Verdant meadows, cascading waterfalls, vast snowfields, glacier bridges and ruggedness of the mountains helps Rupin Pass Trek to be classified as the Iceland of India. It is one of the most beautiful high altitude pass in the Dhauladhar range. Rupin Pass Trek begins from one end of the western region of Garhwal Himalayas and ends at the far corner of Kinnaur in Himachal.
Rupin Pass Trek is overall a moderate trek but few dangerous intersections and the length of this trek makes it a Hard expedition. Rest assured after completing Rupin Pass Trek, your greed for beautiful and challenging treks will multiply.
There are early morning buses to Sankri that leaves at around 5 am from Mussoorie Bus Stand near Dehradun Railway Station. If you miss that, then you can break the journey in two parts by taking a bus or shared cab from Dehradun to Purola and then Purola to Netwar.
Dhaula is another 12kms (half an hour drive) from Netwar. Dhaula is the last road head for Rupin Pass Trek. Village Home stay is the only accommodation option available.
Note: If you want to make the most of road journey and are on a budget, then you should take a bus to Purola from Dehradun and hire a cab from Purola to Sankri. The drive from Purola to Sankri is gorgeous. The route till Mori passes through Oak forest and after reaching Mori the road goes against the gushing Tons River as you enter the valley.
On Day 2,have fresh breakfast and follow an under-construction road which is being built to connect Dhaula with Sewa. After walking for couple of Km you come across a well defined trail. While trekking you constantly encounter the Rupin River flowing towards your right.Taking a A sharp turn on the trail and you start walking towards cliff. After few hours you reach Sewa Temple.
The temple has a unique structure which depicts cultural mix of Jaunsari and Kinnauri people. Rest for a while at the ground near Temple and then continue trekking towards Gosangu. Soon you will be walking right next to the beds of the gushing Rupin River. Continue trekking to reach a bridge over a small stream, Horli Gadh which acts as the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal. Gosangu is not far from here.
Follow the road which is being built to connect Gosangu with Jiskun. For most part of this trekking stretch the trail is evenly laid with occasional climbs. After reaching Batwa the trail ascends and goes around a ridge to enter Jiskun Village. Jiskun is a a tiny hamlet with some shops to stock up ration. Jhaka becomes visible from Jiskun Village.
The trail from Jiskun to a bridge over a small stream is flat with a short descent followed with a steep climb to Jhaka Village (2650mts). After climbing halfway into the climb you’ll encounter a well made trail going left which goes to Dhara Village, ignore it and continue trekking towards the original trail which ends up at Jakha.
Jhaka is the last place to stock up your supplies. You can either camp at the school ground in Jhaka or stay at a village homestay.
After laid back hiking for previous 2 days, this trekking stretch will start bringing surprises at every turn. Jhaka is a large village and it will take you almost an hour to exit its boundary and fields. Soon you’ll reach a beautiful pine forest. Do make some voice while hiking through this stretch and walk in a group because this region is frequented by bears.
After crossing the trail a sharp descent brings you to the busy Rupin River meandering through sharp cliffs navigating its way. For the first time during this trek you will cross the river and follow the trail on the right. After hiking for a few kilometers you’ll come across a lush area called Buras Kandi which makes a good campsite in case of emergencies.
The trail climbs up from Buras Kandi and enters a forest rich in Rhododendrons (buransh). Soon you’ll reach Saribasa Thatch where Rupin River spreads out forming a wide river bed. There are a few camping options available at Saruwas Thatch. This area is facing naked rocky cliffs and is rich in Birch trees.
This is the most beautiful day of the Rupin Pass Trek. The trail is short and sweet with occasional punch of adventure where you get to traverse snow bridges.
Once you cross the second snow bridge you’ll reach a scenic spot where the Rupin River flows gently enough to form a still pool of crystal clear water. This makes a good campsite but Dhanteras Thatch is well within reach so it is better to hike further.
An hour of hiking and you’ll reach the widespread lush green meadows of Dhanteras Thatch. Rupin Waterfall is a treat to eyes and so is the view of the Rupin Valley if you look back. At Dhanteras Thatch you might realize that this is the best campsite you ever stayed in.
Note: We may complete Jhaka – Dhanteras Thatch (Day 04 & Day 05) in one day in order to save 1 Buffer Day for the trek. Weather is unpredictable at high altitude which might slow us down later.
From Dhanteras Thatch it is 2kms walk on flat meadow till you reach the foot of the Rupin Waterfall. The climb to the waterfall top goes through some tricky intersections and glacier bridges. During May and June most of the trail from Dhanteras Thatch to crossing Rupin Pass will be covered with snow but in September and October you will have to traverse on boulders and just a few snow bridges.
It takes around 2 hours to reach the top of Upper waterfall from the foot of the Rupin Waterfall. Overlooking the Rupin Valley, Upper Waterfall Top makes a stunning campsite. If you are not well acclimatized then camp here and cross the Rupin Pass the next day while skipping the camp at Rathi Pheri.
Stretching the trek upto Rathi Pheri on the same day has its advantages. The trail from Upper Waterfall Top to Rathi Pheri involves steep climb and altitude gain of another 350mts. Thus, camping at Rathi Pheri will make the crossing of Rupin Pass and reaching Ronti Gad Meadows less tiresome.
A long walk starts from Rathi Pheri on boulders followed with vast snowfields. Soon you’ll spot the Rupin Pass Gully in the Dhauladhar ridge line. It is one steep climb from the base of the Rupin Gully to Rupin Pass. During May and June the gully will be covered with hard slippery snow. Cutting steps with ice axe and shoe spikes are a must if trekking during this time because one slip will take you back to the base.
During September and October the gully will be devoid of snow but it will be full of loose gravel. You might even use your hands while climbing the Rupin Pass Gully, yes, it is that steep. You’ll see several cairn markings at Rupin Pass.
The lofty Kinner Kailash peaks will be the first thing you’ll notice after reaching Rupin Pass along with the glimpse of Sangla Valley. Perform a pooja for safely reaching the pass.
A sharp descent over boulders covered with snow awaits you on other side of the Rupin Pass. After a couple of kilometres you’ll encounter snow covered slopes spreading down to the Ronti Gad Meadows. It is a long but rewarding walk to Ronti Gad meadows.
Ronti Gad is a beautiful meadow that showcases the vividity of green pasture. You may encounter flock of sheeps while traversing this stretch. After laidback walk for couple of hours you’ll see a quaint little hamlet, Sangla Kanda.
Sangla Kanda acts as the temporary summer settlements for the people living in the villages of Sangla valley. They come here during summer to grow their crops and graze their herds. It takes another 6kms to reach Sangla from Sangla Kanda.
After reaching Sangla you need to cross a bridge over the Baspa River followed with a steep climb to the market of Sangla town.