Difficulty

Moderate | Level 3

Duration

8 Days

Highest Altitude

11,850 ft

Age

8 to 62 years

Duration

8 Days

Age

8 to 62 years

Difficulty

Moderate | Level 3

Highest Altitude

11,850 ft

Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley Trek

The Best Mix of Ancient Culture and Mountain Beauty on a Trek

Trekkers think when it comes to great treks you can’t beat treks like Rupin Pass or Buran Ghati. And when we talk about Har Ki Dun with Ruinsara, they think it is a poor cousin. That’s making a big mistake.

The Har Ki Dun trek with Ruinsara is one of the best complete treks that we have seen.

It has a terrific ancient culture, mountain views, forests, grasslands, meadows, rivers, streams and even an alpine lake. This trail is not difficult on the legs which makes it just the right adventure, especially when compared to other summer treks.

With Ruinsara added to Har Ki Dun, a good trek becomes great. One of the most complete treks that you will possibly do. 

“It’s like doing a whole new trek by just adding two days”, says Arjun Majumdar, our founder.

Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley Videos

Watch these videos to prepare for your Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley trek.

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Quick Itinerary

A trek map of the Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley trek

Day 1

Drive from Dehradun to Kotgaon

Drive Distance: 196 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Grand Legacy Hotel, near Laal Pul, Dehradun or Library Chowk, Mussourie.

Transport will be organised from Hotel Grand Legacy, near Laal Pull, Dehradun at 6.30 AM. Cost of the cab – Rs 6,500 per vehicle for an SUV (shared among 5-6 trekkers) and Rs 10,000 for Tempo Traveller (shared among 11-12 trekkers).

Day 2

Drive from Kotgaon to Taluka. Trek from Taluka to Gangaad

Drive Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours | Trek Distance: 8.50 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,520 ft to 7,667 ft

Flat gradient for first 3 km. After Bhida ka Thatch, it is a gradual ascent and descent all through the trail. You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.

Day 3

Trek from Gangaad to Kalkatiyadhar

Trek Distance: 7.50 km | Trek Duration: 4-5 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,667 ft to 9,960 ft

Easy. Initial descent of 15 minutes followed by a mostly level walk for about 90 minutes. Steep climb for 15 minutes followed by a level walk and boulder section finishing off with a gradually ascending trail. You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.

Day 4

Trek from Kalkatiyadhar to Boslo via Har Ki Dun

Trek Distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 9,960 ft to 10,430 ft via 11,600 ft

Day 5

Trek from Boslo to Swarnadhara

Trek Distance: 6.20 km | Trek Duration: 6-7 hours | Altitude Gain: 10,430 ft to 10,540 ft

Immediate climb after the Boslo campsite later it’s a gradual ascent till the Har Ki Dun. No water source for the initial 4 km. Later, water sources are at regular intervals. One litre of water is sufficient for the day.

Day 6

Trek from Swarnadhara to Devsu Thatch via Ruinsara Valley

Trek Distance: 13.70 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 10,540 ft to 9,930 ft via 11,850 ft

Gradual ascent to the lake. Continuous gradual descent till the river crossing of Devsu. Finally, a steep ascent to reach Devsu. Water sources are regular along the way.

Day 7

Trek from Devsu Thatch to Taluka. Drive back to Kotgaon

Trek Distance: 18.9 km | Trek Duration: 9-10 hours | Altitude Loss: 9,930 ft to 6,520 ft

Continuous gradual descend till Gangaad. After Gangaad, gradual descend till Taluka. Vehicle transfer to Kotgaon. Regular water sources along the trail. Carry sufficient water.

Day 8

Drive back from Kotgaon to Dehradun

Drive Distance: 196 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours | Drop off point for Indiahikes trekkers: Grand Legacy Hotel, near Laal Pull, Dehradun

This transport cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of the cab – Rs.6,500 per vehicle for an SUV, shared among 5-6 trekkers, or Rs.10,000 per vehicle for a Tempo Traveler, shared among 11-12 trekkers.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges.

- On the trek, you will be staying 3 in a tent.

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.

A trek map of the Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley trek

PRO-TIPS

Onward Travel

If you're planning your travel, choose to travel by bus instead of train. They're usually on time compared to trains. If you're travelling by train, choose the Jan Shatabdi Express and reach Dehradun a day before Day 1 of the trek.

Return Travel

While returning, you will reach Dehradun between 6.00 PM and 7.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 9.00 PM from Dehradun. The Nanda Devi Express will suit your schedule well.

Day 1

Drive from Dehradun to Kotgaon

Drive Distance: 196 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Grand Legacy Hotel, near Laal Pul, Dehradun or Library Chowk, Mussourie.

Transport will be organised from Hotel Grand Legacy, near Laal Pull, Dehradun at 6.30 AM. Cost of the cab – Rs 6,500 per vehicle for an SUV (shared among 5-6 trekkers) and Rs 10,000 for Tempo Traveller (shared among 11-12 trekkers).

Day 2

Drive from Kotgaon to Taluka. Trek from Taluka to Gangaad

Drive Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours | Trek Distance: 8.50 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,520 ft to 7,667 ft

Flat gradient for first 3 km. After Bhida ka Thatch, it is a gradual ascent and descent all through the trail. You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.

Day 3

Trek from Gangaad to Kalkatiyadhar

Trek Distance: 7.50 km | Trek Duration: 4-5 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,667 ft to 9,960 ft

Easy. Initial descent of 15 minutes followed by a mostly level walk for about 90 minutes. Steep climb for 15 minutes followed by a level walk and boulder section finishing off with a gradually ascending trail. You can refill your water bottles from the river along the trail.

Day 4

Trek from Kalkatiyadhar to Boslo via Har Ki Dun

Trek Distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 9,960 ft to 10,430 ft via 11,600 ft

Day 5

Trek from Boslo to Swarnadhara

Trek Distance: 6.20 km | Trek Duration: 6-7 hours | Altitude Gain: 10,430 ft to 10,540 ft

Immediate climb after the Boslo campsite later it’s a gradual ascent till the Har Ki Dun. No water source for the initial 4 km. Later, water sources are at regular intervals. One litre of water is sufficient for the day.

Day 6

Trek from Swarnadhara to Devsu Thatch via Ruinsara Valley

Trek Distance: 13.70 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 10,540 ft to 9,930 ft via 11,850 ft

Gradual ascent to the lake. Continuous gradual descent till the river crossing of Devsu. Finally, a steep ascent to reach Devsu. Water sources are regular along the way.

Day 7

Trek from Devsu Thatch to Taluka. Drive back to Kotgaon

Trek Distance: 18.9 km | Trek Duration: 9-10 hours | Altitude Loss: 9,930 ft to 6,520 ft

Continuous gradual descend till Gangaad. After Gangaad, gradual descend till Taluka. Vehicle transfer to Kotgaon. Regular water sources along the trail. Carry sufficient water.

Day 8

Drive back from Kotgaon to Dehradun

Drive Distance: 196 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours | Drop off point for Indiahikes trekkers: Grand Legacy Hotel, near Laal Pull, Dehradun

This transport cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of the cab – Rs.6,500 per vehicle for an SUV, shared among 5-6 trekkers, or Rs.10,000 per vehicle for a Tempo Traveler, shared among 11-12 trekkers.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges.

- On the trek, you will be staying 3 in a tent.

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.

PRO-TIPS

Onward Travel

If you're planning your travel, choose to travel by bus instead of train. They're usually on time compared to trains. If you're travelling by train, choose the Jan Shatabdi Express and reach Dehradun a day before Day 1 of the trek.

Return Travel

While returning, you will reach Dehradun between 6.00 PM and 7.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 9.00 PM from Dehradun. The Nanda Devi Express will suit your schedule well.

The towering Mt Swargarohini during sunrise on the Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley trek.

Picture by: Mohit Dev

Mt Swargarohini

Campsites at a Glance

At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.

Gangaad Homestay with Gangaad village in the background. Picture by the Jothiranjan

The Kalkathiyadhar campsite comes in as a surprise. It is an open meadow set high up the valley. It is covered by the pine forests of Devsu Thatch at the back. Picture by Jothiranjan

Boslo Campsite is one of the most beautiful campsites on the Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley trek. Picture by Jothiranjan

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking.

Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the top treks in our country.

What I Like and Don't Like About Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Valley Trek

What I Like About Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Valley Trek

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking. Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the top treks in our country.

1. The trek from Taluka to Gangad

This is one of the most underrated sections of the trek. In less than five minutes of starting your trek, you find yourself on an undulating trail right beside the Thamsa river. You are constantly under a canopy of fresh green.

Quaint old wooden bridges across the river appear out of nowhere giving you great picture opportunities. You cover miles on this trail without breaking a sweat.

You’ll notice that the coniferous forest gets denser as you go further. The narrow trail snakes through this dense dark forest for a good hour before opening up to the traces of civilization — the ancient village of Gangad.

I am not used to such leafy starts on treks. It was almost like a walk in a picture-perfect pine tree park. I cherished every minute of it.

A pleasing forest walk through tall pine trees. Picture by Jothiranjan

2. The meadows of Kalkatiyadhar

You never hear trekkers talk about any campsite on the Har Ki Dun trek. Like everyone else, I assumed Kalkatiyadhar to either be a small settlement or just beside it.

Quite contrary to my expectations, Kalkatiyadhar turned out to be a vast green meadow. What blew me away was the expanse of the valley. We were in the middle of multi-level cricket-field-sized meadows, set at a vantage height.

To my distant left, the trail climbed towards Swargarohini peaks, which were just peeking on the horizon. To my far right were dense jungles with mountains rising behind them. This was the trail to Ruinsara.

To my right across the river was a meadow set amidst a boundary of pine trees. Behind me, I could trace the trail down to Seema and even see the Kedarkantha summit miles away behind Kotgaon.

Such open settings above 10,000 ft in the mountains with trees, meadows, rivers, and big mountains together in a single frame are not settings you experience in every trek.

Campsite on the meadows of Kalkatiyadhar. Picture by Ujjwal Bala

3. The stories of the ancient villages

A lot has been said everywhere about the ancient villages of Har Ki Dun. You spot these villages from a distance, spread out on the mountainside, with houses almost hanging in the air. I could not wait to climb up to them and see what the interiors looked like.

Spending a night in the village home takes you back hundreds of years. The stories of the village elders and the smiles of the youngsters are something that you want to capture and take back with you.

The villages complete the famed Har Ki Dun experience. On our trek, you get to stay in at least two different villages – Gangad and Osla.

The ancient village of Gangaad in the Har Ki Dun valley. Picture by Jothiranjan

4. Devsu Thatch: The best kept secret of the trek

Devsu Thatch turned out to be the best-kept secret of the entire Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara trail. You hardly see much of this meadow from anywhere else but when inside it. The secret is indeed well wrapped around by pine trees!

I loved the meadows because they flow down from top to bottom for 600 meters and stretch for almost 2 km in length. Flowering bushes border the meadows throughout while tiny colourful flowers grow from the ground almost everywhere in spring.

Being higher than its counterpart Kalkatiyadhar on the other side of the valley, you get the best views of the triangular valley here.

I remember running from one end of the meadow to another in the evening to capture my sunset shots as every corner seemed to offer a different view.

The flawless grasslands of Devsu Thatch is guaranteed to surprise you on the trek. Picture by the Indiahikes Team

5. Har Ki Dun and Ruinsara valleys

Har Ki Dun valley and Ruinsara are the two valleys that this trek celebrates. Very rightfully, these are amongst the most beautiful sections of the trek.

I loved the expanse of the Har Ki Dun valley. The valley has everything going for it. Big snow-clad mountains towering right in front of you. A big river flowing right in the middle. Lovely green meadows stretched far and wide. I could sit there and just take in this scene the whole day.

Ruinsara Valley on the other hand feels like a faraway world. The isolation grips you. It’s just you, the mountains and the lake. Looking at the mountains reflecting in the clear blue lake had a big calming effect on me.

For me, trekking through the picturesque Ruinsara valley was like reaching the pinnacle of a trek even though there was no real summit.

Trekkers climbing up to Ruinsara Valley from Har ki Dun. Picture by the Indiahikes Team

What I Don't Like About Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Valley Trek

1. Just visiting Har Ki Dun becomes monotonous

I loved Har Ki Dun to the full because of the change the Ruinsara Valley route brought in. I am not sure if I would have the same feeling if I had to repeat the first three days of the trek as is on the last three days as per the regular Har Ki Dun trek itinerary.

So my firm advice is to add on an extra day and do the full Ruinsara triangle if the route is open.

Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Valley trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

The day-wise section of Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Valley has been documented in detail by our trekker Shakti Nirmal.

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PRO TIPS

Why Fitness Matters on Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Valley Trek

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On Moderate treks, you walk for about 6-8 km each day. The ascents and descents could get steep. The maximum altitude will range between 13,000 ft to 14,000 ft. You’ll come across tricky patches frequently (like snow or scree), which require you to navigate with a certain amount of caution. There might also be small stream/river crossings.

Your goal is to 5 km with an intention to finish within 35 minutes.

Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll also need to submit your Treadmill Test within 7 days of registration.

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Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Har Ki Dun - Ruinsara Valley

A rare temple dedicated to Duryodhana-King of Kauravas

All along the trek route, in the villages as well as on the trail, you will come across many temples dedicated to the local gods and goddesses. You will learn that the people here deeply revere the Mahabharata. But what will take you completely by surprise is that they not only worship the Pandavas, but they also pray to the Kauravas! 

While trekking to Osla, you come across a shrine dedicated entirely to Duryodhana — the king of the Kauravas, the only other known temple being Poruvazhy Peruviruthy Malanada located in Kerala.  

Ancient architecture and carvings

The beauty begins right at Kotgaon, Indiahikes’ base camp for the Har Ki Dun trek. Kotgaon has ancient wooden houses, some dating back to even 300 years. The houses are built of wood and stone. You’ll notice smooth carvings of flowers, leaves, and sometimes tigers on the façade and the pillars. Run your hand over them. It’s an ancient art. Smell it and you will inhale the sweet woody fragrance of Deodar. It is a strong-hardy specimen, perfect for building sturdy homes.

Silver Oak

The silver oak, as the name suggests, assumes a subtle hue of silver at the touch of the sunbeams. Several leaves will be strewn on the ground. When observed closely, one face of the leaf will be coloured a lush green while the other a pale white that shines under sun and water.

Gangaad

Gangaad is an ancient hamlet with a primary school and a temple of Someshwar Maharaj. The temple only remains open in a certain season since the residents believe that the Gods move from one temple to another through different seasons. One of the practices they perform has to do with the sacrificial goat. Every time an individual is leaving the village in pursuit of better prospects and opportunities or when a special occasion arises, a goat is sacrificed and cooked, which is then shared among all the villagers.

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

Available Dates