Why Miyar Valley is the Perfect Trek for Beginners!
So your friend went on a trek.
Suddenly their Instagram game is on fire, they can’t stop talking about how transformative it was to have a high-altitude getaway from life’s chaos and their new profile picture is admittedly better than yours.
You decide you want to see what all the fuss is about. What’s so great about trekking anyways?
The search begins. What does someone who is fit but has never hiked extensively in their life choose as their first taste of the sport?
Popular beginner trek names like Brighu Lake, Kumara Parvatha and Hampta Pass pop up at the top of your Google search, but you haven’t made up your mind yet.
If you’re still in that decision phase, or even looking for your second or third trek, let me introduce to you a trek that probably won’t ever end up in your search results, but is a beginner’s (honestly, anyone’s) dream nonetheless: Miyar Valley.
While the option exists to extend Miyar Valley into the much more challenging Kang La pass, three things make the isolated Miyar trek perfectly catered toward those who are just getting started with their alpine adventures, and those are the diversity of the trail, terrain and distance, and its seclusion.
Diversity on the Trail
Miyar Valley, to put it plain and simple, has it all. It’s like a taste-test for new trekkers to get a glimpse of the treasures so often found in remote Himalayas, but all on one trail. Straight off on Day 1, you make your way through a small village, with the trail passing right in between an old Hindu temple and a Buddhist Gompa. A perfect peek into rural Himachali culture, you rise up through the local architecture and friendly villagers until you reach the kilometers of thriving agriculture that follow.
Everything from broccoli, cauliflower and sweet peas to grasses cultivated for broom-making flourish in this fertile soil, and oftentimes locals will let you try a taste if you ask.
An abundance of wild medicinal herbs and fruits dot the trail as well as you leave civilization behind, however don’t ingest anything unless you have knowledge of the species.
The trail comes with no shortage of myths and legends either, with ancient gompas that have hosted countless pujas, abandoned villages rumored to be haunted and caves said to hold trolls that were turned to stone waiting to be found along the way.
A variety of natural treasures await you as well, from extensive stream crossings and astoundingly strange rock formations to seven hidden lakes said to be holy and carpets of violet flowers, this trek literally always gives you a reason to take out your camera.
Plus, the views are unbelievable.
Daily Terrain and Distance
Let’s face it, when we think of trekking the Himalayas, we imagine a grueling journey climbing extensively uphill for phenomenal views.
Miyar Valley doesn’t really work that way.
The trek is 60km total, and the highest point you ever reach is 13,800 feet, which is only about 1,300 feet higher than your starting altitude. This means two things- one, this is a gentle first step into high altitude trekking for someone used to plains or sea-level elevation. Two, it means that every day is a gradual, almost imperceptible incline or descent through absolutely the absolutely stunning valley-floor meadow.
Even the average distance per day hovers right around 10km, giving you a great introduction to walking long distances with a terrain gentle enough that you can stop and enjoy the scenery.
Perhaps the best thing about this trek is its absolute obscurity to the majority of the Indian trekking community. Despite being one of the most beautiful routes we’ve done to-date in Himachal Pradesh, Miyar Valley has somehow managed to stay way under the radar in terms of trek popularity.
What does this mean? You’ve more or less got the whole trail to yourself.
The week we trekked Miyar in mid-August, we came across one shepherd and one lone additional trekker. That was it. No commercial batches, no crews, no other groups- it was just us and these beautiful, wide-open meadows framed by towering peaks in all directions.
While other treks like Hampta Pass and Brighu Lake have their merits, they are massively popular and don’t provide the same kind of peace that comes with exploring a trail without another soul around.
It’s just you, and the Himalayas. Literally.
Talk about a first impression.