Spiti Valley – Kinnaur Cycle Expedition

Trip Type: Cycling Tour
Region: Himachal Pradesh - Lahaul / Spiti / Kinnaur Valley
Grade: Challenging
Duration: 8+ Days
Max Altitude: 4600
Best Season: June - September
Trip Begins: Manali / Ends: Kalpa
Batch Dates: 16/06/2023 - 27/06/2023
Trip Cost

Tour price half ride – 6 days – 45,000
Tour price full ride – 12 days – 60,000
Cycle rent – 12,000

A 6 or 12 day trip that takes you from Manali, over the Rohtang Pass and into the Lahaul valley along the Chandra river and onward over the Kunzum Pass to reach Spiti and then continuing onwards through the Kinnaur valley. The route is a mix of tarmac and rough un-metalled roads with awe inspiring views throughout. Biking through some of the remotest parts of Himachal Pradesh, this trip provides a myriad of experiences. Spiti is the cultural and a religious mirror to Tibet. Ancient monasteries dote the brown valleys, interspersed with green villages – it’s the High Himalayas at their best. From here, it gradually gets green as you enter Kinnaur. A traverse unparalleled in the myriad of landscapes that it goes through.

Itinerary
DAY 00 | 16-Jun-23
Arrive in Manali (2050m).

All riders will gather in Manali. Spend the evening getting acquainted with your fellow riders. Hang out at the dreamy little cafes across town, many of which have views of the idyllic mountains around.

DAY 01 | 17-Jun-23
In Manali for acclimatisation and gear checks. Distance: 20 Kms Duration: 4-5 hours

Today we will do a gear check and last minute preparations.
We will do a ride to Solang valley to ensure we are all set for the long expedition. As the day winds down you can choose to go visit the hot water springs for a dip at Vashisht or Kalath. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 02 | 18-Jun-23
Manali - Marhi (3400m). Distance: 35 Kms Duration: 5-7 hours

The journey starts from the smooth roads of Manali. We take a series of hairpin bends to leave the Pine and Deodar forests surrounding Manali, cycle through the villages of Palchan, Kothi and Gulaba to reach the alpine meadows at Marhi – the base of the Rohtang Pass. Camp here for the night.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1600 m, Loss: 200 m

DAY 03 | 19-Jun-23
Marhi - Chatru (3400m). Distance: 50 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

We start the day with a steep climb to the top of Rohtang Pass at nearly 4000m. The descent from the pass is the beginning of the mix of metalled and unmetalled roads that we go on for the rest of the trip. The road forks at Gramphu, one goes to Leh and the other leads to Spiti. We follow the Chandra river here on to reach the camping grounds at Chatru.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1100 m, Loss: 1000 m

DAY 04 | 20-Jun-23
Chatru - Batal (3900m). Distance: 30 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

We continue to ride along the Chandra river and pass numerous nallas on the way, including the infamous Pagal Nalla. The road today offers expansive views of the Chandrabhaga mountain range as we make our way to Batal. Overnight at Batal.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 900 m, Loss: 250 m

DAY 05 | 21-Jun-23
Batal - Chandratal (spot elevation: 4250 m) - Batal. Distance: 30 Kms Round trip Duration: 5-6 hours

Today we do an easy day and ride to the remote crescent-shaped lake called Chandra Taal. We ride there from Batal, heading up the Samudra Tapu plateau and descending to this pristine lake. The clear blue waters of Chandra Taal complement the semi-arid Baralacha and Chandra Bagha mountains around. Sitting down on grassy banks dotted with wildflowers, you can soak up these surreal landscapes. Return to camp at Batal and rest.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 700 m, Loss: 700 m

DAY 06 | 22-Jun-23
Batal - Kunzum La top (4551m) - Hansa (3700m). Distance: 42 kms Duration: 7-8 hours

Our hardest day on the trip. We start the day from Batal, making our way up to Kunzum Pass at 4551m. We spend some time at the pass and view various glaciers and mountains from here. Kunzum Pass is the gateway to Spiti. Make our way downhill to camp at Hansa.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 900 m, Loss: 950 m

DAY 07 | 23-Jun-23
Hansa - Chicham (4200m) - Komic (4500m). Distance: 65 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

We begin our day from our camp at Hansa and ride along the highway for 2 hrs. At some point we veer off the main road and get on a smaller road to reach the picturesque Chicham village. we continue on to the highest village in the world, Komic. Overnight at Komic. The highlights of the day are – the highest bridge in Asia – the 120m long bridge that connects Chicham and Kibber villages. Kibber village is home to the iconic Kee Gompa. We stop for a visit and meet with the monks of the monastery. We descend from Kibber to the main highway and cycle on smooth road for a very short distance before leaving the road again to get onto the dirt trail going up to Hikkim village and onward to Komic. Komic at over 4500m is claimed to be the highest village connected with a motorable road.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 2000 m, Loss: 1500 m

DAY 08 | 24-Jun-23
Komic - Tabo (3280m). Distance: 65 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

Today we will ride via Demul and Lingthi villages to reach Tabo. Most of our riding will be downhill. Enroute we will also cross the 1000 year monastery of Dhankar. We will stop at Dhankar for a while to get some photos and then continue our ride to Tabo. Tabo is nestled in an idyllic setting – a calm little village with a great vibe, set amidst a beautiful and ancient monastery also 1000 years old.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1100 m, Loss: 2350 m

DAY 09 | 25-Jun-23
Tabo - Nako (3000m). Distance: 65 Kms Duration: 7-8 hours

We cycle today to the picturesque lakeside village of Nako set in the foreground to Reo Purgyal which at 6,816 metres is the highest mountain in Himachal Pradesh. Nako Monastery established in 1025 AD adds another element of interest to this small village.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1800 m, Loss: 1450 m

DAY 10 | 26-Jun-23
Nako - Spello (2400m). Distance: 62 Kms Duration: 5-6 hours

We leave behind the barren, stark landscape of Spiti as we enter Kinnaur. The abundant greenery provides a stark foil to the Martian landscape we have left behind. Witness the confluence of the Spiti and Sutlej rivers. As we ride past Khab and Pooh the villages too start becoming bigger. We follow the road along the banks of the Sutlej and end the day in the quaint village of Spello.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1500 m, Loss: 2800 m

DAY 11 | 27-Jun-23
Spello - Kalpa (2950m). Distance: 45 Kms Duration: 5-6 hours

On the final day of this expedition, you will first ride along the old Hindustan-Tibet road, enjoying scenes of the Sutlej River valley. Turn off the highway to reach Kinnaur’s district headquarters Reckong Peo. Finally, make your way up to the picture-postcard village of Kalpa, on steep winding roads flanked by deodar trees, apple orchards, and terraced farms. Soak up breathtaking vistas of the holy Kinnaur Kailash peaks as you reminisce about riding in the mountains.
While in Kalpa, observe the blend of Hindu and Tibetan cultures. Notable attractions here include the Narayan Nagini Temple, Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar monastery, and the Sapni Fort. Don’t miss out on savouring the delicious Kinnaur apples!

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1800 m, Loss: 1200 m

DAY 12 | 28-Jun-23
Kalpa - Reckong Peo (2600m). Distance: 15 Kms Duration: Drive 40 mins

Our vehicles drop you from our hotel in Kalpa to the bus stand at Reckong Peo, a couple of kilometres away. Trip ends!

Inclusions
  • Camping Tents, Kitchen tents, Sleeping bags (Holofill) and Carry mats.
  • Nutritious, high-calorie, vegetarian food.
  • Cycling Guide, cook and camp helpers.
  • Logistics Vehicle like tempo traveller to carry all our equipment.
  • Participants are not expected to carry any loads other than your personal knapsack containing a water bottle, camera and trail layers.
  • Two people will be accommodated in one tent.
  • Hotel accommodations in Manali in a budget hotel/ guesthouse.
  • Homestay accommodations with food in Komic, Tabo, Nako, Spello and Kalpa.
Exclusions
  • All expenses of personal nature like drinks, tips, telephone calls, mineral water etc.
  • Food in Manali.
  • Medical and evacuation expenses, we strongly recommend purchasing a suitable insurance cover.
  • Mountain bike. (You could get your own cycles or could also rent from us).
  • Transport from Rekong Peo onward on Day 12.
Things You Need To Get

Clothing:

– Good quality waterproof jacket
– Waterproof trousers
– Balaclava (thick fleece)
– Sun hat
– Cycle mitts
– Warm gloves – mountaineering gloves (waterproof outer, fleece inner) are good.
– Mid-weight fleece top
– Cycling tights (looser, “trackster” fit rather skin-tight lycra),
– Shorts
– Long sleeved shirt
– Travel trousers
– 2 wicking tee-shirts (synthetic or merino wool)
– Cotton tee-shirt for around town
– Long sleeved thermal top
– Thermal long johns
– 2-3 pairs underwear
– 2-3 pairs of standard socks
– 1 pair warm sock

Footwear:

– Cycling shoes, e.g. SPD’s, if applicable (bring spare cleats)
– Trekking shoes and climbing shoes
– Flip-flops, Crocs or Sandals to wear around camp.

Pack:

– Main bag – soft shell duffle bag to be kept in the logistics vehicle.
– Day Pack 15 – 20 lts – You will use this to carry your camera, water bottle, Trail layers, trail food etc.

Accessories:

– A bike helmet
– Dark glasses (the sun is very strong),
– Camera
– Toiletries – Sunscreen SPF 40+, Moisturizer, Lip balm, Soap, Toilet paper
– Repair Kit (needle and thread).
– Headlamp/ Torch.
– Water Bottle- Ideally keep two bottles 1 litre each.
– Plastic Packing covers.

Documents:

– A couple of spare passport photos photocopies of key documents. e.g., passport (data and visa pages),
– Travel insurance policy

Overview
+-

A 6 or 12 day trip that takes you from Manali, over the Rohtang Pass and into the Lahaul valley along the Chandra river and onward over the Kunzum Pass to reach Spiti and then continuing onwards through the Kinnaur valley. The route is a mix of tarmac and rough un-metalled roads with awe inspiring views throughout. Biking through some of the remotest parts of Himachal Pradesh, this trip provides a myriad of experiences. Spiti is the cultural and a religious mirror to Tibet. Ancient monasteries dote the brown valleys, interspersed with green villages – it’s the High Himalayas at their best. From here, it gradually gets green as you enter Kinnaur. A traverse unparalleled in the myriad of landscapes that it goes through.

Itinerary
+-
DAY 00 | 16-Jun-23
Arrive in Manali (2050m).

All riders will gather in Manali. Spend the evening getting acquainted with your fellow riders. Hang out at the dreamy little cafes across town, many of which have views of the idyllic mountains around.

DAY 01 | 17-Jun-23
In Manali for acclimatisation and gear checks. Distance: 20 Kms Duration: 4-5 hours

Today we will do a gear check and last minute preparations.
We will do a ride to Solang valley to ensure we are all set for the long expedition. As the day winds down you can choose to go visit the hot water springs for a dip at Vashisht or Kalath. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 02 | 18-Jun-23
Manali - Marhi (3400m). Distance: 35 Kms Duration: 5-7 hours

The journey starts from the smooth roads of Manali. We take a series of hairpin bends to leave the Pine and Deodar forests surrounding Manali, cycle through the villages of Palchan, Kothi and Gulaba to reach the alpine meadows at Marhi – the base of the Rohtang Pass. Camp here for the night.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1600 m, Loss: 200 m

DAY 03 | 19-Jun-23
Marhi - Chatru (3400m). Distance: 50 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

We start the day with a steep climb to the top of Rohtang Pass at nearly 4000m. The descent from the pass is the beginning of the mix of metalled and unmetalled roads that we go on for the rest of the trip. The road forks at Gramphu, one goes to Leh and the other leads to Spiti. We follow the Chandra river here on to reach the camping grounds at Chatru.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1100 m, Loss: 1000 m

DAY 04 | 20-Jun-23
Chatru - Batal (3900m). Distance: 30 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

We continue to ride along the Chandra river and pass numerous nallas on the way, including the infamous Pagal Nalla. The road today offers expansive views of the Chandrabhaga mountain range as we make our way to Batal. Overnight at Batal.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 900 m, Loss: 250 m

DAY 05 | 21-Jun-23
Batal - Chandratal (spot elevation: 4250 m) - Batal. Distance: 30 Kms Round trip Duration: 5-6 hours

Today we do an easy day and ride to the remote crescent-shaped lake called Chandra Taal. We ride there from Batal, heading up the Samudra Tapu plateau and descending to this pristine lake. The clear blue waters of Chandra Taal complement the semi-arid Baralacha and Chandra Bagha mountains around. Sitting down on grassy banks dotted with wildflowers, you can soak up these surreal landscapes. Return to camp at Batal and rest.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 700 m, Loss: 700 m

DAY 06 | 22-Jun-23
Batal - Kunzum La top (4551m) - Hansa (3700m). Distance: 42 kms Duration: 7-8 hours

Our hardest day on the trip. We start the day from Batal, making our way up to Kunzum Pass at 4551m. We spend some time at the pass and view various glaciers and mountains from here. Kunzum Pass is the gateway to Spiti. Make our way downhill to camp at Hansa.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 900 m, Loss: 950 m

DAY 07 | 23-Jun-23
Hansa - Chicham (4200m) - Komic (4500m). Distance: 65 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

We begin our day from our camp at Hansa and ride along the highway for 2 hrs. At some point we veer off the main road and get on a smaller road to reach the picturesque Chicham village. we continue on to the highest village in the world, Komic. Overnight at Komic. The highlights of the day are – the highest bridge in Asia – the 120m long bridge that connects Chicham and Kibber villages. Kibber village is home to the iconic Kee Gompa. We stop for a visit and meet with the monks of the monastery. We descend from Kibber to the main highway and cycle on smooth road for a very short distance before leaving the road again to get onto the dirt trail going up to Hikkim village and onward to Komic. Komic at over 4500m is claimed to be the highest village connected with a motorable road.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 2000 m, Loss: 1500 m

DAY 08 | 24-Jun-23
Komic - Tabo (3280m). Distance: 65 Kms Duration: 6-7 hours

Today we will ride via Demul and Lingthi villages to reach Tabo. Most of our riding will be downhill. Enroute we will also cross the 1000 year monastery of Dhankar. We will stop at Dhankar for a while to get some photos and then continue our ride to Tabo. Tabo is nestled in an idyllic setting – a calm little village with a great vibe, set amidst a beautiful and ancient monastery also 1000 years old.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1100 m, Loss: 2350 m

DAY 09 | 25-Jun-23
Tabo - Nako (3000m). Distance: 65 Kms Duration: 7-8 hours

We cycle today to the picturesque lakeside village of Nako set in the foreground to Reo Purgyal which at 6,816 metres is the highest mountain in Himachal Pradesh. Nako Monastery established in 1025 AD adds another element of interest to this small village.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1800 m, Loss: 1450 m

DAY 10 | 26-Jun-23
Nako - Spello (2400m). Distance: 62 Kms Duration: 5-6 hours

We leave behind the barren, stark landscape of Spiti as we enter Kinnaur. The abundant greenery provides a stark foil to the Martian landscape we have left behind. Witness the confluence of the Spiti and Sutlej rivers. As we ride past Khab and Pooh the villages too start becoming bigger. We follow the road along the banks of the Sutlej and end the day in the quaint village of Spello.

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1500 m, Loss: 2800 m

DAY 11 | 27-Jun-23
Spello - Kalpa (2950m). Distance: 45 Kms Duration: 5-6 hours

On the final day of this expedition, you will first ride along the old Hindustan-Tibet road, enjoying scenes of the Sutlej River valley. Turn off the highway to reach Kinnaur’s district headquarters Reckong Peo. Finally, make your way up to the picture-postcard village of Kalpa, on steep winding roads flanked by deodar trees, apple orchards, and terraced farms. Soak up breathtaking vistas of the holy Kinnaur Kailash peaks as you reminisce about riding in the mountains.
While in Kalpa, observe the blend of Hindu and Tibetan cultures. Notable attractions here include the Narayan Nagini Temple, Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar monastery, and the Sapni Fort. Don’t miss out on savouring the delicious Kinnaur apples!

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1800 m, Loss: 1200 m

DAY 12 | 28-Jun-23
Kalpa - Reckong Peo (2600m). Distance: 15 Kms Duration: Drive 40 mins

Our vehicles drop you from our hotel in Kalpa to the bus stand at Reckong Peo, a couple of kilometres away. Trip ends!

Inclusions/ Exclusions
+-
Inclusions
  • Camping Tents, Kitchen tents, Sleeping bags (Holofill) and Carry mats.
  • Nutritious, high-calorie, vegetarian food.
  • Cycling Guide, cook and camp helpers.
  • Logistics Vehicle like tempo traveller to carry all our equipment.
  • Participants are not expected to carry any loads other than your personal knapsack containing a water bottle, camera and trail layers.
  • Two people will be accommodated in one tent.
  • Hotel accommodations in Manali in a budget hotel/ guesthouse.
  • Homestay accommodations with food in Komic, Tabo, Nako, Spello and Kalpa.
Exclusions
  • All expenses of personal nature like drinks, tips, telephone calls, mineral water etc.
  • Food in Manali.
  • Medical and evacuation expenses, we strongly recommend purchasing a suitable insurance cover.
  • Mountain bike. (You could get your own cycles or could also rent from us).
  • Transport from Rekong Peo onward on Day 12.
Things You Need To Get
+-

Clothing:

– Good quality waterproof jacket
– Waterproof trousers
– Balaclava (thick fleece)
– Sun hat
– Cycle mitts
– Warm gloves – mountaineering gloves (waterproof outer, fleece inner) are good.
– Mid-weight fleece top
– Cycling tights (looser, “trackster” fit rather skin-tight lycra),
– Shorts
– Long sleeved shirt
– Travel trousers
– 2 wicking tee-shirts (synthetic or merino wool)
– Cotton tee-shirt for around town
– Long sleeved thermal top
– Thermal long johns
– 2-3 pairs underwear
– 2-3 pairs of standard socks
– 1 pair warm sock

Footwear:

– Cycling shoes, e.g. SPD’s, if applicable (bring spare cleats)
– Trekking shoes and climbing shoes
– Flip-flops, Crocs or Sandals to wear around camp.

Pack:

– Main bag – soft shell duffle bag to be kept in the logistics vehicle.
– Day Pack 15 – 20 lts – You will use this to carry your camera, water bottle, Trail layers, trail food etc.

Accessories:

– A bike helmet
– Dark glasses (the sun is very strong),
– Camera
– Toiletries – Sunscreen SPF 40+, Moisturizer, Lip balm, Soap, Toilet paper
– Repair Kit (needle and thread).
– Headlamp/ Torch.
– Water Bottle- Ideally keep two bottles 1 litre each.
– Plastic Packing covers.

Documents:

– A couple of spare passport photos photocopies of key documents. e.g., passport (data and visa pages),
– Travel insurance policy