Dharamshala is a quiet and tranquil hill station in the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh, nestled under the shadow of the mighty Dhauladhar range.

The city has a mix of British and Buddhist culture and the upper Dharamshala, known as Mcleodganj, is the abode of the Dalai Lama. Also called as the ‘little Lhasa’, Mcleodganj is a major Buddhist pilgrimage and houses many monasteries.

Though a peaceful hill station, Dharamshala has no dearth of adventure opportunities as the Dhauladhars provide perfect avenues for trekking and hiking.

Here, we have listed our favorites, some of them popular and some not so well known:

1. Triund Trek



Duration: 2 Days

Maximum Elevation: 2,875 m

Grade: Easy

Triund is a short and easy trek with well-defined trails and provides breathtaking views of snow-covered peaks of Dhauladhar on one side and of Kangra Valley on the other. The ascent is about 1100 meters and goes through scenic Rhododendron and Oak forest. Although one can walk to Triund and back in one day, it is a good overnight camping site. A short trek above Triund are the Lahesh caves which is a panoramic trail


2. Indrahar Pass




Duration: 5 days

Maximum Elevation: 4,375 m

Grade: Moderate to tough

The Indrahar pass trek takes you from Dharamshala in Kangra Valley to Chamba over the Dhauladhar range. The trek offers close and beautiful views of Dhaula Dhar and Pir Panjal mountain ranges. The trail goes through dense forests as you follow the course of Gaddi Shepherds, who take their flock through this track to Lahaul and Ravi valley for grazing.

The trek offers an adventurous experience as you cover steep climbs through the Himalayan region to the Indrahara Pass. One can also witness the sacred Mani Mahesh Kailash peak. The best season to visit this trek is between May to mid October.


3. Dhauladhar Trek



Duration: 10-12 Days

Maximum Elevation: 4,250 m

Grade: Moderate

This spectacular trek across the Dhauladhars takes you through two passes – Minkiani Pass (4250m) and Jalsu Pass (3600m) and a number of glacial lakes like Kareri, Lam dal. One can camp near these lakes and enjoy the surroundings or continue trekking. The trek starts at Dharamshala, goes to Drakund and then circuit back to Dharamshala.

The trek has spectacular views, and is moderately challenging for people looking for the thrill.


4. Minkiani Pass Trek


Lam Dal lake at Mankiani Pass

Duration: 7 Days

Maximum Elevation: 4,250 m

Grade: ModerateChallenging

This trek takes you through the Minkiani Pass which is a hard rocky trail with some ice, making it difficult to cross. The weather also is unpredictable and this makes it a higher difficulty trek. This trek takes you through most of the lakes in this area, starting from Kareri Lake at the base, the Lam Dal, Chaderkup Dal and a few other minor lakes. One can camp in their vicinity to enjoy the beauty.

On reaching the Minkiani pass, you have the option to return through Baleni pass or trek ahead to Bharmour in Chamba district.


 5. Singhar Pass


Duration: 7 Days

Maximum Elevation: 4,475 m

Grade: Difficult

This is a quite challenging trek and is not very common amongst trekkers due to its difficult approach. The gaddi shepherds use this trail to take their flock for grazing up to Manimahesh and Lahaul. Singhar pass is very unpredictable one cannot be sure of weather conditions on it. Sudden strong winds and clouds can lower the temperature considerably, making the conditions tougher for the trekkers.


6. Sari Pass trek



Duration: 7 Days

Maximum Elevation: 3,500m

Grade: Easy

This is an easy trek through the south-east of the Dhauladhars. There are no major changes in altitude during this trek and makes it ideal for families. The trek starts from Bir-Billing which is a two and a half hour journey from Dharamshala and is a popular spot for hang gliding and para-sailing. The trek takes you through forests, crossing over the Sari Pass into the Kullu valley.


7. Kareri Lake



Duration: 4-5 Days

Maximum Elevation: 3,300 m

Grade: Easy

This beautiful trek is an easy short trek which can be done by beginners/enthusiasts. The lake is situated at an altitude of about 3,300 meters at the foot of the Minkiani Pass and is fed by melting snow of the Dhauladhar peaks. It lies about 9 km North West of Dharamshala. This is one of the more popular treks in the area. The trail goes through beautiful forests and rural villages and is suitable for everyone.


8. Dharamshala – Manali Trek



Duration: 12 days

Maximum Elevation: 4,670 m

Grade: Challenging

This is a challenging trek which takes you from Dharamshala, over Thamsar Pass (4624m) and Kaleheni Pass (4670m) to Manali. Like most of the passes in this region, it is a traditional Gaddi route and takes across Thamsar to Bara Bhangal and then through Kaleheni Pass to Manali. The passes consists of glacial crossings and is recommended for experienced trekkers.


9. Toral pass



Duration: 4 days

Maximum Elevation: 4,250 m

Grade: Moderate

Toral Pass is a lesser known trek situated towards north-east of Dharamshala. Again this is a Gaddi shepherd trail through lush green valley with meadows spread over vast areas. The trek starts from Tang Narwana village which is 12 km from Mcleodganj and does a circuit to Toral Pass. The trek is on the moderate grade but beginners with good fitness levels can attempt it.


 10. Gaj Pass (Lam Dal) Trek



Duration: 6 days

Maximum Elevation: 4,140m

Grade: Easy

Gaj Pass is named so because Bhim’s Gaj (mace) fell down and struck here leading to water springing from the ground and forming a lake. The area has a number of lakes with the Lam Dal being the biggest and most spectacular of them.

The area is not a very popular trekking destination. The trail is easy with relatively low altitude; one can also trek to Kali Kund and 3 other lakes before heading back to Dharamshala.



Do let us know how you find the information, share your experiences or ask any queries that you might have!


Also read:

The Home to the Himalayas: 20 Amazing Treks in Uttarakhand

And don’t miss out on this amazing video made by one of our clients:

The Lama Dug Trek (Video)


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