A 900km sub-4000m trans Uttarakhand traverse from Nepal to Himachal across 27 major river valleys and 26 mountain passes totaling 31 thousand meters of elevation gain. It’s a combination of 24 individual hiking routes through the mid-range Himalayas which makes this traverse accessible from May to October.
Uttarakhand borders Nepal to the East, Himachal to the West and Tibet to the North. It consists of Kumaon in the East and Gharwal in the West. The trans Himalayan traverse passes through the districts (West to East) of Pithoragargh, Bageshwar, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Tehri Gharwal and Uttarkashi.
Uttarakhand has several Himalayan high ranges (East to West): Eastern Kumaon range, Nanda Devi, Kamet Group, Gangotri, Bandarpunch range. Several major rivers flow down from these ranges (East to West): Dharma Yankti, Goriganga, Ramganga, Sarju, Pindar, Nandakini, Alaknanda, Mandakani, Bhilangana, Bal Ganga, Bhagirathi and Yamuna rivers.
Uttarakhand has hundreds of mountain passes ranging from sub-1000m in the foothills South to 6000m in the higher ranges North. This allows hiking throughout the year. Sub 2500m during Winter (Jan-Feb), 3000-3500m in Spring (Mar-Apr), 4000-4500m early Summer (May-June) and high ranges 5000m+ during late Summer (Aug-Sep).
During recent years I have explored the mid ranges of Uttarakhand in detail, GPS recorded and mapped into Open Street Maps for the international hiking community. Uttarakhand being raw and wild is one of my favorite Himalayan states which offers heart warming hospitality. It’s dotted with thousands of small hamlets and remote summer dwellings making it easy for the alpine hiker to find guidance, food supply and safe night halt.
Out of thousands of kilometers of mapped hiking routes I have short-listed one beautiful East to West mid-range trans-Uttarakhand traverse below 4000m which can be done during 6 months in a year (May to October). This 900km traverse will take you through 6 districts across 27 major valleys and 26 mountain passes. Detail blog posts on individual sections below can be found on my blogs ultrajourneys.org
Kumaon: 17 valleys, 16 passes
- Teejam to Bona (TB) – 28km / 2300m+ starting from Teejam (near Shobla) in the Dharma Yankti valley across three passes to Bona in the Paina Gad valley: Balsi Khal (3900m), Dharti Kharak (3800m) and Darthi Khal (3450m). Two uninhabited valleys in between: Jimba Gadhera and Kulka Gadhera rivers.
- Bona to Mathkot (BM) – 16km / 2000m+ from Bona in the Paina Gad valley to Mathkot in the Goriganga valley across 2 passes: Tomik-Rapti (2800m) and Bothi (2250m)
- Mathkot to Lilam (ML) – 21km / 2750m+ traversing the Eastern slope of the Goriganga river valley from Mathkot, past Munsyari to Lilam at the entrance of the Lilam and Ralam valleys.
- Lilam to Dharamgair (LD) – 19km / 2120m+ from Lilam in the Goriganga valley climbing across the Rur Khan pass (3450) to Dharamgait in the Jakula Nadi valley.
- Dharamgair to Namik (DM) – 9km / 610m+ from Dharamgait in the Jakula Nadi valley across the Sur Sungri Khal (3150m) to Namik in the Ramganga valley in Bageshwar district.
- Namik to Kalpata (NK) – 14km / 1600m+ from Namik in the Ramganga valley across the Mandhari Kharak (3050) to Kalpatta in the Sarju valley
- Kalpata to Kathi (KK) – 13km / 1400m+ from Kalpatta in the Sarju valley across thee Kathi Khal (2900m) to Kathi in the Pindar river valley
- Kathi to Badiyakot (KB) – 15km / 1150m+ traverse on Northern slopes of the Pindari river valley from Kathi to Badiyakot
- Badiyakot to Himni (BH) – 19km / 2450m+ traverse on Northern slopes of the Pindari river valley from Badiyakot to Himni in Kali Ganga valley in Chamoli district
- Himni to Wan (HW) – 22km / 2125m+ from Himni in Kali Ganga valley across the Ali Khal (3450m) to Wan in the Dhyan Gad valley
- Wan to Sitel (WS) – 14km / 820m+ from Wan in the Dhyan Gad valley across the Kukin Khal (3150m) to Sitel in the Nandakini valley
- Sitel to Pana (SP) – 28km / 3000m+ from Sitel in the Nandakini valley across the Chechni Binayak (3200m) to Pana in the Birahi Ganga valley
- Pana to Joshimath (PJ) – 31km / 1800m+ from Pana in the Birahi Ganga valley across the Kunwari Khal (3700m) to Joshimath in the Alaknanda river valley
- Urgam to Kunjaum (UK) – 27km / 2120m+ from Urgam in the Kaipa Ganga tributary of the Alaknanda river to Bansi Narayan (3400m) into the Mena Nadi, climbing up to Toli Tal and an unknown pass (2800) to Kunjaum in the Alaknanda valley
- Koteshwar to Chopta (KC) – 10km / 1230m+ from Koteshwar in the Balkhila Nadi valley to Chopta Chatti (2900) near Tunganath (3700m) in Rudraprayag district
Gharwal: 11 valleys, 10 passes
- Tung Nath to Okimath (OT) – 22km / 1115m+ crossing over from Alaknanda to Mandakini river valleys. Descending from from Tung Nath (3700m) on Chandrashilla peak traversing to Deori Tal lake and to Okimath near Kedarnat.
- Okimath to Sonprayag – 42km road section
- Sonprayag to Ghuttu (SG) – 32km / 2500m+ from Sonprayag in the Mandakini river valley across the Kinkhola Khal (3550) to Ghuttu in the Bhillangana valley in Tehri Gharwal district
Tehri Garwal district
- Reeh to Budha Kedar (BKR) – 26km / 2760m+ from Reeh in Bhillangana valley across the Muneri pass (3350m) to Budha Kedar on the confluence of Dharm Ganga and Bal Ganga river valleys
- Budha Kedar to Pinswari (BKP) – 19km / 2530m+ climbing up on the ridgeline North of Budha Kedar to Masar Tal lake (3000m) and descending to Pinswari in the Dharm Ganga river valley
- Pinswari to Malla (MP) – 24km / 1100m+ from Pinswari in the Dharm Ganga river valley across the Kalaipir pass (3400m) to Malla in the Bhagirathi river valley, Uttarkashi district
- Jamak to Sankurana Khal (SKJ) – 25km /1900m+ from Jamak in the Bhagirathi valley climbing up to an unnamed peak (2950m) to descend to the Sankurana Khal pass
- Sankurana Khal to Dunda (DSK) – 19km / 880m+ climbing up from the Sankurana Khal pass (1900m) to Nani Thang mandir (2700m) and descending to Dunda in Bhagirathi river valley
- Uprikot to Sangamchatti (US) – 14km / 1105m+ from Uprikot in Bhagirathi valley across the Silpari pass (3000m) to Sangamchatti in Binsi Gad river valley
- Sagamchatti to Hanumanchatti (SH) – 33km / 2890m+ from Sangamchatti in Binsi Gad river valley across the Darwa pass (4000m) to Hanumanchatti in the Yamuna river valley.
- Hanumanchatti to Yamunotri – 10km road section
- Yamunotri to Sankri (YS) – 38km / 2185m+ from Yamunotri across the Bali pass (4800m) to Sankri in the Tons river valley