Best 15 Treks for Winter in Indian Himalayas

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Mountain trails in India turns into pieces of sublime beauty during the winter season. Passing through the frozen streams, crossing the wintry grasses and snow-covered trails, winter trekking in India is the biggest challenges amongst trekkers across the world. All the winter treks in India might be shorter in distance and lower in altitude, but that doesn’t mean they are the easy treks, as they are demanding during extreme climatic conditions. Mixture of exploration and adventure, winter trekking in India is an experience of a lifetime. With cultural diversities and natural resources up for grab, treks to Himalaya during winters will excite one footing up to the concealed hamlets, spicy cuisines and welcoming hospitality.

If spring is the season of nature admirers then winter are meant for adventure junkies. Winters are the time of the year when peaks are covered in the blanket of snow, enticing trekkers from around the world to visit Himalaya once. Though most of the treks in Himalaya remain open for public from Mid May till October but there are some trekking options in Himalaya one can experience throughout the year. Here is a list of 15 best treks in India that will guide one through their adventure quest during the winter season.

1: Chopta Chandrashila Winter Trek- Ramble to the Highest Shiva Temple

Chopta Chandrashila Winter Trek
One of the easiest and famous treks in Uttarakhand, Chopta Chandrashila trek passes through the pristine lake, highest Shiv temple and remote villages tremendously lit in the beautiful backdrop of Chopta Valley. The trekking expedition starts from Ukhimath, further it will take one to Deoriyatal via Sari Village. Chopta is a heaven for bird watchers, here one can see various Himalayan birds like Himalayan Monal, Hill Prinia, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, etc. In Tungnath, trekkers will witness the world’s highest Shiv temple. After taking the blessing of Lord Shiva, trekkers will proceed toward the summit of moon rock, i.e. Chandrashila at 4000 mts. The trek will provide one the gratifying view of magnificent surrounding peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba. Forgetting the camera at home for this trek can be remorseful for trekkers.

Altitude: 4090 mts (13415 ft)
Duration: 5-6 days
Route: Ukhimath-Deoriyatal-Sari-Chopta-Tungnath-Chandrashila
Temperature: 10°C to 30°C (Summer) & (–10) °C to 10°C in winter
Best Time to Visit: Mid November to March
Highlights: Chopta, Deoriatal Lake
Grade: Easy to moderate
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

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2: Dodital Winter Trek- A Journey to Abode of Lord Ganesh

Dodital Trek
Trek from Sangamchatti to Dodital is one of the best treks for those people who want to witness trekking for the first time. The trek is easy but in winters it’s challenging because it’s blanketed with snow. Starting from Sangamchatti, this trek passes through thick forest where one can spot a multitude of Himalayan birds flying freely in the sky. As trekkers start walking upwards to Agoda village, they can see summits of Western and Eastern Uttarakhand pop into view. The trek will further proceed to Bebra village, an idyllic village known for potatoes, beans and Rajma plantations and Assi Ganga River. On the bank of Assi Ghat River, trekkers can either relax in the camp or can indulge in Himalayan trout fishing. After a night stay in camp on the bank of Assi Ganga River, next day trekkers will climb a step inclination to reach Manjhi. At Manjhi, trekkers will relax and plan an overnight camp. Ascending through zigzag paths, next destination for the trekkers will be Dodital Lake. In mythological terms, Dodital Lake is deemed as the abode of Lord Ganesh. Dodital Lake is known as one of the most beautiful high altitude lake in North India and is famous for being home to Himalayan Trout, known as Dodi in the local language. Following day, trekkers will climb in upward inclination direction to the final destination of the trek, Darwa Pass. This trek is for those adventure enthusiasts who want to feel the adrenaline rush during their holiday.

Altitude: 3307 mts (10847 ft)
Duration: 5-8 days
Route: Sangamchatti-Agoda-Bebra-Manjhi-Dodital-Darwa Pass
Temperature: 10°C to 15°C (Summer) & –2°C to 10°C in winter
Best Time to Visit: Mid November to March
Highlights: Sangam Chatti, Assi Ganga River, Himalayan Trout Fish, Dodital Lake
Grade: Easy to moderate
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

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3: Dayara Bugyal Winter Trek- Sight to behold

Dayara Bugyal Trek
If you ever ask a trekker about the easiest trek in Uttarakhand, their answer will be Dayara Bugyal Trek. In the winter season, the area receives heavy snowfall and due this trekking trail converts into ski slope that is sprawling over an area of 28 sq. km. Dayara Bugyal Winter Trek is a perfect pick for amateurs and showcases the best of Garhwal Himalaya in a short course of time. The trekking expedition will start from Barsu or Raithal village and after passing through the pine forest, trekkers will reach Barnala. Barnala is a tree-lined meadow, which converts into ski slopes during winters. Towards the extreme left side of the fields, one can see the famous Barnala Lake. The magical part of the lake is that in spite of surrounded by the thick forest, the surface of the lake remains clean. After Barnala, trekkers will move to Dayara, which is blessed with huge meadows. During the winter season, slopes of Dayara serves as the best place to do skiing, After Dayara, trekkers will move to Bakariya Top, the final destination of the trek.

Altitude: 3950 mts (12956 ft)
Duration: 5-6 days
Route: Barsu/Raithal Village -Barnala Bugyal-Dayara Bugyal- Bakariya Top
Temperature: 10°C to 25°C (Summer) & (–4) °C to 10°C
Best Time to Visit: Mid November to March
Highlights: Barnala Lake, Meadows, Oak Forest, Dayara
Grade: Easy
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar Junction
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

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4: Bedni Bugyal Winter Trek-Painter’s Muse

Starting from the holy city, Rishikesh, the trek will take on to the different elevation of the Garhwal region. After a long drive from Rishikesh and crossing the scenic trails of Karnprayag, trekkers will proceed to Wan Village. From Wan Village, the action packed trekking expedition begins, further trekkers will trek uphill trek leads to Bedni Bugyal. The journey from Wan Village to Bedni Bugyal is challenging, one will have to cross thick forest and water streams to reach the final destination. There will be a point in this journey where one can see not an even single tree; all that will accompany one through the end will be meadows. Meadows sprinkled with flowers greet every tourist who comes to Bedni Bugyal. However, during the winter, the green pastures are converted into snow carpet, one can see snow as far as the eyes can reach. Amidst the meadows, one can see a sacred lake, where Tarpans are offered by the devotees. Mountains, deep valleys and lofty mountains and above all, the enormous panoramic view of Trishul and the Nanda Ghunti mountains are the highlights of Bedni.

After an overnight camp in the Bedni Bugyal, trekkers will trek up to another Bugyal, Ali Bugyal. While trekking towards the Ali Bugyal, one will see a sudden change in the landscapes and topography. The arrival at the Bugyal at the 3300 meter marks the disappearance of all trees, and one can see huge expanse of the Ali Bugyal lies in front of the visitor. Throughout the journey, travelers will see a vast display of natural beauty including dry wildflowers and varied species of Himalayan birds. As far as the eyes reach, one can see jungles, open spaces dotted with gorgeous arid high altitude flowers and picturesque valley that greets every trekker with a stunning view of Himalayas. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 3354 mts (11000 ft)
Duration: 05-07 days
Route: Wan Village – Gairoli Patal – Bedni
Temperature: 15°C to 20°C (Summer) & (–4) °C to 7°C (winter)
Best Time to Visit: Mid November to March
Grade: Moderate
Highlights: Bedni Lake, Panoramic view of Nanda Ghunti and Trishul Mountain
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar Junction
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport

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5: Nag Tibba Winter Trek- Pilgrimage to Nag Devta’s Abode

Nag Tibba Trek
Nag Tibba Trek pulls adventurers, nature lovers and Hindu devotees from different corners of the world. Local people usually trek here to pay a visit to Nag Devta (Snake God) for the protection of the village. Expedition to the summit starts from Pantwari. The sparkling trek is known for its natural beauty that is on display here. Starting from Dehradun, the trek passes through hidden hamlets like Pantwari, Nagtibba, and Devalsari and finally ends at Thatyur. From Thatyur village, one can see vistas of the adjacent peaks like Swargarohini (6,252 meters) and Nanda Devi (7,816 meters). Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 3022 meters (9914 ft)
Duration: 03-05 days
Route: Dehradun-Pantwari-Nagtibba-Devalsari-Thatyur
Temperature: 8°C to 25°C (Summer) & 6°C to 22°C(Winter)
Best Time to Visit: November to March
Grade: Easy
Highlights: Temples, Remote Villages, Landscapes
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport

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6: Kedar Kantha Winter Trek-In the fairyland

Kedarkantha Trek
Kedar Kantha winter trek is an empyrean of nature’s best unkempt secrets. Starting from Sankri, the trek will take one to Juda-ka-Talab or simply Jaadu Talaab, an enthralling lake that is situated amidst dense alpine forest and maple trees. After spending a day in leisure at the Juda-Ka-Talab, next day trekkers will proceed to Kedarkantha Base and then to the Kedar Kantha peak. Further, the trekkers will walk downhill till they reach an apple garden called Hargoaon pass. As per the trekkers, Hargoaon pass is one of the most beautiful descending trails in Himalaya. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 1828.8 -3810 m (6000 ft-12500 ft)
Duration: 5-8 days
Route: Sankri-Juda-ka-Talab-Kedar Kantha Base-Kedar Kantha peak-Hargaon camp-Sankri
Temperature: 8°C to 25°C (Summer) & (-10) °C to (-15)°C (winter)
Best Time to Visit: December to April
Grade: Easy
Highlights: Mussoorie, Kempty falls, Tons Valley, Sankri
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport

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7: Kuari Pass Winter Trek- The Lord Curzon Trail

Kuari Pass Trek
Exploration of Kuari Pass Trek is the best contribution of Lord Curzon to India. Trekking expedition begins from Joshimath, a city that has been evolving as the hub for all the trekkers. The trek will take one down to the lesser known passes and eventually to the highest point of the trek, Kuari Pass. Once the trekker reaches Kuari Pass, they will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the adjacent peaks like Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Kamet, Hathi-Ghodi Parvat and Dronagiri. While doing the downward trail, tourists can feast their eyes on one of the most amazing snow skiing destinations in India, Auli. It is one of the most enthralling trekking trails in Garhwal and will take on through the confluence of various books, alpine forest verdant meadows or ‘Bugyals’ and rhododendrons forests. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 4264 m (13990 ft)
Duration: 5- 8 days
Route: Dhak-Chitrakantha -Tali Top-Khulara-Kuari Pass-Tali -Auli-Joshimath
Temperature: 4°C to 11°C (Summer) & (-2) °C to (-8) °C (winter)
Best Time to Visit
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Highlights: Passes, Scenic Trails, Auli
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar Junction
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport

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8: Snow Leopard Trek-Birdies Paradise

Snow Leopard Trek
Snow Leopard Trek, as the name suggest gives one an opportunity to sight snow leopards. The trek itself is thrilling. It’s set in part in Hemis National Park, with two passes 3900-4100 m high to cross. Hemis National Park is a wildlife empyrean that preserves nature’s beauty in the best way possible. Nestled amidst the Himalaya, the trek holds in its trove some of the most endangered animal species. Rugged mountains falling on the trail are home to Tibetan wolves, horned sheep, blue sheep and Eurasian Brown Bear and more. It is also home to several species of birds and different species of vultures. Through the trek, one can take a peek into the folklores of Rumbak Valley. The scenic views are the rewards for this exotic trek. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 4100 m (13451.44 ft)
Duration: 13 days
Route: Leh-Phey-Hemis National Park-Zingchen-Leh
Temperature: 20°C – 30 °C (Summer) and (-5) °C – 10 °C (winter)
Best Time to Visit: January and February
Grade: Moderate to Challenging
Highlights: Hemis National Park, Rumbak Valley
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Pathankot Junction railway station
Nearest Airport: The Leh Airport

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9: Sham Valley Winter Trek- Ladakh’s best kept secrets

Perched on the spellbinding Ladakh region, Sham Valley Trek is well known for its apricot flowers that blossom in the valley during the winter season. The trek is also dubbed as the “baby trek” as it is the best option for beginners. The trek will take one through the contrasting landscapes, small mountains, streams and remote hamlets. Trekking expedition begins from Leh and will pass through Yangthang via Chagatse La, Hemis Shukpachan via Tsermangchan La (3750m), a village via Mebtak La and Nurla before concluding at Leh. Also, one can visit several attractions like Likir Monastery, primordial Sham Kingdom and the Indus Valley. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 4000 m (13123 ft)
Duration: 6-8days
Route: Leh-Likir-Yangthang across Phobe La-Hemis Shukpachan across Tsermangchan La-Ang across Mebtak La-Nurla
Temperature: 25°C – 35 °C (Summer) and -5 °C to -15°C (winter)
Best Time to Visit
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Highlights: Monasteries, water streams, valleys
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Pathankot Junction railway station
Nearest Airport: The Leh Airport

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10: Frozen River Chadar Trek- Trekking the ‘Ice way’

Chadar Trek
Speaking about one of the best treks in winters, frozen river alias Chadar is the best contender for the same. Abiding by its name the trek turns into a blanket of snow during the winter seasons. Trekkers will start their expedition from Tilat Sumdo, and then will further go to Naerak Pullu, Tsomo Paldar and finally shall end at Chilling. Apart from the towering as well as picturesque peaks, here one can see frozen waterfalls, and monasteries. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 3850 m (12631.2 ft)
Duration: 9-12 days
Route: Chilling-Zaribago-Deepyokma- Naerak Pullu -Lingshed-Nyarakpulu-Tso Mopoaldar-Tilatdo-Chilling
Temperature: 15°C – 20 °C (summer) and (-25) °C – (-35) °C (winter)
Best Time to Visit: Mid-January–February
Grade: Moderate – Challenging
Highlights: Frozen Lake, Shanti Stupa, Dibb Cave, Shingra Koma
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Pathankot Junction railway station
Nearest Airport: The Leh Airport

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11: Dzongri Winter Trek-Come, See and be Conquered

Dzongri Trek
Dzongri Trek is a fascinating trek for all the adventure enthusiasts and novices alike. Dzongri Trek starts from the erstwhile capital of Sikkim Yuksom. The trail thereafter ascends to Tsokha en route Bakkhim, moving further to Dzongri via Phedang where one can see gorges, forest decorated with Himalayan flowers. Also from Dzongri, trekkers will be rewarded with the stunning panoramic view of the adjacent peaks like Mt Pandim, Mt Thenchinkhang and Mt Jhopuno. Trekkers will follow the same route downhill to reach the base camp. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 4020 mts/13185 ft
Duration: 08-10 days
Route: Yuksom-Tshoka-Dzongri-Halt
Time to Visit: November – March
Temperature: 20°C – 25 °C (summer) and (-5) °C – (-10) °C (winter)
Grade: Moderate
Highlights: Monasteries, mountain passes
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Siliguri Junction (SGUJ)
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport (IXB), Bagdogra

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12: Auli Gorson Winter Trek-Short Sojourn in Paradise

Auli Gorson Bugyal Winter trekking inspires novices to take the first step towards trekking. Starting from Rishikesh, the trek takes one to Joshimath, Auli and will end at Gorson Bugyal. The icing on the cake is the beautiful view of Nanda Devi and the series of Alpine trees of Deodar and Oak. The unique part of the trek is walking on snow, the energy that one puts to transverse the trek is worth when all the beauties of the world are dropped in the serenity of this place. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 3049 m (10003.3 ft)
Duration: 5-7 days
Route: Rishikesh -Joshimath -Auli- Gorson Bugyal
Best Time to Visit: Nov – March
Grade: Easy
Highlights: Auli, Rishikesh, Alpine forest
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar Junction
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant

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13: Har Ki Dun Winter Trek- Through Enchanting Glades

Nestled in the middle of the cradle-shaped valley, right below the Har ki Dun peak, the trek is one the most alluring trek of Western Himalaya. The beautiful Har ki Dun Trek exists in the alluring land of Uttarakhand. Trek starts from Dehradun, and will further lead to Sankri, gateway to Har ki Dun. From Sankri the trek is well marked and passes through dense forest with breathtaking views of the valley. Taluka village will be the next destination after Sankri. One can reach Taluka from Sankri either by trekking or by hiring a jeep, whichever option suits trekkers the best.

The trail from Taluka village will initially descend and then continues gradually on the left of the valley adjoining the river Rupin. Later, the trail will wind upwards and continues till village of Gangar, after passing through forests full of Chestnut, Walnut and Willow trees. There will be a point while trekking from where tourist can see the bird eye’s view of Osla village. Next campsite location will be Seema, nearby the Osla village. The trail from Seema will lead further to Har ki dun valley. In Har ki Dun Valley, visit the Morinda Tal for the picturesque view of Kala Nag, Bandarpunch, Ruinsara peaks, Jaundhar glacier and the majestic Swargarohini. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 3566.6 m (11700 ft.)
Duration: Medium
Route: Sankri- Taluka – Osla – Kalkatiya Dhar-Har Ki Dun
Best Time to Visit: Mid November to Mid March
Grade: Medium
Highlights: Osla Village, View of Kalang (black peak) and Bandarpoonch ranges,
Temperature: 5°C – 12 °C (summer) and (-1) °C – (-2) °C (winter)
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport

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14: Roopkund Lake Winter Trek- Trekking Trails for Every Level of Enthusiast

Imagine trekking on the roads with human skeletons on the sides. One will come across 100’s of skeletons on the edges of the Roopkund Lake. During the winters season skeletons underneath in the snow blanket making the place look scarier. The trek will begin from the beautiful Didna Village moving towards Ali Bugyal, Ghora, Lotani and then finally ends at Bhagwabasa. The route along the trek is a fascinating journey to explore the pristine form of the oak trees and blooming rhododendron forests. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 4784 m (15,696 ft)
Duration: Medium to Difficult
Route: Loharjung-Didna Village-Ali Bugyal-Ghora Lotani-Bhagwabasa
Grade: Medium
Temperature: 4°C – 20 °C (summer) and (-2) °C – 10 °C (winter)
Highlights: strewn glaciers, snow-clad peaks, narrow passes
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport

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15: Singalila Sandakphu Winter Trek

Brace yourself for a grand extravagant trekking to some of the breathtaking village of Himalaya. The trekking expedition will start from Tonglu. After covering the forest in search of Red Panda and the Tragoapn, trekkers will reach Garibas. Further, the trekkers will proceed to Sandakphu from where one can feast their eyes on the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare and other peaks of the Annapurna range. After spending a night in Sandakphu, under the stars, trekkers will pass through mountain pass to reach Phalut. Beautiful view of Himalaya never goes out of sight throughout the journey. Next destination in the trekking trail is Rammam, probably one of the best places in Himalaya to behold sunset. After descending through the Srikhola villages, trekkers will visit Rimbik, the final destination of the trek. Click here for detailed itinerary.

Altitude: 3636m (11929 ft)
Duration: 7 to 9 days
Route: Dhontrey-Tonglu-Garibas-Sandakphu-Phalut-Rammam-Rimbik-Darjeeling
Best Time to Visit: September to November
Grade: Moderate
Highlights: Monasteries, snow capped mountains, Tiger Hill, view of Kanchenjunga peak
How to Reach
Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport

For those who wish to venture out and pump up the adrenaline, missing these 15 iconic winter iconic trails will be a sin. A mixture of exploration and adventure, winter trekking in India is an experience of a lifetime.

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About

Having an experience of more than 16 yrs in the Himalayas, Arun is the main driving force & mentor at the Peak Adventure Tours, a leading adventure travel agency in India offers trekking tours in Indian Himalayas including Nepal, Bhutan & Tibet. A long history with exceptional experiences he is the “Marathon Man” in the field of adventure. Today Arun looks after the Peak Adventure and shapes & designs the venture of the organization. He is contributing to this blog as a regular guest author.


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