Rare and elusive snow leopard on mountain top lookout, Ladakh, India

On the Trail of Snow Leopards

  • EXPERT-LED GROUP TOUR
Start date End date Days
Prices from
ex. flights
Single Supplement Tour Expert Group Size Status
03/04/25 03/16/25 13 days $0 $8,140 $3,090 Yaju Upadhyaya 8 Max AVAILABLE Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Orjan Johansson Image, Collared snow leopard, Altai Mountains, Mongolia 1

Snow Leopards

March is the snow leopard breeding season and is the prime month for outstanding sightings.

Snow Leopard Lodge 2

Specialist Trackers

A coordinated team of local trackers help our clients frequently see snow leopards.

Two Siberian Ibex on the crest of a hillside in Ikh Nart in Mongolia. 3

Himalayan Wildlife

Track snow leopards, wolves, blue sheep, ibex and Ladakhi urial by vehicle and on foot.

Lounge area 4

Ladakhi Culture

Home cooked meals and a comfortable bed in a Ladakhi homestay lodge.

Why we like it

Our partners in Ladakh have created the perfect example of community based tourism that acts as a vital tool for conservation. Prior to the Snow Leopard Lodge being opened in Ulley, snow leopards were persecuted as they were seen as a threat to livestock, and therefore livelihood. That all changed when the local community started to benefit from tourism which meant local people had a strong incentive to protect the snow leopard. The Ulley Valley now has a healthy community that happily lives in harmony with the snow leopard – a vital source of revenue for this remote part of the Himalayas.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Delhi

  • Day 2

    Delhi - Leh

  • Days 3 - 4

    Leh

  • Days 5 - 10

    Ulley Valley

  • Day 11

    Ulley - Leh

  • Day 12

    Leh - Delhi

  • Day 13

    Delhi

Day 1

Delhi

Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, India

Arrive into Delhi and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore independently.

Day 2

Delhi - Leh

Hemis Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

Fly from Delhi to Leh, once the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh.

Days 3 - 4

Leh

Leh, India

During the next two days you will explore the monasteries, stupas, palaces and valleys of Leh. You will also visit the HQ of the Snow Leopard Conservancy of India.

Days 5 - 10

Ulley Valley

Snow leopard on cliff side, Ladakh, India

Drive from Leh to the Ulley Valley. The next five days will follow a similar pattern, as you search Ulley and its surrounding mountains for Snow Leopards accompanied by expert trackers.

Day 11

Ulley - Leh

Alchi Monastery, Ladakh, India

Return to Leh via Alchi monastery.

Day 12

Leh - Delhi

Red Fort, Old Delhi, India

Depart Leh and fly back to Delhi. The remainder of the day at leisure to explore this bustling city or rest after your Snow Leopard adventure.

Day 13

Delhi

Jama Masjid Mosque, Old Delhi, India

Depart Delhi for your onwards travel.

Snow Leopard Lodge
India
Twin room, Snow Leopard Lodge
India
Snow Leopard Lodge
India
Lounge area
India

Snow Leopard Lodge

Snow Leopard Lodge started life as a homestay and was the first lodge to be launched as part of a community based tourism iniative, under the auspices of the Snow Leopard Conservancy India. Designed to use tourism as a conservation tool for the preservation of snow leopards and their ecosystem, it has been a huge success and has led to several other lodges and camps now opening in Ladakh, following the same model.
The lodge comprises of eight twin-bedded ensuite rooms, with an extra two rooms that share a donwstairs bathroom. Due to the freezing temperatures, buckets of hot and cold water are provided for washing, while toilets are western style with bucket flush. All rooms have light fittings and plug points with baggage tables. At night, a hot water bottle is provided along with extra blankets to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep. In 2025, the lodge will be experimenting with underfloor heating to make the environment cosier than ever.

Group Tour FAQs

Why travel with Steppes Travel to track snow leopards in India?

Trackers from the local community have an intimate knowledge of Ulley Valley and the movements of its snow leopard inhabitants.

While a comprehensive understanding of snow leopard behaviour is critical, a good relationship with the local community is equally important. Local shepherds and farmers will know where snow leopards have been most recently spotted and so the chief tracker has developed a strong bond with the community of Ulley, taking full advantage of hundreds of local pairs of eyes and ears on the ground.

What happens on a typical day?

A typical day will start with hot tea/coffee, followed by a bowl of hot water for a refreshing wash. Our expert guides will already be on the search for snow leopards, either from the homestay or from a close-by lookout. Trackers may have gone out into the valley and are in constant communication with the team. After breakfast, the group will set out and drive into the valley before hiking on foot to search for snow leopards.

The trackers will be in constant communication with one another and keep the group informed of any information along the way. In the evenings, there will be opportunities to hear from the leaders during post-dinner presentations.

When is the best time to see snow leopards?

From the end of January to March, the snow on the mountains starts to melt, which drives the snow leopards and their prey (mainly blue sheep) to lower, almost snow-free elevations. February to March is the mating season when the males are likely to be searching the lower slopes of the mountains in search of a female.

How likely am I to see a snow leopard?

To see a snow leopard requires luck but as with any safari, to some extent luck can be improved by patience, planning and professional guiding. It is no coincidence that the luckiest guides are also the most hard working guides and on our most recent safaris, clients have been rewarded with excellent snow leopard sightings.

Do I need to be physically fit to enjoy this tour?

A medium level of fitness is essential for this trip. There are three nights spent in Leh to allow ample time for acclimatisation and while altitude is indiscriminate, you will enjoy the tour more if you feel confident doing up to 3-4 hours walking per day. Whilst searching for snow leopards in the Ulley valley, there will be some small hikes on rough terrain so it is vital that you have adequate hiking boots. You may also wish to bring walking poles to give you greater stability on the rough ground.

It is our aim to hike a few miles every day, with the uphill sections being at a slow pace due to the altitude. Due to the small group size, there will be several guides and trackers on the hikes who will happily stay with members of the group that may get tired or just want to rest.

What will the weather in Ladakh be like in March?

From January to March in Ladakh, the days will be cool, and the nights can get below -25. Layers are the best option, as despite the potential for freezing temperatures, there are some days when the sunshine can make for warm conditions. Sun cream, a sunhat and good sun glasses are a must. Our travel specialists can advise you on clothing and packing lists to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

What is the standard of accommodation on this tour?

Accommodation in Ulley is a homestay style lodge with twin-bedded rooms with en suite bathroom.

Whilst in Leh, the hotel is the best available, offering comfortable rooms, spectacular views of the Stok Range, great hospitality and in-house dining.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of our tour experts.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply. For this tour, it is capped to two people due to the size of the property in Ulley.

Can I extend my time in India?

Absolutely. India is a vast country with vibrant cities, fabulous beaches and iconic wildlife. Please speak to one of our India specialists for further information.

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Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Active
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Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

Flexibility

To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • All meals in Leh and Ulley
  • Arrival and departure transfers in Delhi
  • Donation of $200pp USD to Snow Leopard Conservancy
  • Internal flights from Delhi to Leh in economy class
  • Local guide and trackers in Leh and Ulley
  • Six nights accommodation at Snow Leopard Lodge
  • Transportation (as indicated)
  • Carbon offset of all flights based on economy class flights.
  • Donation to the Steppes Fund For Change

What is excluded

  • India Visa
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals in Delhi (excluding breakfast)
  • Travel insurance

Other available dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 1 800 571 2985

Start date End date Days
Prices from
ex. flights
Tour Expert Group Size Status
03/04/25 03/16/25 13 days $0 $8,140 Yaju Upadhyaya 8 Max AVAILABLE Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 880 980

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