THIS MOUNTAINOUS STATE, with its vast variety of terrains, offers a wide range of treks from easy, one-day hikes to week-long routes. At lower altitudes, trails wind through forests of oak, deodara (Cedars deodara) and pine, while steeper climbs lead to flowerstrewn alpine meadows above the tree line. The towns of Manali and Dharamsala are starting points for several popular treks. The best season for trekking is during the month of June, and then later between mid- September and October, after the monsoon. During the rains (June–September), the trans-Himalayan cold deserts of Spit and Upper Kinnaur are ideal destinations, completely shielded from monsoon showers.