In recent years, Spiti Valley has become a go-to destination for trekkers, thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts from all around the country. The high-altitude desert valley, located in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, has many trekking trails that run across the landscape. Trekking through the bleached landscape of Spiti is truly a mesmerizing experience as you get to see the breathtaking topography of the valley along with some of the most unique and remote villages of the world.
Spiti is one of the best Himalayan trekking destinations in India, and while trekking in Spiti, you will get to experience the dramatic contrast of the arid desert with the radiant blue sky, along with the sky-piercing mountains that are crowned by sparkly snow. You'll also see cerulean lakes, glaciers and much more.
And apart from the magnificent landscape, you will also get to visit some of the remotest villages of the world that are brimming with rich culture and heritage. You'll visit Langza where you can try your hand at finding ancient fossils; you'll stop by Komic, the highest village in Asia; and you can send a postcard to your loved ones from the world's highest post office at Hikkim. You can also spend some time with monks at some of the most famous and historic monasteries at Key, Gue, etc.
Here are some of the top Spiti Valley treks:
If you’re an avid trekker and want to experience the breathtaking topography of Spiti along with the rich cultural heritage of the remote villages, then the Spiti Valley trek is the one for you. This trek lets you experience Spiti on foot, starting from the headquarters at Kaza and ending at Dhankar.
Your first destination is the historic Key Monastery built over a thousand years ago, followed by a night at Langza where you can look for ancient dinosaur skeletons. You then head to Kibber, followed by a visit to Komic which is Asia’s highest village connected by a road. You can then send a postcard to your loved ones back home through the world’s highest post office at Hikkim.
You then enter Demul, enjoying the barren mountainous terrain and cross the Chemai Lepcha Pass into the Lingti Valley to reach Lulang. The village is located at the base of the mighty Tangmar Mountains. Your final destination is Dhankar where you get to visit the 1200-year-old monastery and watch the splendid confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers.
Located at an altitude of 19,600 feet, Mt. Kanamo is a peak located in Spiti. The peak is covered in snow, giving it the name Kanamo, which means ‘White Hostess’ in the local language. Mt. Kanamo offers breathtaking views of the Kinnaur Mountain Range along with the valleys of Lahaul-Spiti and Parvati, and the high altitude pass of Parang La in the distance.
The trek starts from the village of Kibber, and the trail is mostly of scree and boulder moraines. And since the trek takes you nearly to an altitude of 20,000 feet, it has become a great alternative to the Stok Kangri trek.
The Parang La trek is one of the most off-beat and unconventional treks in Himachal Pradesh that takes you from Spiti to Ladakh via a snow-packed route across the two valleys. It goes through one of the most unexplored and remote regions of the Indian Himalayas that includes high-altitude wetlands of Pare Chu, sprawling snowfields and glaciers. En route, you also stop by the shimmer Tso Moriri Lake.
This is another trek that takes you across a high altitude pass into another region. Here, it takes you from the stark landscape of Spiti to the lush valleys of Kinnaur, across the Pin Bhaba Pass at 15,900 feet. The trek also lets you explore the vibrant Pin Valley National Park. But what makes this trek one of the unique treks in Spiti is its accessibility even in the monsoon season.
The Hampta Pass trek is one of the best treks in the Indian Himalayas that begins in the vibrant valleys of Kullu-Manali and takes you across Hampta Pass (14,100 feet) into the arid Spiti Valley. The trail winds across the magnificent Pir Panjal Range in the foothills of the Himalayas. Another highlight of the Hampta Pass trek is the visit Chandratal Lake, an alpine body of water shaped like the moon.
Know more about the Hampta Pass and Chandratal Lake trek here.
The Pin Parvati Pass trek is one of the most challenging treks in the Himalayas of India that takes you via a 100 km trail at an altitude of 17,000 feet. The trek begins in the lush valleys of Parvati in Kullu and crosses the Pin Parvati Pass to enter into the desolate valley of Spiti. En route, you encounter hidden trails, the mighty Parvati River, and the sheer beauty of valleys full of thick forests, high waterfalls and glacial moraines.
Day 1: Drive from Kaza to Langza via Key and Kibber
Day 2: Trek from Langza to Komic
Day 3: Trek from Komic to Demul
Day 4: Trek from Demul to Lalung
Day 5: Trek from Lalung to Dhankar, followed by a drive to Kaza
Report at Kaza in the morning and board the vehicle that will take you Langza. En route, you’ll stop by the Key Monastery and Kibber, one of the highest villages in the Himalayas. At Langza, you can try your luck at finding ancient bones of dinosaurs.
Today, you’ll take a moderate trek to Komic which is Asia’s highest inhabited village at 15,000 feet. En route, you’ll visit the world’s highest post office at Hikkim. You can spend the day interacting with the locals
Today, you’ll take a relaxed trek through the barren mountain terrain and en route, you’ll cross the Chemai Lepcha Pass. At Demul, you can go for a yak safari or learn how to cook momos from the locals
Today’s trek will take you along a sharp downhill trail into the Lingti Valley. The village is located at the base of the Tangmar Mountains. Spend the evening exploring the gompa and the folklore of the people here.
Trek from Lalung to Dhankar, followed by a drive to Kaza Today is the last day of the Spiti Valley trek. You’ll first head to Dhankar while enjoying the magnificent views of the Valley and you’ll also see the confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers. From there, you’ll board the vehicle to Kaza. The Spiti Valley trek ends here,
The Spiti Valley trek package includes transport from Kaza to Langza and from Dhankar to Kaza in a private shared vehicle. The package includes accommodation in homestays for four nights in twin-triple sharing basis along with meals from breakfast on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5.
The Spiti Valley trek package also includes the services of an experienced trekking guide and support crew along with first aid kit and all applicable taxes.
The Spiti Valley trek package does not include transport from your home-city or from Manali to Kaza and back. The package also does not include accommodation in Kaza or any kind of meals during the drive. The cost also does not include porters or mules to carry personal luggage. Any add-on activities like yak rides, Bhuchen performance or local brew tour will be charged additionally.
The cost does not include any kind of insurance, nor does it include any personal expenses such as extra meals, tips, etc. nor does it include any additional costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, roadblocks, etc. Anything that is not mentioned in the inclusions will be charged additionally.
The best time to go for the Spiti Valley trek is from April to June, during the summer season. During these months, the Manali to Spiti route via Rohtang La opens and the temperatures rise over 0-degree Celsius. During this season, the temperature hovers between 0 and 15 degree Celsius, making travelling easy and safe.
During the monsoon season, due to heavy rains in the Valley, the travelling gets really difficult and there is a high chance of getting stuck during this time. Heavy showers can also hinder sightseeing. So going during the monsoon season is not recommended.
And lastly, the winter season is when the valley turns into an arid desert with sub-zero temperatures ranging from -20 to 0 degree Celsius. Due to such harsh and extreme winters, this season is also not recommended for trekking in Spiti Valley.
The only way to reach Spiti Valley is by road since there are no airports in the valley and due to the mountainous surroundings, nor are there any rail lines. Hence, there are two routes to reach Spiti, one from Manali and second from Shimla.
So to get to Spiti, you first need to get to either Manali or Shimla. If you're coming via Manali, then you can either book a flight to the Bhuntar Airport located 50 km from Manali or take a bus from most major cities of North India. If you're coming via Shimla, then you can either take a flight to the Jubarhati, 23 km from Shimla or a bus from the major cities of North India.
The Manali route connecting to Spiti is 200 km long and takes 13 to 14 hours to cross. It also goes through the high altitude passes of Rohtang La and Kunzum La which are only open from May to October. From Manali, you can either take a bus or private/shared taxi to reach Spiti. It is suggested that you leave for Spiti early in the morning to avoid the traffic jam on Rohtang La.
The second route, Shimla to Spiti, is of 420 km and takes around 20 hours to cover. The route goes via Kinnaur Valley and it is recommended that you take an overnight halt at Reckong Peo or Kalpa. For this route, you can take a bus or a taxi first to Reckong Peo/Kalpa and then a bus from there to Spiti the following morning.
For trekking in Spiti, you need to wear quick-dry apparel like t-shirts with full sleeves and trekking pants. Additionally, since the weather of Spiti is harsh and cold, you also need to wear thermal inners, down and fleece jacket along with woollen/synthetic socks and gloves. You should also wear neck gaiters and a balaclava.
At high altitudes like Spiti, the sun is also stronger, so you should also wear sunglasses and sun-cap.
Lastly, it is important that you wear good quality trekking shoes that are well-broken in and provide ample grip.
While trekking in Spiti, you are required to walk long distances for multiple days, hence it is important that the bag you’re carrying is comfortable. Hence, carry a comfortable yet sturdy backpack/rucksack that will hold all your essentials.Apart from that, you need to carry a water bottle, personal essentials like toilet paper, toothbrush, etc. along with sunscreen and a personal first aid kit. The tour operator will also provide a packing list upon booking one of the Spiti Valley packages which you need to properly follow to ensure a safe and comfortable trekking experience in Spiti.
The preparation and fitness levels depend on which trek you’re booking. Spiti has treks for all fitness levels, from 5-day Spiti Valley trek packages to 10-day treks like Mt. Kanamo Peak trek.
If you’re going for one of the easier treks, then you need good fitness levels. To prepare for these easy treks, you can start preparing a few weeks prior by starting a workout routine of either running, swimming, yoga, etc.
However, if you’re going for one of the difficult treks then you need to start preparing a few months prior by starting a regular workout routine of cycling, running, yoga, etc. along with some strength training. It is also recommended that you have prior trekking experience in the Himalayas before you book one of the difficult Spiti Valley packages.
Acute mountain sickness or altitude sickness sets in at altitudes over 8000 feet. Symptoms include nausea, headache, breathlessness, etc. and if it’s not addressed on time then it can be fatal.
While trekking in Spiti, AMS is the biggest worry since the valley is located at an altitude of 14,000 ft on average. Hence, you should acclimatize properly and not exert yourself during acclimatization days.
All the itineraries are designed with acclimatization in mind, so you don’t have to worry about it yourself. As long as you follow the itinerary and the trek leader’s instructions, you’ll acclimatize properly.As for Diamox, it can be helpful for the acclimatization process but it is recommended that you check with your doctor before you use them.
If you are an Indian citizen, then you don’t need any kind of permit to enter Spiti. However, if you are a foreign citizen who’s entering Spiti via Kaza, then you need a permit. This permit can be produced from Shimla, Reckong Peo or Kaza
In most of Spiti, only MTNL and BSNL connections work, and some villages have no network altogether. And the network connection is quite sporadic. Do take this aspect into consideration while booking your Spiti Valley package.
Spiti is one of the most popular adventure destinations in India. On your visit to Spiti, you can pair your trek package with other activities like camping or motorbiking. There are many campsites in Spiti that offer amazing camping trips.
You can also go for thrilling motorbiking trips in Spiti Valley since its one of the top motorbiking destinations in India. Your motorbike ride begins either in Leh, Manali or Srinagar and you get to explore the magnificent landscape of Spiti on two wheels.
Check out the Manali to Spiti motorbiking trips here.