A trip to Ladakh will cost you the most precious thing in your life, Time. The time spent planning, time spent traveling and the time spent pondering how a place like this; arid, barren, isolated can be hauntingly beautiful. The place is occupied with ancient civilizations, its culture and people are far from the modern commercial world. Ladakh is as raw as it gets when it comes to enkindling emotions, portraying extreme faces of Nature and the intimidating mountains. Trek trails in Ladakh are challenging due to terrain, dynamic topography, weather and altitude. The experience of trekking in Ladakh in its glory will have you stunned for eternity.
Nubra Valley Trek
The Nubra Valley is rich in cultivation and vegetation as two rivers meet in this valley namely Shayok and Siachen. It is located at an altitude of 5438 m between Karakoram ranges and Ladakh ranges of Himalaya in Northern Ladakh. The trek embarks from Phyang to Hunder and it takes 4-5 days to complete it. Enroute you will witness the highest motorable road Khardungla Pass at 18,380 ft, majestic peaks, Diskit, Maitreya Buddha statue, beautiful glaciers, hot springs, camel rides, Hunder sand dunes and many Himalayan Desert Camps. Also, behold the ancient trade silk route which leads from Kashmir, Ladakh, Tibet and further towards Central Asia. The best time to trek would be between late July to September.
Tso Moriri Trek
With an elevation of 5000 m, the trek trail passes through Changthang, a high altitude plateau at 4500m. Due to lack of oxygen, it can pose a threat to your life and hence it is crucial to get acclimatized in advance. The area is rich in wildlife and if you are lucky enough, you may come across wild Tibetan ass, snow leopard, foxes and migratory birds. It takes approximately 6-7 days to complete this trek. Enroute you will come across the local people and small villages. To make this trek enthralling, cross over to Spiti via the Parang-la pass. After reaching Tso Moriri, do not forget to explore Korzok village located at the shore of the lake. The small village consists of monasteries, vegetated land surrounded by lofty mountains and the serene lake.
The best season to trek in Ladakh is between March to October. However for Chadar trek, the best time to visit would be between January to February making it a winter trek destination in India. While the state of Ladakh comes to a halt in winter due to extreme snowfall and weather conditions, the route stays active throughout. The Zanskar river is frozen in the extreme below temperatures which can be crossed over during the trek. The river passes through gorges, frozen waterfalls which makes this trek one of a kind. It takes 9 days to complete this frozen river trek.
Few treks in Ladakh can match up to the variety of topography, local flavor or opportunities to spot wildlife that this hike offers. A fair share of river crossing and lofty passes, not to mention the fact that each day entails about seven hours of walking makes it moderately challenging. This trek takes 10 days to complete if one starts their journey from Spituk and ends in Hemis by passing through Kongmaru-la. The highlights of this trek are camping at a tiny hamlet called Zingchen and a cable car ride offering a multicolour range of mountains at Chilling.
Darcha – Padum
The picturesque road to Leh via Kargil is an evergreen wonder of Ladakh. This is a trans-state trek which begins from Darcha in Himachal Pradesh and ends in Padum Ladakh. The road development has contributed in making this trail a lot more convenient. The Shinkunla, treks in the region require a decent level of physical fitness is demanded to complete this 8 day route, though ample of villages and friendly helpful locals soften the blow of a tiring walk.
Khalsar – Thakthak
This is an offbeat trek path in Nubra Valley. The weather in Nubra is smooth and pleasant compared to the rest of Ladakh. The trek commences from Khalsar and ends in Thakthak covering Samstanling monastery enroute. The challenging part of this trek is through Wari-la, a high altitude pass(5000m). During the trek, you will notice the changes in terrain from barren beige lands to lush green vegetation.
Some other classic treks in Ladakh include:
- Lamayuru – Padum (9 -11 days)
- Lamayuru – Padum – Darsha (19 – 21 days)
- Lamayuru – Padum – Kishtwar (13 – 14 days)
- Saboo – Digarla – Digar – Khalsar (5 – 6 days)