Even if we try our best, not everyone is going to become a Tenzing Norgay or an Edmund Hillary and scale Mount Everest. Even so, there is a kid inside everyone who pushes us to take up challenges like trekking. As a beginner in the field of trekking, you would want to put your best foot forward and avoid unnecessary risks. The Himalayas is a popular trekking destination which offers not only easy treks but also scenic views.
Even if you can’t replicate the success of the champs, there is enough fun and excitement in pursuing the activity itself. After all, don’t they say that the journey is more beautiful than the destination itself?
The Himalayas: Stunning and dreamlike
The Himalayas is a 40-million-year-old mountain range stretching over 2 miles, across 5 countries. It boasts some of the highest peaks in the world, most of which exceed 23,600 feet in height; the most famous being Mount Everest. The Himalayas are a trekking paradise, blessed with meadows, alpine passes, and deep gorges. Also its gurgling rivers and rich fauna make for the most picture perfect scenery.
Best treks for a beginner
1. Valley of Flowers Trek
A firm favorite among nature lovers, the Valley of Flowers is at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level. The word “flower” comes from the valley’s impressive flora gracing its meadows. Declared national park in 1982, it shelters more than 520 plant species and rare animals such as the Asiatic black bear, the snow leopard, and the musk deer. The pious Hemkund Lake, which is an important pilgrimage site of the Sikhs and Hindus, also lies near the park.
- Highest Altitude: 3,853 m
- Best Season: May to October
2. Har Ki Dun Trek
Located at the base of Fateh Parvat in the Garhwal Himalayas, the Har Ki Dun trek is just about perfect for first timers. This stunning 11,700-foot-high trek is surrounded by a thick forest cover and gleaming mountains. The name Har Ki Dun translates into ‘Valley of God’. Its highlight is the dense forest covered with walnut, chestnut, chinar and willow trees.
- Highest Altitude: 3,566 m
- Best Season: Mid-April to mid-November
3. Chandrashila Summit Trek
Popular among the trekking community, the Chandrashila Summit Trek in the Himalayas is suitable for beginners because of its short length and its safe environment. During this short adventure, you will encounter the Tungmath Temple, the highest Shiva temple in the world.
- Highest Altitude: 4,000 m
- Best Season: All year round except during snowstorms of December and January
4. Spituk Trek
Famous for its Gompas, this trek stands out for its peek into the life of the Buddhists, their culture and traditions. There are many monasteries to explore, including the iconic Spituk Monastery. Filled with breathtaking landscapes, this trek is easily accessible from Leh.
- Highest Altitude: 4,900 m
- Best Season: Mid June to end-September
5. Sham Trek
Located in the Ladakh region in the Himalayas, it is one of easier trails where beginners can learn every trekking trick. Get close to nature and learn about the local vibrant culture. Everything here, from the Apricot valley to the ancient monasteries, will tug at your heartstrings.
- Highest Altitude: 3,630 m
- Best Season: June to October
6. Sikkim Darjeeling Trek
Natural haven, the Sikkim Darjeeling Trek is breathtaking with its rugged terrains, tea plantations, and the famous Ghoom Monastery. The flora and fauna of the region is rich and a major attraction for enthusiasts. Get intimate with the locals, learn about their lifestyle and even live their life for a couple of hours, if not days!
- Highest Altitude: 4,000 m
7. Yuksom Dzongri Goecha La Trek
The trek starts at Yuksom, takes you to the famous Goecha La pass via Dzongri. The highlight of the trek has to be the stunning views of the Mount Kangchenjunga, Kabru and Kabru Dome.Yuksom, the erstwhile capital of Sikkim, has a deep root in the local history and willing to share it with visitors. Here the trek passes through forests of pines, oak, spruces, rhododendron, maple, and chestnut.
- Highest Altitude: 4,940 m
- Best Season: June to September & October to mid-November
8. Chandratal Trek
Chandra Taal is the main source behind the Chandra River. The name ‘Chandra Taal’ translates into ‘Lake of the Moon’ in English and is a prime hub for trekking fans. The trek passes through two mountain passes, viz. Moulkila and Chandrabhaga, offering a got view of all the scenic beauty.
- Highest Altitude: 4,250 m
- Best Season: June to mid-October
9. Pindari Glacier Trek
This Pindar Valley trek extends from the Nanda Devi to the surrounding summits of the Greater Himalayas at an altitude of 12,000 feet. The trekker will get many panoramic views of imposing peaks like the Panwali Dwarand Maiktoli.
- Highest Altitude: 3,660 m
- Best Season: April to November (except monsoon)
10. Kafni Glacier Trek
The first thing that strikes about this trek is its unrestrained natural beauty. The trek makes its way through moraines, snow-clad mountains, and deep valleys. It runs through the countryside, giving the trekker an amazing travel experience. The Nanda Kot Peak, at 22,500 feet, is visible from the trek and is one of the major attractions among the visitors. The Kafni trek gets its name from the Kafni Glacier, which is main source of the Kafni River.
- Highest Altitude: 4,000 m
- Best Season: May to June & September to November
Pawan Kotiyal is an avid traveller, who likes to trudge to far-flung and lesser-explored destinations in India. He writes here on behalf of Trekking in India, a guide to treks in the Himalayas.