Mcleodganj Trip Itinerary
For the sake of the itinerary, I will assume Delhi as your starting point. However, even if you were coming from a different place, only the journey on the first and the last day will be different. The rest of the details will still apply. I will begin with an itinerary for 5 days but will also share a few other versions of the same.
Delhi to Mcleodganj – Day 1
Depending on where you started from in Delhi, the total distance till Dharamshala and Mcleodganj can be slightly over 500 kilometers hence an early start is highly recommended. The good news, however, is that the road is mostly smooth all the way so the entire journey can easily be completed in 10-11 hours. The only thing that can cause a further delay is if you got stuck in traffic around Dharamshala or Mcleodganj.
Find a hotel per your liking and check-in if you did not book one in advance. You can stay at either Dharamshala or Mcleodganj as both of the places are equally good. My advice would be to stay at Mcleodganj because it gives you better sightseeing access. Whether or not to book a hotel in advance is entirely your preference.
“My recommendation would be to book your stay. Sometimes both Dharamshala and Mcleodganj can get a bit crowded, especially over long weekends; which means that you may have to run around a bit finding a hotel with a vacancy. Hence better would be to search a bit online and book a hotel per your preference and budget”
Sightseeing in Mcleodganj – Day 2
You will be spending the entire day today in Mcleodganj, visiting some of the popular tourist destinations and the local market. You will be doing a lot of walking today as well so make sure your feet and shoes are ready. Get up early if possible and your first destination will be the Bhagsu Waterfall. Why I am saying early is because it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in all of Mcleodganj and can get a bit crowded as the day progresses.
You will have to walk a couple of kilometers to get to the waterfall so be prepared for it before you leave the hotel. Reach the waterfall and spend some time. There are a few tea shops near the waterfall and also on the way so you can also have your morning tea and breakfast here. I would suggest that you have tea on the way but for breakfast, trek a little further than the waterfall and eat at the famous Shiva Cafe there.
On your way back to the hotel, visit the famous Bhagsu Nag Temple which is located at the starting point of the path that goes towards the waterfall. Return to the hotel and relax for a little.
Towards noon, pay a visit to Saint John in the Wilderness Church and then go to Dal Lake. Return to the hotel in time and then reach Sunset point to enjoy an amazing view of the Sunset from Mcleodganj. The sunset point is located near Naddi Village, about 4 kilometers from Mcleodganj town; but you will easily find a rickshaw to take you there. After sunset, have dinner at any of the numerous restaurants of Mcleodganj and return to the hotel.
Mcleodganj to Triund – Day 3
Today you will embark upon one of the most known trekking destinations of India, the Triund Top. This trail attracts more than half of the tourist population coming towards Dharamshala and Mcleodganj. The reason why it is so well known is because of its difficulty level and stunning location. Anyone can do this trek, even an absolute beginner with plenty of breaks in between. This was in many ways my first trek even and I did it wearing floater sandals.
For trekking to Triund, first either board a rickshaw or taxi from Mcleodganj till Gallu Devi Temple. This is the starting point of the trek where the road ends and the dirt trail starts. The entire length of the trail is about 7 kilometers; of which, the first 5 is a gradual ascent. For the final 2 kilometers, however, it climbs rapidly and may seem a little difficult for some people.
Depending on how physically fit you were, your walking pace, and breaks, the average time taken to complete the trek is about 3 to 4 hours. But since you have plenty of time, I wouldn’t recommend rushing at all. Take as many breaks as required and reach Triund Top. You will be camping at top of Triund under countless stars and stunning views all around you. There are numerous campsites here. Find one as per your liking, negotiate a deal and make arrangements for your night stay.
Triund to Mcleodganj – Day 4
You will trek down to Mcleodganj today the same way that you came but will be covering two more places before reaching back to your hotel. A little ahead of Triund Top is the snowline cafe which gives stunning views of Dhauladhar Range and Indrahar Pass. This is where you will be headed before trekking back down to Mcleodganj. I highly recommend visiting this spot along with Triund Top.
Get up early and ensure that you are on your way to Snowline Cafe by 7 AM. It will take you about two hours to get there. Reach the cafe, have something to eat, enjoy the view, click tons of pictures, and head back to Triund Top. Depending on the pace you were walking at, you should be able to get back to Triund from snowline before 12 noon.
Now it is time to head back to Mcleodganj. Get something to eat first at any of the dhabas at Triund Top and start trekking down. It will take you no more than 2 hours to reach back Gallu Devi Temple because walking back down is easier than climbing up. Right at the spot where the Triund trail starts, there is another trail that goes towards Gallu Waterfall and you will be covering that too before reaching back at your hotel.
The broader trail on your right leads to Triund, while a narrower trail to your left leads to the Waterfall. There is also a pipeline here that you can follow as your guide. After a walk of about 2 kilometers, this trail will take you to the amazing Gallu Waterfall which unlike Bhagsu Waterfall is not at all crowded. There is hardly anyone around and it is a good spot to take a dip in the waterfall. There is also a cafe near the waterfall where you can get something to eat.
Relax at the waterfall but keep a track of the time. Return to Gallu Devi Temple again; find a ride to take you back to Mcleodganj at your hotel. Freshen up and step out to have dinner and spend your last evening in Mcleodganj.
Mcleodganj to Delhi – Day 5
The journey today will be of returning home the same way that you came. It is going to be a long and monotonous drive back home in about 11-12 hours. But before you go home, stop for a while at the monasteries in Mcleodganj and Dharamshala.
Tsuglagkhang Complex and Namgyal Monastery (Mcleodganj) and Dalai Lama Temple are definitely worth a visit. Spend some time at the monastery, spin some prayer wheels, talk to the monks, relax and head back home. If you had time, you can actually visit these monasteries on either of your previous days in Mcleodganj as well.