Offbeat things to do in Mussoorie: In & Around Zostel

Mussoorie is more than just a tourist destination & we're here to prove it to you fair and square. Like all other gorgeous villages & towns of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Mussoorie holds many hiking trails, stream & waterfalls, tiny viewpoints with magnificent views, magical sunrises, and out of the world sunsets. If you're staying at Zostel Mussoorie, these are the places you need to check out!

Where is Zostel Mussoorie?

46 km from Dehradun and 11 km from Mussoorie main town, Zostel is tucked away on the way to Kempty Falls near Mussoorie in a serene and utterly dreamy landscape. Although offbeat, it is easily reachable by road and is worth the extra few miles, since you escape the tourist crowds and enter a completely different, soothing landscape that’s ideal for a happening & yet unconventional stay.

Zostel Mussoorie, backpacking hostel in Mussoorie Uttarakhand

Things to do in Mussoorie: Around Zostel

Located in the Ringali Gad Valley of Uttarakhand, Zostel Mussoorie brings with it fairytale-like premises. Soaking in utter solitude, the hostel is as secluded on the outside as it is social on the inside. Slender streams crisscross the land, ending in mini-waterfalls here and there. A jungle blossoms in its vicinity, opening up to travellers with umpteen hiking trails, viewpoints, and offbeat roads to follow. Step fields, village settlements, and meadows adorn the hills and the valley, treating travellers with a variety of landscape.

Here’s a local’s guide to exploring the areas near Zostel Mussoorie, so much so that you won’t feel like going to the same-old Mall Road again.

Note: All the places listed here are within walking distances from the hostel, some of them being truly offbeat & unexplored. If you’re looking for a detailed blog on Mussoorie, come watch this space again on Saturday!

• Pine Forest

Atop the mountain on which the hostel resides is a whole jungle of Pines. This same path also takes you to the main town of Mussoorie and makes for a very pleasant road to walk on.

• Flag (Dalai) Hill

With a statue of Buddha and a series of the colourful Tibetan prayer flags, the Dalai Hill is a viewpoint from where you get a beautiful view of the settlements nearby.

• Happy Valley

This area is known as the first Tibetan refugee settlement in India. Some 70 years ago, the 14th Dalai Lama used to call this place his home. If you happen to be here, you’ll come across lively Tibetan households along with a string of small eateries, farms, and cowsheds.

• Buddhist Monastery

Standing out with its architecture, this monastery is very different from the ones you’re used to seeing in the North.

• Murray Pump (Pumphouse for Mussoorie)

The place that pumps water to the entire of Mussoorie lays hidden in a forest and can be reached by a short hike through the slender trees. Set up by the British, the place still has old machinery in the display.

• McKennon’s Brewery

Hidden atop a hill in the forest of Oaks are the ruins of an old British Brewery. If you get lucky, you may chance upon remnants of old beer bottles for keepsake.

• Shiva Temple – Motiwala

The temple is accessed by a short and easy hike to the top of a hill, which treats you with beautiful sunset views. The temple is also midway to one of the walking trails that lead to main Mussoorie.

• Panther’s Lodge

What once used to be a rabbit farm is now a camping site in the wildlife sanctuary, after it was ransacked by leopards. This place has a knack of making one feel ever so close to nature, with the smell of wood & mud and greenery all around.

• Benog Wildlife Sanctuary

Also assumed the last sighting spot for the presumably extinct Mountain Quail, the sanctuary houses a dense forest with springs and streams flowing across it. The forest has a charming vibe to it and is hence home to many animals, birds, and vibrant butterflies. With a bundle of waterfalls and natural pools, the sanctuary makes for a good one-day hike & exploration.

• Jwala Devi Temple (Benog Tibba)

Perched on a hilltop, the temple trail is full of flower plants and green things. With a tiny seasonal pond and splendid views of the town, Benog Tibba is the highest point in the surrounding valleys.

• Secret Waterfalls & Swimming holes

As you traverse across, you’ll find plenty of hidden waterfalls and mini pools along the Ringali Gad stream that also crosses through the hostel. Some of them are especially charming, so get your shoes & sunscreen & start walking from wherever you are. Happy discovering!

• Village Bunglow-ki-Kandi

A walk through the traditional Garhwali village will give you an idea of the Garhwali culture of Uttarakhand. The town is only a 5-minute walk from the hostel.

• Kempty Falls

If you’re one to make it to tourist spots along with the offbeat ones, Kempty is something you’ve already planned on seeing. While the falls are taken over by tourist crowds most hours of the day, the walk along the stream till you reach the falls is very pleasant and secluded.

• Kempty Village

The closest market to the hostel is in Kempty Village, for your random chips-and-coke (mind where you throw the plastic!) cravings, medicine shops, ATMs, and more.

• Thaat

The most prominent view from the hostel is that of the step fields atop a mountain. That’s Thaat village, which is bang opposite the hostel.

• Vulture’s Crest

This is a quaint hilltop above the Banglow ki Kandi village and is only a short hike away. The temple here gives generous views for the Aglar Valley. The name comes from the fact that if you look up from the hilltop, you’ll see plenty of vultures circling around.

• Water Mills

You can also check out the traditional Garhwali style stone mill that is still used by the locals to grind flour. It is run on natural waterpower.

Zostel: The Mussoorie Campus

While there’s a lot to do around the hostel, the premises itself is packed with some amazing spaces. Here’s an overview of our favourites:

The Common Room: With a wood-board swing, TT, carrom, makeshift air hockey, board games, gorgeous views & a subtle vintage vibe, we've got your lazy afternoons covered.

Common room at Zostel Mussoorie, best backpacking hostel in Dehradun Mussoorie Uttarakhand

The Hobbit House: A community kitchen that also functions as a cosy workspace, you can make Maggi & chai, grab on your book or laptop, & sit here for hours as you relish the view.

Best backpacker hostel in Mussoorie Uttarakand

The Private Treehouse Cottage: Perched upon a tree, this wooden cottage comes with a cosy bed, a reading space, & an extremely fairytale vibe.

Private Treehouse cottage in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

The Private Stream Cottage: At a 300m walk from the hostel, this secluded cottage comes with a vast room that looks right at the private stream outside. There's also a kitchen here so you can forget the world & be here at peace!

Private Stream Cottage in Mussoorie, Dehradun

Dorms & Private Rooms: All the rooms are spacious, naturally lit, thoughtfully designed, and the best part? They all come with a balcony.

Best backpacking hostel in Mussoorie Uttarakhand

We've also got a beautiful stream crisscrossing the premise, an in-house café, benches in the yards to take in the scenery, & ample of serenity all around.

You can check out the hostel and book your holiday here.

Zostel Mussoorie, best backpacking hostel in Dehradun Mussoorie Uttarakhand

All pictures by the amazing Ankit Gupta.

Writer, Pranavi Chhikniwala.