Uttarakhand is strategically located amidst the awesome Himalayan ranges. The tourist places in this state have wowed many for their pristine beauty. However, there are a few treks of Uttarakhand that offer some of the most thrilling of experiences that leave your senses satiated, yet wanting more at the same time.
In fact, some great sites in Uttarakhand have actually made trekking in India very popular. The middle and lower Himalayan ranges present some great options to explore; ranging in difficulty levels and offering something for all; be it beginners longing to get a taste of trekking, or pros, back for their yearly adrenaline rush. Uttarakhand tourism too avidly promotes trekking.
We have put together some of the best treks that the great Himalayas have on offer for you. Look and pick what intrigues you –
At an altitude of 3566 m in the Garhwal Himalayas, Har-ki-Doon trek is graded to be of medium difficulty. The trek traverses the most untouched parts of the Garhwal valley. Add to it, its holy significance and you find hundreds of trekkers drawn to it every year.
The base for Swargarohini and Jaundar Glacier lies southeast of Har-ki-doon, and is believed to be the route that the Pandavas took to go to the ‘Swarga’ (Heaven). The valley is surrounded by snow-laden Himalayan peaks full of pine forests and rich in flora and fauna. Medicinal herbs and shrubs are available aplenty here. It is a paradise for photographers and nature lovers. Rare trees of Bhojpatra and Brahmakamal can also be found here while trekking. A rare and beautiful temple dedicated to the Kaurava prince Duryodhana is also situated here.
2. Roopkund Trek
If you are one for thrill and excitement bordering on spooky, you would love to trek the Himalayas on the Roopkund trek. The trek starts from Debal and through the eastern part of Chamoli district of Garhwal, leads up to the Roopkund Lake at an altitude of 5029 meters. Roopkund is a beautiful water body surrounded by glaciers and snowy peaks. Views around here are simply awesome.
Also called the ‘Mystery Lake’, it houses a huge presence of human and equine skeletons that are almost 500-600 years old. This small lake is just 200 meters in circumference and very shallow too; just 2 meters deep. This is why sightings of skeletons are quite common. When the snow melts, the skeletal remains under the snow surface up. The reason for the presence of these skeletons is still under research but scientists say that a probable cloudburst or avalanche could have caused this. Reportedly, the cold alpine weather conditions have kept the bones and in some cases even the flesh intact and preserved.
3. Valley of Flowers Trek
This valley was an accidental discovery by a British mountaineer Frank Smith who lost his way back after a mountaineering expedition in 1931. At an altitude of 3858 meters, this Himalaya trek is graded as easy and is an absolute delight for photographers and nature lovers for its immense variety of flora.
The valley of flowers covering an area of 87.5 sq. kms boasts of over 300 species of wild flowers. Due to these, it attracts many species of birds, insects, and rare Himalayan butterflies. Water streams nearby lend the place its fertility and picturesque views. It is also declared a UNESCO world Heritage site and remains open for trekkers during daytime only. Night halts and littering are completely prohibited. So remember to keep up pace and reach the place on time to enjoy its beauty, lest you may be sent back as night falls.
4. Nag Tibba Trek
At an altitude of 3050 meters and graded easy, this trek can be accessed throughout the year, making it very popular amongst trekkers. There are small Scenic villages along the trek route with numerous temples that you can stop by and see. The beautiful deodar forests lining the Himalayan peaks offer a superb camping location.
5. Chandrashila & Deoria Tal Trek
Chandrashila, at an altitude of 4090 meters, is graded as moderate to tough trek and hence, requires one to have a certain level of physical fitness. Trekkers can go throughout the year except for the months of December and January, when it snows heavily here. On the summit is the Tungnath temple, the highest Himalayan temple.
It is a trekkers delight to see full views of the mesmerizingly beautiful Nanda Devi, Trishul, Kedar Peak and Chaukhamba peaks from here. On the Gopeshwar – Ukhimath nearly 40 Kms. from Gopeshwar lies Chopta, which is believed to be the most beautiful and awesome place in Garhwal. It is at an altitude of 2900 meters. Enjoy the beauty of Deoria Tal (Lake) here, which is surrounded by forests and reflects the mighty peaks in their sheer magnificence.