Out of the trekking destinations in India, there is something about hill-altitude treks that rewards you with the beauty of the Himalayas surrounded by clouds. The high-altitude top trekking destinations in India are usually the ones that are toughest on the trails. You come across many ascents, dense forests, rugged terrain, river gorges, snowfields, moraines, and whatnot during these high-altitude treks. Some of the best high-altitude treks in India are Chadar trek that allows you to walk on the trail of frozen lake! The Stok Kangri trek is India’s highest, and one of the world’s highest treks that takes you to an elevation of 20,180 ft. The Kinnaur Kailash Circuit trek, Goecha La trek, Auden’s Col trek, are among some of the most popular high-altitude treks. Most of these treks are winter treks with trails covered with dense snow. Another aspect of these treks are thrill-levels looking down in the cloudy wonderland from high-altitudes.
Chadar Trek, also known as “Frozen Lake Trek” is one of the most popular trekking destinations in India that lets you witness the beauty of frozen Naerak Waterfalls. The enchanting trek is named so because it allows you to walk on the frozen Zanskar River spreading out like a blanket “Chadar”. The frozen river looks as if it is the glass reflecting the beauty of the skies. The trek lets you sleep in caves in front of the bonfires as you live in the surreal experience of a whopping -30 degrees celsius.
Kinner Kailash Trek is among the popular trekking destinations in India 10-day 9-night journey that takes you to an elevation of 17,200 ft. The sacred mountain lies in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The journey to Kinner Kailash starts from Shimla, and the trekking starts from Thangi. The moderate to difficult level trek lets you cross the sites like Charang, Lalanti, Chitkul, Sangla, etc. The joy of reaching the top point is all about witnessing the beauty of Zanskar, Dhauladhar, and the Greater Himalayan Mountain Ranges.
Stok Kangri Trek is the highest trek in India, and one of the toughest that takes you to a staggering elevation of 20,180 ft in cold temperatures. The trek starts from Stok village at 11,800 ft and takes you to Stok Kangri showcasing the stunning look of Karakoram, Saser Kangri, and Zanskar Mountain Ranges. The 9-day and the 8-night journey are one of the most popular high altitude trekking destinations in India that requires training amidst the journey to gain an altitude of 9000+ ft in 5 days. The average trekking time is 7-13 hours every day covering a total distance of 40 km.
Goechala Trek is all about witnessing the beauty of the Southeast face of the World’s third-largest Himalayan Peak- The Kanchenjunga. The 10-day and 9-night trek is among the best high altitude trekking destinations in India that start from Yuksom and takes you to an altitude of 16,207 ft. The Buddhist village of Tshoka, and Dzongri viewpoint 1 reward you with views of the snow-covered Himalayas across Indo-Nepalese borders. The trek lets you cross the Kanchenjunga National Park and its thick forests of Rhododendrons. You get to witness the beauty of Samiti Lake, and Pandim Peak.
Auden's Col Trek is one of most arduous, and popular high altitude trekking destinations in India, taking you through the Garhwal Region of the Himalayas. You can explore the trek's difficult moraines, tiny cliffs, and steep trails. The 16-day, 17-night journey will take you to an altitude of 5490 meters through various Hindu holy sites on your way to the high-altitude Auden's Col Pass, which connects the Bhilangana and Rudragaira valleys. During the trek, you can witness Himalayan peaks such as Jogin, Rudragaira, Bhagirathi, and Kedar Dome, among others.
The Kalindi Khal Trek starts with a drive from Dehradun through Harsil and Gangotri. It is one of those popular high altitude trekking destinations in India that officially begins in Gangotri and takes three hours to reach Chirbasa. The journey offers spectacular views of the Bhagirathi Mountains and the Bhagirathi National Park as it winds through moraines and glaciers. You travel across the meadows of Nandanvan Tapovan, passing rivulets while the summits of Bhagirathi, Shivling, and Meru stand vigil. The trek's conclusion allows you to see Gangotri's birthplace and reach a magnificent height of 5950 meters in Kalindikhal.
Panpatia Col Glacier takes you to a height of 17,257 feet after crossing Badrinath, Joshimath, Shepherd Camp, Snout Camp, and moraines. The trek begins at Joshimath base camp, which is accessible from Rishikesh or Haridwar. It is one of the most difficult trekking destinations in India that allows you to reach Panpatia glacier in 13 days and 12 nights. You get to witness one of the highest Himalayan passes connecting India's two pilgrimage destinations- Kedarnath and Badrinath. The trail follows a path of rugged terrain, moraines, snowfields, and steep routes to see the majesty of high peaks such as Nanda Devi, Nilakantha, Balakun, Kunaling, Chaukhamba, and others.
The Pin Parvati Trek is among the best trekking destinations in India, beginning in Barshini, near Kasol, and ending in Kaza. The 10 days and 9 nights trek allow you to cover 110 kilometers and reach a maximum altitude of 17,457 feet. The trekking path leads you across high slopes, harsh terrain, and snowfields through Tunda Bhuj, Thakur Kuwan, Kheerganga, and Ody Thach. Along the trekking trail, there are numerous Buddhist villages and hamlets. From Kheerganga to Ody Thach, the bleak mountain trail suddenly turns into a green path. You pass through the Mantalai village, which is noted for its sacred Shiva Temple and gorgeous lake.
Bara Bhangal Trek is all about witnessing the beauty of the Dhauladhar, and the Pir Panjal Mountain Ranges. The 11-day and 9-night trek starts from Manali through the thick forests to Lamadugh. The following trail is through Riyali Thach, Kalihani Pass, and Devi ki Marahi to reach Bara Bhangal Village at 2882 meters. The highest point of the trek takes you to Dali Marhi at 3900 meters. The highlight of the trek includes Kaliheni Glacier and the River Ravi surrounded by Deodar forests.
The Pin Bhaba Trek is among the best high altitude trekking destinations in India that lets you to an altitude of 16,125 ft through the rapidly changing trail from cold barren desert-like landscapes to green grasslands, and snowfields. It is a typical winter trek that rewards you with snow at Bhabha Pass top. The moderate-level trek is all about river crossings and moving through beautiful forests. The 8-day and 7-night trek starts from Kafnu near Shimla to traverse through Mulling, Kara, and Phustirang to conquer the Bhabha Pass at 4850 meters and Baldar at 3900 meters.
The first step is to visit a doctor and assess your fitness levels. Prior training for running 10 km every day with weights in hand is a crucial practice. Regularly hydrating yourself, and indulging in aerobic exercise is a good way to prepare for high-altitude treks. Practicing yoga breathing, and acclimatization techniques make you survive high elevation with less oxygen without altitude sickness. Carrying medicines can relieve you from acute mountain sickness on all the high altitude trekking destinations in India.
When going on a high-altitude trek, you must carry essentials like thermal wear, raincoats, medical kits, first-aid kits, toiletries, cutlery, neckband, baklava, etc. Some of the most important things to carry are trekking poles and headlamps. The trekking poles reduce 30-40% of net energy expenditure during the trek and enhance your strength and balance. Making a small change to replace headlamps with a torch is a good decision because it makes your hands free.
Kalindikhal Trek is among the most high-altitude trekking destinations in India from Uttarakhand that takes you to a height of 5950 meters. It is among one of the top highest trekking destinations in the whole country that starts from holy Gangotri and crosses the trail with views of the Bhagirathi Mountains. It is a 15-day and 14-night trek that lets you cover a trekking distance of 90 km.
Pin Parvati Pass trek is among the highest treks in Himachal Pradesh that takes you to a height of 5319 meters towards spiti valley. Despite being on the list of the highest treks, it is an alluring trek that lets you watch the confluence of Parvati Valley and Spiti Valley.
The highest altitude trek in India is Stok Kangri Trek, starting from Ladakh. The 9-day and 8-night trek is among the best high altitude trekking destinations in India that starts from Stok Village at 11,800 ft and takes you to a staggering height of Stok Kangri at 20,180 ft. This trek follows an ever-changing trail that makes you sleep in the caves. Taking this trek requires prior practice, and experience owing to the fact that a single day in the middle of the journey is dedicated to acclimatizing and preparing for the trek.
No, it is a common misconception that most of the high-altitude top trekking destinations in India are tough to climb. The first reason to make these treks tougher is the fact that they are usually long enough to cover long distances. Such a long trekking experience might seem overwhelming to first-timers. Contrary to belief, most high-altitude treks don’t follow a trail of steep ascents but a simple cold barren landscape.