Chatru – A beautiful Campsite in Lahaul valley | Hampta Pass Trek | Day 5

Day 5 of the Hampta Pass trek is from Shea Goru to Chhatru or Chatru campsite crossing the Chenab river. Trek to Chatru Himachal Pradesh from SheaGoru is a moderate 2-2.5 hours of walking on moraine and lose rocks on gentle inclines. This is followed by a descent to Chatru across a couple of glacial flows. As you move closer to the road, the descent gets a steep and little tricky. The last stretch is right next to the Chenab river and the trek ends next to the bridge.

Checkout previous day: Shea Goru via Hampta Pass | Hampta Pass Trek | Day 4

Shea Goru Campsite, at the time of sunset
Shea Goru Campsite, at the time of sunset

Shea Goru Campsite

Even though Shea Goru campsite is just below the Hampta pass and in a valley, the evenings next to the stream can be beautiful. Golden hours can light up the snow cap mountains gold. The view of Mount Indrasan can be majestic from slightly above Shea Goru campsite. You can even spend the mornings and evenings with your legs dipped in the ice-cold stream. This is one of the most beautiful campsites of this entire trek. Also, you should feel great here as you have already crossed the Hampta Pass and is now at a viewable distance.

Crossing the ice cold stream

Our hike downhill on the next day starts with the crossing of an ice-cold stream, right next to the campsite. It is hard to cross the stream barefoot as there are sharp rocks underneath from the glacier above. From here it is a gradual descent, continuing to the valley below. By the way, we are now in the Lahaul and Spiti region of Himachal.

Lahaul Spiti Valley after Hampta Pass towards Chatru Campsite
Lahaul Spiti Valley after Hampta Pass towards Chatru Campsite

The hike downhill towards Chatru

You will need to traverse the edges of rocks. Sometimes it might just be easier to get down into the river/glacier bed below to skip the rocky section and get back up. There are also a couple of places with slippery loose soil. Also, you get to see too many hiking trails here in the region. These are formed by the livestock raised by the locals. This section would take three hours when you are out of the mountains. You are still at a height but you have the road right across. The Chenab river separates you from the road. You can even see the vehicles appearing like a toy from here.

Himachal Public Bus from Kaza to Manali via Chatru campsite and the Chenab river below
Himachal Public Bus from Kaza to Manali via Chatru campsite and the Chenab river below

Glacier View above Chatru

There are multiple huge glacial flows coming down from the mountains on the side of the Chenab river. Also, the view from this place of the glacier in front is breathtaking. Zoom in your camera to see the glacier in detail as shown in the image below. There isn’t much human activity in this region other than a few shops which remain closed half the year. Moreover, the highway connecting Manali with Kaza has to be constructed every year because of the extreme weather.

The Glacier view as we hike downhill towards Chatru campsite
The Glacier view as we hike downhill towards Chatru campsite

Where is Chatru located

Chatru is a green respite in the middle of the vast expanse of Himalayan snow. It is a little community of about 1000 people that serves as a stopover for several major hiking routes. The natural splendor of Chatru is beyond description. You may even start with the Hampta Pass trek from Chatru, cross the Hampta Pass on the second day, and then descend all the way to Manali valley by following the Rani Nala (stream) till you reach Jobra.

Weather at Chatru campsite

Winter in this region is inhabitable and the roads remain closed. During the monsoon and summer, the Chenab river water level and the water current can be menacing. Continue to hike till you reach the bridge. You will find a few shops and dabhas here where you can have some hot tea and parathas. This is the Chatru village. You may camp here or go further to find some flat land to camp.

Where to stay in Chatru

The area is densely packed with Dabha and repair businesses. These stores even offer campgrounds within the Dabha where bikers and truck truckers may stay at a low price. If you continue on the road to Chandratal, you will come across some magnificent campsites where you may camp on your own next to some dabha or there are some decent pricey luxury campgrounds designed for visitors. These are temporary camps that will only exist over the summer.

Places to go in Lahaul Valley

Lahaul valley has some of the best landscapes and you will definitely love this place if you are a landscape photographer. If time permits then consider visiting the Chandratal (lake) and Kunzum Pass with incredible and stupendous views. You can plan to go to Leh from here. From Atal Tunnel instead of taking the tunnel road to Manali, continue further to Kelong and then to Leh.

To conclude, the last day of the hike can be much more relaxing as it is all downhill but can be exhausting as well as it is a long walk downhill. This is where you need to have a good pair of shoes else you can easily get blisters. Check out the video below and consider SUBSCRIBING to my YouTube channel.

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