A few years back, trekking in India was not so much of a preferred adventurous activity. Only those who liked taking challenging trails or the mad-hawk adventure junkies would undertake it. But then, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani happened and bam! Every second person in India rushes to trek in the mountains. And what inspired people to go for treks are not just the picturesque snow-clad mountains but also the dialogues that Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) gave out about life, how we should live it, etc., etc.
While the mountainous ranges of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are the favourite spots for easy to moderate treks; North-East India and Leh-Ladakh has some of the most difficult trails. Especially, in Ladakh, the trekking trails are very challenging, giving trekkers a spine-chilling experience. What adds up to the challenge is the weather of Ladakh and trust us, if you clear these trails, there isn’t anything that you can’t do.
Now that we have intrigued you about challenging treks in Ladakh, let’s tell you more about it.
Ladakh – India’s Heaven on Earth
Famous for its moon-shaped and imposing terrains, Ladakh is the heaven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. It sits on the lap of the majestic Himalayas and offers views that are worth dying for. From crossing a glacier to climbing long stretches of the terrains to walking your way through steep ridges, even the easiest trail of Ladakh’s trekking route is enthralling and chilling. What makes your trekking experience even more exciting are the diverse landscapes that Ladakh houses. At each altitude, the beauty and picturesqueness of India’s heaven on earth changes, only to be more and more breathtaking. It is one of the most pristine destinations in the country. Not only trekking trails, but you can also visit many other tourist places in Leh Ladakh for a memorable trip. As for the treks, from 9000 feet to 25,170 feet, you have numerous trails to choose from. Usually, summers are the ideal time for trekking in Ladakh as winters are harsh there.
Things to Keep in Mind while Trekking in Ladakh
Before proceeding with the list of the most challenging treks in Ladakh, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind while trekking in the region, like –
- Carry ample warm clothes. Even in summer, the weather is colder than in the other parts of India. To avoid any hassles, ensure to carry warm jackets, ear muffs, gloves, and so on.
- It is advisable to get a health check-up done before the trek. Especially if you have any underlying health problems, consult your physician.
- When you are trekking peaks in Ladakh, be careful of the steeps and ridges. Ensure to carry a sturdy trekking stick with you.
- Make sure that you follow all the instructions by your trekking guidein Ladakh to avoid any issues.
- Wear comfortable shoes and carry an extra pair. Trekking at a high altitude is challenging; make sure that your trekking shoe has a good grip.
- Before booking your package, look for the best time to visit Ladakhso that you can enjoy your trip. While summers are said to be the best season, winters are also fine. But, avoid visiting Ladakh during the monsoon season.
- If you are unable to trek at a stretch, take breaks. It is okay to reach the destination a day late but your health should always be the priority. Don’t try to overexert yourself.
- Be hydrated but not overhydrated.
The Challenging Treks of Ladakh
Chadar Trek, Ladakh
Starting with undoubtedly the most challenging trekking trail in Ladakh, in the Chadar trek, you have to walk on the frozen Zanskar River, with surrounding that will give you the wintry vibes of Game of Throne’s Winterfell. Every year, the river freezes during the extremely low temperature during the winters, opening a route for adventurous trekkers. As fascinating as it is, for the Chadar trek, physical and mental fitness is quintessential. It is a challenging trek to the next level and you have to be strong to complete it. Since the river freezes, resembling a blanket of snow, the name Chadar has been given to the trek.
The starting point of the Chadar trek, Ladakh is nearly 64 km away from Leh and on the route, from frozen waterfalls to monasteries like Lingshed Gompa, Karsha Gompa, and so on can be seen. The temperature during the day usually falls between -5-degree Celsius to -10-degree Celsius; at night, the temperatures go down to -25-degree Celsius. The duration of the trek ranges from 6-20 days; make sure you carry enough warm clothes, rainproof jackets, and other such necessities. Check out our cost-effective Ladakh trekking packages for an amazing experience.
Markha Valley, Ladakh
A trekking duration of 8 days, the Markha Valley trek is yet another popular and daring trekking trail in Ladakh. It falls in the Leh district and the trek takes you through some amazingly varied landscapes, with views that are to behold in the eyes forever. Apart from the picturesque sceneries, the Kongmaru La Pass at 5000-metre above sea level, the sight of the Hemis National Park, and so on, makes the trek even more spectacular. The Markha Valley trek, Ladakh has two routes that you can undertake; both the routes are filled with eye-pleasing natural beauty but the difficulty level of the second route is higher than the first.
The usual route of the trek begins from Spituk to Zinchen, and then to Yurutse. From Yurutse, the trail moves up to the Ganda La pass and then slopes down to Skyu. When you walk further to the Markha Valley along the course of the Markha River, you will have to cross the river a few times before reaching Thachungtse. The highest camp on this Leh-Ladakh trekking trail is Niamling, offering a gorgeously breathtaking view of the Zanskar range. After Niamling comes the Kongmaru La pass, which is the highest pass on the Markha Valley trek. If you take a break at the Shang Sumdo village, you can explore the easy descent stream that leads to the Hemis and Thiksay monastery.
The alternate route for the trek includes the Stok Kangri climb, making the experience even more thrilling. This route is a ten-day trekking tour in Ladakh where you will explore the Stok Summit at 4900-metre along with many other scenic views.
Nubra Valley Trek
We talk about treks in Ladakh and not include the Nubra Valley trek, is that even possible? Arguably one of the most fascinating and exhilarating treks, it takes you to the most remote regions of the Himalayan belt. The Nubra Valley trek follows the Indus Valley route, after which the trail moves to the Zanskar Valley range. The actual route map for Leh Ladakh’s Nubra Valley trek begins from Sabu Village, covering the high-altitude Digar La Pass at 6000 metres above sea level before reaching the Digar Village. The trail then moves along the Shyok River and continues towards the Khalsar Village and Agyam Village. The Nubra Valley trekking trail ends with a descent to the Diskit village via Sumur. The majestic Diskit Gompa and the cold desert of Hunder are the two major attractions on the Nubra Valley trek. You can get various trekking packages to Nubra online for an exciting trekking experience.
Snow Leopard Trek, Ladakh
Last but not the least, another amazing and challenging trek in Ladakh is the Snow Leopard trek. Located in the Hemis National Park region, in the eastern part of Ladakh, the average elevation of this trekking trail is 3000 metres above sea level. Covering areas of the Markha and Rumbak Valley, this area was created in 1981 to help in the conservation of the region’s unique flora and fauna. The Snow Leopard is one of the rare and endangered animals found in this region and if you are lucky, you may get to spot this exotic species during the trek (a reason why the trekking peak in Ladakh is known as the Snow Leopard Trek). Apart from this, Ibex, Blue Sheep, Shapo Marmot, Tibetan Hare, Tibetan Antelope, etc., are other endangered species that you can find. The area also houses Snow Partridge, Golden Eagle, Horned Lark, Golden Oriole, Red Billed Chuff, and so on are species of beautiful birds that you can see during the Snow Leopard trek. If you are planning for a family trek in Ladakh, this is one of the perfect choices as along with witnessing the varied range of fauna, you and your loved ones can also visit the Buddhist Monasteries, Mud Palaces, and ancient Kingdoms of Ladakh.
Kang Yatse Trek, Tsomoriri Lake Trek, Padum to Darcha Trek, Ripchar Valley Trek, etc., are some of the other challenging and thrilling treks in Ladakh. Adding to this, you can also find some one-day treks in Leh that you can undertake for an enthralling experience.
We have several Leh-Ladakh tour packages available for those who are up for an exhilarating trekking experience. Are you one of them?!