Himachal Pradesh Treks

Himachal Pradesh Trekking Information

Himachal Pradesh is another of India's major trekking destinations however there is none of the lodge infrastructure that exists in neighboring Uttarakhand so most treks are camping only.  There are a few homestay trekking options in the Spiti Valley.  I have done a few treks in Himachal but not as many as Ladakh or Uttarakhand in addition to the treks I've done I mention a few of the other popular treks in the state.

Best Season: May-September (Spiti Valley), April-May and September-October (all other areas)

Base Cities: Manali (Bus service from Delhi), Dharmsala (Bus service from Delhi), Kaza (Bus service from Manali), Kalpa (Bus Service via Peo from Shimla and Kaza)

Guide book/Maps: Lonely Planet Trekking in the Indian Himalaya

A few other options for trekking in Himachal Pradesh that I have not done yet personally but are certainly good options in the region:

Indrahar Pass  This short trek is probably the most popular trek from Mcleodganj, near Dharamsala.  To go to the Pass and back takes about 3-4 days.  It may be possible to do this trek without a tent making use of the rest house at Triund 10 km from Mcleodganj and doing a long day trek to the 4316 m Indrahar pass.  It is also possible to continue over the pass to Kharamukh (5-6 days).

Kaza to Dhankar Gompa  I've heard its possible to trek between Kaza and Dhankar Gompa via the high plateau to the north of the valley staying at homestays in the villages along the way but I do not know the details.  It should take about 2-4 days.

Pin Valley to Kinnaur  This trek links the Pin Valley to Kinnaur taking about 5-7 days to complete and requires camping equipment and food.  An interline permit is also required which you can get easily in Kaza free of charge.

Trekking Practicalities : 

Fortunately there is little regulation of trekking in Himachal and for the most part you are free to go where you wish.  Exceptions are treks that pass through the areas close to the Chinese border.  For these treks you will need an interline permit usually pretty easily obtained for free from the nearest major town.  In the past there have been incidents of trekkers being attacked and robbed in the areas around Manali and the Pravati Valley and most guidebooks discourage independent trekking in those areas.  I'm undecided as to whether this is justified or not.  More than likely you would be fine but it is undeniable that there have been some incidents in the past so it is important to weigh the risks before heading out.  But remember it always "feels" safe until something happens. 

Indie T&T Reviews of Guidebooks & Maps

Published: 2009-10-01
4
Indie T&T Review in Brief

Decent book and really the only option for treks in India outside of Ladakh.  Maps are useable and better than most you can find in India.  Descriptions are brief but adequate.  I've used the book quite successfully on many occasions, so for the treks it covers it does the job. It does cover a lot of treks in a relatively compact space, Treks covered include: Himachal Pradesh Treks: Jagatsukh to Hampta Pass, Chandrakani Pass, Chandra Tal & Baralacha La, Bara Bhangal, Pin Parvati to Spiti, Indrahar Pass, Kareri Lake Circuit, Manimahesh Kailash, Kugti Pass,  Uttarakhand Treks: Rupin Pass, Har Ki Dun, Dodi Tal, Source of the Ganges, Khatling Glacier, Valley of the Flowers, Kuari Pass, Roopkund, Pindari Glacier, Milam Glacier, Darjeeling & Sikkim: Singalila Ridge, Goecha La

Published: 2001-08-01
3
Indie T&T Review in Brief

Although out of print, you can still find it used as well as new in some book shops in India. In addition to treks, Trekking and Climbing in the Indian Himalaya, covers many trekking peaks as well as a couple more technical ones.  I used this book as an outline when I climbed Chamser Kangri in Ladakh.  The practical information is pretty brief on the treks and climbs themselves and there is a lot of extra nonessential information and pictures that makes it pretty heavy to trek with, but the book covers some interesting routes and peak not covered elsewhere.  If you can get your hands on a copy it worth a browse to get some ideas.

Published: 2013-10-01
3
Indie T&T Review in Brief

Lonely Planet is still probably the best guide book for logistics in India though I find it seems to get worse with each edition instead of better, and its monopolistic popularity mean that any place mentioned in the book is likely no longer a good deal when it comes to accommodations.  Still when it comes to the nuts and bolts of getting around, maps ect, LP is still probably the way to go.