Six low-impact hiking trails in India

Eco-trekking in India provides a unique opportunity to explore the country's stunning landscapes while minimizing your environmental impact
Six low-impact hiking trails in India

India's diverse landscapes offer a plethora of trekking opportunities, from the lofty Himalayas to lush Western Ghats.

For environmentally-conscious adventurers, eco-trekking provides a way to explore these beautiful terrains while minimizing environmental impact.

Here are some of the best low-impact hiking trails in India that combine natural beauty with sustainable travel practices.

1. Valley of Flowers Trek - Uttarakhand

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is a botanist's paradise. This trek, nestled in the Western Himalayas, takes you through a vibrant valley blanketed with over 300 species of wildflowers. The eco-trekking trail encourages minimal-impact practices like carrying reusable water bottles and avoiding littering. The best time to visit is from July to September when the valley is in full bloom, offering a breathtaking and eco-friendly hiking experience.

2. Dzongri Trek - Sikkim

The Dzongri Trek in Sikkim is an excellent choice for those seeking a low-impact adventure in the Eastern Himalayas. Starting from Yuksom, this trek leads you through dense forests, alpine meadows and offers stunning views of Mount Kanchenjunga. The trail is maintained with a strong emphasis on eco-friendly practices. Trekkers are encouraged to use biodegradable products and respect the local flora and fauna, ensuring the preservation of this pristine environment.

3. Kudremukh Trek - Karnataka

Located in the Western Ghats, the Kudremukh Trek in Karnataka is known for its rolling hills and rich biodiversity. The name 'Kudremukh' means 'horse face' in Kannada, referring to the mountain's distinctive shape. This trek passes through the Kudremukh National Park, which is home to diverse wildlife and endemic species. Eco-trekking guidelines here include sticking to designated paths, avoiding plastic and camping responsibly, making it a model for sustainable trekking.

4. Tarsar Marsar Trek - Jammu and Kashmir

The Tarsar Marsar Trek in Jammu and Kashmir is a hidden gem in the Indian trekking scene. This trail takes you through serene alpine lakes, verdant meadows and ancient forests. To preserve its untouched beauty, trekkers are encouraged to adopt leave-no-trace principles, ensuring that all waste is packed out and local ecosystems remain undisturbed. The trek offers an immersive experience while promoting environmental stewardship.

5. Har Ki Dun Trek - Uttarakhand

The Har Ki Dun Trek, located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, offers a glimpse into the remote and unspoiled Himalayan wilderness. Known as the Valley of Gods, this trek passes through ancient villages, pine forests and lush valleys. The region emphasizes eco-tourism, encouraging trekkers to support local communities, use eco-friendly gear and minimize their carbon footprint. This trek is ideal for those who want to experience natural beauty while practising sustainable travel.

6. Coorg Trek - Karnataka

Six low-impact hiking trails in India
We discover an Ama Trails and Stays experience in Pollibetta, Coorg over cups of delicious brews from Tata Coffee

Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is a picturesque region in Karnataka famous for its coffee plantations and misty landscapes. The Coorg Trek takes you through lush forests, cascading waterfalls and scenic viewpoints. Local trekking groups promote eco-trekking by organizing clean-up drives, educating trekkers on sustainable practices and supporting conservation efforts. This trek offers a peaceful escape into nature while contributing to environmental preservation.

(Written by Sanjana Pulugurtha)

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