It is a cantonment town, home to the highly decorated Kumaon Regiment and Naga Regiment of Indian Armed forces.
Well connected by road with all major towns of Kumaon hills and nearby districts.
The main road into Ranikhet is NH87 climbing up from Kathgodam, 85km in the South. Instead of the main highway passing near Nainital, you may consider the more scenic route through Bhimtal (slightly shorter, not as well maintained in patches). The last stretch through the pine forests after Khairna Bridge is spectacular.
Almora - 44 km to the East, via the temple town of Jageshwar
Nainital - 61 km
Kathgodam - 85 km Taxis are available from Kathgodam railway station. They charge around ₹250-₹300. Government Buses of UK Road transport are available from Bus stand, 3 km down the Railway station. The bus journey takes around 4 hours.
Pithoragarh (in Pithoragarh district, East Uttarakhand) - 161 km
Delhi - 350km (about 8 hours) by car. 12-14 hours by bus.
Nearest airport is Pant Nagar, 112 km. rather meager service.
Nearest railhead is Kathgodam, 85 km and Ramnagar 96 km
Ranikhet is on several levels. Walking is the preferred mode for exploring the shortcuts between one motorable road to the next one. There are SUVs that run between villages, and also buses.
The main market and mall area is on the middle reaches, going on to Gingarikhal from which one road goes sharply down to Gagas en route to the major temple at Dwarahat. Further East on the Almora road is the army golf course, with pines all around.
The cantonment area occupies the upper reaches going to Chaubatia top to the South. To the west is the junction at Ganiatoli, from where one can go to Ramgarh via Tarikhet and the small scenic village of Sauni.
In clear weather from Nov to April (or after it has rained) you can see the majestic Nanda Devi range from most places in Ranikhet.
For maps, and other tips (oriented towards bicycle touring) see http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/~amit/bicycling/ranikhet/.
- 1 Bhalu dam. A small artificial lake 2.5 km from the Chaubatia Garden.
- Chaubatia Garden. Laden with fruit orchards especially apples are the perfect natural interlude. 10 km from Ranikhet town famous for fruit belt and the Fruit Research Centre.
- Dwarahat. 38 km from Ranikhet, once been the principal seat of the Katyuri Rajas. Dwarahat is full of ancient sculptures.
- . 6 km on the road to Almora via Ghingharikhal. Famous mountain golf links maintained by the army. Also a Kali temple nearby.
- Ganga Maya Lake.
- Sitalakhet. Sitalakhet, 36 km (via Kathpuriya) from Ranikhet, is a sleepy hamlet with fantastic snow views (on clear days). Tarikhet 8 km. Sauni 13km. Khairna 22 km. The Binsar Mahadev temple just past Sauni is worth a visit.
- Spend a few hours in the mall. Explore the sharp paths going up and down, the public gardens just above the bus stand, the small stalls selling chow mein, samosa, ram-miThai and endless cups of chAy.
- Go to the golf course. Take your photo. The people around will tell how Bollywood movies such as Raja Hindustani have been shot here.
- Walking up towards Chaubatiya from Somnath Dwar (the eastern end of the mall), stop at the handloom tweed factory set up by the army in the back of an old church. You can usually hear the looms from the road. Continuing up (by car?), you reach the Jhula devi Temple at the gate to the cantt. Near the top you can drink fresh malta juice. Return via the highway and Ganiatoli.
Check out the handloom/tweed setup in the old church, just opposite Mankameshwar temple near Nar Singh ground. You can see the weavers working rapidly(and noisily), and buy their stuff at the store in front. Most of these workers are war widows.
Try the local sweetdish called 'Bal Mithai' - it's a chocolate color milk reduction cut in cubes with fluffy white sugar ball coating on it. Another version of it without sugar ball coating known as Chocolate is also available.
Buransh juice - A tangy drink made from mountain Rohoderon flowers.
There are a number of upscale resorts on the road to the golf course and beyond, all the way up to Shitlakhet.
- Chevron Rosement, Mall Road. This is a 100-year-old British summer house.
- 1 Dunagiri Retreat (Short walk from Dunagiri Temple.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The retreat overlooks deep rural valleys and the Himalayas. Accommodations are comprised of two lovingly restored guesthouses located within expansive gardens. The retreat offers stylish accommodations and delicious local cuisine.
- Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam. Has two guest houses, one at Chaubatiya with magnificent views and the other at Chiliyanaula.
- West View. Amidst all the natural beauty situated on a plateau overlooking the west valley, surrounded by pine and fir forests, covering an area of 6 acres.
- Windsor Lodge (Kalika Estate (outskirts of Ranikhet cantonment)). This is a WelcomHeritage Hotel that was built as a hunting lodge in 1909.