trekking in Ladakh

Trekking is the most popular activity in not only Ladakh but elsewhere too. It has many benefits which most tourists realize and only after taking this as a sport they vow to hit another route next time and doubly benefit from their decision. Some of the unknown benefits are as follows:

1.      Disconnect from all that is part of our world, like friends, social media etc.

2.      Make new friends, like the nature and local tribes and discover new friends

3.      Get close to nature and observe what is not visible while staying in cities

4.      The benefit of silence

5.      Totally pollution free environment and breathing in pure oxygen

6.      Spotting some totally unknown flora & fauna

Trekking not only is a better way to exercise our bodies, but also to clear and challenge our minds. Trekking also rejuvenates us from within.

Best time for Trekking in Ladakh

Trekking season in Ladakh usually opens up between May and October. Beyond this period, heavy snowfall takes over and this closes most of the trekking routies.


Difficulty in Maps

Maps are not easily available here, but if you look around you may get one. But some foreign maps are available (the Olizane Map sections) sold by the Ladakh Book Shop, which sits above the SBI ATM in Leh. Though it will cost you around INR 1000 but the quality is good and provides ample information. However, looking at the opportunity, a number of locally published trekking maps are available in Leh, which you can purchase for Rs. 200. We advise you to compare both before deciding.


Prerequisites for Trekking in Ladakh

Travel agents, who have seen a surge in trekking nowadays offer the necessary permits, which serves as another reason to book through them. It costs around Rs 200-250. If you want to either climb or trek Stok Kagri, a permit from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation is compulsory. However, the charge is a whopping Rs 2,000 and their office is near Chanspa Road in Leh.


If you are looking to trek in the Hemis National Park, you need another permit available from the dhaba below the Rumbak village. Your travel agent will get you all the permits needed, which seldom is checked but only when you try climbing the Stok Kagri, the papers are physically verified.


Trekking Seasons

The best time to start trekking in Ladakh is around July and August. Since early September, there is a possibility of storms, thunderstorms and snowfall. In February, you can attempt to enter Ladakh through the demanding Chadar ice-trek. The route nears the frozen Zanskar River, where you cross side tributaries on shaky snow bridges and camp in rock caves found nearby. Also, trekkers definitely need winter gear and an experienced local guide.


Trekking Preparations

Most trekking routes in Ladakh start around 3,500 meters, and hence proper acclimatization is necessary to avoid acute mountain sickness (AMS). The best way to acclimatizeis to roam around for at least 2-3 days.

Listof the most Popular Treks in Ladakh

Ladakh has ample trekking routes and you can choose from the most popular treks  from the list we give below. For your convenience, we also give you the approximate number of days the trek will last.


The Markha Valley Trek (6-7 days): This trek combines hiking and includes landscapes with people and local culture by incorporating homestays with families in villages along the way. This combination is ideal and results in a trekking experience that will exceed your expectations. Thistrek can get crowded in the high season (July and August), so be prepared for it. Favourable periods attract much crowd and if you like trekking only in a small group, talk to your travel agent beforehand and you can get full info on which trekking route should be chosen.

Trekking into Hidden Valleys of Ladakh, Zanskar Mountain Range (9-10 days): This special trek takes you deep into the Zanskar mountain range and through small villages throughout the valley area. You need Full camping gear as homestays are not possible for the entire trek route. Though the trek lasts around 10 days, it is better to be prepared for a few days extra, and keep enough rations.

Nubra Valley (5-6 days) Trek: Thistrek is one of the most beautiful and talked after. This can either be done without much trekking for 2-3 days, or it can be a fuller trekking experience with camping, camel rides and more.

The Kharnak (15 days) Trek: This one Begins like the Markha Valley trek but continues further south for another 8-10 days. A trekking guide opined that this was one of his favorite treks. Each guide have their own preferences and their views keep changing.

The Rumtse to Tsomoriri (8-9 days) Trek: This trek is another guide's favourite because of the underlying beauty of the lakes and the joy of interaction with shepherds along the way. Many tourists like to lift small goats and shoot pictures and even have selfies. This trek is on the short list for when we return.

The 9 Popular Short Duration Treks


Sham Valley Trek

Season: June to October

Altitude: 3,750 m

Duration: 7 days

Physical Exertion: Easy


Route Likir – Yangthang – Hemis Shukapachen – Ang – Temisgam – Nurla

Highlights: Hemis Shukpachan, Tingmosgam, Ang Village, Apricot Valley


Spituk to Matho Trek

Season: Mid-June – September

Altitude: 4,850 m

Duration: 5 days

PhysicalExertion : Easy


Route: Leh – Spituk – Rumbak – Matho Phu – Leh

Highlights: Hemis National Park


Lamayuru Alchi Trek

Season: July to October

Altitude: 5,250 m

Duration: 8 days

PhysicalExertion : Easy


Route: Leh -Lamayuru – Wanla – Base of Tar La- Mang Gyu- Alchi

Highlights: Prinkti La, Shilla Village, Mang Gyu, Gera Village


Likir to Temisgam Trek

Season: Throughout the year

Altitude: 5,250 m

Duration: 8 days

PhysicalExertion : Easy


Route: Leh – Likir – Yangthang – Hemis Shukpachan – Tingmosgang

Highlights: Saspotse village, Hemis Shukpachan, Phobe La


Spituk to Stok Trek

Season: Mid June to Mid October

Altitude: 3,900 m

Duration: 6 days

Physical Exertion : Easy


Route: Leh – Shey – Thiksey – Hemis – Leh – Spituk – Zingchen – Rumbak – Stok la

Highlights: Rumbak Village, Stok la pass, Stok Palace, Wildlife expedition


Lamayuru to Chilling Trek

Season: Mid-June – September

Altitude: 4,950 m

Duration: 7 days

Physical Exertion: Moderate


Route: Leh – Wanla – Hinju – Sumdo Doksa – Base of Dung Dung Chan la – Chilling

Highlights: Shyam Valley, Kongskil La, Dung Dung Chan la, Visit to the monasteries


Stok Kangri

Altitude: 6,150 meters

Longitude: 77 29'

Latitude: 33 57'

Duration:  13 Days

Physical Exertion : Moderate


Route: Leh - Stok Village - Mankarmo - Base Camp - Stok Kangri Summit


Spituk to Chilling via Ganda la Trek

Season: Mid June to Mid October

Altitude: 4,900 m

Duration: 5 days

PhysicalExertion : Medium


Route: Spituk – Zingchen – Rumbak – Yurutse – Ganda la Pass – Skiu – Chilling – Leh


Nun Expedition

Season: July to September

Altitude: 7,135 mts.

Longitude: 76 01'

Latitude: 33 59'

Duration:  31 Days

PhysicalExertion : Hard

Route Leh - Alchi - Lamayuru - Heniskut - Kanji - Kanji-La -Tshitongde - Tangot - Nun Base Camp - Camp I - Camp II - Camp III - Summit attempt.

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