Char Dham yatra is known for its popular holy destinations of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri where every year people from all over the world make this pilgrimage in an attempt to achieve their nirvana or salvation from the karmic cycle of life and death. Being located on a high elevation these shrines offer some of the most stunning and awe-inspiring views of the beautiful Himalayas. These places are surrounded by incredible sites which allow the perfect opportunity to trek and get a taste of the Himalayan adventure.
Here are a few trekking and hiking options located close to these Char Dhams where you can go exploring:
Trekking Around Char Dham Yatra
1. Chopta Chandrashila Trek (near Kedarnath)
Situated on an elevation of 2,680 metres above sea level this trekking destination is particularly well known for being offbeat. Surrounded by a thick covering of forests of oak, deodar and rhododendron, this trekking route is easy to do and you will be greeted by the famous ‘highest lord Shiva temple in the world’ Tungnath. You will reach the peak of Chandrashila after covering a trekking journey of almost 4 – 5 hours and you will be treated with the snow-clad views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks like – Nanda Devi, Trishul, Kedarnath and Chaukhamba among others.
Route: Delhi – Meerut – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Chopta – Tungnath – Chandrashila
2. Satopanth Trek (near Badrinath)
This triangular shaped high altitude holy lake holding sparkling clean blue water is one of the major attractions of the treks close to Badrinath Dham. This alpine lake holds immense religious importance to the devout Hindus since it is believed that during the auspicious eve of Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu took a holy dip here and this is the place where all the Hindus visit to mark the Lord’s presence. With the beginning point of the trek at Mana village near Badrinath you will be treated with some of the most fascinating views of the stunning Himalayan beauty.
Route: Badrinath – Mana village – Vasudhara Falls – Laxmiban – Satopanth Lake
3. Khatling Sahastratal Trek (near Kedarnath)
The massive, grand and beautiful glacier of Khatling which is known for being the source for the river Bhilangana is known for being one of the most awe-inspiring trekking trails in India. This trek allows the travellers to experience the beauty of the bountiful nature in full flow. Known for being one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Uttarakhand it is surrounded by the lofty overlooking peaks of Kirti Stambh, Jogin group, Meru and more. The trekking trail makes its way through the lush green meadows and thick forest covering that adds some amount of thrill to your journey.
Route: Malla – Sillachhan – Kushkalyani – Kyarki Khal – Parital – Sahastra Tal – Kalyani – Kharsoli – Tambakund – Khatling Glacier
4. Shivling Base Camp Trek (near Gangotri)
Standing tall on an elevation of 6,543 metres above sea level this snow-clad beauty is known for being one of the most sacred peaks of Uttarakhand. Situated in close proximity to the main snout of Gangotri glacier, this peak represents a shiv ling which looks like a shiv ling. This is not a trekking trail meant for the weak or the beginners since this journey requires days of acclimatization on different altitudes across different gradients of landscape like rocky and hair pin bends paths. On reaching the base camp you will be able savor views of the towering peaks like Bhagirathi 1 2 3, Bhrigu Parbat, Mt. Meru etc.
Route: Gangotri – Bhojbasa – Gaumukh – Tapovan – Meru glacier
5. Kedarnath Vasuki Tal Trek (near Kedarnath)
Situated at a distance of almost 5 kms from the main shrine of Kedarnath this beautiful high altitude alpine lake is one of the most magnificent and spiritual lakes in Uttarakhand. Camping by the shore of this crystal clear, glimmering lake is one of the most unique experiences of this trekking journey. The new trail to Kedarnath diverts the trail from Sonprayag to Gomkara where you will be required to cross the river called Vasuki Ganga. You will be witnessing some incredible collection of flora and fauna throughout the entire trail.
Route: Gaurikund – Rambara – Kedarnath – Dhungaj Giri – Vasuki Tal
6. Dodital – Darwa Pass Trek (near Gangotri)
This trek comes with a promise of experiencing tranquil environment, sound of the babbling streams and views of the lush green cover that encapsulates this region. Dodital is a lakes which is surrounded by dense forests of deodar and sits on an elevation of 3,307 metres above sea level. Along with being home to some of the most peaceful views of the surroundings this place also holds immense spiritual importance since it is also considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ganesh.
Route: Sangam Chatti – Agoda – Manjhi – Dodital – Darwa Topi
7. Chitkul – Yamunotri Trek (near Yamunotri)
Known for being one of the most popular trekking routes in Uttarakhand, this trek requires the travel to be physically sound to deal with the rough hilly terrain here. The trekking journey will take you across some of the most stunning Himalayan beauty with lush green forest cover and meadows. You will be able witness some of the most awe inspiring views of the surrounding Himalayas. The route of the trek commences from Chitkul the last village on the indo – China border and makes its way through some of the most beautiful valleys of Garhwal like Hark i Doon.
Route: Chitkul – Doria Camp – Lal Patthar – Har ki Doon – Osla – Yamunotri Pass Base Camp – Damni – Yamunotri pass
8. Gangotri – Gaumukh Tapovan Trek (near Gangotri)
Popular among both avid and beginner trekking enthusiasts this can be one of the most thrilling experiences. Surrounded by rocky mountain boulders and strewn with loose falling rocks along the way this trekking journey will be a unique experience for you. The trekking trail begins from Gangotri and makes its way to Gaumukh, the source of the river Ganga. Located right above the glacier of Gangotri is Tapovan a lush green meadow where sadhus and saints used to go to perform penance. You will be witnessing some incredible views of the peaks of shiv ling, Gangotri group, Kedardome and so much more.
Route: Gangotri – Bhojwasa – Gaumukh – Tapovan
9. Panwali Kantha – Kedarnath Trek (near Kedarnath)
Relatively a short trekking trail this trekking journey is one of the most scenic and thrilling journeys. You will be able to experience the beauty of the pure, untouched Himalayan beauty that encapsulates this region. The traveller will be accompanied by the incredible greenery all along their trail which commences from Sonprayag and concludes at Kedarnath. This place is one of the most tranquil and serene routes to take during the spiritual yatra where you will also be able witness snow-bound peaks of Meru, Neelkanth, Kirti Stambh, Thalay Sagar and so much more.
Route: Ghuttu – Panwali Kanth – Magguchatti – Triyuginarayan – Sonprayag – Gaurikund – Kedarnath
10. Ruinsara – Yamunotri Trek (near Yamunotri)
If you are planning on going a little bit off beat from the normal Chitkul trek then this is the trek that you should choose. You will be making your way through some of the most scenic destinations across some lush green and scenic meadows. You will be able to witness some local tradition and lifestyle like the shepherds of Thangi. You can also visit the holy shrine of the highly revered Yamunotri Dham and explore the beauty that is held in this valley.
Route – Sankri – Taluka – Osla – Har ki Doon – Ruinsara Tal – Bali pass – Yamunotri
11. Valley of Flowers (near Badrinath)
Encapsulated in the thick greenery and a UNESCO world heritage site this place is tucked away in the northern end of Chamoli district. Home to some of the most diverse, rare and endangered species of flora and fauna this place is one of the most scenic destinations in India. After a rain shower the place represents its stunning beauty through green carpeted valley floors and a rich collection of high altitude Himalayan flowers. The history of this valley can be easily dates back to the time when sadhus and yogis used to visit place as a part of their penance and meditation.
Route: Joshimath – Govindghat – Ghangaria – Valley of flowers
12. Kedarkantha Trek (near Kedarnath)
Known for being one of the best winters Himalayan treks in Uttarakhand which can be done during the months of December to April. While camping on the untouched snows you will be witnessing some of the magnificent and naturally blessed beauty of the Himalayas. You will be making your way through the vast expansive forest covering and mesmerizing views of the surroundings. Each one of your campsite during this trek will be incredibly stunning and awe-inspiring where you will also be able to witness the magnificent summit of Kedarkantha.
Route Kotgaon – Khujey – Bhuja Dhadi – Kedarnath Summit
13. Dayara Bugyal Trek (near Gangotri)
Sitting on an elevation of 3,048 metres above sea level this bugyal or meadow is known for being one of the most stunning Bugyals in Uttarakhand. With undulating and gently rolling hills and clear open blue skies you will be experiencing one of the most thrilling adventures of your life. This is one of those rare treks where you can visit during summer months as well as during the winter months. The overall trekking journey for Dayara is 6 hours and it is the perfect opportunity for any beginner traveller to witness the beauty of the Himalayas.
Route: Raithal – Gui – Barnala – Dayara top
14. Bali Pass Trek (near Yamunotri)
Located at a distance of 9 kms from Yamunotri this pass trek is one of the least explored trekking trails here and this region also connects to the Har Ki Doon valley. If you are looking to have a more tough trekking experience then doing this journey is definitely recommended. Situated on an elevation of 4,800 metres above sea level and offering some of the most expansive views of the surrounding beauty, trekking to this place commences from the pristine village of Sankri. This trekking trail makes its way through Govind national park and goes on for almost 7 days.
Route: Sankri – Taluka – Osla – Har ki Doon – Debshu Bugyal – Ruinsara Tal – Bali pass
15. Hemkund Sahib Trek (near Badrinath)
Known for being one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations among the Sikh communities this sacred shrine is situated amongst the grand beauty of the surrounding lush green valleys of Badrinath. Perched on an elevation of 4,632 metres above sea level this popular destination is located at a distance of 6 kms from the village of Ghangaria. If you are looking to relax and rejuvenate yourself in a spiritual as well as an adventurous manner then this is the place to be since it is believed that Guru Gobind Singh used to perform his penance there.
Route: Rishikesh – Rudraprayag – Joshimath – Govindghat – Hemkund Sahib
16. Gandhi Sarovar Trek (near Kedarnath)
Also famous with the name of Chorabari glacier trek this crystal clear and glimmering lake is situated on an elevation of 3,900 metres above sea level. From here you will be able to witness some of the most enchanting views of the surrounding Himalayan beauty that surrounds it. The entire trek covers an exhilarating trek of 3 kms and commences from the iron bridge at Kedarnath and concludes at Gandhi Sarovar. The entire route is extremely picturesque and consists of awe-inspiring views of the surrounding.
Route: Rishikesh – Rudraprayag – Guptkashi – Gaurikund – Chorabari tal.
17. Nachiketa Tal Trek (near Gangotri)
Known for its fairy tale and dream like landscape this lake is one of the most loved trekking destinations near Gangotri. The entire trekking route is filled with some of the most picturesque sceneries of the Himalayas. A small temple dedicated to Nag Devta is also situated there which is visited by Hindus during the holy eve of Naga Panchami. You will be able to savor on some of the most incredible views and spiritual bliss of the towering snow-clad Bandar pooch peaks.
Route: Rishikesh – Uttarkashi – Chaurangi Khal – Nachiketa Tal
18. Saptrishi Kund Trek (near Yamunotri)
Situated amongst the enchanting views of the surrounding rock strewn glaciers this scenic and spiritual spot lies on an elevation of 4,421 metres above sea level. It could be reached after trekking a distance of 10 kms of moderate to difficult trekking journey. You could ask for some guidance or help to reach the lake since it is tucked away in a remote location. It is not advisable for you to camp at the Saptarishi Kund due to high-speed winds, so people pitch their camps at a distance of 5 kms behind the lake.
Route: Hanuman Chatti – Yamunotri – Saptarishi Kund
19. Panch Kedar Yatra Trek (near Kedarnath)
Known for being one of the holiest and the most spiritual trekking journeys in Uttarakhand this pilgrimage circuit takes you through the five sacred portals of religious importance which are – Kalpeshwar, Madhyamaheshwar, Rudranath, Tungnath and Kedarnath. This will definitely be a trekking journey of your lifetime which is encapsulated in pure and lush Himalayan beauty. Taking up this journey will allow you to have a holy experience for yourself and you will also be treated to views of some of the most stunning surroundings. The entire route will represent a wonderful combination of peace, tranquillity, adventure and spirituality.
Route: Rudraprayag – Kedarnath – Guptkashi – Gaundhar – Madhyamaheshwar – Ukhimath – Tungnath – Chopta – Rudranath – Dumuk – Kalpeshwar
20. Panch Badri Yatra Trek (near Badrinath)
Known for being the 5 holy abode of Lord Vishnu these panch Badri sites include the holy temples of Badri Vishal, Bhavishya Badri, Yogadhyan Badri, Vridha Badri and Adi Badri. This trekking circuit is a popular trekking and pilgrimage destination is known for its spectacular beauty and deep spirituality. All the destinations are surrounded by thick forest cover and offers s vibe of deep devotion to the traveller. This is considered to be one of the most thrilling trekking adventure that Uttarakhand has to offer.
Route: Joshimath – Badrinath – Pandukeshwar – Yogadhyan Badri – Syaldhar – Bhavishya Badri – Vridh Badri – Adi Badri – Haridwar