Top 5 Family Friendly Treks in the Himalayas
Over the last couple of years, active holiday concepts have gained immense popularity among Indian travellers. Instead of visiting standard touristy places, more often people are opting for adventure trips and family friendly treks. Destinations like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and Sikkim are emerging as the preferred destinations among outdoor lovers. Blessed with beautiful weather, these places give us a chance to get away from urban life and truly appreciate nature. Besides, it also offers numerous outdoor activities and family friendly treks that make these vacations a unique and memorable experience.
A Recommendation – The Top 5 Family Friendly Treks
Hiking and Trekking are now the most popular outdoor adventure activities among Indian families who prefer offbeat travel experiences for family trips. Trekking not only provides a chance to spend some time in a clean and fresh natural environment but also is a great medium to learn from the outdoors, experience new culture, traditions and have meaningful human experiences as well. It is a great way to introduce kids to the outdoors and teach them some valuable life lessons. Now that the travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak are being lifted in most of the places, trekking seems the safest way to be outside while following social distancing norms and avoiding crowds. If you are looking for a family trek soon, these are some of the best family friendly treks that you can consider.
1. Kareri Lake Trek
Location: Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh
Trek Duration: 03 days
Start Point: Mcleodganj, Dharamshala
End Point: Mcleodganj, Dharamshala
Best time to visit: May to July, September to November.
Nearest airport: Gaggal Airport
Located in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, Kareri Lake is a high-altitude lake, formed by the water that comes from the Minkiani Peak and its glaciers. Due to its close distance from Dharamshala, a popular tourist attraction, and also the home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kareri lake trek is a preferred trekking spot for adventure lovers. With an altitude of 2950 meters, this lake offers magnificent views of the Dhauladhar range.
From the start point Kareri village near Mcleodganj, it takes only two days to reach the Kareri lake. The trails pass through lush green pine forests and picturesque meadows which are perfect for a camping experience with your loved ones. One can spend a couple of days before or after the trek and explore the nearby tourist places such as the Dharamshala cricket stadium, Gyuto Monastery, Bhagsu fall, Namgyal Monastery, and Dalai lama temple. A must visit the place during Summer, Kareri lake trek is an ideal trek to introduce your kids to trekking and camping.
2. Binsar Zero Point Trek
Location: Almora District, Uttarakhand
Trek Duration: 03 days
Start Point: Binsar Village
End Point: Binsar Village
Best time to visit: January to June; October to December
Nearest railway station: Kathgodam railway station
Nearest airport: Pant Nagar Airport
Known as a ’Trekker’s Paradise’, Binsar is one of the best-kept secrets of Kumaon Himalayas. Perched at the altitude of 2420 meters and around 95 km from the popular tourist town of Nainital, Binsar is known for its majestic views of snowy mountains. Binsar offers incredible views of some of the mesmerizing mountain ranges and peaks including Chaukhambha, Trishul, Nandadevi, Shivling, and Panchchuli. One can go on long hikes in the fresh air, spot some exotic birds and wildlife in the Binsar Sanctuary, and experience the village life at this hidden gem of Uttarakhand. While summer is a perfect time to visit this place with clear weather and great views of surrounding mountains, a trek during winter will make for an adventurous experience. A great combination of adventure and leisure, a trekking trip to Binsar is perfect for a family vacation in the Himalayas.
3. Poon Hill Trek
Location: Myagdi District, Nepal
Trek Duration: 04 days
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Start Point: Pokhara
End Point: Pokhara
Best time to visit: March to May; September to November
Nearest airport: Pokhara Airport
When you talk about trekking, any list is incomplete without the treks in Nepal. This beautiful country is one of the most popular trekking destinations in the world with some incredible trekking trails to offer. Some of the popular treks in Nepal include the Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp trek, Gokyo Ri, and Gokyo Lakes trek.
The Poon hill trek is a famous short trekking route in the Annapurna region known for its stunning mountain vistas. This trek is called sunrise trek as it offers magnificent views of Machhapuchare (Fishtail mountain), Annapurna, Gangapurna, Himchulli, Neelgiri, Dhaulagiri, and others. The trek starts from the mountain village Pokhara which is famous for its pretty lakes and various adventure activities like bungee jumping, river rafting, kayaking, paragliding, etc.
An ideal option for families with kids of age group eight and above Poon hill trek takes you to the alluring Annapurna region. While Kathmandu and its nearby places have so much to offer for elders, Pokhara is a great place to introduce kids to different adventure sports. Clubbing it with the Poon hill trek makes it a perfect trip with a little bit of everything that one can expect on a family vacation. Especially the kids can learn a lot about nature, wildlife, and mountain cultures on this short and adventurous trek.
4. Everest Experience Trek
Location: Solukhumbu District, Nepal
Trek Duration: 05 days
Start Point: Lukla
End Point: Lukla
Best time to visit: March to May; September to November
Nearest airport: Lukla Airport
A shorter version of the popular Everest Base Camp trek, the Everest Experience Trek is a great way to experience the best of the Everest valley without going to an extremely high altitude. The trek starts from Lukla, a beautiful mountain village and after crossing through mountain villages, forests, rivers, and waterfalls, ends at the Tengboche Monastery. The landscape is otherworldly and the majestic mountain peaks will amaze you with the gorgeous views. On the trek, you get a chance to see some of the highest mountains like Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kusum Kangri, Tabouche, Thamserku, Kongde Ri, and more. On this trek, you could also visit the ancient and sacred Tengboche Monastery which is one of the largest Gompas in the Khumbu region. Depending upon the time you are visiting, you could also get an exclusive experience of attending the auspicious prayer ceremony at the monastery.
Namche Bazaar is another major village en route which is known as the ‘Gateway to Everest’. This is the capital of the Khumbu District which makes up most of the Everest Valley. Trekkers usually spend a day at Namche Bazaar to acclimatize before continuing their journey towards the Everest Base Camp. Namche Bazaar has a Sherpa culture museum where kids can learn more about the Sherpa culture, Sagarmatha National Park, and the Khumbu region. You can also hike up to the Syangbouche hill to soak up some of the best mountain views. With its vibrant culture, scenic trails, majestic mountain views, and teahouse style accommodation, this trek is a perfect family-friendly experience with a combination of luxury and adventure.
5. Sham Valley Trek
Location: Sham Region, Ladakh
Trek Duration: 03 days
Start Point: Leh
End Point: Leh
Best time to visit: June to September
Nearest airport: Leh Airport
Known as the ‘Baby trek’ due to its easy access and comfortable trails, The Sham Valley Trek is a classic offbeat trail in the Ladakh region. Trekking on this beautiful trail is a great way to learn about the lifestyle of Ladakhi people and explore some gorgeous landscapes that Ladakh has to offer. The standard itinerary of three days starts from Likir and ends at Temisgam near Hemis Shukpachan village. However, it can be modified keeping the Hemis Shukpachan village as the start point of the trek. Hemis Shukpachan is probably the prettiest village of Ladakh with beautiful streams, large barley fields surrounded by mountains. The village also has a huge statue of Buddha and some ancient stupas.
A perfect trek for beginners, this trek can be combined with the sightseeing in and around Leh. With proper acclimatization in Leh before the trek, one can easily cope with the altitude and complete this trek without any difficulties.
Preparation – The Key to a Great Adventure.
We are sure, by now you would be very tempted to plan your next family adventure in the mountains. Here are a few things one needs to consider before going for a family trip to the Himalayas.
How to choose the right family friendly trek?
There are several factors that will help you in deciding which trek to choose from. Some of the major aspects one should consider are:
The maximum altitude on the trek,
Type of Terrain.
Average temperatures, rain, snow.
Best season to visit the place
Accommodation options (Tent/Teahouse/Homestay),
Distance from the nearest civilization and accessibility.
What age can kids start trekking from?
Kids usually do great on treks as they have higher energy levels and find it very exciting to be out on an adventure. However, parents need to take it easy when it comes to introducing them to a Himalayan trek. The recommended age group for small hikes and easy grade treks is 6 yrs. & above. Each trek has its minimum age requirements depending upon the various factors like the number of days, altitude gain, terrain, weather conditions, etc. Always check with the trek operators and ask for their recommendations.
How many days are ideal for a family trekking trip?
Although there are short treks that can be completed within two days, our recommendation would be any trek with a duration of 3-5 days. This will not only allow you to explore the region better but also help to acclimatize and rest properly to complete the trek without getting sick or facing any difficulties. Also, after the first day of getting used to the new experience of sleeping in a tent and living outdoors, you start enjoying the experience. You can also add in the itinerary a few additional days for sightseeing to make it a great combination of adventure and leisure.
How to train for a short family friendly trek?
We recommend the need to have a basic fitness level to go for these easy grade treks. Cardio exercises, yoga, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc helps to develop stamina and endurance. Another great way to prepare for the trek is to climb the stairs of a high rise building with a small backpack. Check out the physical fitness preparation guide recommended by us here:
How safe is it for elders and kids to go on a family friendly Himalayan trek?
Although there is some risk associated with trekking at a higher altitude, trekking is considered as one of the safest outdoor activities. However, it is very important to trek with a reliable trek operator who has years of experience with handling trips for children and elders. The right certifications in mountaineering, first aid, and rescue are valuable skills to have and you should check that the guide has these qualifications. With proper focus on preparations, fitness, quality equipment, and a right trek operator as a facilitator, you can have safe trekking experience, creating treasured memories that you can cherish for a lifetime.
I do hope this proves to be an effective guide to your next great adventure. Please do leave your comments if you have any more questions or would like to share an experience or a clarification and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can. Check out my Instagram page for more pictures, tips, and trekking inspiration. Follow: @umangdavevisual