Snow Leopard Tracking Tour

11 Days
from AUD$ 11,966

Highlights

  • Engage with the Snow Leopard Conservancy Fund to learn about conservation activities
  • Explore the palaces and temples of Leh
  • Trek through the Ulley Valley in search of elusive snow leopard with expert trackers

This epic adventure takes you to the Ulley Valley, Ladakh – one of India’s most protected Snow Leopard areas with expert trackers on hand to trace the cats’ scents, trails and markings, this journey will keep the pulse racing as you follow every sign of their movements whilst exploring some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.

This snow leopard trek offers you the chance to track these ‘ghosts of the mountains’ and their prey through the snow, with the ability to witness these sadly diminishing but stunning creatures in their natural environment.

Snow Leopards are most active at dawn and dusk and show a strong preference for cliffy habitat with moderately to very broken terrain, rocky outcrops and ravines. They are opportunistic predators and are known to take prey up to three times their own weight, though a large part of their diet comprises of small prey like marmots, pika, hare, birds and domestic livestock. Enjoy exploring winter wildlife, birdlife and being further educated on all things conservation and the natural world by your expert guides.

Journey map

Fitness level

Easy
Moderate
Challenging
Tough

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Delhi

Namaste and welcome to India! On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Aerocity. Today you have time to recover from your journey. Our wildlife expert will meet you in your hotel to discuss your expectations from the tour and answer any questions you may have. Should you be interested a birding excursion on the outskirts of Delhi, this can be arranged. Delhi and its surrounding region has a bird count of 227 species and surprisingly, is an interesting birding destination. In the winter months when migrating birds arrive from central India, some of these regions can be great for photography as well.

Overnight Lemon Tree Premiere Aerocity or similar

Day 2 - Fly to Leh

Following an early breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Leh in Ladakh. Framed by the jagged snow-capped Himalayas, the city itself sits on the historic Silk Road. Dotted with humbling monasteries, stupas and crumbling mud houses, this enchanting city is very easy to fall in love with. Ladakh is Buddhist country with prayer flags fluttering brightly in the wind and long ‘Mani walls’ covered in exquisitely carved prayer stones, stupas and chortens are found along with Buddhist monasteries called ‘Gompas’.

Leh is located at just over 3500m, and it is not uncommon to suffer from a little altitude sickness, whether it be a headache, breathlessness or dizziness. Be sure to drink lots of ginger tea, remain well hydrated and remember, no strenuous exercise while acclimatising. (D)

2 nights at The Grand Dragon or similar

Day 3 - In Leh

We have allowed two more days in Leh to acclimatise before starting your trek. If you are feeling up to it, over these two days, you will also be able to visit Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace as well as some of the local monasteries. Shanti Stupa is 5km from town and overlooks Leh city, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The location of Shanti Stupa is visible from all over Leh city.

Leh Palace, though in a dilapidated condition, is full of old worldly charm, and the adventurous journey one has to undertake to reach the palace makes it even more special. Built in the 17th century by King Singe Namgyal as the royal residence, it was deserted in the mid-19th century after the family shifted to Stok. A visit here for many people feels like a glimpse into the window of Tibet.

In the evening, we have planned an interaction at the hotel with the Snow Leopard Conservancy, where you will be able to learn about the big cats and other wildlife of the region, the landscape, people that inhabit the landscape and the various challenges faced by wildlife in the region along with the conservation work that is taking place in the region to protect the wildlife and educate locals on the longevity of conservation. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - Leh to Ulley Valley

Acclimatised and well rested this morning, you make your way to Ulley Valley (approx. 2.5hrs). Ulley is a very small village in the vast expanse of the upper Himalayas. It is home to only seven households that make up this village. A few years ago, one of the families realised the importance of wildlife that surrounded them and started promoting wildlife travel to the region to showcase the elusive ‘grey ghost’.

The drive to Ulley is quite scenic and you will cross some famous sites enroute such as Gurudwara Pathar Sahib (one of the highest places with a Sikh temple), you will see the confluence of two rivers – Indus and Zanskar along with the famous Alchi monastery. Based on the information your team receive on the sighting of the snow leopards around Ulley, they will make a call on whether you explore these beautiful sites and destinations now or on your way back.

Once you are close to Alchi, take a detour on to a road that is less travelled. Be on the look out for wildlife from this point onwards. There will be only one or two villages that fall on this route and from this point on, you will encounter very few people who travel or live in this remote wilderness. The region is home to the Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Fox, Ibex, Ladakh Uriel, Golden Eagle and Lammergeiers alongside the magnificent snow leopard.

The total journey from Leh to Ulley should take about 2.5 – 4hr depending on the number of stops you make (the landscape is stunning and you will feel like stopping for a picture as you cross each bend in the road). You should arrive at the snow leopard lodge around lunch time. Even though it is called the Snow Leopard Lodge, it is still a homestay which has been slightly modified for western travellers.

Important note: The lodge is still very basic with shared washrooms. Depending on how much snow has fallen, and how cold it is, sometimes the pipes may be frozen limited the use of running water. If the water pipes freeze, there will be buckets provided where water is kept heated using an electric rod for your use. Once settled and after lunch, begin your explorations of the valley with your spotters who are people from the local community. We encourage partnering with locals to ensure the maximum financial benefit from your travels supports the community and encourages and educates the community to save the wildlife with whom they share their space. (B,L,D)

 5 nights Snow Leopard Lodge or similar (a community run homestay)

Day 5 - 8 – Ulley

Continue exploring the valleys and mountains around Ulley in search of wildlife. Please note this is not hard core trekking – this is all about searching for wildlife and will take place a comfortable pace for the group accompanied with expert trackers and naturalists.

Distances covered and the level of activity will depend on wildlife sightings and how strenuous you wish to make the journey. You are likely to see signs of the snow leopard, as winter is the time that they descend to lower elevations. If you are lucky, you may see one perched high on the rocks or balanced effortlessly on a sheer vertical ridge.

Snow leopard sightings are a game of patience. Your schedule on these days is subject to previous sightings of the snow leopards, and your guide will collect information from locals and other guides on a daily basis to determine the movement of your day. You will either follow on from the previous day’s route, or trek and explore nearby areas, waiting and watching for the gracious Snow Leopards using a scope.

The moment you witness these beautiful and elegant cats, your breath will be taken away. Everything will seem silent as you watch, captivated by their beauty. Soft padding paws, brush like powerful tails. Every move planned and executed with precision. This will truly be one of the most awe inspiring moments of your journey.

Watch as they scavenge and search for prey. Camouflaged so perfectly into the snow covered rocky terrain. The only sounds to be heard are your gasps of amazement and the click of camera shutters. You will never forget this moment.

All meals will be at the lodge unless you decide to trek the whole day – in which case a packed meal can be carried with the team.

The evenings are spent talking about stories of the various wildlife experiences not only in the region but also in other parts of the country. These stories are a fun interaction with the local boys, naturalists, and your fellow travellers. The lodge also has a few documentaries about wildlife in the Indian Subcontinent which can be projected on a wall in the common area. (B,L,D)

Day 9- Ulley to Leh

After spending the morning searching for the snow leopard, enjoy a restful lunch before you return to Leh. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure. (B,L,D)

Overnight at The Grand Dragon or similar

Day 10 - Leh to Delhi

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Delhi. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (B)

Overnight Holiday Inn Premiere, Aerocity or similar

Day 11 - Departure

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

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What’s included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days except arrival and departure days
  • English speaking local guides
  • Half day sightseeing in and around Leh with local city expert
  • Naturalists, spotters and trackers whilst in the National Park
  • Entrance fees, park fees and trekking permits as per itinerary
  • Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle
  • Wildlife permit fees
  • Domestic flight Delhi – Leh – Delhi in economy class
Exclusions
  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
  • Personal trekking equipment and other special clothing items

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures for travel between January and March.

* Pricing is subject to change at any time until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

**Snow Leopard sightings cannot be guaranteed.

A non-refundable deposit of 40% AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

Gallery

Availability

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Availability
Price
Start Date
11th Apr 2025
End Date
21st Apr 2025
Duration
11 Days
Availability
Available
Price
$11,966 AUD