Manali is a small hill station located at 2050m (6398 ft) in the Himalayas popular with Indian and foreign tourists for the relaxed vibe and plethora of restaurants. There are several outdoor activities in Manali from skiing to paragliding, but for those interested in hiking, the walk to Jogini falls is arguably one of the best and most accessible day hikes in Manali.
The hike to Jogini falls truly starts in the small town of Vashist, across the river from Manali, but part of the journey is just walking up to Vashist. I was staying in Old Manali and set out around 9:30 for New Manali and the main shopping area by the highway. I found a restaurant for breakfast and stopped by a bakery to pick up a small lunch to eat at the waterfalls.
All over New Manali there are small stands selling “Chaat” which is sort of a fried piece of dough covered in salsa and mixed salad. If you’re looking for something to eat, I highly recommend this quick snack!
Leaving New Manali, I crossed the bridge and walked north along the highway towards Vashist. After perhaps a kilometer, I reached the turn off and began the large trek uphill to Vashistha Temple. About half way up the hill, Vashist starts to look very similar to Old Manali with shops, restaurants, and guest houses a plenty. On the way up I recommend a stop at “World Peace Cafe”. It’s a rooftop joint along the road with a beautiful view of Manali and the surrounding mountains. There is free wifi, a decent bathroom, and the prices are actually less than nearby cafes. The name sounded pretty bold so I had to see what the hype was about. It was a perfect rest stop before starting further uphill.
Once you reach Vashistha temple, the road narrows to just tiny alleyways snaking through a small village on the mountain side. The path through this village is quite confusing, but if you end up walking the wrong way, the villagers will point you towards the waterfall. Just try and follow what feels like the main road through. After passing the village, there are signs saying “waterfall” which make it easier to find.
If you’re lucky, you will probably see several villagers walking along the path in their traditional Himalayan garb sometimes carrying bundles of sticks or tending to the fields along the trail. It’s truly remarkable to see these people still living a very traditional life tucked deep away in the mountains from the rest of the world.
Continue another 1.5 km and you will reach a small temple at beginning of the falls. While this is a nice spot to rest, the real waterfall lies further up the hill. Continue along the path and you’ll reach a small pool with a nice view of the lower Jogini falls. At this point you might think you’ve made it, but the path actually continues upwards for another thirty minutes. Eventually it reaches the true highest point where you can see the water in full force as it comes off the cliff and falls nearly a hundred feet to a small pool below.
To get back, you can just go down the way you came. With stops for tea, coffee and breakfast, the journey took just about all day. I arrived back in Manali around 5pm.
If you have any questions about hiking in Manali, let me know in the comments below!