10 min read

Valley of Flowers Itinerary and Travel Guide

Valley of Flowers itinerary, best time to visit, how to reach and where to stay

πŸš—
Best Time
July - August

πŸ’°
Approximate Cost
Rs 7,000 - 10,000 per person

πŸ“…
Number of Days
5-6 days


About Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers is a high-altitude Himalayan valley that is designated as a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the North Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand, it is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora.

Valley of Flowers is arguably the most beautiful treks in Uttarakhand. Tucked away deep in the Himalayas, the pristine valley presents some of the most picturesque landscapes nature has to offer. While trekking, every few steps you will find sights painted so perfectly by nature that you would want to just sit there and behold them for hours.

The valley hosts over five hundred species of flowers. Pushpawati river drains the valley and it believed that Pandavs during their exile came to this valley and saw flowers floating in the river. Thus they named it Pushpawati.

The place was little known to the outside world due to its inaccessibility. In 1931, Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton and R.L. Holdsworth, all British mountaineers, lost their way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt Kamet and happened upon the valley, which was full of flowers. They were attracted to the beauty of the area and named it the Valley of Flowers. Frank Smythe later authored a book of the same name.

Best Time to Visit

Valley of Flowers is one of those rare Himalayan gems that morphs itself into a new form with every changing season. Unlike most Himalayas treks which have a preferred season attached to them, it is difficult to say the same for Valley of Flowers. It essentially depends on what you are expecting from the valley.

If you want to experience the epitome of a valley's flowering then monsoon months are the best. If you want to enjoy clear views and contrasting colours of nature, the autumn months are the best. If are looking for greenery on the landscapes and warmth in the air, the summer months are the best. Each season has its advantages and disadvantages, which have been described in detail below.

If you are an avid trekker, I would suggest giving the valley a visit every season. That is the only way to experience everything it has to offer. However, if you are planning a single visit, July and August months are the best.

For an all-season guide to Valley of Flowers, visit the following article:

Best time to visit Valley of Flowers
All season guide to Valley of Flowers and best months to visit the valley
Himalayan Knotweed blooming in August
Himalayan Knotweed blooming in August

Valley of Flowers Itinerary

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib treks start from same village Ghangharia. So you can include both the valley and the gurudwara in your itinerary. I have seen many people so moved by the beauty of the valley that they visited it again the very next day. So, that is also an option if you are passionate about nature!!

  • Minimum 5 days are required starting from Haridwar and ending in Haridwar
  • You will need to add one extra day if you want to visit Hemdkund Sahib too
  • Add at least one buffer day to your plan if you are visiting during July and August. In case the valley closes due to rainfall, you will have an extra day to try the trek again

Summary

Day 1: Haridwar / Dehradun to Joshimath / Govindghat

  • Distance - 281 km, 10 hours drive

Day 2: Govindghat to Ghangharia

  • Distance - 4 km drive and 10 km trek
  • Max Altitude - 3000m
  • Altitude Gain - 1200 m

Day 3: Ghangharia to Valley of Flowers to Ghangharia

  • Distance - 14 km trek
  • Max Altitude - 3500 m
  • Altitude Gain - 500 m

Day 4: Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib to Ghangharia (optional)

  • Distance - 12 km
  • Max Altitude - 4200 m
  • Altitude Gain - 1200 m

Day 5: Ghangharia to Govindghat / Joshimath

  • Distance - 10 km trek, 4 km drive
  • Min Altitude - 1800 m
  • Altitude Loss - 1200 m

Day 6: Back to Haridwar / Dehradun

  • Distance - 150 km - 281 km drive

Day 1: Haridwar / Dehradun to Joshimath / Govindghat

  • Reach Haridwar from Delhi by Bus or Train. You can also catch a flight to Dehradun and start the journey from there
  • From Haridwar or Dehradun begins approximately 10 hrs drive to Joshimath. Along the way, you will witness some of the holiest confluences in India - Devprayag, Rudraprayag, etc. You will drive along the holy Ganga and Alaknanda and beautiful Himalayan valleys will greet you on every turn
  • There are ample dhabas and restaurants along the way to have breakfast and lunch
  • You can stop at Joshimath where stay options are better. But the next day you will need a mode of transport to reach Govindghat. Ultimately trek starts from Govindghat.
  • Hotels are available in Govidghat too, so you can reach there directly on the first day. Keep in mind that during peak season hotel availability can be a problem because a lot of Sikh pilgrims visit Hemkund Sahib. Booking rooms beforehand is highly recommended.

Road Conditions

  • Roads are generally good. But the construction of Char Dham Highway is underway. So, you may face road closures in many places. These are generally cleared within 15-30 mins

Day 2: Govindghat to Ghangharia

πŸƒπŸ½β€β™‚οΈ
Altitude Gain
1828m to 3050m

πŸ”₯
Trekking Distance
10 km

πŸ˜€
Difficulty
Easy - Moderate

On the way to Ghangharia
On the way to Ghangharia
  • Private vehicles and taxis are not allowed beyond Govindghat
  • You can take a local taxi to Pulna village which is about 4 km from Govindghat. You can also choose to trek to Pulna village if you are confident of your stamina
  • All vehicles stop at Pulna. From here, the trek to Ghangharia starts
  • Trek to Ghangharia is 9 km approximately and will take 5 - 6 hours, depending on your speed
  • The trek is beautiful and you will get jaw-dropping views of the valley throughout the trek
  • There are numerous shops selling all kinds of packaged food, water, tea, paranthas, etc. You can take as many breaks as you like because time is not an issue.
  • Please keep the trek clean and use dustbins to throw waste wrappers and water bottles
  • Helicopter service is available from Govindghat to Ghangharia
  • Mules are also available from Pulna till Ghangharia

Difficulty and Trek Condition

  • Trek is 9 km long with a path well laid out with stones and clearly marked boundaries
  • The first half of the trek is fairly easy while the other half is a little steep
  • You can easily complete the trek if take ample brakes and keep pushing yourself

Day 3: Ghangharia to Valley of Flowers to Ghangharia

πŸƒπŸ½β€β™‚οΈ
Altitude Gain
3050m to 3500m

πŸ”₯
Trekking Distance
14 km

πŸ˜€
Difficulty
Easy

Blue Poppy
Blue Poppy
  • Start early at around 7 AM so that you get ample time to spend in the valley. There is a check-post about 1 km from Ghangharia where you need to get entry tickets. It is better to reach here early as getting tickets can take time if there are a lot of people
  • The ticket costs Rs 150 for Indians and Rs 600 for foreign nationals
  • You will start seeing flowers along the path as soon as the trek starts
  • Try to spot the Bhoj Patra tree whose bark was used in ancient times to write Vedas and other holy texts
  • Soon you will cross the gushing Pushpawati river whose flow is fierce during the monsoon. Don't risk crossing the bridge if the water level is too high, as it can get even higher when you return
  • You will enter the valley after about a 3-4 km trek. Aim to reach here around 10.30 AM - 11 AM
  • Valley extends for 10 km from here. So, it’s up to you how much you want to explore. Keep in mind that you need to start retuning around 2 PM so that you can reach back to check-post around 5 PM anyhow. If you don’t reach by that time, a search party may be sent to find you and you can be fined for being irresponsible
  • Try at least to reach Pushpawati river bed which is around 2 km further after you reach the valley
  • Carry at least two litres of water with you. There are ample streams along the way where you can refill them

Difficulty and Trek Condition

  • Whole trekking path is well laid out
  • Trek is a combination of gradual and steep inclines. From Ghangharia to the Pushpawati river, the trek is fairly easy. After you cross the river, the incline becomes steep and continues as such for 2-3 km
  • Once you reach the valley, the path is mostly plane walking. If you go deeper, there will be a time when the trekking path will get covered in bushes because not many people come that far. Don't worry, keep going until you reach Pushpawati river bed
  • No mule service is available in the valley. But palki service is available which you can book in Ghangharia

Day 4: Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib to Ghangharia (optional)

πŸƒπŸ½β€β™‚οΈ
Altitude Gain
3050m to 4633m

πŸ”₯
Trekking Distance
12 km

πŸ˜€
Difficulty
Moderate - Difficult

  • Going to Hemkund Sahib is optional, but highly recommended as you have come this far
  • Start early at 7 AM Β as the gurudwara will start closing around 12 PM and the latest you can stay there is till 2 PM. If you start too late, you might not be able to eat at langar or get to see gurudwara from inside
  • There are dhabas at every 1 km where you can take a rest and have tea. Water will easily be available here
  • No ticket is required on this path
  • Toilets have been provided at many places
  • Once you reach the Gurudwara, enjoy steaming hot tea and khichdi

Difficulty and Trek Condition

  • Trek to Hemkund Sahib is around 6 km but is a steep climb throughout. You can see that altitude gain is approximately 1500m in just a 6 km trek.
  • It will take 4-5 hours to reach the Gurudwara depending on your speed
  • The path is wide and well laid out
  • With altitude gain, the temperature will also drop significantly. At gurdwara, it will be really cold, so take a spare jacket with you
  • There is a risk of Acute Mountain Sickness due to high altitude. So, keep yourself hydrated, keep eating something and take frequent rests. Don't push yourself too hard. If you are hit by AMS, take a Dimox listed in the What to Carry section below
  • Mules service is available on this trek. They charge somewhere around Rs 500 but can charge more depending on the demand

Day 5: Ghangharia to Govindghat / Joshimath

  • You can sleep a little more today and leave around 8 AM
  • Climbing down will be easy and from Pulna you can get a taxi to Govindghat
  • You will be at Govindghat around 12 PM. You can choose to stay in Govindghat or you can find a mode of transport and travel some distance, for example, till Jayalgarh or Srinagar. In this way, the next day you will not have to travel the full 10 hours

Day 6: Back to Haridwar / Dehradun

  • From wherever you stayed, find a transport to reach back to Haridwar or Dehradun. Taxis will charge around Rs 6500 for the whole group and travellers around Rs 9500
  • If you chose to travel some distance the previous day, you can reach Haridwar early during the day and catch a bus or train to reach Delhi the same day
Rain soaked route to Joshimath
Rain-soaked route to Joshimath

How to reach Valley of Flowers?

1. Reaching Haridwar / Dehradun

  • There are ample trains/buses running from Delhi to Haridwar
  • Ideally, you would want to reach Haridwar in the early morning because there is 10 hrs journey ahead. You can catch Nanda Devi Express from New Delhi or a bus from Kashmire Gate ISBT
  • You can also catch a flight to Dehradun. But keep in mind that flights to Dehradun are really expensive

2. Haridwar to Joshimath / Govindghat

By Bus - Direct bus facility from Haridwar is not available. You first need to reach Rishikesh or Dehradun. So, if you plan to travel by bus, directly reach Rishikesh or Dehradun from Delhi.

  • From Rishikesh / Dehradun, you can find Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) buses. Buses start from early morning around 4 AM. Try to catch the first bus available so that even after delays en-route, you can reach Joshimath by dusk.
  • Apart from UTC, there is also Garhwal Motor Owners Union Ltd which operates daily bus services from Rishikesh to Joshimath. You can find buses between 4 AM to 8 AM

By Private / Shared Taxi - There are a lot of taxi operators available from Haridwar / Rishikesh / Dehradun.

  • You can book a taxi for the entire journey if you are in a big group. This is recommended mode as you might find it difficult to get transport while returning
  • SUVs will charge around Rs 6500 and travellers around Rs 9500 for the trip. This charge is for the entire taxi and not on a personal basis

4. Govindghat to Ghangharia

  • By Helicopter - Helicopter service is available from Govindghat to Ghangharia. They charge something between Rs 2500 - Rs 3000 for one side journey. However, if you opt for a helicopter, you will reach Ghangharia in 15-20 mins and miss all the fun you will get while trekking along the path
  • By Taxi - Local taxis run from Govindghat to Pulna village. Private vehicles are not allowed after Govindghat
  • By Mule - Mules are available from Pulna to Ghangharia

5. Ghangharia to Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers is a protected area, so mules service is not available. But palki service is available which you can book in Ghangharia

6. Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib

Mule service is available till Hemkund Sahib. You will see a lot of mule operators early morning at Ghangharia and you can book them there itself


Where to stay in Valley of Flowers?

Please note that these are very remote places in Uttarakhand. You will get hotels with basic facilities only. If you are looking for a luxurious stay, you are going to be disappointed

July and August are very busy and hotels get booked very fast. Please plan 2-3 months in advance and get your bookings done

Govindghat

Joshimath

Ghangharia


Things to Carry

  • Moderate Woolens - Rated for 0 - 5 Β° C
  • Good Raincoats - Rain can come anytime with any intensity
  • Waterproof bags or bags with waterproof cover
  • A waterproof pouch for electronics
  • Waterproof trekking shoes. Trekking in sport's shoes is not recommended
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Sunglasses - If the weather is clear, the sun can be pretty intense
  • Chocolates and other snacks to munch on while trekking to get energy
  • At least two 1 ltr water bottles. Please bring your own bottles and don’t buy mineral water bottles from local shops. Help reduce plastic waste

Medicines

  • Dimox - Acute Mountain Sickness (only take if absolutely necessary)
  • Iodox / Move Spray - For leg pain
  • ORS Powder - Mix it in the water while trekking. It helps in keeping you hydrated
  • Carry enough cash - No ATMs and no online payments work there
  • Trekking Poles - They can be bought in Pulna / Ghangharia too

Comments

Hey πŸ‘‹ Planning your next trip?

Join our weekly newsletter and get latest road conditions and opening dates delivered straight to your inbox