There are few treks that make everyone happy, and the Hampta Pass and Chandratal trek is one of our faves! It combines all the magic of the Himalayan landscape with the glory of climbing to 14,000 feet to cross a high-altitude pass. You’ll also experience the thrill of tricky river crossings, and bouldering. And as if that isn’t enough, you’ll get to visit Chandratal, one of the most beautiful lakes in the region.
1. You’ll scale 14,000 feet.
There’s something about a trek that turns adventurers into story-tellers, and when you earn the right to a 14,000 feet story, people stop to listen. It’s great fun to get to Hampta Pass – with river-crossings over narrow, shaky bridges, bouldering in rocky gorges, and maybe even snow to get through. And of course, once you’re at the Pass, the views are spectacular.
2. You’ll see the best of two regions.
This crossover trek gives you a taste of two very different landscapes, starting from Kullu-Manali, where everything looks like a fairy tale. Trees lean over with the weight of the apples and pears hanging on their branches. Meadows stretch in every direction, dotted with wildflowers and woolly sheep nibbling the sweet green grass. Your trail takes you through mixed forests where the air is filled with the scent of pine. But then you cross over into Lahaul and Spiti, where the landscape becomes more dramatic. The rocks are smoky grey and sepia, without the green relief of bushes and trees, and the desolate landscape sprawls out as far as you can see.
3. One word: Chandratal.
This will probably be the highlight of your trip. You’ll trek for days, climbing to high altitude passes, rough boulder-strewn trails, and sleeping in tents. And then one day, you’re standing in front of a crescent-shaped lake with pristine blue waters, set against the pastel greys and lavender of the mountains behind. The lake is quiet, and the wind whistles down from the Himalayan giants all around, bringing a kind of surreal peace with it. It truly takes your breath away.
4. Beginners can do this one (but you’ll have to be fit).
The Hampta Pass and Chandratal trek goes to 14,000 feet, but it’s not technical. You can do it if you’re a beginner, but there are some steep sections, so you’ll need to be fit to tackle them. If you’re a runner, if you do yoga or swimming, or if you work out regularly, you’ll be able to handle it. For a lot of first-timers, the Hampta Pass and Chandratal trek offers the perfect way to get the full Himalayan experience, from easy meadow hiking to steep ascents, from camping in pine forests to bare desert lands, and from river crossing to drinking tea with nomad shepherds.
5. You’ll feel like a kid again.
We’ve saved our favourite part for last. There’s something about being in the outdoors and on an adventure that makes you feel light and carefree. You don’t have anything to do in the mountains, except get to the next campsite. No agenda, no To-Do list, no chores. You’ll scramble over boulders, hop barefoot into a stream, stop en route to gobble down a chocolate bar (no calorie-counting on treks), and lie on the grass to gaze up at the sky. At night, you’ll tuck yourself into a sleeping bag, and fall asleep to the sound of nature outside. It’s a nice change for our overworked, overtired souls.
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