There are countless trails and trekking routes for those who want to experience Meghalaya on foot. The dry winter months are the best time for such endeavours. On a Meghalaya trail, expect amazing landscapes and friendly interactions wherever you go. Some of the more extreme trails require a lot of climbing, while some require you to swim. Here are some of the popular, easier ones that offer you a memorable time and lots of beautiful scenes.
David Scott Trail
Location – Mawphlang
David Scott was an 18th-century British officer who was in charge of making a bridle road that connected the plains of Sylhet with the summits of the Khasi Hills. The David Scott trail is an engaging route, peppered with amazing views and quite a bit of history – since this is literally the path that signalled the dawn of colonialism in these isolated ranges. The most well-preserved stretch is the one between Mawphlang (adjacent to the sacred groves) and a hamlet on the Sohra highway. An arched bridge on the latter end, a river crossing, and spell-binding views of the valley up in Mawphlang are some of the highlights of the David Scott Trail. It is 16 kms long and would take an average of 4 to 5 hours.
Shillong Peak Hike
Location – Shillong
You do not need to go too far from the state capital for a nice hike. The Laitkor and Upper Shillong Reserve Forests offer plenty of nice trails set amidst a mix of thick pine and sub-tropical vegetation. It is a steep climb for most parts but you should be able to hit the higher reaches of town via these forest routes in less than an hour. The Rhododendron Trek route is one of the popular trails in this forest while another trail that begins at the Lawsohtun locality of southern Shillong takes you directly to the Shillong Peak viewpoint.
Make sure you remain hydrated throughout your trek and if you are unfamiliar with the place, it is always better to go with some local company.
Tura Peak Hike
Location – Tura, Garo Hills
One of the nice things of visiting a hill state is the prospect of heading to the nearest summit and catching great panoramas. The hike to Tura Peak (located in the Nokrek National Park) is an invigorating one as you leave the bustling town behind and enter thick, tropical brush all along the way up. An early morning hike is recommended so you can avoid the warmest parts of the day and more importantly, increase your chances of rare bird sightings. These forested and steep slopes are also home to the Hoolock gibbons so stay quiet and be ready for their famous hoots. The trail is quite well-established and hard to miss – post-monsoon and winter is a comfortable time to explore but a monsoon jaunt adds seasonal waterfalls to your list of highlights. The Tura Peak trek should not take more than 5 hours, both ways.
In addition to these popular moderate treks, there are several other more immersive and physically demanding trails that will reward you with unique experiences and of course, arresting scenery. You can enjoy a multi-day sojourn into the deep jungles of Pynursla as you follow centuries-old stone paths punctuated by root bridges. The Nongriat-Rainbow Falls trail is another spectacular experience – one of the star attractions on the way is the double-decker root bridge of Nongriat but it is just a small slice of the complete cake.
The hike to the head of Nohkalikai Falls takes you to a natural stone gate that hangs over the thundering cascades and the verdant gorges. Another popular hike is the one up and down the slopes of Laitlum canyon. The legendary Kyllang Rock in the West Khasi Hills offers an intense but short trek.