The Hampta Pass, located in the Himalayan foothills between Kullu Manali and Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh, sits between two starkly different types of terrain. As the landscape changes dramatically throughout, you will trek through alpine forests, cross rivers, climb enormous boulders, and walk on glaciers. In the end, Chandrataal Lake is one’s paradise. In addition to its rich flora and fauna, the trail also offers scenic views of mountain ranges like the Dhauldhar Range, Chandra Bhaga, and Mulkila ranges. Hampta Pass trek offers a wide variety of experiences, making it an “all in one” adventure.
Hampta Pass trek offers a glimpse of the incredible landscapes, climate, vegetation, flora, fauna, cultures, and lifestyles.
From Manali to Lahaul, the Himalayan terrain is accessible by a 6-day trek. The first and second half of the walk are drastically different. At least a few mini-adventures await you, along with breathtaking vistas of mountains and peaks across both sections.
Due to its accessibility, uniqueness, and difficulty, Hampta Pass is amongst the most visited of all multi-day treks. A hike to the Hampta Pass is one that everyone can enjoy.
If you have a passion for being in the mountains, walking, gazing at all the wilderness, or simply looking to relax your mind or feel confident after a long day, here is where you can start. During this trek, you will be challenged to do things that you never thought you could do.
Location Of Hampta Pass
Located at 14100ft (4298m), The Hampta pass lies in the Pir Panjal Ranges of the Himalayas. It is known for its geographical importance lying at unique crossovers of two drastically different terrains. The Hampta Pass trek is 35 km in total, divided into 5 days. The whole trek is divided into two parts, and the main thing that is common throughout the trek is it is alongside rivers. The trail runs alongside a tributary of the Beas river in the initial two days through Kullu valley and a tributary of the Chandra river on the latter days through the Pir Panjal ranges and Lahaul valley. Hampta Pass is located 15 km from Manali, and the total distance of the trek is 35 km.
Climate, Flora & Fauna
The climate of the region, due to its diversity in landscape, drastically differs throughout the 5-day trek. The Hampta pass is accessible between June and October. Early in the season, you can witness snow in the trek’s high-altitude regions; however, by August, the snow completely melts.
Rain is most likely in the Kullu Manali region, but the sun shines bright in Spiti Valley during the season. Hampta Pass is mostly covered in snow, with temperatures falling to -15 degrees at the beginning of the season.
Beginning with the grasslands of Kullu valley, a variety of colourful flowers at their blooming peak create a striking contrast to the dense green treeline of Pine, deodar, oak, and silver birch Maple. Rhododendrons and some wild ferns are a few of them. These forests and grasslands also house various wild boars, shepherd dogs, and other wild animals. It’s a birder’s paradise, as one can easily spot the Himalayan eagles, vultures, white-capped redstart, and whistling thrushes.
Contradictory to this are the Lahaul and Spiti valley, with almost no flora; due to the region’s little or no rainfall, you can find a lot of snow leopards and other wild animals.
Also Read: Jalori Pass Trek
When To Visit Hampta Pass
The Hampta Pass is open to travellers in tourists between June and October. The best time to visit would be early in the season, around June, to witness snow-capped mountains in the higher altitudes of the trek. One of the trek highlights is these snow-covered landscapes, which you can only see during the initial months. Snow almost completely melts by mid-August has some tiny grass and flowers grown.
Level Of Difficulty
The trek to Hampta Pass ranges from easy to difficult through the 5 days and can be called a moderate level in difficulty. With very easy trails on certain days and steep on others, with walking glaciers and crossing the bridges, it provides various adventures.
It is suitable for age groups between 15 years old to 40 years old and beginners. However, a certain fitness level is necessary as a few parts of the trek can get tricky for people who don’t have much experience in this. One can prepare by regular exercise, mainly cardio, for a few weeks before the trek.
Itinerary For Hampta Pass Trek
Starting from Jobra, it further takes you tho Chika, followed by Bhalu ka Ghera to Shea Goru via the Hampta Pass. a drive to Chatru, ending the trip with Chandra Taal lake and then the drive back to Manali. Day-wise itinerary of this 35 km trek spread across 5 days is shared below,
Day 1: Arriving in Manali & Driving to Jobra Base camp
Located at a 17 km distance from Manali, Jobra is the base camp to start the trek. An overnight stay at Jobra base camp will help one acclimatize to the place and gear up for the next few days of tedious trekking.
Day 2: Jobra Base Camp To Chika
Located 4 km ahead of Jobra is the Chika campsite. It is at the height of 10,100ft and takes about 2 hrs to finish. The whole trek is alongside the Rani River, which is a tributary of the Beas River. Through the forests of Maple and Pine trees and small patches of majestic oak treks, some meadows, and grassland. The rest of the day is for one to relax and explore the place around.
Day 3: Chika Campsite To Balu Ka Ghera
Located at 5.8 km from Chika, Balu ka Ghera takes about 5 hours on foot, crossing through the trails filled with small colourful flowers, with shepherds and their cattle grazing through the grasslands, the snow melting into the river.
From time to time, ascend and descend into rocky and meadow areas; the day ends with a charming sunset and a majestic view of the Hanuman Tibba peak. Enjoy the calm that the sound of the flowing river and chirpy birds provide. Blau ka Gera located at 12000 ft, serves you with breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar Ranges and the scenic Jwara valley.
Day 4: Balu ka Gera to Shea Goru campsite (Via Hampta Pass)
Waking up to the beautiful sunrise, This day would be the most treacherous yet breathtaking of the trek. It is advised that you have a good meal for today, as it is also along with one. Climbing through the ranges of Balu ka Gera and the steep and rocky trek takes you to the Hampta Pass, 14000ft above sea level from where you can witness the distinct lush green Kullu Manali Valleys on the one side is and the arid, dry, and rocky Lahaul valley on the other. Enjoy a breathtaking view of Deo Tibba peak from there. Finally, Descend to Shea Goru and reside in the campsite after a long walk of 9-10 km, taking about 8 hours to finish in total.
Day 5: Shea Goru to Chatru, Drive to Chandrataal Lake
Located at a 19km descend, in the Pir Panjal Ranges. The way to Chatru is quite exciting. With a steep descend in the beginning, you will reach a road with the Chandra river flowing alongside. As you cross it, you reach two glaciers which are to be crossed. Once you cross the glaciers and walk for a little, you will reach the final campsite of Chatru. After ditching all the bags and resting for a bit, you can start for your drive to Chandrataal lake.
The glorious Chandrataal lake has a crescent moon shape, sits above the Hampta Pass at 14100 ft. It is one of the biggest highlights of this trek. Surrounded by brown-coloured mountains, this lake gives a different character to this lusterless valley. Reflection of the blue skies, the lake is a turquoise jewel of the place.
It also holds Hindu mythological importance. It is believed to be where Lord Indra arrived in his chariot to take Yudishtir to heaven with him. This is considered the place where Yudhishthira went on his heavenly aboard.
As a result, the journey from Hampta pass to the lake is known as the stairway to heaven. In another story, the lake is said to be a silent witness to the tragic love story between the lake fairy and a shepherd. As a result, it is said that descendants of the shepherd still come to the lake frequently in search of the lake fairy.
You return to Chatru for the night after exploring the lake.
Day 6: Drive Back to Manali
The last day of this incredible journey starts with you witnessing an incredible sunrise and getting ready for the drive back to Manali. It is located 85 km from Chatru and takes about 5 hours. The ride will take you through the gorgeous Rohtang pass and then the Atal Tunnel. Arriving by late evening, the group disperse after dinner.
Things To Carry
For a moderate level, multi-day trek like this one, the Hampta pass, there are a few things you definitely should be carrying with you. However, it is advised to pack extremely light to carry those bags throughout each day.
Essentials To Carry For Hampta Pass Trek
- Warm clothes (sweaters/gloves, beanies, socks, jackets)
- Raincover (Raincoats/Ponchos/Cover for your backpack/rainproof jackets)
- Proper Trekking Gear (Trekking shoes that help you walk easily on all different surfaces like damp forests, in rains, through rocks, in snow, etc., a trekking backpack of 50-75 L Storage capacity)
- Lunchbox and water bottles (which you can keep refilling from the freshwater streams flowing along the trails)
- Mobile phones/cameras (With the flattering views you will get to witness, you would not want to miss the opportunity to capture them in your cameras for a lifetime and cherish all the memories you have built. However, the network is hardly available anywhere in the higher altitudes of the trek. You can find a good network in Manali, Jobra and Chatru. BSNL, Jio, and Airtel networks are available, so it is advised for you to carry one of these sims with you.)
- Some cash (It is hard to find ATMs at close distance, for a fact in all of Himachal, so it’s always advised to carry some cash with you whenever you’re travelling to Himachal, including this trek.)
Solo Travel To Hampta Pass
It is not advisable for a beginner or someone who is not experienced enough to do a multi-day trek by themselves. Only people who have been on more challenging treks, understand the maps and routes, have proper camping gear can do it. Otherwise, one can book their travel with the travel agencies who conduct these treks. It is an excellent way to interact with other travellers, and you can still enjoy the place alone.
If you were to book through one of the travel agencies conducting these treks, the trek budget is fixed, ranging from Rs. 7000 to Rs. 10000 depending upon the agency you go for. This usually includes all meals until the last day, a trained guide, accommodation in tents, and travel from the cities nearby like Delhi or Chandigarh. They also provide some trekking gear in case someone doesn’t have it. The camping treks are usually safe and reliable.
Highlights Of The Journey
The less appreciated drive from Manali to Jobra not only is scenic but also takes you from the hustle-bustle of a hill station to a quiet secluded campsite in the lap of nature. The whole transition is overwhelming and exciting.
A true nomad’s experience you can have is in the Balu ka Gera and Shea Goru camping areas. They’re located on river banks with views of snow-capped peaks and rugged mountains.
The contrasting characteristics of two valleys you can witness at once from the biggest highlight of this trek, The Hampta Pass. Chandra Taal lake visited at the end of the journey, is simply like a cherry on top.
Its beautiful turquoise shade adds colour to the landscape filled with mountains in shades of browns and beige. It brings out some life and softness to those intimidating views.