Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia
Shimla, the largest city of Himachal Pradesh is a popular hill station across the country. Initially, the hill station acted as the “summer capital” of British India. Thanks to this, it is still frequented by innumerable tourists looking to get a taste of its rich colonial heritage. Dotted with several notable tourist spots such as The Ridge, Mall Road, and Tattapani, Shimla perfectly fuses the mesmerizing beauty of Himalayas with the awe-inspiring beauty of Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture, reflecting the British influence. If you’re an ardent trekker, or simply like to be in touch with nature, trekking near Shimla is something you should definitely try.
The town has everything one is looking for in a getaway. The best part about Shimla is that it is a suitable destination for all kinds of travelers. Trying out an adventurous activity like trekking around a beautiful place like Shimla will be an unprecedented travel experience.
7 Best Places For Trekking Near Shimla
To get you started, here’s everything you need to know about the 7 best treks that originate out of Shimla and will ensure you have a great travel experience!
1. Karol Tibba Trek
Speaking of the road less taken, the trek to Karol Tibba is not often mentioned in the list of day hikes from Shimla. Blanketed by lush forests and surrounded by breathtaking views, the temple of Karol Tibba makes for a perfect day-long adventure for trekking enthusiasts visiting Shimla. Karol Tibba temple falls within the Shivalik range of Himalayas and is the tallest peak within the Solan district. For adventurous travellers that are strapped for time, Karol Tibba is one of the most frequented routes for trekking near Shimla.
The hike starts from a small town called Chambaghat that falls within the Solan District of Himachal Pradesh. If you are starting from Shimla, you can reach Chambaghat by road. The journey is roughly an hour long. The hike itself is 6 kilometres long, including the distance to reach Pandava Cave. At the summit, there is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali that offers mesmerizing views of Shimla City and the famous Churdhar Peak.
Altitude: 2,240 meters
Distance: 5.6 kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
2. Shali Tibba Trek
If you’ve ever been to Shimla, you have probably already seen the lonely Shali Tibba peak looming over the Mashobra Bridge. The peak is not the tallest but still offers 360-degree views of Shimla, Mashobra, Kufri, Fagu, and Narkanda. The summit houses the temple of locally revered Goddess Bhima Kali, which is accessible by a well-maintained trail that was constructed by the King of Faridkot back in 1936.
The trail goes through a beautiful valley of blue pine and cedar forest, and makes for the perfect one-day hike from Shimla, making it one of the best places for trekking near Shimla. While it is true that the hike can be done in a single day, it is recommended to set up camp near the village of Khatnol. To reach Khatnol, you must first travel to Mashobra from Shimla. From Mahsobra, start a steep descent to the village of Sipi. Continue your descent until you reach the Noble Gad river. There is no bridge over the river, so it must be forded.
Altitude: around 240 meters
Distance: 7 kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
3. Hatu Peak Trek
At a distance of 70 kilometers from the city of Shimla, Narkanda is the starting point for the Hatu Peak hike. While the hike is not a difficult or a long one, the summit is the highest peak within the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. The trail is surrounded by some fantastic views of the Himalayas while being covered in a mixed forest of Deodar, Fir, Spruce, Cedar, and Blue Pine. The summit is home to Hatu Mata temple, a shrine dedicated to Mandodari, the wife of King Ravana. The folklore also says that the peak was once home to the Pandavas during their Agyaat Vaas.
To reach Hatu Peak, take the local bus on the Shimla-Rampur route. The journey will last about 2-3 hours and will cost no more than 60-70 bucks. If you are travelling by a cab or a private vehicle, you can find well-maintained parking lots at the starting point of the hike. The best time to undertake the Hatu Peak hike is during the first few weeks of March as you’ll get to walk on fresh snow during that time.
Altitude: 3,400 meters
Distance: 7 kilometers
Difficulty Level: Easy
4. Tara Devi Trek
The hike to Tara Devi temple, while being a short and easy one, is one of the most recommended hikes when it comes to mountain trekking around Shimla. While the temple is accessible by road, the hike is highly recommended and can be undertaken by travellers of all fitness levels and age groups.
To really amplify the fun of your Tara Devi temple experience, you can board the famous Shimla Toy Train to reach the hike starting point. The trail is a narrow and steep one, which especially the adventurists may find exciting.
The summit houses the Tara Devi temple and offers panoramic views of Kasauli, Chail, and Shimla. The trail itself is covered with pristine green meadows rich with local flora. For history enthusiasts, it may be worth noting that the temple was constructed approximately 250 years ago and initially had a wooden statue of the deity, which was later replaced by a more attractive idol constructed with some eight precious elements.
It is recommended to rent a hiking stick to help you make the ascend if you are not used to steep trails.
Altitude: 1851 meters
Distance: 4 kilometers
Difficulty Level: Medium
5. Summer Hill Trek
The sheer natural beauty of Summer Hill is not exactly a “path less taken” makes it a must-visit for anyone present in Shimla. The starting point of the short hike is accessible by both road and the toy train. From the Summer Hill railway station, you can start your hike (or walk) surrounded by pristine beauty of nature. The hill is part of a seven-hill cluster, all of which can be explored on foot. The pine and deodar laden hills offer great panoramic views of the surrounding hills.
While the hills are dotted with some beautiful estates, the most noteworthy building is the Indian Institute Of Advanced Study. The Himachal Pradesh university college is housed within a former Visceral Lodge which was built in 1888.
Altitude: 640 meters
Distance: 38 kilometers
Difficulty Level: Hard
6. Churdhar Trek
The highest peak in the lower-himalayan region, Churdhar is perhaps the most well known trek near Shimla. In order to undertake the trek, you will need to travel to the village of Nohradhar, which is a 5-hour drive from Shimla. With that said, the views and the thrill that follows, will be well worth the long drive. The 23 kilometre trek is blanketed by lush green forests, rocky trails, and divine views of the Himalayas, is not exactly a beginner-friendly affair. In fact, when it comes to mountain trekking near Shimla, Churdhar is perhaps one of the most challenging treks.
The peak offers 360-degree views of the surrounding ranges and on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the famous Himalayan ranges such as Kinner Kailash. The peak also boasts a towering statue of Lord Shiva, and is highly revered among the locals. At the very least, sturdy trekking shoes are highly recommended.
Finally, it is worth noting that the trail from Nohradhar only has a few shops on the way. For this reason, it is recommended to carry the basic necessities with you at all times. These include, but aren’t limited to water-bottles, snacks, and energy drinks.
Altitude: around 3660 meters
Distance: 32 kilometers
Difficulty Level: Hard
7. Kuppar Bugyal Trek
The hike to Kuppar Bugyal is one of the least-known trails in the region. Falling in the Pabbar Valley, the south-east corner of Himachal Pradesh, the hike to Kuppar Bugyal starts from Kharapathar. Kharapathar is a 70-kilometer, extremely pleasant drive from Shimla. After reaching Kharapathar, the first stop is at Giri-Ganga temple, which is where the Giri-Ganga originates.
For this reason, it is advisable to start your hike from Kharapathar itself. Shaded by deodar trees, the trail makes for a long but pleasant walk, as opposed to a short but extremely stressful drive.
At the end of the trail, you will come across the Giri-Ganga temple. Surrounded by interesting folklore, the Giri-Ganga is said to have originated when a pilgrim returning from Rishikesh toppled his tumbler of Ganga-water (Gangajal). From Giri-Ganga temple, reaching Kuppar is a matter of 3-4 hours of relentless hiking. The trail is a well-defined one and is frequented by local shepherds, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the woods.
Since Kuppar Bugyal is not a well-known hiking trail, it is advisable to carry supplies such as tents, food, snacks, and plenty of water to avoid any sort of mishaps.
Altitude: 2,700 meters
Difficulty Level: Hard
As you can see, Shimla isn’t just a traditional honeymoon destination or a beautiful hill station. For those willing to go the extra mile, there are hills packed with a powerful punch of adventure that surround the little town of Shimla. Plan a visit there for an amazing experience at trekking near Shimla. Finally, it is important to remind everyone that these places have extremely sensitive ecosystem and it is important the cityfolk like us travel responsibly for a hassle-free Shimla trip .
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Frequently Asked Questions About Trekking Near Shimla
How far is Kasol from Shimla?
Kasol is located at a distance of approximately 64 miles (around 100 kilometers) from the resort town of Shimla. You can easily cover this distance via road.
How far is McLeodganj from Shimla?
The hill station McLeodganj is located at a distance of less than 150 kilometers from the town of Shimla, which can be easily covered without any hassle.
How can I go Narkanda from Shimla?
You can take a bus or a cab from Shimla to reach Narkanda, which will take around 2 hours. The distance between the two towns is about 60 kilometers, which can be covered without any hindrance.
What is the best time to visit Shimla?
You must visit the town of Shimla either between the months of October and November or between March and June to make the most of your trip to this hilly town.
Is Shimla better or Manali?
Both the places have their own significance and a unique culture that is worth witnessing. Shimla and Manali both receive snowfall and you can visit these towns in the month of January to experience the best snowfall of the year.
Is Shimla worthy enough to have a trekking trip?
North India is full of mountains and hilly regions in Shimla and areas around. There are lots of trails and passes too for the hikers. That’s why it is a paradise for trekkers and hikers.
Which are the best trekking trails of Shimla?
Though there are numerous trekking regions in Shimla, here are the most popular ones to enjoy breathtaking views around. Those are Karol Tibba Trek, Shali Tibba Trek, Hatu Peak Trek, Tara Devi Trek, Summer Hill Trek, Churdhar Trek, and Kuppar Bugyal Trek.
Are treks in and around Shimla difficult?
You can get mixed experience while trekking near Shimla. If you are a novice, you can go for Karol Tibba Trek or Shali Tibba Trek as those are easy. But, Kuppar Bugyal Trek and Churdhar Trek are quite challenging.
Where to stay while trekking near Shimla?
While you are trekking near Shimla, you will find lodges and hotels to enjoy comfortable accommodation and meals. Once you visit the remote areas, you can have camp accommodation.
What to carry while trekking in Shimla?
There are lots of important things you need to fill your rucksack while trekking in or around Shimla. Pack your bag with an umbrella, raincoat, caps, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, snacks, chargers and power banks, etc.
Which is the best time to trek near Shimla?
The popular tourist season in and near Shimla is from March to June. This time is also perfect for trekking and other adventure sports as the temperature is between 15°C to 30°C and the weather is soothing.
Can you expect snowfall in Shimla in March?
Though March is the beginning of the trekking season in Shimla, you may not experience snow from the third week of this month. If you want to get snowfall, you need to visit Manali.
Do you need a guide to trek in Shimla?
Though it is not necessary to take a guide, you can still have the local help to know Shimla in a better way. Explore the villages and monasteries with the help of your guide and also get to know the culture better.
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