Difficulty

Moderate | Level 2

Duration

6 Days

Highest Altitude

14,107 ft

Age

8 to 55 years

Duration

6 Days

Age

8 to 55 years

Difficulty

Moderate | Level 2

Highest Altitude

14,107 ft

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Trek fee

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Valley of Flowers

A Legendary Trail the World Wants to Trek in

The Valley of Flowers trek is one of India’s most popular treks in the Himalayas. People who haven’t even stepped into the Himalayas, have heard about the Valley of Flowers trek. 

But there is a solid reason behind Valley Of Flower’s legendary popularity – it is one of India’s oldest known treks. 

In 1980, the Indian government created the Valley of Flowers National Park, and later in 2002, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This pushed Valley of Flowers on the bucket list of trekkers from around the world.

Having said that, you must note that the Valley Of Flowers trek is not easy. It is a moderate level trek, with slightly longer trekking days and a steep ascent to Hemkund Sahib that will challenge your endurance. So, prepare well for this trek. We have talked in detail about this in the ‘difficulty’ section of this trek guide.

This extensive trek guide contains all details you need to know to do this trek.

And, it also contains an interesting insight, a story of how one can fall in love with Himalayan treks after trekking to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. Yes, that can happen. We know because it happened with Sandhya UC, Co-Founder and COO of Indiahikes.

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Valley of Flower Videos

Watch these videos to prepare well for your trek.

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Quick Itinerary

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Valley of Flowers trek.

Day 1

Drive from Rishikesh to Govindghat

Drive Distance: 269 km | Drive Duration: 11 hours drive from Rishikesh.

The pick-up location is at Live Free Hostel, Rishikesh at 5:00 AM. The cab costs Rs 8,000 per vehicle for an SUV and Rs 11,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

Day 2

Drive from Govindghat to Poolna. Trek to Ghangaria

Drive distance: 4 km | Drive Duration: 1 hour
Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours Altitude gain: 6,215 ft to 10,520 ft

A short drive followed by a gently ascending river-side trail. The trail is well-laid out with several trekkers and pilgrims frequenting the route.

Day 3

Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers and back

Trek distance: 3.7 km each way | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude gain: 10,520 ft to 11,550 ft

A rewarding trek to Valley of Flowers, with flowers blooming on either sides of the trail.

Day 4

Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib and back

Trek distance: 6 km each way | Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Altitude gain: 10,520 ft to 14,107 ft

A series of switchbacks continuously climb to Hemkund Sahib. The gurudwara and lake at the top are a wonderful reward for the challenging climb.

Day 5

Trek from Ghangaria to Poolna. Drive to Govind Ghat

Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 4 hours | Altitude loss: 10,520 ft to 6,215 ft
Drive distance: 4 km | Drive Duration: 30 minutes

A swift descent to Poolna, followed by a drive to Govind Ghat

Day 6

Day 6: Drive from Govind Ghat to Rishikesh

Drive Distance: 269 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours

The cab costs Rs 8,000 for an SUV and Rs 11,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- Your stay will be arranged at lodges throughout the trek. The number of people per room depends on the availability at the time.

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.

- Any additional cost incurred due to landslide that happens before or after the trek will have to be borne by trekkers.

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Valley of Flowers trek.

PRO-TIPS

Book flexible flight tickets

The Valley of Flowers trek is done in peak monsoon season. This is a time when heavy rain can affect your road journey. While roadblocks usually get cleared within a few hours, there have been instances where it has taken a day or so. So it is always good to book flexible flight tickets for your journey. Most travel agencies offer this for a small added cost.

Choose trains over buses to reach Rishikesh

Train journeys are less tiring and more punctual than bus journeys. It's even better if you reach Rishikesh by evening and stay there for the night. It will give you more rest and refresh you before your journey to Govind Ghat.

Day 1

Drive from Rishikesh to Govindghat

Drive Distance: 269 km | Drive Duration: 11 hours drive from Rishikesh.

The pick-up location is at Live Free Hostel, Rishikesh at 5:00 AM. The cab costs Rs 8,000 per vehicle for an SUV and Rs 11,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

Day 2

Drive from Govindghat to Poolna. Trek to Ghangaria

Drive distance: 4 km | Drive Duration: 1 hour
Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 5-6 hours Altitude gain: 6,215 ft to 10,520 ft

A short drive followed by a gently ascending river-side trail. The trail is well-laid out with several trekkers and pilgrims frequenting the route.

Day 3

Ghangaria to Valley of Flowers and back

Trek distance: 3.7 km each way | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude gain: 10,520 ft to 11,550 ft

A rewarding trek to Valley of Flowers, with flowers blooming on either sides of the trail.

Day 4

Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib and back

Trek distance: 6 km each way | Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Altitude gain: 10,520 ft to 14,107 ft

A series of switchbacks continuously climb to Hemkund Sahib. The gurudwara and lake at the top are a wonderful reward for the challenging climb.

Day 5

Trek from Ghangaria to Poolna. Drive to Govind Ghat

Trek distance: 9 km | Trek Duration: 4 hours | Altitude loss: 10,520 ft to 6,215 ft
Drive distance: 4 km | Drive Duration: 30 minutes

A swift descent to Poolna, followed by a drive to Govind Ghat

Day 6

Day 6: Drive from Govind Ghat to Rishikesh

Drive Distance: 269 km | Drive Duration: 9-10 hours

The cab costs Rs 8,000 for an SUV and Rs 11,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- Your stay will be arranged at lodges throughout the trek. The number of people per room depends on the availability at the time.

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.

- Any additional cost incurred due to landslide that happens before or after the trek will have to be borne by trekkers.

PRO-TIPS

Book flexible flight tickets

The Valley of Flowers trek is done in peak monsoon season. This is a time when heavy rain can affect your road journey. While roadblocks usually get cleared within a few hours, there have been instances where it has taken a day or so. So it is always good to book flexible flight tickets for your journey. Most travel agencies offer this for a small added cost.

Choose trains over buses to reach Rishikesh

Train journeys are less tiring and more punctual than bus journeys. It's even better if you reach Rishikesh by evening and stay there for the night. It will give you more rest and refresh you before your journey to Govind Ghat.

Flowers at a Glance

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The Valley of Flowers trek is well-known in the world for its flowers. Sandhya UC, Co-founder and CTO, Indiahikes also loves the trek for its flowers. She says, "A narrow path in between the flowers beckons you to go deeper. You now start seeing a variety of flowers. Not only in colours but in shapes, sizes, textures and smells. A few tens of steps bring you to a new variety of flowers. You wonder who got them here. What made the variety change? It was also interesting to see the big fauna change along with the changing flora.

I stood by the flowers, sat down beside them, and lay down on the small exposed trail trying to immerse myself and feel a part of the multitude of flowers in the valley. The cool mountain breeze coming from the glacial end of the valley brought with it scents that I had never known before."

This video takes you through some of the flowers from the valley.

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Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Valley Of Flowers was my first Himalayan trek. Not did I love the trek but I also fell in love with trekking in the Himalayas because of it. After Valley Of Flowers, I went on to do a lot more Himalayan treks, but the Valley of Flowers stays very close to my heart! A lot of people tend to discredit the trek thinking there is not much to it. That would be a mistake. A lot is going on the trek.

What I Like and Don’t Like About Valley of Flowers Trek

What I Like About Valley of Flowers Trek

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Valley Of Flowers was my first Himalayan trek. Not did I love the trek but I also fell in love with trekking in the Himalayas because of it. After Valley Of Flowers, I went on to do a lot more Himalayan treks, but the Valley of Flowers stays very close to my heart! A lot of people tend to discredit the trek thinking there is not much to it. That would be a mistake. A lot is going on the trek.

1. The Valley of Flowers

The biggest reason for me to love and remember the trek is the beautiful valley itself. When you stand at the entry of the valley you see ahead of you a colourful carpet laid out.  The valley is at least a couple of kilometres wide and more than 10 kilometres long. In front of me was the carpet with waves of pinks, blues and yellow flowing along with the breadth and width.

A narrow path in between the flowers beckons you to go deeper. You now start seeing a variety of flowers. Not only in colours but in shapes, sizes, textures and smells. A few tens of steps bring you to a new variety of flowers. You wonder who got them here. What made the variety change? It was also interesting to see the big fauna change along with the changing flora.

I stood by the flowers, sat down beside them, and lay down on the small exposed trail trying to immerse myself and feel a part of the multitude of flowers in the valley. The cool mountain breeze coming from the glacial end of the valley brought with it scents that I had never known before.

Picture by Kavya PS

2. The climb and Hemkund Sahib

Valley Of Flowers is a moderate trek but the climb to Hemkund challenges you to the next level. In 6 km you gain almost 4,000 ft. This not only introduces a new challenge but also takes you to a scenic zone that you did not expect.

I loved the entry into the alpine zone while climbing up to Hemkund. You almost get a drone or helicopter view of Ghangaria and the Valley of flowers while on the way up. You can see where you came from and where you went the previous day. A bird’s-eye view puts so much perspective even on landscape scenery.

As you climb up steeply you go through varied experiences. Leaving the tree line, entering alpine meadows, feeling the thin air and looking up to the pure alpine cliffs.

Once at Hemkund Sahib, the quietness of the lake and the surrounding mountains stun you. The majestic lake reflecting its surroundings – the mountains and the Gurudwara makes you reflect in gratitude about your entire journey. For many, it is a moment of quiet reflection on their entire lives.

Picture by Krishna singh

3. The cultural experience

Valley Of Flowers is not just a trek. Along with a trek to the beautiful valley, it shows you an incredible journey of faith undertaken by humans. You see youngsters, middle-aged, elderly, children, and toddlers on this incredible climb to the lake at 14,000 ft. Many take the support of ponies or even porters but quite a few of them climb on their might.

It was heartwarming to see volunteers sweeping every section of the trail to keep it clean and working at Hemkund Sahib Gurdwara in freezing temperatures. It was a wonderful feeling to wake up in Ghangaria at dawn to the parade calls of the Sikh Gurudwara. The trek shows you a world you would hardly see otherwise.

Picture by Huzefa Studiowala

What I Don't Like About Valley of FLowers Trek

1. The fact that I cannot camp

Camping is an intrinsic part of a great trekking experience for me. Unfortunately, the Vally Of Flowers trek does not offer that experience. Ghangaria being on the pilgrim trail to Hemkund needs to house hundreds of people and thereby modern infrastructure of lodging is indispensable.  Camping is not allowed by the authorities.

The Valley of Flowers is a very ecologically sensitive area. Nobody is allowed to stay in the valley at night. No animals are allowed to enter the valley either. Given these restrictions, it is not practical to camp anywhere on the trek.

2. The innumerable shops selling packaged goods

All along the trail to Hemkund Sahib we see innumerable dhabas and shops selling food and packaged goods. While we may say that the huge footfall necessitates the supply, I wish the shops were more regulated. I also wish there was better regulation on what could be sold in an eco-sensitive zone like this.

Packaged goods freely available everywhere only means prolific litter everywhere. Perhaps time to question how we solve our needs for food and drink on a high traffic trail like this. Would you have any suggestions?

Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder

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Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible. 

I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences. 

I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.

In the mountains new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.  

Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine. 

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Hemkund Sahib is the highest Gurudwara in the world. The trek to Hemkund Sahib is a steep ascent but has a serene religious feel to it. You see people of all ages praying. It's a surreal feeling. Bonus: You get to eat halwa if you reach before lunch!

Picture by: Akshay Kevin

Hemkund Sahib

Know Your Trek

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 Valley of Flowers 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 that extremely useful.

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
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Dec

PRO TIPS

Why fitness matters on Valley of Flowers

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On Moderate treks like the Valley of Flowers, you walk for about 6-8 km each day. The ascents and descents could get steep. The maximum altitude will range between 13,000 ft to 14,000 ft. You’ll come across tricky patches frequently (like snow or scree), which require you to navigate with a certain amount of caution. There might also be small stream/river crossings.

Your goal is to 5 km with an intention to finish within 35 minutes.

Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll also need to submit your Treadmill Test within 7 days of registration.

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Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

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