When planning a trip to Spiti Valley, one of the foremost questions that gets asked is whether or not the roads will be open. For the months of Summer, between June till September, everyone knows that all roads are accessible but it becomes a great confusion when planning a trip either in peak winter, or months like October, March or April. Can a trip be planned or not; and if yes then what all areas can be covered; which ones of Spiti Valley roads will be open; these are some of the queries that I would like to answer in the article below. I will list down the roads leading to and within Spiti and provide a timeline on when you can travel on these roads. If you were planning a trip to Spiti then hopefully this explanation should help you decide on the best time to be there.
Spiti Valley Roads
There are two roads that you can take to reach Spiti Valley. First one is from Shimla which is also the longer route. Traveling this way will take you at least 2 days to reach Kaza but it remains open throughout the year. Shorter route is from Manali which can see you in Kaza within 7-8 hours but this one remains opens just for a few months in the entire year. Apart from these two, I will also include in the article below some other roads in Spiti or nearby region that get traveled upon often by visiting tourists.
Shimla to Kaza Road
This is a total of about 420 kilometers from Shimla to Kaza which takes you from the majestic hills of Shimla, through the lush green of Kinnaur, along the banks of Sutluj to the beautiful barren of Spiti. This road as I mentioned previously in the article remains open throughout the year. In winters, the area around Shimla, Kufri and Narkanda; then towards Nako and until Kaza is the one that receive majority of the snow. There could be a temporary block on the road in the months of January till March but authorities clear it just as soon as they are able to. From April till December, you can travel on this route as per your plan but if going between January and March, it will always be best to find out in advance of any possible extreme weather or road closure due to snow.
Even though the distance is only 420 odd kilometers, it will be extremely hard to complete this stretch in one day, thanks to extremely condition of the roads. In its best condition, it will take you a minimum of 2 days to complete the entire journey; will definitely take longer in the months of winter.
Manali to Kaza Road
This is the short and quickest road to reach Spiti valley. Total distance is merely 200 kilometers but the route is the worst one that you would have encountered in your entire life. It will easily take you a minimum of 8 to 9 hours to complete the journey. This road closes sometime in October after it starts to snow at Rohtang and Kunzum Pass. From November till May, the road remains completely blocked and inaccessible. BRO begins snow clearing operation in March and it is only by late May or early June that the road is declared open. So in short, you can travel on this route only from June till early October.
Road to Sarahan
This is a small stretch of 18 kilometers that you will turn on if Sarahan was a part of your itinerary. The road bifurcates at Jeori and then it is all the way uphill and a steep climb to Sarahan. Usually this road remains open throughout the year but Sarahan receives quite a lot of snow in winter season. So it is possible that if you were visiting in winter; then the last few kilometers near Sarahan will not be open for vehicles. From March till December the route remains open completely. In January and February, it may be temporarily blocked until authorities are able to clear the snow.
Road to Kalpa
This is another 10 odd kilometers of stretch that you will bifurcate on near Reckong Peo. Leaving the main highway, you will first drive up to Reckong Peo and then continue uphill until Kalpa. Peo is the headquarters of Kinnaur district and thus, this entire stretch remains open throughout the year.
Road to Chitkul
In order to reach Chitkul, you will leave the main highway at Karcham; cross over the dam to its other side; and drive about 43 kilometers while crossing Sangla on the way. Road conditions are mostly bad throughout and while the road till Sangla remains open throughout the year, the last few kilometers until Chitkul get completely blocked by snow in winter season. Between April and December, you can visit Chitkul anytime but cannot reach here from January till March.
Pin Valley Route
Another 35 kilometers long road that bifurcates from Shimla – Kaza route near Attargo bridge. This road remains open throughout the year unless heavy snow causes a temporary road block in winters. After your cross the bridge over at Attargo, it is all a dirt trail until Mud Village. The road however is not too badly broken. As a matter of fact, you can easily cover Kaza to Mud and back to Kaza in a single day.
Kibber – Komik – Langza – Hikkim
The road towards these small villages from Kaza gets completely blocked during peak winter. From April till December, it remains open but receives heavy snowfall in the months of Jan and Feb. If you were planning a winter trip to Spiti, then it is best to not drive on this route on your own. You can hire a 4×4 cab from Kaza to cover these villages.
Road to Chandratal
This stretch is only open when Manali to Kaza road is open. From November till May, this road remains completely closed. You can only plan a trip to Chandratal between June and October.
I hope the information above on Spiti valley Roads was of help. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.