The post Hampta Pass Trek – A Comprehensive Backpacking Guide for Everyone appeared first on Devil On Wheels™ written and copyrighted by Devil On Wheels™.
Hampta Pass trek is one of the most special treks in the Himachali terrain. It provides the most contradicting landscapes that offer a genuine shock to the system. When reaching the top of Hampta Pass, you’re welcomed on to an opening of a different universe – crossing over from the familiar views of the lush green Himalayan mammoths, one reaches the top of the Hampta Pass from Manali side & experiences the view on the other side – the in-your-face deserted landscape of Lahaul & Spiti Valley! The sheer drama is intriguing and it will take you a hot second to decipher what just happened!
Of course, reaching the top & the crossing of the Hampta Pass itself is an indescribable feeling. Getting to see places very few get to experience; the physical strength and mental challenges you get to overcome; the most intimate and cherished bonds of friendship with your fellow adrenaline junkies (a.k.a. friends for life) and FINALLY getting to understand what it means when folks say the mountains are calling and I MUST GO! – it will be an enchanted trip!
Key Details – Hampta Pass Trek
|Maximum Altitude||14100 feet|
|Duration of the trek||5 Days|
|Distance covered||26 km|
|Best Time for the trek||June to October|
|State||Himachal Pradesh, India|
|Difficulty Level||Easy to moderate|
About Hampta Pass Trek
Hampta Pass Trek is one of the most iconic treks in the 200+ defined trails in Himachal Pradesh. The Hampta Pass Trek is definitely on the easier side when compared to its peers. So, while the adrenaline pumping and jaw clenching feeling might not be something seasoned trekkers would experience, it is definitely a great way for beginners to get into the trekking mode.
Of course, this is not to say that seasoned trekkers won’t enjoy the trek – the sheer expanse of diversity in views will be worth the effort – from glacial valleys to lush green pastures – the journey has it all covered.
Duration and Location
The Hampta Pass Trek is a 5-6-day trek which starts from Manali in Himachal Pradesh. This beautiful Trek is surrounded by amazing waterfalls, flowers and maple forests. It’s best suited for beginners as it has enough of the adventurous feels attached to it. So, the Hampta Pass itself connects the “Valley of Gods” called Manali to “The Middle Land” called Spiti valley.
On one side, it’s surrounded by grasslands and splendors while another side is the raw deserted exquisiteness of Spiti. Usually, folks cross over from the Hampta Pass and head towards Chandratal Lake. On the last day, if the roads are open then you’ll also get a chance to see the amazing Chandrataal lake.
You don’t need to worry much about acclimatization for the Hampta Pass Trek. However, as you will be reaching 14000 feet, it is always recommended to take rest and go easy to enjoy the beauty of this trek.
Best time to do Hampta pass trek
This trek runs from the months of June to September but the best season to go for Hampta pass trek is from mid-June to September barring monsoon time. In the starting month of June, it may happen that the roads to Chandrataal Lake might not be open.
Getting to visit the crescent moon shaped lake, shining the sky across its surface is an unforgettable experience and should not be missed. Otherwise you can do the Hampta pass trek anyways during this period.
Location of the base camp
Hampta Pass Trek starts from Jobra which is around 30 km from Manali. A large number of trekkers come on this beautiful trek to enjoy the nature.
Weather at Hampta Pass
Summer or Monsoon season being the most preferred time for the trek, you will get to experience the fairy-tale of Himalayan weather. During the beginning of the season, you will hopefully experience snow around the region.
Snow starts melting around July, however, you should expect rain on the Manali side from the middle of July. Spiti Valley doesn’t experience monsoons as we know and you will get to experience bright sunshine (and metaphorical rainbows, unicorns, butterflies) in this period!
Maximum temperature at Hampta Pass trek remain in the range of 12 deg C to 20 deg C while the minimum temperature is from -6 deg C to 4 deg C.
Having lived in the hills & having traveled extensively in beautifully weathered places (including the harshly cold winter months) – I am a STRONG believer that weather is the solution to making people happy. When it is hot (ala Delhi weather) and humid (like the weather in Mumbai), the natural tendency of the body (and the soul?) is to be irritated. Change the scenery, change the weather, and you will see everyone be happy & content with life! What do you think?
How to reach Hampta Pass
Manali is well connected by road. It’s around 550 km away from Delhi and 310 km away from Chandigarh. Flights & train services get you to a certain point and then you’ll have to rely on the road network. After reaching Manali, you can easily travel to Jobra, the basecamp of Hampta Pass trek.
There is no airport at Manali. The nearest airport is at Bhuntar which is about 50 km away from Manali. You can take a flight to Bhuntar and then book a cab or take a direct bus to Manali.
No direct trains run to Manali. However, you can take Shatadi till Chandigarh and hire a cab / take a bus till Manali. In order to reach Jobra, you’ll have to book a cab by yourself from Manali itself. The cab costs around Rs 1500 – 2000 bucks.
This is the best route to basecamp of Hampta Pass trek which can be covered by road:
Delhi – Sonepat – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala – Rajpura – Sirhind – Fatehgarh saheb – Roopar/Roopnagar – Kiratpur – Swarghat – Bilaspur – Sundarnagar – Mandi – Kullu – Manali
Private Vehicle / Self Drive
Overall the journey to the base camp of Hampta or Manali will take you 12-14 hour driving time. But, pit stops are a must – there is a TONNE of good food options on the road! And what really is a road trip without good Dhaba food!
You can choose to take your own vehicle or opt for one of the self-drive options available in Chandigarh and Delhi nowadays. However, do factor in the fact that you will be on a trek and not really utilizing your car for 5+ days.
Hence, my best bet will be to use HPTDC Volvo buses to reach Manali and manage to travel to Jobra by other means.
So, this, in my opinion, is a better way to get to Manali for Hampta Pass trek. You’ll not really be using your own vehicle for a better part of your journey, what’s the point of being stressed about its well-being? 😛
There are large number of buses which run from Kashmiri Gate in Delhi to Manali. The bus starts from 5 Pm till the night and take around 13-14 hours to reach Manali.
You can book tickets on HPTDC or HRTC. There are multiple options available – ranging from non-AC to semi sleeper/Volvo and even Mercedes buses. Delhi – Manali Volvo fare range from 700 to 1600/-
Reaching Jobra from Manali
You will need to book a cab from Manali to Jobra – this will cost you around INR 2000.00. It is a thrilling ride with multiple hairpin bends and the journey itself will take you about an hour.
Suggested Itinerary for trek to Hampta Pass
So, you’ve decided to embark on this adventurous and soul-stirring experience to Hampta Pass. We are here to ensure that your experience is memorable and smooth flowing. Of course, nothing in the hills ever goes to your plan, for it is the hills that teach us that the universe plans for us & our plans mean nothing. However, when it comes to venturing into the wild, it is always good to have a basic understanding of how things will go.
Day 1 – Reach Manali, take rest and prepare
Take an overnight bus from Delhi in the evening and reach Manali in the morning by 8-9 AM. You can use public transport as per your choice. Stay over and explore Manali – it is indeed a beautiful town nestled in the hills with lots of culture and activities. Of course, thanks to its natural beauty and relatively easier access, a lot of tourist activity goes on here, especially in the summer months. So, go about town and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the beautiful Himachali city.
You might also want to plan ahead of Hampta Pass trek. Your trek ends at Chattru and if you’re planning on covering Chandratal as well, you should make arrangements for a private cab to pick you up on a designated time & date at Chattru. More details below.
Also, if you’re not using a guide (which is highly recommended for beginner trekkers), you might want to rent basic camping and trekking equipment in Manali itself. You will also have to plan for your dietary requirements and pick up essential things you might require. Again, it might be easier/beneficial for you to hire a cook.
Did you check my most recommended list of things to carry for trekking and hiking trips?
Day 2 | Manali – Jobra – Chika
And, so it begins! A real adventure – to call your own! Start off early in the morning from Manali, post your daily routine and a scrumptious breakfast (although, if you tend to get mountain/road sickness, it’s better to eat lighter- you’ll be covering a path that has lots of twists & turns). As I said before, Jobra is around 30 Km from Manali and takes an hour to reach there.
If you have booked from any Travel Agency, then they’ll pick you up at Manali. As this is your first day, you’ll ease into the trekking life. Overall, on this day, you will be doing a 2-3-hour trek from Jobra. Once your trek for the day is complete, you’ll reach your first Campsite – Chika. As there are plenty of water sources throughout the trek, you don’t need to worry about your hydration needs. However, please carry a water bottle and keep the area as clean as possible, filling up your bottle when needed.
Also, Chika is one of those places that you’re allowed to pitch your tent where you please. I would suggest planning and moving in a way that allows you to reach Chika by 4 PM. Of course, cooking food in the open vistas will be an amazing experience. Alternatively, you can carry a packed lunch from Manali. Correspondingly, you can book the entire trek with a guide/agency and they will be able to provide you with campsites and food as well.
Day 3 | Chika – Jwara – Balu Ka Gera
Now that you’re used to the daily grind, this day’s trek is a little longer in comparison to the first day. But, this day guarantees some spectacular views! Of course, the earlier you start on the day, the better. But, don’t flag off too late
Jwara- 9 AM should definitely be the cut off for you to leave Chika. Certainly, wake up earlier and enjoy the sunrise and breakfast with the views! During the day, you will cross a Nala to reach Jwara. Here, you will witness two valleys intersecting in the middle of the landscape at a certain point. What an absolute geometric perfection! Post-Jwara, you will reach Balu ka Gera, where you will witness a lot of snow.
Should I camp at Jwara or Balu Ka Gera?
At the end of the day’s hard work, you can choose to pitch tents at either Jwara or Balu ka Gera. Jwara is a strikingly picturesque & cantered valley which gives you some pretty views of green fields and waterfalls. While Balu ka Gera is a flat ground amidst the snowy mountains at 11,000 ft.
I personally suggest you stay at Balu ka Gera because it’s near to the Hampta Pass. After reaching at Balu ka Gera, you can enjoy the rest of the day taking in the views and exploring your new home for the day. The water sources are also available throughout the day’s trek after little distances, so you don’t need to fret about that. Regroup, rewind, and reminisce.
Day 4 | Summit Hampta Pass
Here we are, the epitome of your trek. Obviously, nothing worth having comes easy and this day will prove to be a grind. As you’ll have to cross the Hampta Pass today and reach all the way to Shea Goru, you need to have a high energy level, grit, and determination.
Don’t let the mountain intimidate you, kid! Pump yourself up, and get on with the journey. Reaching Hampta Pass will take you around four hours. The difficulty level here is increasing in comparison to the previous days. Again, I emphasize that you need to leave as early as you can in the AM. This will ensure you have ample time and are not rushing around to reach your destination for the night – Shea Goru.
Pro Tip: Attentiveness is the key to trekking – by getting an extra dose of Zzzzs in the morning, you won’t be doing yourself any favor.
Does it get difficult here?
Right up till the Hampta Pass the trail will be steep and filled with snow, at least till the month of June and maybe a splattering of snow in July. Also, word of advice – carry sufficient water from Balu ka Gera as there are no water sources till your next destination. And, water will be very much needed, you’re climbing UP a hill to reach a high pass!
The moment you reach the top of Hampta Pass; the scenery evolves into something you probably wouldn’t have experienced. We tend to associate the Himalayas with lush greenery and as fertile land with lots to give. Watching the stark contrast of barren mountains unveil itself as you move along is an extraordinary experience.
Once you’ve had your fill of the view and your heart is satisfied (never gonna happen, but still!) you should start your journey towards Shea Goru and enjoy the Spiti part of this trek.
Day 5 | Shea Goru – Chatru
The climax! This is the day you get to decide whether you want to move further ahead and experience Chandratal or not. Either way, you will have to reach your end of the trek at Chattru. Chattru will take you around 4 hours from Shea Goru. This part of the trek has plenty of water sources, so don’t fret!
Now, comes decision time. If you choose to head to Chandratal – you will need to book a vehicle in advance. This will need to be done in Manali prior to you starting your trek. OR, you may choose to head back to Manali from Spiti to commemorate your escapade.
Can I get a bus back to Manali from Chatru?
Buses do ply on the Chattru Manali route, leaving around 11 AM. However, the timing is not hell-bound fixed and depends on Weather Gods, Landslide Gods, Other Gods (Hey! You’re in the Land of Gods, aka Dev Bhoomi Himachal – don’t think your plan will work – His plan works!). Anyways, based on the blessings of the many Gods, you’ll be able to catch your bus and move back to Manali.
You will need to plan your morning trek accordingly to reach on time and catch the bus, however. Similar to if you want to head to Chandratal, you can also book a cab in advance in Manali for a return journey.
The return journey to Manali takes you through the Rohtang Pass – it will be a shock to the system looking at the hordes of tourists on the pass after having spent your previous days in the lap of nature.
Accommodation at Hampta Trek
You’ll have to carry your own camping gear or tents if you are doing this trek by yourself. There are no options for renting the tent between the trek. However, you can take camps or tents at rent from Manali. Or you can hire porters to carry your tent from Manali. While at Manali, there are enough options available to stay from luxurious cottages to dorm hostels.
Once you are at Chatru, you can also plan to stay at PWD Guest House.
Food during Hampta Pass Trek
There are also no food options available during the trek to Hampta Pass. There are few cafes at the starting point Jobra, one shop at Chika and one at Chattru. But leaving this there are no choices of food. It’s better to hire a cook and rent all the necessary items itself from Manali or you can book the whole package and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Make sure you carry enough munchies, snack / energy bars and dry fruits to keep your energy levels high during the entire trek.
Other things regarding the Hampta Pass Trek
As usual, there are a couple of things to keep in mind which I will enlist down below.
ATMs are available at Manali only. But once you cross Manali, there are no options. Also, you’re on a trek – needless to say, you’re away from civilization. It’s better to carry enough cash to complete the entire trek and make the payment as well.
Mobile signals at Hampta Pass Trek
Jobra is the last place where the network is available. It also does not have a stable connection so it’s better to leave all your worries and enjoy this beautiful trek. You can read a detailed guide for mobile networks in Spiti Valley.
Should I get a local guide for Hampta Pass trek?
You must take a guide with you unless you are a professional & seasoned trekker in the Himalayas. It is especially easy to get lost in the woods in the Himalayas and not know left from right! So, it’s better to take a local villager or a guide who will not only show you the path but also save you in the bad weather conditions. Also, they have a tonne of knowledge and can be great storytellers – a must for treks!
You can hire porter, cook and guide from Manali itself. You can rent the required equipment’s like tents, sleeping bags and the food items too from Manali.
Other tips for the trek
- Carry the waste items with you to Manali. Let’s be a responsible traveler and make the Himalayas a better place.
- Carry the required woolen clothes and a raincoat with yourself for this trek. The weather might get bad at that altitude so it’s better to carry all the things.
- Waterproof trekking shoes are must need for this trek otherwise you’ll face a lot of trouble while trekking.
- Ensure you inform your friends/family of your whereabouts and itinerary prior to embarking in the journey. Your fun should not be a headache of the cause of anxiety for your loved ones!
Hampta Pass Trek holds a special place in all Himachal Treks, thanks to its beautifully scenic vista and ample diversity. I hope this article will help you plan your Hampta Pass Trek.
Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.
If you’ve any more questions regarding this trek, then you can comment down here and I’ll help you in every way possible. I’ll be writing more about the treks in Himachal Pradesh in the future. So keep reading. Happy trails to you, The Wanderluster!
The post Hampta Pass Trek – A Comprehensive Backpacking Guide for Everyone appeared first on Devil On Wheels™ written and copyrighted by Devil On Wheels™.