4 Nights Itinerary Covering: Manali – Chika – Balu ka Ghera – Siagoru (crossing Hampta Pass) – Chatru – Chandratal – Manali
Himachal Pradesh is one of the most toured states in India. Blessed with beautiful pristine snow-clad mountains, lush valleys, and other lures of natural beauty, the state abounds in many adventure sports, especially trekking. Hampta Pass Trek is considered the easiest and convenient of all treks.
The trek starts from Manali and ends here too, passing through scenic landscape, floral meadows, Himalayan avifauna, snow-capped peaks, glacial valleys, dense forests and crystal clear water. The attractions covered during this well-planned trek include Manali, Chatru, Chika, Siagoru, Chandra Tal, Hampta Pass and Balu ka Ghera. Peruse the detailed itinerary for complete information.
The trekking expedition starts from Manali to Jobra in vehicle. Manali is at an elevation of 6, 726 ft. above sea level, so, it is a good place to acclimatize your body before beginning the trek. It takes an hour and forty hairpin bends to arrive at Jobra at an altitude of 9, 800 ft.
The trek on foot initiates from Allain Guhugal Hydel Project junction. Pass through variety of trees like maple, deodar, toss and oak. The sight is refreshing. Enjoy the meadows, fresh air, and take pics of the Rani Nallah. Continue towards Chika which is at the end of the vast meadow. But, climbing the hill and descending down to Chika is a better and easier route. Chika camp site is a huge, spacious patch of green. The Rani River flowing in the middle makes this place perfect for setting up the tents.
On the 2nd day, relish a healthy breakfast and get all set for the day's trek that will take you to Balu ka Gera at an elevation of 11, 900 ft. The path is an easy one and can be accomplished without any difficulty. You will find an entire stretch of the river's right bank lined up with ancient trees. Once you have reached the end of the tree cover, wait a moment and look back to marvel the entire range of Dhauladhar snow clad peaks in front of you.
Later, you will come across a stream. It is advisable to cross the stream in the morning hours as the current is slow at this time. One can easily skip on the stones to make the way to the opposite side. By half day, you will reach Jwara. The beautiful scenic sheltered valley; amid huge snow clad rocks at one side and the valley drops down to the river on the other side. Enjoy snows melting into the river and cattle grazing the land. In front of the picture is snow-clad mountains and behind them lies the Hampta Pass.
Keep yourself on the left side and after a while you arrive at today's destination. The end of the path is Balu ka Gera, the name has nothing to do with the place. The place is covered with snow and greens whereas the name imply mound of sand. But it is said that this place was formed with the sands and dust deposited by the river. The distance that is covered today is around 8 km and the time span of 4-5 hours. Once at the campsite, relax, savor the tranquility and admire the scenery.
Stay overnight in camp.
Start the day early as you a trek of almost 9 hours. Split the journey in two halves, a steady ascent on moderate steep slope to Hampta Pass (14,100 ft.), thence a sharp descent to Siagoru. Walk on the riverside trail which takes you further to the base and then the actual climb to the Hampta Pass takes place. The vertical climb will take about 15 minutes of extreme efforts and is truly memorable. The scenic beauty is matchless and takes away most of your pain. Do not forget to take pictures. Spend some time, have your lunch and then get ready for the next descent to Siagoru.
The descent is trickier than the journey to the pass. The decline is steep therefor be cautious during every step. You can also get down is either by sliding down the slope or with the use of ropes for support. It is easy to spot Spiti from this point. In an hour and a half you will reach the base of the valley that will lead you to Siagoru. The valley is secured by snow clad mountains, and the side which is open is Siagoru's way. The campsite is also by the river side. You are going to love the place. The scenery is enchanting. After walking for 14 km, you would be tired. So, relax here, in the lap of nature.
After an early breakfast, start your day early. Start trekking, along the river that can also be seen from your camp. The first half of your trek would be an easy descend but the other part of the trek would be tiresome that include an extremely steep altitude. You might feel slightly tired while crossing the rock zone. Once you walk past the descending path, you can now see the huge valley of river Chandra.
Lying on the highway of Manali and Kaza, this river valley is 1000 feet above the sea level. While on one side you can see the barren mighty mountains, on the other you view snow-clad mountain peaks. There are a number of dhabas. Enjoy tasty food during your trek. You have covered 8 km today in around 5 hours.
Chatru is a magnificent camping site; it is a consensus of the three passes, Hampta, Rohtang and Spiti. Stay overnight in a camp.
Today, the trekking tour comes to end. Before you bid good-bye and if the weather permits, drive up to the marvelous Chandratal Lake. Chandratal is located 14,000 above sea level and is 70 km from Chatru camp site. It will take seven hours to complete the journey and reach Manali.
The lake with crystal clear water is called Chandra Tal because it is shaped like a moon. Treat your eyes to the mesmerizing scenery and feel the cool breeze while you standing surrounded by the mighty peaks. Put-up a prayer flag like other visiting people. Spend some time in bliss after which you can proceed towards Manali, bringing an end to the tour.
You can visit Chandratal only in the summer months. If not, you will have to drive directly from Chatru to Manali and skip Chandratal altogether.