Best 5 treks in Kumaon Uttarakhand

Overview

The Land of Kurmavatara (tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Kumaon Region in Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is a dreamland with majestic Himalayan peaks, sprawling meadows, snowbound mountain and glaciers, shimmering lakes and waterfalls, dense forests, and an abundance of flora and fauna.

Be it Adi Kailash Trek or the Pindari Glacier Trek, trekking along the lofty mountains, gushing small streams, on glaciers, and through the gorgeous rhododendron and oak forests will give an experience that will be imprinted in your memory forever!

Itinerary of Best 5 Treks in Kumaon

Trekking in Kumaon Himalayas has gained immense fame due to its refreshing and stress-relieving environment, and breathtaking and enthralling trekking trails. There are several treks of varying difficulty levels to select from. With its Bewitching valleys and magnificent mountain peaks, trekking in Kumaon Himalayas will bring all such impressive beauty on your way that will compel you to come back for more.

Milam Glacier Trek

  • Altitude: 4268 meters
  • Trekking distance: 116km
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Best season to visit: March- June and September-December
  • Duration: 12-13 days

The Milam Glacier is a major glacier in Kumaon that covers an area of 37 sq. km. It is located in Munsiyari of Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand. The Milam glacier is surrounded by 52 peaks.

The trekking path to the Milam glacier starts from Munsiyari. On your way to the glacier, you will have to walk along the banks of River Gori Ganga and passing through Nanda Devi East Base, Gauri Ganga Lilam, Martoli, and Railcot, you will enjoy the breathtaking views of Mt. Trishuli and Hardeol. 

The path to Milam Glacier takes you through dense forest with blooming rhododendrons, wooden bridges, luscious valleys, pine forests, beautiful waterfalls, and hamlets.

The route has many vantage points that provide captivating views of quaint villages, picturesque streams, panoramic vistas of mountains, and diverse flora and fauna. You can see the relics of the Indo-Sino war in some famous landmarks of the hike. You will witness the pristine form of nature in this adventurous trip to Milam glacier.

Pindari Glacier Trek

  • Altitude: 3900 meters
  • Trekking distance: 110kms
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Best season to visit: April to November
  • Duration: 10 days

Pindari glacier trek is one of the most beautiful treks that will take you through rhododendron forests and roads with colorful flowers at the margins, far-flung villages, and exotic flora and fauna makes it a must-visit for nature lovers. 

Your trek to Pindari glacier starts from Loharket, then crossing Dhakuri, Dwali, and Phurkia you will reach your destination, the Zero Point. The peaceful walk through forests while bird watching will completely relax and rejuvenate you. Calm lakes with crystal clear water and scenic snow-clad mountains will give you a mystic and exhilarating experience.

The trail can be a little challenging while crossing mountain ridges, spider walks, and narrow streams, but the beauty of your final destination will make you forget all your hardships. Pindari glacier is also famous for its adventure activities such as Mountain expedition, Ice climbing, and Mountain biking.

Kafni Glacier Trek

  • Altitude: 3860 meters
  • Trekking distance: 85kms
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Best season to visit: April- May, and September-October
  • Duration: 6-7 days 

The Kafni glacier trek starts from Loharket, then ascent to Dhakuri, from there the spectacular view of Himalayan peaks including Nanda Khat and Maiktoli appears. Head downwards to the Pindar river basin and walk along the turquoise water until the point where the Kafni river meets with Pindar. Further, hike towards the Kafni glacier through thick forests, and mountain meadows.

You can reach the Kafni glacier from Almora as well as Kathgodam. 

You will observe the landscape changing with every turn you take, from sparkling waterfalls and rivers to dense jungles, to picturesque mountain peaks, the trek will give you many breathtaking views.

Kafni glacier trek also offers you the opportunity to camp on huge grasslands. The irresistible charm of this glacier makes it an ideal destination for trekking.

Sunderdhunga Valley Trek

  • Altitude: 4100 meters
  • Trekking distance: 72kms
  • Difficulty level: Moderate to Difficult
  • Best season to visit: Mid-May and Mid-October
  • Duration: 7 days

The name Sunderdhunga means the valley of beautiful stones. Sunderdhunga trek is considered the most beautiful and difficult compared to the Pindar glacier trek and Kafni glacier trek.

Sunderdhunga trek is undisturbed by humans, unlike Pindari and Kafni glacier trek that’s the reason for its unmatched beauty. It offers you soul-refreshing views of scenic glaciers, dense pines and old cedar trees, and blood-red rhododendrons.

The trek begins from Loharkhet and heads up to Khati via Dhakuri, and the route goes through Jaikholi, Dudhiya, Dhaung, and Kathalia.

Then walking along the River Pindari and Saryu, you will reach your destination. Mrigthuni, Maiktoil, Panwalidwar, and Tharkot are the snow-capped peaks visible during the trek. Taking its trail through pristine alpine meadows, and thick forest with many animals, this trek shows innumerable natural beauty.

Adi Kailash and Om Parvat Trek

  • Altitude: 6310 meters
  • Trekking distance: 76kms
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Best season to visit: April to December
  • Duration: 12 days

Adi Kailash, referred to as Chota Kailash is known for its spiritual significance and trekking bliss, and it is also one of the most revered mountains in India. According to Hindi mythology, it is believed that Adi Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. Due to its religious importance, this sacred mountain range is worshipped by Hindus.

The Adi Kailash and Om Parvat Trek start with a gradual climb to Darma Valley, then trek upwards to Kunthi Yankti Valley via the Sin La pass to join the Mount Kailash-Lake Mansarovar. On the way, you will come across the Kali River, Narayan ashram, the lush green valley filled with colorful flowers, tribal villages, and murmuring waterfalls. You can also catch a glimpse of Mt. Annapurna and other Himalayan peaks.

The trek will take you through the auspicious Kali temple that is 14Kms from Om Parvat. The snow deposition pattern on Om Parvat gives the impression of the sacred Hindu symbol ‘OM’. You will also find a miraculous Sumchuma stream near Adi Kailash that flows every three days and a half for three days in a continuous circle every time. You will experience a journey filled with natural beauties, peace, and serenity with a blend of thrill and excitement. 

Best time to Visit Kumaon

You can enjoy trekking in Kumaon throughout the year, but the best time to plan your tour is from April to June and September till November. The weather is mostly clear in the daytime, and nights become very cold with some snowfall during this time. 

With some parts shining in emerald green and the others draped in white snow, the region offers its best views in this season. Thus, visiting this Kumaon during these months allows you to witness the beauty of this place in the best possible way.

During October and November, the wild cherry trees get covered in pink- white blossoms, and in the months of March to May, the colorful spring flowers bloom at the margins of the snowline.

Are these trek right for you?

The Adi Kailash trek is considered a difficult trek due to its high altitude. You may face many challenges during the hike, your endurance and strength may get tested. Sometimes the tracks become slippery due to snow. Trekking in steep ascents and descents and narrow streams becomes challenging. You can prefer Pindari and Kafni glacier trek if you want short and easy ones.

Accommodation options

You will find many hotels and Goverment resorts according to your budget with many facilities. Some tour operators give you an accommodation facility included in their package. During the trek, you will have to stay overnight in the tents.

Things to keep in mind before going to Trekking in Kumaon

  • Depending upon the term of your journey, there are numerous things you need to carry on a high-altitude region. Therefore, make a list considering the number of days.
  • Do not take unnecessary toiletries, try to avoid things which are of very little use in the mountains. Pack light items that you can carry comfortably throughout the trek.
  • Snowfall is common and varies in treks and seasons, so always wrap your clothes in waterproof bags or plastic packets while packing your backpack. Even if you have a rain cover, use additional waterproofing.
  • Trekking shoes/boots are vital in mountain terrains, hence while buying trekking shoes check the weight of the shoes. It is important to purchase lightweight shoes to have a comfortable trek without fatigue. Also, check the heel support and water-resistant quality of the shoes.
  • Carrying a rucksack is very important during long and arduous treks. You should always keep a jacket and sleeping bag with you to avoid unwanted situations during the trek. If you want to buy a backpack, consider its size, internal frame, shoulder strap, and hip belt.
  • Make a list of mandatory documents required for legal purposes by the Forest department. Original government photo identity card and Medical certificate are two main documents, the Forest department will not permit your trek without them.
  • It is crucial to be fit all the time during your hike. It is advisable to follow a regular exercise routine for 2-3 months before your trek

Essential things to carry while going trekking:

  • Water-resistant trekking pants
  • Windproof \ waterproof jackets
  • Thermal innerwear
  • Woolen caps
  • Scarf \ muffler
  • Camp shoes such as sneakers
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Polybags
  • Personal toiletries
  • Sleeping bags
  • A pair of sunglasses and Suncap
  • Camera with Powerbank
  • Insect repellent and Medical kit
  • Trekking poles

The estimated budget for the Treks in Kumaon

You can search for trekking packages online on various websites or contact tour operators for a budget friendly trek. The charges of your hike will depend upon its duration. A 10-12 days trek can cost you 20,000 – 30,000 INR per adult, and a hike of 7-8 days will charge 10,000-15,000 INR per adult.  It includes:

  • Meals
  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Activities
  • Permits or forest fees
  • Experienced trekking guide and support staff