Some of the most difficult treks in India are in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and in Ladakh. The lofty mountains, the craggy peaks, the windy high altitude passes, and the steep rock faces offer a fun challenge for those looking for difficult treks in India. Here’s our list of top most difficult treks in India.
The Chadar trek is one of the most difficult treks in India, mostly because of the incredibly low temperatures, and the skill required to trek on the frozen Zanskar river. In the summer, this raging river offers ferocious rapids for those looking for whitewater rafting. But in winter, the river freezes over, and when the roads are covered in snow, the river is the only access route for locals. You’ll trek between the soaring walls of the river valley, carefully negotiating your way over the ice and looking at the bubbles that are frozen underneath. You’ll see waterfalls that have frozen over in mid-fall, and drink hot tea in ancient caves with walls darkened by thousands of campfires. This Ladakh trek gives you a once-in-a-lifetime experience of Ladakh trekking, and is one of the most difficult treks in India.
The Stok Kangri trek is one of the difficult treks in India, thanks to the high altitude it starts at. The trek starts in the stunning town of Leh, and involves some rock-climbing as you get closer to the peak. The early section of the trek takes you through beautiful mountain scenery, and you'll camp at gorgeous campsites. From base camp the climb becomes steep and the air thins, posing a thrilling challenge for trekkers. While it involves some rock-climbing, you don’t need to have any technical mountaineering skills to get to this altitude, which makes it one of the more accessible difficult treks in India.
The Pin Parvati Pass trek is one of the most difficult treks in India, and is meant only for those with experience. Located at a height of 17,450 feet, the Pin Parvati Pass is the only link between the green Parvati Valley of Kullu and the dry, arid Pin Valley in Spiti. On this trekking route in Himachal, you will start from Manali, and trek through the green valleys of Himachal Pradesh, through fruit orchards, blossoming wildflowers, and sparkling rivers and streams. Once you reach Pin Parvati Pass, you'll see the brown and grey rocky landscape of the Spiti valley. For almost 10 days, you’ll be far away from civilization, crossing wide glaciers, climbing steep slopes, and trekking through thick forests. This makes the Pin Parvati Pass trek one of the most difficult treks in India.
Roopkund is a glacial lake nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 16,500 feet, the lake is completely uninhabited, desolate and is surrounded by snow clad mountains. It’s one of the most difficult treks in India, but it offers you a rare chance to see the ancient remains of human skeletons that surround it. On this adventure, you will trek through verdant green meadows, climbing to more barren heights as you get closer to giant Himalayan peaks, and there’s usually a good chance of snow at the lake itself. The best season to visit is in summer from May to June and then September to October.
The Goechala trek is undoubtedly on of the most difficult treks in India. There are a couple of days when the trekking can get quite steep, especially when the weather is harsh and merciless. You’ll climb from about 5,800 feet to a dizzying 16,000 feet over 10 days, into remote and stark landscapes. You’ll trek through forests of ancient oak and rhodendron trees, across alpine meadows with great open views, and to the hill station of Darjeeling. As you near the Goechala Pass, you’ll have to navigate vast glacial moraines, and will have some fun on these challenging sections.
One of the lesser-known most difficult treks in India, the Rupin Pass trail involves a steep ascent to Rupin Pass at 15,380 feet. The trail offers a variety of terrain to trek on, and moves from Uttarakhand into Himachal Pradesh. You’ll pass quaint mountain villages, towering cliffs and dense forests, and walk along the banks of the icy blue Rupin river, through pine-scented forests, and across rock-hewn ridges. The trek is a blend of medium to easy gradients, with some steep climbs over ridges. This is one of the more difficult treks in India, and is recommended for trekkers with prior experience. The best time to visit is May to June and then from September to October.