10 Most Famous Hiking Trails in India
Did you know that India makes up for more than 8% of Earth’s entire biodiversity?
The second most populous country in the world boasts more than 8000 km of coastline. It’s home to enchanted lush forests, magnificent snow-capped mountains, and prolific grasslands.
Exploring India’s natural wonders is one of the most profound experiences for the soul. Some believe that India is a true hiker’s paradise – a dreamy abode for nature lovers and adventurers.
If you’re ready for the challenge of a lifetime, accompany us on this journey through the most famous hiking trails in India. From mystical trails in the Land of the Gods, through the frozen rivers of Kashmir to tropical coastlines of Kerala, these majestic trails will grant you access to the very core of India’s soul.
Care to delve deeper into the Skeleton Lake? If the name itself doesn’t give you the chills, then perhaps the story behind its mystical name just might. Situated in the Himalayas, on an altitude of 16,470 feet (5,020 m), Roopkundhas become one of India’s most famous hiking trails and the reason why is quite morbid, to say the least.
Encircled by frosty glaciers and snow-capped mountains, the edge of the lake holds the remains of hundreds of ancient human skeletons. If you visit Roopkund when the snow starts melting, you just might catch a glimpse of this eerie sight.
While numerous ghost stories are surrounding the events that lead to the unfortunate demise of these ancient wanderers, people from all over the globe have made it their mission to visit the sinister site and pay respect to the lost souls.
2. Valley of Flowers
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Looking for a more cheerful destination to get that Skeleton Lake out of your mind? Enter Valley of Flowers.
The National Park resembles something straight from a fairytale. Stretching throughout 17km, the trail takes you through the unique transition zones of the Himalayas and Zanskar. Surrounded by rugged mountain peaks, diverse alpine flora, and awe-striking meadows and landscapes, the Valley is truly a remarkable destination.
Don’t be fooled by its hypnotizing beauty though – the Valley of Flowers is known to pose a challenge for even the most valiant of travelers.
Standing at 12,500 ft (3,800 m), Kedarkantha is known as one of the most breathtaking winter summits climbs. Passing through snow-covered pine forests and camping at captivating sites with incredible scenic views are just a part of this nippy expedition.
The true thrill comes from reaching the top of the summit where you’re treated with miraculous views of Swargarohini and Black Peak. The best thing about Kedarkantha is that it’s suitable for all levels, so even if you’re at the beginning of your hiking journey, you’ll be able to experience the wonder of conquering one of the Himalaya’s most astonishing peaks.
Jammu and Kashmir
Divided into three distinct geographic regions, Ladakh, Kashmir Valley, and Jammu, this is the home of alpine zones, sparkling lakes, and picturesque settings that would challenge even the most fearsome of travelers.
4. Great Lakes
Also known as Sonamarg-Vishansar-Naranag Trek, the Great Lakes is a high-altitude hiking trail in Kashmir Valley. Some experienced hikers believe that this is the most beautiful trek in all of India.
The enchanting beauty of alpine lakes (all seven of them!), the stunning panoramic wildflower meadows, the careless gallop of wild horses passing along as you explore the great wilderness of the mighty Kashmir Valley…is this what dreams are made of?
This is a journey through another world, a universe filled with awe and wonder. The Great Lakes trek is not a mere hiking experience, it’s a feeling, a fondness that’ll remain within you for as long as you live. A life-changing expedition in all its grandeur.
5. Zanskar Gorge
Said to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, Zanskar Gorge also known as Chadar Trek is a daredevil’s holy grail. Located in the Indian administered union territory of Ladakh, the winter trail is an expedition worthy only for the most courageous and seasoned hiking veterans.
With temperatures as low as -30 degrees, trails leading over frozen rivers, and slabs of ice surrounding you at every move, it’s no wonder that you’re required to pass a strict medical examination before venturing into the frosty embrace of Zanskar’s Gorge.
However, if you feel prepared to tackle the harsh realities of the Chadar Trek, the sole vision of frozen waterfalls and glossy ice sheets will make the whole endeavor worthwhile.
6. Hampta Pass
Accentuating some of the most outstanding crossover terrains, the Hampta Pass takes you on a five-day hike through wildflower meadows, desert settings, and remarkable fjords.
Because the trail is so narrow and the change of scenery quite dramatic, travelers are treated with unearthly sights of overlapping sceneries. The high contrast in terrain and environment makes for quite a mesmerizing adventure.
7. Pin Parvati Pass
The Pin Parvati Pass is not for the faint-hearted. Tough terrain, narrow sections, and an altitude of 17,500 ft (5298 m) make this mountain pass an extremely challenging and risky endeavor.
However, if you’re a seasoned hiker with a thirst for new escapades, then this might prove to be your magnum opus. Have you ever trekked over a glacier? This could be your chance. The trail leads you through small towns with apple orchards, wooden bridges over the Parvati river, thick forests, and a risky glacier walk that allows you to pass from Parvati to Spiti valley.
Think you have what it takes to conquer the Pin Parvati Pass? Better start your preparations soon, because you’re in for a hike of a lifetime!
8. Chembra Peak
At 2,100 m above sea level, Chembra Peak is one of the highest summits in the Western Ghats. Hiking through tea plantations and soaking up the views of emerald green meadows makes this trek a truly enjoyable and pristine experience.
The highlight of this serene location is certainly the heart-shaped lake at the very top of the peak. If your partner and you are into active vacations, then this romantic getaway to Wayanad hills just might be an ideal spot to showcase your love and appreciation.
9. Silent Valley National Park
Welcome to the last remaining rain forest of Kerala. All you need to do is stop and listen. Encircled by cliffs and ridges, the Silent Valley National Park is a hidden gem with its special microclimate.
Walk along the Kunthipuzha River, observe the open grasslands and dense sholas and make sure to take a moment to soak up the vast magnificence of this natural wonder. The Park is home to a fair number of endemic species of flora and fauna and if you play your cards right, you just might catch a glimpse of the threatened long-tailed macaque, Malabar giant squirrel or Niligiri langur.
The spellbinding winding roads of Munnar take you through incredible tea and pine plantations to the base camp – where the true adventure begins. Although the hike alone takes only a few hours to complete, it is by no means a simple one. The hilly terrain takes you on a rollercoaster ride throughout the voyage, with continuous ascents and descents through the grasslands.
The Meesapulimala peak stands at 2,640 meters above sea level and is the second-highest peak in Kerala. The cloudy vistas and postcard-perfect scenic views make this location one of the most famous hiking trails in India enjoyed by thousands of travelers.
Useful information about hiking in India: