With a landscape that is dramatic and out worldly, it is no wonder that Trekking in Spiti valley has seen such a boom in the last few years. The terrain here is so unearthly and has a view that is so drop-dead gorgeous that you will feel as if you have stepped on another planet.
The challenging lands of this place seem to awaken a deep longing in the adventurous and thrill-seeking souls, that can only be satisfied by trekking in this valley. Additionally, the variety of trails in the valley are ripe for exploring and satisfying that part of you that urges you to leave the comfort of your home and get on the road.
Spiti valley trekking is a completely different experience that you cannot find anywhere else. After all, where else will you find a combination of pristine lakes, hot Sulphur showers, and the majestic Himalayas – if not in Lahaul Spiti? Spiti valley trekking at an altitude of 4000 meters is a perfect example of surrealism amidst nature.
As you trek, you will find several crystal-clear lakesand the views that are worth capturing in your cameras. On the way, there are also various Buddhist monasteries to explore that make for an integral part of the trek.
Earlier, due to the very less development of infrastructure, people used to hesitate trekking in the treacherous terrains. But now, with the speedy development of convenient roadways, the valley has become a prominent destination for such expeditions.
A lot of tourists and adventurers enjoy the easily accessible trails amidst the Spiti Valley. There are also some amazing trek groups and operators that organize great trekking experiences for the avid trekkers. All in all, trekking through the alluring Spiti valley is the best way to get to know this untouched gem of nature.
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Which are the famous treks in Lahaul Spiti?
1. Hampta Pass and Chandratal trek
When it comes to Trekking in Spiti valley, one of the most unmissable trails is the Hampta pass leading up to Chandratal lake. Located at 14000 feet above sea level, the pass connects the Kullu valley to the Spiti Valley.
The trail itself is extremely picturesque. The serpentine path winds across the magnificent Pir Panjal mountains and ends in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. The variety of landscapes that you experience as the trial progresses is what makes this trek a simply unparalleled experience.
From the green meadows of Kullu and Manali to the bare landscape of the Lahaul region, you can literally feel the ground changing underneath your feet. But what will steal your heart is the destination – the turquoise blue Chandratal lake which has mesmerized many travellers over the years.
The pristine waters of the lake, the disconnect you feel from the rest of the world, the natural splendour of the forests surrounding the lake, and the reflection of the majestic Himalayas in the waters – it will all make you feel as if you have stepped into a fairytale world.
Trek Duration: 5 to 6 days
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Average Cost: INR 8500 per person
2. Bhrigu Lake Trek
Featuring a significant climb of nearly 6,000 feet from the Gulaba village located at 8,000 feet above sea level to the pristine Bhrigu Lake at a height of 14,000 feet – this Spiti valley trek is known for its adrenaline releasing adventures and picturesque landscapes.
The lush green forests and aromatic orchards of Gulaba village form a pleasing starting point for this trail. As you climb towards the lake, you will get to walk through the beautiful jungles featuring groves and pine and deodar trees.
The snowy peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains will please your eyes and the fresh mountain air will calm your senses. Now, the landscape will start getting more barren as you move upwards.
During the trek, you will also get a glimpse of the Seven Sisters Peaks, the Deo Tibba, and the Hanuman Tibba. What’s more, you will camp at an altitude that is the same as the Rohtang Pass, the highest motorable road in the world. Who wouldn’t want to brag about that!
At the end of the trek is a high altitude glacial lake that will delight and mesmerize you. Legend says that Maharishi Bhrigu used to meditate here, hence the lake is now considered sacred.
If you wish, you can also stop at the hot Sulphur spring near Vashisht on your way back. It will be a calming and relaxing experience to take a dip into the hot water at the spring.
Trek Duration: 4 days
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Average Cost: INR 7000 per person
3. Kheerganga Trek
One of the easiest Spiti valley trek, Kheerganga trail is perfect for beginners who don’t have a lot of experience in trekking. The achingly beautiful Parvati valley, along with pristine views of the Tosh river, the glacier of Lahaul valley, and the majestic Himalayan peaks await you at this trail.
The trek starts in Barsheni village, the meeting point of Parvati and Tosh rivers. As the trial proceeds, you will be walking along the top of the ridge, and you can expect some tricky terrains like difficult descents, crossing gorges, and walking along the gushing Beas river – but the overall trail is still easier than other trails in the valley.
You will also get to see many interesting sights such as the Shiv temple and the Rudra Nag waterfall which looks like a serpent. Enjoy the views of ancient shrines, and go through quaint tribal hamlets with beautiful wooden homes. You will also get to see many marijuana fields on the path.
Stretched out amongst beautiful green fields and rocky outcrops, the vistas of this trek will leave you spellbound.
Trek Duration: 2 to 4 days
Difficulty Level: Easy
Average Cost: INR 2000 per person
4. Pin Parvati Trek
Starting at the Barsheni village, this Spiti valley trek features a variety of fascinating views of the region.
You will reach the maximum height of 5300 meters during this trek, and you will be crossing the lovely green valleys of Kullu, steep slopes, barren mountains, gushing rivers and dramatic landscapes of the Spiti Valley. The Pin Parvati pass links the Parvati valley of Kullu to the Pin Valley of Spiti, hence the name.
The most exciting part of this trek is that you will get to witness abundant natural beauty in your path. Dense alpine forests and colourful meadows full of flowers await you in Parvati valley. As you head to Rudranath and then Khirganag, you will witness the barren Himalayas and beautiful villages.
Soak in the striking views of snowy peaks as you cross over to Spiti Valley. You can also visit the Pin Valley National Park and the Great Himalayan National Park on your way, where you can catch a glimpse of some indigenous Himalayan flora.
Trek Duration: 11 days
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Average Cost: INR 5700
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Which are the famous treks in Lahaul Spiti?For all the adventure lovers, Spiti valley treks include Pin Parvati expedition, Hampta pass, Chandrataal lake, and Mount Kanamo. All of them are brilliant in some of the other ways in terms of spending time, landscape features, presence or absence of snow, camping, and variety of peaks.
Some of the treks allow passing through green meadows whereas some do not have even a single green patch, few of them depict monasteries even from far away whereas few would land you in knee deep snow.
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What should I carry while trekking?Call the area a little barren with small villages and low connectivity, you might need to carry a good amount of essentials apart from woolens and layered clothing to save selves from cool weather up on the peaks.
Do not forget to carry trekking boots, high-quality water bottle, an extra pair of socks, snacks, energy drinks, chocolates, and full-sleeve clothing. An extra day pack in your bag pack is also required so as to fill it up during short expeditions while staying in the tents.
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How difficult is Spiti valley trek and what's the duration?
Spiti valley trekking is 55 km long, and it will take you at least 5 days to cover the entirety of it. As far as difficulty level is concerned, the trail is easy to moderate and can be done easily with a little bit of training.
What is the best time to do trekking in Lahaul Spiti?
Quite an important information to note, the best time for Spiti valley trek counts summer season in. From the month of April to October, one can trek in the hidden treasures quite smoothly. It is so as the maximum temperature strikes around 23 degrees whereas minimum hangs in around 3 degrees.
Moreover, as winters are about to approach in October, some areas experience snowfalls as well, allowing the peaks to get covered with white-clad. During extreme winters of January, most areas become inaccessible even at the base camp, so no question arises to hike to the top.
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How is the Dhankar Lake trek?
Considered as one of the most beautiful Spiti valley treks, Dhankar lake trail is a magnificent offbeat route that you will love exploring. It will take you through the lush green parts of Manali as well as the barren, dramatic landscapes of the Spiti valley.
It is an easy to moderate trek, so it is recommended to undergo some training before you take it up. But despite the challenging terrain of this region and the difficulty of trekking to the 4200-meter cliff where the lake is nestled, you will enjoy your trek because of the magnificent views it offers.
How difficult is ChandraTal trek and how much it costs?
Chandratal is a moderately difficult trek. It is classified as an easy to moderate trek and therefore, it is not recommended to commit to it without any training or acclimatization.
As for the cost, it largely depends on what kind of transport, accommodation and meal options you choose. A budget trek can be completed in INR 10k per person if it is done in 6-7 days.
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Which are the famous places to visit in Lahaul Spiti?
If you are striking Spiti only for trekking expedition, you may need to change your mind once again and visit famous places like Tabo monastery and Lhalung monastery in Spiti valley.
Visit Kunzum pass which is settled at 4590 m, Pin valley national park, Kibber village, Losar village, charming Udaipur, Darcha to name a few. Even while crossing from one place to another, views within Spiti valley are indeed breathtaking. While choosing trekking as a major call, Chandratal, Suraj Tal, Dhankar lake are all waiting to get explored.
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What should I carry while trekking?
If you want to try trekking in Spiti valley, here are some of the most important things you should carry:
1. A water bottle to keep you hydrated
2. Snacks like trail mix, dry fruits, energy bars and chocolates
3. A backpack where you can keep all your things and travel hands-free
4. Trekking shoes or hiking shoes so that you can walk comfortably
5. A swiss knife for multi-purpose functioning
6. A torch or flashlight for helping you see things in the dark
7. A hand sanitizer to keep things germs free
8. Trek pants or trousers to keep yourself comfortable
9. A cap or hat
10. A sunscreen or sunblock to protect yourself from sunburn
How much does trekking in Lahaul Spiti costs?
When concerned about trekking costs, it all depends upon the package you wish to select or the peak you wish to hike to. It is so as the number of days spent on the trek and stay, along with camping, food cost and shopping vary.
For example, since Hampta pass trek can be done in 4-5 days, a mere cost of approximately Rs 8000 will work. And if Pin Parvati is taken into account, the days required are around 10, and cost hikes up accordingly to around Rs.20,000. So a range of around Rs 8000 to Rs 22,000 can be kept in mind, apart from personal and travel expenses.
What adventure activities can I do in Lahaul Spiti?
Start the trip with biking towards the valley to mark the adventure beginning. After here, do not skip out a trekking session on the wonderful peaks, camping under the stars on the barren slope and river rafting to satiate the adventure crave.
Moreover, take your bike or car around the monasteries, passes and experience the nature love with your own eyes.
How much does trekking in Lahaul Spiti cost?
Spiti valley trekking can cost you anywhere between INR 5000 to 50,000 – depending on the circuit, how many days you plan on spending there, and what kind of accommodations and meal options you want.
For example, for a 3-4-day trip to Chandratal lake or Kheerganga, INR 10k would be enough. A shorter trip to Pin Valley would be done in 5k per person. But if you want to complete the entire Lahaul-Spiti circuit, you will spend a minimum of 80k per person for a 10-day trekking trip.
What are the best things to do in Spiti Valley?
Here are some of the most interesting things to do in Spiti Valley:
1. River Rafting
For adventure loving people, river rafting in the valley is one of the most exhilarating things to do. With a background of snowy mountaintops, picturesque views all around you, and the cool breeze in your face – you will feel all your senses coming alive. You can try river rafting in Spiti and Pin rivers.
2. Visit the Pin Valley National Park
For animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, the national park offers a chance to get a glimpse of the endangered animals of the Himalayas. You can see snow leopards, Siberian ibex, snow cocks, gazelles, and partridges here.
3. Camping at Chandratal lake
Nestled at 4300 meters above sea level, the lake is one of the most beautiful places in the valley and camping here will offer you a chance to witness the pristine waters of the lake sparkling in the moonlight.
4. Trekking in Spiti
The valley has a variety of treks and trails that allow you to explore its untouched and unparalleled beauty in raw form. You can trek to Kheerganga, Pin Valley, or Chandratal lake. All the treks are easy to moderate, so with a little training, almost anyone can undertake these treks.
5. Visit Buddhist Monasteries
The valley is a religious centre for Buddhists, and you will see a variety of monasteries and gompas here. Most of these places are thousands of years old and you will see a variety of ancient manuscripts, murals and paintings here. It is worth exploring the spiritual spaces to get to learn about the Buddhist religion, and also to get a glimpse of the architecture of those times.
6. Photography at Dhankar Lake
If you want to take some stunning photos of the natural, pristine beauty of the Himalayas, the best place to do that is the magical Dhankar lake. Still untouched by the hordes of tourists, this lake is simply stunning with clear blue waters, dramatic landscapes and lovely vistas.
7. Visit the mummy at the village of Giu
Sandwiched between the towns of Sumdo and Tabo, this charming little hamlet houses one of the most interesting things in the valley, the shrine of a 500-year old dead body. Legends and sayings in the village believe that it is the body of a meditative lama.
Is it safe to do trekking in Lahaul Spiti?
Yes, and again yes! Lahaul and Spiti are settled nicely in Himachal’s northern region and to begin with, the locals are very helpful and cheerful in case you require anything for support.
Moreover, the availability of guides shall surely give you confidence for trekking safe and secure where they guide your paths and you can reach your destination safely. Keep the first aid kits and a basic set of medicines along the trail as the paths are usually rocky and weather remains comparatively cold.
What can I do in Lahaul Spiti in a day?
A day though might not be enough to cover the extended charm of the valley, yet one can cross through major attractions in a day. Begin your morning with the charm of barren sunrise, and head for white water rafting to mark the adventure beginning.
Visit Pin valley national park and get inspired by the flora and fauna which are really distinct from others. A great set of monasteries wait for you with the names of Key monastery, Kungri monastery, Kangra monastery etc. Bow your heads down and enjoy some camping experience, if time permits. Do not miss out some shopping in local Kaza market while enjoying yummy momos and tea along.
Which are the famous places to visit in Lahaul Spiti?
Here are the best places to visit in the valley:
1. Rohtang pass – perched at a height of nearly 4000 meters, this pass features the highest motorable road in the world. You will get to witness the magnificent glaciers, pristine waterfalls, and some of the most breathtaking views of the valley from here.
2. Chandratal Lake – located at a distance of 7 to 8 km from the beautiful Kunzum pass, the Chadratal lake is an extremely pristine water body that has attracted travellers for years. The clear blue waters, the reflection of mountains in the lake, and disconnect it offers from the rest of the world makes Chandratal a perfect destination for photography and nature lovers.
3. Key Monastery – one of the oldest monasteries in the valley, Key Gompa enshrines the idols of Buddha in his Dhyana position and also features a large collection of ancient books and beautiful murals.
4. Kunzum Pass – the high mountain pass is located in the Kunzum mountain range and connects Kullu and Lahaul valley. It offers picturesque views of the Chandra Bhaga mountains and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. You can also trek to Chandratal lake from here.
5. Pin Valley National Park – nestled in the middle of the frozen rivers of the beautiful Parvati Valley, this park is home to some of the rarest species of the Himalayas, including the majestic snow leopards and the ibex.
6. Suraj Tal – located just below the Baralacha La pass, this is an unmissable destination for photography lovers. The pristine natural surroundings also attract people who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of more touristy spots.
7. Dhankar lake – set amidst the lush green pastures and offering a captivating view of the majestic mountains around it, this lake is an unmissable destination if you are planning to trek in the valley. The stunning parade of colours near Dhankar lake also makes it one of the most photogenic places in the region.
8. Hampta Pass – the pass offers an entryway into the Spiti valley from Kullu. Hence, it has some of the most contrasting views in the region – with green valley of Kullu on one side and dramatic landscapes of Spiti on the other. That is why it is highly recommended to check out this incredible pass.
How to reach Spiti Valley?
There are two routes which could take you to the serene cold deserts of India. Here are the details about both the routes but it is highly important to know that we suggest you to go via Shimla and come back to Manali as it helps in acclimatization as well as covering all the places in one trip.
1. SHIMLA TO KAZA:
This route remains open throughout the year and it covers more places and terrains on the way. You must choose this way to go to the valley as it is less steeper and longer route which helps you and your co-travellers adjusting to the heights before reaching the ultimate heights.
2. MANALI TO KAZA:
If you are travelling after the second week of June and before the 15th of October, then this route can scooch in your plan as it is closed for the rest of the year. However, it is always ideal to choose this route while coming back from Kaza as it is the shorter and steeper route. Or, if you have less days in hand then you can use this route for going and coming back both.
TIP: You have to take a permit before stepping on the Rohtang Pass with your personal vehicle.
Do we have to carry food while doing trekking in Lahaul Spiti?
We would say, that totally depends on whether you are taking a wholesome package or not. If a package is taken, food will be served at the campsites, whereas if you have planned to pitch in your tent all by yourself, do not forget to carry your own food.
Yet if you are trekking with or without a guide, carry snack bars, chocolates, energy drinks, and water bottles, for sure. You never know how much energy your stomach will require after reaching the top.
How to reach Lahaul Spiti?
Talk about any airport or railway station directly, it’s a No! Connected with Shimla and Kullu, choose to travel through roadways, either by your own bike or car or even decide to hire a cab.
As you begin from Shimla, pass through Kinnaur and with some twists and turns, Spiti is right in front of you. Though the distance between the two is around 420 km, yet the time consumption would be higher than expected due to different roads.
Located close to India’s eye-catching Spiti river in the Spiti Valley, the Key Monastery is one of the must-visit places in Himachal Pradesh. Also known as the Kye Gompa or Ki and Kee Monastery, the spectacular Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is located on a picturesque hilltop at an altitude of 4,166 meters above the sea level.The 1000-year-old monastery which dates back to 1100 CE is also the largest in Lahaul and Spiti district of India. The magnificent Key Monastery is believed to have been established by Dromtön (Brom-ston, 1008-1064 CE) who was a student of Atisha, a famous teacher of the 11th century.Home to around 250-300 Lamas, who are spiritual leaders in Tibetan Buddhism, the stunning monastery serves as a fully-functional religious training ground for Lamas run by a Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhist monks. The historic monastery with a breathtaking architecture will leave you spellbound with a resemblance to fantasy fiction.Surrounded by beautiful snow-capped Himalayas and glaciers, the monastery is visited by thousands of devotees and tourists from all over the world who come here to seek tranquility and inner peace. The pristine location of the monastery with gorgeous villages covered in snow and long winding roads will give you an unforgettable experience.As you step inside this amazing monastery, you will notice its beautiful walls which are covered with murals and paintings depicting the 14th-century monastic architecture, influenced by Chinese culture. It is also popular for its rare manuscripts, unique wind instruments, Buddha idols and a marvelous collection of weapons to ward off attackers and protect the monastery.With a fascinating history behind its emergence, the Key Monastery survived many attacks by the Mongols. Nevertheless, in the year 2000, it witnessed a grand celebration of completing 1000 years in the esteemed presence of the Dalai Lama.
Popularly known as the trekker's paradise, Chandratal Lake is reckoned as the most charismatic lake situated in the laps of Himalayas. This enticing lake is perched on the Samudra Tapu plateau which lies in close proximity to Chandra river. Situated at an altitude of 4300 meters, Chandratal offers the most splendid views of the Spiti region.The lake is crescent-shaped, and that is how it got its name. If you are looking for a perfect blend of adventure and laidback holidays, there could not be a better site to kickstart your journey than Chandratal. The road to Chandratal lake takes you through treacherous trails of Batal which will set your adrenaline pumping.On your way, you will also get to climb the glaciers between Kunzum pass and Rohtang Pass. This mesmerizing site has much folklore attached to itself but what lures its visitors is its turquoise blue water, majestic mountains and serene surroundings which make it an apt place for camping. Sprawled over an area of 2.5 kilometers, Chandratal sees a massive influx of travelers during the summer months.In the winter months, this place majorly remains in the bucket list of adventure enthusiasts who want to push past their limits.
Located in the calm and serene location of Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh, this quaint and enchanting national park is a cold desert, replete with a variety of natural landscape features. If you are someone who enjoys the peace and calm of nature and have an appetite for natural beauty, then this heavenly site is a must-visit place for you. The drastic variety of landscape features that are present at this national park are enough to catch the attention of any tourist. The valley is surrounded by the beautiful and green valley of Kullu district and bare and brown mountains which become a beauty during the season of snowfall. The sprawling fields, which give an abundant view of the valley and spread up to a vastness that seems unrealistic to the sight, add to the charming view of the valley. The area is mainly influenced by typical Buddhist Tibetan culture and was established in the year 1987 on 9th January. It is known that the high altitude of the park and the near extreme temperatures lead to sparsity of vegetation and forms a natural habitat for many endangered animals like the snow leopard and Siberian Fox. Along with an exotic variety of flora and fauna, one can also find various medicinal plants at the location, some of which have been declared endangered. Spread over an area of 675 square meters and resting at an altitude of 3300 – 6632 meter, this place is a sight of sheer beauty.