Sar Pass Trek

Manali | India
  From  INR 5,899  | From 5 Days

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All You Need to Know About the Sar Pass Trek

Himachal Pradesh is home to rocky mountains and snow-laden forests. Here in the remotest of the regions, you will find abundant varieties of flora and fauna snuggled in the dense woods. The Parvati Valley in the Kullu district is widely known for meandering rivers on the mountain peaks and the beautiful lakes adorning nature.

One of the best hiking trails in Parvati Valley is the Sar Pass Trek, rich with majestic mountain views, lush green landscapes, and panoramic views of the quaint villages along the snow-draped path. Hiking enthusiasts from all over the world swarm to the Kullu region to conquer Sar Pass, and it is widely popular as a beginner-friendly trek. It is a must-try trek for adventurers and rock climbers to explore the snow terrains of the Himalayas.

The never-ending snow slides and the mesmerizing view:

The Sar Pass Trek route is filled with an unending sight of snow that runs knee-deep. One can witness the transition of nature from picturesque grasslands to snow patches all the time. Along the rocky terrain, you come across a small frozen lake (Sar) amidst the steep ridges that define the true beauty of nature. The trail offers a thrilling snow ride along a 3 km stretch to the Biskeri campsite. The 30 m deep snow slides are the highlights of this trek and a fun experience, and it is a great way to satiate the adrenaline rush.

A glimpse of rare flora and fauna:

The Sar Pass is a backpacker's haven for the most obvious reason being the wide range of flora and fauna. It appears as though all of nature cradles in the very heart of Sar Pass! Words fall short in describing the beautiful flowers, poppies, orchid trees, alpine trees, tidy, fir, deodar groves, and bright red flowers called Rhododendrons that bloom in the snowy regions.

These flowers are spectacular, and syrup from their petals tastes like heaven. You can find several medicinal plants like Hath Panja (Dactylorhiza Hatagirea) and Brahma Kamal (Saussurea Obvallata) along the green meadows when you know the best time to visit Sar Pass Trek.

The bountiful vegetation of the coniferous forests and the rocky patches of the valleys are a natural habitat to rare fauna such as musk deer, Himalayan brown bear, and the Himalayan Tahr snuck in the myriads of the pine trees. The trail also welcomes multi-hued butterflies and birds like Western Tragopan and Monal pheasant beckoning early spring tourists.

Memorable sojourn in the camping grounds:

The enormity of the sky-hugging mountains and the stunning views of Mother Nature on either side fills you with gratitude and a wanting to spend the rest of the trek gazing at the night stars. The campsite at Grahan village and Nagaru are a manifestation of the creation at its best, with the stunning views of valleys edged by snow-capped mountains.

One can witness the magic of the night sky clinging to the rain clouds and the countless stars. Watching the breathtaking sunrise and sunsets from the tents, sipping the hot tea, enjoying the distant cacophonies of the birds and native animals, and relishing the delicacies of the region obscures the spine chilling cold and fatigue from the day-long trek.

Overview of Sar Pass Trek:

The Sar Pass route is easy-moderate for the ascent, and even the amateur trekkers with good physical and mental fitness can overcome the strenuous climb. In the span of five days, the mount becomes steeper with each passing day. The trail swerves through the woods and the ridges engulfed in snow. You can occasionally come across the slippery slope during the trek, but with the help of a training instructor and a trekking pole, one can surpass the extremities of the sliding snow.

Hence regular workouts and cardio exercises can help you build strength physically and mentally. One must practice walking with a medium-light rucksack as an exercise before the expedition. Controlled breathing is paramount throughout the journey, and with proper travel gear, good fitness level, and determination, you can fight all odds during the expedition.

Location information:

Sar Pass is in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh that runs in the ethereal meadows of the Parvati valley. Situated in the land of mountains, Sar Pass Trek, Kasol is worth exploring for its majestic mountains, surreal views of tiny river streams and lakes, and snow-covered forests. The highest point in the trek is at 4220m, and the ascent becomes steeper as you climb atop the valley. The trek starts from the beautiful village of Kasol (1580 m), known as mini Israel of India, passing through Grahan village (2346 m), a rich heritage of traditions and culture in the quiet of nature.

Budget and duration:

The total Sar Pass Trek distance is 48 km, and a typical tour package covers the trek in 5 days and four nights. Each day requires 7 hours to cover 7-9 km while spending the night at a campsite. Trekking in the early morning hours reduces the impact of the winter sun rays and stabilizes the body temperature.

One must look into the Sar Pass Trek cost well before to avoid the last-minute hassle. The budget varies with the type of trekking gear and equipment you must purchase for the hike. You can save the expense of buying travel gear anew if you are an experienced trekker. The trek package of five days ranges from USD 65-120 (INR 5000-9000). It generally covers the travel, accommodation, food, and stay facility. However, hiring a trekking instructor would be a thoughtful choice for this particular trek to conquer the unpredictable terrains.

Mobile connectivity:

Kasol is the last point for uninterrupted cell phone connectivity. Since accessing the network from the mountainous range is challenging, you can rely on the BSNL and Airtel network in Kasol. Besides Kasol, in no other region will you get a stable network. However, in the village of Grahan, there is a landline service available for emergency purposes.

Best time to visit the Sar Pass Trek:

Now coming to the best time to visit Sar Pass Trek, an ideal time is between April and October. It is one of the best early winter and summer treks in India.

Sar Pass trek in the summer:

During the summer (April-May), the weather is moderate, and you can witness pleasant snowfall along the trails. The calm weather and the scenic surroundings make this time of the year your worth shot. There is less chance of tipping on the snow due to less moisture, and the temperature stays between 22°C to -5°C.

Sar Pass trek during monsoon and early winter:

In the monsoon season (June-September), nature is in full swing with the pleasing earthy smell due to the rain and the lush green forests. This time is recommended for nature enthusiasts and shutterbugs to capture the visual delight in the region. However, the weather becomes challenging above 1200 m, but you can withstand them with proper gears and instructions.

In the early winter of October, the snow begins to take precedence over the green patches, and the glorious mountains appear like icing on the cake, in a literal sense!

However, the experts suggest that the peak winter season starting from November is unpredictable, and the routes are covered with heavy snow making it difficult to traverse the path. Hence, most travel companies offering the Sar Pass Trek package prefer not to conduct this expedition in December.

Gear guide and checklist for the Sar Pass Trek:

Apparel:

Having the right apparel becomes significant to trek in the Himalayan terrain. One must purchase trekking apparel of high quality to ensure comfort and safety. On your checklist, include basic apparel such as 2-3 sweatshirts, sweatpants, hiking pants, fleece jackets, and thick waterproof jackets. The headgear must include hoodies, balaclavas to cover under the hood, ear mitts, scarfs/buffs, woolen caps, and beanies.

For the mountain treks, it is always best to dress up in layers and hence carry a pair of quick-to-dry polyester t-shirts, dry towels, joggers, and thermal undergarments. Don't forget to pack your woolen gloves, neck warmers, and mufflers to resist the freezing temperature at the top. On a side note, you must ensure that the backpack is not heavy to carry around the whole day. Hence select only light-weight clothes for travel.

Footwear and other accessories:

Never underestimate the power of hiking shoes on this trek. As you climb on the steep roads and narrow alleys, you cannot compromise on the quality of the shoes. You need more than sports shoes since you need good traction in the entire trek. Carry sturdy waterproof shoes with better grip and microspikes for hassle-free trekking. To avoid running snow or slush into your shoes, you must include gumboots or gaiters that prevent insects and debris from entering your foot. A pair of synthetic socks and woolen socks are a must to protect the feet from frostbite.

In addition to this, you must carry night torches, spare batteries, a gimbal camera (if necessary), synthetic raincoats, a sturdy trekking pole, empty water bottles for refilling water at the camping sites, UV protection sunglasses, and a plastic rope to dry wet clothes in the campsite.

Baggage and Sleeping Bags:

A most important accessory is the backpack to carry all the essentials. You must own a good quality backpack (50-60 lt) and a day pack (15-20 lt) for the Sar pass trek. Additionally, one must pack foldable sleeping bags and high-fine tents to spend the night at the freezing camping grounds if not included in the tour package. Sleeping bags can withstand low temperatures as -10°C to keep you warm throughout the night.

Toiletry:

Your travel kit must include necessary toiletries and hygiene products to maintain cleanliness and prevent rashes and sunburns common in mountain areas. Always carry sunscreens, moisturizers, lip salve, biodegradable soap, wet tissues, tissue rolls, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizers, and deodorants.

Women must carry menstrual cups/tampons/sanitary pads and a plastic bag to wrap it and take it back. Include antibacterial powders to beat the heat during the summer and prevent sweat pores.

Food and Cutleries:

It is best to carry snacks, dry fruits, and ready-to-eat food during the trek. You can include a steel or aluminum tumbler to make chai or heat water at the top. Remember to hydrate yourself frequently and consume food that gives stamina and maintains a healthy diet. You cannot afford to fall sick due to food poisoning or an unhealthy diet in the week-long trek.

Medical kit with first-aid:

The unpredictable weather in the peaks can cause sudden ill-health, and therefore one must be equipped with medical supplies. Some must-carry first aid boxes include ORS sachets, glucose, band-aids, pain-relieving sprays, cold/fever tablets, Vomistop tablets, Dettol, insect repellent creams, antibacterial and antihistamine tablets, antifungal cream, and a crisis oxygen chamber pack for the entire group.

Important documents:

Without the authorized medical certificate and NOC( No objection certificate) form, you will not be allowed to start the trek at Kasol. Other important documents for Indians include ID proof such as Voter Card/ Aadhar Card. Foreign nationals must carry their visas and passports for identity verification.

The Sar Pass Trek Itinerary:

Here is a detailed description of unraveling the total Sar pass trek distance from the base village.

  • Day 1: The D-day begins from the base village, Kasol. Tucked in the Kullu region of Himachal, Kasol is a small village known for majestic views of the sylvan hills and pine forests. The nearest airport to Sar Pass trek, Kasol, is Bhuntar (Kullu) Airport, having connecting flights from all major cities of India. Alternatively, you can travel by rail to Kasol. The nearest railway station to Kasol is Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, where direct taxis and buses are available to Kasol. On the first day, you start from Kasol to a quaint village of Grahan along the alpine meadows to the left of Grahan Nallah (stream). Flanked by beautiful rivers and the blooming red Rhododendron trees, the scenic hike of 10 km to reach Grahan takes 5-6 hours. After passing the Grahan Nallah, the climb becomes rocky and uphill with the unleashing of the wilderness of the Parvati valley. By the time you reach Grahan perched at the hilltop, the locals extend a warm welcome and prepare for a cozy stay for the night in the tents gazing at the night stars.
  • Day 2: The next destination is Min Tach (3400 m), drifting towards the North from Grahan. The ascent is steeper and leads into the thick woods that unfolds into green grasslands on the ridges where the cattle graze. Hence the name Thach ( grazing ground) is in the local dialect. With the rocky gradient throughout the ascent, you cover 7 km on the second day in 4-5 hours. You will reach the Nagaru campsite by evening, where small stalls serve hot tea and Maggi to the trekkers. The camp holds a spectacular view of the Chandrakhani stretch (3660 m) and other Himalayan peaks.
  • Day 3: Day three starts early from the Min Thach campsite to Nagaru, an 8 km stretch covered in the first glimpse of fresh snow in the Sar pass trek route. The trail is rocky and begins to shape to a steep patch making it a challenging ascent. The weather decides the complexity of the hike, but the stunning views of the snow peaks, vast green pastureland beneath the steep ridges, and the majestic view of Manikaran fill you with divinity. After 4-5 hours of uncovering snow patches using a trekking pole along the steep slope, one becomes spellbound by the flat land on top of the hill, your destination, Nagaru. You can get a bird's eye view of the nearby villages and the snow-kissed mountains in the Beas Valley. You get potable water at the campsite, and as the crow flies, the next day arrives!
  • Day 4: On the 4th day, you will reach the highest point in the trek. The trail is similar to the third day, with knee-deep snow to the top of the hill. Here is a spell-bound view of the Sar pass. One must climb through the cliff to reach another hill peak, the most-awaited summit of the Sar Pass. The frozen lake appears to reflect the chilling weather, and you don't want to go back. After soaking in the beauty and serenity of nature, you must descend to reach the Biskeri ridge. It is the most exciting part of the trek as you must slide down on the snow for 1-3km to get to flat land. With the help of the poles for rowing, the thrilling snow slide is nothing short of a swirling ride! Finally, you arrive at Biskeri and rest for the night.
  • Day 5: On the final day, your destination to Barsheni (2400 m) starts with a gradual descent, crossing a stream and rappelling down the rock to reach a village, Pulga. The Pulga and Tulga are the twin villages, separated by a stream. After crossing a bridge from Tulga village on the calm waters of the Parvati River, you arrive at Barsheni, the endpoint of the trek. You will laud your decision of taking the Sar pass trek package to explore the eternal beauty of the Himalayas.

Getting fit for the Sar Pass Trek:

The Sar Pass hike is a moderate ascent to 4220 m amidst the snow patches and the steep ridges along the valley. One must be physically and mentally fit to embark on this trek, and regular exercises and jogging will improve your stamina. Other forms of gaining mental agility like Yoga, Pranayama, and meditation will help you in quick decision-making and not give up on the final goal.

Cardio exercises, lunges, lifting weights, and squats are essential to practice, especially to the amateur trekkers not used to physical exertion. Doing this before four months of the start of the trek will prepare you for any hurdles in the eleventh hour.

The Sar Pass hike is a paradise to amateur and experienced trekkers in the world. It is best known for the diverse landscapes, breathtaking views of the valleys and rivers, and the thrilling ascent and descent from the sinuous hills decked up with the snow. No wonder it is the heartland of varied flora and fauna enriching the greatness of the Parvati Valley!