Trekking in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is a magical destination, and is rightfully called the land of the Gods. Almost the entire state is covered by the majestic Himalayas, and they serve as the primary reason behind its scenic beauty. Pair its rich culture with the natural beauty of the state, and you would find a wonderful destination for trekking in Uttarakhand. Kumaon is known for its picturesque forests, whereas Garhwal gains significance due to its rugged and high mountains. The state also has a number of famous pilgrimage sites, the routes to many of which are followed on foot.
The state has a variety of trails that you can follow, and they have different duration, terrain and difficulty level. Some will involve touching elevations of only 8000 feet, and will be perfect for novice and first-time participants. The elevation gain here will be less, and you will be able to negotiate the weather and ascent without any problem. Then there are other paths, which will take you above 16000 feet altitude. While following such tracks, the elevation will increase rapidly, and the weather will change in an instant. You will find such hikes extremely challenging, but completing them will give you utter satisfaction.
• Har Ki Doon: The hike through Har Ki Doon is highly admired by nature lovers and avid mountaineers coming for trekking in Uttarakhand. Har Ki Doon is an enchanting valley, located at an altitude of over 11000 feet. From the valley, you travel higher up to the Jaundhar Glacier, which is always buried under loads of snow.
This site is a treasure trove of the most exotic vegetation found in Uttarakhand. Tied together by a network of rivulets flowing throughout the valley, the whole are is overlooked by a spread of mountains; Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini peaks are the highest peaks located around. Explore the scented and expansive meadows of Hata valley for its Hata and Jeju peaks. Get to stay close to nature as you camp in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary.
• Dayara Bugyal: If you like vast open lands with gentle slopes and lush grass, then you should definitely go hiking to Dayara Bugyal. An easier on the foot excursion to the lush greens of Dayara Bugyal makes for a perfect vacation if unwinding is on your agenda. Spend your time relaxing in expansive meadows/open lands that have a certain kind of a Himalayan charm to them. The far reaching green will calm your mind and rejuvenate you with its lush beauty- almost fairytale like. This is an ideal vacation for visitors who want an easy trek that is an aesthetically appealing exploration of the Himalayan meadows.
• Binsar: A trek perfect for beginners, this trek is an underrated Uttarakhand trek. Take a weekend getaway to explore the visually appealing Kumaon region and delve culturally by interacting with locals on the trail. Mostly located in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, naturally, the trek offers an opportunity to spot lots of wild animals including leopards, ghorals, musk deer, jungle cats and barking deer. The trek is laced with beautiful mountain brooks and forests full of lush pines and cedars. It is perfect for a refreshing outing into the faraway lands.
• Nag Tibba: One more such easy excursion is the Nag Tibba trek, with a maximum altitude of around 10000 feet. Discover this unspoiled paradise in Uttarakhand and get a cultural fix as you indulge with the locals and actively explore some villages on your way to the summit. Visit the many shrines located in this region and trek through lush forests and brooks to finally take in the beautiful view of the snow-clad Central Himalayas.
• Bagini Glacier: Meant for moderate to advanced trekkers, this is an escape to the permanently frozen Bagini Glacier. The trek that begins from Haridwar moves upwards to Nanda Devi National Park that encloses great many exotic flora and fauna. From the divine Joshimath to the splendid villages of Ruing and Dronagiri to the base camp at Changbang, you will trek to Bagini Glacier that is enveloped by 20,000 feet peaks. One can only imagine the breathtaking view.
• Winter Kuari Pass: Hike through forests and valleys to the roughly 12,200 feet high mountain pass of Kuari. This trek offers panoramic views of some highly prominent mountains such as Nanda Devi, Kamet, Trishul and Dunagiri. Since this trek is so packed with picturesque locales, Kali Ganga, Pindar, Dhauliganga, Nandakini and Birahi Ganga Rivers will also be a memorable addition to your adventure. This one is a complete package that leaves you wanting to never come back.
• Roopkund: Traverse through dense rhododendron and oak forests, camp at the most scenic sites, glance at the frozen waterfalls and glacial basins and feast your eyes on amazing peaks as you trek through Roopkund. Add to it the local mysteries surrounding the “skeletal lake”. Roopkund is one of the most trekked through trails in this area for it packs a great deal of action as well as beauty.
• Valley of Flowers: Visit in July to September to be overwhelmed by the colorful sight of hundreds of species of flowers. A treat alike to botanists, explorers and beginners, Valley of Flowers is the quick cure for life’s mundane eccentricities. This short trek is a sure shot way of connecting with oneself as you find yourself around untouched nature.
During trekking in Uttarakhand, you are sure to witness a rich diversity of animals and plants. While travelling to Roopkund, you will camp at a meadow, which is named Ghora Lotani as hordes of horses graze here. The higher reaches of the region including the Valley of Flowers are inhabited by snow leopards, black bears, brown bears, lammergeiers, Himalayan griffon vultures, cinereous vultures and loads of other scavengers. Several species of deer and cats along with wild dogs also make the region their home.
Most of the hiking paths meander through slopes covered with pines and deodars, and some take you through thick growths of firs and spruces. As you cross the tree line to reach lush grasslands, you will see vegetation like Juniper and several medicinal herbs. Above them lie naked mountains, which are always covered in snow at their highest points.
The various regions within the state are at different altitudes; hence the weather patterns experienced there vary greatly. Dehradun, the state capital, lies at an altitude of around 1427 feet in the foothills of the Himalayas. The city experiences a sub-tropical climate, making the weather hot and humid.
On the other hand, the famous hill station of Nainital, which is located at about 6830 feet above the sea, experiences a subtropical highland climate. Snowfall in the town takes place between the months of December and February. Uttarakhand contains a rich variety of landforms, from flat plains to rugged peaks over an altitude of 20000 feet.