Winters are the time when most of us prefer to enjoy the warmth of our homes and trekking out in the mountains is the last thing on the mind. But winter treks do provide a beautiful, serene and unique experience, making it more thrilling, and giving a greater sense of accomplishment.

There are many good winter treks in the northern India, with a good possibility of experiencing snow. Even though exciting, winter treks come with added difficulties and are recommended to be done with guides or experienced trekkers.

So here’s a list of 11 amazing and lesser known treks in the Himalayas that you can go on these winters!


1. Kheer Ganga


Kheer Ganga Trail | Source

Getting there: Overnight bus from Delhi to Bhuntur, then from Bhuntur to Manikaran

Starting Point: Manikaran

Maximum elevation: 3,050 m

Duration (ex Manikaran): 2 days

Kheer Ganga lies in the enchanting Parvati Valley and is the last inhabited village on the Parvati side of Pin-Parvati trek. The trek starts from Barshaini village, which is around an hour’s drive from Manikaran. At Barshaini, you can see the confluence of Tosh River and Parvati River.

The trek to Kheer Ganga is a gradual incline except for a short steep climb in between and goes through thick alpine forests with views of snow clad mountains. A hot water stream flows at Kheer Ganga. The travelers can have a unique experience of bathing in hot water spring in the snow-covered surroundings. There is also a small Shiva temple at Kheer Ganga.


2. Matikochar – Bijli Mahadev

View from Matikochar meadow

View from Matikochar meadow

Getting there: Overnight bus from Delhi to Manali

Starting Point: Manali

Maximum elevation: 2,500 m

Duration (ex Delhi): 3 days

Matikochar is a beautiful meadow which is a short and easy trek from Manali. One gets amazing panoramic views of the Kullu valley from the meadows and also the snow clad Himalayan peaks visible from here.

The trek to Matikochar begins from the Jana village which is around 30 km from Manali. It is a beautiful walk through small villages and thick forests of Pine and Deodar and provides a beautiful view of the Kullu valley and the snow clad Himalayan peaks.

When camping at Matikochar, the starry night skies above and well-lit valley below make for a surreal view and will leave you spellbound with its beauty and grandiose.

A short trek from Matikochar is the Bijli Mahadev, a temple dedicated to lord Shiva. The trail is a gradual route through the thick forests of Kais wildlife sanctuary. The twin valleys of river Beas and Parvati can be seen from the camp at Bijli Mahadev.


3. McLeodganj – Triund

Photo: Triund Baba

Photo: Triund Baba

Getting there: Overnight bus from Delhi to McLeodganj

Starting Point: McLeodganj

Maximum elevation: 2,850 m

Duration (ex Delhi): 3 days

Located 18 km from Dharamshala, Triund is a short and easy grade trek with well-defined trails and provides breath-taking views of snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar range on one side and of Kangra Valley on the other.

The trek starts from McLeodganj which is around 5 km from Dharamshala. The ascent is about 1100 meters and goes through scenic Rhododendron and Oak forest. One can hang around at Triund and then trek back the same day or pitch up a tent and camp for the night.

The trek is quite easy for beginners and first timers, but in winters, especially months of January and February, the trail is covered with snow; hence making the trek slightly more difficult but that much exciting also.


4. Parashar Lake


Parashar Lake | Source

Getting there: An overnight Volvo from Delhi to Mandi.

Starting point: Baggi Village

Maximum Elevation: 3,000m

Duration (ex Delhi): 3 days

In the Mandi region of Himachal Pradesh is a small lake known as Parashar. Hardly known to anyone other than the locals, it is truly off-beat destination. The trek to Parashar Lake starts from Baggi village and follows a trail going through thick forests and scenic meadows.  One can even experience the local culture here in the small villages one crosses during the trek.

The Lake itself is surrounded by the mighty Dhaladhars and gives magnificent views of the Dhauladhar, Pir Pinjal and Kinnaur ranges.

Just about 500 km from Delhi, this trek is a perfect weekend trek and one of the easy winter treks for beginners. The whole region covered with snow makes for an even more beautiful and serene experience. This trek combines the best of both worlds by providing a weekend snow trek!


5. Nag Tibba

View from Nag Tibba | Source

View from Nag Tibba | Source

Getting there: From Dehradun, a cab or a bus to Mussoorie. From Mussoorie, take a cab to Devalsari.

Starting point: Devalsari

Maximum Elevation: 3,000m

Duration (ex Delhi): 3 days

The Nag Tibba, also known as the Serpent’s Peak, is the highest peak in the Garhwali Himalayas is an easy grade trek which takes you through dense mountainous forests rich in flora and fauna.

The 13 km trek starts from Devalsari and takes you through dense mountainous forests, one can also trek 3 km further to Nag Tibba top which offers a breath-taking view of the Bandar poonch peak, the Gangotri group of peaks, Kedarnath peak in the north, Doonvalley and the snow peaks of Chanabang Himalayas.

The Nag Tibba trek is a perfect weekend getaway with a climb through the forests to 3000 m, surrounded by lofty Himalayas and an overnight camp under starry skies.


6. Kuari Pass Trek

Trekking to Kuari Pass

Trekking to Kuari Pass

Getting There: Train/Bus to Haridwar. From Haridwar to Joshimath by taxi or public transport.

Starting point: Joshimath

Maximum Elevation: 3,800m

Duration (ex Haridwar): 5 days

The trek starts at Joshimath and takes you through some beautiful meadows, thick birch and oak forests, and a few snow glaciers. The cold mountain air coupled with bright sun and breathtaking views make this trek amazing. The trek was made famous by Lord Curzon in 1905 and hence is also known as Curzon’s trail.

At an altitude of 3,800 m, Kuari Top gets the front row seats to some of the 7000+ m Himalayan peaks, like the Kamet (7756m), Trishul (7120m), Chaukhamba (7128m), and the twin peak of Nanda Devi (7817m) and Nanda Devi East (7434m).

This trek is not that difficult in winters, though, like every winter trek, will certainly be tougher than the summer ones.

The area is isolated and has good opportunities for bird watchers and photographers. One can also find the Bramha kamal flowers here. To the west of the valley is the twin peak of Bandarpoonch at 6316 m. The beauty of the area and the terrain make it a trek for both beginners and experienced trekkers.


7. Dodi Tal-Darwa Pass Trek

Darwa Pass | Source

Darwa Pass | Source

Getting There: Bus or train to Dehradun. From there, a cab or a bus will take you to Sangam Chatti.

Starting point: Sangam Chatti

Maximum Elevation: 4200m

Duration (ex Dehradun): 5 days

Dodital – Darwa pass is considered as one of the most beautiful lakes of India and is a popular trekking destination in Uttarakhand. The 30 km trek takes you through dense forests and deep valleys to the lake and ends at Darwa Top. The trek begins from Sangam Chatti and can be covered in two days with a midway camp at Bebra or Manjhi. Trekkers can also try to reach the highest point of the Darwa top, which is a day hike.

Dodital, located at an altitude of 3,307 m, is surrounded by oak, pine and deodar forest. The lake is home to the Brown trout and is famous for angling. The route from Dodital to Darwa pass is quite steep but offers an extremely amazing view of snow clad Himalayan peaks, including the Bander Poonch(6,317m).

A moderate trek otherwise, it becomes much tougher and, at the same time, more thrilling and exciting in winters. One can even extend the trek to Yamunotri via Darwa top but is not recommended in winters due to heavy snow.


8. Deoriya Taal – Tungnath – Chandrashila Trek

Tungnath in winters | Source

Tungnath in winters | Source

Getting there: Take a train or a bus to Haridwar. From there, a cab or a bus to Chopta.

Starting point: Chopta

Maximum Elevation: 4,000m

Duration (ex Delhi): 5 days with 3 days of trekking

Deoriya taal is a beautiful natural lake capturing the beauty of surrounding Himalayan peaks, which are reflected in its pristine waters. The spectacularly beautiful region, surrounded with forests and grasslands, is one of the most scenic areas in the Garhwal. You can also camp by the lake.

This trek is normally combined with the trek to Tungnath and Chandrashilla. Tungnath temple is the highest Shiva temple in the world and is the highest of the Panch Kedar temples. The temple lies on the trek route to Chandrashila Peak.

Chandrashila peak at an altitude of 4,000 meters has panoramic 360-degree views of the Himalayas. On a clear day, one can see the stunningly beautiful surrounding snow covered peaks.

The climbs on this trek may be a little steep at places, but the trekking distances are short and first timers with a reasonable level of fitness can complete this trek quite easily. If done as a winter trek, you have a high probability of snow and that makes it a tougher trek, though the experience is that much more rewarding.

In case of time constraints, one can skip either Deoriya taal or Chandrashila peak to make it a weekend trek.


9. Dayara Bugyal Trek

Dayara Bugyal | Source

Dayara Bugyal | Source

Getting there: Take a train or a bus to Haridwar. From there, a cab or a bus to Barsu.

Starting point: Barsu

Maximum Elevation: 3,800m

Duration (ex Haridwar): 5 days

Touted as one of the best meadows in India, Dayara Bugyal is definitely one of the most beautiful treks in India. The meadow or bugyal, as it is called in the local language, is situated at an altitude of 3,800 m.

The trek to Dayara Bugyal starts from the Barsu village, located some 150 km from Haridwar. The trek to the Bugyal showcases the beauty and serenity that the Himalayan landscapes provide. The meadow itself is surrounded by many lofty Himalayan peaks.

In winters, the green meadows are covered in a blanket of white, giving a surreal and fairy-tale atmosphere to the whole area. Though a moderate trek, it will be tougher and more thrilling in the winter months.


10. Har ki Doon

Har ki Doon

Har ki Doon | Source

Getting there: Volvo bus or train to Dehradun. Cab or bus from Dehradun to Sankri.

Starting point: Sankri

Maximum Elevation: 3,600m

Duration (ex Dehradun): 9 days

The Har Ki Doon trek is one of the most famous treks in the Garhwal. The Har ki Doon valley is located at the base of Fateh Parvat. The area is surrounded by dense pine forests and offers magnificent views of the Himalayas.

This trek is relatively easy even in winters, and, if one has time, can be extended to include Ruinsara tal, Jaundhar Glacier and Maninda Tal.


11. Snow Leopard Trek

Snow Leopard | Source

Snow Leopard | Source

Getting there: A direct from Delhi to Leh

Starting point: Phey

Maximum Elevation: 4,100m

Duration (ex Delhi): 12 days

Well, not exactly for the beginners but we couldn’t help including this one in the list. The Snow Leopard Trek is one of the popular winter treks in the Ladakh region. This challenging trek goes to Hemis National Park, a territory devoid of humans, with rugged inhabitable mountains which serve as a home to snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, brown bears and more.

Meant for experienced trekkers, it gives you a chance of witnessing one of the most elusive creatures known, the snow leopards, often described as the ‘ghost cat’.



For more awesome stuff to do this winter read our Ski feature:

13 things you need to know before going for skiing in Gulmarg


Also read about our guest blogger, Bidisha’s trip to Darjeeling!

My Darjeeling Diaries (May 2014) – Part I


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