Nothing pushes your boundaries like a trekking expedition to the Himalayas. Nothing else fills you with more passion and a greater appreciation for life. And nothing else provides you with views and experiences that only a select few are lucky enough to enjoy.
Later, on your more challenging days, you’re bound to think back on your trek and think to yourself that if you could achieve something that seemed so impossible back then, you can get through whatever you’re facing now as well.
We all have a friend we know personally, or virtually, who can’t stop raving about their trekking expedition to the Himalayas. And from the pictures and stories, it does indeed seem like they’ve had the time of their lives.
Indeed, the very idea of going away on a trekking adventure seems tantalizing to no end. It’s immensely sad that so many people who love and enjoy traveling have never been trekking, because a trek is like unlocking a whole new world altogether.
Here are the best beginner treks to get you started on a lifetime of adventure.
Nag Tibba Trek
A comparatively less explored, yet one of the most amazing trekking routes near Dehradun and Mussoorie, Nag Tibba belongs to the Garhwal Himalayas. Hailed as one of the most stunning treks of Uttarakhand, the trail offers memorable views of the Garhwal ranges, dense deodar forests, valleys dotted with colourful wildflowers and vibrant flora and fauna.
The Nag Tibba trekking expedition to the Himalayas begins after a six hour drive from Dehradun, or a three hour drive from Mussoorie. It’s a short trek of 25 km. Resting at 3022 m, the summit of this trek, the Serpent’s Peak, is the highest point of the Nag Tibba. The climb to Nag Tibba can be achieved simply within two days and one night, making it the quintessential beginner’s trek!
On a clear day, you get a 100-degree view of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges Srikanth, Swargarohini, Gangotri, Bandarpoonch and Kalanag. If that isn’t enough, you also get to revel in the sight of Kedarnath, the Doon Valley and the snow cloaked peaks of Changabang.
With its start from the Patwari village, the trek is gentle at first and gathers elevation slowly and steadily. The circular and serpentine trail takes you through contrasting landscapes, charming villages, and lush forests as you make your way up to the summit. Although the climb to the apex may get exhausting, the view at the top is going to be surely worth it.
To keep things interesting, the descent from the peak is organized via a different route, which will bring you to a delightful little clearing named Moriana. The area is encircled by forests with a running stream on one side and couple of shepherds’ huts on the other. It’s the perfect place to catch your breath before concluding your epic quest.
Best Time to Visit
Nag Tibba boasts agreeable weather year round, so you may pick any season of your liking to set out on this venture. The summer months of Nag Tibba (April to June) provide pleasant and comfortable weather with temperatures ranging from +2 degrees to +20 degrees. The winter months (December to March) present much colder climates, where the weather varies from -8 degrees to +13 degrees. Needless to say, it’s freezing cold and thick woolens are a must for this trek.
July to August, the monsoon months, exhibit temperatures around +8 degrees to +18 degrees, and require light woolens. The fall months of September to November in Nag Tibba are -4 degrees to +15 degrees. And although the temperature may be quite pleasant, it can get extremely cold at night. The place often sees the onset of snow from November.
Valley of Flowers Trek
Nestled in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand at a height of 3352 m, the Valley of Flowers trek is as heavenly as it sounds. The perfect beginner’s trek, the valley is known for its colourful natural flowerbeds, lush meadows, and endangered birds and animals.
A perfect mix of every colour imaginable and an aroma that you won’t be able to get enough of, the valley of flowers trekking expedition to the Himalayas is destined to stay with you long after you have completed your trek.
A 6 days, 5 night,s trekking expedition, the journey begins from Haridwar. The drive, which takes you along sharp twisting roads, covers 260 km (11 hour) to Govind Ghat. The next day is your first day of trek and begins with a 14 km uphill hike to the town of Ghangharia, 2926 m.
On the third day of your trek, you embark on your journey to the Valley of Flowers, where you’re greeted with the unforgettable sight of blossoming flowers of red, pink, purple, lavender, blue, and more. Admire nature’s remarkable creation in all its glory as you witness the many hued valley with the backdrop of snow cloaked Himalayan peaks and meandering streams. Revel in the company of buzzing insects, singing birds and colourful fluttering butterflies.
After spending some soulful time in the Valley of Flowers, you begin your trek back to Ghangharia. The following day, trek to Hemkund Sahib which lies 6 km away. A religious site associated with Guru Gobind Singh, the Hemkund Sahib, is surrounded by seven snow-capped peaks and is true feast for the eyes. Finally, return to Ghangharia for your trek to Govind Ghat, which concludes your magical journey to an otherworldly place.
Best Time to Visit
The Valley of the Flower trek is one of the very few treks that be taken in the Monsoon season. The best time to visit is mid-July to mid-August, to watch the flourishing beauty of the valley alight with the luminous colours of uncountable flowers, cascading waterfalls, and gushing streams.
Sitting pretty at a height of 4297m, Bhrigu Lake is a high altitude glacial lake. It’s prominent in Indian mythology as Maharishi Bhrigu’s meditation spot.
With its beauty changing every season, the trek to this pristine Lake is sure to strike a chord with every novice trekker. An overwhelming trekking expedition to the Himalayas, the trek to the Bhrigu Lake offers exquisite views of the Seven Sister Peaks, Deo Tibba and Hanuman Tibba, the fanned out Pir Panjal ranges, flourishing oak and cedar forests, green lush meadows, and gushing streams. You may have only seen these scenes in blockbuster Bollywood romance movies before.
This exciting 4 days, 3 nights, 25 km short trek starts with the first day in Manali, where you simply roam around the city and explore it to your heart’s content. The following day, you begin your voyage with a 22 km drive from Manali to the village of Gulaba, then trek 3 km to the Gulaba Meadows Camp.
The ascent to Gulaba is steep and takes nearly two hours. Once you reach the meadow, tents are set up as you prepare to spend the night there.
Next, you continue 6 km on an uphill journey to Rola Kholi, which lasts for about 4 hours owing to the steep terrain. The trail to Rola Kholi is a picturesque one taking you through lush forest lands and the streams Chor Nallah and Kohli Nallah.
Although an uphill trail, the trek remains relatively simple as it also includes easy flat terrain. Once you reach Rola Kholi, you set up your base camp and spend the night in the bosom of Mother Nature, stargazing and in anticipation of the final destination to Bhrigu lake.
The next day, you begin your much anticipated trek to the Bhrigu Lake, which lies at a distance of 5 km from the camp. The trail takes you through oak forests for the first two hours and soon leads you to snow-covered meadows. While admiring the beauty of the surroundings and the Manali valley, you’ll soon find yourself face to face with the majestic Bhrigu Lake.
After exploring the area, clicking many magnificent pictures, and enjoying a lovely picnic near the lake, you return to your camp Rola Kholi. (Camping by the lake is prohibited.) Your trek comes to an end as you make your way down to Gulaba, and your drive back to Manali.
Best time to Visit
The best seasons to experience the beauty of Bhrigu Lake are the summer and autumn months. Trekkers usually prefer to travel to the lake between the months of May and October, as not only is the season witness to snow, but also to newly blossomed flowers and green valleys. The temperature is also comfortable for trekking.
It’s wise to avoid the trek during the monsoon season, as the area is prone to landslides. During the winter months, the trail remains closed off to the world due to extreme weather conditions.
A well-loved trek for all those who are fond of mountains, Chopta Chandrashila is a vivid depiction of Himalaya’s vibrant spring. In summer, the region flourishes with the many coloured blooms of rhododendrons, whereas in winter, the region remains submerged in snow.
Pegged as one of the most beautiful treks of the Garhwal Himalays, the Chopta Chandrashila trek to the summit of Chandrashila is maneuvered via lush green meadows, sleepy hamlets, and silvery forests with the loyal companionship of snow-topped mountains and a quick trek to the enchanting Deoriatal Lake.
This four day trekking expedition to the Himalayas adventure starts from Pangar, which is a 10 hour drive from Haridwar. The drive is long and enjoyable, taking you through scenic routes and also across the holy city of Ukimath, the winter home for Kedarnath temple’s divine idols.
The next day promises to be an exciting one, which begins with a 5 km drive to Chopta. Chopta brings you closer to nature like never before as you wander across waterfalls, meadows, shepherd’s huts, and amiable locals guided by the sweet songs of Himalayan birds.
Your trek begins from here, to the renowned Tungnath Temple, the highest Shiva Temple in the world. Then, it further extends to Chandrashila peak. Although the distance from the temple to the summit is only 1 km it takes an hour to achieve due to its steep terrain.
From the summit, you get an indelible view of the mountain ranges of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Kamet, Dunagiri, Chaukhamba, Kedar Dome, Thalaysagar, Gangotri ranges, and Jahanukut. The misty mountains are also laced with stories of Indian mythologies, as it is claimed to be the meditation spot of Lord Ram after he had defeated and slain the demon Ravana.
The descent to Chopta, done on the same day, is much easier and takes only about two hours. You rest here for the night.
The third day of your trekking expedition begins with a drive to the picturesque Sari Village. Located at an altitude of 2011 m and surrounded by imposing mountains, the village makes for the perfect starting point for your trek to the enchanting, emerald Deoriatal Lake (2438 m), located only 6 km away.
The trail to Deoriatal Lake takes through beautiful farmlands, maple forests, ancient temples and quaint village houses. After enjoying your time by the lake, retrace your steps back to your campsite at Pangar to spend the night there.
On the following morning, your trekking expedition to the Himalayas reaches its finish with a drive to Haridwar.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to plan a trekking expedition to Chopta Chandrashila would be the months of March to June, when the climate is soothing and comfortable for trekking. However, if you want to add an extra bit of challenge and a whole lot of snow to your trek, plan your trip October and onwards. At this time of year, nights see a temperature drop to -15 degrees.