Encompassed by the Karakoram and Great Himalayan ranges in the north and south, respectively, Ladakh is known as the Land of High Passes. Located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is also the highest plateau in the region. Known for its mountainous beauty, green meadows, sprawling deserts, dazzling glaciers and unique culture, this place beckons a huge crowd of vacationers.
With lofty and snow-covered mountains all around, Ladakh offers a range of thrilling and exciting treks, of which Markha Valley trek is a popular one. Amid splendid peaks, beautiful gorges, serene Markha River and barley fields, Markha Valley trekking will take you to the last hamlets of the region. Trekking through these regions will give you ample opportunities to learn about their culture, by interacting with the local residents. The best part of this trek is that it takes you to the Hemis National Park, where you can enjoy rare sightings of high altitude wildlife, such as the snow leopard. Whether it is about love for nature or adventure, Ladakh is an idyllic destination for vacations. Come and explore this sparsely-populated region of Jammu and Kashmir, with a Markha Valley trekking tour.
Know more about popular Treks in Leh Ladakh.
Day 01: Arrival in Leh
As you reach Leh, head towards your pre-arranged lodging and enjoy the overnight stay there. Encompassed by three parallel ranges of the Himalayas – Ladakh, Karakoram and Zanskar, Leh is precariously positioned at an altitude ranging from 7545 to 16404 feet. Located in Jammu and Kashmir, it is the second largest district in India after Kutch, Gujarat. Being a popular tourist destination, this place boasts several attractions, which include Nubra Valley, Shanti Stupa, Pangong Lake and Stok Monastery.
Day 02: Leh (Acclimatisation)
Day two is for you to continue gathering energy for the ensuing Stok Kangri trek, and acclimatise to the cold weather, high altitude and diminishing oxygen levels. You can also utilise your free time to stroll through the town, and learn about its culture. You may see the raw beauty of the Ladakh plateau, shop at local markets or pay visits to numerous Buddhist stupas and monasteries nearby. In the evening, return to your lodging for another overnight stay in the town.
Day 03: Leh - Spituk - Zingchen | Trek to Yurutse | 3 hours | 5 KMS | 13520 feet
Freshen up in the morning and pack your bags for commencing Markha Valley trekking. The trek will begin with a drive to the village of Spituk, which is a long stretch of barren desert. From here, you have to hike at a short and moderate gradient to reach Zingchen. Amid rocky and sandy mountainous terrains, Zingchen is a beautiful, green valley, and it is here where the Rumbak River mixes with the Indus River. After witnessing the contrasted regions of Spituk and Zingchen, start trekking to Yurutse .On your way to Yurutse, you will see beautiful barley fieldsand. Stay there overnight.
Day 04: Yuruste - Ganda La - Siku |8 hours | 25 KMS | 16076 feet
On this day, get ready for continuing your onward journey on Markha Valley trek. Explore the beauty of Hemis National Park today, where you can see rare species of wildlife like snow leopard, Ladakhi urial (a type of goat), blue sheep, argali (a Tibetan sheep) and red fox. Continue walking till you reach the base of Ganda La After ascending for about 2 hours, you will reach to the top of Ganda La (16076 feet), which is usually marked by prayer flags. After a breathless ascent, take a short break, and then continue your Markha Valley trekking tour. A gradual descent to Shingo followed by a short walk through a gorge will take you to Skiu. After the sightseeing tour of Skiu, get back to your lodging and stay overnight.
Day 05 : Skiu - Markha | 8 hours | 20 KMS | 12369 feet
Today, you have to follow an easy path along the banks of the Markha River, which is on the route of Markha Valley trekking. On your way to the Markha village, visit the religious shrines at Lhatos and stone inscriptions at Mani Walls. After crossing this beautiful river, you will arrive in the village of Markha. With around 20 houses, a fort and monastery, it is the largest village of the valley. As the sun is about to set, proceed towards your lodging and stay overnight over there.
Day 06: Markha - Thachungtse | 6 hours | 13 KMS | 13165 feet
Past old stone-mills, a fort and monastery, the Markha Valley trek intersects the river several times before passing through the last villages of this valley. After crossing Umlung, Kang Yatse and Hangskar (the last hamlet in the valley), you will finally reach Thachungtse. On your arrival in Thachungtse, head towards your lodging and rest overnight.
Day 07: Thachungtse - Nimaling | 4 hours | 7 KMS | 15518 feet
Get ready in the morning for your journey to the wonderful plateau of Nimaling, which is the easiest route during Markha Valley trekking. A gradual ascent through the lush green meadows will take you to Nimaling. As you reach there, proceed towards your lodging and stay overnight.
Day 08: Nimaling - Kongmaru La - Shang Sumdo - Leh | 7 hours trek | 16-18 KMS | 17060 feet
On this last day of your Markha Valley trekking tour, you will be crossing the highest pass along the entire trek. Initially, the descent is a bit steep but will be levelled out as you reach the Shang gorge. From here, an easy walk of a few hours will take you to Shang Sumdo, where you have to board the vehicle for your return journey to Leh.
Day 9: Departure
Today, depart for your onwards journey.
If Minimum group strength is not met , we have the right to cancel the departure.
Should you wish to customise the trip as per your preferred date, separate charges will apply.
Maximum Altitude: 17388 feet
Grade: Moderate to Challenging
Best Time to go: July to September
Markha Valley trek is located in the original valley of India: Jammu and Kashmir. Need I say more about how picturesque it looks at every step of the way? There is splendid gorges, beautiful and expansive meadows, the awe-inspiring Karkoram range, breathtaking waterfalls, you have everything on this trek!!! It is definitely on the easier side of Ladakh treks. And trekking to Markha valley will be made even more fun when you have a bunch of good trek mates to accompany you. Thank you Adventure Nation for giving me and my friends the opportunity to have this experience. I will surely be exchanging pictures with you guys soon!
Markha valley trek in Ladakh is surely an experience to have at least once in your lifetime only for the sake of how scenic it is! Sighting the snow leopard in Hemis National Park when you get to stay there or visit there will also be an amazing experience for you. If you get to interact with the locals and participate in the local culture, don't hesitate. They are wonderful, welcoming people and you will make great memories. Our leading guide was a local who was an incredibly friendly person and he said he'd been doing this for years. I'd like to thank Adventure Nation for setting us up with the right people and making us feel safe and at home throughout.
Trekking to Markha Valley is an ecstatic journey. I had loads of fun. The arrangement put in place by the Adventure Nation people as well as the operators in field and the guides we were with was definitely remarkable. The food could have been better but it wasn't the least of my concerns. The itinerary was nicely planned out and there was a healthy spread of important destinations over a good number of days. Thanks a lot for making this possible and giving us the time of our life.
Markha Valley in Ladakh is a fantastic choice for trekking if you are not exactly new to mountaineering but are still trying out things. Make sure your fellow trek mates are people you can get along with. You can ask the agency to put you in touch with them directly before you go to this trek and that will solve half of your problems. My favorite memory/discovery on this trip was on the Ganda La to Skiu stretch because that one is a breathless ascent and then descent. I thought I wouldn't make it because of how exhausted I was and everyone else was way more capable than me. But I lasted that bit and that's when I truly knew I'm going to love the rest of this as well.
Trekking in Ladakh is a beast of an adventure. It is rightly considered the land of high passes. Everything about the trek to Markha Valley is challenging in the best possible way. After spending the first few days at Leh and visiting popular tourist attractions such as the monasteries, you will head to Hemis National Park and will reach on the fourth or the fifth day. The Ladakhi wildlife you will hopefully spot there can be seen nowhere else! The mountainous animals including the blue sheep and the snow leopards are so fascinating. You will also be able to spot different types of mountainous goats! From here you will go to Gandala and then Markha. It's amazing!
Markha valley trek in Ladakh itinerary has a fantastic cover of all the popular and important destinations in a comfortable period of time. After spending a few days acclimatizing in Leh, heading onward to Markha valley begins on the third day and you reach Markha on the fifth day. You will trek all along the Markha river and it's amazing. The river will constantly flow along or cross paths with you. The trek is surely a long trek and there will be moments when you are tired but it compensated by the beautiful sights along the way. Also, once you reach the Markha village, you can talk to the locals and visit the monastery, it is great. From here you will go to Thachungtse and from there on back to Leh via Nimaling.