Best Time to Visit Chadar Trek: The Frozen Zanskar Lake

Best Time to Visit Chadar Trek: The Frozen Zanskar Lake

Written by Promita Ghosal on 29-Jan-2022
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Nowadays trekking has become an astonishing activity for both good and bad reasons. If you are a mountain lover then it is a good chance of witnessing the romantic side of the mountains with the stunning beauty and difficult terrains. It is one of the best ways to escape from the mundane activities of daily life, which makes people tired. Chadar frozen river trek of 62km is one of the best trekking routes in the valley of Ladakh. However, as it is associated with the most dangerous roads in the whole world. People who love adventure and exploration of hidden places can survive here. It is a mesmerizing trek accompanied by gorgeous deserted valleys and a thrilling Zanskar river.

About Chadar Trek

Leh-Ladakh is such a place in the country that is accompanied by rugged beauty and pleasant scenery. There are endless hidden places to discover here. Among them, the Zanskar winter trek of Ladakh is the most electrifying exploration for adventure seekers in 11483 feet. It captivates frozen rivers with fascinating hills all around them. The stunning mountains of Ladakh are completely different from the other Indian cities filled with luxury, culture, and cuisines. Chadar frozen river trek is a dream come true for many trekkers where the most exciting thing is walking on a frozen lake.

Chadar lake trek ladakh

Zanskar winter trek located in Ladakh is home to dazzling wonder especially the gorgeous valleys and harsh terrains. It is difficult for the trekkers to survive in zero temperature among the inhabitable regions of the country. The frozen waterfalls give a mesmerizing view of the place. The trek is called the Chadar because the lake acts as a reflection of the sky where it becomes frozen during the winter season. It looks like a Chadar or a sheet of ice that time.

The exquisite caves and blazing bonfires give a natural touch to the entire surrounding in the freezing temperature. The Zanskar winter trek is extremely dangerous. However, it has some startling views. The Chadar Lake is located in the lap of nature making it one of the adventurous treks in the country. It is equipped with snow-capped mountains and mesmerizing valleys in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is one of the popular winter treks stretching over 60 kilometers around the snowbound villages.

Also Check: Kedarkantha Winter Trek

Also Check: Top 5 Winter Trekking tips

Best time to visit Chadar frozen river trek

Chadar trek in January

The Chadar trek temperature in January drops down to -30 degree Celsius. The Chadar trek best time is mid of January as the lake is completely frozen. As the ice sheet does not become solid at the beginning of the month, it is not a good idea for trekkers. If the trekker has more weight then it is a risk for trekkers.

Chadar trek in January

During this time of the year trekkers, get an opportunity to walk on the solid sheet of ice, which is up to 6 feet deep. The frozen river is covered with colorful pebbles and stones underneath. The weather fluctuates a lot in January where it is calm on one side and snowstorm on the other. Most of the trekking companies take groups of people to the frozen river trek in this time. During end of the month with proper clothing and essential items, people can accomplish the trekking.

Chadar Trek in February

At the beginning of February, the Zanskar River is completely frozen. It is an ideal time to go on the Chadar trek because the temperature drops down to -25 degrees Celsius. There are fluctuations of Chadar trek temperature throughout the day across the thrilling terrains of the world. Try to complete frozen river trek by the middle of February because after that the solid ice sheet melts to normal water.

It is considered the best time to visit Chadar trek because when the lake gets frozen you easily cover the distance of valleys. After that trekkers need to climb high passes and terrains to reach main Leh valley. Take guidance from proper trekkers and travel companies to fulfill the trek. When the river starts melting it is a threat for the trekkers as they goes missing. The chilled water of the lake can easily block the heart of people preventing them to breathe again.

Chadar Lake Weather and Temperature

As the Zanskar river is located at a high altitude the temperature fluctuates a lot due to direct sun rays. Sometimes the thick layer of snow on the river is melted and again freezes at night. It can become 5 to -25 degrees Chadar trek temperature at night. During the daytime temperature can rise and trekkers may feel hot. However, at nighttime, the temperature becomes chilling and almost froze.

Chadar trek Moxtain campsite

Some people can even be attacked by hypothermia in the chilling temperature if they do not take precautions beforehand. In Chadar frozen river trek, all the trekkers should undergo medical checkups and fitness tests before visiting the place. The entire journey is covered with fluctuating weather conditions and temperatures that require everyone in the Zanskar winter trek to remain fit and fine.

How to prepare for the Chadar trek?

About Chadar trek preparation, the Zanskar River is situated at an altitude that is impossible for every person to accomplish. For this reason, the government of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh government authorities recommend everyone to undergo a physical fitness test that starts 2 days before the trekking journey. Everyone has to pass the test to start their journey.

Besides physical training, preparation of mental training is also required. Try to invest proper adequate time for planning before starting your journey. It helps in preparing your mental fitness before going to high altitudes. This process is useful in coming out of the comfort zone and seeing the rest of the world. Therefore, how can you prepare for the trek? List out all the things required for Chadar trek preparation. In this way, you will not miss any points.


Try to practice walking for at least half an hour per day before going on a trek. In the Zanskar trek minimum of 6 hours of walking is required each day, which is why it is a good idea to get a habit beforehand. Include some cardiovascular exercises and cross-fit training in the schedule. It helps to record the heart rate and monitor oxygen level. In high altitudes, maximum trekkers face problems regarding breathing and respiratory diseases. Indulging into these habits makes your trekking journey easier. Trekkers need to captivate lots of strength to cover at least 16km by foot per day in Chadar trek. It helps in surviving through chilling temperature. As trekking involves carrying bags throughout the journey try to practice walking with that. This will habituate your shoulder to carry weight every day.


This is very essential before starting the thrilling trek to frozen river. Trekkers need to adapt to the negative temperature before the journey. You will experience sudden change of humidity, climate and pH level. Your body can get dehydrated easily and result in headaches and illness. Try to stay in Leh for at least 3 days and get sufficient sleep there. Eat nutritious food before the trek and avoid roaming in the evening.

Mental preparation

Apart from exercising and increase endurance, mental preparation should be given utmost importance. It is highly required for this Zanskar river trek. It will help you to keep moving and achieve the impossible. As the frozen river trek lasts for at least 8 days trekkers need a lot of enthusiasm. Be prepared for the challenges and hardships all over the trek. Situations can become worse at any point because of fluctuating weather. Though the cold is unbearable with sheer determination and courage, the journey can be achieved.

Why you should go for Chadar trek?

Walking on the frozen lake of Zanskar is one of the fascinating things you can do in winter. The ice sheet is thrilling to watch in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a great way to take a break from the regular monotonous life. Frozen river trek is the most startling trekking journey that you will ever experience. However, there are some listed reasons for going on the trek.

Semifrozen Chadar Lake trek

Distinctive Landscape of Chadar Trek

The Rocky Mountains and rough terrains that cross every person's mind surround the trekking to Chadar Lake in Leh. Harsh weather conditions and fluctuating temperatures due to high elevation accompany it. You can enjoy the frozen lake at a minimum of -30 degrees Celsius, which is sensational. A total 62 km trek to Chadar Lake will give you the largest experience in your life. There is no climbing in the hills because trekkers walk on the plain surface of the lake.

Amazing journey over the frozen lake

Snow-capped mountains and ice sheets of the lake surround the view. Trekkers feel chilled temperature throughout the journey. Frozen river trek is located at such a place where habitat is quite impossible. People cannot survive here due to a lack of oxygen and high altitude. However, trekkers are expected to cross the snows with all stamina. Your body will get heated up due to a large amount of walking. Pack all the necessary items carefully so that you do not miss any. The raging river of frozen river trek will ignite your stamina and boost your energy throughout the journey. Keep warmers handy for emergencies.

Camera shots: Memories

The whole journey of the Zanskar trek will let you capture splendid shots. It is all about fascinating mountains and the thrilling Zanskar River. After facing a chilled temperature of -5degree every day people get accustomed to it and it should end with joy of celebration. The 62 km trekking journey is bound to leave you speechless. Try to make every other trekker a part of the journey. The enthralling expedition is the most loved trek across the world.

Chadar trek itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive at Leh
  • Leh is located at an altitude of 11400 feet surrounded by snowcapped Himalayan Mountains with a long stretch of fascinating valleys. There is a drastic change of temperature in this region when you will wake up from sleep. The region is covered by only a few shops for the tourist equipped with very less quantity food. This Day is kept for rest and adapt to the changing temperature. Try to hydrate yourself by drinking enough water and the night is spent in a Homestay or guesthouse.

  • Day 2: Acclamatization/Rest Day
  • The second day is kept for acclimatizing. Trekkers mainly spent the day at Leh market. Try to get adapted to the changing temperature because the weather will get harsh as you go up to the Zanskar trek. Make sure to check all the essential things before going to get and after waking up in the morning.

  • Day 3: Body check-up at Leh
  • This day is for medical checkups and to get the wildcard that exists. The Jammu and Kashmir Government conducts the medical checkup and trekkers are only allowed to visit for the trek after passing the test. Insurance, permission, and important documents of Identity are required for permission. If you think that the Frozen river trek will be a dangerous route at this time then you can opt-out from the Zanskar trek and go on to a city tour of Ladakh without any extra cost.

  • Day 4: Leh to Shingra Koma to Tsomo Paldar
  • Start your journey from Leh to Tsomo paldar via Shingra Koma. This route is trekking from 11480 to 10500 feet. Trekkers need to drive for 3-4hours to cover 75kms followed by 3kms trek route to the starting point. This is the most scenic place in the entire region of Ladakh. There is a variety of tourist spots in this region like Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and Magnetic Hill. You will reach Tsomo Paldar after traveling through the Zanskar River. This is the point where the actual Zanskar trek begins. Change your shoes at this point, as fragile terrains will begin from here. You can take a walking stick before beginning your journey. The first camp for the day is done at Tsomo Paldar. This place has below zero degree temperature at night.

  • Day 5: Tsomo Paldar to Tibba cave
  • Travel from Tsomo Paldar to Tibba cave at 10800 feet. Frozen river trek is a kind of trek where the altitude does not raise in the first chance. You will reach 300ft up here by walking for 6 hours approx. Beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking mountain ranges accompany the cave. The rock patterns inside the cave glitter the morning sunshine all over the place. This is the campsite of the Zanskar river trek for the day.

  • Day 6: Tibba Cave to Nevak
  • Travel from Tibba cave to Nevak camp at 11100 feet by walking for 7 hours. Complete your breakfast and then you will reach the frozen waterfall of the Zanskar river trek. Frozen river trek is an electrifying tourist spot for trekkers across the world. Trekkers are served with hot lunch on the way to Nevak. Here the temperature can drop down to the minimum of -30degrees Celsius. Try to reach the waterfall on time so that the village can be covered before sunset. Camping for the day is done almost 20minutes away from the frozen waterfall.

  • Day 7: Nevak to Tibba Cave back
  • Travel from Nevak to Tibba Cave at 10800 feet by walking for 6 hours straight. After having breakfast, the return journey of the Zanskar river trek starts from here. Returning is not easy as it seems because the temperature here fluctuates a lot. Zanskar River witnesses a change of weather at any point in time. It is almost impossible to reach Tibba cave under a snowstorm. You can purchase traditional woolen clothes from here near Leh monastery. Camping for the day is at Tibba cave.

  • Day 8: Tibba cave to Shingra koma to Leh
  • Travel from Shingra Yokma to Leh via Tibba Cave at 11400 feet. Leh is reached by car for traveling 8 hours. There are footprints of snow leopards, foxes in the Zanskar river trek. Trekkers who are starting the frozen river trek may ask you about the experience here. You will reach Leh by 6 pm. You can book the flight on this day but it is recommended to keep some extra time in hand and plan it for the second day. Spend the time in a nice cozy hotel at Leh and catch early morning flight.

    Written by Promita Ghosal on 29-Jan-2022
    Read About Author