Top 3 Himalayan Treks To Do In Each Season

If you have to bookmark just one article in our entire website, this would be the one. 

This is a guide to the top 3 Himalayan treks of every season.

This is one of the most exhaustive guides you will ever read. It is the only page on our website (and possibly on the internet) where you’ll find such expert information about the top Himalayan treks to do in each season — we have covered 6 seasons in this exhaustive guide.  

We’re sharing this because we notice many trekkers timing their treks wrong. If you go on a trek in the wrong season, you’re bound to have a terrible (and sometimes dangerous) experience. Like this instance that our founder shares from 2012, when they went to Kashmir Great Lakes in mid-June and ended up having an unsuccessful trek. 

If you time your trek right, however, you’ll do the trek of your life

What you get when you choose the right trek + right season:

Season (Month) Description
Spring (March, April) The only time of the year when the winter snow still lingers, the green meadows start to sprout with wildflowers. Not to forget in many of our treks the Himalayan rhododendrons light up the hillside with fire!
Summer (May, Jun) When the high adventure treks (above 14,000 ft) open up. This is especially a time for treks with most scenic variety and thrills.
Monsoon (Jul, Aug, Mid-Sep) The best season to experience grasslands, flowers and lakes.
Post-Monsoon (Mid-Sep to Mid-Oct) A second chance to do the high adventure treks, as a bonus, this time they’re a notch easier, with lesser snow and crisper skies.
Autumn (Mid-Oct to Nov) THE best time for the clearest mountain views. No other time will give you such squeaky clean views of the Himalayas
Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) If you want to experience snow this is when you time your trek! But not all treks are the same in winter. You need to be careful about your choice.

We’ve made this guide about the top 3 Himalayan Treks to do in each season keeping in mind that you’re a beginner and at moderate fitness levels. We’ve not included our very difficult treks in this list (we have added only one difficult trek that requires only good preparation but no technical skills). 

The treks suggested here are a culmination of a decade long experience of guiding trekkers on their first Himalayan treks. We know what’s good for beginners, and what’s good in every season. 

So without further ado – here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do in each season.

| 3 Best Spring Treks (March, April) 

This is a time of the year when there’s still snow on all treks (till the end of April), and the greenery is just beginning to blossom. It is also a special time because Himalayan rhododendrons bloom at this time of the year. Rhododendrons are what cherry blossoms are to Japan. The entire hillside comes alive in a sweep of colours! If you ask us, this is the most rewarding season for any beginner to go to the Himalayas. Treks are not too strenuous, and they’re incredibly visually rewarding!


Here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do in Spring:

1. Deoriatal-Chandrashila — The trek with the best summit views of Uttarakhand 

On most Himalayan treks, you usually see mountain ranges at a distance. But on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek you see them very close. It is not just a section of Himalayan ranges that you see. You see all the major summits of Western and Eastern Uttarakhand from the summit. By all, we mean all.

You see Nanda Devi, the highest mountain in India. Then, you see Mt Trishul, the first 7,000 meter summit to be climbed by man, Mt Nanda Ghunti, Mt Kamet (the second highest summit in India), Mt Dunagiri, Mt Chaukhamba, Kedar Dome, Kedarnath, Mt Thalaysagar, the Gangotri ranges, and more! It is a 270-degree view of all the tallest mountains in India. Nowhere on a trek that is so easily approachable do you get to see all these summits so close.

The Deoriatal Chandrashila has another attraction in March and April. Amongst all our treks in Uttarakhand, the Deoraital Chandrashila has the most variety of rhododendrons. It’s no surprise that it features high in the list of top 3 Himalayan treks. The entire hillside is on fire! It’s a sight that you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the world. This is hands down our best rhododendron trek.

Click here to know more about the Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


2. Brahmatal – The Trek With Best Views Of Mt Trishul And Mt Nanda Ghunti

This is our co-founder, Sandhya’s favourite trek. When you stand anywhere near the Brahmatal ridge, you get a riveting view of two of the most celebrated mountains in India — Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti. They are extremely close and right in front. You also see the entire Roopkund trail laid out before you — literally a bird’s-eye view. If you don’t know about Roopkund, it is a trek to the mysterious lake at 16,000 feet, where human skeletons from the 9th century AD can still be found. The trek is unfortunately closed, due to government orders. 

Moving on to Brahmatal, it is also the only trek that we have where you get to see two mountain lakes — Bekaltal and Brahmatal. 

Choose this if you want grand mountain views, superb forest experience, and the two mountain lakes. The snow can be here till the mid of April. This is also a trail where you see blooming rhododendron forests in March, April. 

We highly recommend reading our co-founder’s Sandhya Chandrasekharayya’s account of the trek here

 Click here to know more about the Brahmatal Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


3. Sandakphu – Where you see 4 of the tallest summits in the world

This is our trek with the biggest cultural experience. It’s a trek on the border of India and Nepal, constantly weaving in and out of the two countries (feels very international, we tell you!). You get a peek into what the Nepali trekking culture is like. It also gives you views of four of the tallest summits in the world — Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse, Mt Makalu and Mt Kanchenjunga. No other trek gives you that.

Not many trekkers know this, but on this trek, you stay in tea houses for a few days, and you also get the Indiahikes camping experience for 2 days. It’s a great way to get both experiences of comfortable stay and camping in the wilderness. While you get snow on this trek till March end, it is not as much as our Uttarakhand or Himachal treks. 

 Click here to know more about the Sandakphu Phalut Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


| 3 Best Summer Treks (May, June)

Summer has traditionally been the most sought-after season to trek in. This is also the season for very high altitude trekking. Many of our summer treks climb up to around 15,000 ft. It’s one of the few seasons when these high altitude treks are accessible. High altitude treks come with the added thrill of altitude and adventure. You must capitalise on that. 

Here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do in Summer:

1. Buran Ghati – A Grand Buffet Of India’s Greatest Treks

Buran Ghati is by far the most perfect trek we have seen — it has the best parts of India’s greatest treks stitched together in one trek. 

This trek has the prettiest forest sections, two of the most ancient villages on treks, unimaginably beautiful Dayara meadows, and the most thrilling pass crossing at 15,000 feet, where you rappel down a snow wall! It must be the world’s highest rappelling point. It’s an incredible trek for its scenery. It’s no surprise that it’s a favourite at Indiahikes and is featuring high in the summer list of top 3 Himalayan treks.

Click here to know more about the Buran Ghati Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


2. Rupin Pass – A Change In Scenery At Every Turn

If there is a classic favourite trek of India, it has to be the Rupin Pass. This trek is like an orchestra, building up momentum with surprises in scenery every hour or so. With every step, the trek throws up a new vista to see, new scenery to unfold. They come on you quite suddenly.

The surprises begin right from your first day of trekking. When, around 20 minutes into the trail,  you see the Rupin River suddenly make an appearance, fanning out into a wide bed below you. From here, the trail takes you through hanging villages and then quite suddenly, it plunges into a deep gorge! The trail then meanders through a sudden pine forest, glacial meadows, snow bridges, glacial valleys, snow fields and hundreds of waterfalls, including the famous Rupin waterfalls!

It culminates in a thrilling pass-crossing through a narrow snow gully. Climbing the echoing Rupin gully is a highlight. If you’re a fit trekker, then Rupin Pass is one of the best summer treks to do. 

Click here to know more about the Rupin Pass Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


3. Gaumukh-Tapovan – A Trek To The True Source of The River Ganga (and the Base of Mt Shivling) 

Gaumukh Tapovan is one of the oldest treks in the country. It is a trek that fascinates trekkers for multiple reasons. 

The trek takes you to the true source of river Ganga – the Gaumukh glacier. The glacier is gigantic, towering over you, so high that you have to crane your neck to see its top. When you are standing in front of the mouth of the glacier, the magnitude and aura of where you are standing – the birthplace of the lifeline of our country –  strikes you. The mouth of the glacier calves every now and then with giant blocks of ice, the size of cars, breaking away and falling down in a thunderous sound. 

However, one of the biggest reasons why trekkers love this trek is that it takes you right up to the base of Mt Shivling, one of the most beautiful mountains in Indian Himalayas. It stands alone, majestic, with its own towering pyramid. On a clear day when the golden sun sets on Mt Shivling, people kneel down and pray, such is its impact. 

Click here to know more about the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


| 3 Best Monsoon Treks (July, August, Mid-September) 

Many trekkers think that monsoon rains block out all the Himalyan trails. They think all trails might be too slushy and rainy to trek. But that’s not true. It’s absolutely possible to trek in this season. You just have to know which treks to do. Read these pro-tips before going forward.

Here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do in Monsoon:

1. Hampta Pass – One of The Most Dramatic Crossover Treks In The Himalayas

This trek is one of the most dramatic cross over treks that we have. The stark change in scenery between one side of the trek and the other is astounding. 

The drama begins with the first campsite, Jobra, which is at the edge of the forest. The next campsite Jwara is a wildflower meadow at the meeting point of a valley! Then there is fjord-like Balu Ka Gera and the desert oasis of Shea Goru. For a relatively short trek (5 days of trekking), it is chock-full of rapid changes in scenery. These rapid variations got Hampta Pass trek a place in the top 3 Himalayan treks in monsoon.

Then you have the Hampta pass crossing, which is the cherry on top. You leave behind the lush Kullu valley and cross the pass to a different world below: the deserts of Lahaul. From the pass, you see the Lahaul valley and surrounding mountains in one wide panoramic sweep. This is one of the most incredible twists in landscapes you will see!

Click here to know more about the Hampta Pass Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


2. Valley of Flowers – The Grandest Flower Trek of India

Valley of Flowers is a legendary trek. The world knows of it! Many tales have been spun around this valley – usually about trekkers falling unconscious from the heavy scent of flowers on the valley floor. That might sound like an extravagant description, but you would find it difficult to disagree.

The moment you enter the valley, you have a sweeping view of it’s vast expanse covered in a layer of flowers. Flowers, leaves, buds of various shapes, sizes, colours all grow together here.

The blooming of these alpine flowers come in waves. The first set of wildflowers come in the beginning of monsoon in July, and then in August, and then changes in relatively drier September. No wonder this is one of India’s most coveted tourism spots.

Click here to know more about the Valley of Flowers Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


3. Beas Kund – A Wildflower Trek To The Source Of River Beas 

This is a trek we started running only in 2018. And we immediately regretted not having started it earlier. 

The wide valleys on this trek are rare to find, especially on such a short trek. Lush green grasslands flourish below the summits of the three biggest mountains around Manali in Himachal Pradesh. And hidden in these grasslands is the emerald lake out of which the river Beas emerges. In July and August, the trail is lined with wildflowers of different colours. For just a 4 day trek, the trek gives a lot! 

Click here to know more about the Beas Kund Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


| 3 Best Post-Monsoon Treks (Mid-September to Mid-October) 

Just after a monsoon, there’s a small window when our high altitude treks open up again (treks above 14,000 ft). This is a brilliant time to trek because the sky gets clear and sharp. It results in stunning views of mountains. It’s also a good chance for beginners to try out slightly tougher treks, as they become a notch easier without snow.

Here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do post-Monsoon:

1. Har Ki Dun-Ruinsara Tal – A Doorway To Ancient Himalayan Culture

Har Ki Dun is one of the oldest trekking trails in our country. What we’ve noticed is that those who haven’t trekked there don’t know much about it, and those who have been there fall in love with it. 

This is a trek that’s high on culture. You trek through ancient villages, with wooden houses where people still live. The trail also is laced with mythological stories about the Pandavas taking the same trail to heaven. 

Culture aside, the trek is extremely beautiful. It cuts through lovely forests, ancient villages, superb grasslands, and finally gets into the terrific Har-Ki-Dun valley. Getting into the narrow funnel of the valley with its sudden towering mountains is a delight.  

What we like even better is the return via Ruinsara Tal. It is a trek cutting through a great Rhododendron, oak and coniferous forest before opening up to another valley leading to the alpine lake of Ruinsara. The lake surrounded by grasslands and snow lined mountain slopes is a sight for the eye. 

For us, the greatest moment is when we return back from the Ruinsara Tal via Devsu meadows. These large clearings are a hidden paradise that is virtually unknown to most trekkers. Tucked away inside the deep recess of the forests you don’t realise how beautiful and big they are until you are on them. For a moment you can be mistaken to think you are in a very siberian setting.  

The Har-ki-Dun trek along with Ruinsara tal must be on every trekker’s bucket list. 

Click here to know more about the Har Ki Dun – Ruinsara Tal Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.

 


2. Gidara Bugyal – Trekkers’ Best Kept Secret

Gidara Bugyal is an ancient, pristine meadow that is little known in trekking circles. It is one of the largest high altitude meadows in our country. It is larger than Dayara Bugyal. And larger than the twin meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal as well. It takes at least two days to traverse the entire Gidara Bugyal!

Gidara is extremely secluded. There are very few people who have actually trekked in these grand meadows. Which is a pity, given that this is one of the most rewarding treks. Exploring every nook and corner of these splendid meadows takes time. Every undulating mound of grassland opens up to another with a completely different view. There are long ridges to walk on — with sweeping grasslands on either side. 

Having said that, the Gidara Bugyal trek is not an easy trek. It has steep ascents and descents, a ridge walk and long days. So you’ll need to train well to do this trek. 

Click here to know more about the Gidara Bugyal Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.

Gidara Summit Ridge Walk, Himalayan Trek
One of the most beautiful ridge walks in the Himalayas. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

3. Kedartal – Getting into the eye of the needle

This is perhaps the only difficult trek we have included in our list.The reason it makes it to our list is because it is the only one that takes you closest to the big mountains of Uttarakhand — especially of the Gangotri range. It is like getting into the eye of a needle. When you do get there you are stunned by the 360 degree presence of towering mountains at finger distance. 

The trek climbs to the glacial Kedartal lake, which at 16,000 feet, is one of the highest alpine lakes you will trek to in our country. It sits amidst a cauldron of big mountains – Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, Mt Gangotri. 

If you plan to do this trek, then prepare well. It climbs quickly to 16,000 feet. It’s meant only for the fittest of trekkers.

Click here to know more about the Kedartal Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information. 


| 3 Best Treks In Autumn (Mid-October to November) 

This is our personal favourite season to trek in. For quite a few reasons. This is the season to see some mind-blowing colours in the mountains! It’s when all rain clouds disappear, leaving behind a squeaky clean sky with unimaginable views! Further, it marks the onset of winter, so there’s a slight wintry chill in the air. On some trails there are ealy snows too.

Here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do in winter:

1. Phulara Ridge – The Greatest Ridge Trek In Our Country

Phulara Ridge is a rare trek. It is the only ridge trek in our list. A ridge trek connects one mountain top to another forming a long chain. It’s no surprise that Phulara Ridge is now one of our most sought-after autumn treks. The views from this trek are astounding, and they last for hours, especially because of the ridge walk. 

Now, a ridge is a place where two sides of the mountain meet. So the walk on a ridge is almost like one on a knife edge, where there are just flanks of the mountain sloping down from either side of you. To have an entire’s day trek on a ridge is unparalleled. 

The best part is that this trek is not too difficult, it’s suited perfectly for a beginner! So if you’re trekking in autumn, this is THE trek to do.

 Click here to know more about the Phulara Ridge Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


2. Chhattisgarh Jungle Trek – Our Jungle Book Trek 

This is our only non-Himalayan trek, and it’s the rarest trek on our list. Purely because of the jungles. If you have watched the Jungle Book movie, these jungles are like that. In autumn and winter, when the temperature drops, animals move about freely. The jungle comes alive with the sound of birds and calls of animals. You also trek beside a river and camp on its beaches, a rare experience even for experienced trekkers.

What makes the trek special is the omnipresence of wild animals (you do this trek only with forest rangers going along with you). You see animal footprints everywhere. A paw of a leopard, perhaps made half an hour ago. Footmarks of a chinkara. A bear print. Elephants could be around the corner. Chances of wildlife spotting is very high on this trek.

In addition the tribes that you stay with are ancient. They are not likely to be in this region for long. 

Also, the trail is all yours. You’re not likely to see anyone else for 4 days.

 Click here to know more about the Chhattisgarh Jungle Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


3. Khopra Ridge Trek — An Off-beat Nepal Trek That Takes You Close To 22 Big Mountains

When it comes to trekking in Nepal, almost the whole world will tell you to trek to Annapurna Base Camp or Everest Base Camp. But we are telling you otherwise. 

If you’re going to Nepal to see the biggest mountains of the world, then Khopra Ridge is the real deal. It’s another ridge walk special, but in Nepal, which gives you striking views of 22 big mountains of Nepal, including the Annapurna Massif, the Machapuchare Peak and Mt Dhaulagiri. 

On this trek seeing 8,000 meter summits at close range is like everyday business. In autumn, you get the clearest views of these mountains. 

Further on the climb to Khayer Lake at 15,000+ ft is for pure adventure. There is also a secret phenomenon that happens on this trek that leaves trekkers speechless. And it happens twice, one better than the other. From the Muldai viewpoint and again after you return from the Khayar lake, a blanket of clouds flow in the evening descending down to the valley. As the golden sunsets on the eight-thousanders, the sun bounces off the clouds forming an ocean of golden cotton sea. It is a sight that stuns trekkers.

Click here to know more about the Khopra Ridge Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.

Khopra Ridge Trek
On the Khopra Ridge Trek you get stunning view of Mt Machapuchare. Picture by Krunal Patel

| 3 Best Treks In Winter (December, January, February) 

Many people assume winter to be a short season lasting through December and maybe a little bit of January. But winter starts from December and lasts all the way till the end of February, and even stretches into the first two weeks of March.

This is the best time to trek and camp in snow, experience the adventure of staying in -5 and -10 degrees. It’s also one of the clearest seasons in the year, where you get astounding views of the mountains around, against a completely white backdrop. Time your trek well, and you’ll get to see the best of winter in the Himalayas!

Here are the top 3 Himalayan treks to do in Winter :

1. Kedarkantha – One Of The Finest Summit Climbs For Beginners

Many people assume winter to be a short season lasting through December and maybe a little bit of January. But winter starts from December and lasts all the way till the end of February, and even stretches into the first two weeks of March.

This is the best time to trek and camp in snow, experience the adventure of staying in -5 and -10 degrees. It’s also one of the clearest seasons in the year, where you get astounding views of the mountains around, against a completely white backdrop. Time your trek well, and you’ll get to see the best of winter in the Himalayas!

Click here to know more about the Kedarkantha Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.


2. Mukta Top – Our most secluded winter trek

After the most popular trek, let’s talk about the most secluded trek. If you’re looking specifically to get away from crowds, pick this one. Rarely do we come across a spectacular trek that has enchanting forests, meadows, superb mountain views and a very satisfying summit climb. Minus the thick winter crowd.

Our trekkers have loved the variety in the trek — especially the variety in the forests.

Click here to know more about the Mukta Top Trek’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information

Mukta Top Trek in winter,
From the Mukta Top summit you get a 360 degree view of the majestic Himalayas. Picture by Leo Saldanha

3. Dayara Bugyal – The Perfect Himalayan Trek For Families

The last trek I’m talking about today is the Dayara Bugyal Trek. At any time of the year, this is the trek I would recommend to all beginners. 

Dayara Bugyal has all the elements of a perfect Himalayan trek: superb forests, beautiful campsites, ancient villages, thrilling climbs to high points, wonderful mountain views and one of the best alpine meadows of Uttarakhand. These meadows are completely blanketed in snow in winter. All of this in an easy-moderate trek — a gift we rarely see.

In winter, the meadows and forest floor lie asleep under the powdery snow. This makes it an all-season trek. With so much going for it, Dayara Bugyal is the perfect trek to try out as a beginner or take your family along.

Click here to know more about the Dayara Bugyal Trel’s itinerary, price, dates and other important information.

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9 thoughts on “Top 3 Himalayan Treks To Do In Each Season

  1. Thanks Swathi. Always good to know the best time to do the trek . More than that , it was pure joy just to traverse through the mountain trails by reading about them. Especially this month of May has been dampening as my usual sojourn to the mountains could not happen.
    Thanks a ton . Relived some beautiful moments .

  2. Superb classification according to season. All treks through out the years very well described. Very very informative stuff. Thank you so much Swathi. Keep sending…

  3. Awesome.. with this plan, i can go for trek without disturbing you people for atleast next 5 years..

  4. Thanks a lot Swathi. Although I miss the actual treks due to current restrictions, your posts keep the mountains alive in my thoughts. Waiting patiently to get back on the slopes. On the brighter side this is an excellent opportunity to work on your fitness while you wait.

  5. This is just amazing. Looking forward for the things to get better, so that I can start with the trek.

  6. At this time of lock down this article is taking us into the memory lane when we have trekked with India hikes. But it is also igniting the burning desire to move out into Himalayas when this lockdown would end. But uncertainty over lockdown and the restrictions on the way we would start living in post COVID era, I fear if we would be able to trek this year ?