Difficulty Moderate
Duration 6 Days
Highest Altitude 14,400 ft
Minimum Age 8 Years

Valley Of Flowers Trek

A Legendary Trail The World Wants To Trek In
Difficulty Moderate
Duration 6 Days
Highest Altitude 14,400 ft
Minimum Age 8 Years

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 in 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, 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 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 Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. Yes, that can happen. We know, because it happened with Sandhya U C, Co-Founder and COO of Indiahikes.

Trek Fee:
8,450 + 5% GST
VIEW DATES

Trek Fee

8,450
+ 5% GST

This fee includes everything from basecamp to basecamp. See Inclusions and Exclusions

View dates / Register

What Happens After You Regsiter

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS

  1. Pickup and Drop from Rishikesh – We will pick you up from Live Free Hostel at Rishikesh at 5 am.
  2. Rental Gear –Don’t buy. Rent from a range of products available on Indiahikes store. Renting all gears from head to toe doesn’t cost you more than Rs 2000 for the entire trek. See here
  3. RT-PCR Negative Certificate: Mandatory for Indiahikes treks. Without it you will not be allowed to trek. You are exempted only if you’ve had two doses of vaccine or were infected with COVID-19 in the last three months.

Valley Of Flowers Videos

Why Valley Of Flowers is Uttarakhand's Most Popular Trek | Trek With Swathi | Indiahikes
04:20mins
58947 viewsApril 28, 2017

Valley Of Flowers Videos

Expert Speak

Sandhya UC
Valley Of Flowers was my first Himalayan trek. I not only loved the trek but 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. There is a lot going for the trek.
- Sandhya UC, Co-Founder & COO

What I like About Valley of Flowers 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 yellows flowing along with the breadth and width.

Valley Of Flowers Trek - Indiahikes
A breathtaking view of the Valley of Flowers with Dog Flowers (Impatiens Sulcata) in the foreground. Picture by Pavan Jain

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 smell. A few tens of steps bring you to a totally 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, 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.

2. The climb and Hemkund Sahib

Valley Of Flowers is a moderate trek but the climb to Hemkund challenges you on the next level. In 6 km you gain almost 4,000 ft. This not only introduces a new challenge, it 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 Ghangaia and 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 in so much perspective even to landscape scenery.

Valley of-Flowers-Climb-to-Hemkund-Sahib-Indiahikes
The trail that climbs from Valley of Flowers to Hemkund Sahib. Picture by Sayan Das

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.

Valley-Of-Flowers-Hemkund-Sahib-Indiahikes
Clouds reveal the pristine Hemkund lake. Picture by Thanashyam Raj

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 of their entire lives.

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, 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 own 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 Ghangria at dawn to the parade calls of the Sikh Gurudwara. The trek shows you a world you would hardly see otherwise.

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 of food and drink on a high traffic trail like this. Would you have any suggestions?

Trek Fee

8,450
+ 5% GST

This fee includes everything from basecamp to basecamp. See Inclusions and Exclusions

View dates / Register

What Happens After You Regsiter

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS

  1. Pickup and Drop from Rishikesh – We will pick you up from Live Free Hostel at Rishikesh at 5 am.
  2. Rental Gear –Don’t buy. Rent from a range of products available on Indiahikes store. Renting all gears from head to toe doesn’t cost you more than Rs 2000 for the entire trek. See here
  3. RT-PCR Negative Certificate: Mandatory for Indiahikes treks. Without it you will not be allowed to trek. You are exempted only if you’ve had two doses of vaccine or were infected with COVID-19 in the last three months.

Quick Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Rishikesh to Govindghat

11 hours drive from Rishikesh. The pick-up location is at Live Free Hostel, Rishikesh at 5:00 AM .  The cab costs Rs.7,500 per vehicle for an SUV and Rs 10,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

Day 2: Drive from Govindghat to Poolna. Trek to Ghangria

Drive distance: 4 km | Duration: Within 1 hour
Trek distance: 9 km | Duration: 5-6 hours
Altitude gain: 6,300 ft to 7,200 ft
Trek type: Easy-moderate. Gradual ascent throughout on a well-defined trail. 

Day 3: Ghangria to Valley of Flowers and back

Trek distance: 3.7 km | Duration: 6 hours
Altitude gain: 9,600 ft to 11,500 ft
Trek type: Easy. Flat walk in the valley.

Day 4: Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib and back

Trek distance: 6 km one way | 8-9 hours
Altitude gain: 9,600 ft to 14,107 ft
Trek type: Moderate-difficult. Steep ascent for about 4 hours to reach Hemkund Sahib and steep descent all the way back. 

Day 5: Trek from Ghangria to Poolna. Drive to Govind Ghat

Trek distance: 9 km | Duration: 4 hours
Drive distance: 4 km | Duration: 30 minutes
Altitude loss: 9,600 ft to 7,200 ft
Trek type: Easy descent to Poolna on the same trail you trekked on earlier. 

Day 6: Drive from Govind Ghat to Rishikesh

You will reach Rishikesh between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
The cab costs Rs.7,500 for an SUV and Rs.10,500 for a Tempo Traveler.

The COVID-19 guidelines of Uttarakhand are:

  1. You need to carry your RT-PCR Negative certificate, it cannot be older than 72 hours.
  2. You also compulsorily need an E-pass to enter Uttarakhand. You can get it by registering on http://smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in. Register for your E-pass at least 10 hours before starting your journey as the District Magistrate needs to approve it. That could take time.

Couple of things to keep in mind while traveling to Uttarakhand

  1. Plan your travel wisely to ensure that your RT-PCR report is not older than 72 hours. You can get tested at Dehradun (Dr Ahuja’s Pathology & Imaging Centre) or Rishikesh (SRL Ltd, Near AIIMS. Contact: 7706879852) for this. Please get in touch with the testing centres to confirm timings.
  2. On your way back, if your destination requires an RT-PCR negative certificate, plan accordingly for a buffer day to get tested.

Important points to note about the Valley of Flowers trek:

1. Since Valley of Flowers is a monsoon trek, there are possibilities of roadblocks due to landslides. Account for this by adding a buffer day in your travel plan. 

Note: In case you take a detour or halt en route for a night due to landslide, the additional travel and stay cost will have to be borne by you.

2. BSNL network available in Govindghat. After that, there will be no network on the trail

3. The stay on all days of this trek will be in lodges. You will not be camping in tents.

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

Know Your Valley of Flowers 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 surficial 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. Don’t miss the ‘Frequently Asked Questions' section. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

How Does Each Day Look Like

Complete Trek Guide With Photos

Day 1: Getting to base camp, Govindghat

  • Altitude: 6,300 ft (1,920 m)
  • Time taken: 11 hours drive to Govindghat. Pick up from Live Free Hotel, Rishikesh as the pickup at 5:00 am.

The trek to Valley of Flowers (VoF) and Hemkund starts a little beyond Joshimath, at a pilgrim hamlet called Govind Ghat. Leave Rishikesh early in the morning and travel along River Alakananda on the Badrinath highway. The roads are dangerously cut on mountains edges and at times, you only see the river flowing in the gorge deep below. Do not carry food with you as there are plenty of eateries on the way. As a trekker, there is no need to hire porters or mules on this trail but if you need one to carry your backpack, Govindghat is the place to hire a porter or mule. BSN network is available in Govindghat, so make all your calls here before you set off on the trek.

The COVID-19 guidelines of Uttarakhand are:

  1. You need to carry your RT-PCR Negative certificate, it cannot be older than 72 hours.
  2. You also compulsorily need an E-pass to enter Uttarakhand. You can get it by registering on http://smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in. Register for your E-pass at least 10 hours before starting your journey as the District Magistrate needs to approve it. That could take time.

Couple of things to keep in mind while traveling to Uttarakhand

  1. Plan your travel wisely to ensure that your RT-PCR report is not older than 72 hours. You can get tested at Dehradun (Dr Ahuja's Pathology & Imaging Centre) or Rishikesh (SRL Ltd, Near AIIMS. Contact: 7706879852) for this. Please get in touch with the testing centres to confirm timings.
  2. On your way back, if your destination requires an RT-PCR negative certificate, plan accordingly for a buffer day to get tested.

Valley of Flowers-Indiahikes
Breathtaking view of the Valley of Flowers. Picture by Harsh Kulkarni

 Day 2: Govindghat to Ghangria via Poolna

  • Altitude: 6,300 ft (1,920 m) to 9,600 ft (2,926 m) via 7,200 ft (2,195 m)
  • Time taken: 4 km drive to Poolna. 5-6 hours trek, 9 km
  • Trek gradient: Easy-moderate. Gradual ascent throughout on a well- defined trail
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at any of the several dhabas that you will find on the trail.

Valley-Of-Flowers-Indiahikes
The trail to Valley of Flowers. Picture by Thanashyam Raj

There is now a motorable road to Poolna. This reduces the distance trekked today to 9 km from the earlier 13 km. Start with a 4 km cab ride to Poolna. The trail is well-defined. It is usually full of Sikh pilgrims walking up and down. Notice the cleanliness on the trail despite hundreds treading upon it every day. It’s a heartening and motivating sight. All thanks to volunteers who sweep the trail every day.

The 9 km trek from Poolna to Ghangria goes all the way along the river. Stop by any roadside dhaba for a drink or a bite to eat. The trail is alternately sunny and shaded. At around the midpoint of the day’s trek, you cross the river and go to the other bank. After this, you no longer trek alongside the river.

The trek takes 5-6 hours and you approach a tabular land. This is when you know you are close to Ghangria. Ghangria has a helipad and some space for camping. Half a kilometre from the helipad is the one-street village of Ghangria, lined with hotels, restaurants and a Gurudwara. The Gurudwara offers free accommodation and food to all.

 Day 3: Ghangria to Valley of Flowers and back

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,195 m) to 11,500 ft (3,505 m) and back
  • Time taken: 6-7 hours, 3.7 km each way
  • Trek gradient: Easy. Flat walk in the valley
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles from streams that you will find in the Valley, after a couple of hours of trekking.

Valley-of-flowers-Indiahikes
Trail that goes through the Valley with flowers on either side. Picture by Gourab Nandy

Leave Ghangria early (6.00 am) to give yourself the whole day to spend at Valley of Flowers. The trail splits in less than a kilometre. There is a gate to buy entry tickets to the valley. Walk inside and notice the small flowering plants springing up on either side. A kilometre into the gate, there is a scenic bridge across a stream gushing below.

Tall rocky mountains rise before you.  Notice that the well-laid-out trail has now become a small footway along the side of the valley. The stream flows below you and there are small, hard snow patches by the side. On the trek inside Valley of Flowers, you see very few people around you. This may come across as a big and welcome contrast to the previous day’s trek, where there were hundreds. The scenery has also taken a drastic turn for the better and any direction you turn to looks picture-perfect. Trek along for a couple of kilometres on the flat path and to your right opens up the valley. Cross another rickety bridge and collect water to drink from below.

Gourab Nandy
Slope Manager
You start your journey from Ghangria in the Gundar valley and go into the Pushpavati valley. It is named after the Pushpavati river which comes from Tipru glacier of Parvati parvat. The Pushpavati river flows through the Valley of Flowers. There is another valley, the Hemkund valley, named after Hemkund Sahib, which lies on the other side of VoF. So geographically, Valley of Flowers is an inner valley that lies between the Gundar Valley and the Hemkund Valley.

The entire valley is generally a carpet of colours – green, yellow, red, blue. It is surrounded by mountains with trees at lower levels, brown and grey soil in the middle and bright snow at the top. A bright sunny day will ensure deep blue skies completing the picture and taking it beyond your imagination. The valley is really a botanists’ dreamland! One can find flowers, leaves, buds of various shapes, sizes, colours, all growing together. Notice various types of bees and insects hovering on these strange flowers.

Valley of Flowers mountain view Indiahikes
Photo by Sushant Ale

Walk further into the valley and you will be engulfed with an amazing scent, which unfortunately cannot be captured but can only be felt. The valley stretches 5-7 km further until it ends with a glacier visible at a distance.  The stream flows all the way through the valley. Take off your shoes and dip your feet into it to experience the icy cold water.

Valley-of-flowers-Glacier-Indiahikes
The glacier where the valley ends. Picture by Sandhya U C

Prominent flowers that you will see in July-August include Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, White Leaf Hog Foot and Dog Flower. Carry packed lunch from Ghangria on the Valley of Flowers trek day. There is no food available in the valley. Overnight camping isn’t allowed either. Plan your return along the same path by early afternoon. The afternoon sun falling on the valley from a different direction gives a whole new perspective to the same place you saw in the morning.

 Day 4: Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib and back

 

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,926 m) to 14,107 ft (4,300 m) and back
  • Time taken: 9-10 hours, 6 km each way
  • Trek gradient: Moderate - difficult. Steep ascent for about 4 hours to reach Hemkund Sahib and steep descent all the way back.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at the hotels that line the trail.

Start your day early. The weather can be impulsive in the afternoon and sudden cloud cover and rain can get you stranded if you do not get down on time.  The thought of getting up before 5.00 am can be daunting but the Gurudwara makes it easy. Their day starts at 4.00 am with the singing of bhajans.

By 5.00 am, you hear people outside the gate of the Gurudwara chanting in the chorus and the horses being readied to go up to Hemkund Sahib. Get up and grab a hot drink of chai. A poncho (light rain coat) and a trekking pole can be handy on the trek to Hemkund. Pass the deviation to Valley of Flowers. Continue to trek up the steep path slowly but steadily. Spot a pretty waterfall on your right falling through the rock walls on the right. After about 2 hours of walking, you are higher than the tree line and the views begin to get better. Mark the route to Valley of Flowers on the mountain in front across the river gorge. After another hour of slow walking with numerous breaks, you begin to feel reduced oxygen levels in the air. A melting glacier lies on the way. Take generous breaks while climbing up the steep path. These breaks are important as going up very fast could only mean inviting altitude sickness. Do not sit down during these breaks. Sitting down causes your muscles to relax and getting back on track can be very difficult. An hour of stiff climbing brings you to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. The lake lies just behind it. The Hemkund Sahib lake remains frozen for six months. Warm yourself in the Gurudwara and have generous helpings of hot tea and khichdi.

Valley-of-flowers-Hemkund Lake-Indiahikes
Hemkund Lake with an emerald hue. Picture by Hemanth Prajwal

Walk around to the other side of the Hemkund Lake. It exudes an aura of peace and serenity. It’s crystal clear, undisturbed and reflects mountains the mountains surrounding it. The lake and the Gurudwara in this setting are a sight to watch. Around Hemkund, the Himalayan flower, Brahma Kamal grows abundantly. This flower grows only at heights of 10,000 ft to 15,000 ft. Leave Hemkund by early afternoon. The walk down can be strenuous on the knees and toes.  It takes 4- 5 hours to walk down the 6 km.

Day 5: Ghangria to Govindghat via Poolna

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft (2926 m) to 6,300 ft (1,920 m) via 7,200 ft (2,195 m)
  • Time taken: 4 hours, 9 km + 4 km drive
  • Trek gradient: Easy descent to Poolna on the same trail that you trekked on earlier.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You can refill your water bottles at the several dhabas that line the trail.

Valley-Of-Flowers-Indiahikes
The trail back to Ghangria. Picture by Thanashyam Raj

The trail back to Poolna is on the same path that you took on Day 1. Drive from Poolna to Govind Ghat. Start after breakfast and reach Govind Ghat by 2.00 pm.

Day 6: Govindghat to Rishikesh

Drive down to Rishikesh. Expect to reach Rishikesh between 6 pm and 7 pm.

Important note: Since Valley of Flowers is a monsoon trek, there are possibilities of roadblocks due to landslides. Account for this by adding a buffer day in your travel plan.

How to Plan Your Travel

Quick Guide on How to Reach the Basecamp

Valley of flowers lies deep inside Uttarakhand in the Chamoli district. The trek starts at a place called Govindghat. To get to Govindghat, you need to come to Rishikesh.

Rishikesh is a big city of Uttarkhand and also a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. It lies at the foothills of the Himalayas and is your gateway to the Garhwal region.

Watch this video to know how to reach Valley of Flowers:


How To Get To Govindghat From Rishikesh? 

Govindghat lies on the Rishikesh Badrinath highway, just about 25 kms before Badrinath and almost 272 kms away from Rishikesh. 272 km in the winding Himalayan roads means that it is going to be a long road drive to get to Govindghat.

It takes at least 12 hours to cover this distance on a regular day. Give an hour or two if you encounter a roadblock due to landslide or a tyre puncture.  This makes it imperative for you to start your journey from Rishikesh as early as possible. We advise a 5 am or latest by 6 am to ensure you reach by sunset.

This is also the reason why you MUST reach Rishikesh a day before this journey day. Do not take an overnight train or bus and reach in the morning. Reaching Rishikesh the evening before also gives you the much-required rest and sleep before the long road journey and the trek.

| Travelling with Indiahikes? Click here for more information

Travelling on your own

If you are travelling with 4-5 people it makes sense to hire your own vehicle which will cost about Rs 7,500 to Rs 10,500.

If you are travelling alone or just want a cheaper option, you can take the Rishikesh Badrinath bus and get off at Govindghat. The bus to Badrinath leaves Rishikesh bus stand at 4 am. You can also take the bus to Pandukeshwar which leaves Rishikesh at 4.30 am. Bus fare is around Rs 400.

In case you miss these early buses, do not worry, you can take buses to Joshimath which leave Rishikesh at 6 am. Joshimath is 20 km before Govind Ghat and also takes 10-11 hours to reach.

Stay over at Joshimath for the night and take a shared cab (Rs 50 per head) to Govindghat the next morning from the Badrinath taxi stand. You can then skip the stay at Govindghat and get on the trek directly.

The Scenic Drive

The journey from Rishikesh to Govindghat is very interesting and exciting. You start your journey along the Ganga, perhaps the most important river in India and you drive upstream seeing how the river actually forms from its tributaries.

You will pass the Panch Prayag or the 5 confluences that make the Ganga - Dev Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nand Prayag and Vishnu Prayag. If you can, stop your vehicle and spend a moment at these confluences to see the different waters mix to make the mighty Himalayan river.

Your drive until Karan Prayag which you will cover by midday will take you through many bustling hill towns. Post Karan Prayag, the civilization thins. You are deep in the mountains driving over narrow overhangs beside the Alaknanda river. The river stays with you all the way to Govindghat.

From Rishikesh To The Base camp Of Valley Of Flowers Trek (Map)

Rishikesh-to-Govindghat-Indiahikes

Planning your hotel/stay

While booking hotels on your return, always book your rooms assuming the buffer day is not being used. Assume the trek is going to run without any hiccups. So what happens if you use your buffer day on the trek? Unfortunately, then you’ll probably lose your hotel booking. So book hotels where you may not have to transfer money in advance. Even if you do, consider it better than missing out on the trek. In Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun it is not difficult to find last minute hotel booking if in case the buffer day is used.

Hotel options in Rishikesh

Live Free Hostel (Indiahikes Pick-up Point)

Live Free Hostel is a modern backpackers hostel, excellent for women travelling alone. It has basic amenities such as bunk beds, towels, good bathroom. Entire premises is quite hygienic. Bathrooms are shared. Average cost Rs 300 - 800 per bed. Rooms start at about Rs 1,400.
Website: https://www.livefreehostels.com/
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9H8Xakmt8p2TpYFS6


SK International

SK International which is next to Zostel is another good option. It has clean rooms with good amenities. Charges are about Rs 1,000 - Rs 1,200 per night.
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MCfW3oNG7DdPFAtP6
Contact Number:
013-524-42943


Hotel Shiv Shakti

Shiv Shakti Hostel is another good, decent option at similar price range to Zostel. This is a hostel like Zostel. They also have rooms.
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/nm8ikNY8EUWJ7Udw6.


Hotel options in Haridwar

Bedhubs

Bedhubs is a good bunk bed stay in Haridwar -- which is rare amongst the Dharamshalas and Ashrams of Haridwar. It is quite close to the heart of the action at Haridwar, approximately 500 m from Har Ki Pauri, Ram Ghat. Charges are around Rs 800 -1,000
Contact number: 01334 224 567
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9H8Xakmt8p2TpYFS6


 Hotel Radiant

Hotel Radiant near the Haridwar railway station has decent spacious rooms. Room rates are around Rs 750 for a non AC room and Rs 1,050 for an AC room
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MCfW3oNG7DdPFAtP6
Contact Number:
9557155557 (Nitin Sharma)


Hotel Rahi

Hotel Rahi, a government owned GMVN property is fairly decent. Spacious but old building. Almost opposite the Haridwar railway station, just past the bus stop. Prices start at around Rs 700 for a room.
Contact number: +91-135-2431793
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nm8ikNY8EUWJ7Udw6.


Hotel options in Dehradun

Hotel Drona

Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750.
Contact number: +91-135-2746847
Book online: http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/
Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/9H8Xakmt8p2TpYFS6


 Nomads House

Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House.
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MCfW3oNG7DdPFAtP6
Contact Number:
9760596464


MyRoom252

MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there.
Contact number: 086308 81083
Website: http://www.myroom252.com/
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nm8ikNY8EUWJ7Udw6.

How Difficult is Valley of Flowers Trek?

A Reality Check on the Difficulty of this Trek

To be honest, Valley Of Flowers trek, which climbs to 14,400 ft, is not really difficult. It is rated as 'moderate'. That too only because trekking days are slightly long. 

A moderate rating refers to marginally longer trekking days with a few steep climbs (example: climb from Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib). This makes it a notch more difficult than the easy-moderate treks like Kedarkantha and Dayara Bugyal.

To give you a perspective, the Valley of Flowers trek is 38 km long. And you cover this distance in 4 days. Every day you gain an altitude of approximately 2000 ft, and on some days even more. For your body to handle this trekking distance and altitude gain, you need to have good fitness levels.

And here’s a yardstick for that – before the trek begins, you should be able to comfortably run 5 km in under 40 minutes. Click here for the fitness schedule to achieve that goal.

But the trek has easy exits and there are no technical sections.

To make it easier for you to take note, here’s a list of difficult and tricky sections on the Valley Of Flowers Trek:

1. Rockfall area in the valley.

There are two rockfall sections on this trek. You will come across the first one between Govindghat to Ghandria on the first day. And the second one lies around 20 minutes from the forest checkpoint as you trek from Ghangria to Valley of Flowers.

| Safety Advice: Be quiet and cross without stopping, in one go. Both rockfall sections on Valley Of Flowers trek are only about 20 metres long. Be mentally prepared for these and stay alert.

2. The melting snow blocks on the way to Hemkund Sahib in July and August. There is no snow on the trail but you can get snow melts coming down from the mountainside above the trail. Be mindful and keep an eye out especially on the mountainside when you are climbing up to Hemkund.

| Safety Advice: If you are feeling unsure, ask for guidance. Your guide usually puts stones to step upon without getting your feet wet. No other major risk here.

3. The hard climb to Hemkund Sahib and altitude sickness. 

Symptoms of AMS like headache, dizziness and nausea are common on the climb to Hemkund Sahib. Climbing almost 4000 ft from 9,600 ft to 14,100 ft in a single day is the big culprit behind you feeling these symptoms. So, trek up slowly but steadily. Take breaks after every 100 meters and take deep breaths.

| Tip: Micro-steps is a useful technique to climb uphill effortlessly. According to this technique, trek with a minuscule gap of 2-inch between the heel of one foot and toes of the next. Read more about micro-steps here.

| Safety Advice: Stay alert for any symptoms of AMS. When you climb too high too soon above 9000 ft, you risk the chance of developing Acute Mountain Sickness. On the Valley of Flowers trek, our itinerary is designed to reduce the chances of you being hit by AMS. We visit the Valley of flowers before we visit Hemkund Sahib to help your body acclimatize slowly to the increasing altitude.

4. Bridges over rivers.

There are a couple of bridges on the Lakshman Ganga (Govind Ghat to Ghangria) and a bridge over Pushpavati (Ghangria to Valley of Flowers) on the trail and they are narrow. Be mindful of mule trains crossing over the bridges. Do not get stuck on the bridge with them. Be mindful about the water level below the bridges too. Do not crowd over these bridges either.

| Safety advice: Walk always on the side nearer to the mountain, primarily because of mules. We make trekkers pass through this section of about 100-150 metres quickly without stopping for photographs or otherwise.

5. Hard snow crossing en route the Valley of flower

Early in the season, en route valley of flowers, there is usually a patch of hard snow extending across the trail all the way to the Pushpavati river. It is a short 10-meter patch but nevertheless requires you to negotiate it with firm footing.

A trekking pole and your trekking shoe come in handy to put firm footings in the snow. If you do not have a trekking pole, make patches on the hard snow with your shoe to get a firm footing.

| Safety advice: If you are feeling too nervous on the hard snow crossing, request your guide to help you out by showing the steps or holding your hand through it.

Is Valley of Flowers Trek Safe?

Defining Safety Standards of Trekking

Yes. Valley of Flowers trek is safe because it is one of the most well-known treks in the Indian Himalayas and has well-laid trails frequented by pilgrims. Yet, you would need to be careful on slippery sections on the trail especially when it is raining.

The altitude gain while trekking from Ghangria to Hemkund Sahib is also something that you need to be mindful of since AMS can hit trekkers at this altitude.

At this point, it is important to look at the details of the trek from the perspective of safety. It helps in being mentally prepared for the trek. That is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek. Quickly, here it is:

| Trek in a nutshell: On the Valley Of Flowers trek you go up to an altitude of 14,400 ft over a trek of 38 km. This is spread over four days where you trek for around 6 hours and gain 2000 ft on an average every day. It is possible that you could be hit by AMS on any of these days, especially while on your way to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can easily survive at high altitudes.

To do this effectively, let’s break down and examine various aspects of Valley Of Flowers trek from the perspective of safety:

Safety Of Valley Of Flowers - Terrain Wise

When it comes to terrain, Valley of Flowers can be considered as highly safe.

  • The entire route is marked with well-marked trails
  • Well trodden routes
  • Most ascents are gradual except the climb to Hemkund Sahib.
  • Well placed campsites (important when considering AMS)
  • Easy exit points

There are hardly any sections that are challenging and require technical assistance. The only challenging section is the climb to Hemkund Sahib. However, even this section does not require technical assistance.

Safety of Valley of Flowers - Altitude Wise

As discussed in the above section, you are exposed to the risk of AMS during the stiff climb from Ghangria to Valley of Flowers.  Stay alert for any signs of altitude sickness.

Attend to your uneasiness and take curative measures. Check oxygen levels, go on a curative course of Diamox, drink water and rest. If you do not feel normal after a few hours or overnight, do not proceed further on the trek.

To help you understand AMS better, we've put together a complete guide about it. This is a series of videos you must watch before you get onto any high altitude trek:

  1. What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
  2. How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
  3. How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
  4. 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE

If you experience any symptoms of AMS, even in the slightest, start taking steps to treat the sickness.

At Indiahikes, our trek leaders are trained and equipped to take care of any emergencies related to AMS.

Safety of Valley of Flowers - Weather Wise

The trek is safe throughout the monsoon season. It may get slippery in parts due to rains. Good trekking shoes can take care of it. So, choose your trekking shoes wisely.
Apart from that, keep an eye out for the strong river currents while crossing bridges on the trek (view difficulty section for details). To be safe, trek in the first half of the day when rains aren't heavy.

Exit points on Valley of Flowers trek

Valley of Flowers, being a pilgrims trail, is well laid out and has easy exits from Ghangria. The nearest hospital in case of a medical emergency is the army hospital at Joshimath. It is around an hour’s drive from Govindghat.

Best Time to do Valley of Flowers Trek

Find Out How the Trek Looks in Different Months of Monsoon

The gates to Valley Of Flowers open at the beginning of June. But the best time to visit is between July and September. You can extend it to the end of September.

Even in the best months between July and September, the trek is not the same every month.

Valley Of Flowers Trek In July-August-September:

July It is lush green. The flowers are just beginning to bloom. Peak flowering season starts after mid-July. There are a few old snow bridges and some melting snow patches. Expect a riot of colours. Rains pick up after mid-July. The valley is least crowded in July.
August The first 15 days of August see a huge number of flowers Though there’s a good amount of rain at Govindghat. But at higher altitudes, it’s not always heavy. It's crowded around weekends. But on weekdays you don’t have to worry about crowds.
September Flowers have wilted by now and valley is swelling with a crowd of pilgrims.

Valley Of Flowers In July:

In July expect a lot of greenery. You will also find a bit of snow till rains begin in full swing. But there won’t be many flowers until mid-July. Since the trek climbs to such a high altitude (~14,000 ft), it retains snow even in July. Only later in July, the rain washes off the snow.

Monsoon also starts setting in in July. But it doesn’t rain much in the first half. Monsoon gains momentum in the second half of July. Snow too starts getting washed off by then.

Gourab Nandy
Slope Manager

You majorly spot two flowers, pink and yellow ones, in the valley. They belong to the Asteraceae family which has around 62 species. Other than these you get to see the Himalayan blue poppies that you won’t get to see anywhere else in Uttarakhand. You also see the Himalayan Daisy, Cobra Lily

If you are really enthusiastic about flowers, I would suggest you read The Plants of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary published by the Wildlife Institute of India. There are also two books written by Prof. Chandraprakash Kala. He was appointed by the Indian Government to research on VoF in 1993. The books are Myth and Reality of Valley of Flowers, and Ecology and Conservation of Valley of Flowers National Park.

The Valley Of Flowers starts blooming - in the true sense - from mid-July onwards. And if there is a favourite time to do this trek, it has to be from mid-July to mid-August.

Valley-of-flowers-Indiahikes
Epilobium Laxum of the Evening Primrose family in full bloom between July and August. Picture by Gourab Nandy

Valley Of Flowers In August:

In August, monsoon clouds hang low and wash over the entire valley. Maximum flowers in the valley bloom during this period. While you get a good amount of rain at Govindghat during this time, at the higher altitudes it turns into a drizzle.

| Tip: Watch out for the precious Brahmakamal as you climb to Hemkund Sahib. This beautiful flower only grows around the altitude of 14,000 feet so is a rare sighting.

Even the crowds aren’t heavy during the initial days of August. This makes it a perfect time to explore the valley blooming with flowers.

Valley Of Flowers In September:

Flowers begin wilting by the second half of August and by September very few flowers are left. But there’s a different kind of beauty to this month of retreating monsoon. Skies start clearing up and you witness some clear mountain views.

Valley Of Flowers-September-Indiahikes
Valley of Flowers in September. Picture by Gourab Nandy

But September is also the time when the crowd in the valley starts thickening, During this month, pilgrims flock to visit the Gurudwara of Hemkund Sahib.

| Note: During peak monsoon, make it a point to visit the Valley of Flowers in the first half of the day and be back by 2 pm. Post that, the intensity of the rain increases. And that makes it risky to cross the rickety bridges over Lakshman Ganga.


Weather And Temperature On The Valley Of Flowers Trek

Temperature on the Valley of Flowers trek:

It is not very cold on the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib trek because the trek is done in the post-summer months of July, August and early September.

A second reason is that the highest place at which we stay overnight is Ghangria which is a shade below 10,000 ft.

Having said that, the trek is quite cold for someone coming in anywhere else but from the Himalayan villages. On the trek you can expect night and minimum temperatures to be about 3 - 5 degrees. Day temperatures are expected to be between 10 - 18 degrees based on precipitation and cloud cover of the day.

Rainfall on the Valley of Flowers trek:

Monsoons officially reach Uttarakhand by the second week in July. But we don’t see much rain until the first half of July. It is very pleasant trekking in the valley. After mid-July, we see regular rains which continue all the way into August.

But do not fret over the rains. On the trek, the rain is always manageable by wearing your rain gears like a poncho and a rain pant. We also see that the first half of the day usually sees lighter rain as compared to the evenings and nights. Our trek days start early everyday and end by early afternoon.

Our strict start times and turnaround times keep us out on the trail during the best parts of the day and back in the safety of our lodge when the rains become heavy.

Come the end of August, the rains start to retreat. You get clearer skies and crisp views.

Snow on the Valley of Flowers trek:

The Valley of Flowers trek is not timed for its snow experience but early in the season you do get to walk on snow bridges and snow patches. The trail to the valley of flowers has snow bridges formed over the river and at many places, you walk right beside the snow bridges.

On the trail to Hemkund too, you get a handful of snow patches to cross early in the season. Expect to see melting snow flowing into Hemkund Sahib early in July. Most of the snow is gone once the rains set in by August.

What To Take

A Packing Check-List

Things to get for the Valley Of Flowers Trek

Valley of Flowers is a high altitude trek and is done in monsoon. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is different from regular treks. So pay careful attention to this entire section.

First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.

1. Trekking Shoes:

Valley of Flowers requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle rain. This is monsoon trek and wearing trekking shoes are very important to handle slippery sections and wet weather. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.    

| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.

| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean.

2. Backpack:

For a trek like Valley Of Flowers you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.

| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.

| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.

3. Clothes:

Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required. 

Base layer:

3 T-shirts:

Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.

Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.

| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.

| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)

| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them. 

3 Insulation layers:

The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 14,400 ft. At these altitudes it can get freezing cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.

You will need 2 light fleece layers, 1 full-sleeve light sweater. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.

1 Outer layer:

A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.

| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.

Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.

| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.

2 trek pants:

Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry two  just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings / rain.

| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants -- so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.

Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek. 

These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Valley of Flowers without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first. 

1. Sunglasses:

Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows).

| Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.

Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.

| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.

| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens.   

 2. Suncap:

A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.

| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.

| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way. 

  3. Synthetic hand gloves:

On a trek like Valley Of Flowers, it is likely you are going to be trekking in rain.  Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.  

4. Woollen cap or Balaclava:

Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap. 

Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head.

5. Socks (3 pairs):

Apart from 2 sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.

6. Headlamp:

On the Valley Of flowers trek although you stay at lodges which have electricity, power cuts are common. So carry a headlamp or torch is useful. Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Valley Of Flowers  trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes and hold your trek poles. 

| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you. 

7. Trekking pole (a pair):

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Valley Of Flowers  trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.  

8. Rainwear:

On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Being a monsoon trek carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing. 

Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.

| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store.

9. Rain cover for your backpack:

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.

| Pro tip: It's good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.

10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional):

Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a porter on the Valley Of Flowers trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.

| Note: On the Valley of Flowers trek you have 2 day treks to Hemkund Sahib and to the  Valley. You stay at Ghangaria for 3 nights in the same lodge. So a day pack is very useful as you can unload a few items at the lodge and carry on the day essentials.

A day pack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not day packs. Do not get them.

Other mandatory requirement

1. A toilet kit:

Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics -- toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.

| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Valley Of Flowers.

| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery:

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.

| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.

3. Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack:

Valley of Flowers  has long walking days. You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.

| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store

4. Plastic covers:

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

Personal medical kit

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader

  1. Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Govind Ghat. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Valley of Flowers trek.    
  2. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
  3. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
  4. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol. 
  5. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS. 
  6. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
  7. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.

| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.   

Mandatory Documents to carry

These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.

  1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.  
  2. Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp - Download PDF
  3. Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes - Download PDF

| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.  

How to Get Fit for Valley of Flowers Trek

A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Well

How to get fit for the Valley of Flowers trek

The Valley of Flowers trek is classified as a moderate trek. You trek up to an altitude of 14,100 feet at Hemkund Sahib from 6,234 ft at Govind Ghat. That is a huge altitude gain and you have to make sure your lungs are strong enough to acclimatise to thin air for more work.

Valley of Flowers is a four days trek along with Hemkund Sahib from Govindghat to Govindghat. It's a moderate grade trek. You are starting from Govindghat (6,300 ft), you have to reach Ghangria (9,500ft) by covering a distance of 9 km on the first day itself.

On the 2nd Day, you can visit Valley of Flowers (11,500 ft) from Ghangria and come back to Ghangria by covering 4+4=8 km distance.

On the 3rd day, go to Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara (14,100ft) by covering a distance of 6 km & come back to Ghangria by trekking the same distance. As this trek takes you from 6,300 ft to 14,100ft only in 3 days by covering only 19km (one-sided).

It's not going to be very easy. You need a basic level of fitness and endurance.

Cardiovascular endurance

This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

In case you're just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner -

-->Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.

--> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in 40 mins.

-->If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 5km in less than 48 minutes.

If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 18 km in 60 minutes.

How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?

Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.

Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.

Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.

Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek

For < 45 years age : One screenshot of 5 km in 45 minutes and the second 5 km in 40 minutes.

For > 45 years age : Two screenshots of 5 km in 48 minutes.

If you love cycling, cover a distance of 18 km in one hour and upload the same.

Fitness proof to be uploaded with GPS on and along with your picture.

Here's a guide to help you get fit for the trek.

Working out indoors
If you can't go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here's a video you can use to work out indoors.'

Inclusions and Exclusions

What You Need To Know About Your Trek Fee

Here's what your trekking fee includes:

  1. Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Govind Ghat to Govind Ghat). You will be staying in lodges on all days of the trek. Rooms will be shared with fellow trekkers.
  2. Meals – All meals from dinner at Govind Ghat on Day 1 to breakfast at Govind Ghat on Day 6 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
  3. Trekking permits – All trekking permits and forest entry charges are included.
  4. Trekking equipment – We provide ice axes, ropes, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
  5. Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
  6. Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
  7. Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.

Here's what your trekking fee excludes

  1. Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Live Free Hostel at Rishikesh at 5:00 am and drop you back from Govind Ghat. This will cost approximately Rs.6,000 for an SUV and Rs.9,500 for a Tempo Traveler. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
  2. Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and return from Govind Ghat.
  3. Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 500 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Govind Ghat (Rs. 350 per day inclusive of tax).
  4. Stay at Haridwar on the last day 
  5. Personal expenses of any kind
  6. Anything apart from inclusions

Frequently Asked Questions About Valley of Flowers Trek

What COVID-19 guidelines should I keep in mind while traveling to Valley of Flowers?

The COVID-19 guidelines of Uttarakhand are straightforward. They are:

  1. You need to carry your RT-PCR Negative certificate, it cannot be older than 72 hours.
  2. You also compulsorily need an E-pass to enter Uttarakhand. You can get it by registering on http://smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in. Register for your E-pass at least 10 hours before starting your journey as the District Magistrate needs to approve it. That could take time.

Couple of things to keep in mind while traveling to Uttarakhand

  1. Plan your travel wisely to ensure that your RT-PCR report is not older than 72 hours. You can get tested at Dehradun (Dr Ahuja’s Pathology & Imaging Centre) or Rishikesh (SRL Ltd, Near AIIMS. Contact: 7706879852) for this. Please get in touch with the testing centres to confirm timings.
  2. On your way back, if your destination requires an RT-PCR negative certificate, plan accordingly for a buffer day to get tested.
Is it okay for a first-timer to attempt the Valley of Flowers trek?

Yes, the Valley of Flowers treks is a good first-time trek. You get to experience high altitude trekking Be sure to work on your fitness before the trek. If you want to do a trek before the Valley of Flowers trek, do the Kedarkantha Trek or Dayara Bugyal Trek.

How long is the Valley of Flowers trek?

The Valley of Flowers Trek is 38 km long. And you cover this distance in 4 days where you trek approximately for 6 hours every day. You also need to keep two days for travelling to and from the basecamp of the Valley of Flowers trek.

The trek begins from Govindghat, which is an 11-hour drive from Rishikesh. From Govindghat, you trek to Ghangria. This will be yours on trek base. Each day you will trek for about 6 hours, and return to Ghangria.

During the trek, you will witness a wide array of things – from blooming flowers, gushing rivers, tall mountainscapes in front of you, delicate bridges, stone paths, lakes, and much more.

Is it okay to trek to Valley of Flowers during rainy season?

Yes, the Valley of Flowers Trek is primarily a monsoon trek. All of July, August, and up to the first week of September is the best time to do the trek. The flowers in the valley are in full bloom during this time of the year. You will encounter rain on this trek, so be sure to carry your poncho and other rain gear.

What’s the weather like in the Valley of Flowers?

You will receive light showers throughout the trek as it is set in monsoon. The intensity of rain on the trek usually increases after 2 pm, so aim to complete your day’s trek before that.

You need to be mindful about this timing especially on the day you explore Valley Of Flowers as you will need to cross the roaring Pushpavati river, which increases its force during heavy rainfall. And while there is a feeble bridge taking you from one side to another, crossing it during rains increases the risk.

Apart from this, you will find snow early in July and rain would have died down in September.

Do I Need an RT-PCR Test before my trek?

For all Indiahikes trekkers, we have made an RT-PCR test mandatory. This RT-PCR test must not be older than 72 hours before your trek. Only those who have two doses of vaccination, or have been affected by Covid in the past three months are exempt from this rule. (We’ll require proof of both of these.)

This rule is irrespective of the state government rules in Himachal, J&K and Uttarakhand. We want our trekkers to ensure they are not carrying any infections to the mountains, where medical care is practically non-existent.

If trekkers are found without RT-PCR tests, they will not be allowed on the trek.

Is Hemkund Sahib closed? When is it likely to open?

Given that the Chardham Yatra is closed to tourists, the Hemkund Sahib trail (which is a pilgrimage route) is also closed for trekkers. This is a protocol issued by the state government. It could reopen any time in the near future. We’re monitoring the situation week on week.

Is it worth going to Valley of Flowers when Hemkund Sahib is closed?

We have made a temporary change in the Valley of Flowers itinerary, given that Hemkund Sahib is closed. This is effective starting 9th July.

Given that the Chardham Yatra is closed to tourists, the Hemkund Sahib trail (which is a pilgrimage route) is also closed for trekkers. This is a protocol issued by the state government. It could reopen any time in the near future. We’re monitoring the situation week on week.

Trekkers are instead visiting the beautiful Gorson Bugyal on Day 5 of their Valley of Flowers trek itinerary. They’re driving to Auli and trekking to Gorson Bugyal, which is a terrific meadow section on the Kuari Pass trail. “At this time of the year, when the monsoons are thriving, the meadows are going to be at their lushest best,” says Sandhya UC, the co-founder of Indiahikes.

So even though Hemkund Sahib is closed, the trek is worth doing as you get to trek in the picturesque Gorson Bugyal while visiting the Valley of Flowers which is open only during monsoon.

Available dates

We will open up dates shortly. Click here to see other similar treks that might have dates.

  • What the colours mean
  • Available
    Registration is on.
  • Waitlist
    The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
  • Last 'x' slots
    Indicates the number of slots available in a group.
  • Full
    Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely.

Thoughts On Valley Of Flowers Trek

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31 thoughts on “Valley Of Flowers Trek

    1. The best time to do the Valley of Flowers trek is between mid-July and mid-September. This is when you see the flowers at their best. It’s monsoon season in India, it also rains a bit on the trek. But the rain is what makes the flowers bloom. So time your trek in these months to see the best of the flowers. 🙂

    1. Hi Dinesh, the Valley of Flowers trek is open only in July, August and September. The flowers are not yet blooming in June. As for the stay, you stay in lodges and not tents. Hope this helps!

  1. As per the government rules considering the current situation, we have to take the Corona Negative report, not older than 3 days.
    So my question is, will your organisation arrange the test of corona for us ??

    1. Hi Nikhil, we will not be able to do that. You will have to get it from a hospital in your city, where they are doing COVID tests. The test results will have to be shown at the arrival airport as well as to our team at the base camp.

  2. What is the average age group for the trek? My mother wants to do it. She’s fit and used to treks in Maharashtra.

    1. Hi Ankita, the average age of trekkers who register with us is around 30 years. The range varies from 12 years to 60+ years with most people between 25 to 35 years of age. If your mother is physically fit and is regularly works out, then she is fit to go for the trek. Once she registers, her Experience Coordinator will request her to submit a fitness proof (screenshot of her walk/jog). The EC will then guide her through different levels of preparation to ensure that she meets the fitness criteria required for the Valley of Flowers trek 🙂

    1. Hi Gunjan, yes it is possible for a 10-year-old to do the Valley of Flowers trek. However, the trek till Hemkund Sahib is steep. It will test your endurance and stamina. So preparation is a must to complete this trek successfully. I would recommend doing a staying active and jogging every day. Please go through this blog – https://indiahikes.com/tips-to-prepare-children-for-trek/#gref It discusses how parents prepared their children for high altitude treks. It will give you a good idea on how to go about it 🙂 Happy trekking!

    1. Hi Rohan, you can definitely do the Valley of Flowers trek as your first trek. Just make sure you work on a fitness routine at least 30 days before. 🙂

    1. It’s not very easy for a 9 year old (I’m talking specifically about the climb to Hemkund Sahib). But if the child is active and fit, and works on his/her fitness along with you for a month or so, they should be able to do the trek comfortably. Outside of that, there are no difficulties for a 9 year old. In fact, it’s a great trek to do for them! 🙂

  3. Hi
    My husband and I want to do the VOF trek but for Hemkund Sahib we want to take the helicopter. Can that be arranged?
    Secondly I’m 56 while my husband is 62 is it possible for us to get a room to ourselves?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sangeeta ma’am, when you are on a trek with us, we expect you to trek. Helicopters are for tourists, not trekkers! I’m afraid we cannot arrange a helicopter to Hemkund Sahib. For your second question, that won’t be possible. There are very few stay options on VOF trek. You are going to be staying in lodges on a shared basis. You are likely to be 3 or 4 in a room, depending on which room you have been allocated to.

  4. Hi
    I would like to know few things regarding trekking to VOF n hemkund sahib.
    considering pandemic will there be very crowding at lodges stay as I see IH taking group of 20 at a time. How is stay going to be?

    1. Hi Sangeeta, there are very few stay options on VOF trek. I would not say it is crowded, but you are going to be staying in lodges on a shared basis. You are likely to be 3 or 4 in a room, depending on which room you have been allocated to. This is something you need to come prepared with.
      I hope you are vaccinated with at least one dose 🙂

  5. I am 60 years old Dr.BMI 23.7
    Do weekly cycling of 50 km.
    Fully fit. Can run 5 km in 35 minutes.
    Will I not qualify with you just because of age?

    1. You will more than qualify for your age, sir 🙂 I wish our trekkers who are in their 20s and 30s are as fit as you!

  6. Am fully vaccinated but as breakthrough infections are still ON hence finding it risky to share with unknown people.

    Also wanted to know as per itinerary our RTpcr report would be more than 72hrs old by the time we reach valley.
    So is IH arranging any testing prior at rishikesh etc? What’s tgr guarantee thst report will be available same day as usually it takes 1-2days.

    So would like to know how are these logistics worked out.
    Because am from Mumbai. I would have taken test teo days prior of flying out.

    1. Yes, you will still need to carry the RT-PCR test with you, even if you are vaccinated. The govt. authorities are pretty strict about this on the trail.

Valley Of Flowers Trek
8,450
+ 5% GST