I don’t know anyone who knows as much about trekking the world’s best trails than my friend Rick McCharles of BestHike.com. Rick has been all over the planet, exploring remote corners on his own two feet. Recently, he traveled to northern India to take on the Markha Valley Trek, an 111 km (69 mile) mountain trail that he says is the best hike in the Indian Himalaya. As usual, he also does a great job of sharing his experience, and providing tips, for those of us who would like to follow in his footsteps.
Rick breaks down the 7-day trek into daily sections, giving readers an idea of what to expect on any given section of the hike. But he starts with “Day 0” which provides an overview of the excursion, complete with information on length, duration, best time to go (June to mid-October), and more. He even tells us what the biggest challenges for hikers, which in this case is the altitude. As Rick says in his report “Nobody speaks about hiking distance in the Himalaya. Only altitude truly matters.” On the Markha Trail, that altitude ranges from 3190 – 5287 meters (10,465 ft – 17,345 ft). Because of this, acclimation is critical for those walking the route.
The trek begins and end in the town of Leh, and makes a circuit through the Himalaya in that region. Along the way, there are numerous small villages that offer some respite from the trail, with most nights spent either camping in a tent or staying in the homes of local villagers, something that was a highlight of the trip for Rick. He also liked the Buddhist culture, the challenge of the high altitude, and the chance to see some of the local wildlife along the way.
With Nepal still working through some of the challenges of rebuilding following the earthquake, some travelers are looking for other options to go trekking in the Himalaya. While India isn’t as well known for its hiking opportunities, there are still plenty of good routes for those who want to see a different side of the Himalaya. The Markha Valley Trek is one such option, and according to Rick the logistics are surprisingly easy, making it an accessible one too. If you’re looking for ideas on where you should go on your next trek, this is certainly an entice option. And should you decide to do it, be sure to give Best Hike’s guide a look. It will give you plenty of insights on what to expect.
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