I remember the first time I caught a live snowfall while visiting Narkanda along with a friend of mine. It was the month of April so finding some snow was not at all on our minds. However, during our last day of the visit, it rained all day long and by evening, it was snowing all around. I have seen snow numerous times after that but it never again felt like the way it did for the first time. I think the story is pretty much same for all of us living in plain areas. For anyone planning a trip in the months of winter, the first question that comes to mind is whether they will get to see snow or not. In this article, I will provide a list of places where you can hope to so see some snow near Delhi.
I will write this article in three different parts. In this first part, I will cover places that you can visit within 2-3 days. In the second part, I will provide details on where you can go if you have 4-5 days in hand and then give a month to month breakdown in the final part. Information provided below is more from the point of view of a weekend getaway or a quick visit of 3-4 days. If you have more days in hand then of course is of the places you can go to is endless.
Last but not the least, I am writing this down using Delhi as the base. If you live elsewhere, then a few more places will add to the list and I recommend that you take a look at the third part of this article. If you need suggestions, feel free to ask in the comments section at the end of this article.
Dehradun – Mussorie – Dhanaulti – Kanatal – Chamba – Rishikesh
This is probably your best bet near Delhi for a weekend getaway with high chances of finding snow. I mentioned the entire stretch here; chances of finding snow are however limited to Mussorie, Dhanaulti and Kanatal.
You can start from Delhi late night Friday or early morning on Saturday and return back on Sunday. From Delhi, you can reach Dehradun via Roorke, climb up to Mussorie, continue driving to Dhanaulti, Kanatal, Chamba, descend down towards Rishikesh and be on your way to Delhi via Haridwar. The same journey can also be done the other way around.
Of all these places; Kanatal is at the highest altitude of 2,590 meters and the entire small town gets buried under snow in the months of January and February. Mussorie of course is one of the most popular tourist destinations and the road from Dehradun till here remains open throughout the year. There is however a high chance that in peak winter, due to snow, the road through Dhanaulti and Kanatal may get closed temporarily. However even if that happens, you will still get to see snow for which the road was closed.
Kanatal is at about 330 kilometers from Delhi and the entire drive can be easily done over a weekend. There are several hotels in Dhanaulti, Kanatal and Mussorie where you can stay for the night. If however on budget, opt for Mussorie or Dhanaulti as finding a budget accommodation in Kanatal can be a challenge. There are a few cottages and hotels in Kanatal too but they are all mostly high end and expensive.
This is another place in close proximity of Delhi where you can find snow in winter. Even though almost equal in distance, the drive to Chakrata can actually be shorter than to Mussorie in terms of time. There are two routes that you can take to reach here. Once is via Delhi, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Dehradoon, Vikasnagar which is about 350 kilometers total. Other and the shorter one is via Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar and Paonta Sahib, about 320 kilometers. Road conditions will also be better on the Paonta Sahib route. If you started early from Delhi by 4 AM, you can easily make it to Chakrata by noon.
This journey too can be done in form of a circuit; meaning that you can come via Kurukshetra and go home via Roorkee, Muzaffarnagar route. In peak winter, Chakrata is covered under sheets of snow and a perfect place to spend some time in tranquility. If you have around 4 days in hand, you can spend one in Chakrata, and also cover Mussorie on your way back. Deoban is a dense forest near Chakrata which is at a height of over 3000 meters and gets heavy snowfall every winter. Another place you can cover while in Chakrata is Tiger Falls; but there won’t be much of a fall left in Winters and the drive too is on a narrow broken road.
Shimla / Kufri / Narkanda
Moving on towards Himachal, if you just have 2 days in hand; Shimla would be a great place to go too and catch some snow. Starting early via NH1, Delhi to Shimla won’t take any more than 6-7 hours and is a perfect place for a winter weekend getaway. If you can add a couple of more days, you can also explore nearby areas like Kufri or even go till Narkanda. To be quite honest, I find Narkanda much better than the crowded Shimla. There are also ski slopes in Narkanda which are perfect for a visit in peak winters. Shimla is about 350 kilometers from Delhi and Narkanda is further 70 odd kilometers ahead. Road conditions however are good all the way till Narkanda with a few bad patches in between.
This list couldn’t have been considered complete without Manali taking a spot here; though it cannot really be termed as snow near Delhi because of the distance. If you want to find snow late in the season, by April or May; then Manali is the place to go to. You may not catch live snowfall, or even find snow in the town but a short drive towards Rohtang Pass will have you driving with plenty of snow on both sides of the roads.
The only problem with Manali is that it is way too famous. The moment it starts to snow; the entire town gets crowded with way too many tourists. Distance too between Manali and Delhi is quite great, about 550 odd kilometers and it can take a good 12-14 hours to get here. It cannot be considered a weekend getaway of course; but if you have 3 days in hand, it is a great place to play around in snow. Reach there on Day 1, spend Day 2 in Manali and return on Day 3.
Landour is a short distance of about 300 kilomters from Delhi via Dehradun and is a great place for a quick getaway in winters. You can easily make this a weekend trip, start early from Delhi on Saturday, reach there by noon, spend some time, start on your way back by Sunday noon and be back in Delhi by late evening. If you can add one more day to the trip; then take a walk on the famous Nag Tibba trek which starts from here.
If you visit in January, there is a high chance that you will find snow in Landour itself however if you did not; then take a drive towards Devalsari village. The trek to Nag Tiibba starts from Devalsari and is a 13 kilometer moderate climb. Covering the entire trek in snow and reaching back to Devalsari may not be doable in one day but walk until where you can, have fun in snow and come back before dark.
Nainital is a great place to see snow near Delhi. It is only about 275 kilometers away and the drive too is smooth. The place also provides clear view of Nanda Devi Peaks, and a brisk walk along the Naina lakeside. The best time to come here to catch a live snowfall would be January while the entire town turns white. It is a perfect place to if you are traveling with family. From Delhi, take the Delhi – Bareily highway and you will easily make it to Nainital in about 6-7 hours. Do start early from Delhi because the route until Hapur is way too much traffic on a narrow road; try to cross this section before 7 in the morning.
If you are looking for a place away from the crowded hill stations; then about 60 kilometers ahead of Nainital is the small cantonment town of Ranikhet. Neat, well maintained and amazingly beautiful is what describes Ranikhet the best. Snowfall in the months of December, January and February here and it is a great place to spend a weekend playing in snow. The drive till here from Nainital can however take some time making the entire journey from Delhi to Ranikhet of about 10 hours. You can make it a weekend trip but then most of the time will just be spent on the road. Add a day and make it a 3 day trip at the least. Come to Ranikhet on Day 1, stay here on Day 2 and return home on Day 3.
Snow Near Delhi – Conclusion
These are just a few places that I listed here but the list of course can be endless. The entire Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh gets huge amounts snow in peak winters and there are numerous other places that you can go to. I compiled this list keeping in mind a time frame of 2-3 days; with good to average roads that won’t make the travel time too great; more of a weekend getaway and Delhi as a base.. If however you know of another place that is not in the list above; please feel free to mention it in comments.
I hope this information on places where you can see snow near Delhi was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section or at our Community Forum below and I will be glad to answer.