Top 6 Winter Treks In The Indian Himalayas

In the middle of December when the first winter snow begins to fall, the mountain slopes in our country turn magical. The snow is not thick enough to prevent trekking, but the all-white landscape is perfect for a winter trek.

Time yourself for the last week of December for most of our winter treks, though some like Brahmatal and Dayara Bugyal, can be done even in January and February.

Here are the Top 6 Winter Treks in India

Brahmatal

winter treks india - snow treks himalayas - brahmatal winter trek - indiahikes
The Brahmatal campsite in peak winter is like a snow globe come alive! Picture by Mohit Panwar

With high snow, not many treks can be done in January and February. Brahmatal is a rare exception. Even with good dollops of snow, the trail winds through waist high snow, climbing steadily to Brahmatal, a large tarn in a crater-like depression on top of a mountain. But it is not the lake you make the trek for. It is for the lovely setting along the trek — jungles with carpets of snow beneath the leaves, meadows with undulating snow cover all around and, of course, the terrific mountain views. Very few winter treks give such commanding views of snow clad mountains as does the Brahmatal trek. Brahmatal is a fairly new winter trek in India — but it has already begun to give our other treks a run for their money!

 

Kuari Pass

winter treks india - himalayas - kuari pass
Trekkers march towards the top most point of the Kuari Pass trek. Picture by Nachiketa

Snow treks India - Himalayas - Kuari Pass - IndiahikesKuari Pass has always been a popular trek in India. It is only now trekkers are discovering how good a snow trek it can be. There are forests on treks, and then there are snow lined forests on the Kuari Pass trek. With sunlight falling at an angle, the whole forest wakes up to a terrific dance of light and shade. Stepping out of the forests, trekkers get into the snow covered meadows — with big mountains towering over them. Not only are these big mountains, they are the biggest mountains of India. The biggest bonus? The Kuari Pass trek takes you close to Mt Nanda Devi, the tallest mountain in India. You not only see Nanda Devi, you see the entire south west flank of the mountain, which is perhaps one of the rarest full flank view that you see of any mountain in the world.

 

Deoriatal-Chandrashila

winter trek india himalayas deoriatal chandrashila chopta indiahikes

Trekkers on the way to Chandrashila summitwinter treks india himalayas chopta chandrashila deoriatal indiahikesIn the last week of December, when the first bout of snow has fallen, another winter trek turns wondrous. The Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek in Uttarakhand climbs gently to a partially frozen lake. Across the lake, stretched across the horizon are views of the entire ranges of western Uttarakhand. They pop so suddenly that I have seen many trekkers just standing there, gaping. The effect is powerful. Climbing to the top of the Chandrashila summit on snow is a thrill no doubt, but what steals the show is the flawless view of all the highest mountains of India. Name a mountain and you’ll see it from the summit, including Nanda Devi, India’s tallest mountain. Though the full view of Mt Chaukhamba is what will stagger you the most.

 

Kedarkantha

winter treks india snow treks kedarkantha indiahikes
Kedarkantha becomes a fairy tale winter wonderland in December. Picture by Sanyam Raheja

winter treks india himalayas KedarkanthaindiahikesOf all winter treks in India, Kedarkantha is perhaps the most popular one. Do the four-day Kedarkantha trek in western Uttarakhand for its pretty camp sites. The settings of the campsites are worth giving up your right hand for. Every campsite is a wonder. You camp in clearings surrounded by giant pine trees, you lie amidst 360° views of mountain ranges and you pitch tents on vast meadows. If that’s not enough, the summit climb and the descent through an enchanting forest finishes off a trek, the taste of which lasts long after the trek is over. The trail is easy enough for first timers, which makes it an even more perfect a winter trek. Keep it on top of your bucket list.

 

Har Ki Dun

41D5 Avalanche zones
The Har-ki-Dun valley

winter treks india himalayas Har Ki Dun indiahikesThe Har Ki Dun winter trek is another in the same vicinity as the Kedarkantha. It is a tragedy that the trek is hardly done in winter — though we see an increasing traffic over the past two years. The trek snakes through a pretty valley that connects ancient Himachali villages. The architecture of the villages, apart from being fascinating,  is rarely seen. At Har-Ki-Dun with civilisation behind you, majestic snow peaks rise on either side of the valley. At the end of the valley it is like you have arrived at an amphitheater of the gods. Walking through this snow laden paradise is a scene straight out of a fairy tale. 

 

Dayara Bugyal

dayara bugyal trek
The meadows of Dayara are covered in snow in winter, making them suitable even to skiing! Picture by Mukesh Panwar

winter treks india himalayas Dayara Bugyal indiahikesWhen trekkers discuss about the most beautiful meadow in India – Dayara Bugyal is often placed at the top position. Now imagine the meadows covered under endless stretch of undulating snow. Even before you get to the meadows, the snow covered clearings and forests of the trek make the trek a delight. The government is pushing it to be an alternative ski slope to Auli in India. Before it becomes one, head to it. The joys of the trek are there to be taken without another soul around.

For all winter treks prepare adequately. 5 layers of warm clothes is what you require. Thermals, two light sweaters, a fleece jacket and a warm padded jacket. Don’t forget a pair of water proof gloves and a balaclava.

Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. Long years of trekking and facing problems in getting information about trails led Arjun to start Indiahikes. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indaihikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India.

79 thoughts on “Top 6 Winter Treks In The Indian Himalayas

  1. Thanks for this beautiful compilation of wonder treks, the first TREK i did was Chandrshilla glad to fin it on the top of your list.

  2. I have planned for Sandakphu trek in december last week. But i am not sure whether it will be snow. I wanted a trek where i can walk in snow/ice. Which one would you suggest ?
    Thanks

    1. It will be chilling cold. It doesn’t snow heavily like Himachal and Uttarakhand. I was at Sandakphu on 1.1.16 and the minimum temperature through the night was -12. It was awesome. The Sleeping Buddha is visible clearly. And, you’re above the clouds.

    1. Hi Srinidhi there will be snow in February at Sandakphu. That’s peak winter and it will be very cold. The temperature could drop to around -10 degrees at night.

  3. Can u recommend a best trek for dec last week as some of the treks are full..any good options will be helpful{ 7-8 daus trek}

    1. Hi Shrishail, the Kuari Pass trail will have too much snow in the month of February. The best season to do this trek is from September to December.

    1. Hi Avinash, there will be snow in Kedarkantha during the last week of December. 🙂 Unfortunately, all our batches are full.

  4. Hi Ajay ,
    Which is the best time for the HKD trek … there should be a best snow view … please let me know the best season

    1. Hi Sanjay, well- there is December and March where Har Ki Dun is an extremely pretty winter trek. Unfortunately, the forest department has closed the Har Ki Dun trail for this December. You can try going in March though! 🙂

    1. Hi Deepthi, you’ll find that most of our winter batches to all treks are full. We’ve opened fresh batches to a fresh trek – Kuari Pass. You can take a look at the details here – indiahikes.com/kuari-pass/

      If you’re going on your own, then Deoriatal is a very good trek to do independently and in the third week of December.

  5. Hey, Planning to trek in dec end.

    I am nto able to decide which one to go, Chandrashilla or Har-ki-dun.
    Could you please give your opinion, which is better and preferable why?

    Would love to know.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Nischith

      Go for Chandrashila. Har Ki Dun trails are closed from December to February, thanks to a new order passed by the Forest Department. If you find that December batches to Chandrashila are full, you can go for the Kuari Pass trek. It’s a grand trek to do in winter. Here are the details – indiahikes.com/kuari-pass/

    1. Hi Akash, I think Brahmatal would be an excellent choice. A great snow trek, magnificent views of Trishul and Nanda Ghunti and camping beside the frozen lakes. 🙂

  6. what are the chances of finding snowfall at Kuari pass during the last week of Dec?
    I have booked for this trek after getting shifted from HKD, hoping for a snow trek.

    1. A lot! 🙂 More than Har Ki Dun in fact because Kuari goes to a higher altitude. Most trails in Uttarakhand, beyond a certain altitude (say about 10,000 ft), will have snow. 🙂

  7. Hi,
    Can you please suggest a 4-5 day trek for the last week of January in Himachal ?? A trek where I would find snow on my way. 😀

    1. Hi Ridhi

      Himachal Pradesh sees too much snow in January, that is why we only run the Prashar Lake trek in January. It is a weekend trek.

      I think you will like the Brahamatal trek. It is in Uttarakhand. The trek is for 6 days. It is a beautiful snow trek. You can get all the details about the trek here: https://indiahikes.com/brahmatal-trek/

      Regards

  8. Hi,

    I am planning for a trek in March end toKedrakantha or Chandrashilla. Which one will you suggest this being my 1st trek. TIA

    1. Hi Saurabh

      March is the best time to do the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. It will be laden with full bloomed Rhododendrons. It is a very good trek for a beginner. You will a ball of a time on this trek. 🙂

      Regards

    2. Hi Saurabh

      March is the best time to do the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. The trail will be laden with full bloomed Rhododendrons. It is a very good trek for a beginner. You will have a ball of a time. 🙂

      Regards

  9. Hi,
    I am planning for the trek in the first week of March, where i can enjoy the snowfall and snow walk and the best view of himalayas. please suggest me some best treks.

    1. Hi Rejesh

      In March, you should do the Deoriatal trek. It is one of the most beautiful treks in our country. The Rhododendrons on this trek will begin to bloom and you will get to experience snow on your climb to the Chandrashila summit too. From the Deoriatal campsite, you will see the sunrise on Mt Chaukhamba, which in my opinion is the reason for you to do this trek. 🙂

      Regards

  10. What is the best time to go for chadar trek. Landscapes covered with snow is must :p . Can you please provide itinerary for the same with associated cost.
    Will it be a good choice considering it will be the first trek for few of them.

    1. Hi Saikat, The Chadar forms between January-February. Mid Jan to mid February to be exact. Ladakh is dry- so snowfall and having landscapes covered with snow are not very common. As in, there will be powdery snow but not snow fields, if you know what I mean. 🙂 Unfortunately, we don’t run treks in Ladakh. Here is why: https://indiahikes.com/what-is-happening-in-ladakh-is-not-okay/
      I wouldn’t recommend Chadar for first timers. The extreme conditions are not for ones who are stepping into the world of the trekking for the first time. They should do something along the lines of Kedarkantha or Brahmatal before trying out Chadar.
      You can look at our documentation here: https://indiahikes.com/documented-trek/chadar-trek/

  11. Hi,

    Would any of the treks have snow in March/April?

    I am looking for moderate difficulty treks with wonderful scenery and snow.

    1. Hi Nikhar, March- yes. April, not as much. The only trek that will have lots of snow in April is Pangarchulla. It has the best of Kuari Pass trail with a summit climb to boot.

    1. Hi Kevin, While not primarily a snow trek, you can do Rupin Pass for the excellent snowfields in the month of June. 🙂

  12. I am first time trekker and would like to know good moderate trek between September – November also if there is good snow as well. As i search on indiahike , there are no calendar yet for September – November 🙂 when it will be publish ? .. so accordingly i can check and apply for trek ?

  13. What are the easy to moderate treks recommended during December? I am keen on a trail that has Meadows and also gives clear view of multiple peaks…

    1. Hi Rupi, in December, go for the Kuari Pass trek. It clearly suits your requirements, with the lovely Gorson Bugyal meadows. It also has few of the best mountain views. 🙂

      1. Many thanks Swathi. What about Sandakphu trek around December? I loved the trek details and also the reviews…Also seems it gives crystal clear mountain views during that time of the year…

  14. I want to experience fresh and most amount of snow…so can anyone suggest me the best trek in winter?
    Difficulty level looking for is Easy/Moderate.
    Indiahikes says that Kedarkantha is best winter trek but i am also looking for bhramatal as a option
    Plzzzzz suggest.

    1. Hi Jigar if you’re going for Brahmatal, try and go in January or February. It is a beautiful trek! Kedarkantha is good too, if you time it in the last week of December. 🙂

  15. Hi Arjun & India Hikes team, Thanks !

    We are 3 friends looking for a trek in December 2017. Mid to late December. We are keen to do 4-6 day trek. We did Kilimanjaro in Dec 2016.

    We are not sure if it would be extreme cold or inhospitable. which treks would you recommend and can we speak to get some guidance / can you help us with it ?

    1. Hi Saurabh, we have many winter treks in December, especially in the second half of the month. I would recommend the Kuari Pass and Kedarkantha treks. You’ll find all the December treks here – https://indiahikes.com/month/december/

      It will be extremely cold, but not so inhospitable if you are well-equipped. You will need five warm layers and warm accessories to manage the negative temperatures. You’ll find everything you must carry in the list of things to get in each of the trek pages.

      Alternatively, you can call us on +91 9343831803 if you have any specific questions.

  16. I want to tell Kedarkanth or har ki doon in February, 2018 to experience walking and camping through ice. Which one will be the best?? Additionally publish the dates of starting the trek in February.

    1. Hi Kunal, Brahmatal and Sandakphu are the only treks we run in February. All other treks are inaccessible because there is too much snow. We’ll put out the dates by July or early August for 2018.

  17. Hi Swati/indiahikes team
    I read in one of your earlier replies, that har ki dun trail is closed by forest department in Dec.
    I am planning to join the HKD trek in Dec this year, and the site shows that dates are available too.
    Could you just clarify whether or not the HKD is happening this Dec 2017 ?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Rohit, we are running the HKD trek till December 31st. After that, it has been disallowed by the forest department because January and February are peak winter months and that is when animals hibernate.

  18. Hi Swathi,
    I am doing the Kedarkantha trek with Indiahikes in the last week of Dec. I’m thinking of following it up with Beahmatal in the first week of Jan. Just wanted to know if there’ll be batches for Beahmatal on around 3rd-4th Jan because I cannot do the trek any later than that.

    1. Hi Divyam
      Yes we do run the Bhrahmatal trek in January but we still need time to work out the dates. It is advisable that you take atleast a day or two of rest if you’re planning to do two treks back to back.

  19. Hi Swati
    I want to do a trek in mid January for 10days atleast. Which one do you suggest? I dont mind difficult trails also. I have done the EBC before and totally loved the trail. So anything similar is also fine. Please do suggest. very confused

    1. Hi Mahalakshmi. In January, not many difficult treks are accessible because there is too much snow beyond 12,000 ish feet. In fact, very few treks are accessible. One would be Brahmatal (it is an excellent snowy trek in Janury. Fairly difficult because of the extreme weather conditions and high snow). Second is Sandakphu, which has relatively lesser snow.

      If you have been to EBC already, then go for Brahmatal. It is very different to trek in Uttarakhand as compared to Nepal. 🙂

  20. Please suggest best trek for first week of December. Preferably not an easy one. The trekkers are experienced.

    1. Hi Amritansh, all our December treks are moderate. You could go for either the Sandakphu Phalut or the Brahmatal trek. Both are challenging in their own ways. Brahmatal is a rare trek to be accessible in peak winter and comes with a close view of Mount Trishul and Nanda Ghunti. The Sandakphu trail keeps moving in and out of Nepal. It has some stunning forests to look forward to among the view of four of the tallest mountain peaks. Hope this helps 🙂

  21. Hi,please tell me what kind of weather will be there on Har ki doon trek in september second batch that is in some where third week.Will there be snow or still rains.

    1. Hi Manju

      We do not have any batches in September. Monsoon recedes in September. However, it is very humid at lower altitudes and is not a great season to trek. In October the season of trekking begins. You will be greeted with clear views during this time.

  22. Hi team,
    We are a bunch of 6 friends planning a snow trek in Feb/March 2018. We have completed the Kedarkantha and Singalila Pass treks earlier. Please suggest best trek routes apart from Deoriatal-chandrashila.
    Regards,
    Chirag

  23. Hi Indiahikes,
    I completed sandakphu Trek in April 2016 and Dozngri trek( 😞😞😞not completed Gochela trek for guide wrong information) in April 2017 with my six frinds. Now we are (7 people)looking for a moderate trek with lots of snow . Please suggest us a trek for great experience .

  24. Guys, how difficult is the Brahmatal trek? I have done Kedarkatha with you before. Also, will you guys open slots in jan for prashar lake? I really want to do that.

    1. Hello Lekha
      Brahmatal is a moderate trek. It isn’t very difficult if you prepare well before a trek.
      As of now we do not know when we will be running the Prashar Lake trek.

  25. Hello,
    I have planned for Kedarkantha trek in January first week. But i am not sure whether it will be snow or not. I wanted a trek where i can walk in snow. Kindly suggest me.

    1. Hi Amit, there is a lot of snow in January, making most treks inaccessible. After the first week of January, even Kedarkantha becomes inaccessible. I’d suggest going for the Brahmatal trek. You’ll trek in lots of snow and you’ll camp in snow as well. It’s a great trek to do in January. Here are the details – indiahikes.com/brahmatal-trek/

  26. Which trek will be better in the last week of December , Brahmatal or kauri pass??
    Where wil the trek be more adventurous
    And wI’ll the entire trek be possible or can the snow cut short the trek ?

    1. Hi Abhay that’s a tough choice. Both treks are brilliant in the last week of December. And you’ll be able to complete both of them too, unless there’s a snow storm that requires evacuation. However, that rarely happens. I’d say go for Brahmatal. The views from Brahmatal are slightly closer than on Kuari Pass. Honestly, you can go either ways, but if you really have to choose, go for Brahmatal.

  27. Hi I wanted to know which trek is better Chandrashilla or Bhramtal .. I would most likely be going between 15 dec to 25 dec ..Which trek will have snow??

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