7 Best Himalayan Treks In Autumn (Sept, Oct and Nov)

Most people tend to think that the Himalayas are all about fresh white snow. But nothing could be further from the truth. The Himalayas are as much about colour as they are about snow! And what better time than autumn to witness this magnificent colourful canvas!

Autumn is a brilliant time to trek the Himalayas, for mainly three reasons.

First, the forests – they’re an absolute treat to the senses. The trees turn from green to earthy shades of brown and orange. Shafts of sunlight pierce through maple leaves, carving out their edges and giving them a charming glow. With each step, you can hear the crisp crunch of leaves underneath your feet.

And oh the views! By God the views cannot be better than in these months! Trekking in autumn is like getting the best seats at the theatre. Since monsoon takes away with it the summer haze, it leaves the sky squeaky clean! You can see crystal clear views of mountains as far as the horizon can stretch.

Which makes it the best time to trek for photographers! That would be the third reason. During the day, the blue of the sky will put a sapphire to shame. And during the night, you’ll see more stars than black sky. So here, after much debate, we have put down six of the best treks to do in autumn.

1. Annapurna Base Camp

A crisp view of the Annapurna Massif

The Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the best treks to do in autumn. You walk  amidst the big mountains of Nepal, the biggest highlights on this trek being Mt Machapuchare, whose base camp you camp at, and of course, the Annapurna Massif.

With every contour in the range emphasised by the autumn sun, every ridge standing out like a sharp spine, the range is nothing short of a spectacle. There’s no doubt that the rainless chilly weather of autumn is the best time to do this trek.

2. Kuari Pass Trek

kuari pass - mountain view - dunagiri
Mt Dunagiri on the Kuari Pass trek looms closer than any other peak. Picture by Shreyash Ganguly

kuari

This trails runs through the Nanda Devi Biosphere. Which is enough reason for it to secure a place on this list. The view of the Mt. Nanda Devi on this trek right from Day 1 and especially from Auli and Gorson Bugyal is unprecedented!

As you get into Chitrakantha, oak trees loom high above you, shedding a bed of leaves on the ground. These oaks are home to several rare Himalayan birds. You hear them tweet as you wind across the forest, encouraging you through the ascent.

Just as you break out of the brown and yellow canopy, you enter Gorson Bugyal and which offers outstanding views of India’s highest peak, Nanda Devi. Apart from it, you see Neelkanth and Chaukhamba to the north, Ghoda and Hathi Parvath to the north east, and of course, your companion throughout most of the trek, Mount Dunagiri. Autumn is the season for photographers to capture this grand peak as the rains have wiped out everything between the lens and the summit!

3. Gaumukh-Tapovan

Trekking in the Himalayas- Gaumukh Tapovan - Indiahikes
Mt Shivling and Mt Meru at dawn. Picture by Sushma Honnappa

The Gaumukh-Tapovan trek has to be done in the autumn months. It does not just give you clear views of mountain peaks but gives you a complete view. Right from the base of the mountain to the very tip. You rarely get these kind of views even on the best of treks. There is always another mountain obstructing the view of the other. 

The view of the Bhagirathi peaks on the way to Bhojbasa, the aura of Mt Shivling at the Tapovan campsite and other mountains such as Mt Sudarshan and of course the shark fin, Mt Meru, are a treat to the eyes – this view does not get better than in autumn.

The trail does have a few steep sections and is mostly filled with moraines and boulders. The valley keeps narrowing down as you reach the Gaumukh glacier where you have to cross the glacial stream Akash-Ganga. A steep climb up Tapovan and  you will find the Neelatal lake against the grey setting with the snow capped Mount Shivling and Mount Meru in the background. A view so clear it is almost surreal. You have to trek to Gaumukh-Tapovan to get a close up of the mountains. 

4. Deoriatal-Chandrashila peak

Deoriatal chandrashila A clear view of the Chaukhamba massif indiahikes
A clear view of the Chaukhamba massif

Deoriatal Chandrashila Peak trek-IndiahikesThis trek is laden with Rhododendron forests which, in this season, are competing in a league of their own. The red Rhodo flowers wither away as the leaves start to take on their colour, and become the sensation of the trek. Take a break from crunching numbers on your desk to crunch crisp, brown leaves on this trail.

The grand Deoriatal Lake is complemented by the Chaukhamba massif and Kedar Dome. The unique shape of Chaukhamba can be seen clearly. You have an entire day here. You can climb up the watch tower and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. Needless to say, the view from the Chandrashila summit is almost incomparable at this time of the year! As night falls, you can spend time star gazing as you can see an array of constellations in the night sky. With no clouds, it looks vast and grand, with the stars stretching out until they hit the silhouettes of the mountains.

The Rohini Bugyal campsite on the other hand is a clearing in the forest. Surrounded by Rhodo trees, you are peeking into the night sky which is an experience in itself.

5. Roopkund

Ali Bugyal at sunset - Roopkund - Sandhya UC
Breath taking sunset at Ali Bugyal PC: Sandhya UC

roop

This trek needs no introduction. It is extremely close to our heart and it is so with abundant reason. The Neel Ganga whistles its way through the valley along which the Rhodo and Oak forests start to age beautifully, turning into a variety of autumn shades.

Add to that the meadows! If one were to believe that the earth is flat then Ali and Bedni Bugyal would be the reason. The bugyals deceivingly stretch all the way to the skyline. Which also makes the campsites perfect for star gazing. The lack of trees is a blessing here!

No peeking from the corner of your eyes can distract you from the endearing view of Mt.Trishul from Bedni Bugyal. The trek reaches a crescendo at Junargali (which is in fact more accessible in autumn than in summer), where you can see the Trishul right from its bottom to the tip, alongside Nanda Ghunti. This trek is perfect in every way possible.

6. Har ki Dun

Har ki dun colours of autumn indiahikes
Colours of Autumn PC Anirban Banerjee

har ki

The Har ki Dun trek hasn’t seen much human footprint, leaving many birds and animals to thrive in this region. You can spot Langoor families near Puani Garaat. The chances of you spotting Black bears, wild boars and Barasingha amongst other animals is increased thanks to the good weather and complete absence of haze. The trail lets you enjoy their habitat of pine forest at its colourful best.

This is the only valley from where you can see Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak, all together. Getting such a clear view of Swargarohini, makes you feel like a Pandava ascending to the heavens. You can also see the Ruinsara Peaks. Often you are accompanied by swollen streams that flow mellifluously down the hills.

7. Goechala

Goechala-Lamuney Campsite-Indiahikes
Lamuney Campsite – PC Nikhil Agarwal

goechalaI don’t think Goechala needs no introduction. This is one of the few treks in India where you get so close to such big mountains. You can see the Kanchenjunga in all its glory! It’s a sight that you can’t take your eyes off! Not only that, you see Mt.Pandim right behind you at the Dzongri campsite. These views alone are worth the effort you put in to get it!

Another thing that will strike you is the forest trail. This trek houses few of the oldest forests of the region – especially rhododendron forests. The moss laden forest floor sends out a wet aroma, leaving you intoxicated by the very essence of nature.

But keep in mind that Goechala is a difficult trek. All the rewards that you receive from this trek come after months of hard work!

Being up in the mountains in such clear, clean air is a blessing. Everything seems more enhanced – the colours, the smells, the scale… They say an uncluttered home can bring clarity to the mind; an uncluttered trek in the Himalayas can do just that a 1000 times over.

We have not included Sandakphu, which would be on top of this list, because of the ongoing riots in Darjeeling. Because of roadblocks and unrest in the transit to the base camp, we will not be running the trek in autumn 2017.

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Swathi

Swathi

Swathi Chatrapathy is a journalist from Bangalore. She heads the content team at Indiahikes and runs a video show called Trek With Swathi. Writing, reading and trekking are up there on her list of favourite things!

58 thoughts on “7 Best Himalayan Treks In Autumn (Sept, Oct and Nov)

  1. Hi, I have never been on a long trek before.. Pls suggest an apt trek for me which I would like to take up after November 16th.

    1. Hi Sanju,
      You might find snow at the upper reaches of the trek, but not much. The lack of snow allows you to enjoy the Nanda Devi biosphere flora and fauna better.
      Hope this helps.

  2. Hi, i have booked for sandakphu trek towards the end of december 2016. This is my first ever himalayan trek. I am just not sure about how does the climate in the month will be there. Does it snow there. What can be the difference in the views of forests and environment as it would be in october as compared to december.

    1. Hi Nikit,
      In October, the climate in the eastern Himalayas is more stable, with no snow and clearer views of the Himalayas. The forests are full of life and very colorful.
      The last week of December is an amazing time to do the Sandakphu trek. In December, it snows. So the same forests are bare covered in snow. Overall, a very colorful trek in October and a snow scape in December. Both an experience on their own.
      There is no haze all through this season, but it is much colder in December.

  3. Hi Akanksha,
    I have done 2 treks with Indiahikes this year – Chandrashila and Vof. Looking for one in October – Which treks will have snow or view of snow clad peaks? Which ones are the best treks to take on in October?

    Best,
    Girisha

    1. Hi Girisha,
      If your looking for views of snow clad peaks, then the Sandakphu trek takes the prize. It gives you a 180 degree panoramic view of the mightiest of peaks: Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu. Although, you will not see any snow on this trek in October.
      Roopkund and Rupin Pass might have some snow at their highest points.
      Hope this helps!

  4. Hello Akansha,
    Thanks for this lovely collection of trek destinations. Unfortunately, Southerners quest is not drenched. Can you suggest some good treks in South India please..?

    1. Hello Ganesh, we’re putting together a comprehensive list of the best treks in South India. Here are a few recommendations in the interim; a. Nagalapuram (Andhra Pradesh, 70 kms from Chennai) b. Meesapulimala (Idukki district – Kerala) c. Banasura Hill Trek (Wayanad district -Kerala) d. Agasthyarkoodam Peak (Tamil Nadu/Kerala Border), near Thiruvananthapuram e. Kolli Hills (Tamil Nadu) f. Kumara Parvata (Coorg) g. Mullayanagiri (Karnataka) h. Kudremukh (Karnataka) i. Araku Valley Trek (Andhra Pradesh) j. Ananthagiri (Telungana). Treks listed in no particular order.

    1. Hi Girish,
      You do not walk on snow on the Goechala trek, although you might find some patches at the upper reaches. The snow sets in by late October.
      Regards,

  5. Hi
    Thanks for mail.I have some questions 1)about accommodation
    2) about the luggage
    Pl tell me the type of accommodation and for luggage portars are available or we should carry it no our own..I am looking or Kuwarip pass trek
    Tejaswini

  6. Hi guys

    We are a group of 5 ppl who want to go for a trek n see some breathtaking views in mid oct. But we have just 4-5 days with us. Plz suggest us something.

    1. Hi Neha, well if you have only 4-5 days with you- I suggest you do Bhrigu Lake (https://indiahikes.com/bhrigu-lake/). This is a short trek that packs in what a week long Himalayan trek can give you: a lake between mountain ridges, stunning views of mountain ranges and pastures, forests and old Kullu villages! 🙂

  7. Hi,

    I am planning for Roopkund Trek during the first week of October. I have never done multi-day trekking before. Did Saddle Peak in A&N Islands & Shillong Peak (my native place). Other than trekking I did SCUBA, Bungy, Paragliding & Skydiving. Am I choosing the right trek as beginner? What can I expect in Roopkund Trek during this time? Does it snow in higher reaches during October?

    Regards & thanks.

    Debojit Deb

  8. Hi i would like to take a trek in month of november.. wich trek wud u suggest for a complete scenic beauty.. and i would like to know winter treks are done in wich months and which trek would u advice in winters..

    1. Hi Pooja,
      The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek is an absolute stunner in the month of November.
      The winter treks season starts in mid December. As far as beauty goes, Deoriatal wins again. It transforms into a snowy wonderland in winter. Another trek that I would suggest is the Sandakphu trek which is also a must do in both seasons.

      Here is a link to the Top 5 Winter Treks: https://indiahikes.com/top-6-winter-treks-in-india-that-you-must-do/

      Regards,

      1. Thanx so much for the info akanksha.. i jus had to ask one thing… will there b snow /snow fall in month of mid november in deoriatal trek.. everwhere d reviews are dat its d best in dec time.. so shud i wait for dec to do it.. just curious to ask such a question..

        1. Hi Pooja,
          It is highly doubtful that you will see any snow in mid November, on the other hand, you can enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and the withered Rhododendron leaves will be a very pretty sight.
          But if you are keen on snow then I suggest you wait until December. The same trek completely transforms and there will be a layer of white on everything around you.

    2. Thanx so much for the info akanksha.. i jus had to ask one thing… will there b snow /snow fall in month of mid november in deoriatal trek.. everwhere d reviews are dat its d best in dec time.. so shud i wait for dec to do it.. just curious to ask such a question..

  9. Hello ,
    We are two guys .. We are interested in going for the sandakphu trek around November 5th . I would like to know if you guys are arranging something around that time .

  10. Hi,
    Firstly, i must say this post is beautifully structured and very well written.

    Secondly, I’m a first time trekker and i’m more inclining towards Deoriatal trek in late Nov. Wanted to understand if it is a good choice and is there anything that I would need to know (even the minute details would help!) for this trek

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Rakesh,
      The Deoriatal-Chandrashila Peak trek is an excellent choice for a trek in late November. It is also a trek that we often suggest to first time trekkers.
      What I like the most about this trek is the uniquely shaped Mt. Chaukhamba that accompanies you throughout the trek. In late November you will have excellent views of it. Apart from that it is one of the prettiest treks that we organise.

  11. Hey akansha

    I wish to know if it’s good for a first time trekker to go on trek to har ki dun in december beginning. Also how much snow we can expect there. Please do suggest some other good treks.

    1. Hi Shivangi, Har Ki Dun is a good trek for fit beginners. In the middle of December, it will just be beginning to snow. If you want to see a lot of snow, go in the second half. But even in the first week, it’s a really beautiful trek! If you’re a first timer, also consider the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek.

  12. Hi Akanksha/Swathi,

    We are looking for a family trek during this Oct/Dec with our 10 year old daughter.
    All are beginners. Please suggest which one would be best for us. We have Deoriatal-Chandrashila and Har Ki Dun in mind.
    Should not be longer than 7 days and not very high altitude but we wish to see snow as well on the way.
    Thanks for your suggestions.

  13. hi.. is september 28 to octo 7th period is best for chandrashila trek ? or i should plan it in another months ? which can be the best time to get clear sky with not too chilly cold ?

    1. Hello
      September, October and November are a good time to get clear views of the peaks. There will be no snow on the trail at this time and it should be a little less chilly too.

  14. Hi Akansha

    We are planning to go on a trek during sept-oct. Please suggest us some good himalayan treks, preferably snow ones.

    Thanks

    1. Hello Sushma, we have plenty of treks for you to choose from during the months of September and October. If this is your first Himalayan trek then you can try going for the Valley of Flowers or the Kuari Pass trek. Other treks like Har ki Dun and Hampta Pass will be moderate treks and need considerable amount of fitness. Since September and October are the months following monsoon you wouldn’t be seeing snow on any of these treks. But be sure to witness the lush green of the Himalayas.

  15. Hi! Akansha , I’m looking for a trek during October-November to Roopkund. Can you tell me the total fee I have to incurred and also If there is a possibility of snowfall !!!

    1. Hi Kaustav you’ll find the cost details here – http://roopkund.com
      The trek will be accessible only until the end of October and not after that. If you time your trek towards the end of the season, there are slight chances to see snow. There are going to be snow patches, but not so much snowfall. Autumn is not really a season where you get to trek much in snow. May-June would be better for a snow experience at Roopkund. Otherwise, December is a good time to trek in snow on lower altitude treks like Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass and Brahmatal.

  16. Hi,
    I cannot find thehe schedule for prashar lake trek in October 2017. What are the dates in that month?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Shree, we are yet to decide on the dates for October. You will have to keep checking the website for the schedule.

    1. Hi Misbah
      October is a great time to do the Arnapurna Circuit trek. The weather is clear and the views are sharp. However, we do not run this trek.

    1. Hello Prem
      There will be no snow at this time of the year. However, this is one of the best times of the year to do this trek. Since the weather will be clear post monsoon you will get clear mountain views.

  17. Hi,

    I’m looking for Rupin Pass trek from 8th November to 17th November, 2017. We are two friends and would prefer going in a group over going alone. Could you please let me know if a slot can be made available for this time for Rupin Pass?

    Also, are there any other similar treks during this time frame? We are looking for Moderately Difficult treks.

    Thanks

    With regards,
    Ravi

    1. Hi Ravi, the Rupin Pass trek isn’t accessible in November. There’s too much snow and the trails are blocked. You can consider the Har Ki Dun trek though. It is a trek of moderate difficulty. (Most mod-difficult treks close in October). We have a group starting on 11th November. It ends on 18th November. You can take a look at all the dates here – https://indiahikes.com/har-ki-dun/

  18. Hey , we a group of 7 are planning to do a trek
    In last week of september
    Can u suggest some goods treks ??
    Would humpta pass be a good option ??

    1. Hi Gurmeet, there are only 5 slots left for the last week of September on the Hampta Pass trek. It is definitely a good trek to do but if you are 7 friends then I suppose it might be difficult. Alternatively you can look at doing the Chainsheel Bugyal trek instead. Its been named the trek of the year in collaboration with Uttarakhand Tourism and we’ve got good reviews for the trek from our first batch in June. It has everything – the apple orchards, meadows, forests and a challenging climb!

  19. Hi ,
    Want to go Sandakpu Trek , after Nov 24th 2017 . Is indiahikes carrying out Sandakpu trek in midst of Gorkhaland agitation ?

    1. Hi Debajyoti, as of now we are running the Sandakphu trek. Read this week’s updates here to know what are the steps we are taking to bypass the agitation. Just scroll down 🙂

  20. Hi there,
    A very nice and informative article, very well written. I did four among these seven treks namely, Gaumukh Tapovan, Chandrashila Deoriatal, Roopkund and Goechala, all in autumn. Yes the colours are mesmerising and I got crystal clear views of the mountains all throughout the day. By the way I did the treks solo !

    1. Hi Abhishek, we only organise high altitude treks. However, we do have documented treks in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. If you’re feeling adventurous you could follow the guide and do the trek on your own!

  21. Hello,

    I wish to go on a snow trek in the first week of October. Can you suggest a good place and an itinerary for the same.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hello Dhara
      The treks which can be done while it is snowing are the ones we have running in the month of December until April next year. You can go for treks like Brahmatal, Kedarkantha, Dayara Bugyal in January or Kuari Pass and Deoriatal Chandrashila in March to have a snow trek experience.

  22. Hi,
    I am planning to do the pangarchulla trek in late December or early January. Any advice ….also can you please tell me that whether or not the Garhwal peaks like Nanda devi, kamet etc are visible from there on that time?

    1. Hi Rohit, Pangarchulla will have very high snow in December and January. It’s not possible to do this trek at that time of the year. In fact it is a trek with the smallest of windows. If you want to see it at its best, go in April. Before April there’s way too much snow, after April there are too many boulders and the trail becomes very difficult. As for mountain views, you get stunning views of Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Neelkanth, Chaukhamba and Hathi Ghoda. It’s a very good trek for the views!

  23. Hi, Can you suggest a good trek in last week of November (5-7 days).
    I went to Manali just last week and there wasn’t any snow at Rohtang-pass and it was mostly brown in up-hill area.
    Can you suggest some trek for Nov end where I can find snow or good greenery in uphill area ?

    1. Hi Chirag, unfortunately, you’re looking for snow at the wrong time of the year. It starts snowing only at the end of December on trails that are accessible. The trails that climb higher have way too much snow and are not accessible. So if you want to see snow, time your trek between the last week of December and the last week of April. If you are alright with doing slightly more difficult treks like Roopkund or Rupin Pass, then May is a great time to see snow too!

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