Playground Outdoors

Miyar Valley

If a "perfect" trail ever existed, Miyar Valley is it. Long, but not strenuous, the gentle incline of this trail follows the gushing Miyar River up the valley until the point where it turns to ice, and then returns. Along the way, you'll see a shepherd or two guiding their flocks, taste the local sweet peas, hear legends of rubies hidden within the rock castles of Zardung and camp among the seven hidden holy lakes at Kesar Yon Chaap.

Difficulty

SAC T2 Mountain Hiking

Paths with continuous marked-out route. Sometimes steep, danger of falling possible.

Duration

10 days

Delhi to Delhi
5 days travel & rest
5 days hiking & camping

Distance

60 km / 37 mi

Maximum Altitude

3990 m / 13100 ft

Price

₹71,000 $1,000

Itinerary


Fly and/or drive from Delhi to Manali. Mode of transport is subject to weather conditions and availability of flights.

Today we drive up and over the famous Rohtang Pass at 13,000ft and down into the Lahaul region and follow the famous Manali - Leh Highway until diverting to Udaipur. Look around - you are now in the lower reaches of the Miyar Valley, already towering on all sides with mountains bigger than we’ve seen the previous two days. From Udaipur, we drive the final stretch to the small, riverside village of Changut where we will stay the night. If the night is clear, the night sky view from here is brilliant.

Today, we trek! After a 45-minute drive to the village of Shukto (fun fact, when we were scouting this route for the first time, we caught a ride on a tractor there), we begin our gradual ascent. Shukto is the last sign of civilization you will see for many days, and as you move up past the last family homes, old Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas, the neon-green valley floor widens, making way for the gushing Miyar River that flows down the middle. The first few kilometers weave their way through the village’s agricultural fields. The soil here is incredibly rich, and common crops along the trail include delicious sweet peas, broccoli, cabbage, natural ayurvedic medicines used by the locals and grasses for broom-making.
If you look closely after a few kilometers, you will see the stone ruins of what locals call a “ghost village.” According to legend, a monk would ride his horse over the villagers’ crops each day, until their patience wore thin and they killed him. But after their transgression, a mysterious plague hit their crops, causing them all to die of starvation or flee.
Just after lunch, we climb to the top of a hill, where a Hindu shrine made of ibex skulls rests. This marks our first view of the upper valley floor. Mountainous cliffs line either side of the valley, with pink fleece, a signature Himalayan wildflower of this region, carpeting the grass at Yolithang where we spend the night.

We continue our gradual ascent along the river, passing an occasional shepherd herding their flock of sheep or goats across the grass fields. The expanse of this section plays tricks with your eyes. With only enormous, pyramid-like mountains to use as a distance reference, the trail is such a gradual incline that it seems to almost tilt downhill, until you turn around and realize you’ve been climbing. From here, the river and valley veer left past Gompa, an area home to a small pond bordered by reeds. While some people camp here, we’ve got something even better up ahead - Zardung. Nestled at the base of a huge, interlinking rock structure with hidden caves and buttresses jutting hundreds of feet into the sky, we’ve nicknamed this spot “rock” castle. At its base is said to be the face of a demon that used to wreak havoc in the area, now frozen into the rock as punishment. Rumor has it by the locals that a precious gem called the “ruby-diamond” is embedded into the rocks. We couldn’t think of a better place to set up camp for the night.

Today is extremely special, but you’re going to need some water-friendly sandals. The name of tonight’s campsite, Kesar Yon Chhaap, which translates literally into “seven holy waters,” is a pretty good clue to what makes it so spectacular, but first we need to cross the Miyar. And cross it again. And again. Just before we reach the terminal moraine of the Miyar Glacier (where the river turns from water to ice), the river snakes out in a half-kilometer-wide stretch of smaller rivulets. Linking arms, we’ll cross one after the other until we reach the other side. After a much-deserved sunbathing session to dry the glacial water from our feet, we round the corner and find today’s prize: seven deep turquoise lakes tucked among the rock piles left behind by the glacier. Patterned pyramid-like peaks cast some really unusual reflections onto the waters’ surface.

We cover half of our descent back down the valley today, passing once more through the sacred lakes, river crossings and striking rock formations on our way to Gompa, our lake-side camping spot for the evening.

Really savor the views today, as we make our final descent out of Miyar Valley back toward civilization. We will pass back through the fields of fresh peas and cabbage, over the final bridge, and catch our ride back to Changut for one last night in tents under the night sky.

Give your legs the rest they deserve as we drive up and over Rohtang Pass on our way back to Manali. As we cross the pass, we have one final look at the Lahaul region where we have spent the last week exploring before descending into the Kullu Valley once more. We’ll arrive late to spend one final night at Playground resting (or reminiscing) on the week’s adventure before parting ways in the morning.

Fly and/or drive back to Delhi. Mode of transport is subject to weather conditions and availability of flights.

Playground Perks


Handcrafted & Curated

We don’t copy our itineraries off the internet. We scout and design all trip offerings personally. This ensures enough time to acclimatise at high altitude, explore around the campsite, and indulge in authentic local experiences so you don’t miss out on anything.

Everything Included

Honestly, everything. Internal flights, best-in-class travel insurance, personal camping equipment, and all meals - we’ll take care of everything that most travel operators will mark with an asterisk. You pay for nothing except personal purchases from the day your trip starts.

Equipment & Safety

4 season Mountain Hardwear tents and sleeping bags, emergency oxygen reserves & PACs to provide a safety net against AMS, UIAA Safety Label glacier rescue kits for technical trails, WAFA/WFR & CPR certified guides, best-in-class adventure insurance - we’ve always got a plan B.

Personalised & Bespoke

We curate bespoke adventures and trips every day because we recognise that everyone’s travel bug is unique. When it comes to adventure travel, there are different ways to experience the world’s most beautiful places, because every traveler is different - which is why we’ve stepped in to provide a space for environmental advocacy, cross-cultural connections, wellness and adventure to combine - all through travel.

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel starts with acknowledging that travel and tourism often contribute to the global climate crisis. We believe in the positive power of travel to transform mindsets & generate a sense of preservation towards wild spaces. We follow LNT Principles, minimise our carbon footprint, adopt regenerative practices & give back to local communities - from making sure our field staff are well equipped to higher-than-industry-standard compensation.

Self Guided & Operated

We’ll never hand you off to someone else - we run all trips ourselves. We minimise external contracting and only partner with people we know and trust personally. While we employ and collaborate with local guides and support staff for their unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the Himalayan ranges, our trips are led by one of our core team members so you always have a single point of contact.