Spiti Valley - When to Visit? Best Season and Weather guide (Month Wise)
A lot of you keep asking me, what is the best season to travel to Spiti Valley ever since I made a video series on YouTube about my journey in July 2018. So here's a complete season wise guide for you to plan your own trip. This is an effort of long hours of research to bring the most coherent, apt and correct information to you. Hope it helps! :)
This is the time when winter recedes and Spring begins. Hence I will start talking about the climate of Spiti from this time onwards. This is the time when hotels and hostels begin opening and Spiti Valley is officially OFF Hibernation. Irrespective of that, it is still cold yet sunny bright. On the downside, there are possibilities of snow storm and you may or may not have running water after months of winter.
Teamperature: -3 deg to +7deg
Pros: You will get to witness snow!
Verdict: It is a beautiful Snow, sunny time for visit. But there may be slight amount of discomfort caused to you.
Access point: Only accessible road is via Shimla to Kaza.
This is the time when snow starts melting from the roads. In recent times, due to global warming and shift in weather patters, there may still be considerable amount of snowfall in Spiti Valley around now. But the way from Shimla to Kaza is in full bloom with a myriad of colours.
Temperature: -3 deg to +5 deg
Pros: Lesser tourists and a little bit of snow (just maybe)
Verdict: This easily has to be one of the best times to visit. But you will not be able to complete the full circuit from Shimla to Manali.
Access point: Only accessible road is via Shimla to Kaza
This is usually the time when the Manali route opens up, but be warned, due to freshly molten snow and newly cut roads, the conditions of the roads are really bad. Imagine marshy roads with knee deep wet mud, lots of streams in between the roads, big rocks on the way and dirt tracks with frequent slides.
However, around this time, you can visit Chandratal, you will see snow capped peaks through out your journey. It may snow at Chandratal (with drop to freezing temperatures) and there will be significant amount of snow at Kunzum La and Rohtang Pass.
Temperature: 5 deg - 15 deg
Pros: Now you can complete the circuit and even withness the odd snow, here and there. The landscape is nothing less than stunning.
Verdict: Compete the circuit if you do decide to visit around this time, however, only drive yourself if you are an extremely experienced driver. Travel with a local Himachali driver, familiar with the routes if possible.
Access Point: Stay peeled to the news for finding out about the opening of Rohtang Pass and Manali route.
Jul - Aug -
I visited Spiti this year, 2018 in between these months and my experience was extraordinary. Of course there was no snow. But I did witness a few rain showers. The temperature in day time was comfortable and even mildly hot. This time is when the sky is also the clearest for some astrophotography if you are an enthusiast. You can follow my complete video journey through Spiti Valley HERE. This is also the harvest season in Spiti Valley, and you will find that the landscape has more greenery compared to the rest of the years. Some of the crops grown here are Barley and Peas.
Temperature: 8 deg - 18 deg
Pros: Good weather and accessible roads. A possible chance of astrophotography.
Verdict: If you travel around this time, you will meet a lot of like minded people which is always a good thing.
Access Point: The complete circuit is open. But landslides happen often. Before starting from any one village to the next, as locals if the roads are open. Always start early in the morning, since it is the safest time for travel. If you are unlucky, you may be stuck for a few hours while the road is cleared. However, the road is cleared on an everyday basis.
This is the autumn season in Spiti Valley. The river starts getting blue, since it is the end of monsoon, but the weather gets cold. The landscape gets dry and orange-ish.
Temp: 5 deg - 15 deg, could drop to freezing temperatures at Chandratal
Pros: You get a completely different landscape to witness in these months.
Verdict: I would definitely want to visit at this point of time someday to see the blue rivers. When I visited in July, Spiti River was completely brown because of monsoon waters.
Access Point: Full circuit is open
This is the point when things start getting rough in Spiti. It gets incredibly cold and the temperatures run in minus. The water is usually the bluest at this time and the sky is very clear. But it is windy, cold, dusty and very dry. Camps at Chandratal close down by mid-Oct.
Temperature: -2 deg to 10 deg
Pros: Clear skies and blue waters.
Verdict: If you intend to visit at this time, be prepared to face a harsh climate. This is the beginning of winters in upper Himalayas. And it is not kind to the uninitiated.
Access point: Full circuit is open
This is the least favourable time to visit Spiti Valley for tourists as it gets very cold and extremely dry. All hotels and shops begin to shut down at this point since the valley prepares for hibernation. Accommodation is only available in home-stays.
Temp: -4 deg to 5 deg
Pros: If you are a brave heart and want to witness harsh climate of upper Himalayas. You could visit
Verdict: Once in a lifetime kind of an experience. But be thoroughly prepared to face the dry and cold climate if you do decide to travel
Access Point: Kaza to Manali road is shut down. Tourists are advised to travel via Shimla.
Dec - Jan - Feb - Mar -
This period in Spiti is known as "White Spiti" since everything turns to snow. The entire valley is covered in snow and in this time you get to witness some of the harshest, coldest climate you will ever witness in Spiti. You have truly be brave and brace yourself for this before you prepare. And maybe no amount of mental preparation would be enough. Food is scarce, water in the taps is frozen blocks of ice. But the locals are never the less hospitable. There are no services available, so if you decide to drive down, you should be savvy with vehicle maintenance. You will have to travel with sufficient amount of days on your hands because you may get stuck at one point for days.
Temp: sub zero
Pros: You get to witness "White Spiti"
Verdict: Although this is a very challenging part of travel. Witnessing "White Spiti" is in my bucket list for some day.
Access Point: Only Shimla to Kaza route is open, but expect delays, road blockages and a difficult journey.
So with this we come to an end of a very exhaustive article, all about the seasons and best time to travel to Spiti. This is basically an all season guide, if you plan to travel. Spiti is full of surprises and you will definitely get to witness something different at every turn. Make sure you are thoroughly prepared though. :)
Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments section!