Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
The Himalayas present a multitude of options to the enthusiastic and the curious. Some trekkers brave the challenging terrains to watch the sunrise from the snow-capped mountains and accomplish a feeling of fulfillment after summiting those mighty peaks. Whereas others are contented to breathe in the fresh air, listen to the humming of the birds, and witness incredible spectacles like the sprawling, lush valleys, gushing waterfalls, alpine lakes, and dense forests under star-lit skies.
Tourists and trekkers alike hold the Indian state of Uttarakhand in high esteem for the diverse beauty of the Himalayas that it presents. One of those major Himalayan attractions here is the Valley of Flowers Trek. It matters the least whether you are traveling solo, with your partner, or with a group of fellow trekkers; the Valley of Flowers trail is mesmerizing enough to captivate your soul.
Experience the bounty of mother nature when you walk through the colorful arrays of rare alpine flowers. This colorful extravaganza continues for a whopping length of 17 km! However, it takes less than a week to cover the Valley of Flowers National Park. If you are an amateur trekker looking for easy trails to cover and kickstart your trekking experience, this could be the perfect trip for you.
One of India's oldest known trekking routes, the Valley of Flowers, is in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, which covers an extensive area of 87 sq. km. In 1982, the Government of India declared the Valley of Flowers to be a National Park. Some decades later, in 2002, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Besides the Nanda Devi National Park, the Valley of the Flowers forms the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. It is believed to have been discovered in 1931 by three British climbers who lost their way while returning from Mt. Kamet. From then on, the popularity of the valley snowballed because of the breathtaking visuals it offers.
The Valley of Flowers National Park stretches for 8 km in length and has a width of 2 km. Vast meadows of endemic alpine flowers carpet the landscape here. Several rare and endangered birds and animals have also found a home in this lush greenery.
Curious about what attractions the Valley of Flowers trekking entails? Read on to know all about them.
However, camping in tents, an indispensable part of a splendid trekking experience, is not allowed in the Valley of Flowers. It is a protected ecoregion and a national park. Lodging is available at Ghangaria and Govindghat.
How difficult is Valley of Flowers Trek?
Expert trekkers have classified the Valley of the Flowers trek as an easy to moderate level trek. The highest point here is at an altitude of 4390 meters. If you are geared up well and live an active life year-round, this is not much of a challenge.
Some of the reasons that give this trek a moderate rating are:
Best time to visit Valley of Flowers Trek
The Valley of Flowers is a monsoon trek. Both expert and uninitiated trekkers prefer the rainy season, especially the months of July and August, to visit the valley and witness the wonders of nature. During this time, the valley is in full bloom. You will find endless stretches of colorful flora. The national park remains open from the first week of June to the first week of October.
Therefore, the rainy season is considered to be the best time for Valley of Flowers trek. Note that this is also the time of the year when the area is prone to accidental landslides and torrential downpours. It would be wise to check weather forecasts before embarking on this trip.
Gear guide and checklist for Valley of Flowers Trek
While packing for any hike, remember to pack for all eventualities. But, also remember to minimize your luggage as much as possible. The Valley of Flowers trek Uttarakhand is a short trek, so carrying only your essentials will be enough. Here's an extensive guide on how to pack for the trek.
Clothes, footwear, and other essentials for the trek
Pack light and comfortable clothes that are quick to dry. Polyester t-shirts are the best in this category for trekking through the day. The temperature starts to drop after sunset, so make sure to have warm jackets and pullovers to bundle up for the night. Thermal innerwear may help maintain optimal body temperature but do not let yourself overheat since the temperature during this time fluctuates between 20°C and 8°C. Carrying extra pairs of socks and underwear is always a safe option.
If you're traveling in the rainy season, you will need a raincoat with a hood, along with an umbrella. Alternatively, you can carry a waterproof poncho. Having waterproof bags for your wallet and electronics and covers for your backpack is also advisable.
When it comes to footwear, you should make a very thoughtful and informed purchase decision. When traveling in mountainous regions like the Valley of Flowers National Park, you must wear high-quality and sturdy hiking boots. Since you will be ideally visiting the Valley of Flowers during monsoons, you need to take special care about the grip of your hiking boots to avoid any mishaps.
Although you should pack exhaustively when visiting the Himalayas, it is advised to keep your backpack light. A 40 to 50-liter backpack should suffice for your entire journey. Additionally, you can keep a 20-liter backpack handy if you are offloading. A sturdy hiking pole is a must-have for the trek.
A first-aid kit is a must-have
Remember to pack your regular medicines if you are taking any, and also have a first-aid kit in your backpack. Minor injuries and blisters can be easily treated with antiseptic liquid, ointment, and a few bandaids. To treat bigger wounds and sprains, keep a crepe bandage, gauze swabs, and medical adhesive tape. Pain-relieving sprays and balms can help muscle aches and sprains.
Stock up on common medicines like paracetamols for fever, antihistamines for allergic reactions, anti-nausea medications for motion sickness, and antacids for stomach troubles. Carry water-purification tablets in case of water scarcity.
Toiletries and Hygienic Products
Have your own set of toothbrushes, toothpaste, towel, and biodegradable soap when you're taking on a journey like this. Hand sanitizers, lip balms, and moisturizers are also helpful in maintaining hygiene. Ensure to be well-stocked in products for menstrual hygiene — menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and tampons to prevent any discomfort. Additionally, carry rolls of toilet paper and wet wipes for freshening up.
Trekking permits and travel documents
When you're entering the Valley of Flowers National Park, you will be issued a 3-days permit for INR 150 (USD 2-3) for Indians and INR 600 (USD 8-9) for foreign tourists (rates may change). This permit must be kept safely. If you plan to stay for more days, an extra fee of INR 50 (less than USD 1) for Indians and INR 250 (USD 3-4) for foreign tourists is charged per day. Photography and videography are primarily free inside, but in the case of professional videography, there are tickets available at INR 500 (USD 7-8) for Indians and INR 1500 (USD 20-25) for foreign tourists.
Carry a photo ID with address proof in case of emergencies, some photocopies of it, air/train tickets, car bookings, a map, and a guidebook.
Other important items
Carry extra batteries for your camera, chargers for your electronics, power banks, plug adapters, and spare change as ATMs are hard to come by in these remote, mountainous regions. A small, battery-operated torch, water bottles (not disposable plastic ones), sturdy trekking poles, and binoculars will come in handy on this trek.
Valley of Flowers Trek Itinerary
The most popular trekking itinerary for the Valley of Flowers is one that starts from Rishikesh. Read on to find out more in detail.
Getting fit for the Valley of Flowers Trek
Both mental and physical fitness is of utmost importance for trekking to the Valley of Flowers. This is a moderate-level trek with a high altitude gain in only 3-4 days. So you must ensure that your body and mind are ready to take on the journey.
Your heart and lungs should be in good shape for this trek. With a disciplined, regular fitness regime, you can achieve this easily. Walking, jogging, squatting, skipping, cycling, and swimming will help you build your cardiovascular endurance. Stair climbing is another exercise that is bound to help you get more fit over time. Apart from aerobics, you can also take care of your core, back, shoulder, and leg muscles. A few gym sessions every week followed by long walks or brisk running over undulating topography will be highly beneficial for your body before this journey.
Although the Valley of Flowers Trek is an easy to moderate level trek and can be attempted by beginners, you can never know what hazards and surprises the Himalayas have in store for you. If you believe in yourself, you can certainly overcome any of the challenges that this trek poses. Train your mind to be resolute and determined. Upon completing the trek, the feeling of accomplishment is unparalleled, and that should be your desired prize if things get hard in between.
Take all necessary precautions and trekking gear while trekking to the Valley of Flowers. Regularly checking the news and weather forecast can help you plan the best trip here. Trekking to the Valley of Flowers will be a wonderful experience if you stay alert and safe.