Knee-deep snow, white glints in the sun, frozen lakes, icy fog on the trees. Everything about winter is breathtaking.
It’s also time to shove a giant snowball into your best friend’s back.
Now that you know all about winter, it’s time to start planning your winter hikes for the upcoming season. The mountains arouse all nature lovers with their beauty and are even more beautiful in the dead of winter.
You know you want to go, but you don’t know where to go hiking this winter?
1. TRIUND TREK, HIMACHAL PRADESH
The Triund Trek is perfect for a weekend in the Himalayas. Summer is usually the busiest month here. October to December is the best time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy stargazing. It can be completed in 4-6 hours, but a camp for the night to take in the views of the Kangra Valley and the Dhauladhar Mountains. The road is short but steep. At times, easy, flat trails through rhododendron, pine, and coniferous forests can take your breath away. The highlight of the trek is the Himachal sky and the beautiful sunset that colours the starry sky. It is an easy trek and can be completed in two days. The highest point is 2827m and the starting point is Dharamkot.
2. MARKHA VALLEY TREK, LADAKH
Markha Valley Expedition is one of the most famous summer hikes in Ladakh due to its proximity to Leh. But if you’re here for a quiet getaway and the chance to see the elusive snow leopard, choose a winter hike from January to February. Pass by the Indus River, Buddhist monasteries, mountain villages, willow-lined Jingchen Valley, and Hemis National Park. During the trek to the highest point of the trek in Markha, you will see fascinating geological creations and large boulders before descending to the camp at Thachungtse. There you can see herds of blue sheep climbing steep cliffs with great agility. It is a difficult trek and can be completed in 6-9 days. The highest point is 4150m and the starting point is Leh.
3. DODITAL TREK, UTTARAKHAND
Dodital is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ganesha and is named after the dodi (Himalaya trout) found in this lake. The trekking area is said to be beautiful all year round, but it’s even more beautiful in winter (October to March) when it’s covered in snow. Dodital is in Garhwal Himalayas. Bandarpoonch and Swargalohini ranges on one side, and Dalwa Ranges on the other. On day 4, climb from Dodital to Darwa Pass (4,150 m) to enjoy views of these peaks. On the descent, relax with a swim in the natural pool or have dinner by the campfire. It is a moderate trek and can be completed in six days. The highest point is 3900m and the starting point is Kuflon basic village, Uttarkashi.
4. KUARI PASS TREK, UTTARAKHAND
Kuari Pass offers the most breathtaking views of the Himalayas. From Trishur in the east, moving south it extends to the summits of Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Kamet, Nanda Devi, and Dronagiri. This pass is available for 10 months of the year (except July and August) and is ideal for winter hiking. The rest of the Himalayas are buried in snow, making it one of the few passes accessible at this time of year. On day 7, enjoy a panorama of snow-capped mountains before heading to Auli, a campsite in Little Switzerland, India. It is a moderate trek and can be completed in six-nine days. The highest point is 3395m and the starting point is Rishikesh.
5. Dayara Bugyal Trek, Uttarakhand
This hike offers views of snow-covered meadows as far as the eye can see. Hiking is available for eight months of the year (except during the monsoon season), but Dayara Bugyal is a must-see during winter due to its vast meadows. Riding an open track is no easy task. Walking through the forest and thick snow is tough. The climb may be breathtaking, but so is the view. At 12,000 feet you can see Mount Bandarpoonch and Black Peak at 21,000 feet, Srikanth, Draupadi Ka Danda, and Jaungli. It’s a sight to see. It is an easy trek and can be completed in four-eight days. The highest point is 3606m and the starting point is Raithal.
6. Kedarkantha Trek, Uttarakhand
Kedarkantha is a 6 day trek through Govind Pashu Vihar National Park from Uttarakhand. Kedarkantha is a mountain in itself, so there are multiple routes to reach the summit, each with its own way. You can choose a popular route or a quiet route. The hike is accessible year-round, but if you want a challenge, go in the winter months of December and January. In the cold, the climb is difficult and steep, but equally rewarding. The summit is directly visible from base camp, climbing through snow-covered meadows and forests to reveal the Himalayas. As well as some of the most dramatic sunsets, the trek will also give you a taste of the local culture and food as you will spend your first and last nights in a homestay in Gaichwanggaon. It is an easy to moderate trek and can be completed in six days. The highest point is 3810m and the starting point is Gaichawan gaon(10 hours from Dehradun).
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