In the Monsoon and when it is declared Open
The Valley of Flowers is in a National Park, and can only be accessed when it is declared open by the Department of Forests.
You can trek from early June until the beginning of October, check exact dates, as it depends on the glacier melt. For the flowers, the best time to visit is from mid-July to mid-August, when the flowers are in full bloom. Identify why you are trekking, are you a pilgrim, a hiker or a flower lover?
Pilgrim to the Holy Places
If you are a pilgrim, the Hemkund Sahib gurudwara opens in early June. The way to the Valley of Flowers is likely to be blocked by a glacier or two, but if the Valley is open, a path will be hacked through the glacier. Ghangaria and Gobind Ghat will be packed with pilgrims. There are pilgrims right through the season, and the gurudwaras provide accommodation and food to all.
Flowers – When to see which flower
In May when the ice retreats, the first flowers of Spring burst out, sweet-scented primulas cover the rocky terraces in blue and snow-white anemones light up the valley floor. In July pink and red varieties of flower flush the valley with rosy hues with the arrival of monsoons. Balsam, Wallich Geranium, and River Beauty, dominate, although there are plenty of yellow, purple and white flowers.From late July to the end of August, Pedicularis, Potentilla, Ligularia, and many other yellow varieties bloom. By September, most flowers will have gone to seed, and the pastures turn from bright green to russet.
For a real botanical experience, walk deeper into the Valley, and if you want to see more flowers, and identify them correctly, it is better to hire a local guide. You will also need more days, be ready to climb into the valley on consecutive days. This requires more fitness. If you are taking a porter, plan for double the cost.
Hiker or Adventurer
Valley of Just a hiker in a poncho
If you are a hiker, you can go at anytime in the season. but you may want to avoid the peak pilgrim season of June. You can hire porters and guides easily and a visit to the small Eco centre in Ghangaria is highly recommended. Respect others, step aside or help older people, enjoy the diverse groups who may be on a first-time trek, be enjoying each other’s company in large groups, or maybe just wanting to walk alone.
To read more about the trek, check out the bestselling guide, The Valley of Flowers, The Ultimate Guide to an Adventure Trek in the Upper Himalaya.