Hampta Pass

One of the Most Dramatic Crossover Treks in the Himalayas

TREK DIFFICULTY

Moderate

TREK DURATION

6 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

14,065 ft

AGE LIMIT

8 to 62 years

One of the Most Dramatic Crossover Treks in the Himalayas

At 14,000 feet Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh falls under those rare, dramatic pass crossings in the Himalayas. On one side is the lush green valley of Kullu — with forests, grasslands, and flowers blooming on the side of your trail. On the other is the almost arid, stark landscape of Lahaul, with barren mountains and almost no vegetation.

Standing on the top of the pass, what’s ahead and behind are two different worlds. It changes in a matter of minutes.

Simply put, the Hampta Pass is Himachal’s Valley of Flowers. The landscape is strikingly similar to that of Valley of Flowers – a green narrow valley protected by snow-covered mountains – but there’s a bonus here.

When you get onto the other side of the Hampta Pass, you’ll be in awe looking at the stark contrast from what you just left behind. The landscape that stretches in front of you is Spiti Valley, known for its barren stretches, rugged terrain and forget-me-not blue skies.

What makes the dramatic changes heightened, even more, is how thrilling the climb to Hampta Pass is. For trekkers, crossing the Hampta Pass (even without the scenery changes) is a great story of adventure. They will love the nervous excitement of climbing to the pass over many ledges, almost appearing to get to the pass, but never really sure until you get there.

On this trek, you move from one side to the other over 6 days, covering 25 km.

At 14,000 feet Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh falls under those rare, dramatic pass crossings in the Himalayas. On one side is the lush green valley of Kullu — with forests, grasslands, and flowers blooming on the side of your trail. On the other is the almost arid, stark landscape of Lahaul, with barren mountains and almost no vegetation.

Standing on the top of the pass, what’s ahead and behind are two different worlds. It changes in a matter of minutes.

Hampta Pass - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Hampta Pass trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Hampta Pass Videos

Watch these videos to prepare for your Hampta Pass trek.

Morning view on the way from Jobra to Jwara is dreamy.

Picture by: Mohit Dev

En Route to Jwara

Expert Speak

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Here is Arjun Majumdar, Founder and CEO of Indiahikes talking about the Hampta Pass trek. Arjun is an entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008 with a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking.

What I Like About Hampta Pass

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Here is Arjun Majumdar, Founder and CEO of Indiahikes talking about the Hampta Pass trek. Arjun is an entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008 with a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking.

1. The drive from Manali to Jobra

I find it hard to believe that most people never mention the drive from Manali to Jobra, the base camp of the trek. It is one of the nicest mountain drives I’ve done. I remember being glued to the window when we took the drive (tip: sit on the left). The dirt track just zips up the mountain face in a dizzying series of hairpin bends.

I loved how in an hour the forests changed, from apple orchards to deodar forests to oaks. From the heart of Manali, it became cooler and then really cold! I could never imagine such a road existed right behind Manali. I have passed Manali a hundred times and never spotted it!

The picturesque drive to Jobra from Manali is hard to forget. Picture by Jothiranjan

2. The small forest section

It is a small forest, but it is a rare one on the Hampta Pass trek. It comes right on the first day of the trek — it mesmerised me! For the first time, I saw oaks.

This small forest section leaves you spellbound on the very first day of your trek. Picture by Jothiranjan

3. The dramatic Pass crossing

 I like pass crossings, they are usually very exciting. But the Hampta Pass crossing was a different adventure. Everything was very dramatic. On the pass day, it was almost like walking through a gorge. It is a very narrow valley  — stark brown walls on either side, deep white snow below us. Ice columns trickled down on some caves on either side. Our voices almost echoed.

You get to the pass by climbing three ledges one after the other. What sticks with me is the sense of adventure that you get when you climb these ledges leading to the pass.

When I got to the pass, I thought I would see the other side immediately. Nothing like that.

The pass was a long wide passage veering to the left. It went on for some time and then suddenly, it just dropped off in an opening high up in the mountains — almost hanging out of the air. I am no mountaineer, but that day I felt like I was on an expedition! I guess every trekker on the Hampta trek feels like that.

Crossing Hampta Pass at 14,000 ft is a thrilling experience. Picture by Aditya Bodke

4. Stunning campsites of Balu Ka Ghera and Shea Goru

The first view of Lahaul stunned me. This has to be one of the big highlights of doing this trek. From the pass, many thousand feet below, to my left and right, stretched the entire Shea Goru valley, my first sight of Lahaul. Standing on top of a stark snow pass, this was a contrast I didn’t imagine.

Behind us was the Kullu valley with its dense trees, grasslands, tall cliffs and flowers. And in front was the desert-like Lahaul with its grassy boulder ridden valley floor. It was not chocolate barren like Ladakh, but it was a different greenish desert. Just for this contrast, it is worth doing this trek.      

On the Hampta Pass trek, if the scenery doesn't blow your mind, our campsites will. Picture by Jothiranjan

5. The descent to Lahaul

As much as I loved climbing the Hampta Pass, I loved getting down on the Lahaul side more. The landscape changed so much in those 6 hours!

First, it was the tall snow-capped mountains on either side, then the slides and plunges down a moraine-filled gully. Finally, they rush down to the grassy ledge overlooking the Chandrabhaga river. I sat there for a long time just taking in the experience. It was exhilarating!

The view of Lahaul valley from Hampta Pass looks like you are entering a different world. Picture by Jothiranjan

Campsites at a glance

At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Hampta Pass trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love and have a great experience.

Jobra Campsite. Picture by Jothiranjan

Jobra Campsite. Picture by Jothiranjan

Jwara Campsite. Picture by Jothiranjan

Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder

Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been impacted greatly. The transformations have been profound and irreversible. 

I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships, and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences. 

I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.

In the mountains new professions, new economies and new businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.  

Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine.

Green Trails

Leaving the mountains better than we find them

At Indiahikes, we focus on bringing in new practices that can reduce our impact on the environment.  This is done through constant R&D.  Once these new practices are implemented we focus on achieving the results consistently on all our treks. You will see this as part of our G6 practices. 

Golden 1: Green Sweep - Clean the trail of visible litter.  We have collected more than 1,00,000 kgs of waste since 2016.

Golden 2: Segregation At Source - Segregate all waste collected so that we do not add all this waste to the landfill.  We have diverted 50% of the waste from landfill through segregation

Golden 3: Food Composting - All our kitchen waste is composted into useful humus for the mountain soil.  All food waste is either eaten by mules or composted at source.

Golden 4: Biotoilets - All our human waste is composted at source through our specially designed dry toilet pits. 

Golden 5: Water efficient dispenser  - We have reduced our waste used per trekker by 70% through specially designed water dispenser systems.

Golden 6: Save energy - We use solar panels for our energy use at our campsites.  We are also in the process of redesigning our stove and menu to reduce the amount of gas used on our treks.

Our trekkers are a big part of us keeping our promise to leave the mountains better than we found them. 

  • Indiahikes trekkers do not carry anything that can harm the environment - be it wet wipes, or any packaged food on the trek.  In fact they practice a zero waste trek.
  • Indiahikes trekkers do not buy any packaged food in the dhabas on the trek - they do not take part in feeding the demand for packaged food 
  • Indiahikes trekkers clean the trails of waste using the eco bag as part of the Green Sweep Initiative 
  • Indiaihikes trekkers carry their own backpacks on the trek. They do not offload unless absolutely necessary
  • Indiahikes trekkers do not pee/poop near any water source 
  • Indiahikes trekkers do not stray away from the marked trail

Trekkers who sign up with us pledge to follow these practices.  When you sign up with us, you do too.

How you can be a Green Trails Crusader on the Rupin Pass trek? - We can majorly identify 3 waste hotspots which you can collect and leave the mountains better.

The first one would be near the lower waterfall. The second hotspot is present around all the villages of Jiskun and Jakha. The third spot would be at Udaknal.

Everything you do on a trek creates an impact. The trail you trek on, the water you use, the waste you generate, how you poop, how you cook, what you eat — everything has an impact. The higher the impact, the greater the damage to the environment. 

Yet, when done sustainably, trekking is one of the most environment-friendly sports.

When you trek with Indiahikes, you trek to leave the mountains better than we found them.  This is part of our Green Trails promise.

Safety

How we keep you safe

Our Trek Leaders play a pivotal role in keeping all participants safe on the trek. It is not easy to be a Trek Leader with Indiahikes. There is a long, stringent, and difficult selection process. All our Trek Leaders are certified mountaineers with a Basic Mountaineering Course or Advanced Mountaineering Course.

Apart from the Trek Leaders, we have technical guides, trek guides, program facilitators and assistants who accompany all team members of the Collaborative Leadership Program. All of them are given specialised training in handling emergency mountain situations. If a situation arises, anyone of our team members will be able to evacuate the team members to safety, even in the middle of the night. 

Ultimately, even an expert team such as ours cannot keep all participants safe unless they follow stringent safety processes. These are processes that have been developed by us for over ten years. They have been put in place after considering every scenario and evaluating every risk of a trek. 

Our risk assessment and management systems are extensive and deep, as you will discover when you sign up with us. There is a process for preparing team members, a process to monitor their health 3 times a day, a process for management of accidents, a process for managing altitude sickness, and a process for evacuation. There are processes for even trekking and a separate process for difficult sections. Any potential risk is nipped in the bud.

Our extensive trek experience matters here. The trekking trails are not new to us. These trekking trails have been nurtured and developed by us for many years. We have our own base camps on these trails. 

From the time the trek starts till it ends, the safety of all team members is our responsibility. 

On the trek, we have a staff-to-team member ratio of 1:5. This means for every 5 team members there is an Indiahikes staff monitoring them closely.

Most of the modern safety equipment used in the Indian trekking community has been introduced by us. This has fundamentally changed how trekking is done in our country.

In all of our treks, we carry a high-altitude medical kit, an evacuation kit, a technical kit, radio equipment, and oxygen cylinders (pulse oximeters and BP monitors are standard equipment carried by our Trek Leaders, including ropes and carabiners).

Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Hampta Pass

Hampta Pass is often considered Himachal's Valley of Flowers in Monsoon

Hampta Pass turns into a Valley of Flowers in monsoon

Not many people know this, but with monsoons, the meadows of Hampta Pass turn into a riot of colours!

There are several sections on the trek, where you see wildflowers spread out across the valley, so much so that you may not know where to step!

But to witness this, you have to time your trek right. Late July to late August would be the best time to see these flowers.

These are indeed the rainiest weeks, but it's worth every drop!

Hampta Pass turns into a Valley of Flowers in monsoon

Myth: Hampta Pass and Pin Bhaba Pass are Similar

Hampta Pass and Pin Bhaba Pass are often spoken about in the same breath. They are both crossover treks; both of them climbing from a lush side of Himachal to a barren side. Many people make the mistake of ignoring the Pin Bhaba Pass if they have done the Hampta Pass.

Yet, you cannot be more wrong.

Frankly, the Pin Bhaba Pass and Hampta Pass treks don’t compare. The grandeur of the Pin Bhaba Pass is much greater than the Hampta Pass.

You have more forests, more grasslands, more valleys, more rivers and streams and a lot more desert land to trek through on the Pin Bhaba Pass.

Yet, Hampta Pass is a shorter, quicker trek with terrific scenery changes. It is just one great scene after another in a very quick time! It also gives you the experience of climbing to high altitudes, with a terrific pass crossing.

So if you have done Hampta Pass, consider the Pin Bhaba Pass as a level-up!

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

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