past but this is going to be my first Himalayan Trek, i particularly want to experience snow trails on the trek. So out of Kuari pass and Deorital, which will fulfill my desire of walking on powdery snow, less crowd and sufficient challenges. Kindly revert soon as i’ll have todo the bookings withing couple of days.

    1. Hi Shivam, you can go for the Kuari Pass trek but it won’t be snowing there in November. It will only begin to snow in the month of December and that too towards the end of the month. But you might find snow at the pass on the Kuari Pass trek in November.

        1. Hello Shivam, there is a slight chance of it towards the end of the month. But you can never be certain about when it will snow.

  34. Hi,
    I’ve completed Rupin Pass this June and I can’t seem to get over Himalayas.
    I plan to go on a Winter trek coming Jan (2018), could you please suggest which trek is suitable for me?
    I would love to experience some snow and have some peaceful time (not so crowded)
    I’m also interested in photography.

    1. Hey Shreyas, you could go for the Dayara Bugyal or the Brahmatal trek. Both are very pretty snow treks and great for some good photography!

  35. Hi,
    I am planning to trek either Kedarkantha or Dayara Bugyal. This will be my first real trek. Please suggest which one would you suggest?

    1. Hello Nisha
      Both are absolutely beautiful treks. I’d suggest you go for the Dayara Bugyal trek. You can see the Bandarpoonch up close and the meadows covered under powdery white snow is definitely a sight to experience first hand 🙂 As a beginner, you will thoroughly enjoy this trek!

    1. Hello Gouri, if you want to go on a snow trek you can go for either of these treks. I’d suggest you go for the Deoriatal chandrashila trek in March. It’s just stunning in the winters 🙂

  36. Hi IndiaHikes,
    I read the comments above but still wanted to ask and confirm.
    I am planning to have an easy-to-moderate OR moderately tough trek in mid February with my wife.
    She has been to Har-Ki-Doon ,but this will be my first winter/Himalayan trek.
    Can you suggest me some treks so that we can finalize on one for this year (2018 Feb).
    Regards

    1. Hi Samrat,
      Both of these are great options for a winter trek but it depends on which month you want to do the trek. Kedarkantha has some very beautiful forest trails and the view from the summit are extensive. On the other hand, Brahmatal top gives you close up views of Mt Trishul, Mt Nanda Ghunti and other big mountains of the Garhwal Himalayas. You can also go to Brahmatal anytime till April and find snow whereas Kedarkantha becomes inaccessible in February.
      If you want to trek in December or April, go for Kedarkantha, but if it is January, February or March, then go for Brahmatal.

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