New Groups Opened to our latest Ranthan Kharak trek in Kumaon
New Groups Opened to our latest Ranthan Kharak trek in Kumaon

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A rare trek where you see the best of Himachal & Ladakh

In the remote region of Lahaul, a valley of flowers hangs quietly, escaping the attention of trekkers, this is Miyar Valley. This broad valley is less-trodden in comparison to other commercialized tourist centers like Ladakh and Spiti. The trail quickly turns from verdant green meadows to the stark brown alpine rocks of Zanskar and the transformation will leave you astonished.

The Miyar Valley trekking route alternates between remote mountain valleys, quaint villages and flower beds dominated by the overwhelming presence of Himalayan orchids. The medieval Buddhist monasteries give the terrain an old-world charm. Due to its isolated location at the north eastern corner of Lahaul, the Miyar Valley trekking trail has escaped the perils of mass tourism and it's the perfect destination for trekkers seeking solitude.

Miyar Valley Trek

Closer to nature

A confluence of rivers and farming villages

The Miyar valley trek is a gateway into a terrain unlike any other. The desert mountain ranges look barren and snow is absent from most of the peaks in the vicinity. “Miyar Valley is the only Himalayan trek with a trail that is predominantly a flat walk,” says Vyshakh Nair, our Trek Leader, who explored this trail in July 2016.

The Miyar river confluences with the Chandra Bhaga river near Udaipur village, which along with Trilokinath in Tunde are much-sought after pilgrimages in the Lahaul and Spiti region. The open-valley supports multiple glacier systems that extend from the Miyar glacier onto Kang La Jot which lies at an altitude of 17,939 feet. The much revered peaks of Neverseen Tower and Castle Peak are within a 2 km radius from the Miyar glacier. The Miyar nala broadens at the end and functions as a support system to the farming villages in this region.

Miyar Valley Trek

View of castle peak

A rare trek where you see the best of Himachal & Ladakh

  • In the remote region of Lahaul, a valley of flowers hangs quietly, escaping the attention of trekkers, this is Miyar Valley.
  • The trail turns from verdant green meadows to the stark brown alpine rocks of Zanskar and the transformation will leave you astonished.
  • Miyar Valley is the only Himalayan trek that can be categorized as a trail that is predominantly a flat walk.
  • You trek alongside the beautiful Miyar Nala, which is a lifeline for around 12 farming villages in the region.

Miyar Valley Trek

Flower shrubs along a river bank

Miyar Valley Trek

An ethereal pond

Trail Information

Day 1: Drive from Chandigarh to Manali

  • Altitude gained: 1053 feet to 6725 feet
  • Distance covered: 309.8 km
  • Average time taken: 10 hours

Manali is the the nearest township of the Miyar Valley trek. It is a beautiful hill station tucked away in the northern cusp of the Kullu Valley, which literally translates to 'end of the habitable world'. The landscape is dominated by apple orchards and snow. Manali is also one of the most preferred destinations for skiing.

The road from Chandigarh to Manali is well-connected by private cabs and public transportation. The Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation has buses plying between these two cities. The bus schedules and the availability of tickets can be checked from their official website:

Alternatively, you can hire a cab if you prefer to travel independently. It is important to note that this road has many bad stretches. Especially after Swarghat, brace yourself for a bumpy ride since this section is littered with potholes. Ideally, you should reach Manali by 4.00 to 4.30 pm to settle down and make the necessary arrangements for the trek, which will start the following morning.

Manali has a wide range of hotels that you can choose from, according to your budgets and preferences. Finding a room to spend the night is not an issue. The acclimatisation process starts today.

Minar Valley Trek

Chandigarh to Manali

Day 2: Drive from Manali to Urgos

Urgos is the base camp of our trek. The road trip from Manali to Urgos is a long and tiring yet an experience of a life time. Brace yourself for the 10 hour circuit. You need to hire a Jeep since the bus routes take longer to ply due to the number of deviations and stoppages they have on their schedules. One jeep can accommodate 8 trekkers and they charge Rs. 9000/- overall for this trip.

  • Altitude gained: 6725 feet to 10498 feet
  • Distance covered: 200 km (approximately)
  • Average time taken: 10 hours
Miyar Valley trek

Manali to Urgos - Map

You will pass through the famous Rohtang pass and head to Keylong via Koksar. It is not unusual at this area to find land partition on a 50 degree slope. After Keylong you will find green houses & farms of potato and peas towards your left. The villages are positioned so that it makes one wonder where the approach roads are. Some of these villages are so well built on the side of the mountains that remind us about the Norwegian heavy water sabotage of World War II. The mountains are covered with pine trees and the houses have glaciers as their backdrop. This montage of images is a photographer's delight. By the time one gets used to the Buddhist prayer flags, the Border Road Organisations will keep one busy with their most hilarious road safety awareness quotes.

“Don’t gossip , Let him Drive"

Miyar Valley Trek

En route to Urgos

You will spot the Chandra river emerging from Chandratal, the Bhaga river emerging from Surajtal, both of which will join at Patlikul. Eventually it flows to Pakistan via Jammu as Chenab which receives its first major tributary from the right bank of the Miyar Nala. If luck permits, one could even see rainbows above the sprinklers setup on the farms. By the time one approaches Udaipur one could see small boxes kept beside the roads- Honey farms. The whole way from Udaipur and its uniform apples farms will keep your eyes busy. Small boxes are kept along the roadside, these are honey farms. Once you pass Udaipur, you will find narrow walkways towards your right, across the stream, so narrow that at some points the way has been eaten away by landslides and it's hardly visible. The ride will leave you in awe as the rocks are arched on the road in such angles. It is not uncommon to find Stupas all over the way.

Accommodation at Urgos:

Homestays are available at Urgos. The charge of the Homestay at Mentusa is Rs 400 per room, which can accommodate four people. The homestay has only two toilets. The village doesn’t have attached toilet system.

Miyar Valley trek

Homestay at Urgos

Day 3: Drive from Urgos to Khanjar

  • Distance covered: 7 km (approximately)
  • Average time taken: 45 minutes

The Jeep/MUV that drove you from Manali to Urgos will halt overnight and it will take you to Khanjar the following morning. After breakfast, the 45-minute thrilling drive to Khanjar will follow the road that winds alongside the Miyar river.

Miyar valley Trek

Urgos to Khanjar - Map

Trek from Khanjar to Gompa

  • Altitude gained: 11400 feet to 12805 feet
  • Distance covered: 13.7 km
  • Average time taken: 8 hours
  • Trail type: Mountain desert areas, meadows, flower shrubs

To the right of the Miyar river, there in lies a village called Chaling which is not just one village but three separated by farms in between. Each of these villages have houses no more than ten. Cross the bridge to reach Khanjar village, which is comprised of only five houses and one small shop. The trail lies just ahead of the only school in the area. The trail today will have multiple water sources. However, it's advisable to carry atleast one litre of water.

The whole route is blessed with the ethereal presence of the long-stemmed Himalayan orchids, which have streaks of violet that form the dark spots to the overall red and rose backgrounds. This is a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts. After a small descent towards the first bridge of the day, start ascending a zig zag path for about half an hour. The trail is quite dusty since the Lahaul valley receives only scanty amounts of rainfall in any given year. After ascending the zig zag path, you will reach a small meadow called Dhoksar. A flat walk for 15 mins from Dhoksar will take you to a patch of land, best described as a small depression. The sound amplifies all of a sudden and you will hear the delightful sound of   the tributary is called Dhoksar Nala. Descend to cross the second bridge and ascend to walk towards the north to pass a small hut towards your left. Gompanala lies to your north. Walk past the sole building made out of bricks one will start to descend with the view of a Stupa.

Miyar Valley Trek

Stupa -Day 3

From the Stupa, descend for 15 mins to reach a small stream towards your right. You will be greeted with pink flowers on both sides and a man made stone wall towards the left. Across the river on your left, you will find a bunch of 9 ash-colored houses ash in the middle of peas crops. It is not uncommon to find pipelines laid underneath the path. These have been laid for the purposes of farming in the Khanjar village. Once you pass the manmade wall structure its a walk through dried up land with little greenery and Himalayan fragrant orchids.

Continue walking for  10 mins, you will pass a stone wall and a second one with a small wooden makeshift gate. By now, you would have covered about 4.5 km from Khanjar. A stupa is situated at the base of a small hill. The first clear water source is also here at the base of this  hill. Cross this stream to start the ascent to the stupa to find a small hole on the stone used by early villagers to grind the cereals. Once you reach the stupa one can see Tharsalamu pass towards that will lead to Sumdo.

A stupa represents five purified elements . The square base represents earth, the hemispherical dome represents water, the conical spire represents fire, the upper lotus parasol represents air and the sun represents the elements of space. The stupa-tharang temple is surrounded by cairns along with flowers for they believe that it would make their wish/ prayer come true. A wide valley covered with fragrant orchids will add more beauty to these surroundings. The river running towards your left is heading south west.

Miyar Valley Trek

A beautiful flower shrub

A small bridge without hand support will take you across the stream followed by a couple of small ascents and descents for 10 minutes after which Tharang glacier lies close to a place called Puphthang. The locals believe that the horses of lamas on the way back fell down here and there is even a mark on the stone as proof.

After 30 mins of walk one reaches Yoling - it is a meadow where the red fragrant orchid contrasts with the green patch. The meadow has a building made by the forest department for the shepherds. The meadow could be very windy and one will find cows, buffaloes and goats grazing around. A brisk 20 minute walk will take you to Thanpattan.

Thanpattan has a small igloo like structure made out of rocks used to store dried cow dung. The locals use it to burn them as fuel for cooking food. After 10 mins one could see a black stone pile from far away which is actually a pile made out of mountain got horns about more than half a metre long. The locals believed that giving sacrifice will make your wish come true. The view from the thanpattan gives you jagged and sharp peaks, so sharp that one would never think it was grown up from the bottom but the top. A patch of rock lies ahead with a sound of stream.

Miyar Valley trek

Old-world charm

One descents to find the stream- the source of sound. In half an hour from the bridge one will reach the first day campsite- Gumpa.

Day 4- Trek from Gompa to Base camp

  • Altitude gained: 12805 feet to 13087 feet
  • Distance covered: 17.42 km
  • Average time taken: 10 hours
  • Trail type: Grasslands, mountain streams, boulders
Miyar Valley Trek

Scenic beauty

As you start walking, you will notice the change in colours of the orchids from pink to dark red. The day starts with a small descent and a starts walking beside the miyar river towards the left. From your campsite, Castle Peak and Neverseen Tower lies towards your north. The region makes you wonder whether it gets rain, but behold the Lahaul valley still gets scanty amounts of rain. It is the Spiti side of the valley that doesn’t get monsoons. You will  also see griffons and lammagiers flying around and yaks grazing up in the mountains.

Miyar Valley Trek

Yaks grazing the meadows

As you proceed, you will find peaks with little to no vegetation as you gain altitude. The Miyar river is accompanied by the subtle flow of the tributaries joining from all the surrounding peaks and glaciers. An hour from gumpa, the trail gets rocky and and one could see beautiful horses grazing the grasslands. All the way upto zurdong-the lunch point, the mighty peaks of castle will keep one fascinated that how it is possible to have so many varieties of peaks in one frame.

There are rock mountains, mountains with little vegetation, with snow, with glaciers, rivers and flowers. One might even hear water flowing underneath the path but not able to see it and one will also so water dripping from grass to your right. However, the water sources in the day's trail is not suitable for drinking.

Miyar valley Trek

En route to Base camp

Cross a small stream to reach a rocky patch after which the meadows start with huge boulders far ahead which is a dreamland for people who are into bouldering. It is quite evident why this valley features in every climber's bucket list.The view boasts huge rock phases of castle peak. Here, a pass called pimple pass lies to your north and it leads to Pangi.

After Zurdong, you will traverse a path that is really close to the Miyar river and one will find several water sources that join the river. What makes today’s trail different is that the castle peak at 16,240 feet is clearly visible from the bottom and not just at the top. There are multiple ways to trek in miyar valley as there is no well-marked path to reach the base camp but it is always better to stick to one route as it is better for the flora and also because the day's trail is slushy beneath the grass.

After about 9.6 km from Gumpa and 2.6 km from Zurdong , you will start to notice the change in flora and also the fact that the naked peaks are so upright that snow doesn’t stay on it. Like beauty, the grade of the trek also lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Miyar Valley Trek

View of Castle Peak

It's highly likely that you will spot Dzo (male hybrid between yaks and cattle) and cows all the way upto the base camp.  The noise of the river gets muffled when there is a rock between you and the river and at the next turn the noise comes back. About one and half hour away from Zurdong, another wide valley opens up boasting a number of small snow cladded peaks to one’s left followed by small patches of boulders. You will find huge cairns placed to mark the way. The clouds pass so low that the shadow falls on the mountains just enough for a perfect time lapse video. The trail takes you to a small bridge followed by stone sections along with fragrant orchids and blue poppy.

The topography of the river is such that you will hear the rumbling noise of the river echoed from the other side of the mountains . The sound is so loud that one might mistake it with a moving glacier or a boeing 777 . After reaching the base of castle peak, brace yourself for an exciting phase. Today, you will be crossing ten mountain streams en route to the base camp. Remove your footwear and cross the streams, it will take about 45 minutes to complete the crossover. The stream water is so cold that it will take some time to feel your toes after the crossing. You might think that it is easy to cross from the top of the stream where there is only one stream to cross but the force of the water coming directly from the glacier is so fierce that a single mistake could lead to a major injury. Walk for another 20 minutes to reach the base camp. The trek until the base camp is not a tough one but long, but the trek from the next day is altogether a different game.

Day 5 - Trek from Base Camp to Rock Glacier

  • Altitude gained: 13087 feet to 14599 feet (Chodung Glacier)
  • Distance covered: 10 kms
  • Average time taken: 5 hours
  • Trail type: Moraine, boulders, mountain streams, glaciers and high-altitude lakes

Note: Day Trip to Chodung Glacier is possible if the conditions are safe to traverse (5 km)

From the base camp, a short 2 minute walk will take you to a spot littered with moraine and boulders. Continue to tread this section with care for 20 minutes. You will find a small lake on your right. Continue walking the trail and you will reach the lower end of the glacier. This is the spot where the main tributary of Miyar river originates from. All around this glacier, there are plenty of snow-covered peaks, many of them still unconquered. Some of the most beautiful peaks can be seen from the Chodung valley.

After couple of minutes as one starts walking from the base camp one will reach moraines and boulders. One will see a small lake towards the right after twenty minutes of starting. After 10 minutes from the lake, one reaches the lower end of the glacier where it is clearly visible from where the main tributary of miyar is forming. At any place after the source of the river if one removes the soil or sand , its becomes evident that the whole rock formation lies above the ice glacier. on all sides snow covered peaks abound, many of them still unconquered. Some of the most beautiful and most jagged ones are in chiding valley. After a long walk towards the Chodung glacier, you will head back to the base camp and settle in for the night.

Day 6 - Trek from Base Camp to Gompa

  • Altitude gained: 13087 feet to 12805 feet
  • Distance covered: 17.42 km
  • Average time taken: 10 hours
  • Trail type: Grasslands, mountain streams, boulders

From the base camp, retrace the same trail and head back to Gompa. Alternatively, you can pitch your tent at Thanpattan, subject to weather conditions and your need for rest and recuperation.

Day 7- Trek from Gompa to Khanjar and Drive to Urgos

  • Altitude gained: 12805 feet to 11400 feet
  • Distance covered: 13.7 km
  • Driving distance: 7 km (from Khanjar to Urgos)
  • Average time taken: 8 hours
  • Trail type: Mountain desert areas, meadows, flower shrubs

From Gompa, retrace the same trail back to Khanjar. From Khanjar, you can hire a cab for the drive back to Urgos. Homestays are available at Urgos.

Day 8 - Drive from Urgos to Manali

Driving distance: 200 km

Maps and Chart

Miyar valley Trek

Miyar Valley Map

Whom is this trek meant for?

Miyar Valley Trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. It is ideal for trekkers who want to experience something completely different. This trek is ideal for first-timers who have decent levels of fitness. The types of terrain keep shifting from green meadows to stark desert mountain valleys, huge boulders along river banks, horses and cows grazing the meadows. The best surprise will arrive on Day 5, when you will experience the joy of finding seven high-altitude lakes near your campsite. The trek from Gompa to Base Camp is difficult because of the 10 mountain streams that you have to cross. Hence it's not recommended for children below the age of 15. 

What are the risks involved?

The Miyar Valley Trek itself does not pose any risks. However, since you will be trekking up to an altitude of 14, 599 feet, there are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness which can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. And since the temperature in winter can drop down to around -5 at night, there are chances of hypothermia. To prevent this from happening, put on completely dry clothes especially dry socks, before going to sleep. Even the smallest amount of moisture in your clothes can be harmful and cause sleeplessness.

How Difficult is the Miyar Valley Trek

Mountain Stream Crossing:

The Miyar Valley trek does not pose any serious challenges. The mountain stream crossings are the only sections where you need to exercise caution.

On Day 4, the trek from Gompa to the Base camp is difficult because of the 10 mountain streams that you have to cross. The water of the mountain stream is extremely cold and it's knee high and above in some sections. After the crossover, it will take some time for you to feel your toes. You might think that it is easy to cross from the top of the stream where there is only one stream but the force of the water coming directly from the glacier is so fierce that a single mistake could lead to a major injury. Tread carefully. This trek is not recommended for children below the age of 15.

How to prepare for the trek?

We recommend a fitness regime for the Miyar Valley trek. For those who are unable to jog, regular brisk walking for half an hour will help. Without rains, there are no flowers. Being a monsoon trek, carry a poncho and backpack cover to avoid wet clothes.

Hospital: The nearest decent hospital is at Keeling.

Things to remember: If you want to do this trek independently, the below are some things to remember.

Accommodation at Urgos: Homestays are available at Urgos. The charge of the Homestay at Mentusa is Rs. 400 per room and it can accommodate four people. The homestay has only two toilets. The village doesn’t have attached toilet system.

Food: No reliable source. Kitchen available nearby the the home stay for 800 per month.

Permission and camping fee: Nil

Grocery and vegetables: Grocery has to be bought prior. Potato and peas will be available locally.

How to get fit for the Miyar Valley Trek

Click on the image to view the Video

Miyar Valley is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty.  The types of terrain keep shifting from green meadows to stark desert mountain valleys, huge boulders along river banks, sections filled with moraine and lakes. The best surprise will arrive on Day 5, when you will experience the joy of finding seven high-altitude lakes in the same vicinity as your campsite.

Cardiovascular endurance

You can begin by jogging everyday. From Day 3 to Day 7, you will be covering a trekking distance of 72 kms. This requires decent levels of fitness to walk these long distances comfortably, especially since you'll be trekking at an altitude of over 13,000 feet. 

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

--> Your target is to consistently jog 5 km in 35 minutes.

--> If you are starting your fitness journey, start slow. Initially aim to cover 5 km in 40 minutes. This could be 45-30 days before your trek. Gradually increase your pace while running 4 times a week to reach your target to cover 5 km in 35 mins. You should be able to achieve this pace consistently for 5 days.

--> To build your endurance, jog 20 km in a week and 80-100 km in a month before you begin your trek. A screenshot of your weekly/monthly summary will reflect the endurance and consistency of your workout.

--> If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5 km in 42 minutes, 20 km in a week, and 80 km in a month. 


This is another area you should work on. You will need to build strength in your muscles and in your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your work out.


Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises - stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Working out indoors

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

What to Take on Your Trek

Click on the image to view the Video

The Miyar Valley trek has some difficult sections but they can be managed with some preparation.  Carrying a trekking pole is helpful but not mandatory. 

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: There will be several slippery patches on the trail, and you will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes. You can get Forclaz 600 from Decathlon.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.


  1. Three warm layers: At the campsites, especially the higher ones, the temperature after sundown will drop to around 2-6 degrees. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
  2. Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair. 
  3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms.
  4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.


  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow closer to the lake, so carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. Suncap
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
  8. PonchoWhen it rains, a poncho will cover you from head to your knees and also cover your backpack.


  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. Toiletries: (Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste).
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each.
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox - 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  3. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  4. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  5. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  6. Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  7. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  8. Digene - 10 tablets (acidity)
  9. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  10. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  11. Gauze - 1 small roll
  12. Band aid – 10 strips
  13. Cotton – 1 small roll
  14. ORS – 10 packets
  15. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  16. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

Author: Ajay Nagaraju

This trail was explored and documented by Vyshakh Nair, Trek Leader, Indiahikes.