Spiti remains accessible by road throughout the year and people travel here for all 12 months. However, when you talk about the actual tourist season in the valley; it is still the month of June that marks the beginning of it. With the arrival of summer, the Manali Kaza route stands open and this is the time when you can complete the entire circuit. Spiti Valley in June means that the weather will be pleasant enough; all hotels, guest houses and tourist related activities will be operational; all places worth a visit will be accessible; public transport throughout the valley will be available and you can truly have the famed Spiti experience. There are however still a few things that you should keep in mind while visiting Spiti in June. What those are and how you should plan your journey is what I will discuss in this article.
There are two ways that you can enter Spiti valley. One is while traveling from Shimla via Reckong Peo, Pooh, Nako, Tabo and Dhankar. This is the longer of the two routes and from Shimla; it will take you at least 2 days to reach Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti valley. There are however no high altitude passes in between and the increase in altitude is very gradual; due to which this road remains open throughout the year.
The other route is via Manali. This route is way shorter than the Shimla route but will take you across two high altitude passes and one of the worst patch of roads you have ever been on. The journey from Manali to Kaza is of about 7 to 8 hours depending upon your speed and a total of 210 kilometers.
Within this short distance however are two high altitude passes; Rohtang La and Kunzum La; both of which are well known to receive high amount of snow each year. Kunzum Pass as a matter of fact is one of the earliest passes to get snowfall. It can snow here anytime after September mid; due to which the stretch between Manali and Spiti remains open only for 4 months. It gets declared open sometime in late May or early June and only after this you can complete the entire Spiti circuit.
How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley in June?
So yes, traveling to Spiti valley in June, you can either start your journey from Shimla and exit via Manali; or do it the other way around. While preparing your itinerary however, mentioned below are a few things you should keep in mind. I will first mention a tips on how to plan your trip; followed by a few pros and cons of visiting Spiti in June.
Do you need any permits for Spiti Valley?
One of the most frequent question I get asked by people going to Spiti is regarding the permits needed. If you are an Indian national, there is no permit required for you to visit Spiti. If however you are a foreign national, then you will have to get an Inner line permit from either Shimla, Manali or Reckong Peo. For someone starting from Manali, then irrespective of your nationality, you will also have to get a permit to cross over Rohtang Pass. I have explained the procedure of obtaining both these permits in details at the links below.
Will You Get to See Snow?
It depends on what time of the month you are traveling in but snow will mostly be limited to the top of Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. At Rohtang top, you will get ample amount of snow. Like right now, at the time of writing this article in the end of May 2018, there is about 2 to 3 feet of snow at Rohtang top. One the way, the snow walls on both side of the roads are about 10 to 15 feet high at some places. Apart from the top of these two passes, you won’t find any snow anywhere.
Spiti Valley Weather in June
Pleasant and warm is what will described Spiti valley weather in June the best. Sun however will really be harsh though once you reach the barren of Spiti valley; so ensure that you are carrying some good sunblock lotion. Nights will be still be cold with temperature dropping drastically and close to 5 – 10 degrees. Even during day, it will be warm but you will still feel the chill in the wind.
Also read: What Clothes should you pack for Spiti Trip
Spiti Valley in Early June
Historically, Kunzum Pass has mostly opened in first 10 days of June. Sometimes it has been sooner and sometimes even later. So the most important thing you must do is to keep a close check on the weather. There are always a lot of speculations about when the pass will open and always several unconfirmed reports. If your plan is to travel in the very first week of June, then it would be better than you prepare your itinerary from Shimla side only; just to be on a safer side. If the route is confirmed open then you can change the itinerary later and include Manali route as well.
Spiti Valley in June End
If you were traveling towards the later part of the month then you are free to include all places in your plan. Entire Spiti as well as Kinnaur and Lahaul valleys will be open; all roads are accessible and you can travel as per your convenience.
Also read: How to Travel to Spiti Valley from Manali
Chandratal in June
The road to Chandratal as well is open as soon as Kunzum Pass is freed of snow. There is however always a delay of about 10 days from the date the lake is open till when you can find accommodation here. Once the road has been declared open, the camp site owners survey the area before setting up their camps. The whole process of getting the sites ready for tourists takes about 10 to 14 days. During this time, you can visit Chandratal but finding a place to stay here will be a challenge. You can either carry your own camping gear; or make the visit to the lake a day trip from Kaza; or go back to Batal and stay there at the Chadar tent.
All hotels and guest houses in the month of June are operational and you will have no problem finding a place to stay; except at Chandratal in first 10 days of the month. Spiti is not really that expensive when it comes to accommodation cost. There are of course several fancy hotels as well on the way but if you were traveling on budget, you will easily be able to find a hotel guest house within your budget. It may however take some amount of negotiating of course. I always advise everyone to not book their stay in advance because you will just end up paying more if you did so. A better way would be to reach your destination, find a hotel per your liking and negotiate an on the spot deal.
Road Conditions in Spiti Valley in June
How will the road conditions be? To be honest, road conditions in Spiti are always bad so you best not get your hopes high in that aspect. Until Narkanda and Rampur, road will be smooth enough however will start to deteriorate after that. After Jeori, the road will start to turn in to a nightmare and the worst patch will be between Reckong Peo and Pooh.
Also read: What to See in Spiti Valley
From Peo to Nako, the road is actually quite good and will be just about average between Nako and Kaza. The stretch between Karchham and Chitkul is quite bad and broken. Road towards Mud Village is a dirt trail but not that bad and OK to drive on. Kibber, Komik, Langza and Hikkim are all remote villages and roads to these villages are completely dirt trails. Your worst nightmare however is the stretch between Manali and Kaza. It is nothing but a long series of water crossing, slush and a badly damaged road that will probably one of the worst you have ever been on.
The only brighter side will be that since you are traveling in early season, snow would not have melted so much and the number of water streams to cross will be a bit less. But it also means that there will be a risk of frost and black ice on the road; specially between Kaza and Manali for which I would recommend that you start a bit late in the day. Wait for the sun to come up before you hit the road so that any risk of black ice would melt away.
Availability of Public Transport
The daily bus from Shimla to Kaza remains operational all 12 months except for peak winter. The Manali to Kaza bus however will not be operational in early part of the month; and there will also not be any shared cabs plying on the route as well. Once Manali and Kaza route is opened, HRTC surveys the road and starts their bus service only after they deem the road to be safe enough for bus. This usually happens a week or 10 days after the road opens. For more details on how you can plan a trip to Spiti valley by public transport, please read How to Travel to Spiti by Bus and Shared Taxis and Frequency of Bus Service in Spiti Valley.
Acute Mountain Sickness in Spiti Valley
Will acute mountain sickness be a problem? Not if you were starting from Shimla. Mountain sickness becomes a concern when the gain in altitude is sudden; but if your starting point was Shimla, you will be gradually ascending in terms of height so may not face any signs of AMS in Spiti at all. If however you went from Manali to Kaza, then chances are you may suffer from some symptoms of altitude sickness on your first and second day.
Think of it this way, one day you are in plains and by evening you reach Manali at 2000 meters. The very next day, you arrive in Spiti at 4,000 meters. The gain in altitude is tremendous in this case and too sudden for the body to handle. This may trigger mountain sickness in which case, plenty of rest is the best thing you can do. For more details on what AMS is and what its symptoms are; and how you can deal with it better; please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Spiti.
Lahaul Spiti in June
I am adding this point here because people often get confused in these two places. Lahaul is not the same as Spiti. Lahaul valley is the area around Keylong and Udaipur where the Spiti valley is the area around Kaza and Chandratal. If you want to cover both Lahaul and Spiti valley, it all will depend on whether Rohtang and Kunzum pass are open or not. If Kunzum Pass is not open, then you will only be visiting Spiti from Shimla side; and only Lahaul valley if you went from Manali. If both these passes are open then yes, you can visit both Lahaul and Spiti valleys.
Spiti Valley Temperature in June
During day, the temperature will remain around 15 – 20 degrees Celsius. You will be warm enough standing in the sun but will immediately feel the chill the moment you get in the shade. Temperature at nights will remain between 0 to 5 degrees Celsius. Please note though that this is the temperature in Spiti valley and not on other places on circuit like Kinnaur valley.
Also read: How to Travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla
Why you should visit Spiti Valley in June?
The biggest advantage of going to Spiti in June in my opinion is of lesser number of tourists. Everyone have their own reasons of coming here but majority of the people come here looking for an offbeat destination. June is really early in tourist season and at this time, you will not find many people around. Due to this only, second benefit will be of course cost factor at hotels and guest houses. Because there are not many customers visiting, your chances of getting a budget accommodation will be high in June.
Snow of course will be another added advantage. Travel via Rohtang and Kunzum Pass and you will find ample amount of snow which will continue to melt in the months of July and August. In first 10 – 15 days of June; just when the road has opened, you will find several feet of snow at top of the passes. What’s more, there is a chance that you may even catch Chandratal in a semi frozen state.
One of the worst sections of the roads in Spiti is between Gramphoo and Batal; and the worst part about this road are the numerous water streams. Since you are going early in the season; snow would not have started to melt and number of water streams will be limited in number.
Spiti Valley in June
I hope the information above on visiting Spiti valley in June was of help. If you have any further questions; please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will be glad to answer. Alternatively, you can also post a query at our Community Forum and either I or any other member will assist in any way that we can.