North India is a paradise for adventurers. The Himalayas in the north make for an ultimate getaway to plan a winter trek. All those trails leading to the imposing heights, cutting through the daunting peaks and treacherous alleys take you through a sea of mesmerizing vistas and glorious spectacles. There are beautiful treks for winter in Indian Himalayas that are as stunning as they are described in books.
Winter is special in North India when mercury drops to below zero degrees. And that’s the time when Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh are atop every wanderer’s bucket list. Plan a winter trek in Indian Himalayas and experience the best of winter treks in South Asia.
1. Har Ki Dun Trek
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Set in the vicinity of the Kedar Kantha Trek, Har Ki Dun is a winter trek that meanders along the pretty valley scantily dotted with villages that boast of unseen Himachali architecture. The trek eventually takes every trekker through forests of chestnut, walnut, and willow trees.
Har Ki Dun circuit touches a maximum of 3,560 m and spreads over a duration of 8 days. Mid-November – mid March is the best time to take Har Ki Dun Trek. Osla village, Kala Nag, Bandarpunch, Ruinsara peaks, Jaundhar glacier, and the majestic Swargarohini form the highlights of this trek. The added advantage of this trek is that
2. Kedarkantha Winter Trek
Located in the extreme conditions in the Western Uttarakhand region, Kedarkantha Trek is a famous trail known for its pretty campsites studded with glorious sightings. While giant pines bedeck the entire trail the climb is worth it with descent through the enchanting forest ends with an icing. The trail, being easy, serves as a perfect winter trek in the Himalayas.
At an altitude of 3,500 meters, the Kedar Kantha Trek spans over 6 days and spans across some exciting meadows exhibiting the best of Himalayas. Last week of December – Mid April is the ideal time to take this trek.
3. Nag Tibba Winter Trek
Starting from Dehradun, the trek goes through the remote villages and landscapes of Pantwari, Nagtibba, Devalsari, and Thatyur. The trek stretches over to an altitude of 3,050 m and takes 5 days to complete in normal circumstances. Mid-November – March makes the best time to take the Nag Tibba Trek
4. Prashar Lake Trek
A perfect weekend getaway from New Delhi, Prashar is surrounded by the Dhauladhar ranges in Kullu Valley. Prashar Lake is also known as the best-kept secret in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. Prashar is a popular winter trek in North India. It offers a 180-degree view of the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges. If you are into architecture then the local temple of Prashar Rishi next to the lake, with its riveting Himachali architecture, carves the perfect picture of a wonderful spectacle. The ideal duration of the trek is 2 days.
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5. Dodital Trek
The easy Dodital trek takes you through the oak woods, pines, & rhododendron forests. It includes camping around along the beautiful Dodi Lake – famous for its Himalayan Golden Mahseer Fish – before taking you to the Darwa Pass. The trek spans at an altitude of 3,050 m and takes a duration of 5 days to complete.
The Dodital trek starts at Sangam Chatti and spans up to Darwa Pass. The best time to take this trek is from Mid December – January. Fish feeding at Dodi Lake camp, views of Bandarpoonch Peak (Tail of Lord Hanuman) & Dhaula Dhar ridges, and side strip to Yamunotri base camp make the popular highlights of the trek.
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6. Kuari Pass Trek
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The Kuari Pass trek was discovered by the erstwhile Viceroy Lord Curzon and is popularly known as Lord Curzon trail among the Europeans. On the downward trail, trekkers can halt at one of the most amazing ski resorts in India – Auli. Located at an altitude of 4425 m the Kuari Pass Trek spans over 8 days. Mid-December – February is the best time to take Kuari Pass trek. Sunrise views of Mt Kamet, Mt Chaukhamba, Mt Trishul, & Nanda Devi are some of the noticeable features of the trek that one shouldn’t miss.
7. Auli Gorson Winter Trek
Another of the popular winter treks in India, Auli Gorson trek covers the best of Auli and surroundings. Located in the Chamoli district, the Gorson Bugyal enables the travelers to travel from Joshimath to Auli. The journey from Rishikesh to Joshimath is, however, covered by bus. You will be covering Joshimath to Auli by ropeway. The main walk is between Auli and Gorson. You can club this one with a Himachal tour package to make the best of your holidays.
The deodar and oak trees and the beautiful view of the Nanda Devi peak add to the rich experience of this easy trek. The maximum altitude of the trek spans up to 3050 m. Average trek duration is 6 days and November – Mid-March is perfectly suitable to take this lovely trek. Talking of the highlights of this trek, Rishikesh base camp bonfire, breathtaking view of the Nanda Devi, and Ski Valley at Auli – one of the best places for skiing in India, are some of the major highlights that travelers look forward to.
8. Chadar Trek
Arguably one of the toughest treks in the world Chadar Trek is an ultimate challenge for trekkers. With temperatures falling to as low as -35 degrees Celsius, the Zanskar river freezes to form a sheet of ice. People often compare this experience of winter trekking in Himalayas to sliding on ice rinks. But the beautiful sight of the frozen river and the Shanti Stupa en route makes the experience all the more exciting. See our complete Chadar Trek Guide, if it’s on the cards anytime soon. Located at an altitude of 3850 m in the Zanskar Range the trek mostly spans for 9 days. January and February make the ideal time to take this trek.
9. Snow Leopard Trek
The Snow Leopard Trek takes you through a wildlife expedition in the snow-capped Hemis National Park. Nestled among the Himalayas in Ladakh, the trek gives a chance to see some of the most endangered species in India. And the additional scenic views only add to the long list of rewards to the strenuous trek. At 4,100 m, Snow Leopard Trek takes some of the toughest terrains while the trek spans for over 13 days, you can really have to brave the extreme conditions and make way amidst the thick blanket of snow.
Sample route looks like this: Leh-Phey-Hemis National Park-Zingchen-Leh. To take this trek you have to visit Ladakh during the peak winter season i.e. Mid-January – February. Because that’s the time when you can really expect snow Leopard to show up. Apart from the leopards, you can also expect Tibetan wolves, horned sheep, blue sheep, and Eurasian Brown Bear in the region.
The extreme temperatures make the trek rather difficult. Snowstorms, biting wind, and an endless streak of snowfall can be expected during the trek. Tents and camps become the most reliable source of accommodation during the trek.