The Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand lies in the Nanda Devi National Park, deep in the Garhwal Himalayas. It spreads across 87 sq kms, at an elevation of about 11,980 feet. This is one of the top treks in India, but the beauty of the valley remains pure and untouched. The sight of the Valley of Flowers, full of colourful blossoms of various hues and shades, nestled between rugged Himalayan slopes, is one that you will cherish forever.
Over 300 species of wildflowers bloom in the valley during the peak season. Every few days, some blooms fade, while new buds open up, creating a rainbow of perpetually changing colour. Apart from this, there are waterfalls, glaciers, towering mountains, mighty rivers and quaint villages to be explored.
The Valley of Flowers trek is a moderate trek and is great for both first timers as well as experienced trekkers looking to visit. The trail is mostly paved and follows a gentle ascent, but there are some steep sections and tricky patches to negotiate, especially as trekkers approach Hemkund Sahib. It is suitable for families with children, and is a popular destination for school groups too.
Camping is banned inside the Valley of Flowers, so trekkers return to their hotels and mountain lodges every evening. While the days are spent exploring the natural beauty of the Himalayas, the comforts of a hotel room at night make this an easy trek for first-timers.
If you’re planning a trip to Uttarakhand, you should check out our list of Short Treks in Uttarakhand.
The Valley of Flowers in India opens for tourists between June to September, and peak blooming season is from mid-July to mid-August. During this season, over 300 species of wild flowers such as orchids, poppies, anemones, and even the rare Brahmakamal, bloom here. The temperatures are mild, with pleasant days and cooler nights and chances of rain.
Check out our blog, Best Season to Visit Valley of Flowers for a detailed description of what you’ll see in each month.
Travellers usually begin their journey from the holy city of Haridwar. You’ll be picked up in the morning and driven along a scenic route to Joshimath, Govindghat or Auli. The drive takes almost all day, but the Ganga and Alaknanda rivers flow alongside, and there are lovely views to keep you busy.
On the first trekking day, you’ll trek to Ghangaria, covering about 14 kms in 5 hours. You’ll be staying in Ghangaria for the entire trek, heading out every day to explore the valley and returning to your comfortable room every night. Each day, you’ll be trekking for about 7 hours, visiting view points in the valley.
There are a number of variations to the Valley of Flowers trek. You can customise it to suit your preferences. Hemkund Sahib is a popular addition to the itinerary. The emerald-green lake with the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara on the banks is an important pilgrimage spot for Sikhs, and a wonderful serene spot to visit. Apart from this, some itineraries include a night in Auli or a visit to Badrinath temple on the way back.
The Valley of Flowers is open for a short window of time, from June to September. Once the rains begin, peak blooming season is between mid-July and mid-August. The colours of the flowers change every few days, and the waterfalls and Hemkund Sahib are in full spate during this time.
Yes, the Valley of Flowers is the perfect introduction to the Himalayas. Beginners will be able to manage the paved trail quite comfortably, with only a few steep patches to challenge them. However, the ascent to Hemkund Sahib can be difficult, so if you’re not up for it, you can always ask the operator for an alternate plan.
Your operator will provide you with a complete packing list for this trek, so do follow that. However, some general tips are to dress in layers, carry thermals, and ensure that you have a raincoat, rain cover for your bag, and sturdy shoes. You’ll also find a complete packing list in our blog, All You Need to Know about the Valley of Flowers.