A Complete Guide to Valley of Flowers Trek in Uttarakhand
Set against the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, tall alpine flowers swaying in the breeze on a sunny day are a sight to behold. Watch the clouds descend and play hide & seek with the mountains. You are sure to rub your eyes in disbelief, wondering if this place does exist. Unimaginably beautiful Valley of Flowers seems no less than a third world, a spot you might call extraterrestrial.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Valley of Flowers is an Indian National Park situated in North Chamoli and Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. Well known for a diverse variety of high-altitude meadows featuring around 300 species of endemic flowers, the site is 3352 to 3658 meters above sea level.
The tender landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the craggy mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park to the east. Together they feature a rare transition zone sandwiched between the Zanskar and the Great Himalayan ranges.
The Valley of Flowers National Park covers an expanse of f 87.50 km2, and it is around 8 km long and 2 km wide. The park falls entirely in the temperate alpine zone. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (223,674 ha) encompasses both Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers, further surrounded by a buffer zone (5,148.57 km2).
Sages with magical quilts, carefree shepherds, and ardent roamers must have come across this whimsical spot while on their way to hinterlands. In 1931, it came into the limelight when a group of British mountaineers, Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton, and R. L. Holdsworth, lost their way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt. Kamet. It was then they happened to stumble upon the valley, carpeted with a mind-blogging technicolor of flowers. On witnessing this place possessing celestial beauty, they named it Valley of Flowers. Later, Author Frank S. Smythe documented a book with the same name.
Trek to Valley of Flowers is a moderate trek featuring a 14,400 ft climb. Its duration is 4 to 5 days, during which you may encounter few steep climbs and a couple of bridges over rivers. This 38 km long trek characterizes approx. 2000 ft gain in altitude each day and even more on some days. An individual taking up this trek must be fit enough to handle the frequent ascends and trekking distance.
Day 1: Rishikesh - Govindghat (DRIVE/ 11 Hrs)
Day 2: Govindghat - Poolna (DRIVE/ 4 Kms/ 30 Mins), Poolna - Ghangria (TREK/ 9 Kms/ 5-6 Hrs)
Day 3: Ghangria - Valley of Flowers - Ghangria (TREK/ 3.7 Kms/ 6 Hrs)
Day 4: Ghangria - Poolna (TREK/ 9 Kms/ 5-6 Hrs), Poolna - Govind Ghat (DRIVE/ 4 Kms/ 30 Mins)
Day 5: Drive from Govind Ghat to Rishikesh (DRIVE/ 11 Hrs)
The trek to the legendry trail of Valley of Flowers sets off from Govindghat. To reach Govindghat, one has to reach Rishikesh, one of the most popular tourist destinations, a center for pilgrims, and a gateway to the Garhwal region.
Situated on the Rishikesh Badrinath highway, Govindghat falls about 25 kms before Badrinath and is almost 272 kms away from Rishikesh. The drive distance from Rishikesh to Govindghat is a bit long. It is advisable to leave as early as possible from Rishikesh and reach Govindghat before the sunset. The journey can be tiresome. It is better to reach Rishikesh a day before you leave for the basecamp so that you get the much-needed time to rest.
Best option for solo travelers would be to hop in a bus heading to Badrinath from Rishikesh, as you can get off the bus at Govindghat. If you are traveling in a group, hiring a tempo traveler or a taxi would be ideal.
Make your hotel bookings and make sure you have a buffer day which means you have an extra day booked at the hotel while you return from the trek. By chance, you have to face any hiccups you know you have a crashpad which you can get back to after completing your Valley of Flowers trek. There are numerous hotels/hostels in Rishikesh that offer cheap and comfortable stays to avid travelers.
Each year the trekking route to the UNESCO World Heritage site opens up from 1st June onwards. The months of July, August, and September burst into a riot of colors. Witness the patches of white, yellow, and purple flooding the place. Valley of flowers is a destination one can only imagine in dreams.
Our GoZest members will enjoy this incredible trek in Uttarakhand, which will lend you memories of a lifetime. While you are at it, don’t forget to check out some of our beautiful resorts in Uttarakhand, where a stay can enhance your experience! Don’t wait, fasten your laces and hit the fascinating trails.
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