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Trekking in Manali: The Best of Himalayan Trails In 2024

Best Trekking in Manali

Trekking in Manali, India, is an experience that every adventure enthusiast must have. The Himalayan trails in Manali offer a unique blend of natural beauty and challenging terrain that will leave you spellbound. In this article, we will take a closer look at the best Himalayan trails in Manali and what makes them so special.

Jogini Waterfalls Trek

One of the easiest and shortest Trekking in Manali, the Jogini Waterfalls Trek is ideal for beginners and families, which is quite significant. The Manali trek starts from the archaeological site Vashisht Temple. This area is dedicated to the sage Vashisht and follows a scenic path through apple orchards, pine forests, and meadows.

The highlight of the Trekking in Manali is the Jogini Waterfalls. The waterfalls offer a view of a cascading stream of water that plunges from a height of 150 feet and is considered sacred by the locals.  Here the locals believe that this area is the home of Jogini, a female deity. The trek is relatively short and can be completed within a few hours, depending on your pace and the time spent at the waterfalls.

Trail Highlights:

  1. Vashisht Temple: The trek starts from Vashisht Temple, a popular religious site known for its hot water springs.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, lush greenery, and picturesque landscapes typical of Himachal Pradesh.
  3. Jogini Waterfalls: The highlight of the trek is the majestic Jogini Waterfalls, where you can relax and enjoy the serene beauty of the cascading water.
  4. Local Culture: Along the way, you’ll pass through quaint villages, giving you a glimpse into the local way of life and culture.

Lama Dugh Trek

Another easy and enjoyable trek is the Lama Dugh Trek.  It is perfect for those who want to witness the panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks of the Pir Panjal range. This trek starts from the Hadimba Temple, a wooden structure built in the 16th century in honor of Hadimba, the wife of Bhima from the Mahabharata, and follows a gradual path.

The trek follows a gradual ascent through dense deodar forests, where you can spot various birds and animals. It ends at Lama Dugh, a verdant meadow that serves as a grazing ground for sheep. In this area, you can admire the stunning vistas of the Indrasan, Deo Tibba, and Hanuman Tibba. Overall, this trek takes about 3 hours one way and is suitable for all age groups.

Trail Highlights:

  1. Old Manali: The trek starts from the quaint village of Old Manali, known for its traditional Himachali architecture, cafes, and vibrant atmosphere.
  2. Scenic Views: As you ascend along the trail, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, snow-capped peaks, and lush forests.
  3. Lama Dugh Meadow: The highlight of the trek is reaching the picturesque Lama Dugh Meadow, a serene alpine pasture surrounded by towering mountains.
  4. Flora and Fauna: The trail passes through dense forests of pine, oak, and deodar trees, providing opportunities to spot various species of birds and occasionally, Himalayan wildlife.
Lama Dugh Trek
Credit: Ashish Prashar

Bhrigu Lake Trek

If you are looking for a moderate Trek that takes you to a high-altitude glacial lake, then the Bhrigu Lake Trek is the one for you. Bhrigu Lake Trek starts from the Gulaba village, which is about 22 km from Manali. This trek ascends through alpine meadows, oak forests, and rocky terrains and reaches the lake, which is situated at 4,300 meters.  The lake is named after Bhrigu, a sage who is said to have meditated here. Additionally, the lake is well known for its color-changing properties from blue to green to red, depending on the season and the angle of the sun.

Additionally, as you walk around the lake, you’ll find the views mesmerizing as you view the lake amongst the backdrop of the surrounding peaks of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges.  Overall, this trek takes about 2 days to complete and requires a “good” level of fitness and acclimatization to endure.

Bhrigu Lake Trek Highlights:

  1. Breathtaking Scenery: Enjoy stunning panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine landscapes throughout the trek.
  2. High Altitude Lake: Reach the mesmerizing Bhrigu Lake, nestled at an altitude of approximately 4,300 meters above sea level, surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks.
  3. Sacred Significance: Explore the spiritual significance of Bhrigu Lake, revered by locals and believed to be named after the sage Bhrigu, who is said to have meditated near the lake.
  4. Flora and Fauna: Encounter diverse flora and fauna as you trek through lush forests, alpine meadows, and rocky terrain, offering opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
  5. Adventure and Challenge: Experience the thrill of trekking through varied terrain, including steep ascents, rocky paths, and high-altitude conditions, making it an exhilarating adventure for trekkers.
  6. Cultural Immersion: Interact with local villagers and gain insights into the unique culture, traditions, and way of life of the indigenous communities residing in the Himalayan region.

Hampta Pass Trek

Hampta Pass Trek
Image Courtesy: Raja Selvaraj

One of Manali’s most popular and adventurous treks is the Hampta Pass Trek.  It is a crossover trek that connects the Kullu valley with the Lahaul valley. This trek starts from Jobra village, about 18 km from Manali, and crosses the Hampta Pass, a narrow corridor between two valleys.  This area sits at an altitude of about 4,270 meters and offers a diverse landscape of lush green valleys, barren mountains, glacial streams, and colorful flowers.

This trek also includes a visit to the Chandratal Lake, a crescent-shaped lake that is considered sacred by the locals and reflects the blue sky and the white clouds. In general, it takes 4 to 5 days of trekking.  It will require a moderate to higher level of fitness to endure.

Hampta Pass Trek Highlights:

  1. Scenic Diversity: Traverse through diverse landscapes, including lush green valleys, barren landscapes, dense forests, and snow-capped peaks, offering a visual treat at every step.
  2. High Altitude Pass: Conquer the challenging Hampta Pass at an altitude of around 4,270 meters, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges.
  3. River Crossings: Encounter thrilling river crossings over the gushing waters of the Hampta River, adding an adventurous element to the trek.
  4. Camping by Chandratal Lake: Experience the tranquility of camping beside the serene Chandratal Lake, also known as the Moon Lake, surrounded by towering mountains and pristine beauty.
  5. Flora and Fauna: Witness a variety of flora and fauna along the trail, including alpine flowers, Himalayan birds, and occasionally, sightings of mountain goats and other wildlife.
  6. Cultural Interactions: Engage with the local villagers in remote Himalayan hamlets, gaining insights into their traditional way of life, culture, and customs.
  7. Photographic Opportunities: Capture stunning vistas of snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear streams, vibrant meadows, and dramatic landscapes, creating lasting memories of your trekking adventure.
  8. Moderate Difficulty: Suitable for both novice and experienced trekkers, the Hampta Pass Trek offers a moderate level of challenge, with well-defined trails and gradual ascents.

Pin Parvati Trek

Mantalai Lake
Bharatkaistha, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you are seeking a rigorous and gratifying trek that takes you to one of the most distant and beautiful regions of Himachal Pradesh, then the Pin Parvati Trek is the one for you. The trek starts from the Barshaini village, about 50 km from Manali, and crosses the Pin Parvati Pass.  This is a high mountain pass at an altitude of about 5,300 meters and provides a contrast of two distinct cultures and ecosystems.  As you move along the path, you will find yourself walking through the lush green Parvati valley into the arid and cold Pin valley.

It provides fantastic views of lofty peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs, and alpine meadows, offering a variety of landscapes to tantalize your senses. This trek also passes through the Pin Valley National Park, home to rare and endangered wildlife, including the snow leopard, the Himalayan brown bear, and the Tibetan wolf.  Overall, this trek takes about 10 to 12 days to complete and requires a high level of fitness, experience, and preparation.

Pin Parvati Trek Highlights:

  1. Epic Mountain Pass: Conquer the formidable Pin Parvati Pass, situated at an elevation of approximately 5,319 meters, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks.
  2. Remote Wilderness: Trek through remote and untouched landscapes, including lush green meadows, deep valleys, glacial streams, and rugged terrain, providing a true wilderness experience.
  3. Cultural Diversity: Encounter diverse cultures and communities along the trail, including indigenous tribes such as the Kinnauris and Spiti people, each with their own unique traditions, languages, and lifestyles.
  4. Challenging Terrain: Navigate challenging terrain, including steep ascents, rocky paths, and snowfields, testing the endurance and skills of even seasoned trekkers.
  5. Glacial Lakes: Discover pristine glacial lakes, such as Mantalai Lake and Tiai Lake, nestled amidst towering mountains and offering opportunities for serene moments of reflection.
  6. Flora and Fauna: Spot a variety of Himalayan flora and fauna along the trekking route, including wildflowers, alpine birds, and occasionally, sightings of elusive mountain wildlife like the Himalayan ibex and snow leopard.
  7. Adventure and Solitude: Embark on an adventure of a lifetime, away from the hustle and bustle of civilization, surrounded by the raw beauty and tranquility of the Himalayan wilderness.
  8. Photographic Opportunities: Capture awe-inspiring landscapes, dramatic vistas, and unique cultural encounters, creating lasting memories and stunning photographs of your Pin Parvati Trek expedition.

Bijli Mahadev Trek

Another amazing trek you really should take in is both a spiritual and scenic trek called the Bijli Mahadev Trek. This trek starts from the Chansari village, 24 km from Kullu, and follows a well-marked path through apple orchards, pine forests, and meadows.  It passes by the temple of Lord Shiva, and ends at the Bijli Mahadev Temple, which is located at an altitude of about 2,450 meters. The temple and the trek are named after the phenomenon of lightning striking the Shivling inside the temple.

According to legend, every 12 years, the Shivling is shattered by lightning and then restored by the priest using butter.  We may never know how that works, but it’s fun all the same. The temple kind of offers a stunning view of the Parvati valley, Bhunter, and Kullu. Overall, the trek takes about 2 hours one way and really is suitable for beginners and families.

Bijli Mahadev Trek Highlights:

  1. Spectacular Views: Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Kullu Valley and surrounding Himalayan peaks throughout the trek.
  2. Bijli Mahadev Temple: Visit the historic Bijli Mahadev Temple, perched atop a hill at an altitude of approximately 2,460 meters, dedicated to Lord Shiva and renowned for its majestic 60-foot-tall lightning rod.
  3. Cultural Experience: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region by interacting with local villagers and experiencing their traditional way of life, customs, and rituals.
  4. Sacred Significance: Explore the spiritual significance of Bijli Mahadev Temple, considered a sacred pilgrimage site by devotees, and learn about the legends and myths associated with the temple.
  5. Scenic Trekking Route: Trek through picturesque landscapes, including dense forests, meandering trails, and scenic viewpoints, offering ample opportunities for nature lovers and photographers.
  6. Adventure and Exploration: Embark on an adventurous journey through diverse terrain, including gentle slopes, rocky paths, and forested trails, suitable for trekkers of all skill levels.
  7. Sunset Views: Witness mesmerizing sunset views from Bijli Mahadev Temple, casting a golden glow over the surrounding mountains and valleys, creating a magical ambiance.
  8. Accessibility: Located just a short distance from Kullu town, the Bijli Mahadev Trek is easily accessible, making it an ideal destination for a day hike or a weekend getaway.

General Tips You Can Use For Any Of The Above Treks

  1. Physical Fitness: Ensure you’re in good physical condition before embarking on any trek. Engage in regular exercise and cardio workouts to build stamina and endurance.
  2. Altitude Acclimatization: Gradually acclimatize to higher altitudes to prevent altitude sickness. Ascend slowly, stay hydrated, and take regular breaks to allow your body to adjust to the decreased oxygen levels.
  3. Pack Light: Carry only essential items to keep your backpack lightweight. Essentials include water, snacks, weather-appropriate clothing, a first-aid kit, sunscreen, sunglasses, a headlamp, and a map or GPS device.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the trek to stay hydrated, especially at higher altitudes where dehydration is common. Consider carrying a water purification system or tablets to treat water from natural sources.
  5. Dress in Layers: Wear moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and waterproof outer layers to stay comfortable in changing weather conditions. Pack extra layers for colder temperatures at higher altitudes.
  6. Footwear: Choose sturdy and comfortable trekking shoes with good ankle support and a grippy sole for traction on uneven terrain. Break in your shoes before the trek to prevent blisters and discomfort.
  7. Follow Safety Guidelines: Stay on marked trails, heed local advice and warnings, and avoid risky shortcuts or off-trail excursions. Pay attention to weather forecasts and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.
  8. Respect Nature and Culture: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing your impact on the environment, and respecting local customs and traditions. Avoid disturbing wildlife and sacred sites.
  9. Stay Connected: Inform someone about your trekking plans and expected return time. Carry a fully charged mobile phone or satellite communication device for emergencies.
  10. Group Trekking: Consider trekking with a reputable guide or in a group, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area or trekking at high altitudes. Group trekking enhances safety and provides opportunities for camaraderie and shared experiences.


Now that we’ve taken you on the journey of Manali, you’ll have a good idea of which trek will suit your fancy.  Manali has something for everyone; whether you are looking for lush valleys, mountains, stunning lakes, or areas with wildlife, you’ve never seen. Each trek has its own charm and challenges and will leave you with unforgettable memories and stories. So, what are you waiting for?  Pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready for a fantastic trek through the best of Himalayan trails in Manali. Happy Trekking in Manali, and as always, Travel Till You Drop!

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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