Snow Leopard Trek in LadakhHemis National Park is a high altitude national park situated in the eastern part of Ladakh and is the largest notified protected area in India. This park is home to a number of endangered species of mammals including the Snow Leopard.
Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia and is listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species as globally endangered. Like other cats Snow Leopard use Scent marks to indicate their territory and common travel routes. The snow Leopard leads a largely solitary life. The mothers may rear cubs in dens in the mountains for extended periods. The diet of Snow Leopard varies across its range and with the time of the year and availability of the prey. In the Himalayas, it preys mostly on Bharals (Blue Sheep), Argali (Wild Sheep), Siberian Ibex etc.
Leh / Hemis National Park / Leh
Day 01: Arrival in Leh (11,500m) and Acclimatize
The dramatic views of this high altitude desert are punctuated by sharp snowy peaks as viewed from the plane. Transfer to your hotel where you’ll receive a welcome serving hot tea. Rest till noon. After lunch, join our local crew and the Snow Leopard Conservancy staff for a briefing, then take your own free time to explore Leh on your own. It is important to rest on these first few days at high altitude. Welcome dinner with the Conservancy. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 02: Full day at your leisure to explore Leh Market
Leh is full of small lanes with hidden treasures – take some time to explore, or rest up as you are still acclimatizing to the elevation. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 03: Walking Tour of Leh
Take a guided walking tour of Leh town, including a visit to Leh Palace, Victory Peak, and the old quarter. Visit the gift shop and headquarters of LEDeG, a conservation organization working to preserve the environment and Ladakhi traditional ways of life. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 04: Leh to Zingchen, Trek to Camp
After a hearty pre-trek breakfast, drive to Zingchen through Zingchen Gorge. Continue up the gorge, a dramatic entry to the snow leopard’s high altitude home in Hemis National Park. Enroute, watch amidst the cliffs and at the base of rocks where they mark their turf for sign of snow leopard, and other wildlife. Camp at wildlife study camp. Trekking time: approx 5-6 hrs. Elevation: 12,400’
Day 05 -12: Wildlife Viewing
Proceed full day tracking snow leopard and its wildlife prey. Hemis National Park is home to blue sheep, Argali (a large horned sheep), numerous mountain and migratory birds, as well as an occasional Tibetan wolf. You are likely to see sign of snow leopard as winter is the time that they descend to lower elevations. If lucky, you’ll actually see one perched high in the rocks or balanced on a near vertical ridge. Return to camp for some warming tea and share tales of the day. overnight at Camp.
Day 13: Wildlife Viewing, Visit Villages and Home stays
Trek to nearby sites where snow leopard may have been sighted recently. Visit and overnight in a neighboring village, Rumbak, and experience a homestay. Homestay hosts have been trained in hospitality and are members of a community conservation effort to conserve the endangered snow leopard. Learn about their livestock herding practices and try your hand at winter pastimes (spinning, weaving, and turning a tale). Spend the days tracking snow leopard and wildlife, and overnight in a homestay or camp. Elevation 13,500’
Day 14: Trek to Zingchen and Return to Leh
Say goodbye to your hosts and hike down-valley past familiar snow leopard haunts and piles of carved Tibetan prayer stones to the road head at Zingchen; 5 hrs. Drive to Leh, and check into a hotel for your first real bed in a week! Overnight in a hotel.
Day 15: Leh to Delhi
Early morning transfer to Leh airport and fly to Delhi. Transfer to your hotel.