A wholesome experience in the chilly lap of Himachal, the Hampta pass trek has a lot to offer. The excellence of the Hampta Pass trekking route lies in its diversity. With the lush, sprawling green valleys of Kullu, the untouched, serene charm of the Lahaul valley, and the magnificent Chandratal lake all wrapped together in one package, there is something for every trekker’s specific personal preferences. If you’re looking for a dynamic phenomenon with a different view and a different trail each day, this is the trek for you. Hampta Pass’ altitude, while embarking on the trek, is 14,000 feet, making it an easy to moderate trekking experience peppered with a constant state of excitement and freshness with every new morning of this five-day-long experience.
The diverse ever-changing terrain of the trek to Hampta Pass also makes for a very adventure-intensive ride. Hampta Pass’ starting point is Manali, which is a lovely town to catch up with a group of friends with, and clubbed with the trek, one can spend a wonderful week-long get away from home, with a painting-like scenery to dive into.
Hampta Pass’ highest point lends the view of the massive, isolated dry valleys below, with its rocky trails and patches of green. After this week of gentle slopes, a coarse terrain that challenges you and gets the adrenaline going, and the final reward – the Chandratal, a lake that embodies the simple, subtle beauty and serenity of Himachal, you will find yourself sufficiently rejuvenated and fresh. If you’re looking for an adventure that encompasses multiple kinds of experiences in one, the Hampta Pass trek awaits you!
At an elevation of 4,270 meters, the sturdy mountain of Hampta Pass is a formidable mountain with its home in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. It is deemed one of the most convenient and all-encompassing treks that Himachal has to offer. The starting point of the Hampta Pass trek in Manali. The distance from Delhi to Manali is 531 km, which can be covered by taking a train to Ambala Cantt, and then taking a bus from there to Manali. In order to cross Hampta Pass, trekkers will find themselves crossing many other magnificent places of Himachal, like Jobra, Chika, Balu ka Ghera, Siagoru, and Chhatru to name the basic route. With numerous variations in the trail, the Hampta Pass trek is powerfully packed with some of the most scenic places that Himachal has to offer. Hampta Pass’ weather is also delightful for most of the suggested trekking period, i.e. late May to October, and adds volumes of thrill to the uphill trudge. The weather is not too cold or too warm during this time. The temperature in Hampta Pass does not go beyond -5 degrees. At the same time, your desire for witnessing the snow-capped Himalayan mountains is not compromised upon. It is only during the monsoon season that trekking to Hampta Pass is not advisable.
There is a diverse range of flora to be witnessed all through the trekking period, making it quite a treat for botany enthusiasts and photographers. The journey is composed of an average of five hours of trekking each day, making it moderately challenging but incredibly enthusiasm-inducing.
Manali to Jobra (by road); trek from Jobra to Chika
Distance covered by road: 18.5 km
Distance covered by trek: 2 km
We begin quite early today, with a sumptuous breakfast before all else – we have a lot of ground to cover! First, we drive from Manali to Jobra, which is where the Hampta Pass base camp is set up. The drive is characterized by its astonishing scenery and hairpin bends. You feel the breeze in your face and nature envelope you in her magnificence in the two hours that it takes to complete this drive. By the time you reach Jobra, you find yourself fresh and determined to embark on the trail. On reaching Jobra (altitude: 9,800 feet), you will be warmly greeted and briefed about the trek to Chika (altitude: 10,100 feet), that is about to follow. The trek to Chika is short (only 2 kilometres long, taking about three hours), and the perfect beginning to the rest of the four days of trekking that are to follow. It is a wonderful, gentle walk shrouded by numerous shades of green. The vegetation is a calming blend of birch, pine and green maple. The Himalayan hills create the most picturesque backdrop for this walk, and even the elevations feel nothing short of a dream. On our way, we witness River Rani bubbling through the meadows, completing the dream-like image with some docile cattle and sheep dotting the landscape. We stop for lunch and set up camp on the banks of the river today. Evening snacks, some fun group-building activities and a delicious dinner follow. We camp by the river tonight.
Chika to Balu ka Ghera
Distance covered: 7 km
We wake up to a beautiful sunrise, embellishing the vibrant tints of the landscape. Our destination for the day is Balu ka Ghera, and it is both, easy and incredibly generous and rewarding with its beauty. We begin soon after breakfast. Though you can’t see the Balu ka Ghera campsite from Chika, you will get a general idea of the direction once the trek commences. The trek to Balu Ka Ghera takes about 5-6 hours to complete, and the path is laden with vibrant rhododendron trees, silver birch and other similar alpine vegetation. We see an arch of the Himalayas commonly referred to as The White Range, and Dauladhar peaks stand tall and mighty before us. If you’re following the regular trekking trail, at some point, you will be delighted to encounter a stream-waterfall on your left. This is a great place to stop and refill your water resources. Afterwards, we continue onwards and arrive at Balu Ka Ghera, which is a patch of flat mountain-land, dotted with snow here and there. Tomorrow, we will cross this patch of land to get closer to our destination, but for now, it is time to rest. Hot lunch is served here, and afterwards, trekkers are free to lounge around and enjoy their day in the precious lap of Himachal’s glory. Dinner is provided, and the camp is set up for the night.
Balu ka Ghera to Siagoru; crossing Hampta Pass
Distance covered: 7 km
Today is going to be packed with thrill and adventure to the brim. The barren flatlands of the Himalayas lie stretched out before us, and in order to get to the Hampta Pass peak, we must pass through. The terrain before this has been meadow-like and green. Lahaul and Spiti valley, on the other hand, offers a rocky trail and barren pathways.
The uphill trek is steep in this region, which is a challenging and exciting change from the relatively gentler slopes you have covered the last couple days. The continuity of the terrain is only broken by a lovely river passing through. In order to reach Hampta Pass, there are two steep ridges that you must climb, separated only by a small, levelled plateau region. The final twenty to thirty minutes to the top require some patience and determination. Hampta Pass’ temperature can drop very low, especially during the cooler months, which is why it is advisable to layer your clothes appropriately. A trekking stick is an absolute necessity at this point. The moment you reach the top is infused with a sense of euphoria, because you have surmounted a relatively difficult portion of the trek and completed it successful. The adrenaline boost is worth all the effort, and the panoramic view of the expansive Spiti and Lahaul valley unfolding with scenes of rural life below you, along with numerous more snow-capped Himalayan peaks in the distance only add to the wholesomeness of the experience. You venture into the Hampta village to explore and take some time to enjoy the view. After this tiring endeavour, some hot lunch is provided to reenergize you and prepare you for the descent.
We descend carefully to the scenic village of Siagoru, and soon, reach the Siagoru base camp. Once the steep regions are cleared, the rest of the trek through the village is fairly easy. After eight exhausting hours of trekking, you catch up on some well-deserved rest and take some moments to reflect on your journey and catch up with your fellow adventurers. Some evening snacks and tea are served. After dinner, we camp here for the night. Tomorrow is a fresh terrain and a treat to the eye – the beautiful Chandratal lake is waiting for you.
Siagoru to Chhatru; drive to Chandratal Lake
Distance covered by trek (Siagoru to Chhatru): 4 km
Distance covered by road (Chhatru to Chandratal Lake): 30 km
We start early after breakfast for a fairly simple downward trek passing the Hampta valley. The most prominent point of interest is the view of the ever-present Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. After surmounting Spiti as a whole, we find ourselves in Chhatru, a desolate, barren region in this area, lounging at the altitude of 11,100 feet. Chhatru is a sparsely populated place. It is the culmination of three points imperative to adventure points in Himachal – Hampta Pass, Spiti and Rohtang Pass. Giving your senses a break from the continuous barrenness of the terrain before this, Chhatru proves to be quite a refreshing treasure in green. We stop here for a tasty lunch before setting off on our drive.
From Chhatru, we drive about 30 kilometres to reach the much-awaited Chandratal Lake. A scenic gem of the state of Himachal, Chandratal has been named as such affectionately, because of its elegant crescent moon shape. The lake itself is a vision in lucid blue, the water lilting and soft to the wanderer’s eye. Though the water is freezing, swimming in the lake is a permitted activity, and proves to be incredible, enveloping you in a rush you didn’t know you needed. One may also enjoy the vividly coloured prayer flags, the wishing stones and a cup of tea or two along with a taste of the mighty Himalayas reflecting in the crystal clear water. This is where
This is your last night of the Hampta Pass trek. Take the time to enjoy the clear sky and the stars. Don’t forget to bundle up and keep yourself warm – the temperatures are very low during this time.
Drive from Chandratal Lake to Manali (via Rohtang Pass)
Distance covered by road: 140 km
We begin once again, with a lovely meal and some reflection upon the lovely time we have spent trekking on our trek to Hampta Pass. We set off on out drive early this morning, because the journey that follows is time-consuming. We take the Rohtang Pass to get back to Manali and we go through the various flavours of the Kullu valley, as well as the Lahaul and Spiti valley as we do so. Once we reach Manali, trekkers disperse homewards according to their travel plans. For this time, our wholesome journey together ends here.
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