10 Popular Trekking Destinations in Ladakh – A Complete Guide
Posted On October 21, 2021
Are you planning a trip to Ladakh? Ladakh is a popular destination for people who are looking to cool off in the mountains or have the adventure of their life! In this article, we will trek through popular destinations for trekking in Ladakh!
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Ladakh – The Land Of Adventure
Ladakh is a destination that will top every mountain lover’s travel list. Filled with endless snow-capped, alpine slopes, Ladakh is a dream destination that offers a lot for adventure and nature lovers alike!
I have had the opportunity to visit Ladakh thrice. If you are craving adventure, there is a lot that the land of high passes offers! Trekking in Ladakh is something you should not miss, especially if you are someone who loves to trek and go on hikes! A lot of travel agencies offer packages that include Leh Ladakh trekking!
From scorching sunny days to freezing windy ones, Ladakh is easily one of the best mountain destinations in India. The name Ladakh itself means numerous passes – La means passes, and Dhak means numerous. True to its name, Ladakh is filled with lavish mountains, and the abundant presence of hike-able passes makes Leh Ladakh trekking an exhilarating experience.
Being an aspiring trekker, my visits to Ladakh have been nothing short of magnificent, and I have had the chance to try out and experience 3-4 trekking passes on my visits. In this article, we will discuss the most famous passes that make trekking in Ladakh a true adventure.
10 Popular Trekking Destinations In Ladakh
The Leh Ladakh trekking is something I have always wanted to take up, and I am so glad I did. There are different ways to reach Ladakh – one of them is to reach Leh by air and drive down to Ladakh – it’s a short drive that takes about 20 minutes. Trekkers and tourists, in general, are advised to spend some time going through what is called acclimatisation – this is a process in which your body gets accustomed to the extreme weather conditions in Ladakh.
Of my three trips, I planned two of them purely for trekking in Ladakh. The best part about the place is that everyone is warm and always ready to help you out. I am an amateur trekking enthusiast, and so far, I have completed 4 treks and have what I call a to-trek list. My guides on my trekking in Ladakh were kind enough to also guide me on other passes I should try out.
With my own experience, coupled with the recommendations of my guides, I have compiled a list of 10 passes you should try out if you are planning on trekking in Ladakh. Read on to learn more!
10 Trekking Destinations In Ladakh
1. Baby Walking Through Sham Valley
Also known as the ‘Baby Trek’, Sham valley is one of the easiest trekking in Ladakh I’ve experienced. This also happens to be my first Leh Ladakh trekking destination. If you are looking to trek as a family, with kids tagging along, this pass is one of the best, to begin with. The valley offers panoramic views and is the go-to route if you are planning for a relaxed trekking experience in Ladakh.
Best time: All year round Duration: 3 days Difficulty: Easy Max altitude:3,900m Trek Distance: 27 km
2. Trek To Witness The Beauty Of Nubra Valley
Nubra valley is one destination in Ladakh that is rich in the panoramic views it offers. The trek will lead you to the beautiful, picturesque scenes of the Nubra Valley! The best part of this trek is the mornings you will experience in the wonderful valley of Nubra – quiet beginnings to the day, with just the sound of the flowing Nubra river filling the deep ends of the valley. This was my favorite part of the trek! If you plan to take a trip to Ladakh between mid-July to the end of September, you should squeeze in a Nubra valley trek in your itinerary. We took around 5 days to complete the trek, and it is one of the most popular choices for trekking in Ladakh.
While taking the Nubra Valley trek, you will be able to visit Diskit Monastery, where Buddha’s famous 32-meter tall statue resides. Apart from this, you will also be able to experience the Hunder dunes and witness the magnificent panorama that is Karakoram range, from the pass!
Best time: Mid-July to end of September Duration: 5 days Difficulty: Medium Max altitude: 5,438m Trek Distance: 59 km
3. Markha Valley – The Sandwiched Trek Between Stok Kangri And Zanskar Ranges
The Markha Valley trek is the most popular in the Hemis National Park region. This valley runs parallel to the famous Indus valley and is sandwiched between Stok Kangri and Zanskar Ranges. During the trek, which takes about 6-8 days to complete, you will pass small isolated villages, spot Ladakhi wild animals, and also the famous barley field, apart from lavish mountain ranges.
The best time to do this trekking in Ladakh is between the end of April and October beginning.
Best time: End of April to the beginning of October Duration: 6 days Difficulty: Medium Max altitude: 5,260m Trek Distance: 78 km
4. Chadar – Trekking In Ladakh Through The Frozen River
The Chadar trek is literally walking through a 105 kilometer-stretch on a frozen Zanskar river. This is one of the most popular routes for trekking in Ladakh and is known to test the limit of trekkers as they will be trekking in very low temperatures (-25 to -35 degrees).
The route is featured as one of the most mentally challenging treks in BBC’s series called ‘Human Planet’ in 2011. The best time to take this Leh Ladakh trek will be in January and February.
Since trekkers will have to trek through 105 kilometers in mind-numbingly challenging temperatures, it will take about 9 to 10 days to complete the route. This is on my bucket list for my next Ladakh trip!
Best time: January and February Duration: 9-10 days Difficulty: Difficult Max altitude: 3,500m Trek Distance: 105 km
5. Lamayuru To Alchi Trek
This is one of the best routes for trekking in Ladakh for mid-level trekkers. This route gives visitors a very rural experience of Ladakh as they will be crossing through the remotest villages of the region. I did this trek on my second trip to Ladakh and got to meet and stay with the locals in these passes across the 5 days of the trek. The people in these villages are the warmest and great hosts, with many tales to tell which will surely give you the best of experience.
We also saw Lamayuru and Alchi monasteries and passed through the Sham Valley en route. The best time to take this trek up will be between May and November.
Best time: Between May and November Duration: 5 days Difficulty: Medium Max altitude: 5,153m Trek Distance: 71 km
6. Snow Leopard Spotting In The Rumbak Trek
This trek, designed for moderate-level trekking in Ladakh, is the best choice if you are keen on spotting the rarest wildcats in the world – the snow leopard. Also called the Snow Leopard trek, it is usually best to take this Leh Ladakh trekking up in the months of February and March.
The trek starts at the Hemis National Park, making its way up to the picturesque Rumbak Valley. The Hemis National Park is home to a galore of other mammals apart from the famous snow leopard – you might also be able to spot Tibetan wolves, Asiatic ibex, blue sheep, and Ladakh urials if you are lucky.
It usually takes around 8 days to complete this trekking in Ladakh. This route is totally worth it especially given that you can stay along with the locals, experience the magnificence of the mountains at night, and stare at the clear starry skies.
Best time: Between February and March Duration: 8 days Difficulty: Medium Max altitude: 3,956m Trek Distance: 20 km
Zanskar Valley is the most isolated valley in all of India, and Phuktal Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh that is closest to its Tibetan roots. If you are a Tibetan-culture-enthusiast, you should take this trek. En route to the monastery that displays the most honest version of the Tibetan spirit of life, you will pass through two Ladakhi villages, namely Cha and Amu villages. These villages offer you a great camping experience on your trek to Phuktal Monastery.
It takes around 5 days to cover this off-beat route for trekking in Ladakh.
Best time: Between February and March Duration: 5 days Difficulty: Medium Max altitude: 5,140m Trek Distance: 87 km
8. Lamayuru To Stok Kangri – For A Lit Experience
This is one of the most famous routes for trekking in Ladakh. On this trek, you will be a recipient of the breathtaking views of the sunlit Zanskar and Karakoram peaks. This trek is sure to kindle your soul and give you an extremely exhilarating experience. This Leh Ladakh trekking destination is one of the best routes if you want to take up a long trekking trip, with many lesser-seen places on the way. The trek takes around 12 days to complete and is best taken between mid-June and October.
Best time: Mid-June to October Duration: 12 days Difficulty: Medium Max altitude: 6,123 m
9. Jhunglam Hemis To Padum – A Route For The Courageous!
This trek is only for brave hearts and people with ample experience as it is one of the most advanced routes for trekking in Ladakh. Reaching an altitude of a whopping 5,200 meters, this Leh Ladakh trekking route will take you through the Hemis monastery, Latza Kongmaru, passing through Zalung Karpo La, Tilat Sumdo, and Zangla Sumdo to finally reach Padum.
The trek will take 12 days to be completed and is best when taken up anytime between August and October.
Best time: August – October Duration: 12 days Difficulty: Difficult Max altitude: 5,200 m Trek Distance: 141 km
10. Padum To Lamayuru – The Ultimate Zanskar Trek
If there is one route you SHOULD cover while trekking in Ladakh, it is the Padum to Lamayuru. Every Ladakh-trekking aspirant will know that the Zanskar range is significant to the region. And the Padum to Lamayuru route is one of the best treks you will do when in Ladakh!
You will start the trek by paying a visit to the famous Phuktal Monastery, built in the 15th century! Post this, the trek will take you through three gorgeous passes, namely Hanuma La (4724m), Singge La (5009m), and Sirsir La (4832m).
This ultimate Zanskar trek comes bearing mind-blowing landscape views of the majestic Zanskar range and will definitely be worth it!
Best time: Mid-June to the beginning of October Duration: 10-12 days Difficulty: Difficult Max altitude: 5,009 m Trek Distance: 149 km
Trekking in Ladakh is one thing every trekking enthusiast must do, as the region offers some of the best trekking experiences in the country. Apart from the magnificent views and the sightseeing experiences that these treks offer, one of the better things I loved about the Leh Ladakh trekking I have done is the opportunity I had to interact with locals in these passes. The people are warm and friendly, always ready to help you out and strike a conversation about Ladakh, their lifestyle, and more!
So, the next time you hear the mountains call you, you know where to land!
Gulshan Bafna is one of the luxury travelers in India. He, along with his wife, has traveled to many exotic places that one could dream. With their travel journey, they bring us the best face of those places. He compiles all of his travel journeys to give the taste of traveling to his readers. In his writing, he jots down the best things to do in all those places that he has visited. Reading these would help one know better about the place. He is also a seeker who loves exploring and discovering new places and share his experiences with everyone.