Ranthan Kharak Trek

Discover the hidden clearings of Kumaon

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TREK DIFFCULTY

Moderate

TREK DURATION

7 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

12,887 ft

Discover the hidden clearings of Kumaon

Trekking in Uttarakhand is synonymous with trekking in Gharwal. Yet, unknown to most, the neighbouring Kumaon has stunning mountains, magnificent forests, undulating meadows, and vast clearings. Kumaon is largely unexplored and has received little attention. Kumaon's Ranthan Kharak Trek is just one of many undiscovered trekking gems.

Let’s begin by celebrating the big mountains. On this trek, you see India's highest peak, Nanda Devi, and its sister peak, Sunanda Devi (also known as Nanda Devi East). We can see the sun rise over these two formidable peaks from our Chophu camp. On our right, sticking out of the clouds, is the impressive, jagged peak of Nanda Kot. 

Even though Mt. Dangthal is not as tall as these mountains, being closer, it dominates our view. On the far east, we have Mt. Mrigthuni towering over the landscape. On the west, the five magnificent Panchachuli peaks stand out from the Ranthan Kharak ridge. 

But there is more to Ranthan Kharak.

The forests are exceptionally dense and deep. Flora and fauna enchant every moment. The trees and birds in the virgin forests are just as diverse as the ones we see on our Goechala Trek.

Kharak means “clearings” in the local language. On this trek, there are some stunning clearings to trek through. In two such clearings, we set up camp! You don't get to camp in such settings every day. Frankly, we find the clearings on the Ranthan Kharak trek more beautiful than those on the Kedarkantha.  

The trek transforms into an exciting ascent as we continue up the ridge towards the Ranthan peak. Large mountains flank us on either side of the ridge. The famous mountain ranges of Gharwal and Kumaon reveal themselves. The ridge itself, winding in and out of the folds of the mountains, gives the impression that we are riding an escalator to the summits. On either side of the ridge, the valley drops off into invisibility into rolling hills. It is an exhilarating experience. 

Ranthan Kharak Trek is a gem in the Kumaon Himalayas that our trekking community still needs to discover. It is a rare opportunity that you must not let go of. 

Our trek leader, Alveera Ansari, who has led more than 40 treks, came back from her first group of Ranthan Kharak recently. Here's her take on the trek:

"I'm back from Ranthan Kharak trek and I'm so glad that I was able to witness this trek ! What a beautiful trek Suhas and Nitesh have explored. 🤍

We definitely need to spread word about this beauty. This trek can really beat many treks in garhwal region.

Be it a forest section, small stream cross, kharak, meadow walk, push towards Thal tok, Balchan kund ( ladies can go towards the kund, only during yatra and Pooja, ladies are not going , so no restriction to women trekkers we had ) , view of Mt. Nanda Devi !, summit push, luckily we got hail as well 😅

And you know what, we spotted 3 yellow Martin while returning frm Parava thor. We saw it near Bhopal ji ( guides ) home before entering Naamik village. They were really cute ! They remained me of Red panda of Sandakphu.

Really, Ranthan Kharak is way more beautiful than I expected it to be."

Trekking in Uttarakhand is synonymous with trekking in Gharwal. Yet, unknown to most, the neighbouring Kumaon has stunning mountains, magnificent forests, undulating meadows, and vast clearings. Kumaon is largely unexplored and has received little attention. Kumaon's Ranthan Kharak Trek is just one of many undiscovered trekking gems.

Let’s begin by celebrating the big mountains. On this trek, you see India's highest peak, Nanda Devi, and its sister peak, Sunanda Devi (also known as Nanda Devi East). We can see the sun rise over these two formidable peaks from our Chophu camp. On our right, sticking out of the clouds, is the impressive, jagged peak of Nanda Kot. 

Watch these videos to get a glimpse of the trek

About the Ranthan Kharak Trek
Hear from our trekkers themselves!

Ranthan Kharak - Complete Trek Information

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 Ranthan Kharak 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 these extremely useful.

Expert Speak

Suhas Saya

Head, DIY Team

Suhas Saya

Head, DIY Team

Suhas is the head of the DIY and Documentation Team. He has been working at Indiahikes for the past 6 years. Nature, adventure, and wildlife are the top things that get his heart racing. He has done more than 12 Himalayan treks - a few of them are Roopkund, Kuari Pass, Dayara Bugyal, Buran Ghati, Kashmir Great Lakes, and Warwan Valley. He has done a few explorations in the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and around Bengaluru. And it was he who explored this grand Phulara Ridge trek. Suhas was also involved in the exploration of this trek of Ranthan Kharak.

Highlights on the Ranthan Kharak Trek

What I Like About Ranthan Kharak Trek

Suhas Saya

Head, DIY Team

Suhas is the head of the DIY and Documentation Team. He has been working at Indiahikes for the past 6 years. Nature, adventure, and wildlife are the top things that get his heart racing. He has done more than 12 Himalayan treks - a few of them are Roopkund, Kuari Pass, Dayara Bugyal, Buran Ghati, Kashmir Great Lakes, and Warwan Valley. He has done a few explorations in the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and around Bengaluru. And it was he who explored this grand Phulara Ridge trek. Suhas was also involved in the exploration of this trek of Ranthan Kharak.

1. Clearings on the Ranthan Kharak Trek

There are many treks where you get clearings in the forest areas. And then you have you Kharaks as the locals call these clearings on this trek. These clearings are huge compared to other treks in Uttarakhand! 

It is like two or three undulating football fields together and surrounded by forest sections. These clearings or Kharaks are massive.

The clearings in the forest section are so pretty that the camping experience itself is something that you can go for.

The stunning setting of the Kharaks on the trek. Photo by Indiahikes trekker

2. Combination of Ridges and Ledges

The Ranthan Kharak trek has a unique amalgamation of trekking on the ridges and ledges. Once you cross the clearings, you enter into a series of climbs involving these two geographical features. This goes on for multiple hours. 

These ledges take the climb into gateways of multiple tops ranging from Thal Tok, Chophu Top and then finally to Ranthan Kharak.

If you follow the trail from the ridge and take the trail, you will end up at Nanda Kund which makes this extended trek a moderate-difficult one.

Trekking on the ridge and ledge are a jaw dropping experience. Photo by Nitesh Kumar

3. Forests on the Ranthan Kharak

The forests of Ranthan Kharak are another highlight that makes your knees go weak. The forest is a mix of oak trees, maple, and pine. A majority of sections are also covered with different types of rhododendron trees.

Trekking during the months of Spring, Summer or Autumn is a delight for any trekker who has a special corner for forest sections.

Trekking through the forest sections of the Ranthan Kharak trek is a delight for any kind of trekkers. Photo by Nitesh Kumar

4. Birdlife on the secluded trails

The final highlight which adds a cherry on the cake is the birdlife you witness on the delightful trails throughout the trek. Along with the sounds of these beautiful chirping birds, you also get to see colourful birds swooping across the forests or at the clearings.

When the exploration team came back from the trek, they had the excitement to share about this trek giving a very close competition to our Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek, which is another trek known for birdlife.

A compilation of a few birds captured on camera during our exploration. Captured by Indiahikes trekkers.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

If you are unable to complete a trek, or if you love a trek, you can repeat it with us anytime. You don’t have to pay us for it. See our thoughts behind this here.

Daily 3-time health checks keep you safe at any altitude

Our thrice-a-day oxi-metre checks keep altitude sickness at bay, never allowing you to reach a point where you need evacuation.

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

With around 30% of our trekkers being women, all women, including those travelling solo are comfortable to join any of our groups.

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

Our kitchen teams understand your needs as a vegan (or a Jain). We will take special care of your food, even in the remote Himalayas. 

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

We have specially designed bio toilets to ensure you have no sight or smell in toilets, at the same time making sure the toilets cause no harm to the fragile ecosystem we trek in.

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

We’ll admit it. Our love for food surpasses our love for minimalism. Expect freshly cooked, multi-cuisine food at all camps, designed to meet your nutritional requirements and keep your taste buds happy!