The Sar Pass trek is a great introductory trek to high altitude Himalayan trekking that takes you to an altitude of 14,000 feet and offers breath-taking views of the Parvati Valley and the Himalayan peaks.
The Sar Pass trek, in the Parvati Valley of Kullu, is one of the most popular treks in Shivalik Range of Himachal Pradesh. The pass is situated at an altitude of 14,000 feet. The pass overlooks the splendid valley of Parvati, including snow-clad Himalayan mountains, gushing streams and waterfalls, and cuts through dense forests of pine and rhododendrons. The temperate climate paired with quaint villages with the rich culture just adds to the overall experience of the trek to Sar Pass.
The Sar Pass is also considered to be a great introduction to high altitude trekking in the Himalayas, as the trek takes you to an altitude of 14,000 feet through a train that is moderately challenging, making it a great option for fit beginners.
The base camp of the Sar Pass trek is Kasol, a village also known as 'the little Israel of India,' due to its colourful cafes. Kasol is surrounded by serene meadows and dense alpine forests. The second destination for the trek is Grahan, a picturesque village full of traditional Himalayan houses. The way to Grahan cuts through lush meadows, dense forests, streams and waterfalls over rocky terrain.
You then begin your trek through the rhododendron forests around Grahan and start ascending to Min Thatch. The trail to Min Thatch is steep and strenuous, so the pace is usually slow while covering this section of the Sar Pass trek to ensure proper acclimatization. Min Thach is a lush grazing ground used by locals. From there, you proceed to Nagaru, which is the last campsite before Sar Pass.
Finally, you begin the long and arduous trek to Sar Pass, and when you reach there, you are not only battered with strong winds but also the mind-blowing views of the surrounding valleys and Himalayan mountains. You then begin your descent to Bihkeri, following a moderate trail through dense forests, and then to Barshaini - the endpoint of the trek.
For the Sar Pass trek, you need to get to Kasol. It is a popular tourist destination, so reaching it is relatively easy. The closest airport to Kasol is the Bhuntar Airport of Kullu and Manali at a distance of 30 km. Many frequent flights connect Bhuntar Airport to the major cities of India.
If you prefer trains, then the nearest broad gauge railway station is Pathankot and the nearest narrow gauge railway station is Joginder Nagar. From these places, you can either hire a private cab or take a local bus to reach Kasol.
Additionally, you can even get to Kasol by road. There are many bus services connecting Kasol to most major cities of North India.
Phone networks only work until Kasol or Manali, hence, it is a good idea to contact your family and friends before the start of the trek. There are a few patches where you may get connectivity, but it will mostly be weak.
As for ATM's, the last ATM you'll find is in Kasol. No ATMs can be found after Kasol either on the trail or at villages where you spend the nights. Hence, it is recommended that you withdraw sufficient cash before starting the trek to Sar Pass.
The best time for the trek to Sar Pass is between the months of April to October. During these months, the temperatures range from 20 to 25 degree Celsius during the day and from 5 to 11 degree Celsius. The winter season can be a bit harsh on the trail as the entire landscape gets covered in thick snow.
The Sar Pass trek is considered to be a great introductory trek for high altitude trekking in the Himalayas. The trail mostly has an easy grade but consists of a few challenging sections with steep ascents. Hence, the trek to Sar Pass can be done by both experienced trekkers and beginners with a moderate level of fitness and endurance.
For the Sar Pass trek, the tour operator will provide all the camping and trekking equipment, so you don't have to worry about that. All you need to carry is personal essentials and gear. You should carry a sturdy backpack along with personal toiletries, personal med kit, torch, sunglasses, sun-cap, sunscreen, etc. You also need to get good quality trekking shoes with ample grip. Make sure the shoes are well-broken in before embarking on the trek to avoid shoe bites and discomfort.
As for clothes, you need to carry comfortable, quick-dry clothes including full sleeve t-shirts/shirts and full-length trek pants. You also need winter clothes like thermal inners, windcheaters and jacket, synthetic/woollen gloves and cap. Avoid wearing restrictive clothes, especially denim jeans and sandals.
Check out other adventure activities you can do in Himachal Pradesh.
Day 1: Arrive in Kasol
Day 2: Kasol to Grahan
Day 3: Grahan to Min Thatch
Day 4: Min Thatch to Nagaru
Day 5: Nagaru to Biskeri via Sar Pass
Day 6: Biskeri to Barshaini
Day 1: Arrive in Kasol and acclimatize
Today, you have to arrive at the base camp located in Kasol in the morning. You will meet your trek leader and the rest of your group. You will then attend a short orientation session about the trek. This session will introduce you to the process of packing a rucksack, marching and walking techniques, and general awareness about the trekking route.
Once the orientation is complete, you will embark on a short acclimatization walk around the base camp. For dinner, you will return to the campsite. Post dinner, you will retire into your tents for a good night's sleep.
Day 2: Trek from Kasol to Grahan
Your actual trek begins today! You will wake up and board the vehicle that will drive you to the start point, located at a short distance from the campsite. The trail that you will take today is often frequented by local shepherds.
You will trek through dense forests of pine trees to reach the destination for today - Grahan village. As you get closer to the village, the trail will get increasingly rocky and steep. You'll reach the village by evening, have dinner and then retire into your tents for the night.
Day 3: Trek from Grahan Village to Min Thatch
Today, you'll continue along the same trail to get to Min Thatch. The trail is narrow and will give you spectacular views of Min Thatch, Nagaru and Sar top in the Himalayan mountains.
The trail gets increasingly steep and thick alpine forests start dominating the landscape. Upon crossing the final stretch, you will arrive at Min Thatch. There, you'll catch amazing views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including the mighty Chanderkhani mountains. At night, you'll retire into your tents.
Day 4: Trek from Min Thatch to Nagaru
Today's trek takes you to Nagaru. The initial part of the trek will take you through a pastoral forest with a few patches of snow on the way. And you keep gaining altitude, the snow will get thicker and the trail steeper. You'll reach Nagaru by afternoon.
In the evening you will enjoy a gorgeous sunset and then you'll see the city lights of Manikaran glimmering in the distance. You'll then have dinner before retiring to your tents for the night.
Day 5: Trek from Nagaru to Biskeri via Sar Pass
Today is finally the day you will trek to the Sar Pass. It will also be the longest trek of your trip and you will begin climbing a trail that overlooks the gorgeous Tosh Valley. You'll reach Sar Pass and spend some time admiring the exhilarating mountain views.
You'll then begin your descend trek to Biskeri Thatch and en route, you'll cross a few river streams. You'll reach the campsite by evening and then retire into your tents for the night.
Day 6: Trek from Biskeri to Barshaini, and drive from Barshaini to Kasol
Today is the last day of your trek as you continue along the trail from Biskeri Thatch and make your way to Barshaini. The trail will take you through dense forests and you will pass through the twin villages of Pulga and Tulga. You'll arrive at Barshaini in the afternoon. You'll then board the vehicle that will drive you back to Kasol. The trip ends here.
Travel arrangements in Sumo/Alto or similar vehicle to and from Kasol are included. Accommodation will be in dome tents on triple sharing basis. All equipment required for camping including dome tents, sleeping bags and mattresses. Common kitchen/dining tents and toilet tents etc. will be provided. First aid kit (including oxygen cylinder) will be available with the crew in case of emergencies.
All meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 6 are included. Services of an experienced trekking guide and camping crew will ensure a safe and enjoyable trek. All permit charges, entry fees and camping charges and all applicable taxes are included
Transport between home city and Kasol are not included and you will have to arrange this on your own. Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, road blocks etc. will be additional and informed to you depending on the situation
Personal expenses such as tips to staff, alcohol or beverages etc. will be completely up to the individuals. Travel or medical insurance and any item not mentioned in the inclusions are not covered/included in the costs/package.
The best time to go for the Sar Pass trek is between the months of April and October as the atmosphere is quite pleasant with temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degree Celsius during day time and from 5 to 11 degree Celsius during night time. The trek is a popular monsoon trek in Himachal Pradesh too. However, during winters, the conditions can be harsh with thick snow covering the landscape, making the pass difficult to cross.
If you prefer flying, then you should book your flight tickets to Bhuntar Airport, serving Kullu and Manali. It is located around 30 km from Kasol. However, if you're coming by train, then the nearest railway station is Pathankot for broad gauge rail, and Joginder Nagar for narrow gauge. From these places, you can take a bus or taxi to reach Kasol.
Additionally, you can even catch a bus from most major cities of North India to Kasol. There are state as well as privately run bus services plying to Kasol and the bus ride is adventurous and highly recommended.
The Sar Pass trek has an easy to moderate grade with the trail consisting of few steep sections. Hence, a beginner with moderate level of fitness and endurance can do this trek. This is also a great trek to start with high altitude trekking, especially in the Himalayas.
Being a moderately easy trek, little preparation is required if you're already fit. However, to properly prepare for the trek, you should start a work-out routine a few weeks prior. You can do any form of exercise as long as it is improving your endurance, like cycling, running, swimming etc.
Your tour operator will provide all the equipment required for the trek and camping. So all you need to carry is a sturdy backpack that will carry all your personal essentials including a personal medical kit. You also need to carry quick-dry apparel, thermal inners, down and fleece jackets, raincoat/poncho and a pair of sturdy trekking boots.
Phone networks will only work until Kasol. There are a few patches where you will get signal, but it will be weak and you shouldn't rely on it.
Kasol is well connected to the rest of India via road. There are regular state and privately run bus services connecting it to most major cities and towns of Northern India.
There are no direct flights or train to Kasol. However, if you prefer flying, then the closest airport is in Bhuntar, serving Kullu and Manali, with many regular flights from major cities of the country. From here you can take a bus to Kasol.
The nearest broad gauge railway station is Pathankot and the nearest narrow gauge railway station is in Joginder Nagar. From these places, you can easily use a bus or taxi to reach Kasol.
For the Sar Pass trek, you need to wear comfortable, quick-dry apparel including full-sleeved t-shirt and full-length trekking pants. Pair these with additional layers of windcheater and jacket, along with thermal inners. You also need to wear sturdy trekking shoes with good grip. Avoid wearing sandals, denim jeans or any kind of restrictive clothing.
The tour operator will provide all the technical and camping equipment required for the trek. However, you need to carry a backpack, personal med kit, toiletries and essentials, extra clothes, torch, sunglasses and raincoat/poncho.
The Sar Pass trek is suitable for fit beginners but you do need to have a moderate level of fitness to embark on this trek. You need to start training for the trek a few weeks prior to the departure date by doing some form of exercise like running, cycling, swimming, etc. Focus on cardio as they will improve your lung capacity which will help you at higher altitudes.
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