How To Choose Your First Himalayan Trek

Having observed trekkers for over a decade, we find that around 60% of our trekkers are usually confused about how to choose a Himalayan trek. 

The other 40% have usually heard about a certain trek from their friends and have already made up their minds about which trek to do. 

So how do you choose a Himalayan trek and time it right?

To begin with, there are two possible cases here. 

  1. You have holidays in a certain month and need to choose a trek.
  2. You already have a trek in mind, you need to choose the best time to do it. 

Let’s examine each case. 

Case 1: You have holidays in a certain month and you want to choose a Himalayan trek

In this case, your first task is to zero down on a month during which you want to trek. If you’ve already done this, great. 

Your second aim here is to choose a trek which is at its best in that month

Each trek has a certain season during which it is at its best. 

For example, the Rupin Pass Trek is at its best in the months of May, June, Sept and October. That’s why we run it only in these months.

On the other hand, treks like Kedarkantha and Brahmatal are great treks almost 9 months in a year. They are constantly transforming. You see snow in winter. Flowers in spring. Greenery in summer. Striking mountain views in autumn. They’re beautiful in different ways in every season.

So choose a trek depending on which month you want to trek in, and the difficulty level you’re comfortable with. For this you need to read the trek page of that trek to understand it in detail. Every trek of ours has a separate trek page. 

We write in detail about what is good about the trek, when is it at its best, when must you go. However, for the best time to do the trek you will get your answers within the first few minutes of getting to the trek page, usually within the first fold. You really do not have to go looking deep.

Rupin Pass - Upper Waterfall - Indiahikes
On the way to trail to the Upper Waterfall on the Rupin Pass Trek. Picture by Vishwas Krishnamurthy

Case 2: You have already chosen a Himalayan trek, now you need to find the best time to do it

If you already have a trek in mind, then it’s a lot easier for you. Just choose the best time of the year to do the trek and go for it. 

Now I must be straight with you here. You cannot always expect your favourite trek and the best time to do it to fall in neatly. Sometimes the best time to do the trek may not match your holiday plans. 

If you ever come to that situation, always put the best time to do the trek over any other criteria, even office leaves or annual holidays. A trek is a lifetime experience. You want to get the best out of it. You need to do the trek when it is at its best. 

View from Kedarkantha Summit - Indiahikes
The Kedarkantha Trek is an evergreen trek you can do almost throughout the year. Each season the trek wears different colours. Picture by Vivek HJ

To make life easier for you, I’ve made a calendar of treks Himalayan treks for you to choose from

It gives you an idea of the best treks to do each month. They are sorted by their difficulty levels. 

If you’re a beginner, the easy-moderate treks will suit you well. If you’re very fit, you could also choose one of the moderate treks

For the moderate-difficult treks, you ideally need prior high altitude trek experience. That will help you enjoy the trek better. But you can also attempt them as your first trek if you have a strict fitness routine.

For the difficult treks, prior experience is definitely required. 

We also have weekend treks in the Himalayas. These are great for a quick break without disturbing your office schedule. They are capsule versions of our big Himalayan treks. I agree you do not get everything, but they are surprisingly great for a weekend. 

Note that most of the treks on our website are doable by a fit person, whatever be the grading. Having said that, all treks need physical preparation for at least a month, even those labelled “easy.”

So here it is, our calendar of treks. These are the best treks in India. These are carefully shortlisted treks based on our experience of trekking in the Himalayas extensively. 

We are very particular that every trek that we run must give a trekker a well-rounded experience of the Himalayas. It must have variety — forests, meadows, lovely mountain views, a gratifying climb, and a “wow” factor.

Click on the name of any trek and it will lead you to the trek page with details. 

Calendar of the best Himalayan Treks To Choose Per Month

[ninja_tables id=”76384″]

 

Trek trivia: Most people believe the tallest mountain in India is the Kanchenjunga at 8,586m (28,170 ft). But did you know that the base of Kanchenjunga is not completely in India? The tallest mountain with it’s entire base in India, is Mt Nanda Devi, at 7,816 m (25,640 ft). Mt Nanda Devi is in Uttarakhand. You get the best views of Mt Nanda Devi from our Kuari Pass trek. 

 

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47 thoughts on “How To Choose Your First Himalayan Trek

  1. Hi, I am planning my first trek sometime this Nov/Dec. Would be interested to know if Deoriatal/Chandratal would be a good option? kuari pass seems like a lot of snow (from the pics). Is it same for Deoriatal?

    1. Hi Ishani, the Kuari Pass trek shows winter photos. In November, there is usually no snow on any of these treks that climb to the 12,000 ft mark. But they make for terrific early winter treks – both Kuari Pass and Deoriatal. If you are looking for the thrill of a summit climb, go for Chandrashila. However, if you are looking for views of India’s big mountains and up close, then Kuari Pass is the trek to do at this time of the year.

  2. For the first timers , although many people opt for easy or moderate ones but why not the difficult one on the first trip only? If your body is fit and fine why not taste the endurance of the difficult one ?
    Because until or unless u haven’t test your body you can’t decide
    Views pls regarding this opinion

    1. Hi Sushant, if you’re fit, you may, by all means, go for a difficult trek as your first one. But you will not have the knowledge and learning that you get from your first easier Himalayan trek, which is extremely useful on a difficult trek. For instance, it’s better to understand your capability of handling extreme temperatures on a shorter, easier trek than getting into a long one and suffering with too few or too many layers. There are several little things like this that you learn on your first trek.

      Besides, you will definitely appreciate a difficult trek more once you have done an easy one. I wouldn’t recommend Rupin Pass, Pin Bhaba Pass or Kashmir Great Lakes to anyone as their first trek, no matter how fit they are. To be able to appreciate the extent of the grandeur of these treks, it’s imperative to experience something slightly less grand before.

  3. Hi Swathi

    I am interested in Brahmatal Trek in Dec which is scheduled from 22nd to 27th.But the batch is full.Is there any chance that I can join that batch if any one cancels in the last moment.

    Kindly let me know regarding this.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Mamta, Brahmatal is a great winter trek. But if batches are full, there are not likely to be too many cancellations. There might be last minute cancellations but that wouldn’t be conducive for you if you have to book your travel. I would suggest picking another date or perhaps going for the Dayara Bugyal or Kuari Pass treks during the same time.

  4. I want to do Deoriatal or Har ki Doon trek in April 2018. Kindly suggest preparedness in terms of equipments and physical fitness.

    1. Hey Vivek
      The Deoriatal trek has one very long of day of trekking. You will be required to cover about 14 km in one day which requires a good amount of fitness. For both these treks, try and aim at completing a 5 km run in less than 40 minutes. You can rent trek pole, trekking shoes and padded jacket from Indiahikes for both these treks. You can get the details for this over here – https://www.store.indiahikes.com/collections/rentals

      1. Hi,
        For someone who hasn’t done any single day treks, are these weekly treks suitable or good to start with? If not, do you have shorter treks as well?

        1. The easy-moderate treks out of our week-long treks would suit beginners. We also have weekend treks in the Himalayas to Nag Tibba, Deoban and Sainj Valley. You could go for those as well.

          You’ll find information about it here:
          Nag Tibba – https://www.indiahikes.com/nag-tibba/
          Deoban Weekend Trek – https://www.indiahikes.com/deoban-weekend-trek/
          Sainj Valley Trek – https://www.indiahikes.com/sainj-valley-trek

          Choose any of these and you’ll have a good start! 🙂

  5. Hi,

    I’ve been on various treks in South India before, like Kolli Hills and Kumara Parvatha. I run regularly and practice Muay Thai. This is just to give you an idea of my fitness level.

    How difficult or easy would the Buran Ghati be? Would it be more fun to do the Rupin Pass? I’m looking at June-July as a time frame..
    I don’t know when I’d be able to do a Himalayan after that, so I’d like to have a good package of difficulty, scenery, experience, everything in one trek.

    If you have a third suggestion other than the two I asked about, I’d love to hear it, too! Please help me out with the equipment and other requirements on the one you suggest? Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Abha,
      If you are regular with the fitness routine you’ve mentioned, Buran Ghati will be a good trek for you to go on. In June, you’ll find a lot of snow. The rappel down the snow wall at the pass is a lot of fun 🙂 At the same time, the meadows around Dayara and Litham will be lush green. The trek also has forest trails on the first couple of days. So, it’s a good mix of everything you’d look for in a trek.
      You can find the list of things you need to carry on the trek here.

  6. Hi,
    Can Roopkund be my first high altitude trek. Though I have done some smaller ones like Kheerganga, Parasher Lake, Nag Tibba.
    I am confused between Roopkund, Hampta Paas and Har Ki Dun. And I want to plan somewhere in may. Can you suggest.

    1. Hi Srini,
      Yes, Kashmir Great Lakes can be your first trek if you are fit. Bring your distance up to 5 km regularly before you go on the trek.
      You can go on a course of Diamox once you reach Srinagar, to reduce chances of getting AMS on the trek.

  7. Hey i am planning to do my first trek in the month of may and would wish to see snow. Which of the treks will be a good beginner? Har ki dun/kedarkantha/Gaumukh Tapovan?

    1. Hi Aakash,
      Har ki Dun and Kedarkantha will be good for beginners. However, you will not see any snow on these treks in May. If you are really fit, you could consider Roopkund. If you can wait till June, Bhrigu lake is a good option for beginners and you will also find snow there..
      We would not recommend Gaumukh Tapovan for beginners.

  8. Hi we are beginners and planning for a trek around April 15-30 this year. We have done two 10K runs in 1 hour 20 mins and few small treks (fitness measure). We want to experience snow atleast one day and a mix of landscapes. We are looking at Kuari pass and Kedarkantha. We do not want very easy or difficult ones. We are open to new choices too. Can you help us choose our good fit!

    1. Hi Ramya,
      You are likely to find more snow on the Har ki Dun trek in the second half of April than at Kuari Pass or Kedarkantha. Since Har ki Dun is a valley trek, snow stays here for longer. However, snow keeps melting everyday (there’s usually no fresh snowfall after first week of April) so the earlier you go the better.
      Har ki Dun is neither too easy nor too difficult and fits your requirement for a moderate trek.

  9. Hi Team,
    For a first timer, what you would be suggest? Sandakphu or Roopkund. I want to do the trek in late September or early October.

    1. Hi Krishna,
      Both Sandakphu and Roopkund are good for first time trekkers if you are really fit.
      Which of these two you choose depends on what you would like to see on the trek. Sandakphu gives you distant views of some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mt Everest. Roopkund trek allows you to see big mountains such as Mt Trishul at very close quarters and also get distant views of other mountains of the Garhwal Himalayas.
      Sandakphu will be greener in October compared to Roopkund. The meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal on the Roopkund trek begin to turn brown by end of September.
      Both the treks have some beautiful forest trails.
      Sandakphu has a mix of camping and tea house stay. On the Roopkund trek, you stay in a lodge at the base camp but camp on all other days.

  10. Hi, I am registered for October 2nd half for roopkund trek and am excited to be part of the team and be a memorable one

  11. Hello Team,
    We are looking for an adventurous, very snowy trek (Moderate dfficulty level) having best scenic views in the month of July. Duration will be 3-4 days excluding travel.
    Could somebody please help us? Thanks!

    1. Hi Anil,
      You are unlikely to find too much snow on treks in July. Your best option will be Hampta Pass, where you can might find some snow at the Pass. This is a moderate trek.

  12. I was contemplation between dayara bugyal vs har ki dun in April. Would like a less crowded place. Which one would you suggest. I am flexible on no. of days and fitness is not an issue

    1. If you don’t want to see crowds, then Dayara Bugyal is definitely a better option. Har Ki Dun doesn’t see too much crowd, but April is the peak season for the trek and also the base camp, Sankri is now very crowded. So Dayara Bugyal would make for a better experience right from the base camp. 🙂

    1. Deoriatal-Chandrashila would be our first suggestion. There will be rhododendrons in bloom at that time of the year. And you’ll see a mix of meadows and snow! So choose Deoriatal.
      Your other options would be Dayara Bugyal, Kedarkantha and Brahmatal. Any of these treks are good for first timers. 🙂

  13. Hi,

    I am a beginner and intend to go for my first high altitude trek in the month of May (preferably second or third week). Irrespective of my fitness, I want an ideal trek to learn from the experience which would help me in undertaking more difficult treks in future. I am extremely interested in Har ki dun but the slots are wait listed. Are there any chance I can get a confirmed slot ? Otherwise can you please suggest some good alternative options for beginners in may. Thanks a lot.

    1. Aayog,

      Your enjoyment of a trek can not be ‘irrespective of fitness’. Fitness plays a direct role in your experience of a high altitude trek.

      I would suggest Dayara Bugyal as a first time trek – it is short, easier than some of our other treks, and yet gives you some really nice mountain views. Whichever trek you choose – all the best, and I hope you have a great time!

  14. Hello
    We are a group of 18-20 aged males. Some of us have been to short treks while all of us are physically fit and play football on a regular basis. We are looking forward to The Buran Ghati trek in the month of Mid-June. The trek mentions of it being moderate-difficult. Also, we dont want the trek to be too easy. What would you suggest? Is The Buran Ghati the right choice? We don’t want the trek place to be crowed either.

    1. You’ve made a good choice with Buran Ghati. Even if you didn’t have it on your mind, it is probably what we would have recommended to your team. Go ahead, it isn’t a very easy trek. It is going to be tough and adventurous, especially in May when there’s a lot of snow. You also have to rappel down a snow wall at 15,000 ft. You’ll have a ball! 🙂

  15. Hi IH,

    I am a first time trekker and want to do the trek with my 8 year old daughter. Can you please suggest a trek during Sept-Oct?

  16. Hi
    My 18 year old son wants to do a Himalayan trek. He is physically strong and has no fear of heights. But he has not been trekking . He wants to do trek Everest base camp. Just checking to see if this is something that is advisable and do you offer base camp with shortened duration . Thanks

    1. Hi, we suggest your son first begin with short Himalayan treks like Beas Kund or Bhrigu Lake trek. The pre-requisite for any Himalayan trek is good fitness – stamina and endurance. Our benchmark for that is being able to jog 5 kms in 35 mins. Please note that we are holding a Q&A session on how to introduce children to trekking on our Instagram Story (https://www.instagram.com/indiahikes/) today (Aug 14, 3-4 pm). You may tune into that for more insights 🙂

  17. Hi, IAM planning for a trek in the month of September, with my son, age 24, kindly suggest me which trek is best in the month of September,as we r beginners.

    1. Hi Tulika, yes you can do Sandakphu as your first trek. January is also a good month, but it will be extremely cold. Just make sure you do two things well. 1) Get properly fit for the trek, from at least 2 months in advance. 2) Carry at least 5 warm layers on the trek to keep warm. With these two in place, you’ll have a comfortable trek. 🙂

    1. Hi Riya,

      Yes, Kheerganga is a good first time trek. It is not a difficult trek at all. Many people go here as their first trek.

      Also, May is a good time to go here. It’s warm during the day, cold in the evening. The weather is mostly pleasant, with occasional rains.

      Carry a poncho, and 2 warm layers. You will find plenty of people on the trail as well. You can ask anyone for help or directions and they’ll be able to guide you. 🙂