The only thing which is better than trekking is trekking through a cross over trek. Cross over treks are those treks which take the trekker from one state to another. For example, you can start the trek from Himachal Pradesh and end in Uttarakhand or you can start the trek from Ladakh and end in Himachal Pradesh. These treks are quite challenging and more beautiful than other normal treks as along with the change in state border, these treks let you witness the dramatic change in the scenery, natural setting, climate, culture, escapades, rituals, people, habitat, temperature and more. Cross over treks always gives you a bonus experience of living more than one trail. You could easily be with a cold desert on the first day, witness the snowcapped glacier on the third day and end the trek with lush green valleys. Every next step calls for an extravagant surprise that is nothing short of nature's way of showcasing a miracle.
As they say, the best thing comes to you when you least expect them to, this is exactly what a crossover trek feels like. There are tons of crossover treks in India and all of them are surplus of different and unique kinds of natural beauty, some of the Uttarakhand and Himachal based treks have meadows, snow peaks, waterfalls, and desolate trails all at once.
To relish the best of the experience of crossover treks ad witness the mesmerizing yet challenging terrains and escapades, these are the top 5 crossover treks of India that everyone should be a part of once in their lifetime.1. HAMPTA PASS
When you talk about crossover treks, Hampta Pass will be the first one to cross your mind. This trek is home to numerous dramatic terrains on its trail. As you begin from the edge of the forest at Jobra, you will find the dense forest in your first campsite and will move on towards the wildflower meadow of Jwara which stands to be the meeting point of a valley. The next destination is the Balu ka Gera along with the desert oasis in Shea Goru. From the very first point of Jobra to the last instance of Chatru, the sceneries along the trek keep changing dramatically, giving you a little dose of everything beautiful. This trek is also rich in the ecosystem as it is a very narrows one which makes it look like a funnel or a canal. Thus, when you move on to cross the pass by climbing through the rich green valleys of Kullu, you stand perpendicular to the mountain. From this point, you can witness the deserts of Lahaul and the nearby valleys stunningly surrounding the mountains with ravishing panoramic escapades. This crossover of lush greenery and the desert is one of its kind views to be a part of.
Meadows after Jobra and at Jwara
The trek commences only from a dense forest full of deodar, pine, oak, maple trees and silver birch. The trail then opens up to a small but pretty meadow that is quaintly bounded between the huge mountains and are fully carpeted with seasonal flowers and wild grass. As you stand on the meadows, you will be able to hear the rush of Rani Nala below you. Moving forward, you reach Jwara which is a small campsite surrounded by mighty Dhauladhar range from one side and here you will be standing right across the water of Rani Naala.The Shea Goru campsite
Every trekker who has completed hampta pass trek will proudly say that Shea Goru is their favourite campsite of the entire trek. The highlight of this campsite is the contrast in the geographical setting of this place, it is a beautiful patch of green oasis situated in desolate surroundings of Lahaul valley. You will notice a brook flowing adjacent to the site and will gradually turn the desert into a green valley. There a tons of exotic flowers along the stream. Even though this is the most aesthetically and soul pleasing campsite, it also happens to be the coldest campsite throughout and the temperature always drops down drastically here.
The Pass Crossing
Pass crossing is easily the highlight of this entire trek. You are sure to have a great adrenaline rush while crossing the pass and then finally pleasing the eyes with the entire setting around. There will be a difficult inclined climb as you go up and you can have both snow and loose moraine as you go up depending on the season. Eventually, after a long time, you finally reach the pass and the grandeur of the whole view will take your breath away. As you stand steadily on the pass, you will be able to see Deo Tibba and Indrasen in front of you and cold deserts of Lahaul below you.Chandrataal lake
After the quite popular Pangong Lake in Ladakh, you will be amazed to watch the equally stunning and less crowded Chandratal lake. However, most of the times the roads are not accessible to reach Chandratall from Manali, but if you are lucky enough to witness the lake, it will add another feather for your Hampta pass trek. Also, the roads from Manali to Jobra make it for an extremely picturesque drive with hairpin bends and panoramic views of Kullu.
Snow Pass and Snow Bridges
Once you have walked alongside the stream for about 2 km, the water will gradually start disappearing and voila! You are now walking over a snow bridge that forms over the stream. The ice appears over the stream and you have to carefully cross the bridge to reach the other side. This whole experience is pretty exciting after crossing lush green valleys and rocky moraine.Deserted mountains of Spiti
Spiti is known for its rough beauty and barren mountains. The dry cold and dust storms give it an edge, yet it is a most enigmatic beauty to behold. Spiti, for lack of a better phrase, has it all. Needless to say, Spiti is one of the most beautiful cold deserts in India and beholds the spellbound beauty. After you have crossed the pass, the descent moves towards a picturesque village Lahaul and the moment you will enter the region, the whole scenery will dramatically change. The small river of Chandra will be flowing down the hill and huge dry and cold mountains of Spiti will bestow you warmly.
2. PIN PARVATI PASS TREK
Pin Parvati Pass trek is one of the most difficult, spectacular, and exhilarating and thrill challenging treks. It is advisable that only seasoned and experienced trekker attempt this trek. Situated at an altitude of 17,457 ft, Pin Parvati trek route is home for many dense forests, widespread green meadows, full of culture, stunning escapades, and exotic flora and fauna. Being an exquisite crossover trek, every new day will be more contrasting to another. Trekker can begin the Pin Parvati Pass trek itinerary from two sides, one from Kullu side and another from Spiti side; either way, you choose, you are going to be blessed with gorgeous views and adventurous trails.
The trans-Himalayan region of Spiti beholds the alluring landscapes and cultural footing throughout. The trek commences from the cold desert of Spiti and right from the Pulley Bridge of Tunda Bridge to alpine meadows of Odi Thach to the deep dense forests near Kheergana and finally till the pass, you will keep experiencing the eccentric and unique escapade. The trekker will witness each second passing through from the deserts of Spiti till the lush green meadows of Parvati valley.
As you start the trek from the pretty little village of Mudh. The widespread pea farms, barley terraced fields, and whitewashed houses make this village right out from a storybook. This is the first day of trekking that goes up from Mudh towards the Pin River and is a simple and gradual ascent, probably the only easy trail throughout the whole trek.
On the second day, while moving towards Shia, you will cross a few glacier streams and rocky terrain. Get ready to soak your feet in the biting cold water till they get numb, the undulating walk will be a bit tricky but the whole experience is worth the effort. After moving ahead of a distance, Pin glacier becomes visible high up.
The next day involves crossing the Pin River again, but this will be more difficult as the flow is pretty strong in the Pin River and the river bed is not smooth but filled with pebbles and stones. After the rigorous ascent of 1700 feet, you see the scenery dramatically change with snow-covered Himalayan Mountains around you. The next day involves the pass day where you will find the most challenging task- traversing through the glacier. After you've crossed the pass, you will finally reach the place where the views of both Pin and Parvati valley is out of the world. Unlike the descent of other treks, descending from the Pin Parvati Pass is a challenging task as the glacier starts melting and the trail becomes muddier and wetter. Moving on to the Mantalai lake, the camp setting near this lake is rich in vegetation and is easily one of the best camping sites in the entire trek. The subsequent day of this trek will also be a colourful one as you will witness the beautiful vibrant red, purple and blue flowers of Odi Thach. After an easy day of trek at Odi Thach, the trail till Tuda Bhunj is a rather difficult one but with stunning sights of waterfalls, pine forest, rhododendrons followed by lush green meadows. The last two days of Kheerganga and Barshanini will overwhelm you with the unmistakable greenery of Himachal.
If you wish to start the Pin Parvati Pass Trek from Kullu side, then it takes about 11 days full of thrill and adventure till Manali. Between the trails, you are blessed with the pristine beauty of natural escapades of different kinds, starting from green meadows, blooming flower valleys, gushing waterfalls, alpine forests and more. As the trek begins with a drive from Barsheni to Kullu, you will see a ton of terrestrial sceneries along the route. Once the trek begins from Barsheni towards Kheerganga and Thakun Kaun, you will find the barren valleys of Himachal at the height of 13,400 mts with postcard-perfect villages and beautiful sea cliffs with chilling waterfalls. The trail will boast a stunning view of snow-covered mountains on one side and colourful hues of the hills on the other side. It's a pretty beautiful cosplay to experience. The views keep continuing as you cross the Mantalai Lake which is full of ravishing flowers as well and goes till the Parvati side base camp. You will also find the popular Pin valley national park here which shelters snow leopards and various Himalayan birds. The trail further opens up to the picturesque village of Mudh in Himachal. The route that follows the village is muddy and tricky but gives an aspiring vision of the full Kaza. Pin Parvati pass trek best time is to do it in the second half of the year towards the end of August. Pin Parvati Pass in September is regarded as the best to do the trek by many travellers.3. RUPIN PASS TREK
Rupin pass trek Himachal Pradesh always tops the list when we talk about a trek full of surprises. With every passing day of the trek, the hype keeps building up and the trail never fails to surprise you. Rupin Pass is a complete package of multiple treks served at one goes to the travellers situated at an altitude of15129 ft starting from the tiny village of Dhaula, Uttarakhand to the stunning Sangla Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Each step you take, new scenery awaits for you as every new day unfolds a new variety of escapades. One unique thing about Rupin pass as compared to the other crossover treks in India. This remarkable valley promises you two entirely different experiences in two different seasons. If you do the Rupin pass trek in June or May, you will find the valley covered in the pristine white sheet of snow and frozen waterfalls that will be no less than an enchanting vista of paradise full of haze and fog.
When it comes to the second half of the season and you want to do the Rupin Pass trek in October-November, the fluffy blanket of snow disappears giving way to the numerous stunning colours and clear blue skies. The valley takes a new birth after being washed away. The trek commences from the very charming village of Dhaula placed quaintly on a mountain slope with Rupin River flowing across by. The total of 52kms is covered in 7 days and the whole journey is full of green meadows, waterfalls and spellbound views of mountain ranges in the backdrop. Rupin pass is home to the infamous three-stage waterfall that lets you have an exquisite 360-degree view of various mountain ranger, especially the Kinner Kailash range. After crossing the multiple gorgeous creations of nature, your trek finally comes to an end with the village of Sangla in Himachal Pradesh which is another treat to your eyes and soul.
The valley you cross in June will be entirely different from the valley you will cross in October will be a completely different one.
The ravishing waterfalls and stream will remain untouched and frozen during the winters and covered in thick layers of snow, whereas the water will be gushing down the mountain slope if you experience during the summers. You will find snow bridges in both the seasons, however, during the month of June, you will find an abundance of snow-covered which will enhance the difficult level of walking over it.
There are plenty of dark dense and lush green forests of Pine, Oak, fir, and Rhododendron in the trek. You will find all the exquisite trees and exotic colours as you cross them during summers. However, you will only find the white winter land during June. Even the tallest of the trees will be covered in the shreds of snow and the pretty colours of Rhododendron will hideaway under the fluff of snow.
There's another unique thing you come across in Rupin pass- The Jhaka village or popularly called as the Hanging village on Rupin pass trek. This village is positioned in such a way that it lies over the utmost edge of the mountain. If you notice from a certain angle, it will appear to be hanging through the cliff. Along with the primaeval views of Kinner Kailash, you will also be fortunate enough to visit the two-story temple at Sewa of Kinnauri culture which will be an experience in itself.
Rupin pass trek experience is undoubtedly beautiful beyond words. But it is also a very tricky and difficult one as the trail gets too steep at times during the climb. An easy-moderate walk can suddenly change into a difficult one and vice-versa just in a matter of one turn.
Rupin pass is full of sceneries and moments that will give you ana dragline rush over and over again. If you are a thrill-seeker, and adventure lover, an ardent wanderer then Rupin pass is custom made for you. The rocky terrain, the dense forest, the heavy waterfalls, the tiny streams, widespread green meadows, snow bridges glacier streams, picturesque villages, undisturbed sunrise and many more experience that you will get to live in Rupin pass.
If you are a big fan of soft snow, mountains covered with the thick white layers, frozen waterfalls and the gloomy yet beautiful haze, the best time for Rupin Pass trek will be during May or June. However, if you want to see the natural colours of the valley, soak in the warm sun rays yet the cold breeze of Himachal and want to click the natural photos of the valley in under the clear blue skies; visit Rupin Pass during the latter part of the season when the valley is happily flourishing and blooming.4. PRANG LA PASS
Situated at a massive altitude of 18373 Ft (5600 M) Prang La is a beautiful mountain pass that connects the Chicham village of Spiti, Himachal Pradesh and Karzok village, Ladakh. Incepted as an ancient trade route between Spiti and Ladakh, people would always traverse along the valley to participate in the market where barter of goods takes place at the Ladarcha ground. The whole pass is rich in history but is no cakewalk even for the expert trekkers. The trail is full of challenges and you will rapidly gain altitude by covering even a short distance. There are remote villages, rough and rocky terrain and even a long glacier walk.
The trek spreads for 8 days and a total of 120 km is covered. It takes a lot of energy and determination to complete Parang La. The most fascinating thing to notice about this trek is the mountains and the pathways are formed with a unique pattern from Spiti being under the sea. It has been like that before a million years ago and thus you will find a lot of houses with unique fossils of marine animals. The trail fluctuates between expansive green meadows, steep climb, long cold desert and even traversing of the glacier. The diversification of activities of the trek puts it on the to-do list of every wanderer who loves mountains.
Parang la is not a very crowded trek and thus the remoteness will also give you a high chance of spotting much wildlife such as blue sheep, ibex, donkeys, wild birds, snow leopards and more as compared to the other Himalayan crossover treks. Another highlight of this trek is the picturesque walk along the Tso Moriri Lake for the whole two days. You will have a backdrop of pristine shades of blue water and unclimbed snow Cladded Mountains in the background.
Along with the trail, you will only spot a few local shepherds and otherwise, you will not have any human encounters pertaining to its geographical challenges. Only a few trekking companies operate on this route since the execution is a bit challenging one. The trek ends in the Karzok village of Ladakh which is the home for many old and historic monasteries in Leh.5. PIN BHABHA PASS TREK
Pin Bhabha is hands down one of the most dramatic and full of surprises crossover trek in Himachal. The whole trail is so diverse that you will experience a new trek in the same trek with every new day. The vastness of the scenery, the change of the escapades just keeps getting stunning with the new incomings. Pin Bhabha is a rather easier version of Pin Parvati Pass trek. Thus if you want to experience the beautiful natural views but do not want to put your life on a stake, Pin Bhabha is a great alternative. Here are a few highlights of Pin Bhabha trek that makes it a once in a lifetime worth of experience.The dense forests of Mulling
If you grew up reading the mystery novels where they described a forest full of tall coniferous trees and pine trees, the dark forest of Mulling will give you the exact right out of a storybook feeling. You will be crossing a dense forest while walking on the roots on the very first day of the trek. The musty smell of forest and nature will take over your senses. The best part about crossing through the forest is the Bhabha River that will cut through the forest on the left side and you will suddenly see a turquoise blue line emerging on one side of the forest. As you keep walking in the shades of dark, the route will open up to the unexpected grasslands of Mullin and the sudden burst of light and colours will leave you awestruck for a while.The wholesomeness of Karah meadows
The second day of the trek will take you to Kashmir without actually going to Kashmir. The spectacular meadows of Karah will remind you of the gorgeous grasslands of Kashmir. This is inarguably the most beautiful camp setting for the whole of the trek.
As you stand in the camping site of Karah, you will witness the two valleys meeting ahead of you. In the background, there will be a tall snow-capped mountain an along your side will be the pretty grassy hill.
There's a small hillock situated at your camp for you to have a better view of the valley. There's a widespread grassland with hundreds of sheep grazing and a quiet river flows alongside the camp. If this is not your idea of beauty then nothing will be.The River Delta of Phutsirang
Pin Bhabha is one of its kind treks because it's one of the rarest treks which has a river delta in it. Camping at Phutsirang will give you a beautiful background and also helps with the acclimatization. Not just the river delta but the water also forms tiny islands around the camp that you can hop on. Amidst the grasslands, so many tones of green, blue, brown and orange make it a stunning sight to savour. The altitude setting is at 13,500 feet and the river flows beautifully under the shining sun. You can take long walks around the grasslands and relax around the green velvet of Phutsirang.Pin Bhaba Pass crossing
After two days of spell bounding beauty, you finally reach the pass crossing day which will be difficult but equally stunning like the previous two days. As you climb up the trail, the snow-capped peaks will reach up to your eye level now. The whole process of pass crossing is divided over a series of ledges and as soon as you start with the first ledge, the real fun begins. The pass can only hold a few trekkers at a time being very narrow in the shape. As space starts to get narrower, the thrill starts increasing. The Spiti Mountains will surround you and the scenery below will leave you stunned. As the steep levels out, you will be able to see Pin valley spread beautifully with a blast of too many colours.Natural colour Palette of Spiti
Spiti is undoubtedly the purest form of natural beauty in Himachal. Spiti forms a magnificent kaleidoscope of colours. As you go about the trail, jet Black Mountain will bloom over you and the white and pink rocks will pave the way for you. As you turn your head, there will purple, orange and pink hills surrounding you from all over. As you reach closer to Mudh, this little piece of civilization will be the first one you will witness in days. This village is beautiful beyond your imagination and is pretty peaceful when it comes to culture. This is the last stop of the trek and with the days of exhaustion, Mudh is the perfect location to relax at.