5 Best Beginner High-Altitude Treks in the Indian Himalayas
Choosing your first High-altitude trekking can seem intimidating. With numerous options and locations, getting overwhelmed is easy. In this article, we will go over some of our favourite Beginner High-Altitude treks. These treks are short and have a relatively mild altitude gain, thus giving you the confidence to get into High-Altitude Trekking. Beginner high-altitude treks are the perfect opportunity to introduce young teenagers to the wonders of the natural world and a time away from their screens. It is never too late to start trekking, the oldest client that we have taken to the mountains was 75 years old.
1. Binsar Zero Point Trek
The first trek on this list, the Binsar Zero Point Trek is the easiest out of the lot. The Binsar Zero Point trek takes place in the heart of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The trek begins from the Binsar Adventure Camp and takes you through the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Over two days, you cover close to 10 kilometres and gain close to 750 metres in altitude. Day 1 begins with a hike to Santri. This small settlement is located at the heart of the wildlife sanctuary. The next morning, you make your way to Binsar Zero Point. The trek has a well-marked trail, that does get covered during the monsoon, but is still easily identifiable.
Once at Binsar Zero Point, you have the option of taking a car back to the adventure camp, where you can unwind in one of the many springs. This trek can be done throughout the year. We would recommend summer and winter as the ideal time. In summer, the trees are full of leaves and the area comes alive with hundreds of thousands of butterflies. The months of December and January will ensure that the trail is covered with a couple of feet of snow.
2. Tirthan Valley Trek
The Tirthan Valley trek is undoubtedly the best trek for families and beginners in Himachal Pradesh. This trek journeys through the Khorna Valley which passes through the prettiest national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site; The Great Himalayan National Park. The trek begins with a short drive from Manali airport to the Tirthan Valley where our basecamp is located. From Basecamp, you hike to Ballu Thach. This village is home to the Gujjar community, the local shepherds. From Ballu Thach we hike to Swapni. From Swapni we hike to the highest point on the trek, Khorna which is located at an altitude of 3350 metres.
The Tirthan Valley Trek is ideal for beginners as you cover a small distance each day. With the highest point of the trek being 3350 metres, the trek takes you to a decent height with enough time to acclimatize. Most of the trek takes place through lush forests, full of deodar and pine trees. You also have an option of chilling in Manali after the completion of the trek, thus experiencing the best of the mountainous state.
3. Pindari Glacier Trek
One of the more popular treks in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, The Pindari Glacier Trek is a must-do for any adventurer. The trek covers all the aspects of a serious High-Altitude Trek without much of the difficulty. Forest sections, suspension bridges, moraine, snow and Ice; the Pindari Glacier Trek has it all. The trek begins from the town of Kharkiya. It then takes you through some of the most iconic landscapes that the Indian Himalayas have to offer. With majestic mountains like Nanda Devi, Maiktoli and Baljouri towering above, keeping watch as to who enters their realm, the trek is straight out of the mind of Tolkien.
Additionally, this trek allows you to learn more about life in the mountains. You will spend one night in the village of Khati, which gives you the chance to stay with the locals and trade stories of human perseverance and life.
4. Sandhakphu Trek
Sandhaphu or the Sleeping Buddha treks bobs and weaves across the border between Nepal and India. This ‘Tea-House’ style trek allows you to experience trekking with the comfort of basic homestay/cottage style accommodation. This 6-day trek covers a distance of 31 kilometres. The biodiversity on this trek is unparalleled. Rhododendrons, Magnolias and fir trees line most of the route. The best time to do the Sandhakphu trek is from September to January. The winter months allow you to see 4 of the world’s highest mountains, namely; Mt Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga and Makalu.
The trek gains popularity from the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ which is formed by the clusters of the highest mountains which, on a clear day, takes the form of a silhouette lying down. The Sandhakpu trek is also the best beginner alternative to Goecha La in the West Bengal-Sikkim Area.
5. Kareri Lake Trek
The final trek on the beginner High-Altitude Treks list is the Kareri Lake trek. This trek in Himachal Pradesh is a great introduction to camping. The highest point on this trek is 2,930 metres. The trek is ideal for a weekend and is easily accessible from the major cities of New Delhi and Chandigarh. Like the Tirthan Valley Trek, The Kareri Lake trek passes through the lush forests of the lower Himalayas. Kareri Lake itself is fed by the glacial runoff higher up the valley. The trek is well-defined and is perfect for beginners and families with young children.
I hope you enjoyed this brief list of beginner high-altitude treks in the Indian Himalayas. If you feel we missed a trek, please feel free to drop us a comment. And like always, we’d be happy to help you plan and prepare your first trek, just drop us a message or email us.