Kinnaur Valley Itinerary – A Detailed Travel Plan

by Vargis.Khan

vargis khan

Are you planning a trip to Kinnaur Valley in Himachal but wondering what would be the best way to go about it? In this post, I will provide an example of an ideal Kinnaur Valley itinerary that you can follow for your trip. I will first provide an itinerary that I recommend, followed by a few alternate versions of it.

For the sake of this article, I will assume that you are starting your journey from Delhi. If you were however coming from a different city, then only the journey for the first and last day will be different. The rest of the details will still apply.

The way I am planning this trip is keeping in mind that you cover the most and visit all the places that are worth visiting without traveling too much on any given day.

Not everyone will be of course able to follow this itinerary to the last detail. Your final travel plan will depend on several factors like how you are traveling, where you are traveling from, how many days you have in hand, and if there is a budget constraint. But the information below should at least get you started on drafting your own personalized itinerary.

About Kinnaur Valley

Please note that in this post, I am only going to talk about how you can prepare your Kinnaur Valley Itinerary. For other details like how to reach, where to stay, routes to take, places to visit, and things to, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Kinnaur Valley.

Kinnaur Valley can be divided into two parts. First is the lower Kinnaur including areas like Sangla, Chitkul, Reckong Peo, and Kalpa. Upper Kinnaur is the area around Khab and Nako village. The valley is a part of the 12 administrative districts of Himachal Pradesh and is its second least populated one, after Spiti Valley.

This entire region is best known for its stunning natural beauty and producing high-quality apples. In fact, Kinnauri Apples are famous as the best in the world. No matter where you go in Kinnaur, you will find yourself surrounded by apple orchards.

Three different rivers flow through Kinnaur. The first is the Sutlej River that will remain with you for most of your journey in the valley. The second is the Baspa River that flows down the mountains near Chitkul and then merges with Sutlej at Karcham 40 kilometers later. The third is the Spiti River that you will see near Nako; before it joins the Sutlej River at Khab.

kinnaur valley itinerary

Kinnaur Valley Itinerary

Most people traveling to Kinnaur usually keep their travel limited to Shimla, Narkanda, Sarahan, Sangla Valley, Chitkul, and Kalpa. The villages of Khab and Nako are mostly considered to be a part of Spiti Valley because of the similarity in the landscape.  This however is not true. Kinnaur district ends at Nako and the road further goes to Spiti valley.

How you want to plan your trip entirely depends on the time you have in hand. In my opinion, if Kinnaur was on your mind, I will recommend focusing on lower Kinnaur only. From Kalpa to Nako and back means adding 2 more days to the travel plan.

If you were doing that, rather than coming back to Shimla, you might as well just continue ahead and exit at Manali via Kaza. This way, other than visiting Kinnaur, you would also have completed the Spiti Circuit. I will draft out itineraries for both kinds of travel plans though, including and excluding Nako Village.

Delhi to Kinnaur Itinerary

Starting from Delhi, your trip to Kinnaur valley can be as mentioned below.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
  • Chitkul – Day 3
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 4
  • Kalpa – Day 5
  • Kalpa to Sarahan – Day 6
  • Sarahan to Chail – Day 7
  • Chail to Delhi – Day 8

Even if you were coming from a different city, then only the part about traveling from and to Delhi will be different. The journey between Narkanda and Chail will still apply.

kinnaur valley itinerary

Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1

This is a total of about 9 to 10 hours depending upon your breaks covering slightly over 400 kilometers. I have always found staying at Narkanda better than staying at crowded Shimla. Road conditions for the most part of the journey will be good.

If you were traveling on a budget then staying at Shimla will be better. Hotels in Narkanda are a little expensive than Shimla. For more details on Narkanda and places you can visit here, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Narkanda.

Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2

The total distance from Narkanda is about 185 kilometers and can take you well over 6-7 hours to complete so please start accordingly. After Narkanda, the drive is mostly all downhill and after that, you will drive right next to Sutlej River while crossing the Rampur Bushahar on the way. Drive until Karcham and then take the diversion towards Sangla Valley.

From Karcham, Chitkul is about 40 kilometers and the road ends here. The road from Shimla / Narkanda to Karcham is mostly good but the 40 kilometers to Chitkul are a mix of good, bad, and ugly. You may visit Kamru fort and Nages temple at Sangla on your way.  For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Sangla.

Chitkul – Day 3

There is really not much to see or do in Chitkul but that is exactly what makes the journey worth it. Spend a day here relaxing and savoring the natural beauty around. It is one of my favorite hill stations because of the serenity it offers. If you were up for it, you can even go on a short trek to the ITBP check post at Nagasti.

For more details on places to visit in Chitkul, please read How to Plan a Trip to Chitkul. If you are short on time then you may skip this day altogether.  This way, you can save a day in your overall Kinnaur Valley itinerary.

chitkul

Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 4

Your travel time and distance is not that great today. The distance between Chitkul and Kalpa is just about 65 kilometers and easily doable in 2-3 hours. Drive back to Karcham from Chitkul and then take the road towards Reckong Peo which further leads to Kalpa.

There are many hotels here where you can stay. The view of Kinner Kailash peaks from Kalpa is astounding and will blow your minds away. If you were short on budget, you may have to do a little bit of hotel hunting to find a place that fit your wallet.

Kalpa – Day 5

Like Chitkul, spend a day in Kalpa as well, enjoying the natural beauty and tranquility of the place. Nearby tourist attractions here include the suicide point and the villages of Roghi and Kothi. You can also do a day-long trek to Chaka meadows.

For more details on places that you can visit in Kalpa and its vicinity, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Kalpa. If you are short on time then you may skip this day. Your sightseeing here would then have to be completed on Day 4 itself. Take an early start from Chitkul by 8 AM, arrive in Kalpa, and check into a hotel by noon. This way, you will have the entire second half of the day to cover a few tourist attractions.

kalpa

Kalpa to Sarahan – Day 6

You will drive back on the same road that you took to get to Kalpa. From Reckong Peo, start driving back towards Shimla. You will shortly reach the small town of Jeori. From here, turn left and take the uphill road going towards Sarahan. It is a drive of about 90 kilometers and can easily be done in about 3 hours.

The Bhimakali temple and bird sanctuary at Sarahan is definitely worth a visit. Sarahan once upon a time used to be the summer capital of the rulers of the Bushahr kingdom. The royal palace is still located here near the temple. For more details on Sarahan and places you can visit here, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Sarahan.

Sarahan to Chail – Day 7

From Sarahan, drive back to Shimla and then to Chail via Kufri. The total distance traveled will be about 180 kilometers and doable in 6 to 7 hours. Enjoy the sunset from Kali ka Tibba at Chail, this is a view not to be missed. For more details on Chail, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Chail.

There are multiple ways that you can change the pan for this day. I suggested Chail because it is a very scenic, quiet, and offbeat destination. But if you wanted to, you can spend the day in Shimla as well. Or you can stay in Kufri which is another very scenic village.

If you were short on time, you can skip this day altogether and go back to Delhi straight. It will be a long drive from Sarahan but is doable. I have done Sarahan to Delhi in one day on a bike.

Chail to Delhi – Day 8

Not much to write about this day except for that this will be a long journey back home. A total of about 340 kilometers that can be done in 7 hours. If you returned home from Sarahan itself on Day 7, then this day will get removed and your Kinnaur Valley itinerary will be of 7 days in total.

kinnaur valley itinerary

Kinnaur Itinerary # 2

An alternate way to do this journey can be as mentioned below. If you were keen on traveling to Nako as well then you can either add a couple of days more to the itinerary above; or save days by not staying at Chitkul and Kalpa and extend the trip further till Nako.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 3
  • Kalpa To Nako – Day 4
  • Nako to Sarahan – Day 5
  • Sarahan to Chail – Day 6
  • Chail to Delhi – Day 7

For more details on places that you can see in Nako and other tips, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Nako Village.

Itinerary for Kinnaur # 3

If however, you went all the way till Nako I will advise continuing further and exit via Manali while covering Spiti valley as well on the way. This way, you will not be traveling on the same route for the return journey as well and can explore more. The third Kinnaur Valley itinerary then will be as mentioned below.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda – Day 1
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
  • Chitkul to Kalpa – Day 3
  • Kalpa To Nako – Day 4
  • Nako to Kaza – Day 5
  • Kaza to Chandratal – Day 6
  • Chandratal to Manali – Day 7
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 8

nako village

Petrol Pumps in Kinnaur

As you approach Kinnaur Valley, Petrol pumps and mechanics will be a regular affair. You will keep coming across gas stations throughout the route. Places like Shimla, Narkanda, Rampur have authorized service stations of several car and motorcycle companies.

In Kinnaur Valley, the last petrol pump is at Powari and Reckong Peo. If your plan was to visit upper Kinnaur as well then I would recommend you to tank up here. There is a petrol pump in Sangla but none at Chitkul.

In terms of mechanics, or small fixes, you can get it done at Sangla, Reckong Peo, or Kalpa but for any major repairs, you will have to bring your car back to Shimla.

Also Read: How much Will a Kinnaur Valley Trip Cost?

Road Condition in Kinnaur

Road conditions in Kinnaur valley continue to change each year. There are some parts that always remain in good condition, some are always bad and at some stretches, there is restoration work happening all the time. Depending on your time of travel, this is how the road conditions will be in Kinnaur.

  • Delhi to Chandigarh: A smooth drive all the way on NH1.
  • Chandigarh to Shimla: Mostly OK but there is road widening work going on at some stretches which may result in slow traffic.
  • Shimla to Narkanda: Good tarred road.
  • Narkanda to Rampur: Mostly good
  • Rampur to Karcham: A mix of good and average.
  • Karcham to Sangla: Mix of good and average
  • Sangla to Chitkul: Mix of average and bad
  • Karcham to Kalpa: Mix of good and average
  • Kalpa to Khab: Mix of good, bad and ugly
  • Khab to Nako: Good

Also Read: Kinnaur Valley Bus Schedule

Kinnaur Trip Itinerary – Conclusion

I hope the information above on Kinnaur Valley itinerary was of help. If you need any further details; or have other questions on any part of the trip described above; please feel free to ask in the comments section below, or at our Community Forum and I will be glad to answer

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15 comments

Susmita Chatterjee September 26, 2021 - 10:56 am

Hi ,
Is kinnaur time to be visited on March end.will the roads open by then

Reply
Mukul Raipure December 7, 2020 - 7:19 am

Hi Vargis, thanks for the information. we are a group of 5 people and planning a trip to kinnaur in January. Is it a good time to go their or it will be close. Also, kindly suggest a itinerary for 4 days from 14 jan to 17 jan where we’ll start the journey on 13th night at around 10-11 pm and planning to return delhi on 17th night.

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Nishant Dinesh Rathor January 11, 2021 - 2:10 pm

I have been to almost all places in Himachal except for Spiti and Kinnaur. I am a winter lover I have been to temperature extreme as -20deg. Just want to know is it a good time to visit Kinnaur during this time of the year.

Reply
Dr. Nityananda Nandi March 7, 2020 - 12:04 pm

If I plan to go from 2nd week of June to 1st week of July, will it be OK?

Reply
Vargis.Khan March 9, 2020 - 6:08 am

Yes it will be

Reply
Rashmi February 20, 2020 - 12:48 pm

Hello Vargis , Is March end good time to do this trip with a child???

Reply
Vargis.Khan February 20, 2020 - 2:20 pm

Hi Rashmi – It will be very cold in March but as long as you are prepared for it, its OK to go.

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Pratap Kr. Mndal February 1, 2020 - 5:56 am

The above iteneiry can be done at he end of dec.

Reply
Vargis.Khan February 2, 2020 - 3:30 pm

Except for Chitkul, rest all can be done.

Reply
Neerja October 17, 2019 - 7:34 am

Hi Vargis. This is a very informative and detailed explanation and I wonder how much knowledge you have around this area. So I was wondering if there is any chance I can do Delhi-Kalpa-Delhi in 5 days by leaving Delhi friday night to be back to Delhi by wed morning?

Reply
Vargis.Khan October 18, 2019 - 12:39 pm

Hi Neerja – Delhi to Kalpa can easily be done in 5 days. As a matter of fact, if you started by 1-2 AM in the night from Delhi, you can easily reach Kalpa by evening of the next day.

Reply
Avijit Mukherjee September 15, 2019 - 5:40 am

Hi Vargis, I am from Mumbai and plan to go to Kinnaur , lower circuit just after Diwali.. is this the right time to visit ? Second can you suggest any taxi company who can offer services from delhi to delhi for this kind of trips .. we will be a group of 5 people.
Thanks for yor help in advance and your blogs are great.
Avijit

Reply
Vargis.Khan September 16, 2019 - 4:17 am

Hi Avijit – Yes, going after Diwali is fine. Unfortunately, I cannot really recommend any travel companies as such. Sorry. Don’t know of any.

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avijit September 19, 2019 - 2:12 pm

Thanks Vargis, one more question , after Diwali which is end of Oct / beg Nov, is it possible to cover Spiti Valley and exit via Manali . I have heard that Rohtang closes down due to snow by this time , but I am not sure of this info. Please let me know .. Thanks Avijit

Reply
Vargis.Khan September 19, 2019 - 2:56 pm

Depends on the weather but chances are very less. Kunzum Pass would have closed by then.

Reply

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