Read on to know all about the top hill stations for visit in Uttarakhand.
“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir.
Uttarakhand is a vacationer’s delight. This tiny North Indian state offers breathtaking locales, a serene environment, fresh air, hospitable people, and everything else that a vacationer seeks. It even has its share of magnificent temples, should you need some spirituality and a plenary indulgence.
Besides those plains in the Southern part, Uttarakhand’s topography is mostly hilly. As such, hill stations are scattered across the state. Some are special, attracting a deluge of travelers from across India and the world. If you too have itchy feet, these hill stations are calling you.
Best Hill Stations in Uttarakhand
Just join us, as we take you through the top 10 hill stations in Uttarakhand.
A sought-after ski resort, Auli is a sight to behold. Perched in the middle of a coniferous and oak forest, the hill station offers a vantage point for some splendid views of the snow-clad majestic Himalayan peaks, such as Mana Parvat, Nanda Devi, Kamet, Dunagiri, and more. The unpolluted environment, lush green meadows, and soothing breeze make it a godsend for shutterbugs.
Where is Auli located?
Cradled at an elevation of 2,800 meters (9,200 ft), Auli falls in the Chamoli district. Auli is located in close proximity to some of the most revered pilgrimage sites, including Badrinath, Joshimath, and more. A national park, Valley of Flowers is also nearby, showcasing a diverse flora and fauna. The red foxes and the majestic snow leopard roam freely in Auli and its environs.
How to reach Auli?
Auli is only accessible by road. Consider flying to the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and then cover 286 km by road to reach Auli via a cab or bus. Alternatively, travel to Rishikesh via train and then travel 286 km to reach Auli. The roads are pretty decent, ensuring connectivity all year around.
What to do in Auli?
Whether you are an adrenaline junkie, animal lover, or family vacationer, Auli has something for everyone.
- Your go-to activity in Auli has to be skiing and trekking. But you can always indulge in trekking with your options, including Gorson Bugyal, Pangerchulla Summit, Tapovan, and more.
- When it comes to places to visit in Auli, don’t forget to add Chattrakund lake to your itinerary. Located 4 km from Auli, the lake exudes exceptional beauty that cannot be explained but only experienced.
- Feel free to take a cable car to reach Joshimath. It’s an experience in itself.
- Consider visiting an ancient shrine with a history dating back to the Ramayana age.
Best time to Visit Auli
It depends on your travel objectives.
- If you love snowfall and winter sports, January and February are ideal months.
- If trekking, camping, or sightseeing is your idea of a vacation, visit in May and June.
- June to October is a perfect time if you are an anthophile. During this time, the place boasts of over 520 plant species, including 498 flowering plants. Some are on the verge of extinction.
Table: Auli Annual Average temperature
Why Auli is one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand?
- Most accomplished and sought-after ski resort in India.
- A vantage point for views of Mana Parvat, Nanda Devi, Kamet, and Dunagiri.
- An all-year hill station with a lot to offer to all types of vacationers.
- Base camp for trekking to Gorson Bugyal, Pangerchulla Summit, and Tapovan.
- Home to the country’s longest and most spectacular cable car.
- Hosts a winter sports event annually, a big plus for adrenaline junkies.
Auli at a Glance:
- Elevation: Approx. 2800 M
- District: Chamoli
- Coordinates: 60.0335° N, 11.3556° E
- Engagement time: 2 to 3 days
- Popular activities: Skiing, Trekking, and sightseeing
- Best time to visit: January to March
- Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant (30.53, 79.57)
- Places of interest nearby: Joshimath, Badrinath, Chattrakund, and Valley of Flowers
The ‘Queen of the Hills’, Mussoorie has to be among the top hill stations in Uttarakhand in 2022. Whether you travel solo or with your spouse, family, or friends, the hill station is a wonderland for all. Situated just 35 km from Dehradun, Mussoorie treats you with some stunning locales, and diverse flora and fauna. Of late, it has emerged into a busy education and business center as well.
Mussoorie offers awe-inspiring views of Gangotri, Srikantha, Bandar Poonch, and other Himalayan peaks, alongside the mesmerizing doon valley. From one end, you could witness the Ganga flowing majestically while from the other, the Yamuna heading towards the plains. Plus, the victorian-styled estates would transport you back into the bygone era. As a side note, the town gets its name from a local shrub, Mansur. Also, Mussoorie hosted the Dalai Lama before he relocated to Dharamshala in 1959.
Where is Mussoorie located?
Sitting pretty amidst Garhwal hills at an altitude of 2005 meters, Mussoorie offers awe-inspiring views of the Shivalik Hills and the Doon Valley. It’s a part of the Dehradun district, situated 35 km from the Dehradun town. The geography speaks for the typical subtropical highland climate.
Table 02: Mussoorie Annual Average Temperature
How to reach Mussoorie?
Mussoorie is accessible all year round via road, rail, and air.
- Air: Fly to Jolly Grant Airport and then head to Mussoorie via cab or bus. The 60 km journey takes 2 hours.
- Rail: Closest railway station is in Dehradun, just 36 km from Mussoorie. It receives trains from across the country.
- Road: Mussoorie has sound road connectivity, connected with all major cities in North India through road.
What to do in Mussoorie?
The go-to activity is sightseeing. Your options are simply endless, including:
- Lal Tibba: The highest point in Mussoorie
- Happy Valley: Known for Tibetan Architecture
- Kempty Falls: A picturesque waterfall 15 km from Mussoorie
- Benog Wildlife Sanctuary: A godsend for birdwatchers, 11 km away
- The Mall: A shopper’s paradise dotted with shops and eateries
- Jwala Devi Temple: Nestled on Benog Hill, it’s a key religious center
- Other notable options include Camel’s Back Road, Library Road, Sir George Everest’s House, Mussoorie Lake, Jharipani Falls, Cloud’s End, Company Garden, Gun Hill Point, Lake Mist, and more.
Cable car Ride: Hop on the cable car from Jhulagarh to Gun Hill for the best views of the town.
Paragliding: Just fly like a bird into the boundless sky around the famed Mussoorie Lake.
Why Mussoorie is one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand?
- One of the most frequented hill stations in the country.
- A calm, picturesque town with a salubrious climate.
- Ideal for honeymooning, solo getaways, and family vacations.
- Entryway to key pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
- Sightseeing opportunities are galore in and around Mussoorie.
- Hotel accommodations are plenty for all budgets.
Mussoorie at a Glance:
- Elevation: 2,005.5 M
- District: Dehradun
- Popular activity: Sightseeing,
- Best time to visit: Summers (April to June)
- Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant (54 km)
- Places of interest nearby: Kempty Falls, Lall Tibba, and Cloud’s End
Nainital is a prayer answered for vacationers seeking a getaway from the daily grind and cacophony of city life. Nestled in the foothills of Kumaon, the premier resort station offers plenty of sightseeing, boating, hiking, and horse-riding opportunities to cater to all types of vacationers. With multiple temples located in and around the city, Nainital also attracts religious tourism all year round.
Nainital is home to seven lakes, Sattal, Naukuchiatal, Bhimtal, Khurpatal, Malwatal, Harishtal, and Lokhamtal. Wonder why they call it “India’s Lake District?” Even the number of hills surrounding the town is seven, including Ayarpata, Deopata, Handi-Bandi, Naina, Alma, Lariya-Kanta, and Sher-Ka-Danda. That’s why it’s commonly called “Sapta-Shring”.
Nainital derives its name from the namesake lake, Naini. The lake has some religious sanctity, as many believe it to be the site where Lord Shiva performed his dance of death, Tandava. The tourism infrastructure is well developed here with plenty of hotels for all budgets. Also, the town is rapidly emerging as an education and research hub. Presently, it’s the state’s unofficial judicial capital.
- Elevation: 2084 M
- District: Nainital
- Popular activity: Sightseeing, boating, hiking, and horse-riding
- Best time to visit: Summers (April to June)
- Nearest Airport: Pantnagar (29.38, 79.46)
- Places of interest: Naini Lake, Land’s End, Bhimtal, and High Altitude Zoo
You might not have heard of Chopta. It’s a relatively unexplored part of the world replete with pristine vistas, salubrious ambiance, refreshing breeze, lush meadows, and serenity. The heavenly views of the snow-clad Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Chaukhamba peaks would stop you in your tracks. After all, it’s not for nothing they call it the Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand.
Where is Chopta located?
Located in the heart of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Chopta is a densely forested area covered by lofty deodars and pines. The sleepy hamlet is surrounded by some of the most frequented places in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath lies on the east, Madmaheshwar on the west, Rudranath on the north, and Tungnath on the south. It’s about 200 km from Dehradun and 3.5 km from Tunganath.
How to reach Chopta?
- Air: Fly to Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun and travel 221 km to Chopta via a cab.
- Rail: Reach Rishikesh and then head to Chopta, located 221 km away.
- Road: Dehradun receives regular buses from Delhi and other urban centers in North India.
What to do in Chopta?
As one of the leading hill stations in Uttarakhand, Chopta is a trekkers’ delight. You have a vast variety of trails with varying difficulty levels. The most sought-after ones include:
- Chopta – Tungnath Trek
- Chopta – Chandrashilla Trek
- Deoria – Chopta Trek
- Deorial – Rohini Buygal – Chopta Trek
- Bisudi Tal Trek
Camping: Feel free to spend the night under the sky gazing at twinkling stars.
Bird watching: With 240 bird species, the hill station is ideal for ornithologists.
Sightseeing: The sightseeing opportunities are limited. However, you can’t afford to miss the high-altitude alpines called Bugyal. Rohini Bugyal is the most expansive and impressive among them.
Plenary indulgence: The place also attracts an influx of religious tourism, as it is situated en route to some popular temples, such as Tungnath Temple, Chandrashila, and more.
Table 03: Chopta Annual Temperature
Why Chopta is one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand?
- A quintessential hill station with breathtaking vistas and a salubrious ambiance.
- A godsend for city dwellers seeking relief from the city’s cacophony and heat.
- A vantage point for over 40 majestic Himalayan peaks.
- One of the best trekking and camping destinations with plenty of trails.
- A paradise for bird watchers with over 240 species residing here.
- On a trekking expedition to Tungnath and Chandrashilla, it serves as your base.
Chopta at a Glance:
- Elevation: 2709 M
- District: Rudraprayag
- Popular activities: Sightseeing, hiking, yoga, and meditation
- Best time to visit: Summers (March to May)
- Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant (225 km)
- Places of interest: Tungnath Temple, Chandrashila Trek, and Sari Village
If getting closer to Mother Nature is your idea of a vacation, look no further than Lansdowne. What makes it one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand is its unspoiled, serenity and abounding natural beauty. Engulfed by oaks and blue pines, the place gets you up close and personal with nature, ensuring an unforgettable experience. It is an ideal weekend getaway to refresh your senses.
History of Lansdowne:
Lansdowne has an interesting history. It was originally named Kaludanda, meaning the black hill. During British rule, it was renamed after Lord Lansdowne and served as a cantonment area. The military legacy continues as Lansdowne is home to the command office of Garwal Rifles. Also, the town was the regional epicenter of the freedom struggle in the British Garhwal region.
Where is Lansdowne located?
At an elevation of 1780 meters, it is nestled in the Pauri district on the Kotdwar-Pauri highway.
How to get to Lansdowne?
Lansdowne is well connected to the rest of the world via roads. It’s accessible all year round but the best time to visit is October to March. The closest railhead is Kotdwar, about 40 km away. At a distance of 250 km, it’s easily accessible from Delhi within 7 to 8 hours, subject to factors.
What to do in Lansdowne?
Sightseeing: Vacationers vouch on Lansdowne for sightseeing and religious Uttarakhand tourism. The Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple, which houses the famous Gauri Kund, is a must-visit. Your other options include:
- The Garhwal Rifles Regimental Museum
- The War Memorial
- Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple
- Bhullatal Lake
- St. Mary’s Church
- Lover’s Lane
- Bhim Pakora
Adventure sports: With ample scope for hiking, camping, rappelling, flying fox, and cliff-jumping, Lansdowne is heaven for adrenaline junkies.
Water Recreational activities: The Bhullatal Lake offers boating and paddling opportunities while other water-based recreational activities can be pursued at Kho River.
Table 05: Lansdowne Annual Temperature
Why Lansdowne is one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand?
- It’s one of the most beautiful places in Uttarakhand.
- Being largely unexplored, the natural splendor is still intact.
- A quaint town with fewer crowds and unparalleled tranquillity.
- A variety of activities for the whole family to indulge in.
- The perfect setting for yoga and meditation.
- Located 275 km away, it’s easily approachable from Delhi.
- “Home of the Garhwal Rifles”.
Lansdowne at a Glance:
- Elevation: 1780 M
- District: Pauri Garhwal
- Popular activities: Sightseeing, hiking, camping, rappelling, flying fox, and cliff-jumping
- Best time to visit: Winters (October to March)
- Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant
- Places of interest: Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple, The War Memorial,
If you are a nature lover, Ranikhet would exceed your expectations. Nestled amid the lush green meadows, the hill town treats you to some breathtaking scenery, warm hospitality, a salubrious climate, and abounding tranquillity. Per a legend, Ranikhet was founded by King Sudhardev on the behest of his queen, Padmini who was fascinated by the region’s natural beauty.
Where is Ranikhet located?
Perched at an altitude of 1,829 meters, Ranikhet is a secluded town in the Almora district. The hill station in Uttarakhand spans two ridges, Ranikhet ridge (1,824 m) and Chaubatia ridge (2,116 m).
How to reach Ranikhet?
- Air: Roughly 120 km away, Pantnagar Airport is the closest airport.
- Rail: At a distance of 86 km, Kathgodam is your destination if you travel by rail.
- Road: Road connectivity is good with buses plying from and to Nainital, Kathgodam, Delhi.
What to do in Ranikhet?
Sightseeing: As one of the best places to visit in Uttarakhand, Ranikhet is a sightseeing extravaganza.
- Ashiyana Park is a big draw for tourists visiting Ranikhet. It’s a forest-themed park with ample green cover, along with swings, fountains, and a herbal garden.
- Just wander in the soaring coniferous trees, blooming flowers, and orchards of the Chaubatia Gardens. Located 1800 meters above sea level, the garden is a vantage point for Trishul, Nanda Devi, and other towering Himalayan peaks.
Religious Uttarakhand Tourism Ranikhet: The Katarmal Sun Temple is a must-visit if you have a thing for history and archaeology. It’s perhaps the best-known temple dedicated to the Sun god, after, of course, the Konark Sun temple. Katarmal displays the evolved architecture and design sense of the bygone ear with delicate carving and sturdy construction.
Trekking: Call it one of the best hill stations in Uttarakhand for trekking and hiking. With varying difficulty levels, the best trails include, but, are not limited to Chaubatia – Bhalu Dam, Meghdoot – Jhula Devi Temple, Ranikhet Club – Chevron Rosemount, and Chaubatia – Bhalu Dam.
Other: Feel free to tee off at a gorgeous 9-hole link just 5 km away from Ranikhet. You can also consider winding off at the Bhalu Dam while indulging in fishing. However, permission is required.
Table 06: Ranikhet Annual Average Temperature
Why Ranikhet is one of the top Hill Stations in Uttarakhand?
- The natural beauty is breathtaking.
- Ideal for sightseeing, hiking, and camping.
- Verdant views of the majestic Garhwal hills.
- Headquarter to the Kumaon Regiment.
- A golfer’s delight with a splendid 9-hole link.
Ranikhet at a Glance:
- Elevation: 1829 M
- District: Almora
- Popular activity: Sightseeing, hiking, and camping
- Best time to visit: Summers (March to July)
- Nearest Airport: Pantnagar Airport (119 km)
- Places of interest: Jhula Devi Temple, Ashiyana Park, Chaubatia Gardens, and Majkhali
Feast your eyes on the natural splendor on display at Kausani. The hill station affords some 300 km wide, awe-inspiring views of Panchachuli, Nanda Devi, Trishul, and other majestic peaks. In fact, for many, Kausani is comparable to Switzerland in terms of natural beauty and serenity, making it one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand and a prominent part of Uttarakhand tourism.
Kausani has a presence in India’s literature as well. It’s the birthplace of Sumitra Nandan Pant, a towering figure in Indian literature. The romanticism in his poetry originated from nature, more specifically from Kausani. Bewitched by its charm, Gandhi Ji termed it the ‘Switzerland of India’.
Where is Kausani located?
This is one of the leading Uttarakhand famous places, located in the Bageshwar district at a height of 1890 meters. You’ll find it on the Almora-Bageshwar-Didihat road, just 14 km away from Garur.
How to reach Kausani?
- Air: Get to Pantnagar Airport and cover 170 km to reach Kausani via bus or cab.
- Rail: Deboard your train at Kathgodam and travel 140 km to Kausani via bus or cab.
- Road: You can access the hill station via road from all major cities in North India.
What to do in Kausani?
Sightseeing: The hill station largely attracts families and nature lovers seeking visual appeal and tranquillity. The must-visit options include Baijnath Temple (20 km), Gandhi Ashram (01 km), Sumitranandan Pant Gallery (0.5 km), Rudradhari Falls (12 km), Kausani Tea Estate (05 km), and Baijnath (36 km).
Trekking and hiking: It offers some of the top trails with varying difficulty levels. These include:
- Pindari and Kafni glacier trek
- Rudrahari cave temple trek
- Pindari Glacier Trek
- Kafni Glacier Trek
- Sunder Dhunga Trek
- Milam Glacier Trek
Adventure Sports: You can indulge in some adrenaline-pumping action with rappelling and rock climbing.
Other: Bird watching, camping, and nature walks are also a possibility here.
Table 07: Kausani Annual Average Temperature
Why Kausani is one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand?
- A vantage point for startling vistas of the surrounding snow-draped peaks.
- An alternative to ‘crowded’ hill stations like Shimla, Nainital, and others.
- Ideal for honeymooners keen on celebrating the bliss of marital life.
- Birthplace of Sumitra Nandan Pant, one of the leading Hindi poets.
- Visited by Mahatama Gandhi who nicknamed it the ‘Switzerland of India’.
- From high-end hotels to homestays, plenty of accommodations are available.
Kausani at a Glance:
- Elevation: 1890 M
- District: Bageshwar
- Coordinates: 29.8541°N 79.5966°E
- Popular activities: Sightseeing, hiking, camping, rappelling, flying fox, and cliff-jumping
- Best time to visit: Summers (March to June)
- Nearest Airport: The Dehradun Airport (157 km)
- Places of interest: Baijnath Temple, Gwaldam, and Bageshwar
Welcome to Khirsu, an offbeat destination with immense potential for Uttarakhand tourism. The Uttarakhand hill station continues to mesmerize vacationers with an exotic ambiance perched in the lap of Mother Nature. Surrounded by lofty oaks, pines, and deodars, Khirsu has a breathtaking calmness, allowing you to embark on an inward journey to find the real you. Just visit it once, and you’ll realize how fascinating a less-traveled and immaculately clean hill station can be.
One can see a panoramic view of the Himalayas, including snow-crested Trishul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, and Panchchuli peaks. Khirsu, the window to the mighty peaks, is located at an elevation of 1,900 meters above sea level. This place makes you introspective, and closer to your natural self. This will let you leave behind your city life and immerse yourself completely in the serene surrounding.
The Sankri Village in Uttarakhand is a route to the Paradise of the Himalayas for every trekker. It is not just a scenic hamlet situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand but also a trekker’s delight. The Sankri Village is the last road head to the Govind Ballabh Pant Wildlife Sanctuary. It offers ecstatic views of the Himalayan skyline and a plethora of mountain peaks gazing at you from a distance.
Mukteshwar, one of the leading hill stations in Uttarakhand, can leave you speechless with abounding natural beauty. It derives its name from an eponymous temple, Mukteshwar Dham. Per popular belief, Lord Shiva slewed a demon here to grant him salvation (Mukti). The legend has been around since antiquity but the temple traces its history to just 350 years back.
You can call Mukteshwar the hamlet of waterfalls. From Bhalu Ghaad, Dhokaney Waterfall to Tarikhet Waterfalls and Rudradhari Waterfall, each is exquisite. The climate here is a subtropical highland characterized by mild summers and harsh winters. Vacationers vouch on Mukteshwar for some stunning vistas of the Nanda Devi peak – India’s second-highest and world’s 23rd highest peak.
Where is Mukteshwar located?
This quaint Uttarakhand hill station has a lofty elevation of 2285 meters in the Kumaon Hills. It’s a part of the Nainital district, perched 50 km from the Nainital town and 70 odd km from Haldwani.
How to reach Mukteshwar?
- Air: Closest airport is Pantnagar about 157 km away.
- Rail: 62 km away, Kathgodam railhead is closest.
- Road: It is well connected with the rest of the world by road.
What to do in Mukteshwar?
Sightseeing: Mukteshwar is one of the best places to visit in Uttarakhand for sightseeing. It has an array of startling options to offer, including the Mukteshwar Dham, Sunrise Point, Sitla, and more.
Religious Uttarakhand tourism: Mukteshwar Dham is the leading pilgrimage site in the town. Nestled at a hilltop, the shrine has sizeable premises featuring intricate architecture. The sanctum houses a magnificent Shiva Linga (the divine phallus) made of white marble. Idols of Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, Hanuman, Ganesh, and Nandi flank the linga from all sides.
Adventure sports: Mukteshwar isn’t all about sightseeing. You have plenty to indulge in, ranging from hiking and trekking to camping, paragliding, and rappelling. A few sought-after trails include Peora-Mukteshwar and Arta Trek from Binsar. Avoid excursions during the monsoon season.
Table 10: Mukteshwar Annual Average Temperature
Why Mukteshwar is one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand?
- A relatively unexplored destination with unspoiled beauty and fewer crowds.
- Plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, adventure sports, and religious indulgence.
- 180° verdant views of the mesmerizing, lofty Nanda Devi peak.
- Hotel accommodations are growing by the day to cater to a growing tourist influx.
Mukteshwar at a Glance:
- Elevation: 2285 M
- District: Nainital
- Coordinates: 29.4722°N 79.6479°E
- Popular activities: Sightseeing, hiking, camping, rappelling, and paragliding
- Best time to visit: Summers (March to June)
- Nearest Airport: The Pantnagar Airport (157 km)
Uttarakhand, a small hill state in Northern India, treats you to some surreal hill stations. Whether you are a backpacker, family vacationer, or group traveler, these hill stations in Uttarakhand are ready to mesmerize you with their charm, eloquence, and warm hospitality. If wanderlust is overpowering you, visit these unforgettable spots and create quixotic memories that last for a lifetime. And if you travel, do share your experiences in the comment section below. Your feedback is anticipated.
People are also reading: