5 Best Himalayan Treks for Children

I got introduced to the trekking world a little late in life. However, every time I take children out on treks as part of our Hiking Club, I wish I had gotten introduced to trekking much earlier.

With the many batches of school children we took on treks, I noticed discernible changes in them. The boost in confidence they got after crossing tricky sections was pronounced! Not to mention, the bond that formed with team work was outstanding!

I believe every child should trek. A Himalayan trek would make these changes much stronger in a child.  Here, I’ve jotted down the best Himalayan treks for children.  These treks are spread throughout the year – some are best done in winter and some in summer, so plan accordingly.

 

Deoriatal-Chandrashila

Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek-Bhrujgali Camp Site-Indiahikes
The Bhrujgali Camp Site PC: Ajit Hota

deoriatal-chandrahsilaThis all-season trail is, without a doubt, the best trek for children. It has got so many things going on: dense forest trails teeming with a host of birds, grand meadows at Rohini Bugyal and a superb summit climb. And what a grand summit it is! From Chandrashila, you get to see the tallest mountains of India, starting from the Garhwal to the Kumaon ranges! TThe sense of achievement and reward your child will feel after a hard day’s trek to this summit is unparalleled! Since this trek is less likely to tire children out, their capacity to absorb information is more. You can teach them to spot and recognise birds and to identify mountain peaks. Deoriatal-Chandrashila is a well rounded holistic trek experience for your child.

 

Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha trek-Indiahikes
A trekker and his children testing the frozen waters of Juda Ka Talab on the Kedarkantha trek. PC: Praveen


kedarkantha-Indiahikes
This winter trek boasts of the best camping experience your child will have. All the campsites of Kedarkantha are in snowy clearings. Camping teaches your child to be self-sufficient and open up to new life experiences. Collecting dead wood for fire, learning to cook, learning the significance of mountains, talking to the locals and other trekkers will broaden their perspective. Children return from the trek with newly gained confidence, independence and a healthy respect for nature. Your child can also take collectibles from this trek: the forest floors have plenty of pine cones!

 

Bhrigu Lake

Bhrigu Lake trek Indiahikes
A trekker rides a swing on the way to the Bhrigu Lake Basecamp. PC: Nikita Bhatia

bhrigu-lake-IndiahikesIf you ask me, instead of a trip to Manali, just go a few kilometres beyond and go to Bhrigu Lake. It is a quick trek that offers children the best aspects of a full-fledged Himalayan trek. The vast grasslands with benign horses, a challenging climb to the lake, apple orchards of old Kullu, hot springs of Vashisht and a forget-me-not blue lake; all of this in just 3 days of the trekking. The vistas of Lahaul, Pir Panjal and Dhalaudhar mountain ranges from Bhrigu Lake. Among the treks mentioned here, the altitude reached on this trek is the highest: 14,000 ft. Since the climb to Bhrigu is stiff, your child will learn to listen to their bodies as they push themselves to move forward. It serves as a perfect introduction to high altitude trekking.

 

Kuari Pass

Kuari Pass-Indiahikes
Trekking through the Gorson Bugyal with stunning views ahead itself is reason enough to go to Kuari Pass. PC: Sandhya Uc

kuari-pass-IndiahikesWith the best views of Nanda Devi right from the ski slopes of Auli, this trek is a must do for your child! The gradients are easy and the views are magnificent: views of Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Neelkanth, Hathi Parvat, Ghoda Parvat, Chaukhamba, Duna Giri and Nanda Devi from Gorson Bugyal are so clear that children often stretch their arms out to touch these mountains. If views are judged solely on basis of the number of peaks, then Kuari pass stands as one among the best. The trail also has a magical oak forests at Chitrakantha and high altitude meadows at Gorson Bugyal.

 

Har ki Dun

har ki dun - Har Ki Dun campsite
PC: Raghu Srinivasa

har ki dun-IndiahikesHar Ki Dun is a classic valley trail. In fact, Jack Gibson a British mountaineer and teacher at Doon School discovered this valley and fell in love with it. Consequently, he took his students to Har Ki Dun for field trips. It isn’t hard to imagine why this trek would make for a great first trek for children.  A valley walk beside the gurgling Supin river, the trail takes them through villages and let’s them absorb rural life. This trek helps them experience local culture in close proximity: the unusual architecture, the clothes they wear, the water-powered turbine to ground flour, and the belief Pandavas once walked on this trail to ascend to heaven.

Do note, I have selected these treks keeping in mind the endurance capacity of children. While children seem to be infinite bundles of energy, they cannot sustain it for long stretches of time. Taking them on tougher treks would exhaust them and that defeats the very purpose of outdoor learning.

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Aswati Anand

Aswati Anand is a journalist in love with the Himalayas. She is interested in stories of resilience from difficult terrains and sustainable living. When not mooning over the mountains, she can be seen doodling in her sketchbook.

48 thoughts on “5 Best Himalayan Treks for Children

  1. Hi Aswati, really loved your article. looking for suitable trek for my son age 12. This will be our first actual trekking experience. I want him to get a fill of it before we proceed to more serious treks in future.
    Gayatri

    1. Hi Gayatri, I am so glad to know you will be taking your son out on a trek. Instil the love for the mountains and outdoors early, I say! 🙂
      Which month are you planning to go? Frankly, he can do all of these- so the season you go in would be the deciding factor.

    1. I did it with my daughter when she was less than ten. I am surprised that IH classifies it as tough. It is one of the easiest treks in India perhaps. I have done it three times. The last day is a little back breaking but you are always on a very well defined trail. So if you are slow and steady you will be just fine. I hope it is not a dampener for you but 4-wheel drive vehicles regularly go to Sandakphu !!! And you are more or less on the same trail unless you take the short cuts.

  2. Hi Aswati I just wanted to know for above treks do parents need to accompany the child or indiahike arranges seperate treks for teens

    1. Hi Rasika, we don’t have separate treks for teens. However, if your child is old enough, he/she can come to trek with us on his own. It will be an enriching experience. This is entirely the parent’s call. 🙂

  3. I had taken my daughter (who is particularly underweight) to Sandakphu when she was less than 10 years old. She did just fine and enjoyed it thoroughly. I have seen many parents taking their children on this route who are even younger. Her classmate went on Annapurna Base Camp at age 11.
    I think any trek that does not require any climbing or risky sections is fine for children.
    In most cases children do much better than their parents when it comes to physical fitness. The only challenge is to keep them motivated during day long hikes. They often ask, “how long? how much more?” That does not necessarily mean they physically cannot do it. They ask the same question while riding the whole day in a car also. It just means they are bored and do not understand why they should walk for the whole day to see mountains everywhere. All children may not have the same passion for staying away from the concrete jungles that we adults have. This can be overcome if there are other children in the group.
    One thing is for sure – no matter how much they hate walking during the trek, they sure know how to brag about their treks 🙂

    1. Well said Mr. Roy.
      we are planning to take a family trek with our daughter this Sept/Oct. She will be exactly 10 years old by then.
      Any suggestion which one would be the best for the beginners (all of us)?
      Thanks.

  4. Hi, thanks for the great advise. Looking to do Bhrigu Lake trek with my 10 year old girl in Sept (end) / early Oct. She has done the 2-day Nag Tibba trek earlier this year. It wasn’t particularly easy but manageable. Any thoughts on how easy / difficult Bhrigu Lake trek is compared to Nag Tibba.

    Thanks.

    1. Hello Charu you can most certainly take your daughter on the Bhrigu Lake trek. The meadows, the forests and the Bhrigu Lake itself will be quite an experience for you and your daughter.

  5. hi
    Looking for a Easy Trek for myself, mywife and My son of 7 Years Old,
    Can plan 5-6 Days any where across India,
    I am from Bangalore
    Dates Prefered Sep 23rd to Oct 2nd
    Pls let me know how we can plan and join some group of urs

    1. Hello Hitesh
      I would suggest you go for the Kuari Pass trek. It is highly recommended for both beginners and kids.

  6. Hi,

    My name is Shalini . I wish to take my son for trekking in his Autumn holidays which start from 26th of september till the 2nd of october. He is 13 years old. Do you have anything planned during this time ?
    Awaiting your kind response.
    Regards
    Shalini

  7. Hi
    I want to take my 8 year old son for a trek. This is going to be in March end this year. We particularly are no so comfortable with very cold weather. It’s our first time. What will u suggest?

    1. Hi Aditi,
      In March end, you can go on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek. You will get wonderful views from the summit and the forests on the trail will be colourful with rhododendrons blooming in this season.
      Chopta is the highest campsite on this trek at 8,790 ft and doesn’t get as cold as treks where there are camps that are higher than this. However, go prepared to face night time temperatures of below zero degrees celsius at Chopta in March and windy weather during the summit climb.

  8. Hi Aditi,
    I’m planning to take my kids (14 and 12) on their first long trek. They have done 1 day treks and are reasonably fit. We are thinking of late April.

    How is Deorital – Chandrashila during this time in terms of weather ? The best seasons seem to be winter / spring / autumn. We’d like comfortable weather for the most part (not too warm/sweaty) and being able to see snow capped peaks will be great.

    Thanks,
    Anil

    1. Hi Bhuvan,
      Deoriatal-Chandrashila will be a good trek to do with your children in April. The weather will be good, though Sari, the base camp, will be a little warm in the day (around 18 degrees celsius).
      If you are flexible in terms of date, try going in early April – the rhododendron forests on the trail bloom at this time, making it very vibrant and colourful. The Chaukhamba peaks will be visible from Deoriatal. When you climb to Chandrashila summit, you will get a panoramic view of snow capped mountains of the Garhwal.

      1. Thanks Sneha,

        I can only do after the 20th of April. Would you recommend some other trek for this time ?

        Regards,
        Bhuvan

  9. Hi. In wish to expose my kids to trekking. They are 7 year old twins. What best options do we have for 3-4 trekking days. Preferably Uttarakhand.

    1. Hi Sanjeev,
      We recommend Himalayan treks for children if they’re at least 8 years old. However, if your kids are active and fit, you can take them on a trek. Dayara Bugyal in Uttarakhand will be ideal. This has 4 days of trekking and 1 day each to travel to and from the base camp.

    1. Hi Richa,
      I wouldn’t recommend taking your 2 year old daughter even on easy treks. The trails for all these treks are fairly remote and it will be very difficult to get medical help on time in case your daughter faces health issues at that altitude. Also, if she is experiencing symptoms related to high altitude or AMS, she might not be able to explain it for your to be able to take appropriate action.
      What I would recommend instead is day treks accessible from the city you live in. Another option is to drive to places like Mussoorie or Nainital in Uttarakhand or Shimla, Naldehra or Khajjiar or even Prashar Lake in Himachal Pradesh and do short treks on trails around.

  10. Hi..I wish to take my kid along with me for just 1 to 2 days trek for the first time. Please suggest any trek nearby Rishikesh. Also please co firm if the trek will be safe for a lady alone with kid and whom to reach for the guidance on trekking.

    1. Hi Mrigank,
      Kids aged 12 can go on treks such as Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass and Dayara Bugyal. However, we do not recommend sending them on their own since the base camps are quite far from the nearest airport/railway station and they might not be able to manage the travel on their own.

  11. Hi,
    Last year I took my 5.5 and 2.5 yo kids to Deoria tal and Tungnath (with a porter, myself and my wife carrying my 3 yo alternatively; did not do Chandrashila because we wanted to be back in Chopta for stay). They loved the trek so much that they want to go back for a trek this summer. Can Dayara Bugyal be completed in 3 days (from the base camp)? Would any other trek be better for a 3 day trek? Also, will the bugyals be green again by May?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Subramanya,
      Yes, it is possible to complete Dayara Bugyal in 3 days. The meadows will be green in May. This is a good trek to do with your children in May 🙂

  12. Hi,

    Am planning to go for a trek in June / July along with my wife and 10 year old daughter (both of them are first timers). Which one would be good?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Including my 9 year old son… me and my friend..two girls with a kid ..did SUMMIT this Nag Tibba trek to Jhandi top with the help of a guide cum porter. It was worth visiting till top..amazing views.

  14. Me and my sons age 14 and 10 would like to take part in one of your treks . Which ones can you suggest ?

    1. Hi Shalini,
      In which month are you planning to trek? Have all of you been on a Himalayan trek before or will this be your first trek?

  15. Hi. I am a 13-year-old and I really want to go trekking with my sister who is 16 this June or in July. What trek is recommended for the 2 of us (our parents will not be accompanying us).

    1. Hi Shravani,
      You can your sister can go on the Bhrigu Lake trek in June or July. You will need to reach Manali on your own and we will pick you up from there to get to the base camp of trek. We will also drop you back at Manali after the trek. You can get the details of the trek in this link.

  16. Hi Aswati

    I want to take my Son to deoria tal trek or Kedarkanth trek in November. This will be firsy trek for both of us. When you say six days trek does it mean ascending or descending both. Or only ascending of six days. Also can we rent padded jackets and backpack as well.

    1. Hi Sneha,

      Hi, I’m from Bangalore. I want to take my 5 yr and 10.5 yr old for their 1st trek. Can we attempt anything in June? 3-4 days trek will be ideal for them.

      Thanks!

      1. Hi Soma,
        Bhrigu Lake and Dayara Bugyal are good treks to do in June. However, 5 years is too young for a Himalayan trek. We suggest you avoid taking your 5 year old on a Himalayan trek for at least another year. Else, exercise great caution if you do take her/him along.

  17. Hi Sneha,
    I would like to expose my 4.5 year old boy to the world of trekking. Any suggestions to 3-4 days trek in october.

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