You’ve got to be a pretty massive idiot to mess up the Triund hike near Dharamshala, Northern India. It’s pretty much just one track, and straight up to the peak and back.
It’s also one of the most popular day hikes in the region which means it’s constantly full of other walkers. Some are well-prepared, others walk by with no shoes, or just flip flops. It kind of gives you an idea as to how strenuous this hike is, and how prepared you need to be for it. Clue: Not very.
But still, I managed to do it all wrong. As usual…
Preparing for our night bus journey to Manali that evening, Alex and I thought it best to get started very early to make sure we got back down in plenty of time.
So, at 7.00am sharp, we climbed into a taxi to the Gallu Devi Temple, the start point of the hike, and were delighted to see we were the first ones there, and had the whole mountain to ourselves.
Here’s me, starting the hike. All full of hope for the day ahead.
No more than 90 seconds into the walk, we came to a switchback in the road. We had spoken to a lady in town who had said it was one long easy road to the top, so thinking that we stick to the road, we took the switchback left.
What we should have done is taken the steep pathway leading on from the road. What we actually did was spend an hour walking through fresh cobwebs and goat poo trying to work out where all the other hikers were.
When the path ran out, we realised our error and backtracked another hour, starting the hike with a throng of people at nearly 10am. Still, I had a cracking breakfast with a view on this weird ‘goat poo’ trail.
So, it’ s really not rocket science, but I thought it would be useful to create an idiot-proof guide to hiking the Triund, so you can be 100% prepared for this really beautiful day hike. The number one rule? DO NOT TURN LEFT AT THE START!
How long is the hike?
The Triund is an easy to moderate hike which can be completed in a day, or if you want to space out the fun, then you can camp at the peak. Tents and camping gear can be rented from McCleod Ganj or Bahsgu, the closest towns. There are also a couple of huts at the top (first come, first served!).
If you’re planning on the one day option, make sure you start from the trailhead before 9am. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy the hike at a reasonable pace, stopping for photos, snacks and lunch before the sun goes down.
How do I get there?
The Triund is a mountain ridge backing the towns and villages of Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Bahgsu and Dharamkot, in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India.
If you’re looking to go up and back in one day, I recommend taking a taxi to the trailhead, which is known as the Gallu Devi temple. It’s about 400 rupees from the main square in McCleod Ganj, each way.
You can also walk from McCleod Ganj (7km uphill to the start of trailhead), Bahgsu (5km uphill) or Dharamkot (3km to the start of the trailhead), but you will need to plan to camp as these options will be very hard to complete in one day.
What can you see?
The top of the Triund gives you amazing views back over the valley of the 4 main towns; Dharamkot, Bahgsu, McLeod Ganj, and finally Dharamshala, all the way in the distance. On a clear day you can see approximately 50km towards the flat plains of Himachal Pradesh in one direction, and back towards the Himalayas in the other.
What supplies do I need?
There are 3 main stops where you can pick up some basic supplies. The trailhead, halfway at the tea house and at the top. All stops serve the usual packaged food, like biscuits and crisps, as well as hot Maggi noodles for 300 rupees a pop. Certainly not cheap!
I would recommend taking your own food (the German Bakery in Bahgsu does some great sandwiches), and a few snacks such as fruit or cookies. Take a couple of litres of water and then buy more when you’re on the mountain. Yes, it’s more expensive than in town (double the price at 40 rupees a litre), but it will save you carrying extra weight all the way to the top.
Food (sandwiches, crisps, cookies, fruit, dried fruit… High energy stuff).
2 litres of water per person.
Walking poles (these really save your knees on the way down the steep parts of the mountain, especially if it’s wet and slippery).
Sun screen (avoid getting horribly burnt like I did)
A hat to keep the sun off your face
A sturdy pair of walking boots
Toilet paper, hand sanitiser, wet wipes
Jumper, waterproof jacket
Camera / smartphone. Some people were walking with giant speakers!
If staying overnight: Tent, warm clothing, sleeping bag, insect repellent, torch
As with any hike, it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going. We told our guest house owner just so he knew if we didn’t make it back, then to send out the search party!
OK, that’s it! Now you’re all set to go on one of the greatest day hikes in the foothills of the Himalayas! Have fun, and don’t say I didn’t warn you about turning left!
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