Kinnaur Valley has come up as a major tourist attraction in recent times. The way tourism industry has been developing here makes it hard to believe that this place was not even open for tourists until the 90s. Come here at any time of the year and you will definitely find tourists in parts of the valley; even in peak winter. The road to Kinnaur via Shimla is never closed and people travel on it all year long. When should you plan your trip really depends on your own preference; but in this article, I will provide a month by month breakdown which hopefully can help you decide on the best time to visit Kinnaur valley for you.
Why You Should visit Kinnaur?
There are several reasons why tourism in Kinnaur has been on rise. Its stunning natural beauty and mesmerizing vistas are of course the first reason. Second is that it is very well connected by a smooth road that remains open throughout the year. There could be a temporary roadblock caused by too much snow or rain; but even then the authorities clear the road just as soon as they are able to.
Also Read: Schedule of Bus Service in Kinnaur Valley
Third reason is that it is not as crowded as some other famous tourist destinations like Shimla which happens to be on the way. The serenity and tranquility of the villages of Kinnaur is beyond match. Another reason could be that the valley lies on the famous adventure route called the Spiti circuit. The traditional way of doing the Spiti circuit is to start from Shimla, cross Kinnaur on the way, reach Spiti and exit via Manali. Due to this, every person wanting to visit Spiti definitely makes Kinnaur a part of their travel plan.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Kinnaur valley is definitely a place worth visiting. When would be the best time to go here is what I will talk about in this article.
When is the Best time to Visit Kinnaur Valley?
Kinnaur presents a different color in each month and every season. Before getting to a conclusion on the best time to get here, let me first detail a bit on how the valley looks in a particular month.
Kinnaur in January & February
The months of January & February is not really a good time to be traveling to Kinnaur; unless you were actually chasing some extreme weather and tons of snow. Life in winter is harsh in Kinnaur and even the locals struggle to go through their daily chores. This is the time when it can snow at any time of the day and sometimes so much that even the roads may get blocked. Visiting Kinnaur valley in January means that you will be met with temperatures well below 0 degrees Celsius. It does not snow in the lower Sutlej areas like Rampur, Jeori and Karchham. But places at high altitude like Sarahan, Chitkul and Nako get buried completely. Even the road through Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda can get closed if there was too much snow.
So in a nutshell, a trip here in January or February means way too cold weather; temperature close to zero; black ice on roads; no running water in taps; no electricity; risky driving on snow covered roads; and chances of getting stuck if the road got blocked. Not really an ideal trip or vacation unless all this is exactly what you were looking for. The road to Sarahan may get closed and the 40 kilometers stretch between Karcham and Chitkul will definitely be closed so you will have to keep these places off your itinerary. A few years ago, a few Bengali tourists were stuck in Chitkul for several weeks before they could be rescued
Accommodation at this time will be a bit of a challenge. Most of the guest houses and hotels at this time shut down for winters. So if you were heading to Kinnaur in January and February, you must book your stay in advance
Kinnaur in March
This is actually a good time for a winter trip to Kinnaur. I know this sounds a bit late in the season but you will have plenty of fun still. Weather in these months will yet be cold but not unbearably cold. Snow starts to melt in the month of March and the risk of getting stuck at any of the places will be very less. Even if it snowed and the road got closed, it will only be for a day or two at most. Spring arrives towards late March and the road to Chitkul gets declared open. In short, you get to see winter in Kinnaur with the kind of cold that you will actually enjoy.
Also Read: How much a Trip to Kinnaur Valley Costs?
Kinnaur in April
If you were visiting Kinnaur in April, then the weather will be even better. The temperature at this time will be very moderate and overall climate very pleasant. The place receives heavy snowfall throughout the winter season; and there is some essence of it left even in April. And thus making the month most apt for people visiting Kinnaur and wanting to see a little bit of snow. Do keep in mind though that the weather will still be cold at night and early mornings so pack clothes accordingly. Days will be pleasant but you will still need at least a jacket. Another benefit of visiting in April could be that there will not be too many tourists around.
In terms of accommodation, I will strongly suggest that you book in advance, especially in March. It is not tourist season yet and a lot of hotels and guest houses will still remain closed.
Kinnaur in May and June
The month of May and June are considered among the best times for a trip to Kinnaur valley. The weather starts to warm up after May; and during day, you can actually walk around just wearing regular cottons. Night and mornings however will still be a bit cold and you will definitely need to pack a few woolens and a jacket. All the internal roads within Kinnaur are open so you can include any part of in your itinerary. The trek routes as well are all accessible if you are interested in some adventure sports. You will not however find any snow at this time anywhere. By June, the weather turns quite warm and in the lower areas like Rampur, it can actually get a bit hot at mid-day. Road conditions too improve a bit towards June and you will find restoration work happening at several stretches.
At this time, all hotels and guest houses remain open and you will have no trouble finding a place to stay. You can either book in advance or negotiate an on the spot deal after arriving at your destination. Other tourism related activities like camping and trekking too are become operational. In short, it is a great time to be visiting Kinnaur.
Kinnaur in July and August
If you were traveling in early July then it would be pretty much the same as the month of June. Weather will be dry and pleasant and moderately cold. In second half of the month however, monsoon arrives and then it is all just incessant rains until the end of August. This is not at all a good time to be heading this way. Hotels will all be open and you will find a place to stay easily but weather will become a major challenge. Landslides caused by incessant rains is common here during monsoon. Sometimes entire sections of roads get washed away and you may be stuck at a certain place for several days. If not landslides, then it just may rain non-stop, trapping you inside your hotel and ruining any plans of sightseeing.
On the positive side though, vistas are their best during monsoon. Lush green valleys with flowers blossoming of numerous colors and clouds floating over is a sight you will get only in July and August.
Kinnaur Valley in September
This is by far considered as the best time to visit Kinnaur because this particular months offers a little bit of everything. Monsoon would be long gone but all the green would still remain. You will still be treated with lush green hills and mesmerizing vistas. Road conditions may be a little bad due to monsoon that recently passed but weather will be very pleasant. It will be just the right kind of temperature that you would want for a vacation. All hotels and guest houses will be operational and the entire Kinnaur will remain open for tourism. In short, this is a perfect time to visit Kinnaur valley.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Chitkul
Kinnaur Valley in October, November and December
These months are my least favorite because there isn’t much to see around this time. Greenery will start to fade away and weather would turn cold. In October itself, the temperature will drop drastically and you will need to bring in woolens. Snowfall at this time would only occur at top of the peaks and there won’t be any snow in lower areas at least until Mid-December. So you will not really get to see any snow either.
October is still better because it’s the autumn season and you will get to see plenty of colors all around. In fact if you were visiting in early October then you will get pretty much the same deal as September; or maybe even better with the orange of Autumn. After Mid-October however, the tourist season is considered as over and even several guest houses and hotels too close down for winter. If you were visiting in November and December, then it is best advised to book your stay in advance. It may not snow until late December but you will definitely feel the chill in the wind even in November. It is more of barren hills that you will get to see at this time; not really that scenic.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Kalpa
Best Time to Visit Kinnaur Valley
So based on the information above, the month of September can be called as the best time to visit Kinnaur Valley. After September, the months of May and June will be the second preferred ones. If you were however after snow and were planning a winter trip; then the month of February will best serve the purpose.
I hope the information above was of help. If you have any other questions; or need any further details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.