Hilley and Varsey
The Hilley - Varsey hike is a no-sweat trek which can be completed within a day or two. Varsey is called the valley of rhododendrons – they are available in all shades and shapes here. The Hilley - Varsey trail is ablaze with a riot of colours during March and April created by many species of rhododendrons blooming across the valley. The Rhododendron Sanctuary at Hilley Varsey is spread across an area of 104 sq. km along the Singalila Ridge which forms the natural boundary between India and Nepal. The dense forest of Varsey is covered with hemlocks, silver firs, magnolia and rhododendron trees, and bushes.
The trek from Hilley to Varsey is about 4 km and the path bridled with vegetation takes about 1 ½ hour. As you walk along the Singalila, you will be greeted with glorious views of the Kanchenjunga Range. Stay at Varsey overnight to enjoy the rhododendron forests and a sweeping view of the mountains.
Hilley - Varsey is also associated with Joseph Dalton Hooker, the man who thoroughly documented the flora and fauna of this region, and published the book called the “Rhododendrons of Sikkim” in 1849 – his work is still followed as an authentic text on this subject. Even the golden yellow rhododendron, scientifically called the Dendobrium hookeriana, is named after him.