Want to do the Valley of Flowers Trek? Then you have come to the right place. I did the Valley of Flowers & Hemkund Sahib independently
This is the most beautiful valley of flowers in India, and you will be rewarded with gorgeous, panoramic views of the valley of the flowers of all colours taking you to a paradise.
Read this Valley of Flowers Trek blog to find out how you can ace this trip alone and within a shoestring budget and completely have fun.
How to plan your Valley of Flowers Trek – Things to know
- The Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand is a UNESCO heritage site home to thousands of Himalayan wild-flowers, stunning valleys surrounded by waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and rivers.
- It is open to the public only during the monsoon every year and is one of the popular treks in India(check more details on the best time to visit Valley of flowers below)
- The Valley of Flowers trek is easy/moderate and requires a day to explore.
- No camping is allowed in the Valley of Flowers National Park.
- You can do the Valley of Flowers hike on your own as the trail is well-laid throughout the trek.
- Before you check out the detailed itinerary in this valley of flowers trek guide, let me share a brief route of the trek. – Rishikesh > Joshimath > Govind Ghat > Ghangaria > Valley of flowers.
Now, read this Valley of flowers trek guide further for all of your questions.
How many days for Valley of Flowers trek?
The number of days required to complete the Valley of flowers is up to you. You can soak in the experience of trekking in Valley of flowers at each step. If you do independently, you can stretch the trip between 7 to 10 days too or if you want to wrap up quickly, you can do it in just 2 or 3 days.
Ideally, you can cover the entire valley of flowers from Delhi distance between 4 to 6 days in total, depending on your preference, weather and the fitness.
Of course, if you are arriving from other cities, add another 1or 2 days depending on your mode of transportation.
How To Reach Valley of Flowers National Park?
Now, depending on from where you arrive and your available travel time, these are the various ways to reach the Valley of Flowers.
How to reach from Delhi to Rishikesh?
Valley of Flowers Trek from Delhi – The total distance from Delhi to Valley of Flowers is 513km. Assuming that you are arriving at the trip to Valley of Flowers from Delhi, this is how you will travel. You’ll first have to travel from Delhi to Rishikesh, which is the starting point for the trek. And then from Rishikesh to Joshimath(and scroll further for next itinerary after this)
Delhi to Rishikesh by bus: You can take the direct bus from Delhi to Rishikesh, which takes about 7 to 8 hours. There are both private as well as public buses. You can buy the tickets to Rishikesh at Maharana Pratap Inter State Bus Terminus or ISBT.
Delhi to Rishikesh by train: There is no direct train to Rishikesh from Delhi. You can get down at Haridwar railway station, which is just 30 mins away from Rishikesh and is the nearest railway station. From Haridwar, there are plenty of shared cabs to Rishikesh that take you for a very less price(around INR 75)
By Flight: The nearest airport to Rishikesh from Delhi is at Dehradun. There are a few flights from Delhi to Dehradun every day. The distance from Dehradun to the Valley of Flowers is over 300 km. From Dehradun, you have the option of taking the shared cab (cheapest), private cab (expensive), buses (cheaper) to Rishikesh.
What is the best time to visit Valley of Flowers?
The Valley of Flowers best time is during the rainy season because it is a monsoon trek. On a serious note, the Valley of Flowers National Park opens between late June and Mid September every year. The exact dates are announced a few months before. The flower valley remains closed for the rest of the year.
The wild Himalayan flowers start blooming in July and sometimes it might get late and begin in August as well. By the end of August, some flowers begin to shred and continue to decrease by September.
So, what is the best time to visit Valley of Flowers?
The locals suggest that the best time to visit Valley of flowers is between last week of July to
But there is a catch. It will surely rain since it is the monsoon season, and the downpours are heavy during these weeks usually.
If it’s heavy then it becomes impossible to trek as they might even close the park or you may need a few more days to reach to the base village due to landslides and road blockades which are common at this time.
So if possible, allow yourself up to 7 to 8 days so that you can keep a day or two as a buffer in case rain interrupts.
Valley of Flowers Trek Difficulty
The valley of Flowers altitude is between 3,352 – 3,658 meters or between 11,000 to 12,000 feet, which is in the beginning scale of the high altitude range. This altitude can cause acute mountain sickness to most of us.
If you have prior high-altitude trek experience, then this wouldn’t be a difficult one assuming you have a decent fitness level. However, every person’s body reacts differently to the mountains, so you are the best judge of your body.
You will trek for about 6 to 7 hours each day and the total trek distance is around 40km.
But follow the general trek guidelines for the Valley of Flowers trek as well. If you have never trekked before, it is better that you indulge in some kind of moderate physical activity every day for 2 to 3 hours at least 15 days before the trek. This would be the best case, but not a very hard rule. If you are fit enough, you can easily pull this off.
Valley of Flowers Trek Cost
If you opt for a Valley of Flowers tour with any travel companies, the trek cost from either Rishikesh or Joshimath and back ranges approximately between 8000 INR to 13000 INR. Most do a trek for 5 to 6 days.
I traveled from Bangalore to Valley of Flowers and also did Hemkunk Sahib trek and including everything, it cost me around 2500 INR. Check my detailed break-up of expenses at the end of this post.
The Valley of Flowers Detailed Itinerary
Now let me share you the itinerary that you can follow your own Valley of Flowers Uttarakhand trek!
Day 1| Rishikesh to Joshimath, Joshimath to Govind Ghat
The actual trip starts from Joshimath (the itinerary that you find in Valley of Flowers tour packages) although it’s still a long day of travel. It takes 8 to 10 hours to reach from Rishikesh to Joshimath depending on the mode of transport.
Rishikesh to Valley of flowers distance is about 275km. The distance from Rishikesh to Joshimath is about 250 km.
And finally, the distance from Joshimath to Valley of Flowers is about 20 km, most of which should be hiked.
Part 1 – How to get from Rishikesh to Joshimath?
You can get from Rishikesh to Joshimath by bus. The buses begin at 4 AM and there are 2 or 3 direct buses per day. Public buses are limited and the last bus leaves around 5:15 AM. The cost is under 200 INR (sometimes even lesser)
Make sure to reach early, maybe by 4 AM itself. I reached the bus stand at 5:30 AM and missed the last bus. So I had to spend some extra money on the shared jeep.
Shared Taxis from Rishikesh to Joshimath: The TATA sumo or taxis/jeeps are another option to reach Joshimath from Rishikesh. I paid 200 INR post bargaining. The driver initially quoted 600 INR, and that’s what he charged the foreigners. Of course, the locals paid lesser than me.
Where to board the bus/jeep: The bus station at Rishikesh is away from the centre of the town and since it would too early in the morning to reach the bus stand (you can still board from the station, but you’ll end up paying more for the taxi to reach there!), you can wait near Tapovan, just after Lakshman Jhula.
The views are a treat throughout the journey from Rishikesh! There is a small police chowk after Lakshman Jhula. Both the buses and jeeps pick up from there. There is no signboard, but you can check with the locals for the bus stop – everyone knows the place.
Part 2 – Getting from Joshimath to Govind Ghat
Govind Ghat is a small village located ahead of Joshimath, which is also the place to start the trek for those heading to Hemkund Sahib. Once you reach Joshimath, take a shared taxi from Joshimath to Govind Ghat. It should not take you more than 100 INR. It takes about half an hour to 40 minutes to reach Govind Ghat.
Ideally, you should be reaching Govind Ghat latest by say 8 PM. If you take a jeep to Joshimath, they usually drop to Govind Ghat as well, so discuss it along. They might quote an extra sum, but haggle to include it under 200 INR.
Tip: Ensure that you start your day early, preferably by 4 AM to make it to Govind Ghat by evening. The weather is totally unpredictable in the mountains, and roadblocks are common. I started my day at 5:30 AM and made to Govind Ghat at 7 PM with two roadblocks in the villages that took away about 1.5 hours.
Where to Stay: Govind Ghat has many budget and small hotels, and the price varies from 300 INR to 500 INR for a night. There are many places for food, and finding a restaurant isn’t a problem.
I stayed in the Gurudwara at Govind Ghat as I wanted to get a glimpse of the culture, which was a great experience. Plus, I had enforced a strict treks-on-a-tight-budget rule for this trip!
Staying at Joshimath: In case you can’t make it to Govind Ghat, don’t sweat. It is an hour away and it means you have to cover that one hour by starting early the next day.
There are many budget stays and modern hotels in Joshimath, which is a relatively bigger town.
But if you want to keep the cost to a minimum, then go to government-run GMNV guest houses that are pretty cheap, with dorm beds at 100 to 150 INR. They are hygienic and well-maintained. There are 2 GMNV houses – one at the centre, and the other in upper Joshimath. You can call them on the same day or a day before and block your stay.
Day 2 | Govind Ghat to Ghangaria
The actual trek starts here. Start your day at 6 AM to Ghangaria village, which is the base camp for the two treks. The total distance from Govind Ghat to Ghangaria is about 12 km. There are shared cabs that go to 4 km.
There is a bridge in Govind Ghat, which also has a check post. Here you are mandatorily required to submit your details to register first. Shared cabs are parked right to next to it. It takes about 20 minutes to cover 4 km.
The trek to Ghangaria is strenuous, even tougher than the trek to the valley of flowers itself. The trek distance one way is 8 km, but 90% of the distance is uphill, some parts of it being steep as well. You can hire porters to carry your luggage or alternatively, rent a ride on the mule if you find it tough.
Day 3 | Ghangaria to the Valley of Flowers
Below is the Valley of Flowers Trek Map. You will find it at the entrance, just as you start the trek. It is better to a picture on your phone for reference, especially helpful if you are doing a solo trek to Valley of flowers.
Ghangaria to Valley of flowers distance is 6km. This Ghangaria to Valley of flowers trek takes about 4 to 5 hours depending on how much you intend to spend in the national park and your trekking pace. Luckily, there are just about 200 meters gain in altitude and the trail is a mix, but most easily. All you nature lovers will totally enjoy the trek.
Once you get out of Ghangaria, there is a signboard for the valley of flowers, following which you’ll reach the checkpoint. You have to make your entry there and get the tickets. The entry ticket for Indians is 150 INR.
Check this picture below for full details.
This is your day to finally make into the flowers of Valley consisting of gorgeous wildflowers including the rare and precious blue poppy, hundreds of kinds of tiny flowering plants all
Tip: Start the trek as early as possible, within 6 AM. The weather usually gets worse as the day progresses and noon is when heavy downpours occur. Also, starting early ensures that you get to spend more time strolling in the valley. It takes some time to soak in the beauty and treat yourself to the views, after all this hiking!
Where to stay after your trek: Come back to Ghangaria to rest your body after an exhausting but truly rewarding day. You deserve a treat because you did it!
Day 4 | Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib
Now, you have two options after your Valley of flowers trek. Or you can skip this. If you don’t want to take this up, skip this part and go to Day 5 below.
Hemkund Sahib, is home to a gorgeous glacial lake, next to a Gurudwara(Sikh temple), which is also a pilgrimage site.
Hemkund Valley of flowers is even unique as you will get to see some exquisite high-altitude Himalayan flowers that’s not found anywhere in the world.
The trek distance from Ghangaria to Hemkund is 5 km, but the terrain is tougher compared to the valley of flowers. Also, there is an altitude gain of about 1100 to 1200 meters. It’s a difficult trek, but definitely do-able! You should be back to Ghangaria by 5 PM.
Begin the trek before 6 AM. Just make sure to carry the essentials – water bottle, glucose (if needed), light food, poncho, trekking pole and camera gears.
Where to stay: You have to get back to Ghangaria for a nice rest after this fulfilling Hemkund Sahib trek.
Check this post below to find all about Hemkund Sahib.
Also read: Hemkund Sahib – A Trek to the Lake of Snow
Day 5 | Ghangaria to Govind Ghat/ Joshimath
The trek back to Govind Ghat from Ghangaria would feel easier, but it still needs 4 to 5 hours to make your way back. It’s better to stay in Joshimath as that’s where you’ll have to head to board bus/jeep to Rishikesh.
Some people start really early and even walk back within 3 hours so that they reach Rishikesh the same day by jeeps.
Where to stay: Joshimath/Govind Ghat
Day 6 | Joshimath to Rishikesh
Board an early morning bus or shared jeeps from Joshimath and reach Rishikesh in the evening. Rishikesh is a beautiful town with lots of attraction. So you can spend a few days exploring this charismatic town if you have time. I’d highly recommend this town to all!
Where to stay: Rishikesh
There are plenty of hotels in Rishikesh in all budget ranges, including homestay and guesthouses.
Check out these for budget options: Rajendra Yoga & Wellness Centre, Anjali Home Stay, Ambika Resorts, Shalom Backpackers Rishikesh, Blue Jay Hostel Rishikesh, Nature Care Village- Ayurveda Yoga Retreat
What to carry for Valley of Flowers Trek? – Packing List
Tips: Carry as minimum luggage as possible – just the essentials should be perfect. It must include a poncho, 3 to 4 layers for cold, a wind jacket, waterproof trekking shoes, water bottles and a trekking pole. Also, don’t forget to carry some basic first aid kit.
I repeat, the trail is tough – carry as less as you can! I had put on some extra clothes and it was very stressful to trek with a heavy bag.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated. There is a change in the altitude as you trek, and you trek from an elevation of 1800 meters to 3100 meters in a few hours.
Take it slow, and you should be ideally reaching Ghangaria between 4 to 5 PM in the evening. Ensure you make it before it gets dark anyway.
Where to stay during your Valley of Flowers trek?
As you saw in the detailed itinerary, Ghangaria is where you will spend more days. From tents to modern hotels, there are many options to stay. You can get a room from 200 INR onwards. There is a Gurudwara in Ghangaria as well, and you can stay there too for free.
Hemkund Sahib or Valley of Flowers – Which one to do first?
Now if you have decided to both Valley of flowers and Hemkund Sahib treks, the order to follow is as you wish. But technically, there are two approaches to this. If you feel that you need to acclimatise and warm up first – then go for the valley of flowers, also because this trek is more beautiful.
On the other hand, if you feel the urge to be done with the toughest first (like me), then Hemkund should be your first choice.
Valley of Flowers Solo Trek – Total Cost
Below are my expenses from Delhi to Valley of Flowers and back.
|Delhi to Dehradun & back, train
|Shared taxis (travel from Dehradun to Rishikesh + Rishikesh to Joshimath & back)
|Accommodation expenses (1day hotel cost in Ghangaria, rest for free in Gurudwaras)
|VOF trek Entry fees
|Food for 6 days (I ate food as well at Gurudwara in between)
So you got it! I think that’s a great budget for a week’s trip, what do you say?
Hope you find this Valley of flowers and Hemkund Sahib trek blog helpful with all the info you need to plan your trip. If you have any questions, do reach me in the comment below.
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