Set amidst semi-frozen rivers in the Pin Valley, the Pin Valley National Park is situated in the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve situated in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres at its pinnacle. One of the fascinating facilities of its kind, the Pin Valley National Park is home to the rare species of famous Himalayan snow leopards and their prey, the Ibex. Due to its high altitude, only a limited number of animals and plants thrive here. However, Pin Valley National Park is most famous for its incredible trek which is a delight for all its visitors. Owing to the many rare plant and animal species that it houses, the National Park was established in the year 1987 and has been a major attraction for trekking enthusiasts.
Pin Valley National Park acts as a joint between the separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti, and the Dhankar Gompa on the Tibetan border can be deemed as its exact starting point. With the picture-perfect backdrop of snow-covered mountain ranges, a trek to this destination is easily a nature lover’s dream. The imposing mountains that stand tall here have a sublime quality of their own, and their stone bodies seem to dissolve into the clouds that hang low here. If you are interested in learning more about the vegetation of Lahaul-Spiti, you can study the spread of alpine and dwarf juniper scrub that is most common here. Animals here include woolly hair, Tibetan gazzle, snow leopard, fox, wolf, ibex, bharal, Himalayan marmot, Indian porcupine, blue sheep, red-billed chough, Patridge, snow Patridge, blue rock pigeon and Tibetan wild ass among many others. Visit this national park to witness species and sceneries you don’t get to witness every day.
Due to the park’s high altitude and extreme temperatures, the vegetation density is sparse, comprising mainly of alpine trees and groves of Himalayan cedar or Deodars. In summer, rare birds such as the Himalayan snowcock, chukar partridge, snow partridge and snow finch flourish in the park. Because of its snow-laden unexplored higher spots and slopes, the Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the snow leopard and Siberian ibex.
Twenty-two rare and endangered medicinal plant species have been discovered in and around Pin Valley National Park, which are distributed over 10 different habitat types.
If you have a taste for trekking through tough terrains, Pin Valley National Park is for you. There are two routes to reach this destination, the first one is called the Summer Route which is open from July to October, and the second one is called the Winter Route which is open from March to December. The Summer Route begins from Kullu where you can take the bus. From Kullu, you reach Kaza via the scenic beauties of Manali, Rohtang Pass, Kunzam Pass. Once you reach Kaza, you need to board another bus to reach Mikkim, which is the last motored spot. From Mikkim, you need to trek a distance of about 10 kilometres to reach the Pin Valley Park Area. On the other hand, the Winter Route takes you from Shimla to Tapri by bus, and then Tapri to Kaza again by bus, and then to the Park on foot. The best time to visit this destination is from May to October, as the weather is comparatively less cold.
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