Covering much of the heart of the northwest Indian Himalaya, Himachal Pradesh has been the favourite playground for outdoor enthusiasts for centuries. Hunting was the preferred pastime before mountaineering became fashionable in the late 19th century. Over the last 50 years the popularity of the central Kullu – Manali valley has grown exponentially as domestic Indian tourists begin to discover the wonders in their own backyard.
However, despite the annual summer invasion of tourists, there are remote corners to Himachal Pradesh that only the intrepid and determined will ever get to admire. Rather than describe the dozens (Himachal Tourism proudly boasts more than 270 walking trails) of trails in the pahar and mid-Himalaya ranges, we have set out to try and find challenging routes that are hassle free and allow you to immerse yourself in Himalayan grandeur. Due to the difficulty and commitment level required for these treks we know they will remain relatively untouched, and if you are considering them please ensure you are have the necessary skills and experience – the last thing Indian adventure tourism needs is more bureaucracy because of accidents!
The district of Kinnaur borders Uttarakhand to the east and is famous for the Kinnaur – Kailash Circuit, a moderate 4-day trek from Lambar to Chitkul around Jorkanden Peak (covered in many guide books and a popular commercial route but requires an Inner Line Permit). Extending across the northern border of the State with Jammu and Kashmir, the districts of Lahaul and Spiti, offer some excellent trekking, although permits can be a problem here as well. The heart of Himachal is Kullu (including the Manali valley) where there are many short and easy to moderate trekking routes. The relatively remote district of Chamba forms the northwest State border also with Jammu and Kashmir and offers much for the adventurous spirit!
The Himachal Pradesh State Government through their Tourism Development Corporation have an extensive network of accommodation and transport services that are both competitive and offer access to areas that otherwise might be tricky (www.hptdc.in and www.himachal.nic.in). Private transport throughout Himachal is notoriously expensive during peak season, so try to time any visit before the domestic tourists arrive in-force by mid-June.
Descending from Pin-Parvati Pass in to the Mantalai Valley
Treks in Himachal Pradesh
- Bhaba Pass
- Pin-Parvati Pass
- Urgin La
- Kang La
Camp on south side of Bhaba Pass
- To help make you research treks I have put extensive trail information on these pages but please remember that conditions and trails often change.
- If you would like to add content and/or recommendations please email me thru the site and please add any independent references.
- Place names in India can be confusing as some are used as regional or district identifiers and other places may have two or three different names. I have used local names as much as possible but please don’t be surprised if you hear alternatives.
- Always consider the safety of your crew equally to that of yourself, protect and look after them and they’ll do the same for you.
- Weather constantly changes conditions in the field. If the trail is badly affected by landslides, deep snow, washouts, etc you may have to turn back.
- It is illegal to possess a satellite phone in India. This makes communication extremely difficult and you may want to reduce the level of difficulty of a trek to reduce your overall risk exposure.
- Herder’s Huts or Dharamsalas are made of stone and have a roof. Herder’s Shelters do not have a roof and normally only one wall, which acts as a windbreak.
Good to Know
For most areas there are no permits required, however, anywhere near the Chinese or Pakistan borders require Inner Line Permits
Hindi, some people speak a little English or Tibetan (Ladakh and Zanskar)
India Rupee (1US$ = IRs70)
Shilla (7,025m), Ryo Purgyil (6,816m)
GHT India Trekking Destinations
There are some excellent main trail treks as well as some amazing exploratory routes to discover!