Pin Valley National Park

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Ideal Time: 5-6 hours

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Pin Valley National Park, Spiti Valley Overview

Set amidst semi-frozen rivers in the Pin Valley, the Pin Valley National Park is situated in the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve situated in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres at its pinnacle. One of the fascinating facilities of its kind, the Pin Valley National Park is home to the rare species of famous Himalayan snow leopards and their prey, the Ibex. The National  Park is most famous for its incredible trek which is a delight for all its visitors.  It snows for the most part of the year rendering the trek a thrilling and adventurous expedition. However, make sure you obtain the required permits. Also, foreign nations are not allowed inside the park.

The Pin Valley park’s core zone is sprawled across a vast area of 675 sq km while its buffer zone is extended over almost 1150 sq km. Today it is home to almost more than 20 species of flora and fauna including the endangered snow leopard which is the most significant inhabitant of Pin Valley Park. There are also Siberian Ibex, Bharal, red fox, weasel and marten that call this place their home. Several species of birds also inhabit in the region such as pika, snow cock, bearded vulture, chukor, golden eagle, griffon, Himalayan chough and raven.

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Due to the park's high altitude and extreme temperatures, the vegetation density is sparse, comprising mainly of alpine trees and groves of Himalayan cedar or Deodars. In summer, rare birds such as the Himalayan snowcock, chukar partridge, snow partridge and snow finch flourish in the park. Because of its snow-laden unexplored higher spots and slopes, the Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the snow leopard and Siberian ibex.
Twenty-two rare and endangered medicinal plant species have been discovered in and around Pin Valley National Park, which are distributed over 10 different habitat types.

If you have a taste for trekking through tough terrains, Pin Valley National Park is for you.  There are two routes to reach this destination, the first one is called the Summer Route which is open from July to October, and the second one is called the Winter Route which is open from March to December. The Summer Route begins from Kullu where you can take the bus. From Kullu, you reach Kaza via the scenic beauties of Manali, Rohtang Pass, Kunzam Pass. Once you reach Kaza, you need to board another bus to reach Mikkim, which is the last motored spot. From Mikkim, you need to trek a distance of about 10 kilometres to reach the Pin Valley Park Area. On the other hand, the Winter Route takes you from Shimla to Tapri by bus, and then Tapri to Kaza again by bus, and then to the Park on foot. The best time to visit this destination is from May to October, as the weather is comparatively less cold.

One can take a taxi, car or a public bus to reach Pin Valley National Park. In order to reach by car/taxi, one has to reach Kaza, located in Spiti. This is the starting point of the journey. After that, proceed to Dhankar which directly leads to Pin Valley National Park via the bifurcation at the Attargo Bridge along the way. The route from the bridge which is followed is Gulling-Kungri-Mikkim-Mud. The total journey takes around 2 hours and is located at a distance of 27 km.

There is another route that can be taken via car/taxi is Shimla, Tapri and Kaza. However, the above route is always preferred since this route is open only from Mid-July to September, depending on the weather conditions.

Mid- May to September is considered to be the best time to visit Pin Valley National Park, since the region around the park receives heavy snowfall in winter.

1. The Pin Valley National Park is situated in the cold desert area of Lahaul and Spiti. It was established in 1987 as a part of the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area. The park’s core zone is stretched over 675 square km and the overall zone extends over 1150 square km.
2. It is located at an altitude that ranges between 3300 and 6632 m above sea level. It is open to 20 species of animals and birds, including the endangered Snow Leopard and a variety of flora as well.
3. Foreign nationals are not allowed inside the park and Indians have to take permit to enter the park. Special Inner Line Permits is required for any travel within 40 km of The Tibetan Border. The border is not required to travel from Lahaul to Spiti.

1. Make sure you carry warm clothes irrespective of the fact that what season you are travelling in.
2. Carry your own trekking gear and equipment and be always prepared.
3. Carry a medical aid kit and your usual medicines for the way.
4. A good pair of trekking shoes is a must.
5. Carry raingear no matter if you are travelling during monsoon season.
6. Make sure you obtain all the permits well in advance required for trekking in the region.
7. Make sure you carry spare batteries and film roll for the camera as there will be no electricity supply.
8. A well informed and trained guide is very important and do make sure to sort out all trivial things well in advance to avoid misunderstanding.
9. You will not find eateries at any place during your trek. It's always a good idea to carry your own food during trekking.
10. Pin Valley does not offer any proper accommodation for the trekkers. Most of the tourists carry their own sleeping bags and tents. Camping is allowed at Mud Farka.
11. Carry your own water as well during the trek. However, you might get an opportunity to refill your water stock from the rivers flowing during the trek.

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About Pin Valley National Park

Approx trekking distance (Both sides) : 20 kms

Base Camp : Mikkim

Highest point of trek : 4,551 m

Nearest Airport : Bhuntar, Kullu

Nearest Railhead : 443 km

Region : Spiti Valey

Starting point of trek : Manali

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