The Hampta Pass trek is one of the best treks in the Himalayas. At 14,100 feet, the pass connects the Kullu Valley to the Spiti Valley, winding across the Pir Panjal Range, in the foothills of the Himalayas. You’ll get to see the green valleys of Kullu and Manali before moving into the more arid, desolate landscape of Spiti. The showstopper; however, is the visit to the turquoise Chandratal Lake.
There are many reasons that make this one of the best loved treks in the Himalayas. It is a moderately difficult trek that includes the thrill of being able to scale a pretty high mountain pass, but is easy enough that beginners are able to tackle the challenges of the trail. Find out more in our blog post Five Reasons You’ll Love the Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake trek.
The Hampta trek starts from Kullu, near Manali. You will trek through green valleys, tread through mixed forests of spruce, pine, maple and oak, with birds chirping. You will spot shaggy sheep dogs and goats dotting the lush meadows. You'll also see a colourful abundance of wildflowers depending on the season.
As the Hampta trek progresses, the ground changes underfoot as you progress through the days. From lush green meadows, you will move into the strikingly bare landscape of the Lahaul region. Lahaul is known for its pristine beauty and if luck finds you, you'll be walking on snow on the Pass day.
One of the highlights of the trek is Chandratal or moon lake - one of the finest high-altitude alpine lakes in the country. Your Chandratal lake trek will end on a high note at a gorgeous campsite that is a short trek away from the lake.
Apart from the heavenly sight of the Chandratal lake, the trek offers incredible views of glacial valleys, thick pine forests, open meadows, adrenaline pumping waterways, the fjords at Balu ka Gera and an adventurous crossing of the high-altitude pass. When you come back home, you’re going to have a hard time deciding which part of this trek you loved best!
The Hampta Pass experiences cool weather throughout the year and the best season to visit is May to September. There are some campsites on the Hampta Pass trek that are cold and windy, but your operator will ensure that you are equipped with good quality tents and sleeping bags. Dress in warm layers and remember to keep your hands, head and feet warm, cover your ears and your neck.
Want to know about more adventures in Himachal Pradesh. Read our blog about The Top Adventures in Himachal Pradesh.
Day 1: Manali to Chikha – Green meadows, nice breeze, hot chai and tents at 9,800 feet.
Day 2: Chikha to Balu Ka Ghera – Breathtaking views of the valley and river.
Day 3: Hampta Pass Day – Reach Hampta pass and revel in its beauty.
Day 4: Trek to Chatru and visit Chandratal – Admire the river and glaciers.
Day 5: Return to Manali – soothe your eyelids, take more pictures.
Day 1: You need to reach your pick up point at Manali before 10:00 hours where you will be driven to Jobra at 9800 ft, in private vehicles. You will begin your trek at this altitude and today will be a relatively trek. Shortly after your trek begins, you will be witness to beautiful views of sparkling streams against vast lush green meadows. You'll trek through this picturesque backdrop and reach to your first campsite at Chikha. Overnight in tents.
Day 2: Today you start on the Jwara trail which goes through a lovely sheltered valley. The path trails alongside a river making it a surreal trek surrounded by scenic beauty. With a gradual descent and a relatively easy trek, you will reach an altitude of almost 11,000 ft. You will reach your next campsite at Balu ka Gera by afternoon and spend the rest of the day exploring the beauty of the landscape. You will be camping here at Balu ka Gera in tents tonight.
Day 3: Ensure you start early today with a hearty breakfast as you will be taking the challenging trail to reach the Hampta Pass today. You begin again walking beside the river and the trek gets steeper as you approach the pass. The final stretch is tough and challenging and more thrilling if there is snow as well. With some effort and navigation skills you will finally make it to the pass.
Spend some time here and relish this feeling of small victory for reaching some of the most beautiful heights of the Himalayas. Make sure to capture the stunning views from here and spend a few moments absorbing the magic of the mountains. Soon you will begin your descent back to your campsite at Balu ka Gera. End your day sharing your experience of the Pass day and turn into your tents for the night. Rest well.
Day 4: You will start your return journey today towards Chatru. It is a mix of easy and challenging sections that will take you past the Chandra river, few arduous glaciers that need a bit of manoeuvring, and of course, unending views of the pristine beauty. After an exciting 4 hour trek you will reach Chatru.
Depending on the weather and road conditions, you may board vehicles to be driven to Chandratal. Spend some time to relish this beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by barren hills. A beautiful sight to behold indeed. You will return to your campsite at Chatru for the night in tents.
Day 5: Today you will take the scenic drive back to Manali. Keep your cameras loaded and ready as the drive itself is breathtaking. Once you reach Manali, your trip ends here. You are free to explore further on your own or return to your base city.
You will be provided accommodation in triple or quadruple sharing tents during the trek. All camping equipment will be provided such as sleeping bags and mats, common dry toilet tents, cooking equipment etc. All meals during trek will be provided to you. Experienced and professional guides, porters or mules for camping equipment will be provided.
All camping fees, permits, forest entry as required are included. All necessary safety equipment will be provided. All applicable taxes are inclusive in the package costs.
Porters for personal luggage will not be included but can be arranged at an extra cost. Meals during road journey are not included. Airfare or transportation to Manali from your base city and travel insurance are not included.
Any expenses towards medical or other emergencies or unforeseen handling costs due to weather disturbances, landslides, political unrest etc. will be additional. Personal expenses towards tips, telephone calls, laundry, beverages etc. are not included. Anything not mentioned in the inclusions will be additional.
Day 1: Arrive at Rumsu – explore a remote village, camp with bonfire.
Day 2: Rumsu to Chikha – River crossings, majestic waterfalls and delicious lunch.
Day 3: Chikha to Balu Ka Ghera – Capture the beauty of Mt. Indrasan.
Day 4: Balu Ka Ghera to Shia Ghoru via Hampta Pass – Observe Spiti Valley in its splendour.
Day 5: Shia Ghoru to Chhatru via Chandratal Lake – Stunning views of the Pir Panjal Trek.
Day 6: Chhatra to Rumsu – Drive through Rohtang Pass on your return.
Day 1: Kindly reach the base camp at Rumsu by 08:00 hours to complete all paperwork and go for an acclimatisation walk. You can explore the dainty Rumsu village and experience the village life in the mountains. You will have an orientation briefing in the afternoon for the upcoming trek and are free to explore the base camp for the rest of the day. You will be camping in tents here tonight at Rumsu.
Day 2: Today you will be driven to the base camp at Hampta Dam from where you will begin your trek. It is an easy hike today across a simple trail through the forests dotted with wooden bridge crossing over rivers and streams and a few gorgeous waterfalls. You will reach your campsite for the night at Chikha where you will spend the night in tents.
Day 3: Today you will trek towards Balu ka Gera past a river bank lined with large boulders. You will get to stop at several vantage points and admire the tallest peak in the Manali Valley, the majestic Mt. Indrasan. As you cross over a river stream, you will reach a large meadow called of Balu ka Gera. Enjoy a peaceful sunset in the mountains and set up camp for tonight. Overnight in tents.
Day 4: Today will be a challenging climb towards the Hampta Pass with a tough and steep terrain with moderate difficulty. However, once you reach the pass, you will be rewarded with unending views of the Himalayan peaks of the Spiti Valley. You will spend some time to celebrate your victorious ascent and then begin your descent towards Shia Goru on the other side of the pass. You will be camping tonight at Shia Goru.
Day 5: You will have an early start today to begin your descent towards Chhatru. The majestic Pir Panjal range will accompany you as you make your way down. Upon reaching Chhatru, you will be driven to the Chandratal Lake. This high altitude, crescent shaped lake is open for visitors only during the summers and is a sight to behold. You will return to Chhatru once again and set up camp for the night. Overnight in tents.
Day 6: You will be driven back to the Rumsu base camp, via the the stunning Rohtang Pass. En route, you'll pass through the hill station of Manali. You'll reach the Rumsu base camp by early evening. Your trip ends here.
Travel arrangements between Rumsu and start/end point will be provided in private, non-AC jeep or similar vehicles. Accommodation in tents for 5 nights on a triple-sharing basis is included. All equipment required for camping: alpine tents, sleeping bags, mattress, common kitchen/dining tents and washroom tents will be provided.
All vegetarian meals from breakfast on day 1 to breakfast on day 6 will be provided. All necessary government permits and charges are included. Services of experienced trek leader and support staff are included. First aid kit (including oxygen cylinders and HAPO chamber bags) will be available with the trek staff. All applicable taxes are inclusive.
Travel arrangements between your home city and Rumsu are not included. Services of porters/mules to carry personal luggage are not included but can be arranged at an additional cost of approximately INR 500 per bag per day. Costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, roadblocks, natural calamities etc. or personal expenses such as tips to staff, extra meals or beverages, apparel or gear etc. are not included and will be additional. Any items not mentioned in inclusions will be additional.
The Hampta Pass experiences cool weather throughout the year and the best season to visit is between May to September. There are some campsites on the Hampta Pass trek that are cold and windy; however, your operator will ensure that you are equipped with good quality tents and sleeping bags. Dress in warm layers and remember to keep your hands, head and feet warm.
Manali is one of the most popular adventure and tourist destinations in India. Hence, it has grown to have excellent connectivity to the major cities of India. You can reach Manali either by flight or by road. However, since Manali does not have its own railway station due to the mountainous location, you cannot reach there by train.
Of the two ways, flying to Manali is the most convenient if your base city is far away from Delhi. The closest airport to Manali is the Bhuntar Airport, located 50 km from Manali. The airport is connected to Delhi and Chandigarh by daily flights and to other major cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, etc. by regular flights. But due to erratic weather, there can be flight delays. From the airport, you can either take a cab or a local bus to reach Manali.
Reaching Manali via road is thrilling and fun as you get to cross winding roads through mountains and lush forests. Manali is connected to most major cities and towns of North India by a rich network of highways. You can either take a private cab or a state/privately run buses. You can even drive your own car or motorbike if you enjoy driving. The Himachal State Transport buses are excellent and economical way to travel.
Trekking in the Himalayas calls for prudent choices in terms of apparel and gear. While we all itch for that selfie atop a snow-capped peak, it should not come in the way of basic safety guidelines. Here are some must-haves that you simply can’t ignore:
T-shirts, trekking pants, windproof jacket (preferably with a hood), warm and thick fleece, full-sleeves woollen sweater, thermal inner wear (upper and lower), woollen cap, woollen gloves, woollen and regular socks, scarf/muffler (optional), comfortable trekking/hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole are recommended) or comfortable sports shoes with good grip, raincoat/poncho.
For holidays in the hills, it’s best to avoid certain favourites that we use back home as part of our urban lifestyle, such as:Expensive watches, jewellery and electronic items on the trek, heavy luggage, hard suitcases etc.
Other than your smartphone and your enthusiasm, there are certain things you need to carry without a shadow of doubt. These are basic essentials that can’t be skipped and are best not shared. So, here’s the list you need to cover:
Carry a daypack or a small bag to keep your essentials, a small lightweight towel made of quick dry material, sustainable water bottle and a leak-proof lunch box along with a set of plate, spoon and a mug. Protect yourself and carry a sunscreen lotion, lip balm, sunglasses, cap, walking stick or trekking pole and a pair of lightweight sandals/floaters.
Do carry a torch / flashlight (with extra batteries) and please do not forget to carry your personal medicines, toiletries and definitely ensure you carry your camera with fully charged batteries and a couple of extra ones as you will not get to recharge any electronics during the trek in the mountains.
This is an easy to moderate trek with some stretches that have steep climbs and challenging terrain. In case of snow, the difficulty increases. However, even beginners can do this trek with a decent level of fitness regime prior to the trek.
You must be able to walk at least 7 to 8 km at a stretch and carry 15kg on your back. You should be able to climb over gradual terrain for long distances and steep inclines for at least 15 min. You must have a decent level of agility to navigate some tricky downhill portions over rocky and slippery terrain.
The Hampta Pass trek is suitable for fit beginners. It is not too hard, but there are some stretches that can be quite challenging, especially the steep slopes as you get to the Pass. However, if you’re fit and active, you’ll be able to manage this trek.
When is the best time to go for the Hampta Pass trek? The best season for the Hampta Pass trek is from May to September, when the trail is green and lovely in Himachal, and stark and dramatic in Spiti.
No, camping at Chandratal Lake is not allowed, for environmental reasons. Most campsites are set up at Chatru (about 40 km away), and trekkers will be driven to Chandratal to visit. Some operators have permission to camp about 3 kms away from the lake, but this changes from season to season.
Your operator will provide you with a full list of everything you need to pack for the trek. However, do make sure you are fully equipped for cold nights and warm days. You’ll have to dress in layers, so that you can add or remove clothing as the weather changes. Don’t forget to take a poncho, as well as rain covers for your backpack and day pack. The trail sees some rain showers now and then.