The legendary popularity of the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is one of the most compelling reasons to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site. This popularity stems from the intoxicating mix of fragrances arising from some of the rarest Himalayan flora as well as the calm, quaint lake nestled at the height of 14,400 meters.
The Valley of Flowers Uttarakhand Trek opens for the public on 1st June each year. The national park remains open from the month of June to October. Though the Valley starts transforming into its beautiful self from May, with June and September being the peak months attracting tourists, July and August are the months where the flora bloom. Hence, you will find the Valley of Flowers to be highly alluring during these months, with beautiful and rare flowers growing all around.
It is advised to start early from Ghangaria when you are entering the Valley of Flowers. Since it is an acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage site, you need to enter your names in the register, pay the required entry fees, and declare all plastic items you are carrying along with you. The Valley of Flowers opens for tourists at 7:00 am each day, and the latest entry is allowed till 2:00 pm. It is recommended to start back by 1:00 pm so that you can reach your campsite or lodge by 5:00-6:00 pm.
You should always carry extra pairs of socks, ponchos or raincoats, a torch, and spare batteries for your camera while trekking the Valley of Flowers. The weather above 3500 meters is quite unpredictable, and hence you should do careful research before embarking on this trek. Take note of the weather and the road conditions, particularly during the monsoon season.
This depends on your itinerary in the Valley of Flowers. However, to fully experience the majesty and beauty of this region, a typical itinerary is between 5-6 days. The first and final days are usually spent travelling to and from the valley, and then you have 3-4 action-packed days in-between to explore this area.
The Valley of Flowers Uttarakhand Trek is not considered a particularly tough adventure. On average it has a low to medium difficulty rating. In terms of physical activity, you will need a decent level of fitness, and walking experience is also beneficial. The hiking trails are not particularly difficult; however, you will cover a decent distance of up to 13km on some days.
The Monsoons are the best time to visit the Valley of Flowers. You can catch a glimpse of the beauty of the mountainous flora and vegetation in its full bloom during this time. The national park remains open to trekkers from the first week of June to the first week of October.
During June, July, August, and September, temperatures remain mild considering the Himalayan climate. It might rise as high as 20°C during the day and drop down to 5°C at night. The rainy weather has an inherent humidity level in the air, and when coupled with the cool winds, it creates a nippy feeling.
The best months to embark on this trek are July and August. During early June, melting snow can be seen finding its way into the Hemkund lake. By the end of August, the rain clouds retreat, and you get to experience a clearer sky.
Starting from Rishikesh, take a direct bus, or book a cab to reach Joshimath 225 km away. Following an overnight stay here, start early for Govindghat by booking a car – an SUV charges around INR 7000 (USD 100 approximately) while a tempo traveler charges around INR 10,000 (USD 140-150) (rates may change). This is a journey of around 22 km. From Govindghat, take a car to Pulna village 4 km away via the recently built motorable bridge. Trek to Ghangaria from Pulna for another 10 km. It's the starting point of the trek to Valley of Flowers.
Valley of Flowers is among the most famous and oldest treks in India. This trekking trail has been well-explored by expert trekkers. The trails are demarcated clearly and frequented by pilgrims and locals to ensure their safety.
Since the monsoons are the peak season for trekking here, you must be careful of the slippery slopes during rainfall. Altitude sickness is another factor, but with patience and the proper medication when necessary, that can be overcome. You have got nothing much to worry about if you are physically and mentally ready for this trek.
The entire trekking path of the Valley of Flowers is around 17 km. You will be covering 10 km from Pulna village to Ghangaria village on the first day. From here, you will trek to the Valley of Flowers and back to Ghangaria village, covering a distance of 7.5 km in total. On the next day, you will be traveling for a total of 12 km to Hemkund Sahib and back to Ghangaria. The entire trip from Rishikesh to the Valley of Flowers, exploring Hemkund Sahib, and back to Rishikesh takes less than a week.
If you have geared up well for the rainy season in the Himalayan climate, it is perfectly okay for you to embark on this trek. Valley of Flowers has been classified as a moderate-level trek, so you can cover it on your own on a solo trek or visit with a group of fellow trekkers according to your comfort. If you are careful about the slippery terrain during rainfall, this trek is not too dangerous.
As the name suggests, you can witness the true beauty of Himalayan monsoons through the endemic alpine flowers that are in full bloom at this time of the year in the Valley of Flowers. This region consists of several rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. There are thousands of nearly extinct medicinal plants that are found in this valley. The picturesque valley is also dotted with rapids and waterfalls. You can interact with the warm and welcoming local people here going about their rural lives.
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