Visiting Leh Ladakh has become more of a trend now, especially after the hit movie ‘3 Idiots’, which featured the most spectacular Pangong Lake in one of its shot.
Being an iconic spot now, Leh Ladakh is not only renowned for its sheer beauty, but it is also known for some of the best treks . Being at the ultimate height, the hills are surely calling out to you.
If you and your pals are huge fans of climbing those mountainous terrains then read on this article on 7 treks in Leh Ladakh
7 Best treks in Leh Ladakh
1. Spituk to Stok
Trekking in Leh is different, mainly due to the dizzying heights, which also offers a marvelling view from the top. But if you are just a beginner then this particular trek is an easy one, which takes about four days that covers the most scenic areas. It all starts by driving to Spituk village from Leh, which covers a distance of about 7kms. The trek commences from Spituk to Zinchen (Zinchen being the first half) and it takes roughly 4-5 hours. So, you will be going from dry barren land to a much greener side during the initial trek.
Setting up a camp here is more than just perfect as the Rumbak River flows into the Indus, which might even offer you and your pals a chance to take a cold dip and rejuvenate. The next part of this trek will take you through the Hemis National Park, giving you the joy of witnessing the vivid beauty of the flora and fauna that thrives in this hilly region. This 3-4 hours trek, escorting you uphill will bring you to the mesmerizing Rumbak village where you can catch up with your breath and rest for the day.
The final day of the trek, being a bit arduous one is a steep trail near Stok La, which then descends towards Mankato. You will be going through beautiful valleys with narrow lanes. You can also visit the 19th century Stok Palace, which is now a museum before heading back to Leh to end your trek. The best time to embark upon this trek is from May to October.
Duration: 3 to 4 days
Distance: 39 km
Max elevation: 4855m
Elevation gain / loss: +1925m / -1509m
2. Markha Valley
Being one of the most popular treks in Leh, the Markha Valley trek takes eight days where you can explore the terrains of the hilly regions while also get a chance to experience the local life by interacting with the people living there. Beginning from Spituk to Zinchen, this trek will go to Yurutse on day 2. On the 3rd day, you will take about 6-7 hours of trekking up the Ganda La Pass and then descend down to Skyu. The next day you will be escorted to the Markha Valley, where you will be following the course of the beautiful Markha River, which you will be crisscrossing several times to make your way towards Thachungtse.
The next day you will be going to an uphill trek to Niamling, which is the highest camp on this trek and it will take around 4-5 hours. It will take efforts for you to get there but the view of the Zanskar Range will sure give you the sweet fruits. After camping there for a night, the next day you will be trekking up to the Kongmaru La Pass, the highest pass on this trek, which will give you the best view of the Indus villages below.
The final night of this trek will be spent in the village of Shang Sumdo where you can rewind your memories of this experience under the beauty of the night stars. Rise up early the next day to an easy descend and a walk along the stream will bring you to the famous Hemis and Thiksay monastery before driving back to Leh. June to October are the best time to embark upon this trek.
Duration: 8 days
Max Elevation: 5260m
Elevation gain/loss: +2502m/ -2019m
3. Parang La: No trek is complete unless it offers a scenic view of the beautiful valley beneath. If you wish for the same then this trek is just for you, which has steep gorges, scenic view of the valley, the glittering blue lake and beautiful landscape in store for you, throughout the Ladakh-Spiti route. This trek starts with a drive from Kaza to Kibber village, which is also the highest inhabited settlement in the country. A few hour treks from Kibber is Dumla, from where you will be heading to Thaltak Meadow the next day.
A 7-hour trek on the 3rd day will take you from Thaltak to Jagtha and then to Bonrojen. You will be then embarking upon a steep climb the next day, which will bring you to Parang La Pass at 18,300 feet, from where you will get a beautiful view of Spiti Valley. A trek ahead to the source of Pare Chu River, you can set up a camp at Dak Karzong. Day 5 to 7 will just involve a trail from Dak Karzong to Datang Yongma to Chumik Shield and to the southern edge of the peaceful Tso Moriri Lake.
The next day you will be trekking along the lake, which will get you to Karzog where you can visit the monastery. The trek ends on the next day where you can drive from Karzog to Leh via the Mahe Bridge. The best time for this trek is from August to October.
Duration: 11-12 days
Max Elevation: 5600m
4. Kang Yatse:
Situated at 20,000 feet, Kang Yatse is the most beautiful and adventurous trek that will take 12-13 days to complete. This trek is an extension of the Markha Valley trek up o Niamling, from where you will be taken to Kang Yatse’s base camp. The next day will help you proceed towards Kang Yatse’s highest camp. Though the distance between both the campsite is less, it is a steep climb, only for the brave hearts.
The climb being a tough one, trekkers usually have to embark upon it from 2 am. Once you reach the top, you can be a witness to the breathtaking beauty of the Zanskar River and Tibet. Returning to Niamling, the next day you will trek to Kongmaru La Pass that will end by camping at Shang Sumdo. You will be heading to Martselang and finally to Leh the next day. The best time for this trek is from May to September.
Duration: 12-13 days
Max elevation: 6400m
5. Chadar Trek:
If you are really looking to dig deeper into the thrill factor, the Chadar Trek is for you. This trek will take you to leave your footprints on a frozen Zanskar River. Sounds chilling? Every year when this river freezes, it opens up to trekkers who take up this mentally and physically challenging trek. This trek starts at Chilling, which is a 64km drive from Leh. This trek can take anywhere around 6-20 days, where you might confront difficulties in the beginning.
It’s not just walking on the powdery hard snow, it is also scaling the icy rocks. You will also be witnessing the icy peaks, frozen waterfalls and beautiful monasteries all the way up to the peak. The Chadar trek is situated at a height of 11,123m and 105 km in length, and by keeping the mind the difficulty this trek brings to the trekkers, a number of them even leave it midway. Thus, this particular trek is not for the weak-hearted and one must be physically and mentally fit in order to complete the same. The best time to embark upon this trek is January and February, which is the time when the river will be completely frozen.
Duration: 6-12 days
Elevation: 11123 ft.
FYI, if you intend to visit Leh Ladakh for the second or third time, you can skip visiting the common sightseeing places and embark upon any of these treks. Not only you will get a full value for your money invested but also, you will be able to go on an adventure rather than doing the most cliche tourist things. With such beautiful treks awaiting your arrival, choose anyone and embark upon it with your pals. There are many more treks in Leh that you can choose from, such as-
6. The Indus Valley Trek:
This 6-day trek begins with a drive from Leh to Likir that will take about 2 hours. A trek from Likir to Yangthang, which is at 3000m height will take around 4-5 hours where you can set up your camp. The next day you can wake up fresh and take a trip to the Rizong gompa and the other places nearby. On the next day head out to Hemis Shukpachan, which is a beautiful village that takes a 5-hour trek. After camping there overnight, you can head out to Themisgam, situated at 3150m and explore the palace and village, with ending your trek the next day by driving from Themisgam to Leh. Mid-June to mid-September is the best time to head out for this trek.
Duration: 6 days
Max elevation: 3750m.
7. Lamayuru to Alchi Trek:
This trek takes 11 days to complete where you first set out on a drive from Leh to Lamayuru, in about 5-6 hours. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the hills and the valley throughout your drive as very soon you will be covering your trek walking.
Next day you will be trekking from Lamayuru to Wanla at 3090m that will take 3-4 hours where you can set up your camp. A day 3 trek from Wanla to Hinju will take 5-6 hours that will cover a distance of 3787m where you can rest in your camp by the stream passing by.
Day 4 will be consumed by discovering the beauty that lies in the village of Hinju.
A trek on day 5 from Hinju to Marjek will take 6 hours that will cover 3400m where you will see pastures where the locals bring their animals for grazing. You can camp in the meadow by the stream. If you are lucky, you might even spot the red Himalayan fox.
Day 6 will take you on a trek from Marjek to Lanka of 6 hours, where you will pass by Sumdah Chenmo, a beautiful village with 11th-century wood carvings embedded in the ground.
Lanka to Sumdah Choon will trek on day 7 where you will be camping for the night.
Day 8 you can go and explore Sumdah Choon where you will find old monasteries that store unusual bronze figures. On day 9, Sumdah Choon to Pulu will take about 6 hours with spectacular views of a beautiful valley on either side. On day 10, Pulu to Alchi will take 2 hours where you can visit the oldest Alchi Gompa, surrounded by wooden pillars and carved woodwork of mythological creatures.
On day 11, you can drive from Alchi to Leh that will take 3 hours. This trek is best to be embarked upon from July to September.
Duration: 11 days
Max elevation: 5153m
Elevation loss/gain: +3962m/ -4149m.