The Northern part of West Bengal has beautiful snow-capped mountains, deep green forests, and rivers. This makes it an adventurer’s paradise, offering a wide range of exhilarating experiences, including hiking.
There are many hiking trails near the hilly towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal. You can witness the most picturesque and serene views while trekking along these routes.
In this article, you will get to learn about following hiking trails near Darjeeling and Kalimpong,
- Chel-Jaldhaka Traverse
- Echey Gaon-Sillery Gaon Trek
- Sandakphu-Singalila Trek
- Buxa Jayanti Trek
- Bamon Pokhari Jungle Trek
Let’s see each of these in detail.
Famous hiking trails near Darjeeling & Kalimpong
1. Chel-Jaldhaka Traverse
Jhalong has several trekking trails, but trekking along the banks of the Jaldhaka River and the mountain routes provides a thrilling experience.
You can hike through the forest trails near Jhalong River Camp. Hiking up Dooars’ lush green hilly routes bordering Bhutan will revitalize you.
The main trekking routes lead to Todey-Tangta, known for its beautiful scenery, black cardamom cultivation, and well-known Himalayan sanctuaries such as Rachela Pass.
The trails of Jaldhaka and Jhalong connect villages, tea gardens, dense forest trails, and a series of rivers such as the Chel, Mal, Neora, Murti, Naxal, and Jaldhaka. Avoid getting too close to the river, as this might put you at risk.
The best time to go on these treks is between November and March.
2. Echey Gaon-Sillery Gaon Trek
Echey Village, nestled in the Himalayas, has long been recognized as a popular eco-tourist spot.
A thrilling and enjoyable 2.5-kilometer jungle trek through Echey Forest leads to Echey Gaon, where you can see the entire range of peaks and several bends of the River Teesta.
This pleasant and easy trek starts when you walk from Echey Village along the banks of the Teesta River. It ends up at Sillery village. You can view the beautiful landscapes while you trek along the route.
You can have your lunch in Echey and then start the trek.
When you finally reach Sillery, you can witness the breathtaking sunrise views from Tinchuley’s viewpoint and feel the peaceful atmosphere amidst the lush green valleys. Enjoy the gorgeous views of Mt. Kangchenjunga and the beauty of the village.
If you wish to, you can also visit the nearby attractions, such as the Damsang Fort ruins, the Tinchuley viewpoint, the Silent Valley, and the Ramitey viewpoint.
3. Sandakphu-Singalila Trek
The Sandakphu Trekking trail covers a significant area of Singalila National Park.
There are magnolia and wild rhododendron paths, rare and beautiful orchids, and miles and miles of beech and spruce trees. In Sandakphu and Singalila, over 600 different orchids bloom during spring. Red pandas can also be found in the Singalila National park.
You can also view the majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga during the trek.
The trek from Manebhajan to Sandakphu is about 32 kilometers long and takes about three days to complete. It could even take two days for experienced hikers.
To enter the Singalila National Park, a permit is required. The path is well-marked, and you will not need to read directions for the journey.
If you intend to proceed after Sandakphu, it’s about 20 kilometers from Phalut. This is moderately difficult and time-consuming, especially after a three-day trek to Sandakphu.
Because of the abundance of Himalayan Cobra Lilies, Sandakphu is also known as the “mountain of poisonous plants.”
Because this is a strenuous trek, you should only attempt it if you are completely fit. The ascent is known to be exhilarating as it passes through different types of terrains ranging from lofty valleys to lush green lands.
4. Buxa Jayanti Trek
The Buxa Dooars trek will take you through the untamed jungles of the Buxa Tiger Reserve, allowing you to rediscover the wilderness.
This is one of the few places in the Dooars region where proper trek routes for nature lovers are available, and you can choose a trail based on your difficulty level. There are routes for beginners to intermediate trekkers as well as those for experienced trekkers.
The trek begins in Santalabari and continues through the Mahakal Caves, Buxa Duar fort, Rydak River, Jayanti, and Pokri Pahar to the watchtower.
The uphill trail to Buxa Fort is one of the most popular short trek routes (also known as Buxa Duar).
To begin the trek, you must first travel to the small village of Santalabari (also known as Santrabari). It is a 15-kilometer drive from the Rajabhatkhawa entry gate to Buxa Tiger Reserve. The distance from Jayanti Village in Buxa Reserve is also roughly the same.
The village trek association here has a small counter where the trek route begins. You have to take a guide from here.
Initially, you need to hike about 2.5 km on a flat route through the forest to the foothill. From here, the uphill trek route begins. You can also bring your vehicle up to this point.
The trek route winds around through the hill to reach the historic Buxa Fort and continues through Sinchula Pass to the Rupam valley of Bhutan.
There was a time when Bhutanese villagers used this route to carry baskets full of oranges that hung from their shoulders and brought them down to Santalabari. During winters, a large village market (locally known as haat) used to be set up at Santalabari. Oranges are locally known as ‘Santra,’ hence the name of the village ‘Santrabari’ (now known better as Santalabari).
5. Bamon Pokhari Jungle Trek
Bamon Pokhari Jungle Trek has one of the best hiking trails in West Bengal, located about 30 kilometers from Siliguri. The Bamunpukhuri (Bamon Pokhari) forest, situated just beside the serpentine Rungsung river, is one of the state’s most stunning hidden gems that connects you with the majestic Himalayas.
The journey begins in Gridhura and takes you through dense forests and aromatic tea gardens. Both are abundant in natural beauty. It also offers some incredible wildlife sightings.
Compared to the Sandakphu trek, this is a much easier one. Anyone looking for a unique experience in the northeastern Himalayas can easily set out for the lush greenery of the Bamonpokhuri forest.
The best time to visit is between April and June or during the winter. Various tea harvests can be seen during this time, and the weather is perfect for hiking or trekking.
These are some famous treks you can go on near Darjeeling and Kalimpong. These hiking trails intensify your passion for traveling and provide you with the thrills.
Apart from trekking, these places are the top attractions ideal for camping and relaxing amidst nature.
So hurry and backpack! The mountains & forests are calling you!
Cover Photo: Representative image
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