Ladakh looks like nothing else on Earth other than an hour’s ride from Delhi. The snow-covered peaks of Turkey’s lakes are echoed. Over the solid, sun-drenched hillside, monasteries tower-like beehives. The high desert, home to Buddhists and Muslims, is one of the best and most beautiful places in India. And on foot, it’s better explored. Some of the best treks to choose from in Ladakh are here.
- Sham Valley Trek
This scenic walk in lower Ladakh is called “baby trek” and begins in Likir, home to a beautiful Gumpa from the eleventh century, with a torrent of Lord Buddha’s golden statue. It crosses populated streets and traditional settlements and acts for the first time tourists to Ladakh as a sampler, or as a first for more difficult ascents. Just a few hours a day trekkers walk but brace for a few steep pistes. Also, for some parts of the road, you can pass through the light traffic.
- Nubra Valley Trek
The Nubra Valley, once the gate to the ancient Silk Path, earns its recognition as the most beautiful area in Ladakh, with its panoramic views of the purple mountains, the double-humped camels, and the white sand dunes. Cross wetlands and shrines on a weekly ascent between Hunder and the Lasermo La high pass, avoiding regular hiking throngs. At 17.716 ft. (5.400 m.) you can see the second-highest point in the world, the mountains of Karakoram.
- Markha Valley Trek
It’s the most popular route in Ladakh and it’s not difficult to see why. This diverse climb covers Ladakh’s picturesque ranges, rambled earth villages, and snow-capped peaks with its numerous high passes and elevated clock at an area of over 5,100m. It also dives into the Hemis National Park, a protected area that shelters Himalayan bears, foxes, wolves, and the largest snow leopard population in the world. (Winter wilderness treks can also be planned as during the summer months you will not possibly encounter the elusive “gray fantasy”.)
- Chadar Frozen River Trek
Snowfall blankets mountain passes during the severe winters of Ladakh which make many sections unattainable on the road. Ladakhi began to walk across frozen waters between villages in the remote Zanskar area. A one-day eight-day trip through slushy slush gorges and pristine icefalls, the Zanskar River Ice Trek provides an opportunity to test your mettle in surreal, dangerous snowscapes. It is not faint-of-heart at temperatures that fall to -20°F (-30°C).
- Lamayuru to Alchi
Two of Ladakh’s most important religious sites link this Monastery circuit. Lamayuru, the oldest Gompa of Ladakh, is to be seen be believed around a moorland of the craggy desert. Wander at the outlying shrines, gawk through tantric relics made from human bones and watch monks singing in the decorated hall of prayer. The trek leads along the Ripchar River by a few breathless climbs, overlooking the tents lying along the cliffs. The payoff to Alchi is worth the walk. Alchi has world-renowned wooden carvings and colorful frescoes, a serene village with a nearby monastery placed on a tall canyon.
- Padum to Darcha
Though motorcyclists are crying out for the popular Leh-Manali highway, there’s an even more memorable way to reach Himachal Pradesh on foot. The road leads along jagged hills, grassy jacks, and mountain streams from Padum, the former capital of the Zanskar Kingdom. You can enjoy homemade delicatessens like touchpad (Tibetan noodle soup) or sky with overnight stops at the village houses (Ladakhi dumplings). You are going to end up in Lahaul Valley, a hideaway packed with snow-pollinated pastures and friendly locals off the beaten trail Himachali.
- Spituk to Stok
This walk ends with a steep climb to Stok La, a high pass at the base of the popular mountain Stok Kangri, at 4.855 m. a laid-back hike onto the rolling mountain (15,928 ft.) Spituk, the village near Leh, houses a different monastery, so saves time to see the shown Thangka paintings. A route leads to the Namgyal dynasty’s former seat, Stok. Founded in 1820 by craftsmen of Ladakhi, the Royal Palace is now a legacy hotel, in case you would like the bag to have a canopy bed. You could see the present Ladakh king, who lives in the house.
- Stok Kangri, 6,152 m.
Those who spend time in Leh know by heart the legendary figure of Stok Kangri, a snowy peak with ribbed mountains. It is a hiking pitch, but be ready for a difficult climb. You are facing winds and a slippery slope, so you need to have crampons. Make sure that you are acclimatized properly prior to heading out and get acute mountain disease symptoms familiar (AMS).