Manali to Leh
The redspokes Manali to Leh cycling holiday is one of the most demanding and exhilarating mountain bike tours in the world. It is an extreme challenge through the heart of the Indian Himalayas on some of the highest accessible roads on the planet, but the rewards are immense. You will enjoy some of the finest riding an adventure cyclist could wish for – encountering switchback after switchback, ascending to an altitude of 5,000m. And the captivating scenery of soaring snow-capped peaks, rugged mountain passes and remote valleys will make all your exertions worthwhile.
This Indian Himalayas cycling tour from Manali to Leh begins in Delhi. Our journey to Manali offers a fascinating insight into the sights and sounds of this incredible country. We spend a couple of days acclimatising in Manali, a picturesque hill station nestled in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Situated at 1,950m (6,398 ft) it is a popular year-round tourist destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
After time to acclimatise, our adventure begins with a ride out of Manali. We cycle through an evergreen area of pine and deodar trees, tackling the first set of many hairpin bends and switchbacks on our way to the Rohtang Pass. Over the pass, our surroundings become more barren as we continue cycling into more remote areas with just a few sheep dotted here and there. On the horizon you will see the bleak, magnificent spectacle of the higher Himalayan ranges as we traverse a high-altitude desert to reach the isolated mountainous Ladakh region, so remote and stark it is barely populated.
Riding mountain passes and river valleys, we are soon tackling the 21 zigzag Gata Loops 15,030ft up the canyon wall to reach the Lachulung La, the second highest pass on the Manali to Leh road at 5,059m. After skirting the Tso Khar salt lake, we ascend the world's second highest pass, Taglang La at 5,328m. Over the pass, we descend through more verdant terrain with a few more climbs and downhills to reach Leh. We have a rest day to draw breath and explore well-known sites such as the Leh Palace and the Sakar Gompa Monastery.
Our cycling route from Manali to Leh in Ladakh covers 476km (296 miles) over 8 days and includes 5 major passes. The Manali to Leh road is an old trading route and, although described as a highway, is extremely narrow in places. For much of the year it is closed due to extreme weather conditions.
CYCLING THE HIGHEST ROAD IN THE HIMALAYAS
Reinvigorated after our well-deserved rest day in Leh, we face the ultimate challenge of the tour: the Khardung-La. Starting at 3,600m (11,500 feet) in Leh we cycle to the top of the pass at a breath-taking height of 5,359m (17,583 feet) in just 39km (24 miles). This is one of the highest roads in the world accessible by motor vehicles. The redspokes Manali to Leh cycling holiday ends back in Leh.
NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED - THIS IS CYCLING WITH EXTREME ALTITUDE!
Dates & Prices
- Delhi: India’s capital and gateway to the north.
- 5 major passes 2 above 5000m.
- Tso Kar alpine salt lake.
- Gata Loops: 21 zig-gagging hairpin bends.
- Leh: ‘little Tibet’,Buddhist Stupas, bustling bazaar.
- Kardung La: one of the highest motorable roads.
"The trip was outstanding, had an amazing time and it was really well organised, thank you, a trip of a lifetime!..."