Stretching over 65 kilometres between the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Rupin Pass is undeniably one of the Grandest Cross-Over Treks of India. Every turn on the trail feels like a giant theatre curtain unfurling, revealing dramatic landscapes drenched in a mindboggling array of colors leaving you dumbstruck in its wake. Be it a hike through thick pine and rhododendron forests or meandering through a hanging village, crossing giant glacial valleys or trudging through the narrow and steep gully of Rupin Pass, glissading down snow chutes to Ronti Gad or making your way to the top of a waterfall, there is never a dull moment once you are on the trail!
Climbing to an altitude of 4,650 M, the Rupin Pass is a moderate level trek perfect for trekkers who have done an easy trek previously & are looking to step up their trekking game. Although the distances covered each day are reasonable and the altitude gain on the trek is relatively steady, the trail does present some challenges demanding a unique skillset to navigate its terrain efficiently.
It is not only the landscape that undergoes multitudes of transformation. The Rupin River in itself changes avatars as we move from campsite to campsite. If we had to pick one, this would perhaps be our most favourite feature of the trek. What makes it special is that you get to trek from the riverbed in Dhaula all the way to the top of the Rupin Waterfall! Not many can claim to have witnessed the course of a river as intimately as one does on the Rupin Pass Trek!
The best time to do Rupin Pass is May - June, and September - October. This page contains a complete guide to the Rupin Pass Trek. You will find everything you need to know - Rupin Pass Route Map, Weather conditions, temperature, itinerary, photos, and videos. Scroll to the end for Rupin Pass Trek blogs.
Drive from Dehradun to Dhaula (1580 m)
Distance covered: 180 km from Dehradun to Dhaula
Duration: 8-9 hours to reach Dhaula
The journey begins from the capital city of Dehradun. If you have opted for transport by Bikat Adventures, please ensure you board the vehicle from ISBT Dehradun latest by 7 AM. The starting point of the Rupin Pass Trek is Dhaula, a quaint village located in Uttarakashi district of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 1580 M.
The drive will take you through the infamous Kempty falls tucked in high mountain cliffs in Mussoorie. Once you cross Mussoorie, a sparkling Yamuna River runs alongside the road throughout. As you move ahead, deep gorges on the sides are replaced by a canopy of blue pine forests that carry the misty scent of woods.
We then pass through the villages of Nainbagh, Damta, Naugaon, Purola, Mori and Netwar. When you cross Mori, you catch your first glimpse of the Rupin River running through a jungle of oaks and conifers. After Netwar, the Govind National Park, which is home to a plethora of exotic flora and fauna, begins. The roads in this region can be rough and bumpy. Dense conifer forests, Tons river valley and scattered apple orchids dominate the landscape in this region.
Expect to reach Dhaula village by evening. Dhaula is a quaint village with a handful of homes and homestays. We will spend the night in a local homestay here where you can hear the Rupin River gushing alongside in the night.
Dhaula (1580 m) to Sewa (2000 m)
Distance covered: 12 km from Dhaula to Sewa
Duration: 6-7 hours to reach Sewa
After a scrumptious breakfast, we begin our trek to Sewa at 9 am. The distance from Dhaula to Sewa village is 12 km and would take 6-7 hours to cover.
The trek begins on a dusty trail that runs on the true right of the valley. You will be able to see striking views of the Rupin River swerving in the gorges, about 500 feet below you. Since we will be walking on what is predominantly a shepherds’ trail, you are likely to encounter mule traffic and livestock accompanied by local farmers along the way. The trek gradient is quite easy with gentle ascents and descents throughout.
Almost 3 hours into the trek, the trail runs into a thicket of Rhododendron forests with a sweet mist of pine and deodar woods invigorating a new zest for the trek ahead. Rhododendron blooms cover the trail in red and bright pink during the late winter and spring seasons here. The richness of the number of streams in the last leg of the trail is absolutely mesmerising. Thick apple and apricot trees sheath the region here with the Rupin River running alongside.
Expect to reach Sewa by 3-4 pm. Sewa is a tiny old-fashioned village with a couple of tea stalls and lodges. We will be spending the night in lovely little homestay here. Take ample rest at night in order to acclimatize better to a higher altitude.
Sewa (2000 m) to Jiskun (2346 m)
Distance covered: 14 km from Sewa to Jiskun
Duration: 7-8 hours to reach Jiskun
Wake up early to catch a beautiful sun rising from the lofty mountains. After a brief session of yoga and stretching, we begin the trek at 9 AM to Jiskun. The trail climbing out of Sewa is narrow and uneven, crossing mixed farming fields and towering Oak forests. During the summer-monsoon months, bright green plants flank either side of the pathway and there is heavy foliage on the trees around. It is a moderately steep hike for the initial part of the trek before you start descending through the forest to reach the Rupin riverbed.
The Rupin River acts as a handrail for a major part of the trek today. Two hours into the trail, after crossing several brooks along the way, you enter a dense jungle with Deodar and Walnut trees. This comes as a pleasant surprise as the vegetation changes from fields of potato and barley to a thicket of dark forests. Continue trekking to reach a wooden bridge over a tributary of Rupin river that will mark our crossover from Uttarakhand to Himachal Pradesh.
The trek gradient is easy for the first 3 hours or so and becomes moderately steep as you begin the final leg to Jiskun. Follow the steep incline leading you to a motor-able road leaving the Rupin River in the gorge below. Continue walking uphill. You will cross the remote villages of Dodra and Kuar on your way. Jiskun is at a 500 m steep incline from here, located high above the confluence of Rupin and Narkund Khad. We will be staying in a homestay for the night.
Jiskun (2346 m) to Buras Kandi (3145 m)
Distance covered: 9 km from Jiskun to Buras Kandi
Duration: 7-8 hours to reach Buras Kandi
After a quick session of yoga and warm up in the morning, we begin the trek at 9 AM post breakfast. The trail beyond Jiskun is quite intriguing as well as challenging. You descend to reach a wooden bridge stunningly set over a side tributary encompassed by lush Deodar and walnut jungles. The path from here is fairly narrow and zigzags alongside a cliff. Two hours into the trek, the trail ascends steeply through blue pine forests that eventually open up to spectacular views of the Jhaka village.
It is an incredible sight to behold as a portion of the village is startlingly set on a steep slope making it look as if it hanging from the cliff, earning it its name “the hanging village”. Adorned with tiny houses and a few shops, Jakha is the last and the highest village of the Rupin Pass trek.
The well-defined trail of Jakha translates into a narrow and rocky one as it climbs out of the village. A few minutes later, you will find yourself entering a thicket of magnificent fir forests. This rapidly shifting scenery is what makes the Rupin Pass Trek truly delightful! It leaves trekkers nonplussed with changing vistas at every turn of the trail never letting the element of awe fade away.
Almost 3 hours into the trek, a surprise waits in the form of a regal snow bridge stretching over the Rupin River striking a stunning contrast to the trail earlier. Take a quick break here to absorb the spectacle in front of you.
Once you cross the snow bridge to the other side of Rupin, the trail turns into a narrow shepherd’s path. You may even find local shepherds with their cattle on the way. The trek gradient throughout is a gradual ascent followed by a steep descent. A short while the trail opens up to a spread of beautiful grassland called Udaknal. This is a common camping site for many trekkers. We will trek further ahead to Buras Kandi to save time the next day.
Tread along the boulder strewn riverbed until the trail meets a clump of rhododendron forests. Just before the forest rests a peaceful glade with a gentle rivulet of Rupin flowing through; this is the Buras Kandi campsite. Set in the backdrop of Rhododendron blossoms and cradling colossal mountain ranges on the sides, the Buras Kandi is a remarkable place to set up camps and spend the night.
Buras Kandi (3145 m) to Dhanderas Thatch camp (3566 m)
Distance covered: 5 km from Buras Kandi to Dhanderas Thatch camp
Duration: 4 hours to reach Dhanderas Thatch camp
The trek for the day is not long. As you start to move out of the campsite, you will find yourself walking under a mixed forest of Oak, Fir and Rhododendrons. Look out for the silver Bhoj trees ahead. They are believed to be sacred by many. The Rupin river is a constant companion as it winds its way through the rocks in its way.
The trail for the next ten minutes is a steep incline that evens out to a lovely view of dwarf Rhododendrons greeting you with their soft purple, pink and white blooms. As you move ahead, almost 90 minutes into the trek, you will come across a large clearing holding one of the most gripping sights of the trail; a giant U-shaped valley nestling the majestic Rupin waterfall afar. The view is breath-taking as the Rupin seems to be emerging from the clouds making its way from heaven to the Land of Gods. Take a moment to absorb the glory of nature in ways beyond our comprehension.
As you trek ahead, you will find patches of the sacred Bhoj trees until you enter the forests. This is followed by a crossing across expansive green meadows dotted with bright yellow flowers until you end up at the campsite for the day – Dhanderas Thatch.
The campsite is sensational in its setting. It is a strikingly vast clearing in the middle of a valley with an array of sights made to bowl you over no matter which direction you look in. The majestic Rupin waterfall thunders down in three stages on one side of the valley. Clumps of massifs frame either side of the waterfall forming a neat semi-circle. Slender streams of water run down these massifs tracing bright silver veins across the rock’s surface, each vein mimicking a tiny waterfall. This is the reason why the Dhanderas Thatch is also known as the “Land of a Thousand Waterfalls”.
The grass on the ground is mostly green and speckled with bright yellow blooms and patches of snow. On the other side of the valley, right opposite to the waterfall, the campsite throws itself open to gaping views of the mountain ranges around. Clumps of dwarf rhododendrons hug the slopes. Once you settle into the campsite, take some time out for exploring it before dinner. We promise it will be worth your while!
Dhanderas Thatch camp (3566 m) to Upper Waterfall camp (4080 m)
Distance covered: 4 km from Dhanderas Thatch Camp to Upper Waterfall Camp
Duration: 3 hours to reach Upper Waterfall Camp
Today’s trek is relatively short but exciting! We will be making our way to the top of the Rupin Waterfall. This section is important because it gives you ample time to acclimatize to the changing altitude and prepare for what is to come next.
The morning begins at leisure allowing the trekkers to rest their limbs properly. For about 1 km, the trail is fairly level as you cross several streams on your way decorated with a display of wild flowers and marigolds. The next section is tricky as you reach the snow patches at the base of the waterfall. This is when your snow equipments like trekking pole and ice-axe would come into play. The trek on snow is particularly challenging as the trail is steep and narrow in many sections. This continues for the next 1.5 kms before you reach the meadow at the top.
The Upper Waterfall Camp is a gorgeous meadow on the banks of a gently flowing stream. You will get to see the spectacular mountain ranges covered in snow and several streams running down through them merging into the Rupin river and disappearing below your feet. While everyone has seen a waterfall closely, only a few can claim to have seen it right from the top and observe it fall down right into the valley. You will one of those lucky few. Capture this moment at the most cinematic location one can imagine. This campsite is a true sight to behold!
Upper Waterfall camp (4080 m) to Rupin Pass (4657 m); Rupin Pass to Ronti Gad Camp (4005 m)
Distance covered: 4 km from Upper Waterfall Camp to Rupin Pass; 4 km from Rupin Pass to Ronti Gad Camp
Duration: 6-7 hours to reach Rupin Pass; 2-3 hours to reach Ronti Gad Camp
This is perhaps the longest and the most thrilling day of the trek. We begin as early as 5 AM and carry packed lunch and breakfast along to reenergize ourselves on the way. The challenges begin to appear shortly after we begin the trek. The ascent to Rati Pheri is a steep incline veering through snow and gains a generous amount of altitude in an hour. The trail climbs over a ridge before reaching the campsite of Rati Pheri.
The landscape changes beautifully at Rati Pheri – a promise best kept by the Rupin Pass trek! The expansive views of the Rupin valley are replaced by the alpine Dhauladar range as you now move ahead over vast snowfields. Your trek leader will provide you with appropriate snow equipments such as microspikes and gaiters depending upon the level and density of snow on the trail. From Rati Pheri, the trek is steep and quite demanding as the snow makes it difficult to trudge through. It is slipper in some sections, while at others the snow may be knee-deep demanding every ounce of your energy to take that next step. All the snow techniques you have learnt so far are put to test and how so. In about 3.5 hours, you will finally reach the base of the Rupin Pass gully. Take some time to rest and rejuvenate for the gruelling trek ahead.
The Rupin Pass gully is a narrow and steep half tube in the mountain side that is prone to lose stones falling over. It stretches over 200 m and would take anywhere between 40 minutes to 1 hour to cover, depending upon the level of snow and the speed of the trekkers.
After a long and steep icy-climb, the sight of the saddle shaped Rupin Pass cutting its way through the Dhauladar Ranges rewards you with a feeling of pure bliss and euphoria. Hundreds of stone cairns and colourful prayer flags adorn the ridge line that offers impressive views of the Kinner kailash range in the north and the Rupin valley in the south. Spend some time at the ridge and relish the eternal glory of the spectacle in front of you.
The next phase of the trek steps up the fun quotient by a notch or three. To reach the Ronti Gad campsite, you get to glissade down the chutes of snow. The descent is sharp and rapid and sliding down the snow slope is the best way to cover the distance.
The slopes even out, after the steep descent, making for an easy walk. Once you cross snowline, be prepared for another sharp descent that leads you to an endless meadow with a stream flowing gently through the mountains. This is the Ronti Gad Campsite. You will be camping here for the night in the vicinity of the towering snow-capped mountains – yet another pleasant change in the landscape around.
Ronti Gad Camp (4005 m) to Sangla Valley (2675 m); further to Shimla (2276 m)
Distance covered: 13 km from Ronti Gad Camp to Sangla; 225 km to Shimla
Duration:5-6 hours to reach Sangla; 7 hours to reach Shimla
We begin the descent to Sangla after breakfast, at around 9 AM. The trail is a dusty shepherd’s path as you move out of the Ronti Gad campsite. You may come across mule traffic and shepherds tending to their cattle along the way. Almost 2 hours into the trek, you will see the Ronti Gad valley retreating slowly behind you and the trail ahead opening up to first glimpses of the snow-clad Kinner Kailash range. The sight is an absolute marvel to behold.
Soon afterwards, you will see the first signs of civilization afar in the tiny village of Sangla Kanda. Take a quick break in the Sangla Kanda village and have a hot cup of tea to give yourself some respite from the sharp descent.
The trail from Sangla Kanda to Sangla veers through blue pine forests that come as a refreshing surprise. The trek gradient is a rapid decline over a broad well-defined path going through terraced farms, apple orchards and old stone houses.
As you finally reach Sangla, take one last look at the giant mountains around and bid adieu to one of the finest cross-over treks of the country.
*We will reach Shimla late at night, so make your hotel reservations accordingly.
Rupin Pass Trek is a moderate plus trek i.e. it requires more strength and endurance than moderate level treks. It is a high altitude trek climbing to the height of 4650 meters. Therefore, it is recommended that you first gain experience of trekking to altitudes of 3700 meters and learn about campsite basics, ascending descending on mountain trails, basics of high altitude acclimatization process and then move up a notch with Rupin Pass Trek. On Bikat scale Rupin Pass trek difficulty level is 4. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
One should have at least 7-10 trek days in the Himalayas in his/her kitty. Rupin Pass trek is more than 4500 meters, a person must have prior experience of trekking at altitudes of or more than 3700 meters.
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
Rupin Pass trek ends in Sangla Valley. The views of Chitkul and Sangla Valley are to die for. Tourists from all over the country come to this valley to especially enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the mountains. Get a glimpse of artistic legacy at Kamru Fort dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kamakhya Devi. Bering Nag Temple is an architectural wonder dedicated to Lord Jagas. The temple has an important mythological significance in the area. Brelengi Gompa is a beautiful monastery in Sangla that you ought to visit. If you have another day or two, you can add Chitkul to your program. Sangla is famous for wood carved artifacts and Kinnaur apples which you can take back as a souvenir from the trip. To know more read Top attractions near Sangla and Chitkul
Click here for packing list.
One should be familiar with the following:
Rupin Pass Trek best time is - May-June and September-October
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied by their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.
When you arrive in Dhaula, your stay will be made at a homestay. The home stay cabin is tucked into the lush woods on a gradual mountain slope overlooking the river below. The rooms will be provided on twin or triple sharing basis. You will receive the details of your accommodation through email few days prior the trek. On trekking days, all the trekkers will be accommodated in twin or triple sharing tents. Along with this, there will be also be a toilet tent and a dining tent installed at every campsite as we roll.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accomodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks. Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.
Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek.These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable. There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.
You will be provided with good quality of gaiters and microspikes from us depending upon the situation of the snow. Our trek leaders will also be carrying ropes and ice axe.
Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfil the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack.
On Rupin Pass Trek - during the day, the temperature will range from 13-18 degrees Celsius. The nights will get cold dropping the temperature to 0-7 degrees Celsius. The higher the altitude you gain, the colder it gets. To know more follow Rupin Pass Trek Temperature Chart
You can expect a good amount of snow in the first season i.e. May-June. It is difficult to expect snow post monsoons in September-October when the trek opens again for its second season.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.
A team of participant will be led by a course certified trek leader and a local guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have a certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.
Pick up point for Rupin Pass Trek is ISBT Dehradun, by 07:00 am - 07:30 am. We also provide optional transport from Sangla to Shimla at the end of the trek. In that case, you will reach Shimla from Sangla late in the night by midnight 12:00-12:30 am and will have to stay in a hotel room. Make the bus bookings from Shimla for the next day.
Expect to reach Sangla by early afternoon. We provide an option to book transport to Shimla. In that case, you will reach Shimla by midnight 12:30 am.
Dhaula is a quaint village in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. There are hardly any shops from where you can buy. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Cellular networks are available till Jiskun. You will also find BSNL & Vodafone network at Jiskun.
ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried) and Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) are the mandatory documents required for this trek.
Our community is an integral part of us and we take pride in our trekkers and climbers. When you complete at least three days on any trek or expedition with us, you become eligible for our membership and referral programs.
For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure