When looking for a hike in India, you will find that there is no dearth of options. The diversity and the number of mountains to choose from makes it difficult to pick out one or two or three for your vacation. There are numerous options for treks in India, ranging from easy walks to strenuous mountain ascents. Some of the most popular places for hiking in India are described below.
1. The Western Ghats
The Western Ghats is a topographically unique mountain range that runs parallel to India’s western coast for about 1600 km from Gujarat in the north to Kerala in the south. The mountains are older than the Himalayas.
A very popular trekking place in this area is Silent Valley, National Park. This place is known to never have been inhabited by people. Naturally, the Indian government is trying to protect this area, and therefore it is only possible to enter this park with a guide. You are not allowed to stay overnight so only day hikes are organized here. In the Silent Valley National Park you will find a wide variety of ((medicinal) herbs and plants, and if you’re lucky you could run into elephants, tigers, and other Indian wildlife.
2. The Himalayas
The section of the Himalayan range that runs through India, Nepal, and Bhutan is one of the most popular hiking destinations in South Asia. This region’s scenery changes dramatically according to altitude, ranging from tropical jungle at lower levels to rugged snow-capped mountains in the highlands.
Great Himalayan National Park
This national park, located around Manali, is the best hiking destination in India. It includes various mountains and glaciers. Natural hot springs are another attraction of this place. The trails are well marked with signboards, making it easy to find your way.
This trek gives you the opportunity to spot wild animals like Himalayan tahr, musk deer leopard, etc. Doing a 5-day hike is especially popular in this area, because of the chance to spot the elusive snow leopard.
Eastern Himalayan National Park
This national park has some great mountain peaks where you can go hiking. However, this is a remote place, so it’s best to hire local guides for any treks you want to go on. This hike is especially popular because of the opportunity to see the rarest animal in India, the Red Panda.
This region also has an abundance of birds like Lammergeyer and Himalayan Griffon. The local markets are known for selling original Himachali products like cane baskets, shawls etc.
A trek to Rohtang pass is another popular one. The pass itself offers views of the mountains and glaciers while Rohtang lake is a sight to behold. An absolute must for people visiting this place is a visit to Indrahar Pass which has been declared as an International Peace Park having cultural significance by both India and Pakistan. One can also spot many other passes like Bara-lacha la, Chandrataal (the lake of the moon), and Chandrakhani while hiking in the region.
Not only is this one of the most popular trekking routes in India but it also gives you a chance to see some historical sites like Nanda Devi temple, and the region of Roopkund. This region is surrounded by many lakes like Kolahoi glacier lake, Panchtarni, and Sona Rupa.
3. Himachal Pradesh
Kangra Valley National Park
This national park is located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and is a must-see for any nature lover who’s visiting the Kangra district in northern India. It has an area of about 1040 sq km and the highest peak here is the 1,856 m high Dhrukshatri peak, which offers a great view of the entire valley. This park is home to many species of butterflies, birds, and wild animals. The best time to see any wildlife here is during summer when the temperature rises above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
Malana is an isolated mountain village in the state of Himachal Pradesh. To reach there, one needs to walk for 8 hours through the cold Himalayan forests of Parvati Valley, which gives this trek its beauty and charm. Malana also has a unique culture that has long remained isolated from the rest of the world.
Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park, named after the Hindu saint and Indian independence leader Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (popularly known as “Rajaji”), offers a variety of hiking trails for all levels. The park was once inhabited by wild elephants that roamed freely. Today it is home to tigers, leopards, gazelle, deer, wild boar, and monkeys.
Valley of Flowers National Park
Located in Uttarakhand, this is considered one of the best places for hiking in India. Although, again, it’s quite remote so you need to hire guides for any treks here. This park has trails that are not marked by signboards, but the paths are still visible thanks to white stones placed there for hikers to follow. The flowers grow only for about three months so timing is everything.
Renuka Lake is a beautiful lake situated in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, India. This trek was once known for its bandit territory, but the place has now been cleaned and made safe and can be visited any time of the year. The lake is nestled amidst snow-clad mountains and can be accessed from Dharchula or Munsiyari. Dharchula is well connected with motorable roads but you should carry your own supplies as it’s difficult to procure food and water in this area.
This is a small town near Mumbai on the edge of the Sahyadri Mountain range with only 780 residents. A place perfect for treks and outdoor activities. It’s the smallest hill station in India and has a lot to offer with some great views of surrounding areas.
Nane Ghat pass
One trek in this area is through the Nane Ghat pass which offers some scenic views of waterfalls and wildlife, while another one is to Aamby Valley.
Nane Ghat pass is a ridge walk alongside a mountain in the Pachmarhi region of Madhya Pradesh. The trail runs through pines, rock gardens, and grass fields with views of distant peaks. There are several small ponds to cool off in.
If you need more inspiration for hikes around the world, take a look at Bookatrekking.com. Their Trekking Experts can tell you all about hiking internationally and help you prepare for your trip.