National Parks of Uttarakhand-A Journey through Uttrakhand’s Spectacular National Parks

National Parks Uttarakhand-
Uttarakhand is a small and one of the youngest states of India. Due to its unique geography and culture, Uttarakhand was separated from Uttaranchal in the year 2007. Being a state located in the Himalayan Mountain range, Uttarakhand has unique biodiversity due to its 45% (24,305 sq. km) forest-covered area. This natural beauty of dense forests and moderately dense forests makes Uttarakhand a sought-after destination for Wildlife photographers, Nature lovers, Bird watchers and adventure seekers who come here to develop an interest in their respective fields.

Uttarakhand is a popular destination for wildlife photography, mountaineering, trekking, water sports, and bird watching. In earlier days, the local villagers used to stay in harmony with Mother Nature. However, the rise in population and increased number of fatal human-wildlife interactions raised concerns about preserving wildlife. As a result of this, the idea of a National Park came into existence by the efforts of Mr. Jim Corbett; a hunter turned into a wildlife photographer. Hence, in 1936, the first national park of India was founded. The trend continued, and whenever and wherever the protection of wildlife was needed, the National Parks were founded/declared for wildlife conservation, mostly to provide security to wild animals and birds.

Uttarakhand has got 6 National Parks. All National Parks are declared to serve a specific purpose to protect the endangered species of birds animals and plants. In this article, we have tried to provide thorough information about our national parks in Uttarakhand. Along with the basic details, we have tried to provide information about the trekking destinations that fall in these regions. We are sure that this article will be not only for wildlife lovers but also for those seeking general knowledge about Uttarakhand.

1) Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

national parks uttarakhand
Photo Credits: Uttrakhand Tourism

Jim Corbett National Park is not only the first national park of India but also the first national park in Asia. Jim Corbett is the most popular among the national parks of Uttarakhand. Located at the Himalayas’ foothills, near the popular hill station of Nainital, in Pauri Garhwal. The beautiful Jim Corbett National Park is famous for being home to a large number of tigers (Royal Bengal Tigers). The park is spread over the picturesque landscapes of Pauri Garhwal, Almora, and Nainital. Jim Corbett National Park houses 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 species of birds, and 20 species of reptiles.

Apart from the Royal Bengal Tigers, you can spot animals like Elephants, Sambar Deer, Jackal, and Chital. If you are lucky, you can spot a rare sight of the magnificently beautiful and gracious bird; the Paradise Flycatcher. Don’t miss the opportunity to go for the Jeep Safari when you are at the Corbett National Park.

Location: Nainital district, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand

Flora: Dense Moist Deciduous forests. They mainly consist of trees of Sal, Haldu, Peepal, and Rohini.

Fauna: Tigers, Elephants, Barking deer, Sambar deer, Hog deer, Chital, Himalayan Balck Bears and Indian grey mongoose.

Treks near Jim Corbett National Park:

2) Nanda Devi National Park

national parks uttarakhand
Photo Credits: Uttrakhand Tourism

Situated in Chamoli Garhwal District of Uttarakhand, Nanda Devi National Park covers some parts of the Pithoragarh and Bageshwar districts. Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park collectively create Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Nanda Devi National Park got its name from Mt. Nanda Devi, which is the second-highest peak in India. This beautiful National Park attracts many mountaineers and adventure lovers since it houses famous Himalayan mountains like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nandaghunti, and Dronagiri. The famous Kuari Pass Trek and Brahmatal Trek start from this region. The presence of big glaciers like Rishi, Ramadi, and Trishul glaciers makes it famous among trekkers and nature lovers. Moreover, the tributary rivers of Alaknanda like Rishiganga, Dhauliganga, Pushpawati, and Kerganga rivers pass through this National Park. Nanda Devi National Park is also a well-known bird-watching zone among bird lovers. At high altitudes, you can spot rare and beautiful flowers of Brahmakamal (Saussurea obvallata).

If you are lucky enough, you can spot a number of bird species along with wild animals like Himalayan musk deer (famous for the fragrance it produces from the belly button), bears like the Himalayan black bear, and also snow leopards.

Location: Chamoli Garhwal district, Uttrakhand

Flora: Meadows of alpine flowers, Fir, Birch and Juniper

Fauna: Himalayan musk deer, mainland serow, Himalayan Tahr, Snow leopard & Himalayan black bear.

Treks near Nanda Devi National Park:

3) Valley of Flowers National Park

valley of flowers

Valley of Flowers National Park is indeed one of the most popular National Parks in the world. It is one of the most visited national parks of Uttarakhand in India due to its incomparable beauty. It is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. In the year 2005, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. This national park has received such popularity because of the Valley of Flowers Trek. Every year, thousands of tourists and trekkers come here during the monsoons to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the Valley, which houses 500 different species of flowers. Alaknanda and Pushpawati rivers flow from this national park enriching the soil and natural beauty. If you are a nature lover, the Valley of Flowers will give you a thousand reasons to pay a visit. This national park is a home for the flying squirrels.

Location: Chamoli district, Uttarakhand

Flora: Birch, Rhododendron, Blue Poppy, Brahmakamal

Fauna: Red giant flying squirrel, Himalayan black bear, red fox, Himalayan Goral, Musk deer, Himalayan tahr, Serow, Goral, Bharal Blue sheep

Treks near Valley of Flowers National Park:

4) Gangotri National Park

national parks uttarakhand

Situated in Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand, Gangotri National Park is the home of many wild animals and birds and it gives shelter to many endangered species. The Gangotri National Park is unique since its boundaries touch Himachal Pradesh on one end and China on the other. This pristine region is the home of the Gangotri Glacier and Bhagirathi River, also the origin of the Ganga River. The famous ancient route that was used for business purposes between Uttarakhand and Tibet; Gartang Galialso lies in this National Park.

Location: Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand

Flora: Chir, Pine, Deodar, Fir, Spruce, Oak, Rhododendron

Fauna: Bharal or blue sheep, black bear, brown bear, Himalayan Monal, Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan thar, musk deer, Ibex and snow leopard

Treks near Gangotri National Park:

5) Govind National Park

national parks uttarakhand

Govind Pashu Vihar National Park or Govind National Park lies in the Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand. Govind National Park is the place in which the Snow Leopard project was first announced. This National park is spread over 1000 sq km and here you can observe 70 different species of beautiful butterflies. Almost all the famous treks of the Garhwal Himalayas start from here. Govind Pashu Vihar National Park houses high mountains like Swargarohini, Bandarpunch, and Black Peaks and beautiful Juda and Ruinsara Lakes. The famous Har ki Dun Trek and Kedarkantha Treks fall in this region. Tons River, which is a tributary river of Yamuna, passes through here.

Location: Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand

Flora: Deodar cedar, Chir pine, Oak, and Conifers such as Spruce, Blue pine, and Silver fir

Fauna: Himalayan Snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Brown bear, Monal pheasant, Bearded vulture, Golden eagle, Western tragopan, Steppe eagle, and Black eagle

Treks near Govind Pashu Vihar National Park:

6) Rajaji National Park

Photo Credits: Uttrakhand Tourism

Rajaji National Park lies in the Shivalik mountain range of the Himalayas. This National Park is very near to Uttarakhand’s capital and due to its easy accessibility, it attracts many tourists, travelers, and researchers from all over the world. This is mainly a Tiger reserve. Rajaji National Park includes three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun, and Pauri Garhwal. This is one of the most famous national parks of India since it offers the sighting of Royal Bengal Tigers and Asian elephants. The holy river Ganga divides this national park into two parts. Around 400 species of birds have been documented in this region. Grab the opportunity of jungle Safari and Bird watching at Rajaji National Park whenever you get the chance.

Location: Dehradun, Uttarakhand

Flora: Rajaji National Park is home to 36 species of orchids and several types of fungi

Fauna: Asian elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian leopard, Dhole, Jungle cat, Goral, Indian hare, Sloth Bear and many more

Treks near Rajaji National Park:

Located in the Shivalik Himalayas of Uttarakhand, this national parks has very few treks starting near it. Due to the low-altitude mountains, one can choose to explore the spiritual cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh or go for a short one or two-day hike.

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