Kinnaur Winter Itinerary – How to Plan your Trip ?

by Vargis.Khan

In the last article, I talked about a few important things that you must keep in mind while traveling to Kinnaur valley in winter season. Continuing in the same series, in this article I will provide a sample itinerary that can be followed for this journey. Your final travel plan will of course depend on several factors like how you were traveling; and where you were coming from but the details below should at least give you an idea on how you can plan your trip. For the sake of this article, I will assume that you were starting from Delhi. If you were however coming from a different place, then only the travel for first and last day will be different; rest of the details will still apply.

kinnaur winter itinerary

The itinerary below can be followed irrespective of whether you were traveling by your own vehicle or by public transport. The bus service to Kinnaur from Shimla remains available throughout the year so you can easily move around between places. The only catch is that in the months of January and February, there may not be a bus available for a few days if it snowed too much anywhere on the route. Apart from the buses, you can also use shared taxis which are available in plenty and get used mostly by locals. Chitkul will anyways remain off the limits from December till March so there will be no public transport going that way.

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Kinnaur Valley

Roads of Kinnaur Valley

Before the itinerary, let me first talk a little about the roads in Kinnaur Valley for a better understanding. Kinnaur is divided in two parts; lower Kinnaur which is the area around Reckong Peo and Kalpa; and Upper Kinnaur which is the area around the village of Nako. The road from Shimla to Kaza is the one that runs through Kinnaur Valley as well. From Karchham, a road bifurcates towards Sangla Valley. It runs for a total of about 45 kilometers and ends at Chitkul while crossing the town of Sangla on the way.

Now of all these roads, the Shimla – Kaza highway remains open throughout the year. There could be a temporary roadblock due to heavy snowfall anywhere on the route in the months of January and February. But authorities usually clear the road just as soon as they are able to and restore connectivity. The road towards Chitkul however gets blocked towards end of December and remains so until early to Mid-March. So in the months of January and February, you cannot actually go to Chitkul. You can try for Sangla but that too is a bit of a risk and doubtful.

Also Read: When is the Best time to Visit Kinnaur?

Kinnaur Winter Itinerary

Now considering the above, your itinerary will depend on which part of winter were you traveling in. Your travel plan for the months of November and December will be different than the one January, February and March. I will provide an example of both the itineraries.

Kinnaur in Early Winter

If you were traveling in the months of late October, November or first half of December, then the itinerary can be as mentioned below.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Kalpa
  • Kalpa to Nako
  • Nako to Chitkul
  • Chitkul to Sarahan
  • Sarahan to Chail
  • Chail to Delhi

A minimum of 6 to 7 days is what I will recommend for Kinnaur trip. This way you will be able to explore and see all there is to see without spending entire days in travel. If you can add couple of more days the it will be cherry on the top. You can extend your stay at any of the places and enjoy the visit some of the local areas. A detailed description of the itinerary is as mentioned below.

Also Read: How much a Trip to Kinnaur Valley Costs?

Delhi to Nako

Your destination for Day 1 can either be Shimla or Narkanda. I personally prefer staying at Narkanda more than crowded Shimla. There are several hotels that you can check in for the night at Narkanda. Total distance covered will be about 400 kilometers in 9 to 10 hours and road conditions are mostly OK. From Narkanda, you will then travel to Kalpa on Day 2 while crossing the small towns of Rampur, Jeori and Reckong Peo on the way. This is a journey of about 6 to 7 hours and road will be about average.

Finding a place to stay in Kalpa too should not be a problem. If you want, you can also actually visit Hatu Peak at Narkanda in the morning before coming to Kalpa. Your destination for Day 3 will be the small town of Nako in the upper reaches of Kinnaur. Road condition on this day will be a mix of good and bad. The bad part will mostly be between Reckong Peo and Pooh. The entire journey will not take you more than 4 to 5 hours at most; depending your speed and breaks.

Nako to Sarahan

Nako is the farthest you will be going and from here, will start on your way back. Chitkul is where you will be reaching on Day 4. From Nako, start journeying back on the same road that you took to get there. Once you reach Karchham, cross the dam over to the other side and take the road towards Sangla Valley. This 40 kilometers stretch is a mix of good, bad and average and runs for 40 kilometers before ending at Chitkul. You will also be crossing the small town of Sangla which is also a good place to stay in case you did not want to go all the way to Chitkul.

Also Read: Schedule of Bus Service in Kinnaur Valley

Next day, you will again travel back 40 kilometers till Karchham and then take the road towards Shimla. Once you reach Jeori, you will again leave the highway and turn left on the 15 kilometers long stretch that you will see you arriving at the small but beautiful village of Sarahan. The road is narrow and the climb is steep but the vistas around definitely make the journey worth it.

Sarahan to Delhi

Now after Sarahan, you have two choices. You can either reach back Shimla and spend an evening here. Or you can drive a little further till Chail and break your journey there. Of the two, I will personally recommend going till Chail as opposed to Shimla; but staying at Shimla too has its own benefits. You can end your journey with a walk on the mall road and some shopping. Or you can go all the way to Chail and enjoy a sunset there from Kali ka Tibba. On Day 7, you will then travel back from Chail to Delhi via NH1.

Kinnaur Itinerary in January, February and March

Now the itinerary above is for early winter; the months of March and till mid-December. But things will have to be changed after cold settles in and it starts to snow heavily. The amount of snow on the road continues to increase in the month of Jan, Feb and March forcing road closures at several places. Your trip to Kinnaur in this case then will be more towards staying at a couple of places and explore while enjoying the weather. Your chances of catching a live snowfall too at this time will be greatest.

Also Read: How to Make a Trip to Kinnaur Valley in under 10K?

If you were planning to go in either of these months, then the itinerary I recommend will be as below.

  • Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda
  • Shimla / Narkanda to Kalpa
  • Kalpa
  • Kalpa to Sangla / Sarahan
  • Sarahan
  • Sarahan to Chail
  • Chail to Delhi

The biggest change in this itinerary is that you will be giving up Chitkul and Nako entirely; and spend some time relaxing in Kalpa and Sarahan instead. Your journey on Day 1 and 2 till Kalpa will be the same that I explained above. As a matter of fact, you may also not be able to reach Kalpa if the snow was too much. You may have to leave your vehicles in Reckong Peo and walk last few kilometers. Day 3 will be spent in Kalpa relaxing and enjoying the views of Kinner Kailash. You can also plan a visit to the suicide point and Roghi village.

Also Read: Kinnaur in Winter – How to Plan your Journey ?

Your journey on Day 4 will also depend on the weather. Chitkul is of course out of the plan because the road will be closed but you can try to reach until Sangla. If the road till Sangla was open then you can spend the day there or go straight to Sarahan. From Sarahan then you will travel back to Delhi via Shimla.

Kinnaur Winter Itinerary – Conclusion

I hope the information above on Kinnaur winter Itinerary was of help. These are just a couple of sample travel plans and this journey can of course be done in several other ways. If you would like to travel differently and have questions about your itinerary; 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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