This paper presents the effect of open dumping of municipal solid waste (MSW) on soil characteristics in the mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh, India. The solid waste of dumpsite contains various complex characteristics with organic fractions of the highest proportions. As leachate percolates into the soil, it migrates contaminants into the soil and affects soil stability and strength. The study includes the geotechnical investigation of dump soil characteristics and its comparison with the natural soil samples taken from outside the proximity of dumpsites. The geochemical analysis of dumpsite soil samples was also carried out by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Visual inspection revealed that the MSW consists of high fraction of organics, followed by paper. The soil samples were collected from five trial pits in the dumpsites at depths of 0.5 m, 1 m and 1.5 m. Then the collected soil samples were subjected to specific gravity test, grain size analysis, Atterberg's limit test, compaction test, direct shear test, California bearing ratio (CBR) test and permeability analysis. The study indicated that the dumpsite soils from four study regions show decreasing trends in the values of maximum dry density (MDD), specific gravity, cohesion and CBR, and increasing permeability as compared to the natural soil. The results show that the geotechnical properties of the soils at all four study locations have been severely hampered due to contamination induced by open dumping of waste.