While most trekkers visit the mighty Himalayas during summer to get away from the heat that scorches the rest of the country, you’ll find some of the most spectacular snow treks in India during winter. There are ice-covered lakes to discover, frozen rivers to trek upon, snowy paths to negotiate, and landscapes blanketed in white to explore. Some of the top snow treks in India are found in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand.
At number 1 on the list for top snow treks in India, the Chadar trek is a unique experience that is possible for a very short time in the year. The Zanskar river is one of the most famous rivers in India, and in summer, has 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 along this river, 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 in mid-fall, and drink hot tea in ancient caves with walls darkened by thousands of campfires. This top snow trek in India is not for beginners, but is an A-lister for those looking for an unusual winter experience.
Roopkund is a high-altitude lake that stays frozen for most of the year, thawing for just about one month out of twelve. The trail begins through open meadows and climbs to the barren heights, testing your stamina and endurance. When covered in snow, the route can get quite challenging, but at the end of it, you’ll have some time to explore the mysterious skeletons that lie here. Do remember that in winter, the skeletons might not be fully visible.
Kedarkantha is a beautiful ridge peak in Uttarakhand, and is one of the top snow treks in India. Between December and March, the landscape turns from beautiful to spectacular. A snow trek to Kedarkantha will take you along a trail that is completely covered with thick, pure white snow. You’ll walk through forests of pine and oak, with the trees weighed down with snow. One of the campsites is beside Juda ka Talab, which is a small pond that completely freezes over and is absolutely gorgeous. At 12,500 feet, the Kedarkantha summit offers stunning 360-degree views of some of the highest Himalayan peaks like Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, and Black Pearl.
Chopta is a quaint hill station in the Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary and it is popularly known as the 'Mini Switzerland’ of India. It’s famous around the year, but during the winter, it becomes one of the top snow treks in India. The open meadows and slopes stretch into the horizon, covered in a blanket of snow. The trek is mostly easy but the climb to Chandrashila is a fun challenge. This peak is at 13,123 feet and is home to Tungnath, the highest Shiva temple in the world. From the top, you’ll get even more beautiful views.
The Nagtibba trek is one of the top snow treks in India because it takes you to a height of 10,000 feet, from where you can see stunning views of snowy landscape. You’ll trek through forests of oak with orchids dotting the trail, while goats and woolly sheep graze on the slopes around you. This top snow trek in India is one of the most easy treks to complete in the winter.
The Kuari Pass trek is one of the few trekking destinations that is open in the winter, which makes it a top snow trek in India. This trek is moderately easy, except for the summit to Pangarchulla peak, which stands tall at 15,419 feet and puts your climbing muscles to the test. One of the top treks in Uttarakhand, this trek takes you through endless meadows, alpine forests, and past towering Himalayan peaks with enchanting panoramic views of Nanda Devi, the Chaukhamba Range, Mana peak, and Kamet peak.
At the heart of Kullu Valley, Bhrigu Lake is one of the top snow treks in India. This easy trek begins from Manali, and takes you through quaint mountain villages, forests of oak and pine, with impressive views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks and Hampta valley at every turn. You’ll be camping along the banks of the lake, which changes colour over the course of the day, and will visit the famous hot water springs in Vashisht village.
Har ki dun, which translates to the Valley of Gods, is one of the top snow treks in India. The Har ki Dun valley lies at the base of the Fateh Parvat at 11,646 feet in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park which is a stunning region in itself. Your trek is a mix of peaceful walks and adventurous ascents with some steep climbs. The trail takes you through apple orchards, snowy valleys, with pretty streams everywhere. This trek offers spectacular views of the other famous peaks in the region such as Banderpoonch, Swargarohini etc.
This trek is a fascinating trail that takes you from Yuksom to Dzongri and onwards to the high pass of Goecha La. In the winter, it becomes a top snow trek in India because it gives you views of Kanchenjunga from the pass, and takes you to the scenic village of Tsokha, a Tibetan settlement. You’ll through lush forests of ancient oak and rhododendrons trees, traverse alpine meadows covered with snow, and sleep under the eye of towering mountains around. This is a complete experience for those searching for all that the Himalayan highlands have to offer.
Close to the stunning town of Leh, this trek takes you to the highest peak of 20,182 feet. It’s one of the top snow treks in India because you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and gorgeous campsites around Ladakh. 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 is another reason that it is a top snow trek in India for experienced climbers.
The Pin Parvati Pass trek is one of the top snow treks in India, but 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 trek, you will start from Manali, and trek through the snow-covered valleys of Himachal Pradesh, through fruit orchards and over 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 easy trek in Himachal Pradesh is perfect for beginners, and starts from Manali. You trek past glaciers, up lushly forested slopes, passing the tree line, seeing mountain streams dot the landscape, and up into meadows where shepherds bring their flock to graze on the sweet grass. The emerald-green Beaskund is the highlight of this trekking route in Himachal, and it is great for taking postcard-perfect photographs. All this is accompanied by views of surrounding peaks such as Shitidhar and Friendship Peak in the Kullu region. It is one of the top snow treks in India for the tranquil route and exquisite views.