Want to go hiking in India? You’ll be spoilt for choice. Thanks to the variety of India’s landscapes and weather, there are different options for every season, from snowy wonderlands to sunny valleys.
There’s also something for everyone regardless of ability, so whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, you’ll be able to find a route to suit you. Here are four of the best.
1.Beginner: Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh
Spending time in the Araku Valley is the ideal introduction to hiking for those with little to no experience, or those with a disability. Roam around lush green forests and fields, admire the power of the gushing waterfalls, and take in the distinctive scent of the coffee plantations.
The highlight of the hike is the breathtaking Borra Caves, which are the deepest caves in India. History buffs will love the Tribal Museum — there are even tribes still living in some parts of the Araku region.
2. Easy: Chembra Peak, Kerala
Although it starts out with a steep climb, a hike along Chembra Peak is fairly easy once the ground levels out and it only takes a day to complete, so it’s perfect for those with limited time. You’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the greenery and other mountain peaks once you reach the top.
3. Medium: Valley of the Flowers, Uttarakhand
This hike in the western area of the Indian Himalayas leads to the Valley of the Flowers, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is well worth the week it takes to get there. There are 600 species of wild flowers to spot, including blue poppies, zinnias, brahma kamal, petunias, and cobra lilies.
The best time to visit is during the summer, between June and September, when the flowers are in full bloom and you can see them at their best.
4. Difficult: Zanskar Valley, Ladakh
This is not a hike for the faint-hearted. The Zanskar river normally flows freely, but it freezes in January and February, when adventurers make their way over it.
If you take on this challenge you’ll tackle sheets of ice and must sleep in caves at night to shelter from the cold, with temperatures reaching a chilling -25 degrees, but the stunning views make it all worth it.