To be honest, there is really no definite answer to the question of the best time to visit pin valley. Why? Because it will entirely depend on the reason for your visit which will surely be different for everyone. And it is not only Pin Valley but for the rest of the places as well. When to go to a place will entirely depend on what you want to see and do there. Some other factors like mode of travel, who are you traveling with and budget limitations too play a part but in the end, it is all about your own preference and convenience.
With that being said, there is a certain time of the year when every destination receives the majority of its share of tourists. This is usually considered the best time to be there because it suits the majority of the people. Weather is usually the driving factor behind it. In terms of Pin Valley, this time falls between the months of May to September. But will this time suit you as well? Read on to find out.
Please note that in this post, I am only talking about the weather of Pin Valley and the best time to visit Pin Valley. If you want to get more details like how to reach there, where to stay, what to see then I will urge you to read How to Plan a Trip to Pin Valley – A Complete Travel Guide.
About Pin Valley
Pin Valley is located in the Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is about 20 kilometers from Kaza and 230 kilometers from Manali. It is best known for the Pin Valley national park, home to the grey ghost of the Himalayas, the Snow Leopard and several other endangered animals and rare plants. Sagnam is the largest village in the valley but the tourism is mainly centered around Mud Village.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley
While planning a trip to Pin Valley, the best way would be to stay overnight in one of its villages but if you were short on time, you can easily make it a day trip as well. There are several reasonably priced homestays in Mud Village that you can choose for accommodation.
Weather of Pin Valley
Cold, harsh and unpredictable are the three words that describe the weather of Pin Valley the best. It is a cold desert so irrespective of the time of the year, it is always going to remain cold; only the levels of the cold change. During the peak winter season, the temperature here drops as low as -35°C and life becomes extremely difficult. Not much grows on the land here and vegetation is scarce. It is also in a rain shadow area and receives very little rainfall.
The temperature pin Valley varies greatly in different seasons and between day and night. January is the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of -25 °C, while July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 10 °C.
Let us take a look at the weather in Pin Valley month by month.
Also Read: What Clothes to Pack for Pin Valley
Pin Valley in Winters
Not just Pin but winters in the entire Spiti Valley are extreme and it is surprising that the people here survive such weather each year. It gets so cold that even the water in the pipes freezes, making running water a luxury. Toilets get replaced by dry pits and electricity can be gone for several days. There may not be any cash in the ATMs for months and if the bad weather continued, there will be no cell reception as well. Due to the extreme weather, some of the locals move to lower areas for a few months and only return when winter has passed.
Pin Valley in October
October pretty much marks the beginning of the winter season in Pin Valley. The valley starts to receive snow and temperature drops drastically. By the end of October, the road across Kunzum Pass gets blocked and places like Chandratal and Batal become inaccessible. So the only way to get to Pin Valley in and after October is via Shimla only. The average maximum temperature at this is around 6 °C while the average minimum is -7 °C.
You must pack all your heavy woolens for visiting Pin Valley at this time. Warm glove, thermals, woolen socks, and a windproof jacket too will be necessary. If you were short on time and must visit via Manali, then plan your trip during the first 10 days of October and not later than that.
Several treks heading out of Pin Valley like Bhaba Pass Trek and Pin Parvati trek will be closed in October and until April May next year. If you were coming from the Kinnaur side, you will witness the beautiful Orange color of autumn in the trees and the valley.
Pin Valley in November
The weather in November remains to be the same as in October, only colder. The average temperature will drop further down to -12°C minimum and 2°C maximum. Treks will be all closed and the only way to get to Pin Valley will be by road from Shimla side. Guesthouses will remain open for guests but be prepared to spend days without electricity and running water. It would have already snowed in the upper reaches and in November, the lower areas would also start to receive snow.
Pin Valley in December
This is when the valley starts to turn really white. The frequency and intensity of snowfall increases and the average temperature drops to -4° C maximum and -18° C minimum. If you happened to be here at this time then you are up for a few things that you have never done in your life, like squatting over a dry pit every morning. There will be no running water and hot water will be provided in buckets, which you must use conservatively.
Pin Valley in January
January is the coldest month in Pin Valley with an average temperature of minimum -22° C and maximum -2° C. Reaching on foot by trekking, of course, will be out of questions and the Manali Kaza route too will remain shut down. It is, however, a great time to go on an expedition in the Pin Valley National Park to spot a snow Leopard. In winter months, the Ibex, which is the favorite prey of snow Leopard, comes down from heights in search of food. Snow Leopards to follow them down and chances of spotting one thus increase.
Pin Valley in February
The weather in February will mostly be the same as January. The average temperature will remain around -18° C minimum and -2° C maximum. The snow on the ground is more in February than any other month. The valley continues to receive snow throughout the month. All the lakes, like Dhankar Lake, Mane Lake and Chandratal and other small ponds completely freeze over and you will find the locals playing games over them, like in the picture below.
Pin Valley in March
This is the best month if you want to play a winter trip to Spiti Valley or Pin Valley. The average maximum temperature will go up slightly to 2° C but the average minimum at nights will still remain around -15° C. There will be regular snowfalls throughout the month of March.
Pin Valley in Summers
The weather of Pin Valley in Summers ranges from being pleasant to moderately warm. To be honest, it will be quite unfair to even call it summer because the average temperature remains around 10° C only. It, however, does bring a lot of tourists to Pin Valley as well as the entire Spiti Valley. This is the best time to go trekking and camping in Pin Valley National park. Weather mostly remains enjoyable with warm days and pleasantly cool nights.
Pin Valley in April
April marks the beginning of the spring season but only in the neighboring areas of Kinnaur, Shimla, Manali or Parvati Valley. Not much changes in Pin Valley itself except that the temperature starts to get warmer. The average maximum temperature goes up to 6° C whereas the minimum gets slightly better at -5° C.
This is another good month for a winter trip to Pin and Spiti Valley but you should plan in the earlier part of the month. There will be some snow in Pin and Spiti Valley but it will mostly be all gone from Kinnaur or Manali side. The snow-clearing operation at Rohtang gets completed in April but Kunzum Pass still remains blocked which means that in April as well; you can get to Pin Valley only from Shimla side.
Pin Valley in May
The average maximum temperature in May remains around 12° C and the average minimum at 0° C. So yes, this means it is summer season in Pin Valley. Kunzum Pass gets opened towards the end of May so you can get here from Manali side as well. The treks from Bhaba Pass and Parvati Valley get opened as well. It is one of the best months to visit Pin Valley. Days will even start to feel a little hot actually and by noon, you will not even need a jacket.
Pin Valley in June
The weather in June remains mostly the same as May but slightly warmer. The temperature will average out at 15-20° C maximum and 5° C minimum. This is the best time for planning a visit here with the family or to go trekking. This is another best month to come this way because you will be able to cover the entire Spiti Circuit including places like Chitkul in Kinnaur, Manali Kaza route and Chandratal as well.
Pin Valley in Monsoon
Pin Valley is in a rain shadow area; which means that it either does not rain here at all or rains just for namesake. The surrounding areas of Kinnaur Valley, Parvati Valley, and Manali receive heavy rainfall each year; sometimes enough to cause landslides and block roads. In the year 2019, the town of Mandi before Manali almost got washed away entirely because of flooding. Accidents, roadblocks, tourists getting stranded are a common sight in the hills during the monsoon season; so please check the weather forecast before you leave home.
Pin Valley in July
July marks the beginning of the monsoon season in Himachal but it is also the time when Spiti and Pin Valley receive the majority of its tourists. Days at this time are warm to hot and nights pleasantly cold. The average maximum temperature remains between 20 – 25° C and the minimum at around 7-10° C. If you were planning a bike ride at this time though, please make sure that you waterproof everything, including yourself.
Pin Valley in August
The average temperature in August remains the same as July, 20 – 25° C maximum and 7-10° C minimum. Monsoons are mostly considered a bad time to visit anywhere in the hills so if you do not want to take the risk, better wait out August and travel in the coming month of September.
Pin Valley in September
This is by far my favorite month for a trip to Spiti and Pin Valley. All the routes will be open and you can travel on the entire Spiti Circuit. September has everything that July and August have to offer but without the risk of the rain. The valleys of Kinnaur and Manali will be lush which is really an added benefit. The number of tourists as well is comparatively less at this time which can be beneficial if you were thinking of a budget trip.
Best time to visit Pin Valley
Now considering the information above; I believe it is safe to say that the best time to visit Pin Valley is anywhere between April to September. If you, however, wanted to include the Manali Kaza route as well; then this time window will shorten further to between June and August.
For a family trip, plan in June or September. If you were traveling on a tight budget, try planning in September and October. If you wanted to see a white Pin Valley covered in snow, try towards late February or early March. Keep in mind though that a winter trip to Pin Valley is only suitable when you have been to Pin Valley once before. If this was going to be your first time, then best plan in summer first and then go back in winter; after you have familiarized yourself with the region and its weather.
If trekking was on your mind, then the months from June to September will be the best. If you were planning a trip by public transport, you should avoid visiting between November to March; as the frequency of public transport is not that great in these months due to all the snow on the road.
Best time to visit Pin Valley National Park
If you were coming with the sole purpose of exploring the Pin Valley national park, then the best time is between June to September. The entire region and all the treks will be accessible in these months. The weather too will be pleasant. However, if you wanted to spot a snow Leopard, then a trip is better planned in January or February. I am not saying that you cannot spot a snow Leopard in other months but chances are better during the winter season.
I hope the information above on the best time to visit Pin Valley was of help. If you have any questions; or need any other details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.