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15 Best High Altitude Treks in India

 

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    • India has the perfect landscapes and destinations to support high altitude trekking. The mighty Himalayan slopes hide a number of trails that offer beautiful sight seeing opportunities to trekking enthusiasts. For those interested in unravelling the secrets of the land by personally exploring them, trekking is more than just an activity.

      The best way to understand the land and unravel its secrets, it gives you the opportunity to closely understand the locals of any destination and learn more about their lifestyles, customs and traditions. In India, the revelations that are stumbled upon during these trekking expeditions are innumerable and intriguing, which is why high altitude trekking in India is so popular.

      The mighty Himalayas, the beautiful regions of Leh, rendezvous Ladakh and Uttarakhand are some of the most popular destinations for trekking in India. The Himalayas have fascinated trekkers and mountaineers from all over the world since centuries and innumerable people have attempted to scale the majestic peaks of the Himalayan mountain range from time to time. The Mount Everest and the Mount Kanchenjunga are the jewels of the Eastern Himalayan range and occupy the top most position in any trekker’s wish list. Earlier Darjeeling was the base for most trekking expeditions in the Eastern Himalayas.

      Tenzing Norgay, the first person to scale the Mount Everest, started an institute for training trekkers and mountaineers. The institute called the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has trained several professional mountaineers and trekkers over the years. Much later Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh opened up several trekking routes to the Himalayas, attracting more and more tourists and trekkers from all over the world. Today, there are several routes to approach some of the best trekking destinations in India.

      Trekking in India is more than just an experience. The wonderful feeling of being surrounded by majestic mountains, setting your feet on some of the most inaccessible places in the world, discovering the secrets hidden in the snowy slopes of some of the most formidable mountains is not just an expedition.

      It is a memory that you will cherish all your life. And it is for this reason that trekkers continue to troop into the most difficult trekking destinations in the country. Harsh climatic conditions and atmospheric changes haven’t been able to deter the most passionate trekker from venturing into these regions.

      Here are some of the best high altitude treks of India:

    • Trekking in Himalaya

    • 01Kinner Kailash Circuit Trek

      Situated in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur is a picturesque district which is still untouched by the evils of mass tourism. Pristine and serene, Kinnaur is surrounded by the Spiti Valley in the north, the Garhwal Himalayas in the south, Tibet on the east and Kullu on the west.

      Besides nature loves, Kinnaur Kailash circuit also attracts a large number of trekkers from all over the country and the world due to the excellent terrain it offers for trekking expeditions. Kinnaur also shows a great deal of Buddhist influence due to its proximity to Tibet and is often frequented by those who are interested in studying the Buddhist culture and heritage.

       

      Image Credits : Amrita Bhattacharyya - flickr


      Kinnaur can be reached through the Indo-Tibet road which passes through the Kinnaur Valley. The trek offers one of the most interesting and memorable experiences that one can have while trekking in India. During the first half of the journey you will find a standard trekking path, while the remaining half will require you to manoeuvre boulders.

      The trek begins from Thangi and moves to Lambar and then to Charang.  You can explore the Charang temple and move on to Surting. The journey moves on ahead and you will need to cross icy streams and do some rock climbing to reach your destination.

      The overall experience will leave you wanting for more. The Kinner Kailash Circuit trek is truly amazing as it not only tests your trekking skills but also opens up a vista of unimaginable natural beauty. Kinnaur is home to three of the world’s most majestic mountain ranges i.e. the Zanskar, the Greater Himalaya and the Dhauladhar ranges.

      In addition, the Kinnaur Kailash Parbat, is considered to be of much religious importance to Hindu as it resembles a Shiva Lingam. It is believed to be one of the mythological abodes of Lord Shiva. Due to its religious significance, this circuit attracts pilgrims and devotees from all over the country and the world. The circumambulation of this sacred mountain is considered to be very auspicious and the trek begins at Kalpa via Triung valley and back to Kalpa via Sangla valley.

      Best Season: May- September 
      Difficulty Level: Difficult
      Max. Elevation: 5242 m
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    • 02Pin Parvati Valley Trek

      Image Credit : Ballista - wikicommons

      The Pin Parvati Pass is situated in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh. It connects the Parvati Valley in Kullu to the Pin Valley in Spiti. Remarkably, the landscapes on either sides of the pass are in stark contrast to each other. While the Kullu side showcases a lush green and verdant landscape, the Pin side is mostly barren and devoid of vegetation. The two sides are quite different from each other even in terms of culture. While the Kullu side is predominantly Hindu, the Pin side has followers of Buddhism.

      The Pin Parvati valley is a popular trekking destination. However, the place is still untouched by the evils of mass tourism and presents a clean and pristine picture to its visitors.  It is believed to be one of the most beautiful places that trekkers can visit while trekking in India.

      The trek to the Pin Parvati valley begins at Manikaran, moves along the Parvati River and ends at the Pin Parvati Valley, which has an altitude of 4900 m. The Pin Parvati Valley is also known as the ‘Valley of Gods’ and is located between the Dhauladhar range and the Pir Panjal range.

      The journey to this beautiful valley commences at Manali from where the route will take you through lush green alpine forests, lakes, clumps of wild flowers, majestic mountain peaks, etc. On your way to the valley, you will cross the Mantalai Lake, which is a very important Hindu pilgrimage centre. The Pin Parvati peak has an elevation of 5319 metres, which offers a fantastic view of the nearby peaks namely, the Parvati South, the Parvati North, the Pinnacle and Kullu Eiger.

      This wonderful journey will end at the sleepy little hamlet of Sagnum. From here you can take a jeep safari into the Spiti valley, where you can explore places of Buddhist importance and also visit some interesting villages before heading back.

      This trekking expedition is one of the most interesting experiences of high altitude trekking in India. This trekking trail is often mentioned as one of the toughest trekking trails in India, but it is definitely worth the effort.

      Best Season: May- September 
      Difficulty Level: Difficult
      Max. Elevation: 4900 m


      Pin Parvati Trek 2016, Himachal Pradesh

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    • 03Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers Trek

      Image Credit :  Alosh Bennett

      Just as the name suggests, the place is heaven on earth. It may be difficult to believe, but the Valley of Flowers seems too surreal to believe. The Valley of Flowers is in full bloom in the months from June to October and appears as a carpet of myriad colours.

      The Valley of Flowers is the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and has been now declared as a World Heritage Site. The entire landscape springs into full bloom right after the monsoon rains. The Valley of Flowers attracts a number of tourists, botanists, florists and trekkers all throughout the year.

      The Valley of Flowers is open to the public only during the summers. It is an excellent place for trekking and can be reached on foot by trekking 17 km from the nearest town of Joshimath in Garhwal. You will have to trek about 14 km from Govindghat, which is situated near Rishikesh, to reach Ghangaria. Ghangaria is the last settlement on your way to the Valley of Flowers. You reach the gorge over the River Pushpavati where the valley starts. There are fixed timings for entry into the valley and camping is prohibited there. You will have to return to Ghangaria the same day.

      Image Credits : Roy Prasad - flickr


      The beautiful valley is situated at an elevation of 3650 m and is delightful to look at. The best time to visit the Valley of Flowers is mid-July to mid-August. The trek to the Valley of Flowers is very easy and can be undertaken by people who have limited or no experience of trekking.

      The Valley of Flowers has a very pleasant climate during the day time with the temperatures hovering between 15 to 20 degrees. However, it gets pretty cold during the night time and you may want to dress in layers to protect yourself from the cold. The treks are always led by professional guide trekkers who have completed the basic and advance mountaineering course and are certified in first-aid.

      Best Season: May - October
      Difficulty Level: Medium
      Max. Elevation: 4329 m
      More Details: Guide to Valley of Flowers Trek
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    • 04Khatling Glacier Trek

      The Khatling Glacier is the source of the rivers Bhilangana, Sahasratal and Masartal. The Garhwal region of Uttarakhand has a number of trekking trails which attract trekkers from all over the country and world. The best part about these trekking trails is that they are still untouched by the evils of mass tourism and are ideal to visit if you wish for a quiet and peaceful trekking experience.

      The trek to the Khatling Glacier begins at the Ghutu village and takes you through a beautiful route laced with alpine trees, lush green meadows, beautiful forests etc. You will also come across some interesting Hindu temples before you reach the Khatling cave.

      From the Khatling cave, you will have to walk to the Khatling Glacier which allows you to have a spectacular view of the surroundings. This place is perfect for camping and will make you want to stay a few days here. Moving on ahead, you will reach Chowki, which also offers some splendid scenic beauty. On ascending a few feet more, you will reach the Masartal which allows you a breathtaking view of mountains such as the Jaonli, Thalay Sagar, Bharte Khunta and Kirti Stambh.

      The peaceful atmosphere and serenity of the region make the trekking experience simply wonderful. A trekking experience in the Garhwal region is something you can never forget. The Garhwal region has some of the best trekking trails in India which make it a favourite haunt of trekkers from all over the world. Besides the natural beauty, you also get to learn more about the lives, cultures and traditions of this region which is held in high regard due to its religious significance.

      Best Season: May - October
      Difficulty Level: Medium
      Max. Elevation: 4200 m

    • 05Roopkund Lake Trek

      Image Credit : Djds4rce - wikicommons

      The Roopkund Lake is situated high up in the Garhwal Mountains in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This lake is of much historical and religious importance. It was also called the Mystery or Skeletal Lake after a large number of human skeletons were found in it in 1942 by a Forest Officer.

      Following this discovery, a number of scientists visited the lake to find out the reason for the skeletons being there and it was eventually concluded that the skeletons belonged to some pilgrims who were caught unawares in a flash hailstorm.

      Due to the huge chunks of ice that came with the hailstorm, the pilgrims died due to injuries to their skulls. This story was aired in national and international media and since them the Roopkund Lake has become a popular tourist destination.

      Image Credits : T Sundup - flickr


      The trek to Roopkund Lake showcases the best of Himalayan beauty. The trek begins at Lohajung, which is situated at an elevation of 3200 metres and goes on for five days till you reach the lake, which is at an altitude of 5000 metres. The first couple of days will take you through beautiful villages, forests, rivers and Bugyals.

      The air will get thinner and thinner as you ascend and gain altitude. So it is very important that you are in the best of health and fitness when you set out for this trek. Higher energy levels will allow you to adjust better with the changing environment and enjoy the views offered by the region. Your team leader will also offer you tips on how to cope with the changing levels of the atmosphere.

      The trekking trail followed during the Roopkund trek coincides with that of the Raj Jay Yatra pilgrimage route. This is conducted during a festival dedicated to goddess Nanda Devi and the residents of nearby village participate in this festival dressed in their traditional attire.

      Best Season: August - October
      Difficulty Level: Difficult
      Max. Elevation: 5020 m
      More Details: Guide to Roopkund Trek
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    • 06 The Kuari Pass Trek

      It was Lord Curzon’s initiative which led to the discovery of the trekking trail to Kuari Pass. The Kuari peak stands at an altitude of 4,264 metres and can be reached through a trekking trail that starts from Joshimath. The region has some of the grandest mountains of the Himalayan range namely, the Kamet (7756 m), the Chaukhamba (7128 m), the Trishul (7120 m), the Nanda Devi (7817 m) and the Nanda Devi East (7434 m).

      The Kuari Pass trek gives you the wonderful opportunity to enjoy breath-taking views of these mountains. This trekking trail is comparatively quite easy as compared to other trails for high altitude trekking in India.

      The trek begins at Joshimath in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The Chamoli district is of great religious importance for Hindus in the country due to the Panch Prayag which is formed by the confluences of the Rivers Nandakini, Pinder, Kaliganga, Dhauli Ganga and Birehiganga.

      Image Credits : Idranx - flickr


      The trail will take you through quaint little Himalayan villages which offer magnificent views of the Himalayas and a sneak peek into the life of the locals. During these walks, you can get to know more about the culture and traditions of the people here. The path is lined with trees in a beautiful hue of yellow and orange under a clear blue sky with cotton candy clouds forming interesting shapes.

      The snow-capped mountain peaks stay by your side all along amazing you with their majestic and intimidating sizes. You will also pass through oak and deodar forests during this trek, which is pure delight to the senses. These jungles are rich in flora and fauna and you can spot fiery red flowers on rhododendrons.

      You also get to walk through Himalayan meadows called Bugyals which offer the best view of the Himalayan beauty. The best of the Bugyals is the Gorson Bugyal. You will visit Auli, which is best known for its winter skiing slopes. Your trekking trail will take you to the Vinayak Pass and the Tali peak, from where you can get a panoramic view of the valley below. On reaching the highest point of the trek i.e. the Kuari peak which stands at an elevation of 13, 990 feet, you are rewarded with a mesmerising view of the majestic peaks of the Himalayas.

      Best Season: December - January
      Difficulty Level: Moderate
      Max. Elevation: 4,264 m

      Kuari Pass Trek 2016, Uttarakhand

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    • 07Milam Glacier Trek of the Kumaon

      The Milam Glacier is one of the major glaciers in the Kumaon region. It is situated in Munsiyari of Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. The elevation of the glacier ranges from 5500 metres to 3870 metres and is located at a distance of 15 km from Nanda Devi. The glacier was closed for trekking in 1962, but was reopened in 1994.

      The best time to visit the Milam glacier is before the monsoons i.e. from mid-March to May. The monsoons set in June, which triggers landslides and roadblocks, making the area dangerous for any expedition.

      The trekking trail to the Milam glacier starts at Munsiyari. You can enjoy breathtaking views of the Kumaon region and pass through places such as Nanda Devi East Base, Gauri Ganga Lilam, Martoli, Railkot, etc. on your way to the glacier. The glacier originates from the eastern slope of Trishuli and the southern slope of Kohli. The village of Milam is situated near the snout of the glacier. The trek to the Milam glacier is one of the best trails for trekking in India.

      The Milam glacier has an altitude of 4268 metres and is surrounded by 52 peaks. The Milam glacier serves as an axial point for high altitude treks in India. The entire distance is covered by walking along the banks of the River Gori Ganga. You will pass through dense forests with blooming rhododendrons, chestnut trees, lush green conifers etc.

      The trekking trail takes you past the Nanda Devi and Hardeol peaks. You will also come across the Ragash Kund, a shepherd shelter and a pond. The trek is a slightly difficult and will test your physical fitness and strength as you gain altitude. The best part of the journey is that you get to view the best of Himalayan beauty amidst majestic mountains and gurgling waters.

      Best Season: May - September
      Difficulty Level: Moderate
      Max. Elevation: 4268 m
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    • 08 Pindari Glacier Trek

      The Pindari Glacier trek is a relatively easy trekking trail. The Pindari glacier is situated between the Nanda Kot and Nanda Devi peaks and is a major destination for tourists and high altitude trekking in India. The pristine white glacier measures 3.2 km in length and 1.5 km in width and has gigantic mountains in its background.

      The Pindari glacier trek is a must-do activity for all those who wish to experience nature very closely without compromising on peace and tranquility. The journey to the Pindari glacier begins at Nainital and goes on to Lahorekhet. Usually, night camps are set up and the evening is spent in these camps. On your way to the Pindari glacier, you will also come across Dhakuri, which is a place of great scenic splendour.

      On moving ahead from Dhakuri, you come to the Khati village, which is the largest village in the region. Situated on the banks of the River Pinder, the village serves as a perfect spot for a night halt. From Khati you will need to trek another 11 kms to reach Dwali. Dwali has beautiful surroundings to offer and you can relish the beauty of the place as you trek on ahead to Phurkia, situated about 6 kms away.

      Pindari glacier is situated at a distance of about 17 kms from Dwali. The vista opens into a beautiful view as you reach the Pindari glacier. Your efforts are paid off with the panoramic view of the surroundings that the Pindari Glacier offers you.

      Best Season: March - October
      Difficulty Level: Moderate
      Max. Elevation: 3627 m
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    • 09Kafni Glacier Trek

      The Kafni glacier is located in the upper reaches of the Kumaon Himalayas and is the source of the River Kafni. It is situated on the southeast of the Nanda Devi and in the Bageshwar district of the Uttarakhand. The trekking trail passes through places such as Bharadi, Loharkhet, Dhakuri Pass, Dwali and Khatiya. The beauty and tranquility of the glacier is incomparable and hordes of tourists flock to this destination in search of a peaceful trekking experience.

      The Kafni trek is more or less similar to the Pindari trek and is quite easy. The peak of the Nanda Kot Mountain towers over the Kafni glacier making it look even more beautiful. The trekking experience is enthralling.

      Due to the ease of access, the trekking experience can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who have limited or no experience of trekking. However, it is important that you maintain good health while undertaking this expedition. Do take care of safety aspects and follow the instructions shared carefully.

      Best Season: June - September
      Difficulty Level: Moderate
      Max. Elevation: 3853 m
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    • Trekking in Ladakh

    • 10 Markha Valley Trek

      Image Credit :  kev's album

      The Markha Valley Trekking is one of the most popular routes for amateurs seeking a taste of the more challenging of treks and the seasoned trekker. It is a twelve day trek and will take you around the valley of Markha along with Markha and the Indus River.

      Properly done, it is a twelve day trek with different stages. One can start at Leh after spending a few days of acclimatization there. The trek is a circuitous route with the highlight being the sections along the Markha and the Indus River. Markha Valley trek also gives you the opportunity to interact with the local Tibetan culture. The route taken is usually in the counter clock direction from Leh to Spituk (the first leg), crossing the Indus and then on to Yurutse.

      From Yurutse to Ganda La would be straight climb on to 4700m, but it is quite an experience. From Ganda La the route will again descend down to take you along the river bank till you reach Skiu. The journey takes you through an interesting route where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the region and also come across Buddhist monasteries and learn more about the culture and traditions of the region.

      Best Season: June - October
      Difficulty Level: Difficult
      Max. Elevation: 5050 m

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    • 11Chadar Trek

      Image Credit : Partha Chowdhury - flickr

      The beautiful Ladakh district is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. With snowy mountain peaks and picturesque landscape, Ladakh attracts innumerable tourists from all over the country and world. It is also a popular trekking destination. During the winter season, from November to March, the mountain passes get blocked due to snowfall. This cuts off access to several villages in the region.

      One of the few ways to reach these snowbound villages is by trekking over frozen rivers. The Chadar trek, Leh is one such experience. Trekking along the Zanskar River, which offers a frozen path, takes you through such villages. This route has served as a trade and transportation route for several years now. Today, it is a popular trekking destination and attracts trekking enthusiasts from all over the world.

      Image Credits : Pradeep Kumbhashi - flickr


      The Zanskaar River is big and fast-flowing during the summers and lies frozen, all its energies harnessed, during the winters. The Chadar trek is definitely exciting but perilous too, the temperatures remain 15 to 20 degrees during the daytime and between 25 to 30 degrees at night. The trek will require you to walk on a sheet of ice, hence the name ‘Chadar’. On your way you will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of glistening ice peaks and sparkling icicles.

      During the trek, you will have to be very careful. You may have to walk on very thin strips of ice, bounded by canyon walls on one side and swift flowing icy water on the other side. One mistake and you may be washed below the ice. So it is very important that you take care of yourself.

      The trek usually lasts for a week and you will have to sleep in nearby caves during the night hours. The Chadar trek is unique and adventurous. It is perfect for those who love a little peril with their adventure. The beautiful snow covered landscape of Ladakh and the chilly and slippery chadar of snow beneath your feet as your trek over the frozen Zanskaar River will be an experience that you will never forget in your life.

      Best Season: January - February
      Difficulty Level: Difficult
      Max. Elevation: 3390 m
      More Details: A Complete Guide to Chadar Trek
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    • 12Stok Kangri Trek

      Stok Kangri, Ladakh is one of the most popular places for high altitude trekking in India. Although the beauty of Ladakh draws in innumerable tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world, the Stok Kangri trek isn’t really suited for anyone and everyone.

      It is advisable that only experienced trekkers set out on this expedition as the climatic and geographical conditions of the place may not suit novice or amateur trekkers. Nonetheless, Stok Kangri is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. It is for this reason that the Stok Kangri trek forms an inevitable experience while trekking in India.

      The trek usually lasts for a maximum of ten days. The trek begins from Leh, which is noted for its natural beauty and warm and hospitable people. During the first couple of days of the trek, you can move around Leh, go sightseeing and get acclimatized to the weather of the region. These couple of days will prepare you for the trek ahead. You will next be taken to Chang Ma via Stok Village by road.

      The journey from Leh to Stok Village takes you through a route of immense natural beauty. You can see the lush greenery, glistening snow peaks and scenic splendour of the region in this stretch. On reaching Chang Ma, you reach a snow covered region, and begin trekking. You will need to climb on for about three hours. From here you will head on to Manokorma, which is at an elevation of 14200 feet.

      Image Credits : Leslie H - summitpost.org


      During the trek, you will be able to view some very beautiful peaks such as the Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. The base camp of the trek is at an elevation of 16, 300 feet. From here, the journey continues till you reach the Stok Kangri. The view from the Stok Kangri is simply amazing. This rewarding feeling is what draws trekkers from all over the world to high altitude trekking in India. The trek back to Leh is a bit arduous and you may need to be careful while climbing down the mountainous terrain.

      Best Season: June - October
      Difficulty Level: Medium
      Max. Elevation: 5000 m
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    • 13Padum-Darchha Trek

      The Padam Darchcha Valley trek is an exhilarating experience. The trek involves a long trek from Darcha which is situated in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh to Padam, located in the mystical land of Zansak. Besides the thrill and excitement of trekking in the snowy slopes of the Himalayas, the trekking trail allows you to enjoy the beauty of the initial trail from Manali to Leh.

      You can visit interesting Hindu temples in Manali which speak volumes about the history, culture and traditions of the region. This trek is a beautiful combination of adventure and sight-seeing and hence can be called one of the most exciting experiences of trekking in India.

      The trek begins at Chalang Tokpa, from where you will move on to Ramjak and Chumikanakpo. The trek from Ramjak to Chumikanakpo will give you a fabulous trekking experience by testing your strength and skills. From here you will move on to Lakong and pass through Kurgiak and Purne before reaching Padam, Leh. The most interesting change that you will notice on reaching the destination is the transformation of the landscape.

      Best Season: June - September
      Difficulty Level: Moderate
      Max. Elevation: 5080 m
      More Details: Guide to Padum Darcha Trek
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    • 14Goecha La Trek

      Goecha La is a high mountain pass in the Himalayan range. The trek starts at the sleepy little town of Yuksom in West Sikkim. The town is very pretty with lush green surroundings and a salubrious weather to go with it. You can shop for all supplies at Yuksom before beginning the trek as this is the only place where you will get to buy all your necessary items.

      Furthermore, before trekking the Goecha La, you will have to do two things, first make an entry at the local police station and second pay the permit fees at the forest check post. Usually the agencies take care of all these hassles and you will not have to bother about them.

      Image Credits : Francis Bacon - flickr


      The first phase of the trek to Goecha La will take you from Yuksom to Sachen. Yuksom is situated at an altitude of 5,700 feet and Sachen is situated at an elevation of 7, 200 feet. The trekking trail passes through a route of immense natural beauty. You will come across lush green fields, valley of the Rathong River and thick forests. From Sachen you will need to climb ahead to Tshoka which is at an altitude of 9,650 feet.

      This trek is quite enjoyable in the initial phase but becomes tryingly steep towards the later phase. On reaching Bakhim, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Yuksom valley. As you trek on ahead, you pass through Dzongri and Phedang. You will also be able to enjoy the beauty of some of the densest rhododendron forests in India and get a breathtaking view of the highest mountains in the Himalayan range. You will pass through the beautiful Samiti Lake which will mesmerise you with its sparkling blue waters.

      The entire journey from Yuksom to Goecha La is a treat to the eyes. Despite being a test of physical stamina, the route is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful routes that you can come across while trekking in the Himalayas.

      Best Season: September- November & March-April
      Difficulty Level: Moderate to Challenging
      Max. Elevation: 5002 m
      Best Offers on Goecha La Trek

      Goechala Trek, Sikkim, 2016

      Goechala Trek, Sikkim, 2016

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      O14,200

      Starting from

      O14,200