Best of Uttarakhand National Parks
With striking mountain ranges and expansive national parks, the northern state of Uttarakhand is a nature lover’s travel dream. Waking up to panoramic views of the Himalayas, listening to the chirping of birds that your urban ears are not used to, standing amidst a vibrant field of seasonal flowers, unwinding to the sound of soft streams, is what a vacation to this mesmerising Indian state feels like.
Uttarakhand has lots to offer, and one article is not enough to describe them all. So, here we will focus on highlighting the six national parks in Uttarakhand that you can visit on your next holiday.
If you have ever searched for ‘Bengal tiger’ on the web, we guarantee that you have come across the iconic picture of the majestic being crossing a path with an open gypsy car on the same path in the background. Did you know that these iconic pictures are taken somewhere in this 520 km2 park named after hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett? Located at a 6-hour drive from Delhi, this famous national park of Uttarakhand is home to the Royal Bengal tiger, and other endangered and vulnerable species such as the Asiatic elephant and Ghariyal. If our feathered friends are what amuse you, then get ready to meet over 600 species of birds at the park!
There are lots of things to do at Corbett National Park including rafting on the Kosi River during monsoon! So, it is a good idea to stay overnight or even a few days at the park. Check out Club Mahindra’s Corbett resort where you can continue the fun after a safari at the park, by indulging in some Kumaoni folk dance. While the Park is open throughout the year, some zones of the park can be restricted or closed during monsoons that is during July to September months.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of a biosphere reserve, this 624 km2 is spread across three districts of Uttarakhand. Trekking through the reserve serves as a great family bonding experience, especially when someone spots a snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, Himalayan brown bear, or Himalayan tahr, and excitedly gathers the others around. Spend some time along the Alaknanda River that flows through the park. Starting at Joshimath, trek your way across a glacial basin, rocky terrain, and some gorgeous patches of flowers to land up in Joshimath again.
The reserve is open from May to October, but best to visit it by September. While you’re here, there is another National Park that will interest you-
No comprehensive trekking blog is complete without a mention of this famous national park in Uttarakhand. You will be left speechless trying to describe the divine beauty of this place. There are more species of flowers here than names of colours that you know! And yes, you will need to know a lot of colour names because the prismatic Valley of Flowers demands it.
Located at a short driving distance from Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun, the 820 km2 park is most popular for its great elephant population. Set out on a jeep safari and catch these beautiful mammals in their natural zones, and forget the dreadful memories you may have of them in pitiful circus and zoos. Visit the nearby marshy grassland to spot some tigers, swamp deer, and barasinghas.
The biggest national park in Uttarakhand, this 2390 km2 wonder is located about 26kms from Rishikesh. Whether you want to trek along the glorious coniferous trees and vast meadows, or wish to pay obeisance to Ganga at the Gangotri temple as part of your ‘char dham yatra’, you can do it all on a well-planned trip to the national park. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can go all way to Gaumukh glacier, the origin of the Ganga River- just make sure you have secured your permit from the authorities first. Amongst the 15 animals that call the National Park their home, the elusive snow leopard is the one you would probably want to keep an eye out for. Have your binoculars and camera ready in case you spot one of the 150 species of birds that grace this high-altitude ecosystem. The best time to visit the park is from April to October, so make sure you have put in a leave application before the summer break begins!
Home of the Snow Leopard Project, Govind National Park is located within the Garhwal Himalayas. Apart from protecting the endangered snow leopard, the park management goes to great lengths to preserve the bearded vulture, a crucial species for a thriving ecosystem. The Har Ki Doon valley forms a part of the National Park, so if trekking along with wildlife photography is your thing, add this place to your list of places to visit.
When it comes to nature and fun, we hold no favourites. So, how about you explore one Uttarakhand National Park each year? While you are in Uttarakhand, book your holiday with Club Mahindra to add more to the magical experience.