15 Secret Hikes And Treks Around Dehradun That Only Locals Know About

Photo of 15 Secret Hikes And Treks Around Dehradun That Only Locals Know About 1/1 by Pritha Puri
Credit: Ishan Panwar

Dehradun is nothing like it used to be. The river streams have been made narrower to make space for wider roads. More colonies have come up where the forest area used to be; the forest area where we as kids, would go for day hikes. Not very long ago, I came across an article that talked about how Dehradun had lost the charm that originally attracted the Britishers to come here and set up their holiday homes, and how nature trails eventually made way for metalled roads. Development has come to Doon, but only at the cost of its beauty and serenity.

I don't completely believe that Dehradun is done and dusted. Behind the tall buildings and the hard roads, there are still those old roads and trails that Ruskin Bond had mentioned in his books. The good old days may not completely come back, but there's a whiff of it somewhere out there.

There is so much more to Dehradun than just making it a pit stop on the way to Mussoorie. Explore Dehradun through these day hikes, and get a feel of the real spirit of Doon – the one that Ruskin Bond, Stephen Alter, and so many famous writers attempt to encapsulate in their writings. Trust me, there is nothing better than getting lost amongst the Deodars!

Below is a list of day hikes and short treks that you can attempt the next time you visit Dehradun:

1) The Barlow Ganj hike

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Photo of Barlow Ganj, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

Mentioned umpteen times in Ruskin Bond and Rudyard Kipling's books, Barlow Ganj is a charming little district in Dehradun, very close to Mussoorie. You can hike up to Barlow Ganj by using the old Mussoorie route, which still has a few steps that were made by the Britishers. Barlow Ganj is 14km from Dehradun and will take about five to six hours to cover. You will have to start from Rajpur, cross Jharipani, until you finally get to Barlow Ganj.

2) A walk inside the Forest Research Institute

Visiting the Forest Research Institute (FRI) may sound too mainstream, but trust me there's no way you should miss the experience of walking through this campus. FRI was constructed by the Britishers and is Dehradun's precious jewel. Away from the noisy bazaar roads and the sound of car horns, you can peacefully have a slow-paced walk enjoying nature, and listening to the Cicadas call out in the jungle! FRI is located on the Hill Road in Dehradun, and shares its boundary with the prestigious Indian Military Academy, which you can only see from outside its main gates.

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Photo of Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

3) Thano Village walk

This quaint little village has a very picturesque trail. While you are on your way to Thano, you might just come across tiny temples that are hidden behind the foliage, since there is a lot of greenery. Keep a bird book with you so you can easily identify different kinds of birds that you spot in the forest. The distance from Dehradun to Thano is 23 km, and should take you about four to five hours to cover.

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Photo of Thano, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

4) Dak Patthar

Dak Pathar is a reservoir built on the Yamuna river, and is quite a touristy spot in Dehradun. Once you reach Dak Pathar, you can go to the Asan Barrage Water Sports Resort Complex where they have different kinds of water sport activities. Dak Pathar is a little on the outskirts and 45km away from Dehradun. You do not need to cover the entire distance on foot, so start walking from whatever distance that should be convenient for you to cover.

5) Kipling Trail

Besides being famous for his encounters with tigers, Rudyard Kipling was well known for his walking ability. The Kipling Trail is a impeccably maintained trail that begins from Rajpur, and via Jharipani, ends at Mussoorie. You will pass an old railway tunnel and rest houses that were made for Britishers who took this route up to reach Mussoorie. You will be walking on the same trail that was once walked on by Kipling himself! The trail starts from Shahanshahi Ashram in Rajpur, passes through five hairpin bends, and ends at Jharipani. The distance covered is roughly about 5km, and because of its steep gradient, it should take you about two hours to finish the hike.

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Photo of 15 Secret Hikes And Treks Around Dehradun That Only Locals Know About by Pritha Puri

6) Lambi Dehar Mines

In the jungle, it isn't very uncommon to hear ghost stories, or see haunted houses. The Lambi Dehar Mines are considered to be haunted, but I would say that the view is absolutely killer, and maybe that's why people say that whoever goes there does not come back. The distance from the mines to Dehradun is 27km and should take you a day to reach. You can make pit stops at Kheragopiwala or at Bisht Gaon, if you start from Rajpur.

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Photo of Lambi Dehar Mines, Cart Road, Khanij Nagar, Mussorie Range, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

7) Kalsi Trail

Situated at the foothills of Jaunsar, Kalsi is an extremely important historical site, because it has some of the Asokan Rock Edicts. Even with so much heritage value, you will hardly find tourists walking on this trail. You can also go to the Kata Pathar canal and the Jagat Gram orchard. Kalsi is therefore rich in its culture and heritage. The distance from Dehradun to Kalsi is 49km, so it is better if you start your hike from Sahaspur, which is a little more than half way.

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Photo of Kalsi, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

8) Robber's Cave river trail

Robber's Cave is one of the most popular sites in Dehradun but people hardly ever try to explore it fully. If you are an adventurous person who does not mind getting their feet wet, then this is the place to go. Carry an extra pair of clothes with you when you go for this. Robber's Cave has a water stream inside that has to be crossed on foot to reach the other end. Most tourists just look at it from the outside and leave. Take a quiet walk inside the cave and listen to the river gurgling under your feet. The Robber's Cave is 8km from the heart of Dehradun, and should take you about an hour to reach.

Credit: Nandan Nautiyal

Photo of Robber's Cave, Malsi, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

9) The Old Mussoorie hike

This route was formerly used to reach Mussoorie from Dehradun. You will see that the route still has checkpoints marked, as well as old temples and ashrams. People hardly walk this trail anymore, apart from the occasional nature lover, and you will enjoy the perfect solitude all by yourself. The trail starts from the Old Rajpur Road, and ends at the Old Toll Road. The hike up is quite steep and about 8km long; it should take you two hours to reach to Mussoorie. You can do this trek with Been There Doon That!

Credit: Michael Scalet

Photo of Old Mussoorie Road, Bhagwant Pur, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

10) Heart of Dehradun walk

If you really want to get inside the heart of Dehradun, go to its bazaars, by-lanes and back alleys. Unlike a big metropolitan city, Dehradun keeps its charm by maintaining the old shops and favourite spots intact. Visit the Clock Tower, Paltan Bazaar, Ashley Hall, St. Joseph's school, which are some of the main attractions at the centre of Dehradun. There is no limit to roaming around in the heart of Doon, however visiting all the places should take about half a day.

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Photo of Clock Tower, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

Credit: Ishan Panwar

Photo of Jharipani, Doom Gaon, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

11) Trek to George Everest's house

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Photo of George Everest's, Khanij Nagar, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

George Everest was a British official who completed the great Trigonometric Survey Of India, which was later used to measure the height of the tallest mountain on the planet. He lived and created his laboratory in Dehradun. To reach his house, you will have to cross Bhatta village and Hathipaon. Enjoy the incredible panoramic view of Doon Valley on one side and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges on the other. There is a specific diversion on the Mussoorie highway that leads up to George Everest's house. The distance from Dehradun to George Everest's house on a trail is about 20km and since you will be walking on an incline, it should take you around four to five hours. You can do this trek with Been There Doon That!

12) Hike up to the Maldevta Bridge and Waterfall

The Maldevta bridge is close to Rispana Valley, which is considered a heritage site. The Rispana Valley had an ancient route used by caravans to reach Mussoorie and nearby villages for trade and will come on your way to Maldevta. On this hike, you can visit both these locations. If you go a kilometre further from the bridge, you will reach the Maldevta Waterfall. Since this waterfall is seasonal, the right month to go for this hike is July end. The view of Maldevta in the monsoon is breathtaking. The distance from Dehradun to Maldevta is approximately 8km, and if you start your hike from Rajpur it will take you about half an hour to reach.

Credit: Ishaan Panwar

Photo of Maldevta Road, Danda Gaon, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

13) Hike to the Kalinga Park & Fort

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Photo of Kalinga Park, Sahastradhara Road, Raipur, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

The Kalinga Park & Fort hike is quite short as compared to many others on this list. On this hike, you will get to see the Kalinga Fort and the war memorial, which was made in the memory of Gorkha soldiers who fought against the British. The Kalinga Park is 5km away from the centre of Dehradun, on the Rajpur-Shastradhara highway. The walk is absolutely refreshing and you can do this hike with Been There Doon That!

14) Bhadraj Hill trek

Bhadraj Hill is just ahead of Mussoorie and Clouds End which is a little ahead of Mussoorie, and has to itself a pristine temple with an everlasting view of the valley tucked between clouds, visible from Bhadraj Peak. You can make this a two-day trek and pick a starting point. You can go either from Dehradun or Mussoorie. The distance from Dehradun to Bhadraj Hill is about 20km and should take you around four to five hours. You can do this trek with Eco Trekking Club.

Credit: Ishan Panwar

Photo of Bhadraj Temple, Mussorie Range, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

15) The old Dehradun walk

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Photo of Saharanpur Chowk, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Pritha Puri

Before a more sophisticated version of Dehradun developed, old Doon remained untarnished, keeping itself away from the urban demands of a growing population. Old Dehradun is near the Saharanpur Chowk, and very close to the railway station. You can visit Guru Ram Rai's Darbar, and spot old mansions that have been impeccably maintained by the owners. Mataon Ka Sthal is behind the gurudwara where four wives of the guru stayed. According to historian Lokesh Ohri, "It depicts the amalgamation of three architectural designs – Mughal, Sikh and Garhwali". This sthal is also called the 'Tomb Of Mothers'. If tea plantations interest you, visit the Dehradun Tea Company. The citizens of Dehradun fought with the government to keep these tea gardens from being cut down for creating a smart city, so you can imagine how beautiful this place is going to be. It should take you a little more than half a day to explore Old Dehradun.

“I have come to believe that the best kind of walk, or journey, is the one in which you have no particular destination when you set out.” – Ruskin Bond.

Do you know of such amazing trails that have not become super popular yet? Let us know by writing your own article on Tripoto!

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