There are many treks in Ladakh for you to enjoy nature’s best wonders and breathtaking snow-covered Himalayas. When it comes to Ladakh, people think about high passes and rugged terrain. This is what the trekking experience takes you through. You get to explore incredible mountains amidst the white world of snow. Depending upon your time to visit, you will catch either the beautiful sight of flourishing cold water rivers and lakes or the frozen lakes to take a walk on. The trekking experience of Ladakh includes exploration of many enchanting valleys like Spiti Valley, Rumba Valley, and Zanskar Valley. Traveling through these valleys sometimes lets you witness the confluence of majestic rivers. Besides the water bodies, the beauty of Ladakh lies in its high altitude. You get to experience the charm of the high passes, challenging typography, and the cold barren deserts. Also, you can visit the age-old monasteries in some of the treks to witness the lifestyle of wise monks. The vibrant flora of Ladakh like rhododendrons, firs, oaks, and many blooming wildflowers in snow welcome you back amidst your trekking journey. Apart from flora, the magnificent Ladakhi-beings like snow leopards, blue sheep, Tibetan wolves, etc mark their presence in mountains.
There are many treks to do in Ladakh that range from easy ones to moderate and difficult levels. The easy treks are usually 1-day or 2-day long that take you through Ladakh’s cold barren landscapes and green meadows. Such an easy short trek is the Sham Valley Trek, often nicknamed the “Baby Trek of Ladakh”, as it lets you explore lower regions of Ladakh. If you come towards moderate-level treks, you can think of Markha Valley Trek, Lamayuru to Stok Kangri Trek, Padum to Darcha Trek, and Ripchar Valley Trek. Apart from moderate levels, you can think of boosting your adrenaline by taking some of the most difficult trekking experiences in Ladakh, suitable only to expert level trekkers. These difficult treks include Chadar the Frozen Lake Trek, Snow Leopard Trek, Stok Kangri Trek, etc. The extreme things about these treks are below -25 degrees celsius temperatures and snow covered trails.
Staying true to its name the “Chadar”, means a blanket, and this trek lets you walk on a frozen river. The 9-day trekking in Ladakh and Zanskar lets you rise 11,123 ft high above the ground levels. Once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience, the trek makes you travel through the frozen Zanskar River. This is one of the toughest treks that involve extreme weather as the night temperatures drop to -25 to -30 degree celsius. But the trek is rewarding enough to witness the breathtaking beauty of snow-covered mountains and Nerak’s frozen waterfalls.
Stok Kangri Climb is one of the most difficult treks in Ladakh that takes you through the ever-changing landscapes. For every mile you cross, terrain and view change. One part of the trail lets you walk on the cold barren landscape with marvelous views of the Himalayas and the other moment you are on the greenest meadows with blooming wildflowers. Once you reach the highest altitude of 20,080 ft in a span of the most challenging 9-days, the breathtaking views of Zanskar Valley and Indus Valley reward you.
Trekking to Markha Valley is one of the moderate-level treks to do in ladakh as you get close to the enchanting Markha River. Most of your 9-day trek involves moving between Ladakh and Zanskar Valley. The moderate trail presents you with rock canyons, and cold barren landscapes to walk through several traditional villages. You cross two high allied passes Gandala Pass and Kongmaru La Pass. Besides Ladakhi culture through the hamlets, one of the main highlights is the Hemi National Park.
Parang La Trek is all about exploring the beauty of Spiti Valley as you explore the small hamlets, and alpine forests of Firs, Oaks, and Rhododendrons. It is among the best treks in Ladakh that stretches up to 9-days. The trek takes you to a whopping height of 18,300 ft above the ground through the deep gorges of Spiti Valley. You move between the meadows of Thaltak, to Bomgrojen. One of the main highlights of the trek is Racholamo Valley, Tso Moriri Lake, and Korzok Monastery.
Snow Leopard trekking tour in Ladakh is all about meeting the creatures of winter- Snow Leopards, living their life 9,842 ft above the ground in the mountains of Leh. The 8-day trek takes you through some of the most difficult trails as the temperatures are drastically low with immense snowfalls. Explore the best of Leh through the Markha and Rumbak Valleys. In these valleys, you can sit with the locals and have tea to discuss folklore about the creatures of snow. You get closer to the Hemis National Park, the place where most snow leopards reside.
The Lamayuru to Chilling Trek takes you through the captivating yet challenging trails with the vistas of the Himalayas to reach 16,240 ft high above the skies. The stunning views of Karakoram and Stok follow you throughout the best treks in Ladakh. The trek makes you cross the snow-covered paths, and habitable high-altitude hamlets, and allows a monastery visit. You encounter three popular high passes- Prinkti La, Dung Dung Chan La, and Kongskil La Pass.
Sham Valley Trek: It is one of the easiest treks in Ladakh that beginners can enjoy through the Sham Region- a lower valley. The picturesque trail has a lot to offer as this trek is nicknamed the “Baby Trek” of Ladakh.
Snow Leopard Trek: One of the most enchanting Treks of Ladakh, the trail lets you catch the sight of magnificent Snow Leopards. You get to explore the Rumbak Valley and Hemis National Park in the 8-day trek.
Chadar Frozen Lake Trek: The challenging trek lets you walk on the Frozen Zanskar River and witness the frozen waterfalls of Nerak. The trek involves the most extreme temperatures dropping to -25 degrees celsius.
Markha Valley Trek is a moderate-level trek that happens in between Ladakh and Zanskar Valley. The 9-day moderate trail takes you through the rugged terrain, and cold barren landscapes to inch closer to Markha River. Some of the other treks include Lamayuru to Stok Kangri Trek, Ripchar Valley Trek, and Padum to Darcha Trek.
The best time for you to do trekking in Ladakh and Zanskar is around the months of November to Early March. This is because the weather conditions are favorable for you to continue the hike among cold barren landscapes and snow trails. You need to check if the trail is open for trekkers or not for the month you plan the trek.
Yes, going on a Trek in Ladakh is a risk-free activity for all adventurers. However, solo trekkers are not advisable in Ladakh since you require the guidance of an expert Trek to navigate through the routes, frozen river trails, cold barren landscapes, and snow-covered trails. You must join a group for traveling across Ladakh with an expert trek leader.
Parang La Trek is an offbeat Trek in Ladakh that lets you explore Spiti Valley, its cold barren landscapes, and the forests of Rhododendrons, firs, and oaks. Tso Moriri Lake Trek is another offbeat trek in Ladakh that offers you difficult terrain through Kyamar and Rupshu Valleys. Some other offbeat treks are Kharnak Trek, Kang Yatse Trek, Digar La Trek, etc.
For short treks in Ladakh, you must carry power banks, batteries, torches, and headlamps with you. If possible, the best way would be to charge your electronic items before the trek commencement and use them only when required. Moreover, you should make sure to carry winter and thermal wear as the temperatures could be cold at high altitudes.
The longest Trek in Ladakh is Zalung Karpo La Pass Trail. It stretches up to 162 km and takes around 56 hrs to hike.