The state of Himachal Pradesh has a lot to offer when it comes to the serene landscapes of the mountains and valleys. It’s a land of contrast between the lush green regions of Kullu and Kinner, and the much drier northern region of Lahaul and Spiti. There’s plenty of adventurous things to do in Himachal, from trekking, and camping, to rafting and paragliding.

There are numerous trek routes, with easy one-night treks like Kasol and Kheerganga that go to 8000 feet onwards, to more challenging treks like Pin Parvati Pass, which take you for days into the wild, to heights over 18,000 feet. You can fly easily into Himachal via Bhuntar Airport (near Manali) or take overnight buses from Delhi or Chandigarh.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Rock-climbing near Manali

The buzzy mountain town of Manali has been a favourite tourist hotspot for years, but it’s also turned into a hub for adventure-seekers in recent years. One of the newest sports here is rock-climbing sessions near Solang. A day out on the rocks gives you amazing views of high snow-capped peaks and the rolling forested slopes all around. A one-day activity provides participants with an introduction to rock climbing, rappelling, learning about the gear, knots, technique and balance.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Paragliding in Solang

If there’s one place you choose to do paragliding in India, let it be in the Himalayas. One of the best things to do in Himachal is paragliding. Solang is a beautiful spot, but go deeper into the mountains to Bir Billing. Bir Billing lies at an altitude of 8500 feet, and is surrounded by beautiful tea gardens. Here you can do tandem paragliding, expedition paragliding and cross Himalayan paragliding. Paragliding is available throughout the year except during the monsoon.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Whitewater rafting in Kullu

The Beas River runs past Kullu, fed by the melting glaciers and snow in the mountains, and is clear and blue under the sunny Himachal skies. The rapids here are milder, ranging from Grade II to III, but still provide you an exciting morning. If you’re looking for a fun thing to do in Himachal, this rafting trip is a great choice! You’ll begin your rafting adventure in Pirdi, from where you’ll get to battle rapids for almost two hours, covering a 14 km stretch.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Pin-Parvati Pass trek

The Pin Parvati Pass is a high altitude mountain pass that connects the dry Pin Valley in Spiti to the greenery of Parvati Valley.  It takes about 11 days to complete the trek, and involves long hours of trekking, making it suitable only for experienced trekkers. You’ll stop at gorgeous campsites en route, and will live in the midst of raw mountain beauty for days. It takes you to an altitude of 17,300 feet, and is fascinating because of the dramatic change in landscape as soon as you go through the pass.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Kheerganga trek

The Kheerganga trek is one of the most popular things to do in Himachal, thanks to the stunning views all around. This trek is suitable for beginners, but do note that you should be ready for a good climb. On this trek, you’ll be able to see the Parvati and Tosh Rivers, as well as the lofty mountains all around. At the end of the trek, you’ll come to the hot springs of Kheerganga, where you should definitely dunk your feet, if not jump in for a proper soak.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Kasol  

Kasol is on every backpacker’s list of things to do in Himachal. This unique hamlet lies on the banks of the Parvati River, and is home to a host of hippies and backpackers from around the world. With bohemian cafes, German bakeries, trance parties, and lots more, you’ll be kept busy here for days. The good thing about Kasol is that you can set off for long rambles through the pine trees of the green Parvati valley every day, and come back to a fun evening when the day is over.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Triund

Triund is a gorgeous trek, and is one of the best things to do in Himachal if you’re a beginner. The trek begins from McLeodganj, and quickly leaves behind the bustle of the city centre. In a short climb up a grassy green hill, you’ll get to an elevation of 9200 feet, from where you’ll be able to see epic views of the mountains around.

Take some time to explore McLeodganj, also known as ‘Little Lhasa’ which is unlike any other place in India. This small town is home to a local population as well as Tibetan refugees, and you’ll see evidence of both cultures here. This means that you’ll get to experience Tibetan culture, and enjoy some great food options! And of course, with McLeodganj being the home of the Dalai Lama, the monasteries here are also worth exploring.  The best time to enjoy this adventurous trek is May to October.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Hampta Pass and Chandratal

If you’re looking for a beautiful and diverse trek, this is one of the best options, best suited for fit beginners or experienced trekkers. You’ll trek through the orchards, wildflowers, and pine forests of the Kullu valley, and cross over into the strikingly bare environs of the Lahaul valley. You’ll end the trek in at Chandratal lake, one of the finest high altitude alpine lakes in the country. You can choose to camp at this gorgeous lake with cool mountain water and take a dip in its pristine waters. The best time to visit is May-June and August- September.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Beaskund

Beaskund is one of the most beautiful places in the Dhauladhar range of the mighty Himalayas and one of the best things to do in Himachal Pradesh. It’s not too far from Manali, and can be done as a weekend trek. You’ll trek along the banks of the Beas River, up to the sacred glacier-fed lake from which it originates. The famous sage Beas is said to have meditated here, and you’ll see why once you get to Beaskund. There is a peaceful silence all around, and no sign of civilization, except for an occasional nomad shepherd wandering by. All along this trek, you’ll get spectacular views of the nearby Shitidhar, Ladakhi, Friendship and Hanuman Tibba peaks.

Things to do in Himachal Pradesh: Exploring Spiti

You can’t really write about the top things to do in Himachal without spending a considerable amount of time on Spiti. This unique land is the last Indian frontier before Tibet. This cold desert experiences very harsh weather conditions, and allows for only shrubs and rough grass at the lower altitudes.

With frequent road blocks, weather-related delays, and few luxuries for tourists. But for the true traveller who is willing to deal with it all, Spiti opens up a plethora of fascinating sights, from emerald lakes, remarkable animals like the yak and the snow leopard, to a unique blend of Indian-Tibetan culture to experience.