For decades, Rishikesh has been an important spiritual destination for the Hindu pilgrims, but in recent years, it has come to be known as the gateway into the Himalayas. It is located conveniently at the foot of the Himalayas of Uttarakhand, making it a base for many Himalayan treks near Rishikesh. Every year, thousands of trekkers rush to Rishikesh to head on various Himalayan treks.
Trekking in Rishikesh is a mesmerizing experience as these treks take you to the base of some of the highest mountains of the world, to high altitude summits and lakes, windy mountain passes and over rumbling glaciers - while offering breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayan landscape. Treks near Rishikesh cut through lush alpine forests, scented meadows and sprawling snowfields, across wooden bridges over gushing rivers, and boulder-strewn trails to reach the splendid destinations. Moreover, the nights are spent at idyllic campsites in the shade of Himalayan amphitheatres, sheltered by the Milky Way!
But these treks in Rishikesh not only offer you a chance to explore the heavenly landscape of the Himalayas but also the rich cultural heritage of the region. As you trek past various quaint villages bustling with rich culture and heritage. At these villages, you get to interact with the locals and experience the rustic way of life in the shade of the mighty Himalayans.
There are many treks near Rishikesh, from easy treks for beginners and families to challenging ones that should only be attempted by experienced trekkers. Some treks take you into deep valleys and some take you to remote upper reaches, showcasing everything from the lush greenery of the valleys, peaks swathed in mist, glaciers, frozen lakes and much more
Here are some of the most popular treks near Rishikesh:
The Nag Tibba trek is an easy trek that takes you atop the Serpent’s Peak at 10,000 feet. It is one of Uttarakhand’s most popular treks that showcases the majestic views of the Great Indian Himalayas towards the Yamunotri side. You get to see the soaring peaks of Bandarpoonch Range, Kedarkantha, Chanabang, Black Peak, Srikanth along with many more. And if the weather is clear, you also get to see the glimmering lights of Mussoorie accompanying the glimmering stars of the silent night sky. The trail of the Nag Tibba trek is gorgeous too, cutting through the misty forests of oak, orchids and rhododendrons.
Chopta Chandrashila trek is another short and easy Rishikesh trek that takes you to the Chandrashila summit at 13,000 feet above sea level. This gorgeous trek offers some amazing views of Nanda Devi peak, one of the highest mountains in the world along with the peaks of Trishul and Chaukhamba. En route, you pass through Chopta, a quaint hill station famous for its rolling green meadows and scented pine forests that earned it the name ‘Switzerland of India.’ You also trek past the highest Shiva temple at Tungnath on your way to Chandrashila.
The Valley of Flowers is located in the Nanda Devi National Park, deep in the Garhwal Himalayas, at an altitude of 11,980 feet. Every year, from the month of June to September, the valley transforms into surreal paradise as the lush meadows get blanketed in thousands of colourful wildflowers. New flowers bloom every day and the colourful meadows are in a perpetual state of changing hues and shades for these few months. This, accompanied by the surrounding Himalayas, make up for an astounding experience which has made this short trek to the Valley of Flowers. It is also one of the best treks in India.
This trek to Kuari Pass and Pangarchula takes you to the western edge of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve to the high altitude Kuari Pass that lies to the south of the Indo-Tibetan border. The trek also includes a summit trek to the Pangarchula Peak at 15,419 feet. On this Rishikesh trek, you get to enjoy magnificent views of the Chaukhamba Range along with the peaks of Kamet, Mana and Abl Gamin. The scenic trail cuts through grassy meadows, alpine forests and remote villages, giving you a quintessential Himalayan trekking experience.
The Rupin Pass is located in the Garhwal Himalayas on the border of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 15,380 feet. The trek to Rupin Pass is a moderately challenging one consisting of some steep climbs but what makes this trek special is the mesmerizing views of the Kinnaur Kailash Mountain Range and the serene trail that goes along the Rupin River, through one of the least explored regions of the Indian Himalayas.
This Har Ki Dun trek takes you through the gorgeous valley that is also known as the Valley of Gods in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, letting you explore the remote regions of the Garhwal Himalayas whilst offering breathtaking views of Bandarpoonch, Swargarohini, and many more Himalayan peaks. The trail lies at the base of Fateh Parvat, cutting through pine forests and alpine meadows. What makes this trail moderately challenging is not steep ascents but the long walking hours - making it perfect for fit beginners and experienced trekkers.
Rishikesh, along with being an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus, is also a popular adventure destination for adrenaline junkies from all over India. Rishikesh offers many adventure activities that you can pair with your Rishikesh trek, making your visit an absolute blast. Here are some of the adventure activities that you can try while at Rishikesh:
The mighty Ganges River flows through Rishikesh, after which it enters the plains of India. These waters at Rishikesh have become a popular rafting destination that offers different grades of rapids from Grade II to Grade IV. There are various sections that you can book, from easy 12 km sections that only consist of Grade II rapids to challenging 36 km section that consists of some of the strongest rapids of India
Rishikesh has many tributaries of the Ganges River and a thick cover of alpine forests all around, making it a perfect destination for camping. While camping at Rishikesh, you can either spend the night at campsites on the banks of a river or amidst the dense forests. These camping trips offer accommodation in either alpine tents or swiss tents, and there are some options for cottages too
If you are in Rishikesh and want to explore the gorgeous mountainous landscapes and lush valleys around from a completely different perspective while also challenging your fears, then paragliding is right for you. There are many tandem paragliding trips in Rishikesh that take you on 15-20 min flights; there are also many paragliding courses that teach you how to fly your own paraglider.
There are treks open near Rishikesh throughout the year, some trials are best done in the summer season, some best done in winter and some in monsoon. So the best time to go for trekking in Rishikesh depends entirely on what you want to experience.
If you want to experience the gorgeous landscape of the Himalayas, escape the city heat and head into the cooler climes of the Himalayas, then you can go during the summer season. During this season, the weather is warm and pleasant but you can still expect to see some snow in the upper reaches of the Himalayas.
And monsoon season is the best for you if you want to experience the magical Himalayan landscape that is bubbling with rich flora and fauna. From the months of June to September, the Himalayas of Uttarakhand get soaked in rain and the lush forests come alive with greenery and the sounds of nature. Do remember that during the monsoon season, some trails are harder to cover as they can get quite slippery.
But if you want to experience the stark landscape of the Himalayas covered in sparkling snow, along with trekking through alpine forests weighed down by snow and across sprawling snowfields while enjoying the crispy breathtaking views of the Himalayas, then the winter season from November to February is right for you.
Rishikesh is a popular tourist destination in India, attracting travellers from all over the country. Hence, it is well connected to most major cities of the country. If you prefer flying to Rishikesh, then you can book your tickets to the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. It is the closest airport to Rishikesh at 35 km. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Rishikesh.
The closest railway station near Rishikesh is at Haridwar, 25 km away. The station is connected to most major cities like Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Delhi and Varanasi via regular express trains. Rishikesh also has a railway station but it acts as a branch line to Haridwar with only 3 slow trains connecting it to Haridwar. So, it is advised that you rather take a bus or taxi to reach Rishikesh from Haridwar.
If you are coming from one of the major cities of North India like Delhi, Dehradun, etc.then you can take a bus to Rishikesh. There are all kinds of bus services connecting Rishikesh to other parts of North India, from regular buses to luxury, from AC to non-AC services.
If you prefer driving your own car to Rishikesh, then you can do so without worry as it is as there is a rich network of roads and highways connecting Rishikesh to rest of India. Though keep in mind that the interior roads are not well-maintained, and expect some delays during festive seasons.
If you are going for your Rishikesh trek in the summer season, then you need to wear basic clothes like a quick-dry full sleeve t-shirt and trek pants along with a light hoodie/jacket. In the monsoon season, you also need to carry raincoat/poncho. However, if you are going in the winter season, then you also need to wear thermal inners, down and fleece jackets along with synthetic/woollen gloves and neck gaiters.
Additionally, make sure you are wearing quality trekking boots/shoes that are preferably waterproof, and offer ample grip and support. You should also wear sunglasses and a sun cap to protect yourself from the harsh sunlight at higher altitudes.
For your Rishikesh trek, you need to carry a sturdy backpack along with all your personal essentials, torch, socks, trekking pole, day pack, towel, etc. along with a personal first aid kit.
Once you book your trek, the tour operator will also provide you with a packing list, make sure you follow the same thoroughly to ensure a safe and comfortable trekking experience.
For your Rishikesh trek, the preparation and fitness levels depend on the difficulty of the trek. If you are going for an easy level trek, then you only need basic fitness levels as these treks can be done by beginners.
For moderate grade treks, you need to have high fitness levels and you need to start preparing a few weeks prior by starting a regular workout routine with a focus on cardio.
And for a challenging trek, you need high fitness levels and prior trekking experience. For such a trek, you need to start preparing a few months prior by starting a workout routine that focuses on cardio along with some strength training.
While going for a snow trek or a winter trek near Rishikesh, you need to wear a quick-dry t-shirt and trek pants along with thermal inners, down and fleece jackets, synthetic/woollen gloves and balaclava/gaiters. You also need to wear trekking boots that are waterproof and provide ample grip.
Shoes are one of the most important gears while going for a trek in the Himalayas. They not only provide a safety net and support to cover a trail but also comfort. If you are not comfortable in your shoes or wear shoes of inferior quality, you won’t be able to enjoy the trek at all, and in some cases, you even put yourself at risk of injury.
Hence, you need to pay crucial attention to the kind of shoes you wear. Make sure they are proper trekking shoes that offer ample grip. It is advised that you wear shoes with good ankle support that will keep you from twisting your ankles. They should also be waterproof so you can trek over any kind of mud and muck without removing your shoes or having to live through the discomfort of wet socks.
In any case, you should avoid sports shoes as they are not designed for long hours of walking over rough terrain. It is also a bad idea to wear sandals or floaters while trekking as they do not provide any kind of support and moreover, expose your feet to the elements.
Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness is the effect of altitude (low air pressure and thin oxygen) on the human body. It usually starts setting in over 8,000 feet above sea level and can be fatal if untreated. Symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, fast heart rate, etc.
To avoid altitude sickness, you need to spend a day at the base of the trek to make sure you get acclimatized to the altitude. You are at a risk of altitude sickness if you do not acclimatize properly. To be on the safe side, all the tour operators design their Rishikesh trekking packages with acclimatization in mind.
Lastly, you can even take the Diamox tablet to help with acclimatization but do consult your doctor before you consume it.
Most Rishikesh trekking packages include a transport in private car/bus to the starting point of the trek, accommodation in tents/homestays, and all the meals during the trek. Apart from these, the operators provide all the technical and camping equipment, except personal gear like trekking pole or shoes. Some operators also provide mules/porters to carry personal essentials.Do note that some budget operators might not provide meals or sleeping bags/mattresses for the night. Remember to check the inclusions section of the package you’re booking thoroughly to check what the tour operator offers and what they expect you to bring on your own.
Yes, you definitely can! The Valley of Flowers trek is an easy trek that can be done by all age groups and even families with children. The trek has a short itinerary that only requires a few hours of trekking per day. The Valley of Flowers trek is the perfect beginner trek.