Ladakh – Easy treks for beginners

Easy treks in Ladakh

Ladakh-the land of high passes is the highest plateau in India and one of the highest inhabited regions of the world. Blessed with amazing topography comprising of snow clad mountains,  lush greenery, arid deserts,  small tributaries, high altitude peaks and roaring rivers, it has something to offer to every traveller and thrill seeker.

Trekking is probably the best way to experience the vast wilderness and beautiful landscapes of Ladakh. It is also the primary attraction for tourists across the world visiting this cold desert. There are absolutely no restrictions on trekking except near the Border areas, and it is not difficult to find company or shelter in the treks here because of friendly locals and growing popularity of trekking in general in the region.

There are a plethora of trails and trekking options available for trekkers of all levels of expertise. Here is a quick run-down of 5 Easy treks in Ladakh that even beginners without prior trekking experience can try

  1. Sham Valley Trek:

    Sham valley trek - Ladakh
    Credit: Meghdut Gorai, Flickr

Sham valley is an easy and enjoyable trek that will take you through beautiful villages of Ladakh and trough popular Tibetan monasteries like Spituk, Thikse,  Lamayuru, and Hemis. This trek is perfect for those who want to observe the Ladakhi way of life from close quarters.

Sham Valley is also popularly know as Apricot Valley because of the Apricot orchards that are in abundance in the region. The trek also gives the chance to interact with the villagers who kept their Tibetan customs and traditions.
Duration: 5 to 7 Days
Best Time: May to October
Altitude: 4000m

  1. Spituk – Stok Trek:

    Spituk-Stok trek
    Credit: Henrik Johansson, Flickr

A lesser demanding trek, it involves crossing the Stokla pass at an altitude of 4900 M and commands great views of the popular Indus Valley. Spituk-Stok trek also provides an opportunity to explore the flora and Fauna of Ladakh. You can expect to spot Blue sheep, migratory birds and occasionally a Tibetan wolf or even the elusive snow leopard if you are very lucky!

The trail of this trek requires frequent ascending and descending of hills and walking along the streams. You will be crossing through Stok La pass (4900m) which is the highest point in this trek and from where you can get breathtaking views of Indus valley below.
Duration: 6 Days
Best Time: May to October
Altitude: 4900m

  1. Spituk – Matho Trek:

    Rumbak Valley
    Credit:Madhav Pai, Flickr

Regarded a beginner friendly trek, Spituk-Matho trial is a part of Hemis National park. This trek offers a great views of amazing rock formations, popular peaks including Kang Yatse(6400m) and Stok Kangri (6110m), beautiful ladakhi villages and monasteries along the trial. With the greater part of the trek rotating around Hemis National Park, one has a chance to discover the wild life in Ladakh.

Passing through dry and barren regions, the trial reaches  Zingchen and via a beautiful gorge section, it enters the scenic Rumbak Valley. From here on, the trail becomes more exciting as one arrives Stok La and begins to head downward to Mankorma. The trek ends up at Matho town, renowned for Matho Gompa, a sacred Buddhist monastery.
Duration: 5 Days
Best Time: May to October
Altitude: 4900m

  1. Hemis – Nimaling Plateau:

    Hemis - Nimaling Plateau trek
    Credit: kevin, Flickr

Starting from the Hemis monastery, the Hemis-Nimaling Plateau trek is one of the most scenic trekking courses in Ladakh. Passing through numerous villages of ladakh including Shang, Kongmoru La, one finally arrives at the Nimaling Plateau. Nimaling plateau is one of the highest grazing fields in the world and the nomadic communities of Ladakh bring their Yak and goat herds to this plateau regularly.

Sections of this trail transform into flower strewn pathways in the months of August and September bringing a unique aura and charm to this area. All this makes Nimaling an ideal site for camping and experiencing the dramatic life of Ladakh.

Duration: 8 to 10 Days
Best Time: June to October
Altitude: 5050m

  1. Indus Valley Trek:

    Indus valley trek
    Credit: Axel Drainville

Regarded as a family friendly and easy trek, Indus valley trek is perhaps the most preferred choice among first time trekkers in Ladakh. This trail traverses through attractive valleys including Sham Valley and its charming villages, high mountain passes like Phobe-La and Charatse la, through various ancient monasteries like Shey, Thiksey and Hemis among others.

The dramatic shifts in scenery is one of the highlights of this trek. While on one side snow-clad mountains impress with their wild beauty, on the other side lush green pastures soothe your eyes. The trek starts from Likir and after passing through some popular monasteries and villages, crossing valleys and streams, the trail finally reaches Lamayuru.
Duration: 8 to 10 Days
Best Time: Mid-June to Oct
Altitude: 3750m

So what are you waiting for! Grab a pack and put on your trekking shoes.


Featured Image credit: Amit Rawat, Flickr

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