Hampta Pass, situated in the Manali region of the Himachal Pradesh, serves as one of the most convenient and enjoyable treks. Laden with pristine form of nature, the trail comprises of dense pine forests, pristine glacial valleys, vast meadows and panoramic landscape.
A perfect trek for beginners, the place is easy to access and the adventurous experience of crossing the pass is simply exhilarating. Unlike most of the trek, this one begins from Manali town and not from a remote village. Chandratal, a crystal clear lake perched at high altitude is the highlight of the trip and a rare sight to behold. A trip of about 4-5 days, Hampta Pass trek in the lap of Himalayas is one of the exciting trips that will leave you in complete awe.
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Approx trekking distance (Both sides) : 35 km
Base Camp : Manali
Difficulty : Easy-Medium Gradient
Highest point of trek : 14,435 ft
Nearest Airport : Bhuntar
Nearest Railhead : 19 km
Region : Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Snow : During the summer season, there is a possiblity of finding new snow, especially at the higher altitude.
Starting point of trek : Jobra
Day 1 : Manali to Chika via Jobra
Distance: 10,400 ft , Duration: 2 hours
The first day expedition begins from Manali till Jobra in a vehicle. The road trip accounts for about forty hairpin bends covered in almost one hour. All the necessary equipment and items are available in Jobra. Situated at an altitude of 9,800 ft, you will start your trek from Jobra till 10,400 ft on the first day, covered in about 2 to 3 hours. Your actual hiking begins from Allain Guhugal Hydel Project junction. Cross the main road and head towards the small path that will take you to the pine trees forest. Bounded by trees of various varieties from oaks, maple, deodar and toss, the trail is quite easy and not so steep. After a walk of twenty minutes, you will reach a turn overlooking verdant meadow spotted with small rocks. Cherish the refreshing surroundings and continue with your trek towards the meadow. From here, you can witness the Rani Nallah, which flows directly into the meadow. You might also see few cows and sheep grazing the field. If only adventure is on your mind, you can skip the meadow and climb up the hill, which is easier, will either ways lead to Chika. Finally, you have arrived at a huge campsite, an airy green land where Rani River flowing in the middle makes it a perfect place for pitching tents.
Day 2 : Chika to Balu ka Ghera
Second day destination of the trip is Balu ka Gera, which is on the right side but not visible from campsite. Begin the trek along the left bank of the river leading to the slope of boulders and patchy terrain. The trail is easy to walk on and can be completed without any hassle. The whole stretch ahead along the right side bank of the river is accompanied by beautiful Rhododendron trees, covering the lower and central area while the upper region is lined up with cluster of silver birch. When the silver birch trees ends, just turn around and cherish splendid view of snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar that will leave you in absolute awe. At far left, you will see a stream waterfall, where you are recommended to refill your water bottles. Once you have crossed the waterfall, proceed on your left side towards the river. However, you can cross the rivulet to get on the other side, it will be fun. The water is chilly cold but you can hop from rock to rock to reach the other side. As you enter Jwara, you will be done with half of your dayÕs trek. Jwara, a beautiful picturesque valley clad with snow covered rocks on one side and a river on the other side, is a place where you will witness the Mother Nature at its best. The snow melting into the river and cattle grazing the field is a sight to behold. Lying in front are mountains clad with snow and Hampta Pass lies behind them. From here on, the path goes along the river side leading towards a rectangular valley. The way is laden with vibrant shades of flower while the trees vanish from the sight. Another half an hour or so of the trek and you will reach the end of the valley, which serves as the fishing ground of Jwara. From here on, the trail becomes a bit steep, clad with rocks and snow. The end of the way leads to Balu ka Gera. It is a perfect campsite bounded by mountains, which can be crossed to reach the pass. This place is perched at an elevation of 11,900 ft.
Day 3 : Balu ka Ghera to Siagoru, Cross Hampta Pass
Third day of the trek consumes 9 hours, which you can be split in two halves: first a steady climb towards Hampta Pass on a moderate steep slope and second a sharp climb down leading to Sia Goru. You will reach the highest altitude of the trip today i.e. 14,100 ft. The trek begins with heading towards the mountains keeping alongside the river. The scenic beauty is lovely with tiny yellow and orange flower scattered all along the way. This trail will lead you to the base where the actual ascend to the Hampta Pass begins. An hour into the trek and you will reach the first plateau. The place is packed with fresh snow during summers, while there are just patches of snow the other times. Right in front of you, there is the Deo Tibet peak. Now, first you will reach another plateau and next to a ridge. Another half an hour of walking and you will arrive at the end of the ridge. Continue the path for the second ridge; Hampta Pass is just a few meters and a bend away. From here begins a steep and hard mount towards the Hampta Pass, which will take about 15 minutes. The climb is extremely tiring yet exhilarating, but what will bewitch you is the stunning view waiting for you ahead. Spend some time there and relish the treasure trove of nature and then get ready for the descent to the next destination, Sia Goru. Now starts the yet another tricky descent than the one to the pass. The slope is steep enough that even the base of the mountain will not be visible. To get down the, the best way is to either slide down the slope or to use the rope for support. Spiti will be visible by this point while the route becomes a bit meandering. It will take about an hour and half to reach the base of the valley that goes towards Sia Goru. From here on the trek becomes quite easy on flat land. The campsite at Sia Goru is also along the river bank. ItÕs time to pitch your tents and rest for the day.
Day 4 : Siagoru to Chatru, Drive to Chandratal
ItÕs fourth day of the trek leading from Sia Goru (12,900 ft) to Chatru (11,000 ft) being covered on foot. It will take approximately 5 hours to trek the easy downhill trail. The path is gentle alongside the river valley and between the mountain ranges. The mountains are barren without any vegetation. You can also locate Chatru at distance from here. Next comes the tricky part. The trail might sometimes lead to the mountain edges and ridges, so you have to be very careful. The course also comprises the slippery paths as well. However, the trek is not that difficult as it sounds. You will enjoy the sliding down the path and exhilarating mounting. The descent will take about two hours and you will further witness the Chandra River flowing below alongside a road. You are supposed to cross two more glaciers, which will lead you to Chatru, your next campsite, on the other side of the glacier. Make sure to choose a site along the river for camping. You also have an option of pitching the tent at the Chnadrtal camping site, located about two hours away, offering some fine sceneries.
Day 5 : Chatru/Chandratal to Manali
Fifth day of trekking holds the bonus if the weathers allows and there is not turbulence on roads; you can hike up to the Chandratal Lake, also called the Moon Lake. The pristine blue lake will completely enchant you. The lake lies about 70 km from the campsite of Chatru while only few hours from Chandratal camp site. You can also arrange for the vehicle at Manali to take you from Chatru to Chandrtal Lake and back to Manali. The journey will be completed in around seven hours. However, you can only visit the lake during summers.