10 Hill Stations Near Chennai For The Perfect Summer Vacation

Chennai is an ideal hub to access all of South India. As one of India’s 4 metro cities, it is optimally connected to all the major retreats and tourist hotspots in that region of India. Tourists from all over the country (and the world) flock to Chennai to go sightseeing around the city as well as to reach nearby destinations. This is facilitated partly due to Chennai’s stellar transportation facilities, whether by road, rail, or air. As the best travel blogs in India would agree, there is no dearth of places to explore in and around Chennai

Each destination in and around Chennai has a particular season where it is ideal to visit the place in particular. Take the case of hill stations in South India. Those sightseeing areas are ideally visited during the summer, avoiding the torrential rains of the monsoon season. In the summer season, the weather is pleasant at the hill stations and is a far cry from the sweltering heat of the plains.

We all deserve to cool off every now and then, and what better way to go about it than a hill station retreat? The hill station retreats in Chennai (and by extension, South India) come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be quite overwhelming to take in all at once. That’s why we have a guide here just for you, with a compilation of hill stations that all the best travel bloggers in India would agree on. Before we get into the specifics of each individual hill station, though, let’s take a look at a few other points that we have to take note of before our journey begins.

The Ups and Downs

One of the most prominent aspects that you’ll note about Chennai initially, is that it’s a coastal city. Where would one find hill stations around Chennai, then? Tamil Nadu’s geography is diverse, containing lush forests, arid plains and pristine coastlines all in one state. Tamil Nadu’s hill stations are a popular retreat among locals and tourists alike, to beat the summer heat. 

The icing on the cake is that Chennai is ideally placed at an optimum distance from all the major tourist attractions in South India. This rings true especially when it comes to hill station retreats. Whether by road, rail or even air, Chennai is the perfect connecting hub for all hill station retreats.

That being said, however, note that the ideal duration for each trip can vary greatly. Every destination on the following list can be anywhere from a day’s trip to a weekend-long retreat. This depends on how many sights there are to see at the spot and the travel times from Chennai. The duration will be mentioned alongside each entry for easy understanding.

With those clarifications out of the way, let’s dive into the list straightaway! Note that this list is not a ranking of the hill stations and that they are listed in no particular order. 

Hill Stations Near Chennai: A Roundup

1. Tada Range 

The Tada forest and waterfalls are located a neat road-trip away from Chennai, easily accessible by road as well as by suburban trains from Chennai Central. Tada is just 1.5 kms away from the Andhra Pradesh-TN border, and boasts of majestic waterfalls amidst lush and dense forests, making it an ideal hiking site. You can complete a trip to Tada within a day from Chennai. 

Distance: 95 km

3. Yercaud

Yercaud is part of the Western Ghats, which are famed for their picturesque hill stations. The nearest town (35km) is Salem, which is a 5-hour drive from Chennai. The focal point of the destination is the Yercaud Lake, around which the many attractions such as the Deer Park and Arthur’s Seat are situated. One weekend is ample time to take in Yercaud and all the sights it has to offer.

Distance: 349 km

3. Yelagiri Hills

Yelagiri is a hill retreat that is situated in the Tirupattur district. The destination is almost a 1000 metres above sea level, making for some truly breathtaking views amidst the lap of nature. There are many perfectly curated orchards and pristine waterfalls such as the Jalagamparai Falls. The hairpin bends along the journey are a sight to behold, forming great vantage points for photos and examining the valley. Yelagiri is perfect for a weekend retreat!

Distance: Around 250 km

4. Kolli Hills

The Kolli Hills are among the relatively lesser-known hill stations near Chennai, but that doesn’t mean they’re lackluster. This mini-mountain range in the Namakkal district is every biker’s dream, coming with 70 hairpin bends on the road to the top. The site also holds great religious significance, with the Arapaleeswarar Temple situated alongside the Agaya Gangai waterfalls for breathtaking views.

Distance: Around 350 km

5. Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal holds the moniker of “The Princess of Hill Stations”, and aptly so. If you visit during the right season, Kodaikanal exhibits nature in ethereal beauty. From the Kodai Lake itself, to the Wax Museum and the Suicide Point trek, there’s something in Kodaikanal for every travel buff, and it’s one of the most popular weekend retreats in Tamil Nadu.

Distance: ~500 km

6. Valparai

The Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts are home to some of the best hill stations near Chennai in terms of traveling schedules. Valparai is a stellar addition to this roster, situated 3,500 metres above sea level, untouched by concrete jungles. As part of the Anamalai mountain range, the lush greenery in the forests of Valparai makes for an amazing trek and nature walk. There are plenty of waterfalls and vantage points to bask in nature, and you may even spot elephants on the trip! 

Distance: 576 km

7. Coonoor

Coonoor is the less-popular sibling of Ooty. It’s not as big, but it’s also not as crowded, making it an ideal pick for a quiet and cozy hill station retreat. Coonoor is renowned for its quaint tea plantations, fresh air and notably, Sim’s Park. To sum up, Coonoor is a perfect stopping point to bask in the beauty of the Nilgiris.

Distance: ~550 km

8. Kotagiri

This is another popular hill station retreat in the pristine Nilgiris. It feels just like Ooty, with all its tea farms and viewpoints and lush green hills, but with less of a touristy vibe. Kotagiri is a perfectly peaceful hill station to spend a quiet weekend in the lap of nature.

Distance: 543 km

9. Ooty

The Queen of Hill Stations needs no introduction. Ooty ticks every box for the perfect hill station destination. Pykara Falls, Doddabetta Peak, and the Toy Train are just some of the many attractions that Ooty offers to travelers. It’s safe to say that it’s a must-visit travel destination in India!

Distance: ~537 km

10. Mudumalai

To round out our list, we have one of the famous national parks in India that showcases the Western Ghats’ beauty in all its glory. It’s also a dream destination for safari lovers and wildlife buffs, with a diverse fauna on display. There’s plenty of trekking opportunities too, so it’s the complete package when it comes to a hill station!

Distance: 571 km

As you can see, there is no dearth of sights to see when it comes to hill stations near Chennai, and in Tamil Nadu in the broader sense. All these places are beautiful in their own right, so take your pick, pack your bags and journey on!

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