How To Choose Your First Himalayan Trek

C hoosing your first Himalayan trek is not easy. On the Indiahikes website, there are over 25 treks to choose from. If I were thinking of my first trek, for sure I would be bamboozled. By the end of this article, I’ll help you narrow down your choices to just two or three if you are a beginner.

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Deoriatal Chandrashila is a great trek for first-timers. Picture By: Subhashis Pal

You can’t think of doing a Himalayan trek without getting ready for it. If I was starting out on my fourth or fifth trek, I would still need to prepare.

Don’t choose a trek because it is “easy” or “moderate” on the Indiahikes website. Most of the treks on our website are doable by a fit person, whatever be the grading. Having said that, all treks need physical preparation, even those labelled “easy.”

So how do you choose your first trek?

Consider these points.

When do you want to go?

First, choose the time of the year. There are six great seasons to trek in India. Of these, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter are the most popular, which is somewhat sad. Trekking in early winter can be very rewarding (October and November). The air is crisp, the views are razor sharp. The colours of earth, mountains and sky, bewitching.

Hampta-Pass-Indiahikes-Sourasis-Das-Twilight-at-Jwara-in-July
One of the best treks to do in the months of June-August : Hampta Pass. Picture By: Sourasis Das

What do you want to see?

Next, look for the variety that you want out of a trek. Some love to see big mountains, others like grasslands, some want a thrilling adventure. Snow, for example, is a big draw. So are alpine lakes. You must look to see if a trek can pack in as much variety as possible.

Only a few treks can do that, and frankly, they are the rockstars. That way, most of Indiahikes’ treks are loaded with variety. That makes things easy. Choosing boils down to the season you want to trek in.

Tarsar Marsar-Indiahikes-Sudheer Hegde-grasslands of Aru-1
The mesmerizing views on the Tarsar Marsar Lake Trek. Best Time – July-Sep. Picture By: Sudheer Hegde

How many days do you have?

Duration of a trek also matters. Most Himalayan treks are a week long, which usually works best for most trekkers. Longer treks require more preparation, so I am not getting into them.

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Standing above the clouds at Bhrigu Lake Trek. Best Time – June. Picture By: Sandeep CS

Here is my definite list of first-time treks for beginners

I have left out many which you must not try as your first trek. Either they are hard or the variety is less. I have put them down in a calendar manner so that it is easy for you to pick them. They are usually a week long.

Note: All treks that I have listed here will have good dollops of snow from the last week of December until June. So don’t worry too much if Delhi is at 45º. You will still get snow.

January: Sandakphu, Dayara Bugyal or Brahmatal
February: Sandakphu or Brahmatal
March: Dayara Bugyal early March onwards. From mid March, Kuari Pass, Deoriatal Chandrashila or Har-Ki-Dun are superb.
April: Dayara BugyalDeoriatal ChandrashilaKuari Pass or Goechala. Prepare more for Goechala, it is harder than most treks.
May: First half, Har-Ki-Dun or Goechala. Second half. Roopkund and Goechala are splendid.
June: Roopkund, Buran Ghati, Hampta Pass are at their best.
July: Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar, Valley of Flowers, Hampta Pass. Kashmir must not be missed.
August: Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar, Valley of Flowers, Hampta Pass
September: First half, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar. Second half: Roopkund, Rupin Pass.
October: Roopkund, Goechala. The colours are brilliant.
November: Kuari Pass, Sandakphu. Between the two, Kuari Pass is not to be missed.
December: First half: Kuari Pass, Sandakphu. Second half: Kedarkantha, Deoriatal, Brahmatal and Dayara Bugyal.


What you should do now

1. If you need more help in choosing a trek: Head over to our upcoming treks page. You’ll find help in choosing a Himalayan trek in a specific season.

2. If you want to work with us: Head over to our careers page. We have lots of positions open. We also have lots of applications coming in. So the sooner you apply, the better.

3. If you want to see the 13 best treks of India: Then get our free guide here.

Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indiahikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India. He has written extensively for Discover India magazine and is a TedX speaker. Read Arjun's other articles. Watch Arjun's TedX talk. Watch Arjun speak about our trekking trails. Learn from Arjun about what it's like to work at Indiahikes.

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