Markha Valley Trek

The trek to Markha Valley is a challenging and popular trek in Ladakh which can be attempted from the Ganda La pass near Spituk and the Gongmaru La near Hemis. The strikingly beautiful Markha valley gets its name from the Markha River, which is a tributary of the Zanskar River. On the trek, you can experience diversity in the geography with stark barren and colorful mountain walls along the lower Markha valley to the alpine meadows of Nimaling and snow-laden peaks of the Karakoram Saser Kangri, Stok Kangri, Kang Yatse amongst others. You will also be passing through the Hemis National park and can spot the famous blue sheep and the ibex, among other mountain wildlife.

Some of the challenges you will face on the trek are the crossing of the two very high altitude passes

– Ganda La pass and Kongmaru La pass, waist-deep river crossings and the sheer long distances to be covered from one campsite to another. However, the beauty of the trails accentuated by the stark contrast in the barren colored landscape of the mountains and the irrigated fields of wheat, maize, and mustard does make up for the hardships encountered on the trek. It goes without saying that the trekker has to be physically and mentally fit, and also be able to make some judgments on the trek based on their previous experience.

Trek Months – June to October


Day 1 – Assemble at Leh.

  • Arrive in Leh. Leh is situated at a whopping 3524m, has decreased oxygen levels and is a high starting point for a trek. Given that most of you will be flying into Leh, Western Mountains strongly recommends a rest day at Leh for altitude acclimatization. It is our strong recommendation that you did not head out to do any sightseeing on the day that you land in Leh.
  • Altitude acclimatization is the body’s way of adjusting to the decreased oxygen levels at the higher elevation and preventing acute mountain sickness.
  • Overnight stay in hotel/homestay.
  • Meals: Tea & Snacks, Dinner


Day 2 – Drive from Leh to Zingchen. Trek from Zingchen to Gandala base via Yurutse(4160m) 8kms.

  • Post breakfast, you will be driven to the green campsite of Zingchen.
  • From the village, we start trekking to the mighty Ganda La pass base situated at an altitude of 4540m. As you enter the Hemis National Park en route Yurutse village, you may be fortunate to encounter the blue sheep-Bharal, the red fox, Ladakhi sheep etc.
  • Overnight stay in tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner.


Day 3 – Trek via Gandala pass(4950m) to Skiu(3435m, 15kms).

  • Today you will trek up a steep slope to the Ganda La pass at 4950m. At the pass, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the Stok Kangri summit and the base camp, along with spectacular glimpses of the entire Karakoram and Himalayan range.
  • After a quick relaxation at the pass, we descend gradually into the Skiu valley situated at the confluence of Shgri Nala and Markha river.
  • Overnight stay in tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner.


Day 4 – Trek from Skiu to Markha Valley(3770m, 20kms).

  • Trekking along the Markha river, you will walk on a fairly flat level path crossing the river at various points to reach the Markha valley settlement.
  • Take out your cameras to shoot the beautiful landscape, the Lhatos (religious shrines), Mani walls (inscribed stones) and tea houses along the way.
  • Overnight stay in tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner.


Day 5 – Exploration day at Markha Valley.

  • Western Mountains has planned for a rest day at Markha valley campsite for altitude acclimatization and exploration.
  • Rest your tired muscles today, explore the surrounding areas – old stone mills, Techa monastery, a fort etc., share travel stories and rejuvenate.
  • Overnight stay in tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner


Day 6 – Trek from Markha valley to Thochuntse(4150m, 13kms).

  • Post breakfast, move towards the upper Markha valley towards the villages of Tacha and Hankar on a moderate grade trek.
  • After lunch at Hankar, trek towards the green fields of Thochuntse.
  • Overnight stay in tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner.


Day 7 – Trek from Thochuntse to Nimaling(4730m, 6kms)

  • At a whopping altitude of 4730m, Nimaling plateau is the highest camping site on this trek. However, don’t be daunted by the altitude, the trek to Nimaling is a fairly easy and short trek with gradual climbs. You can also catch a glimpse of the Kang Yatse peak on this route.
  • Overnight stay in tents.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner.


Day 8 – Trek from Nimaling to Shang Sumdo(3800m) 16kms. Drive to Leh.

  • Tuck in a good breakfast today as you have a tough and steep climb today to the Kongamaru La pass. The trail will also require crossing streams at multiple points before you get to the pass. At the pass, you can view the Indus and Ladakh range.
  • The descend into Sukarmo is equally steep and will be hard on your knees. From Sukarmo to Shang Sumdo it is a moderate level hike along the river bed.
  • From Sumdo, you will be driven to Leh.
  • Overnight stay in the hotel.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea & Snacks, Dinner.


Day 9 – Depart from Leh.

  • Depart from Leh at 9 am.


Trek Facts


Grade: Difficult.

Altitude: 6300m.

Temperature: During the day, you can expect temperatures hovering around 15-25 degree Celsius.

In the night, temperatures drop down to 5-10 degree Celsius in the lower altitude campsites.

Trek Duration: 9 days.

Trek Season: Mid July – mid-September.

Starting Base Camp: Leh

How to reach Basecamp:

By Road: You can reach Leh from Manali or Srinagar by road either by a shared taxi or bus in a 2-3 day journey.

By Air: This is the most popular route to Leh – take a flight to Leh from Delhi or Srinagar.


Submit enquiry for cost


Cost Inclusions:

  • Accommodation in dome tents (2/3 per tent).
  • Accommodation in Leh on Day 1 and Day 8.
  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary on a fixed menu/ buffet basis.
  • Transfers and sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Camping Equipment: Tents, Sleeping bags, mats, gaiters.
  • All charges for guides and permits.


Cost Exclusions:

  • Travel to and fro Leh.
  • Backpack offloading: Trekkers are expected to carry their own backpacks. If the trekker cannot carry his/her backpack due to physical inability and chooses to offload on mules/ porters, this will be on additional cost.
  • Airfares, airport taxes and anything not mentioned in the inclusions and itinerary.
  • Meals, tea, coffee, mineral water, tips, transfers not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Doctor, telephone, laundry and other personal expenses.
  • Cost of personal emergency exit or expenses due to external factors such as climatic conditions.


Health & Fitness Requirements:


This trek does not require you to have previous trekking or mountaineering experience. However, we do highly recommend having an adventurous spirit and willingness to undergo the joys & hardships of outdoor camping, in addition to good physical and mental fitness, to completely enjoy the trek. If you suffer from severe muscular, chest, heart or bronchial ailments, we advise you against participating since most treks happen in remote areas with limited access to medical services & hospital facilities.

Our Trek Leaders are experienced mountaineers and we trust their judgments. If during the trek, the Trek Leader advises you against continuing on the trek, we request you to respect his/her judgment and follow his/her instructions.