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Hatu Peak is an adventurous trek which starts from Narkanda offers splendid views of the snow clad Himalayan peaks. Hatu peak trek is also a good weekend trek if one is planning for night out camping.
For the rulers of the erstwhile hill states, Hatu Peak was of great strategic importance because of its commanding position. It was accepted as a boundary between the states. The Gorkhas captured it early in the 19th century and established a fort at the top of Hatu Peak. Later, the British ousted them from the Hatu heights.
Narkanda (2,708m), at the base of Hatu, offers a spectacular view of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. It stretches from the Srikhand Range in the east to the Kinnar Kailash Range of Kinnaur in the north-west, and all the way across to the peaks of the Tons and Yamuna catchment in Uttarakhand.
Who can do Hatu Peak trek ?
Hatu Peak trek is a beginner level trail suitable for all age groups. A person with just an average fitness level can do this trek. Children as young as 5 years can do this trek with ease.
Hatu is famous for its ski slopes. A sub-centre of the Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute at Manali runs adventure activities here, and ski equipment is available in winter. Thanedar and Kotgarh near Narkanda form the apple heartland of Himachal. Samuel Stokes, an american, introduced apple cultivation here in 1905.
This is an easy walk of 7 km (one way) to Hatu Peak and you can be back at Narkanda, easily, on the same day. But if you want to experience the thrill of the Hatu Ridge at night, take a tent along and camp out !
Suggested weekend trek itnerary for the Hatu peak trek from Narkanda. Ideally Hatu peak should be done as a weekend trek with a recommended one night camping at the Hatu peak.
Day 1 : Narkanda – Gujjar Kotha
Distance: 3.5 km Time: 2-3 hrs Level: Easy
Day 2 : Gujjar Kotha – Hatu Peak – Narkanda
Distance: 3.5 km up + 7 km down Time: 4-5 hrs Level: Easy
Narkanda (2 hrs from Shimla)
Shimla Railway Station
Hatu Peak is located 7 km east of Narkanda, on a jeep road. It’s best to follow this road. Take a few easy shortcuts across the switchback turns. From the Narkanda Bazaar, take the road going east to Thanedar. It meanders through a rich conifer forest. Less than half hour along the Thanedar road, at the further end of a little saddle on the ridge to our right (south), a small road branches off, heading a little south of east. A signboard indicates that the road leads to Hatu Temple.
The entire walk is through a mixed forest covering the whole range of high-altitude conifers: blue pine, deodar, fir and spruce interspersed with the broad-leaved moru. Then come the kharsu oak, rhododendron, walnut and horse chestnut. Shaded for the most part, the climb can still make one thirsty. However, water is not available on the trail, so carry enough from Narkanda.
Every year, a fair is held here in May and several small dhabas and bustling tea shops come up for a few days. At all other times, you have to carry your own provisions.
The route heads east up the gradually ascending ridge. Half-way up is a Gujjar kotha (temporary shelters of Gujjars who come here to camp with their herds in the summer) with a little pond reflecting the tall trees, the peaks beyond and the blue sky above.
Hatu Mata Temple is located 3.5 from Gujjar Kotha at the top of a long ridge with a more or less north-south orientation. At the northern edge of the ridge is a small shelter constructed by the PWD. From here, you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view.
The snow-capped Himalayan peaks extend in a wide arc across the northern horizon while the hills and valleys of Rohru, Theog and Shimla spread out on the south and east. The villages of Kumarsain, Kotgarh and Nirmand can be seen amidst dense forests, terraced fields and apple orchards. An hour’s walk south-east past the temple, and then through a forest dominated by oak trees, gets you to the grassy meadows of Jor Bagh. The place is ideal for camping if one decides for a night halt !
Hatu peak is a great camping place for summer months as a cool breeze with forest smell always fills the air. Camping should be avoided in the monsoons months of July & August.
Hatu Peak trek is open throughout the year and can be done all year round. If you want to simply camp overnight in a cool breeze then go during summer. During monsoons, you will witness a lush green valley beyond Narkanda which is a delight for nature lovers, bird watchers & photographers. Choose winter months if you want to experience a snow trail on the higher reaches of Hatu Peak.
From Shimla To Narkanda, It’s 64 km/2 hrs by car or 3 hrs by bus. Taxis charge extra for waiting. Buses, both state and private in the ordinary & deluxe categories, ply very frequently on this route. The first bus leaves Shimla at 5 am and the last at 9 pm. NH-22 makes for a smooth drive all through.
Return: Take the same route from Narkanda to Shimla.
Good road connectivity in the Narkanda region makes Hatu Peak one of the best weekend treks in Himachal Pradesh.
Yes, it is absolutely essential to take a guide for this trek whether you are trekking solo or in a group.
The best season for Hatu Peak trek is from Oct to June.
Yes, it is recommended from kids 10+ years.
Yes, in fact all the Himalayan trails are quite safe for women & solo travelers. People of the region are very warm, caring & hospitable in nature.
Camping tent accommodation (2-3 per tent).
Guides & porters in the region will never demand any tip money from you. They just need their daily wages paid by the trek operator. However, it is always encouraging if one can give a little tip to them if they provide good services.
Indian currency is accepted