With the summer heat beating down on the plains, with the schools breaking for a long vacation, how about a trip to the cooler climes, to the hills of Uttarakhand? Lying on the southern slope of the Himalayas, the state enjoys a wide range of elevation. So, if you are looking for an adventurous break, Uttarakhand offers a lot of options, suitable for individuals to families, ranging from easy to challenging.
Kempty Falls trek: This popular waterfalls, about 13km from Mussoorie, is accessible by vehicles. But it is also possible to trek to this waterfalls. A relatively easy trek, covering around 14km, it can be a fun family outing for a day. Camp George Everest offers comfortable tented accommodation and a number of adventure activities including rope climbing, rappelling, valley crossing, etc. as well as arrange for hikes to Kempty Falls.
Kanatal: Looking to avoid crowded Mussoorie and enjoy a peaceful weekend? Head to Kanatal (Thangdhar) in the Tehri Garhwal region, about 30km away by road. Overlooked by the snow peaks and surrounded by alpine forests, the place not only offers a tranquil holiday but also opportunities to go trekking in the vicinity. You may also go on a vehicle safari through the Kodia forest, about a kilometre away. Some of the popular attractions in and around Kanatal are Surkhanda Devi Temple, Dhanaulti Eco Park, Tehri Dam, etc. Kanatal Camp offers tented accommodation and can also arrange for adventure sports such as rock climbing, rappelling, zipline, etc, apart from arranging for treks into the surrounding hills.
Tons Valley: The Jaunsar Bawar region in the Tons River Valley is known for its natural beauty. Various organisations run camps here between May and July (depending on the weather) for outdoor activities and trekking in the hills. Aquaterra Adventures runs Camp Bagi, which offers rafting and kayaking opportunities in the Tons River, for everyone, from beginners to experienced people. You may also join their Tons Homestay Trail where you trek through Himalayan villages, alpine meadows, and moraine ridges offering views of snow peaks. A relatively easy trek, it is good for a family outing.
Har ki Dun: A popular trekking route, this cradle –shaped valley in the Garhwal Himalaya is a mix of moderate to difficult trails, and can be usually undertaken in five days, starting from Taluka village. Sankri (about 200km from Dehra Dun), ahead of Taluka, is considered as the base camp for this trek. Part of the way lies through the Govind National Park (you have to watch out for bears). You will go along alpine meadows and forests, hamlets, moraine ridges, etc. There are trekker’s huts at select stops. Besides, you may carry your own camping gear. There are many organisations who can help with the logistics or hold group treks into the area.
Sunderdhunga: If you have not been on a challenging trek route yet but have the physical stamina to do so, you may try the Sunderdhunga (valley of beautiful stones) route. Located in the Kumaon Himalayas, the trek ranges between 554 meters and 4320 meters. Drive till Loharkhet (via the ancient pilgrim town of Bageshwar), from where the trek starts. You will reach the Sunderdhunga View Point via Dhakuri, Khati, Jaitoli and Kathalia. From Jaitoli to Kahtalia, you will pass through the picturesque Sunderdhunga valley. From here, you follow the steep and challenging path to the Maiktoli Top or for the Sukhram Cave from where you can catch a glimpse of the Sunderdhunga View Point. You may also combine a trek to the Pindari Glacier (from Khati) with this trek.