For every traveller who is in the situation of ‘been there, done that’, Ladakh undoubtedly can make their 2020 a year to remember! With its unique and challenging topography, Ladakh has been sighted as a hub of adventure activities like trekking. If we go by the books, there are several incredibly beautiful treks in Leh – Ladakh and if we go by the guts, there are countless unexplored treks. In 2020, make it a point to at least do one of the below mentioned treks to give yourself an experience of a lifetime.
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Here is the list of top 26 treks in Ladakh that come to your rescue when you are looking for something different to experience: I have divided these treks in following 3 categories:
An easy trek that will lead you through some beautiful villages of Ladakh and to famous Tibetan monasteries like Lamayuru, Spituk, Likir and Alchi, Sham Valley Trek is a way to bond better with Ladakh. Sham Valley is also known as Apricot Valley because of the Apricot orchards dotting this region. Also named ‘Baby Trek’, the trekking route for this trek stretches about 30kms from Likir to Temisgam.
The trek gives the opportunity to interact with the village people who are still in touch with their traditions. Sham Valley Trek begins from Likir and passes through Yangthang via Chagatse La (3630m), Phobe La (3580m), Hemis Shukpachan via Tsermangchan La (3750m), Ang Village via Mebtak La and Nurla, before concluding at Leh.
A relatively easier trek, Spituk-Stok Trek is one trekking expedition in Ladakh that you must embark on. Offering beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the famed Indus Valley, the trail of this trek demands frequent ascending and descending, and walking along the streams. One has the opportunity to witness some beautiful Buddhist monasteries and catch a glimpse of Ladakh’s rich culture.
Camping at the base of Kang Yatse massif peak (6400m) and enjoying the view of the Zanskar range are the main attractions of this trek. The trekking trail of Spituk-Stok Trek starts from Spituk and cuts and runs through Zingchen and the beautiful Rumbak Valley before one finally reaches Stok La, which is also called Namlung La.
Regarded as an easy to moderate trek, Spituk-Matho Trek offers a good look inside Ladakh. With most of this trek revolving around Hemis National Park, one has an opportunity to explore the wildlife in Ladakh.
The trekking trail passes through dry and barren land to reach Zingchen, and then through a beautiful gorge, enters the picturesque Rumbak Valley; the trail becomes even steeper as one approaches Stok La and starts to descend towards Mankorma. Further, a gentle ascend takes one to Matho La from where the view of Stok Kangri and Matho Kangri is simply breathtaking. Descending from the pass towards Matho Phu, one can witness the jaw-dropping view of mountains in different shades. The trek concludes at Matho Village, which can be reached through the beautiful gorge; one can also visit the sacred Buddhist Monastery called Matho Gompa.
Beginning from the sacred Hemis monastery, the Nimaling Plateau Trek is one of the best trekking routes in Ladakh. Crossing through Shang and passing through Kongmaru La and many hidden villages of Ladakh, one finally reaches Nimaling Plateau.
The high pasture land is famed as a shelter for the nomadic tribes of Ladakh, who often bring their cattle (Yaks and Pashmina goats) to graze in this area. A flower-strewn trail in the month of August and September enhancing the beauty of the place is what you can expect here. Nimaling also is the perfect sight for camping and learning about the challenging life of Ladakh. The journey is a bit strenuous but offers immense excitement and gorgeous landscape views.
Reckoned to be one of the easiest treks in Ladakh, the Indus Valley Trek is apt for beginner level trekkers. Trekking along the Indus Valley trail, one is likely to traverse the beautiful Sham Valley and its villages, high mountain passes like Phobe-La and a number of Tibetan Gompas like Likir, Thiksey and Alchi. The dramatic change in the landscape is what excites the trekkers here the most; while on one side you can see snow-clad mountains and ground, on the other side lush greenery will catch your attention.
The trekking trail covers areas of Leh, Skardu and a barren desert. The trek is flagged off from Likir and passes through Yangthang, Ang Village via Sermanchan La (3750m) and Lago La (3750m). The trek then further moves to the camping site at Wanla, which can be reached by crossing through Temisgang, Bongbong La and Khaltse. From Wanla, the trekking trail moves to Prinkit La, and then after crossing several streams, reaches Lamayuru.
One of the most fascinating alpine treks in Ladakh, Markha Valley Trek will make you fall in love with Ladakh. Also known as the ‘Tea House Trek’, where parachute camping is available, this trek offers an opportunity to pass through the striking cold desert valley. The majestic view of the Kang Yatse Peak and Stok Kangri Peaks; the visit to rocky canyons; and to the Buddhist villages are the highlights of the trek.
The trekking trail is a zesty experience as it allows one to cross through waist-deep water and traverse beautiful places like Spituk, Zingchen, Skiu via high pass Gandala (4,800 m). Markha Valley is a demanding trek that requires skill and stamina to accomplish it. The scenic views are the reward for this amazing trek in Ladakh.
An exhilarating trek to the most remote regions of the Himalayan belt sounds nothing short of an adventure. Nubra Valley Trek draws trekkers from all around the world to explore something unusual. The trekking trail follows the Indus Valley and then moves towards Zanskar Valley. In order to accomplish Nubra Valley Trek one has to face challenging weather conditions, dramatically changing topography that on one side has narrow graveled roads and on the other side is blessed with wide open grounds and high altitude mountain passes.
The cold desert of Hunder, and the splendidly beautiful Diskit Village and monastery are the major attractions of this trek. The trek begins from Sabu Village and then covers the high altitude Digar La pass (6000m) to reach Digar Village. Further moving along the river Shyok, the trekking trail continues towards Agyam Village and Khalsar Village. Descending to Diskit village via Sumur, the trek comes to an end.
Offering splendid views of the two parallel ranges namely Zanskar and Karakoram, Ripchar Valley is an interesting trek. The jaw-dropping landscape with unusual rock formations; flower-strewn trails; barley and potato fields; and grassy open spaces make it a popular trek amongst adventure lovers.
The trek begins from the campsite at Hinju and then traverses Sumdo Chenmo via Prinkiti La, Lanak, Sumda Valley and runs along Sumda Chu to reach Chilling Village by crossing Dungduchun La.
Offering a picturesque trek like the Tso Moriri, Ladakh invites many adventure enthusiasts from across the world. The trekking trail for Tso Moriri begins from Rumptse and heads to the green Kyamar Valley, traversing the gorgeous Rupshu Valley. From here the trail ascends to Kumur La (4770m), from where one can witness the stunning view of Kang Yatse Peak and Indus Valley.
The steep ascend to Shibuk La (4875m), from where a great view of Tso Kar can be witnessed. The trail continues further to Pangunagu, Nuruchan and passes through Horlam Kongka La (4900 m) and Kyamayuri La that leads to Korzok, which is the Northwestern shore of Tso Moriri. Continuing to Parang valley, the trail leads to Parang La and then descends to Jugstok and further to Kibber, which is one of the highest villages in the world. This can be one of those amazing experiences of trekking in Ladakh Himalaya that by no means can be forgotten!
Taking you to two of the most ancient monasteries that date back to the 11th century, the Lamayuru to Alchi Trek is an ideal way for a spiritual tour in Ladakh. The trail covers the beautiful valley of Wanla and Sumdochoon and many high mountain passes like Penzi La and Prinkiti La and a number of rivulets and streams.
The trekking route of Lamayuru Alchi Trek begins from Lamayuru and passes through Prinkti La (3750m), Shilla, Wanla, Base of Tar La, Tar, Man Gyu and then finally leads to Alchi. The trek gives ample opportunity to witness and experience the culture and scenic beauty of Ladakh.
A moderate trek in Ladakh region, Kang Yatse can be trekked by passing through the beautiful pastures of Nimaling. Throughout the trek, the views remain scenic and on reaching the Nimaling plateau, the landscape view is at its best. The trek includes traversing through Markha Valley and a climb to Kang Yatse Peak (6200m). Although the climb is non-technical, it is no easy climb to the top.
For Kang Yatse the trekking begins from Martselang, which is the entrance point of Hemis National Park; then the trek heads to a small village called Shang Sumdo. Further, a climb to the different-hued gorge in Shang is followed by crossing of a river several times in a row to reach Lartsa. A steep ascend to Gongmaru La (5200m) from where the view of Kang Yatse, Zanskar and Karakoram ranges is simply breathtaking, the trail then heads to the pastures of Nimaling. From Nimaling, there is a steep ascend to the base camp that eventually becomes more arduous once the climb for the summit begins. However, the jaw-dropping views of Zanskar and Karakoram ranges reward every effort of taking this strenuous trek.
The Lamayuru-Chilling trek is known for spectacular views and witnessing of some of the ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh. Starting from the 11th century Lamayuru monastery, the trekking trail heads to Sham Valley and further diverges from Kargil-Leh road at Phatu La. The trekking route is full of spectacular views and once reaching Sham Valley, the views become better with lots of apricot orchards to witness.
Interacting with the locals who spend their lives staying aloof from modern technology and comforts, the trail covers destinations like Wanla, Hinju, Sumdha Chenmo and Dudunchen La before finally reaching the beautiful village of Chilling in the Zanskar Valley.
Snow Leopard Trek is one of the popular winter treks in Ladakh that is done in Hemis National Park. This trek offers an insight into Rumbak Valley, where many quaint villages can be found. Hemis National Park is the home of snow leopards, Eurasian brown bear, golden eagle and other kinds of birds.
Proffering one of the best experiences of trekking in winter season, Snow Leopard Trek allures many trekkers globally. Starting from Zingchen, the trekking trail descends along with the stream to the resplendent Rumbak gorge, where it finally meets Indus. The first sign of snow leopards can be sensed here and then the trek further moves up to Husing nallah that takes you to the stop where blue sheep can be spotted. A slight ascend brings one to Tarbung, which is yet another great place to spot the elusive cat and its prey.
A moderate trek that requires skill and determination, Markha Valley-Stok Kangri Climb is not for a beginner. The trek is worth all the efforts as it is blessed with impeccable views of Karakoram Range, Saser Kangri Peak, Stok Kangri, Kang Yatse twin peaks and Nun-Kun Peaks. The trail passes through several scattered high altitude villages; here each village is lush with fields of barley, wheat and mustard, making it a major attraction for trekkers.
Romancing with thrill, a trekker will continue his journey through Spituk, Zingchen, Skiu via Ganda La, Markha Valley, Nimaling, Kongmaru La, Sumdo, Leh, Matho and Matho Phu to Stok Kangri base camp. Further, one can take up the arduous climb to the summit that eventually is the greatest feeling ever.
Note: Stok Kangri is closed in 2020 and 2021 in order to protect the glacier which is the main source of water for Stok Village.
You speak of thrill; well, Chadar Trek is the best contender for it. As the name suggests, the trek is about walking over a frozen river. With eye catching scenery and chilly temperature, it is inarguably one of the best treks in Ladakh. Situated in Zanskar Valley in Ladakh at 3850m, Chadar Trek also gives you the opportunity to meet the brave locals, who use this trekking route during winters for commutation, when the temperature remains -10 degree Celsius or below.
Enigmatic and difficult though it may seem, Chadar Trek can be trekked with sensible trekking techniques. The trek begins from the beautiful Chilling village moving towards Zaribago, Deepyokma, Nyarak Village, Nyarakpulu and then to a small village called Lingshed. From Lingshed, which is known for its monasteries and friendly locals, the trek further continues to Tso Mopoaldar via Nyarakpulu and then to Tilatdo and finally to Chilling.
An extra dose of adventure is what Stok Kangri trek has in store for the trekkers. One of the most difficult treks in Ladakh that demands rope climbing, mountain trekking, trekking through rough snow patches and being on crampons, this trek is a treat for real adventure buffs. The trekkable peak, Stok Kangri can be approached from Sumdo, where one can enjoy bird watching as well. The trekking route further heads out to Shang Phu that is known largely for wolf sighting and then towards Shang La from where one can get occasional views of the Indus Valley.
Descending to Tokpo Rivera and then passing through Gangpoche, the trail leads to Matho La from where the first view of Stok Kangri is clear. Traversing through a ridge that offers the view of Saltoro Kangri, the trail leads to Stok Village and Smankarmo. Through a grassy land that is situated beside the meltwater stream the trail cuts and runs towards Stok Kangri base camp; thereafter a strenuous trail up the Stok Kangri peak follows. It is a tough climb up to the peak; however, determination, skills, strategies and proper guidance can help one overcome these difficulties and make it a splendid trekking experience in India.
Note: Stok Kangri is closed in 2020 and 2021 in order to protect the glacier which is the main source of water for Stok Village.
Zanskar is an isolated region and is also famed for the same. The unspoiled natural beauty, the distinctive landscape and the challenging climate makes it one of the most attractive places in Ladakh for trekking. The remote Zanskar trek takes you through an action-packed journey that offers the opportunity to view something exceptional at every turn.
The view of the exceptionally beautiful gorges that are formed by the cascading River Zanskar; the quaint settlements at Zangla, Sumdo, Tilat Sumdo, Nimaling; and the view of the famous twin peaks Nun and Kun are the attractions of this trek. The trekking route of the remote Zanskar trek begins from Mulbek and takes you through Rangdum, Padum, Zangla, Sumdo Village, Tilat Sumdo, Base of Rubang La, Markha Valley, Thochuntse, Nimaling and Sumdo and finally concludes trek at Leh.
The Lamayuru to Darcha trek offers one of the best trekking trails in Ladakh that begins from a narrow strip of land and eventually opens to wide space valleys with nothing but unmatched beauty. Lamayuru Darcha trek covers three different regions, namely, Lahaul, Ladakh and Zanskar, which definitely multiplies the thrill and adventure of the trek.
One can also take a tour of the remote Tibetan monasteries like Phutkal, Seni, Mani, Karsha, Bardan and Lingshed. This difficult and strenuous trek is flagged off from Lamayuru Monastery and moves through Wanla, Hanupatta, Photoskar, Sengge La, Styangs, Lingshed, Pishu, Karsha, Padum, Raru, Purne, Phutkal, Sking, Lhakang, Ramjak, Palhamo in order to reach Darcha.
Known for offering scenic panorama, Rupshu Valley Trek is something that gives one goose bumps. Starting from Hemis (40 km from Leh), the trekking route for Rupshu Valley is a moderate one with a number of scenic encounters and few tough climbs.
Inhabited by people of the nomadic community (Chang-pa tribe), the trekking trail offers an opportunity to see some of the remote settlements in India. Different colour mountains, Tso Moriri, lofty passes, and the cold desert area are the major attractions of Rupshu Valley trek. The trekking trail starts from Rumtse and passes through Kyamar, Tisaling, Pangunagu, Nuruchan, Rachung Karu, Gyama Lhoma and Korzok.
Trekking through Zanskar Valley is one of the most incredible experiences that give meaning to your adventure holidays in Ladakh. Offering scenic beauty, the Zanskar Valley Trek is a wonderful way to explore the lesser known yet magnificent Ladakh.
Cross through remote villages, popular monasteries and wild canyons and make the most of the opportunity by capturing it in your camera lens. This thrilling trek begins from Darcha and covers places like Palahmo, Zanskar Sumdo, Chumik Nakpo, Lakhang via Shingo La (4060m), Kargil, Phutkal, Purni, Pipula, Raru and Padum.
Proffering a slice of Ladakh’s thrill, the Hemis to Padum Trek is popular amongst adventure seekers. An adventurous trek that begins from the famous Hemis Monastery, it crosses the beautiful Markha Valley and Junglam before reaching Zanskar. A strenuous trek on an isolated route, it demands lots of determination and skill to accomplish it.
High mountain passes like Kongmaru La; meandering rivers like Lanthang Chu; and villages like Dhungri, Phay and Hamuling are the attraction of this trek. Hemis Padum trek remains open for only one month in a year and its trekking route begins from Shang Sumdo. The trail passes through Lartsa, Langthang River via Kongmaru La, Nimaling pastures, Zalung Karpo La, Tilat Sumdo via Rabrang La, North camp of Chhar Chhar La, Zangla Sumdo and then finally concludes at Padum.
On this crossover trek between Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh, you can secure yourself an important learning opportunity. The trekking trail takes you to the great Rupshu Valley, some nomadic settlements and offers resplendent views of arid plains, snow-clad peaks, mighty Paran La and beautiful Tsomoriri Lake. Offering the opportunity to spot the Himalayan wildlife and animals like marmot and scores of migratory birds, this is one of the best trails that one can choose to witness Ladakh at its best.
The trekking trail of Rumtse to Kibber trek starts from Rumtse and cuts and runs through the land of Chorten Sumdo via high mountain passes Kyamari La and Mandalchan La, Titsaling via Shingbuk La, Tso Kar, Nuruchan via Horlam La, Rachungkaru, Kyamuri La, Kartse La, Gyama, Karzok, Kiangdom, Umlung, Parang La and finally reaches Kibber.
As you start from Spituk, the scenic beauty of Ladakh starts to woo you on the Spituk to Lungmo trek. Walk through the lush Zingchen Valley along which the majestic Rumbak River flows, pass through Ganda La and watch the majestic views of the lofty Zanskar and Stok Ranges.
Crossing the Changthang Plateau is the major attraction of this trek, where one gets an opportunity to interact with the nomadic tribes of Ladakh who move with their yaks and pashmina goats. The trekking trail further continues to Markha Valley and you can witness the ruins of Techa Monastery and then move to Hankar, Yakrupal, Khar via Zalung Karpo La, Dat to reach Lungmo Che via Yar La and Zara.
Also called the Kharnak Nomad Trek suggests that this particular expedition gives you the opportunity to meet some nomadic tribes of Ladakh who often move together with their yaks. The trek starts from Shang and the trail crosses through high pasture land of Nimaling to Zalung Karpo La and then further proceeds to Changthang Plateau, which is the hub of a number of nomadic tribes.
Walking towards Puga Valley one can witness campsites of the nomadic tribes that differ in customs and traditions with each other. This trek will help you understand the challenging life in Ladakh.
This trek is popular amongst the European adventure enthusiasts and covers three different areas of Ladakh offering thrill and adventure all through. A rigorous trek that mostly consists of steep trails for climbing, Darcha Padum trek is perfect for the seasoned trekkers. In this trek, expect to cross many streams and rivers, several high mountain passes, beautiful remote villages and pass through many lofty glaciers.
Flagged off from Darcha, the trekking route cuts and runs through Palamo, Zanskar Sumdo, Chuminakpo, Lakong, Purne and Ichar and concludes at Padum. The trail also passes through Shingo La, the sacred Phutkal Gompa and the meandering Zanskar River making the trek all the more exhilarating.
This trek gives the opportunity to explore the heartland of Zanskar along with covering seven high mountain passes and crossing a number of rivers. During the trek you will be able to witness the natural spectacles of Ladakh that certainly add to the adventure.
Gorgeous high pastures, scenic campsites and serene dry desert land, lofty mountain passes and snow-clad mountains, Buddhist monasteries and remote villages with irrigated fields of barley and potatoes, make this trek more fascinating and all together an unforgettable experience. The trekking trail covers Prinkiti La, Sengge La, Lingshed, Perfila, Pishu, Karsha before it reaches Padum.
Ladakh is indeed the best adventure destination in India. If you are an adventure buff who is planning to take up something adventurous then Ladakh can be the right destination for you.
From our list of treks in Ladakh, you can pick a trek that suits you and book yourself a wonderful Ladakh trekking tour. Have a thrilling holiday! For any queries, please feel free to contact us at +91-9212553109 or post your questions in the comment box below.
There are treks for every season in Ladakh. Most people usually trek between May and October, while seasoned trekkers also plan their expeditions in the winter between November and April.
Depending on which season or trek is opted, the list of things to carry vary. However, an ideal packing list for Ladakh includes, a pair of good trekking shoes, a down jacket, track pants, a sun hat and a woollen cap.
Yes, being located at a high altitude, there are chances to get AMS. Therefore, before visiting Ladakh, one should consult a doctor for the measures and medicines to take while on a trek.
No, it is strongly advised to discontinue trekking if you are suffering from AMS. A doctor has to be consulted for starting immediate treatment.
Being physically fit is quite important for trekking in Ladakh. While all the basic requirements of physical fitness like being able to walk 5 km under 30 minutes and walking up the slope for longer duration with a backpack is a must; one has to keep in mind that Ladakh is a high altitude destination and thus getting mountain sickness is a possibility. Therefore, trekkers have to pay special attention to their aerobic fitness.
Ladakh has many treks for beginners like Sham Valley, Spituk-Stok Trek, Spituk-Matho Trek, and Nimaling Plateau Trek.
Chadar Trek, Junglam Hemis to Padum Trek, Lamayuru – Padum Trek, and Rumtse to Kibber Trek are some of the most difficult treks in Ladakh.
Yes, in Leh city, treks can be bought as well as rented from in Ladakh.