Best Hikes Himalayas
Photo credit: lensnmatter

14 Himalayan Hikes You Have to Experience

The Himalayas, which translates to ‘land of snow,’ inspire dreams of remote hiking, climbing granite towers, trekking through the slopes, and being on the veritable top of the world. If you’re ready for adventure, don’t miss these once-in-a-lifetime hikes.

Among the youngest mountain ranges on the planet — and unquestionably the tallest — the mighty Himalayas offer a wide spectrum of granite walls and snowy peaks to explore.

If you’ve been thinking about tackling the most renowned range but don’t know where to start, this list contains a diverse array of hikes across four countries: India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Read on to find the ideal hike for you.

India

Hamta Pass, Himachal Pradesh

Best Hikes Himalayas: Hampta Pass
Photo credit: Nutan Shinde-Pawar

One of this region’s most popular treks that changed the game of commercial trekking in India, Hamta continues to attract a huge surge of visitors to its valley every year. Connecting the lavish green Kullu valley to the dry, barren Spiti valley, the trail is only open during monsoon season (July to August).

Watch for the astonishing change in landscapes as you enter the Spiti side from the pass. The last day of the trek to Chandra Taal lake is an ultimate full stop to this extravagant excursion.

  • Trek distance: 26 km
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Altitude: 4,300 m
  • Region: Himachal
  • Trek grade: Easy to moderate

Kedarkantha Trek, Uttarakhand

Kedarkantha Trek
Photo credit: Saurabh Chatterjee

This trail is a fascinating journey into a white wonderland. Within just 20 km, this wide, forested trail opens up to high snow-crowned mountains, which makes it less risky for a winter trek.

Apart from spectacular views, the frozen lake Juda ka Talab provides another prime attraction. The top of Kedarkantha throws a wide spectrum of blue-white shades, reflecting off snowfields and distant pinnacles of Garhwal Himalayas.

  • Trek distance: 20 km
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Altitude: 3,800 m
  • Region: Uttarakhand
  • Trek grade: Moderate

Rupin Pass Trek

Hiking Himalayas: Rupin Pass Trek
Photo credit: Naveen Rana

This trans-Himalayan trek goes from the mighty Garhwal of Uttarakhand to the crafty Kinnaur mountains of Himachal Pradesh. The trail is known by the name of a hanging village called Jhaka. And Sewa, a village that predates Jhaka, has an exceptional Kinnuari temple embellished with medals and trophies of the villagers. There’s definitely a lot of history to explore in this region.

Rupin pass trek is also famous for its seldom-seen waterfalls, some so big that they seem to appear from clouds. Watch for Kinnaur Kailash Peak — the awaited, breathtaking sight that signals the trek is at its end.

  • Trek distance: 52 km
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Altitude: 4,640 m
  • Region: Uttarakhand and Himachal
  • Trek grade: Difficult

Goechala Trek, Sikkim

Trekking Himalayas: Goeachala Trek
Photo credit: Denis De Mesmaeker

The only way to hike in the Sikkim region is by way of the Goechala trek, which ends at the foot of the magnificent Kanchenjunga, the third-highest Himalayan peak (8,586 m). The region offers up a challenging trek with a mesmerizing panorama of the Kanchenjunga Range, Mount Pandim, and Kabru Peak. The trail rises from rhododendrons and grassy plains to barren gray-black terrain. Despite its immense popularity, the trek has a bad reputation for serious AMS (acute mountain sickness) emergencies.

Watch for potentially the scariest part of the trek — the summit climb to Viewpoint 2, with Kanchenjunga peaks just within reach. Thankfully, the return from the strainful summit is eased by the views of the Goechala and Samiti lakes.

  • Trek distance: 90 km
  • Duration: 11 days
  • Altitude: 4,600 m
  • Region: Sikkim
  • Trek grade: Difficult

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, Kashmir Valley

Trekking Himalayas: Kashmir Great Lakes
Photo credit: Baasir Gaisawat

Imagine waking up to an astounding icy-blue lake every morning. Kashmir Great Lakes is that dream-come-true adventure. As its name suggests, the trek is all about seven mighty lakes of the heavenly Kashmir Valley.

Watch for maple woods and enriched meadows along lakeside campsites and trails. As the saying goes, “no pain, no gain” — this heartwarming 7-day experience can only be achieved with heart-throbbing fitness.

Contrary to its infamy, Kashmir Valley is safe for hiking anytime. There is no reason to miss the quest of a lifetime.

  • Trek distance: 72 km
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Altitude: 4,191 m
  • Region: Kashmir Valley
  • Trek grade: Moderate-Difficult

Markha Valley, Leh

Trekking Himalayas: Markha Valley
Photo credit: Nutan Shinde-Pawar

Probably the only trek of India that radiates Buddhism. Markha valley is the largest valley of the dry Ladakh region. Half of the trek is a flat walk on the banks of the Markha River as the valley slowly reveals its diverse flora and fauna. The other half of the trek shoots up to the feet of Kang Yatse peaks to top out 5,000 m up at Kongmaru La pass. The pass marks the end of the valley and the wonderful trek.

Watch for remains of monastery and mani stones marking every turn of the valley. More temptations of the trek include summers sparkling with the liveliness of barley fields and wildlife as well as winters gleaming with the frozen Markha River.

  • Trek distance: 65 km
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Altitude: 5,200 m
  • Region: Leh
  • Trek grade: Moderate

Nepal

Everest Base Camp Trek (EBC)

Everest Base Camp Trek
Photo credit: Christopher Burns

This is one trek that needs no introduction, a trek that connects mountain-lovers of all nations. The desire to grace the spectacle of the top of the world has made this the most sought-after trek in the world. Everest Base Camp has become a new city where trekkers and mountaineers from everywhere reside together. However, the approach to this city is not a cakewalk!

The arduous hike to the 5,500m Base Camp is a mystic celebration of touching the foot of Everest. After all your hard effort to reach camp, enjoy the views of the mysterious Khumbu Icefall and giant peaks like Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and many more.

  • Duration: 13 days
  • Altitude: 5,547 m
  • Region: Mahalangur Himal
  • Trek grade: Difficult

Annapurna Base Camp Trek (ABC)

Annapurna Base Camp
Photo credit: Yatin Godara

Annapurna resembles hard climbing and deadly accidents. All of this is above its base camp, and the journey to the base is delightful. It’s the only hike that opens to 8,000er and giant peaks in merely 7 days of the trek. Watch for numerous suspension bridges and stairs leading to the Machhapuchhre Base Camp, then onto Annapurna Base Camp.

This trail experience oozes friendly hallmarks of Nepali culture and cuisine. The peak that introduced the world to 8,000er expeditions definitely deserves a rejoicing hike. It’s a direct step above the valley ringed by the Annapurna Range.

  • Trek distance: 70 km
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Altitude: 4,130 m
  • Region: Annapurna Range
  • Trek grade: Moderate

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Best Hikes Himalaya: Annapurna Circuit Trek
Photo credit: rupamnomad

The circuit is another mesmerizing trek that goes through Annapurna sanctuary, yet this is nothing like the Annapurna Base Camp trek. With 21 days, this trek is considered one of the longest and most exceptional hikes of the world.

Luckily, the trek also has shorter versions of 8-10 days based on start and end points. As you pass through rice farms, dense forests, snowfields, and quaint villages, watch for the rise to Thorong La Pass, the highest point of the trek. The trail consists of rocky paths, muddy slopes, suspension bridge walks, and a lot of stairs. Every turn is welcomed by stunning landscapes never seen before.

  • Trek distance: 170-230 km
  • Duration: 15-20 days
  • Altitude: 5,416 m (Thorong La Pass)
  • Region: Annapurna Range
  • Trek grade: Moderate
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Manaslu Circuit Trek

Best Hikes Himalaya: Manaslu Circuit Trek
Photo credit: Samde Sherpa

On the east of Annapurna is a less-popular trek of Nepal that’s loaded with the mindblowing beauty of the Nepal Himalayas. The circuit trail goes around the eighth-highest peak, Manaslu (8,156 m) and along the Budi Gandaki stream. This trek distinctively gives a feel of Nepali, Hindu, and Tibetan cultures with prayer flags and mani stones adorned on the way.

What makes this trek unique is that both the 8,000ers, Annapurna II and Manaslu, can be seen nearby. Watch for climbing up to the highest point (and most strenuous part of the trek) at Larkya La Pass. It’s worth it, though, as standing on the pass is an incredibly fulfilling moment.

  • Trek distance: 180 km
  • Duration: 14 days
  • Altitude: 5,160 m
  • Region: Manaslu region
  • Trek grade: Difficult

Pakistan

K2 Base Camp Trek

K2 Base Camp
Photo credit: Qazi-Ikram-ul-Haq

The Karakoram Range of north Pakistan is the heart of the most challenging and highest peaks of the world. K2 is the zenith of the Karakoram Range, also the most dangerous and second-highest peak (8,611 m).

Apart from K2, the Trango Towers, Gasherbrum peaks, Broad Peak, Cathedral Peak, Concordia, Muz­tagh Tow­er, and many more stand proudly in view from the K2 base camp trail. Watch for the nerve-wracking (yet totally worth it) hike up to Baltoro glacier. Additional hikes to Broad Peak base camp or Gon­do­goro Pass make the trek even more dramatic. Each day on the trek is a spine-chilling roller coaster.

  • Trek distance: 100 km
  • Duration: 8-13 days
  • Altitude: 5,117 m
  • Region: Baltistan
  • Trek grade: Difficult

Nanga Parvat Base Camp Trek

Nanga Parbat Base Camp
Photo credit: ahmedsgraphy

Nanga Parvat is known as this country’s deadliest peak and is the eighth-highest in the world at 8,125 m. Unlike the notorious peak itself, Nanga’s Base Camp walk is easy and suitable for inexperienced trekkers.

Watch for the popular and serene tourist destination Fairy Meadows at the gateway of the trail. The Jeep ride to the trailhead on the narrow, carved roads is a warm-up for the adventures coming ahead. The route is less crowded than you’d expect and offers spectacular views of Nanga Parvat, which is always in sight.

  • Duration: 7-9 days
  • Altitude: 3,800 m
  • Region: Gilgit Baltistan, Indus Valley
  • Trek grade: Easy

Rakaposhi Base Camp

Trekking Himalayas: Rakaposhi Base Camp
Photo credit: Munawar Abbas

This is a truly unique trip and the easiest trek of Pakistan. Rakaposhi, meaning “covered with snow,” is a 7,800m peak in the Karakoram Range. However, the trail to its base camp is lively and green with flourished meadows, forests, farmlands, and cattle grazing everywhere.

Watch for the trail’s end at the epic Minapin glacier, which has outstanding icy patterns. This is one of the four treks in the region that leads to the biggest mountains, yet with an easy approach.

  • Duration: 10 days
  • Altitude: 3,500 m (Thorong La Pass)
  • Region: Gilgit Baltistan, Nagar Valley
  • Trek grade: Easy

Bhutan

Snowman Trek

Best Hikes Himalayas: Snowman Trek
Photo credit: Andrew Purdam

Last but definitely not least, Snowman is an elite-level trek. With 25 days of hiking through nine passes over 4,500 m, crossing numerous 7,000er peaks, and reaching the most remote Lunana region of the Himalayas, the Snowman trek is literally a walk back in time.

Due to its duration, elevation gain, and vast stretches, it’s considered one of the toughest treks in the world. Laden with Bhutanese and Tibetan culture, the trek is a symbol of nomadic life.

  • Duration: 25 days
  • Altitude: 5,050 m
  • Region: Lunana region
  • Trek grade: Difficult
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