Hiking trails in India will leave you amazed, especially when you have a fun loving group of people to accompany you throughout the trip. India has a diverse and wonderful ecosphere with deserts, alpine forests, rainforests, cloud forests, and tropical beaches. But when it comes to hiking, trekking, and camping, look no further than the Himalayas with its snow-capped mountains ripe for adventure.
Most winter activities take place in the northern reaches of India. The North East and East are popular for hiking and witness a number of explorers, trekkers, and campers every year. Famous places like Himachal, Uttarakhand, Kashmir, and Sikkim are at the top of every adventurer’s list.
But don’t let this discount your views about the rest of the country. There are just as many adventure hot spots elsewhere in India. The Sahyadri mountain range that runs from Maharashtra to the southernmost tip of Kerala is full of little-known wonders.
Few locations that come to mind include the several mountainous forts of Maharashtra that once guarded the proud Maratha Empire, the soul-piercing view of the Nandi Hills in Karnataka on a cool winter morning and the breathtaking Malabar Hills in Kerala.
Check out our pick of the Best Hiking and Trekking spots in India in the list below. All the best ticking them off your list of Adventure getaways in India.
1. Manali, Himachal Pradesh
There is little doubt that Manali is one of the most prominent winter destinations in India. The place is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. But Manali is also a location that is on the tip of the tongue of all would be trekkers and hikers as the nearby mountain ranges are some of the best Hiking destinations in India.
Any trip to this scenic hill town nestled in the Himalayas will leave your phone gallery full with gorgeous photos of the majestic mountains all around.
Beginner Adventures: Deep Forest Trek, Jogni Waterfall Trek
Intermediate Adventures: Solang Valley Trek, Gulam Lang
Difficult Adventures: Patalsu Peak
2. Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
With chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, hundreds of devotees undertake the Kedarnath pilgrimage every year. They are accompanied by droves of adventurers seeking Hiking trails in the Himalayas.
This amazing place was badly damaged by the 2013 cloudburst where most of Kedarnath was flooded. Although there was an extensive loss to infrastructure, Kedarnath has lost little of its natural beauty.
The amazing setting of the Himalayas in the backdrop with beautiful Flora and fauna still leaves explorers amazed. Whether you are on foot or exploring sights and sounds of Kedarnath on horseback, you will be amazed at what this Himalayan paradise has to offer.
Few of the famous peaks on this holy paradise are Ranglana, Banderpooch, and Swargarohini. Hikers are mostly attracted to the Trekking Spots at Kedarnath due to the rare Himalayan animal and plant life abundant near these peaks.
3. Tiger Hills, Darjeeling, West Bengal
Trekkers and hikers are found almost every day from the months of March to June at the Tiger Hills. If you ever happen to be in the Himalayan foothills during these months then ensure that you give Tiger Hills a visit. Sunrise at the Tiger Hills in West Bengal is a sight to behold and a must on every adventurer’s bucket list.
While you are soaking in the sights at Tiger hills, it is highly recommended that you visit the nearby town of Ghoom.
Mesmerizing natural beauty and an abundant biosphere make this picturesque town look as if it popped straight out of a movie. Visiting Ghoom shouldn’t be too difficult as the town is well connected by West Bengal’s extensive rail network.
4. Zanskar Frozen River, Ladakh
Zanskar lake is amongst the most visited locations in the Leh – Ladakh area of Kashmir. The Chadar Peak near Zanskar is an amazing trekking location. Keep in mind that the difficulty of the trek is quite high. This place is named so because of the thick layer of snow that covers the entire area during the peak of winter.
Ladakh is full of amazing trails for would be adventurers. The trails range from easy to extremely difficult. Trekking or hiking through Ladakh during winter is much more of a challenge due to the high altitude and freezing temperatures.
Lying between the towering Himalayas in the east and the Karakoram mountains to the west, in Ladakh, there is no dearth of amazing Hiking destinations.
5. Roopkund, Uttarakhand
For every avid explorer, Roopkund is a must. This unique Himalayan hiking trail is situated in one of the more popular pilgrimage spots in India. Located in the Garhwal Himalayas (Charmoli) district of Uttarakhand (earlier known as Uttaranchal), Roopkund is a large natural lake.
Hiking towards Roopkund is a fascinating experience. The spectacular Rhododendron forests that hug the trail and the lake itself leave most tourists speechless.
If you are a painter seeking inspiration, you will find it in the murmuring forests of Roopkund. If you are a writer seeking inspiration you will find it in the still waters of the lake. However, if you are just another wanderer, seeking solace in the bosom of nature, then you will find it in this calm, silent lake on the Himalayan Foothills.
Best Season to Visit: Pre Winter is the best period as the trail will be surrounded by lush meadows throughout.
6. Dzongri, West Sikkim
Sitting high atop the Himalayas is the scenic peak of Dzongri. The Dzongri peak trek is one of the most exciting trekking destinations in India. Situated in Sikkim, Dzongri, at 4000 meters above sea level, offers a sweeping view of the beautiful West Sikkim Himalayas.
This trail starts off at the Kanchenjunga National park. With one day of acclimatization and four days of trekking, a trip to Dzongri is taxing but worth all the effort you put in. The view at from the top is to die for.
With a large diversity of birds, flowers and Himalayan bears Dzongri is ideal for the nature lover.
Best time to visit: March-May and September – October
7. Nandi Hills, Karnataka
Not to be left behind, the southern states of India are also adorned with many nature trails and trekking spots. One of the more famous Hiking trails in Karnataka is the Nandi hills.
If you are in Bangalore then Nandi Hills is one scenic bike ride away from you. What’s more is that this location is accessible throughout the year unlike some locations in North Indian which get closed during winter.
For hiking and trekking, you can also prefer the pre-winter time. On the way, you’ll find small villages and farms. And as you are in South India, you can enjoy steaming hot dosas with spicy chutney at the top. On the highest tip of hills, the view will leave you lost in wonder as you look down upon the majestic Nilgiri Mountains of Karnataka.
Local buses and private cabs are also available from Bangalore for “Nandi Hills love the spot.
8. Chembra Peak, Kerala
Chembra Peak is the tallest peak in God’s own country, Kerala. It is 2100 meters above sea level. You can see the heaven below you once the 9 kilometers trekking is completed. Do not plan the journey during rainy season as you may find the peak closed due to safety reasons. Winter would be a great getaway to explore Chembra.
The atmosphere would be foggy in winters but you will be amazed at the scenery that is simply refreshing. It will take around two to three hours of hiking to reach the top. If you are lucky and the time is right, the clouds can be below you with a fresh breeze.
The dense tropical jungle of Kerala’s Wayanad district and the thick fog that envelopes this location during winter gives Chembra a mysterious and ominous feel.
9. Harishchandragad, Maharashtra
The view from the top of Harishchandragad will quite literally take your breath away. After all, you just climbed non stop for three to four hours through what is one of the more unforgiving trails in the Sahyadris. If you think a challenging trek can only be found in the Himalayas then think again.
You can begin your journey from Pachnai. It is the easiest way to reach Harishchandragadh. However, there is a much more difficult route available which will test your endurance as you make the climb.
The spot is one of the popular destinations for night treks. Fireflies will be an add-on if you prefer the night trek in winters and the period between July to December. As you make your climb, you will be surrounded by lush green jungles with intricately carved caves.
If you leave in Maharashtra and its winter, then pack your bags and escape to this amazing hiking trail in the Ahmednagar district to fulfill all your hiking dreams.