To be honest, there is really no straight one-line answer to the question of the best time to visit Sangla Valley. Why? Because not just Sangla but the best time to visit any place will be different for everyone. When to go entirely depends on what you want to see there and things you would like to do. Weather, mode of travel and budget limitations too play a major role, and in the end, it all really boils down to when it is convenient for you to visit. Usually, it is the month of May and June that is widely considered to be the best time to visit Sangla Valley and Kinnaur but will that time suit you as well? Read on to find out.
Please note that in this article, I am only providing a detailed account of the weather in Sangla Valley and the best time to be there. For a complete travel guide including details like how to reach, public transport and where to stay, please read How to Plan a Trip to Sangla Valley.
Sangla Valley is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is also known as Baspa Valley because it is located on the banks of the Baspa River. The valley starts at Karcham and ends at Chitkul village. Bering Nag temple, Kamru village, the fort, Sangla Buddhist temple are some of the must-visit places here. The valley is also a favored destination for trekking enthusiasts. The hike to Sangla Kanda and Sangla Lake can be attempted by beginners and experts alike. During the winter season, the place remains covered with snow and the locals move to lower places.
When to visit Sangla Valley
There are two things that you should know about visiting the Sangla Valley. The first is that the weather here is extremely cold. Even in the months like May and June, you will not be able to survive here without heavy woolens, jackets and other warm clothes. As you move deeper into the valley, towards Chitkul, the temperature will drop even further. I was in Sangla last year May and in the night; it got so cold that we had to switch on the room heater. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
The second thing to know would be that due to such extreme cold weather, the region remains cut off from the rest of the world during peak winter months. The 40-kilometer stretch that bifurcates at Karcham Bridge and ends at Chitkul gets blocked by snow in winter months.
So a trip to Sangla Valley and Chitkul can actually only be planned between April to October. Once it starts to snow in December, it is neither possible nor safe to be visiting here. There have been incidents when tourists got stuck in Sangla Valley for several days due to heavy snowfall before they could be rescued. In 2017, about 100 people were stuck there in April and in 2018, people got stranded here in October.
Weather in Sangla Valley
To understand if a certain time to visit Sangla Valley is good enough or not, let me give a breakdown of how the weather here trends in the year. Due to its high altitude, the entire Sangla Valley experiences cold weather for all 12 months. It never gets hot here, not even warm actually. On its hottest days, the maximum average temperature ranges between 15°C to 18°. But on the coldest nights in January, it can go down as far as -25°. The only change in the weather is between being pleasant cold to a harsh cold.
Sangla Valley in Winter
The winters in Sangla are unpredictable, harsh, excessively cold and very long (never-ending in a way actually). October marks the beginning of the winter season and it ends in April. Snowfall in the valley starts sometime in November and by the end of December; most of the valley is buried deep in snow.
Authorities try their best to keep the road from Karcham to Sangla open for as long as they can but depending on the weather, it may be closed certain times. The road between Sangla to Chitkul will definitely be closed and no effort is made to even clear it before March-end.
Most of the hotels during this period remain closed and even electricity can remain gone for days. A winter trip to Sangla Valley is definitely not without its risks.
Sangla Valley in October
The weather in October starts to get a bit cold but it is actually a good time to visit if photography was on your mind. With the arrival of the Autumn season, all that was green in September turns into a magical golden in October. If you were able to plan a trip here in early October, you will really get some amazing photo-worthy landscapes. The road will remain open all the way till Chitkul but chances of snowfall will remain and increase by each passing day.
The first half of October can be considered a good and safe time to visit Sangla Valley. Hotels will remain open as well and you will have no problem finding a place to stay. The average minimum temperature in this month is around -5° C and maximum at 10° C between day and night.
Sangla Valley in November
The road until Sangla will remain open definitely in November but Chitkul will be dicey. It all depends on the weather. If you were traveling early in the month, you will be able to cover Sangla and Chitkul both but in the latter part of the month, there is a high chance that you may not be able to reach Chitkul.
The weather will continue to get colder and chances of snowfall will remain high. If it snowed while you were in the valley, you may not be able to get out for a day or two until the road was cleared. The average temperature will range between 3° C maximum to -15° C minimum.
Sangla Valley in December
The valley would definitely have received its first snowfall by now. Both the frequency and intensity of the snowfall will increase as December progresses. The road to Chitkul will get blocked but Sangla will remain accessible. The average temperature in December falls further down to -2° C maximum and -19° C minimum.
Sangla Valley in January
You cannot reach Chitkul by road in January and even Karcham to Sangla may remain blocked. Before you start, it would be best to inquire in advance and find out the weather conditions and road status. Even most of the locals would have moved out as the temperature will drop to a freezing -5° C maximum and -21° minimum; making January the coldest month here. For the status of the road, you can check the Kinnaur Valley Road Status Post where I continue updating whether the road was open or closed.
Sangla Valley in February
The situation in February will remain to be the same as January but with more snow on the ground. Reaching Sangla in February is highly doubtful and very risky. Chitkul village will remain buried under snow and inaccessible. The average temperature will be -2° maximum and -17° minimum.
Sangla Valley in March
March is a good month if you want to make a winter trip to Sangla Valley but please do it after 15th. There will still be plenty of snow left for you to enjoy and if luck favored, you may even be able to get all the way to Chitkul. The temperature will warm up a bit to 1° maximum and -13° minimum between day and night.
Chances of snowfall will remain throughout the month but the snow on the ground starts to melt in March. Road connectivity to Chitkul is not guaranteed and will depend on the weather and the snow.
Sangla Valley in Summers
Summers in Sangla are short but are definitely good times. April to June is considered to be the summer season but in all reality, it is mostly just limited to May and June only. The 40 kilometers of the road from Karcham to Chitkul remains open, making the entire Sangla Valley accessible. All the trek routes will be open as well. Since it is the peak tourist season, hotels will be all functional and you will have no problem finding a place to stay. The other nearby tourist spots in Kinnaur valley like Kalpa and Sarahan too remain open making it a great time to plan a visit covering the entire Kinnaur.
Sangla Valley in April
April is among the best months to visit Sangla Valley because it offers a mix of everything. The weather will be pleasantly cold with the arrival of the spring season. The snow will be melting but not all gone. You will be able to cover most of the valley at this time. The landscape will be a mix of white snow, blue sky, green trees and flowing river making it a perfect time for photography.
The road from Karcham to Chitkul gets opened and restored in this month. The average temperature rises up to 7° C maximum and -8° minimum. There will be a chance of snowfall but only in the early days of the month.
Sangla Valley in May
A trip to Sangla Valley is something that will suit the majority of the tourists. The weather will get a little better with days being moderately warm at 12°C. Nights, however, will still be very cold at -3°C. All routes and hikes will be accessible and it is also a great time to go camping. You can either bring your own camping gear or stay at any of the available campsites in and around Sangla and Rakcham.
Sangla Valley in June
The weather will get even warmer with an average maximum temperature of 18° C and a minimum of 2°. June is when the valley receives the most tourists in the entire year. It is the best time for trekking in Sangla Valley. By the end of June, the region starts to experience pro-monsoon showers.
Sangla Valley during Monsoon
Monsoons are not usually considered to be a good time to be visiting the Himalayas. The entire region around Shimla, Kinnaur, and Manali receives heavy rainfall each year. Landslides caused by incessant rains become a sight too common at this time. Road conditions will get worse and sometimes it can continue to rain all day long, forcing you to remain indoors and ruining any sightseeing plans you may have. If you are planning to visit Sangla in monsoon, it would be best to first inquire about the weather conditions ahead.
Sangla Valley in July
If you can plan your trip only in July, I will recommend that you do it in the first few days of the month. The monsoon arrives here by late June but the intensity and frequency of the rain is not that much in the earlier part of the month. As July progresses, it starts to rain more and more.
The average temperature in July ranges between 20°C maximum and 7°C minimum, making it the warmest month of the year. Rains may post a great risk at this time but on an upside, this is also when the natural beauty of the place is at its peak. The mountains look as if they have just been washed clean. The valleys will be lush and covered under a carpet of green with flowers of numerous kinds blossoming.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Kalpa
Sangla Valley in August
It will continue to rain throughout the month but the landscape will get even greener and more beautiful. The average temperature will range between 20°C maximum and 7°C minimum. The frequency of the rain will start to reduce towards the end of August. So if this is the only time you can go, better plan in the last week.
Sangla Valley in September
September by far is my favorite time to go to Sangla Valley. The average temperature will range between 15°C maximum and 0°C minimum. September offers all that comes with the monsoon season but without the risk of the rain. Monsoon will mostly be all gone but would have left plenty of greenery for you to enjoy. There will be a chance of rainfall but only in the initial days of the month and not that much.
August and September is also the best time to visit Sangla in terms of photography.
Best Time to Visit Sangla Valley
Now based on the information above, I believe it is safe to say that the months of May, June, and September are the best time to visit Sangla Valley. The weather in these months will be very pleasant and will suit the majority of the people. The roads will be all open and the hotels will be up and running as well.
If you were traveling on a budget though, then the best time to go will be either in April, July, August or November. For photography, you should plan a trip in either April, August or September. If you were traveling with your family, you should go in May or June. If you are someone who is not too fond of cold weather, you should avoid a trip between October to April.
For a trip dependent on public transport, you must plan between May to September. Any of these months will be good enough.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Sarahan
Temperature in Sangla Valley
Below is how the temperature in Sangla Valley trends in the year. Please note that these are only average numbers, based on historical data. Based on the weather conditions and time of the day, the temperature can be different than the numbers below.
|Month||Average Maximum||Average Minimum|
|Sangla Valley in January||– 5° C||– 21° C|
|Sangla Valley in February||– 2° C||– 2° C|
|Sangla Valley in March||1° C||-13° C|
|Sangla Valley in April||7° C||-8° C|
|Sangla Valley in May||11° C||-4° C|
|Sangla Valley in June||18° C||2° C|
|Sangla Valley in July||20° C||7° C|
|Sangla Valley in August||20° C||7° C|
|Sangla Valley in September||15° C||1° C|
|Sangla Valley in October||7° C||-10° C|
|Sangla Valley in November||3° C||-15° C|
|Sangla Valley in December||– 2° C||-19° C|
Best season to Visit Sangla Valley
Spring and summer seasons are best for visiting Sangla Valley.
Best Time to Visit Sangla
If you only wanted to visit the town of Sangla and were not too keen on Chitkul, then you can visit anytime between April to November. If there wasn’t too much snow, you can, in fact, go between November and April as well.
Best Time to Visit Sangla Kalpa
The months of February for winter, April in Spring, May in Summer and September in monsoon are the best time to visit both Sangla and Kalpa.
Best Time to Visit Sangla Kalpa Chitkul
If you wanted to extend your trip covering Sangla, Kalpa, and Chitkul, then you should plan in May, June or September.
I hope the information above on the bet time to visit Sangla 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.