Trekking can be considered one of the best outdoor activities in the world. India is the home to numerous treks in the Himalayas. The surreal feeling of being surrounded by the gigantic mountains ranges, stepping on some of the most precious and inaccessible places on earth, unraveling the undisclosed truths in the frozen slopes of some of the most dangerous hills is not just a simple voyage. It is more than just a moment, it is a memory that you will cherish for years to come. This might be the sole reason why you see trekkers continue to explore the most difficult trekking destinations across the country. Rough atmospheric conditions and differences haven’t been able to prevent the most enthusiastic trekker from advancing into these locations. Indian treks have something for everybody. For all the daredevils looking for some adventure and challenges to spice up their journey, then this list is the one for you.
Let us take a vivid look at those locations, shall we?
Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is situated at the mighty Ladakh in the north. This region has an altitude of 3,900 meters (11483 feet) above sea level, there's a small window to enjoy this trek which is between mid-Jan to mid-Feb, making this a proper winter trek. The temperature in this region can drop to as low as minus 30 degrees celsius. It takes 9 days to complete the trek. The fun part is, even the slightest change in the temperature has a huge impact on this area.
Traditionally, the chadar river has been used as a route by the Zanskaris to reach Leh during the winter months. But in recent years this route has gained popularity among trekkers as one of the most extreme treks and an only opportunity to walk on a frozen river. But it ain’t that easy, the ice forms, breaks and melts throughout the day. There is just no way of possibly guessing what sort of terrain lies ahead of you.
During the entire trek, you have to navigate your way through massive chunks of ice slabs hiding foot deep underneath and walk very cautiously on short narrow and uneven paths, while dodging the sledges which can quite easily knock you off the ground. When the ice starts to melt, you may need to skip an entire stretch and go over the rocks and safely step back on the frozen bits of the river. The extreme weather conditions can often lead to hypothermia. But the views that one sees amidst this struggle is truly incomparable and unlikely from anything you have seen before.
2.Pin Parvati Trek
Pin Parvati Pass is among the prettiest natural passages in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Essentially, the best time to attempt this trek is between June to September, even though it is monsoon season, it is always a bit warm and sunny in higher altitudes and a minimal amount of snowfall is seen, which furthermore enhances the trekking experience for the entire trekking party. The weather on a warm and sunny day remains between (12-20°C) while the night temperature could be in minus (-2° to 6 °C).
As you scale through the terrains, the spellbinding beauty enhances at every step, leaving you speechless. The views of the stunning landscapes of Spiti Valley is truly incomparable. The dense forests near Kheerganga completely take your trekking experience to the next level. There are also hot water springs at Parvati Valley. But Pin Parvati Pass Trek isn't meant for the faint of hearts, It includes rugged terrain, steep slopes, and spine-chilling freezing weather, and the colossal snowfall is of high risk. Crevasses are unavoidable if you are setting foot on a glacier.
The height of the pass is roughly 17,500 ft. (5300 m) which could induce AMS to some people. Apart from that, there are steep descends on the glacier, risky river crossings, dangerous boulder bridges, remote terrain, and absolutely no civilisation. Exploring this summit takes 11 days and only frequent trekkers should attempt it. It is the kind of expedition that gives trekkers a massive dose of adventure, a sense of achievement, and a bag full of memories.
3.Auden’s Col Trek
This is often considered as a less popular and the least explored trek in Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand., and also one of the toughest and challenging. The Auden's Col trek lies at 5490 meters and it requires strong mountaineering skills. While the spectacles are out of the world, one has to negotiate with deep fears as the trail includes walking on high ridges, knee-deep snow, big crevasses, steep descending slopes. But the excitement does not end here, the descending path from the Auden's col towards Khatling glacier is considered dreadful, with huge crevasses that can dry out your throat.
The Pass was first discovered by John Bicknell Auden, he was a geologist and explorer. He was the first individual to cross the pass from Rudragiara's side and then descend to Kedarnath in 1939. That is how the pass got its name. The trek offers breathtaking views of peaks such as Rudragaira, Gangotri, Jogin, Kedar Dome, Bhagirathi group of peaks which looks absolutely gorgeous.
This trek is best experienced in the months of June to September. This is a trek that spans for 12 days and requires trekkers to carry some serious trekking equipment such as axes, ropes, etc. There will be several acclimatization spots for this trek, therefore you get an idea about the grade. You must be well prepared both mentally and physically, Clearly, this is not for the faint-hearted but is definitely something that you will cherish in the years to come.
4. Panpatia Col Trek
Panpatia Col is a snow lamented belt. It is one of the most challenging treks in the Garhwal region of Himalayas, Uttarakhand. Panpatia glacier reigns at an impressive altitude of 17,257 ft and marries two of India’s most anticipated pilgrimage sites, Kedarnath and Badrinath. This route is one of the tallest passes in the Himalayas therefore it is tough and is not fit for novice trekkers. The trail takes you through massive glaciers, crevassed snowfields, rocky moraines, and therefore the never-ending 7km long Panpatia snowfield which may be a treat for aspirational trekkers looking to tick challenging treks off their bucket list. During the daytime, the temperature ranges between 15 to 20 degrees, while nights get very cold with temperatures dropping to 5 to 10 degrees.
The Panpatia Col Trek gives you unparalleled views of prominent peaks like Nilkantha, Balakun, Hathi Parvat, and Dhauliganga Peaks. The best time to visit the Panpatia Col Trek is Summers (Mid May – June) and Post Monsoon (September – early October). Panpatia covers difficult and glaciated terrain, where you may need to use ropes and technical mountaineering equipment like crampons, harness, carabiners, descenders, etc.
You will be required to stay at very high altitudes over lengthy periods of time and therefore acclimatization can be a big concern. You are also in for a bit of a surprise, largely because of the peculiar nature of the terrain and the snow conditions. Completing this trek takes 10 days, from wildest forests to remote places completely cut out from human civilization this is not for the faint-hearted. Would you dare to attempt this?
5.Stok Kangri trek
Stok Kangri, at 20,187 feet makes for the highest trekkable summit in India (6,153 m) It is also the highest mountain peak within the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of North India. The peak is situated in Hemis National Park. Despite its lofty altitude, Stok Kangri is one such peak that has gained tremendous popularity in a couple of years. This trek embraces deserted surroundings and offers its trekkers the chance to experience a complete rejuvenation. The entire trail has incorporated many ridges so you'll feel the sudden change in scenery. In winter, the entire landscape attains an ideal and mysterious aura. Stok Kangri peak provides you the whole view of Zanskar plus the Indus Valley.
The peak presents more than the usual challenges of a mountaineering expedition. For your own safety, you must not attempt Stok Kangri if you cannot spend at least a week in the mountains of Ladakh and definitely do not attempt Stok Kangri if you do not have the physical fitness to endure. The biggest hurdle at such altitudes is the super rarefied air, which can cause severe headaches, nausea, and other symptoms of altitude sickness even in fit climbers. Having said that, only attempt this trek if you have done high altitude treks before.
It takes 8 days for trekkers to reach the summit. The trail needs acclimatization at the Stok Kangri Base camp after halting at Manokarma. The best time to go to Stok Kangri Trek is between May and mid-October. With clear skies mount K2 can also be seen at a far distance. This dream expedition offers camping, facilities for homestays, a foreign village, and scenic pleasures.
Goecha La trek is unarguably one among mindblowing treks within the Himalayas taking you across the stunning and diverse Kanchenjunga park within the heart of Sikkim. The trek displays the simplest of North-East and takes you a step closer to the legendary Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world. The trail is blessed with a good array of splendid flora and fauna which is taken into account together with the evergreen trails.
With awe-inspiring campsites and intimidating yet beautiful peaks, the Goecha La trek may be a heaven for trekking enthusiasts and nature lovers. This trek is made different from the rest of the treks in the Himalayas for good reasons, which are left for you to be explored. One of the highlights of the Goecha La trek is that the glorious Mt. Pandim which will leave you spellbound. The view of sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjunga is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a moment to cherish.
Goechala trek also gives you an opportunity to experience and luxuriate in the local culture and tradition of Sikkim. April - May, and September - December are the ideal months for you to try the Goecha La trek. Goechala is perched at an altitude of 15,100 ft and at a distance of 90 km from Yuksom, the beginning point of the trek. The entire trek will take 11 days in total. For an individual with specialized trekking experience, the extent of difficulty should be moderate to tough. The temperature during summer season stays between 15°C to 22°C and drops at night between 7°C to -1°C. In September the daytime temperature stays at 10°C to 15°C and drops to 5°C to -5°C at night.
7.Lamkhaga Pass Trek
Placed at an elevation of 5,282 metres, Lamkhaga Pass is a tall high altitude pass in Garhwal Himalayas which joins with Sangla in Himachal Pradesh. Though the difficulty may be a relative attribute, almost vertical incline from Lamkhaga snowfields to the pass summit, long stretches of the glaciated route, and boulder-strewn zones provide a mandate for Lamkhaga to qualify for the foremost difficult trek in Himachal Pradesh. The Lamkhaga Pass was first crossed by the Greek-British mountaineer Marco Pallis in 1933.
The journey takes you across the dense forest of Deodar, Pine, and Bhojpatra then some downhill and uphill trails along the Jalindragad River to the meadows of Kyarkoti. You'll encounter numerous alpine meadows, moraines, and little gushing streams followed by several secluded hamlets. The best time to visit Lamkhaga Pass Trek is in summers (May – June) and Post Monsoon (September – mid-October). It takes 8 days to finish the trek. The Lamkhaga Pass is sort of a dreamy walk on the doorway to heaven. You'll experience the sweetness of stunning grassy lands and can celebrate around the hiking on this pass. In particular, Harsil in itself may be a place where one can ditch one's daily struggles and calm oneself completely. Also, you will be ready to see the favored Wilson Cottage (1864) and Sat Tal or the seven lakes.
Precisely, if you would like to accumulate some amazing sights of glacier stacked peaks, many snow-capped Greenlands, attractive meadows, eye-treating waterfalls, deep valleys, and overall experience the overwhelming green landscapes or experience the sweetness of Garhwal then this trek is one among the simplest choices. The trail is steep from the start but the variety of landscapes is rewarding but it is not suggested for beginners because of its tough gradient but turns great for experienced trekkers and mountaineers. Winter temperatures remain in between (0°C to -15°C). Summer temperatures remain in between (5°C to 15°C)
8.Nanda Devi Base Camp
Nanda Devi stands proudly as the second highest peak in India and the highest in Uttrakhand. The mountain itself is surrounded by a number of peaks. At 21,000 ft it is made an extremely difficult mountain to gain access. This circle of peaks together is known as the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. After the closure of the Nanda Devi Inner Sanctuary region, the Nanda Devi East Base Camp Trek became the sole route for trekkers to experience the beauty of the twin peaks called Nanda Devi and Nanda Devi East. The trek duration is 11 days.
The trek begins with an easy climb from Munsyari but gradually gets tougher as soon as you reach Bugdiyar. Its difficulty level is intensified by the fact that almost the entire trail is circular and slippery. Munsiyari is the foot for trekkers to Milam, Namik, Ralam glaciers & the Nanda Devi Peak. The territory is adjoining Nanda Devi National Park is considered as a world heritage site by UNESCO site which is one of the most beautiful wildernesses in the Himalayas. It is home to a variety of Flora & Fauna. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the mighty Snow Leopard or the Himalayan musk deer.
The trekking trail passes through the large-scale meadows, deep valleys, ancient villages, gorges, and high altitude glaciers. You will also go from an old trade route, cuts through moraine fields and thick forests. Being one of the toughest treks in the Indian Himalayan region the journey requires several bases to camp. The best time for this trekking tour is from May to June and September to October.
9.Snow Leopard Trek
Snow Leopard Trek is another most admired trek in Ladakh. It is situated in the eastern part of Ladakh, at an altitude of 3000 meters. Being an authoritative part of the in-famous Hemis National Park, it covers an area of 600 sq.kilometers in the valleys of Markha and Rumbak. Since it is a preserved area, to spot the rare animals here would be a thrilling experience.
If you're lucky, you may get the chance to spot the rare and endangered species which live only in the cold desert. Some of them are Ibex, Shapo, Marmot, Tibetan Hare, Antelope, etc. Birds like Snow Patridge, Himalayan Snow Cock, Horned Lark(snowbird), Red Billed Chuff, etc. These animals are one of the major attractions in Ladakh attracting many adventurers and animal lovers.
The best time to do the Snow Leopard Trek is between November and March. rugged mountains, the wild trails of greenery, and the points where rare species of animals and birds can be spotted make this trek altogether really amusing. As you trek towards a higher elevation, you will experience extreme temperatures sometimes even in the minus. The cold and rarified air that is the biggest challenge, which means the air gets significantly thinner. Temperatures range between -10°C and -20°C. At every turn, you may receive surprises that can be cherished for eternity plus it enables you to know fascinating stories of the Rumbak valley. It takes 8 days to scale this terrain.
10.Kalindi Khal Trek
Kalindi Khal makes it to one of the most challenging treks in Uttarakhand. Perched at an extravagant altitude of over 6,000 meters, Kalindi Khal makes it to one of the most offbeat and extraordinary trekking destinations in India. Bursting will thrill and adventure, the Kalindi Khal trek is a true expedition, The initial part of the trek traces Gaumukh trail and passes through Chirbasa, Bhojbasa, Gaumukh, Nandanvan, Vasuki Tal, Mana, and Badrinath.
The trek commences from Gangotri and presents you with the stunning views of the Bhagirathi peaks and the lofty mount Shivling. It can be seen rising from the base to the summit entirely. From Gaumukh, you will trek on a stunning glacier which is carpeted with lots of crevasses! These glaciers keep shifting and breaking on and off, which adds to the challenging level of the trek. The route is not very strong as the glaciers keep on breaking. The period between May to June and September to October is the best to plan a trek for the Kalindi Khal.
This trek is definitely not meant for beginners, you have to spend about 15 days here, which is only suitable for strong-hearted individuals. The temperature throughout the Kalindi Khal Trek region may vary anything between -8 to 10 degrees. The trail is treacherous, and if one doesn’t have a sense of direction or a sound mind it is easy to get lost. The thrill of climbing a fossilized ice wall with a 60-degree incline awaits you. Attempt this trek only if you are well acquainted with challenging environments.
11.Markha Valley Trek
The Markha valley trek is one of the most in-demand treks in Ladakh. This trek takes you through beautiful villages creased in deep valleys surrounded by tall peaks. The tall pass of Kongmaru La awards you resplendent views of the Kang Yatse peaks. You can halt at homestays throughout the trek and it’s a great chance to discover the everyday life of local people. Markha is part of the Hemis National Park which is the home to the elusive snow leopards.
The best time to attempt the Markha Valley trek is between the months of June and September. It is a relatively challenging trek, you will need to cross plenty of streams, steep ascents, and descents from high passes and long day walks therefore it is suited for experienced trekkers. The temperature here stays anywhere from 22 °C to 30°C in the summers and falls to –5 °C or below in the winters.
You will begin from an altitude of 10,490 feet at Chilling and reach the highest point of 17,060 feet at Kongmaru La. Looming at the peak of Kongmaru La and Ganda La is what makes this trekking experience fruitful. The spectacular backdrop is adorned with streams, snowcaps, river, and spine-tingling meadows. After two-days of adapting with the conditions in Leh, the journey will take you through the Zingchen and Yurutse plateaus before reaching Skiu. Gear up for a beautiful and culturally rich adventure and let the serenity of the Markha Valley's landscapes knock the bad things out of your life.
12.Green Lake Trek
Green Lake is situated at the base of Mt. Kanchenjunga on the Zemu glacier in North Sikkim. You can reach here by routing for a strenuous yet picturesque trek from Lachen. The beauty of Mt. Kanchenjunga from the green lake is an absolute delight for the eyes. Rugged and zigzag trails accompanied by colourful orchids and pleasant panoramic views are the main attraction of this trekking trail.
Sikkim Green Lake Trek which commences from Lachen is perched at an altitude of 2,730 m. April and October proved to be the best time to go trekking here as wildflowers and rhododendrons are in full bloom. Snow starts melting off the trails thus, you can enjoy the splendid view of the nearby mountains. this one of the most enthralling treks in the region. If you love traversing on less explored and challenging treks, then Green Lake trek is the best choice to go for. It is graded from moderate to strenuous and can be demanding too, at times. The duration of this trek is 13 days.
Due to the altitude, the trek is considered to be very strenuous/challenging. That being said, there is time built into the itinerary for acclimatization. Regardless of your experience level, determined trekkers should have no trouble reaching the Green Lake! The temperature remains between - 7 to -1 degrees. Not only does the trek reward you with unmatched views, but it also spiritually uplifts the soul and mind. Walking for days through unexplored territory will give you a therapeutic experience. The amount of solitude you receive is truly fulfilling.