For a state that is tiny geographically, Himachal Pradesh holds an insane amount of surprises for every kind of traveler. While the lower areas are lush green and hilly, as you go upwards, you will enter the single-tone backgrounds of cold deserts and nights that get progressively star-filled.
As a camper, one of the best things about the ‘Abode Of Snow’, which is literally what Himachal Pradesh translates to, is that it is one of the very few places in India where free camping is allowed.
We’ve fine-combed through the entire map of the state to find out some of the best places for camping in Himachal Pradesh. We decided to skip out on the more famous places like Parvati Valley and Kasol because all of us already know these places and let’s be honest, weren’t you hoping to finally find different places curated into a single list?
Also read: 6 Interesting Camping Experiences In India
On the way to the glorious Kheerganga, Rudranag Falls makes for a place you must stop at. As the name suggests, there’s a waterfall that you can camp at the top or the bottom of. Most camp organizers will offer this as a stop by themselves. However, if they don’t, you can ask them for it and they should be happy to oblige.
This trek is known for its steep and sharp terrain, making it a challenging trek. However, the serenity of the spot once you get there makes the risk totally worth it. There are a few dhabas on the way to the falls that offer authentic food at a relatively reasonable price.
This trek should take two days, one to get there and one to get back, if you decide to have Rudranag as the final destination. Since it is on the way to Kheerganga, a lot of people go ahead and make it a week-long camping/trekking trip.
You can easily find good camp organizers taking you to Rudranag falls. TheGreatNext and WanderOn are two such organizers that organize trips from places like Delhi. Otherwise, booking a locally organized trip should cost you anywhere between INR 1,500 to INR 3,600.
Also read: Top 7 Things To Do In Himachal
Malana is famous for exactly what you think it is famous for. Well, that, its hippie culture and the mesmerizing views it offers during the trek and during your stay in a campsite there. Only a few kilometres from Kasol, Malana is a small village that is very well known for its quaint riverside camping offered by multiple organizers that have covered different parts of the place.
Two of the campsites from Malana that deserve a shoutout are Malana Camping, which offers a great display of birds from its alpine tents and Offbeat Camping, which is located in-between Chandrakheni and Deo Tibba peaks, giving you an amazing view of the mountains around. Offbeat Camping also has an open-air cafe from where you can munch on your munchies while tripping on the view.
Both these places offer alpine tents, meaning a single tent with multiple rooms and a single washroom and will set you back about INR 1,500 approximately.
Also Read: Himachal Pradesh Travel Guide
Kutla Glacier is right beside the village of Kutla. A quaint little hamlet that seems like it's worlds away from the more touristy and cumbersome Malana and Tosh, while actually being only an hour away from the latter!
The campsites at the glacier itself are a little farther, though. Taking you about 8 km to get there, the campsites are so cut-off from the rest of the world that the only thing available to you there would be Maggi and tea sold at local-run stalls along with an amazing sight of the Himalayan glaciers settled around itself, especially at sunrise when the snow-clad peaks turn a shiny gold.
Two of the best campsites around Kutla Glacier are PeakSide Kutla Camp and Kutla Camps. Both of these places provide you with everything in-between backpacker-style camping and glamping. However, the one thing that both these campsites boast about is their eco-friendly nature. All the furniture and paraphernalia you find here are devoid of concrete, plastic, or any such materials and they are working towards further improving their methods to cut out the carbon footprint.
Depending upon the kind of tent/package you choose, expect an expenditure of anywhere between INR 1,000 and INR 7,500 rupees. The Kutla Glacier is accessible for the entire year, except the months of December, January, and February.
Also Read: 8 Places To Visit In Himachal During Monsoon
One of the most treacherous treks offered by the Indian Himalayas, the one to Kheerganga also has one of the best pay-offs as well. It’s known for its amazing view that covers the dense green forests and only stops at the next mountain over, and the hot springs which seem like a gift at the height of almost 13,000 feet from sea level.
Kheerganga is tucked amidst the mountains of the Himalayas and is known for its friendly locals and being among the best places for camping in Himachal. The two campsites that we think you should definitely check out are called Trekking And Camping In Kheerganga and Kheerganga Trekking Camps. Both these places offer options between dome tents and alpine tents along with a limited-but-fantastic menu of the local cuisine. While the former boasts of a natural pool, the latter has some inherent charm that attracts couples since almost all the couples staying there sing praises of the place and its people.
Both of these places offer amenities and services that can quickly drive your bill upwards. Depending on what tent you choose along with the amenities/services/activities, both these places will cost you anywhere between INR 1,000 to INR 3,000.
In the heart of the Kangra Valley in McLeodganj, Naddi is a small village that is out to win hearts and steal breaths. While it’s surrounded by deep, dark, green forests, the one thing that makes Naddi among the best places for camping in Himachal are its open meadows that provide ample space to trek and camp.
Naddi is accessible by both a taxi and by foot. Any vehicular mode of transport you choose from McLeodganj will take between 25 to 40 minutes and a trek from the same place will take about an hour. Once you get there, you’ll be greeted by friendly villagers who have set up campsites in spots that will serve you the best views with a side of the local cuisine.
If you want to explore multiple places, you can go for an organized camping trip like the one that Dhauladhar Forest Camping offers. This trip takes you through Naddi, Bahl, Triund, and Mcleodganj in 4-5 days. We do suggest you spend a couple of days in a single spot, especially in a place like Naddi. For which, you can contact any local organizer and they will fix you up for a great time at a fairly reasonable price.
Depending on what kind of trip you orchestrate, it will cost you upwards of INR 1,000to INR 8,000.
Chandratal is a lake situated in the high-altitude district of Lahaul-Spiti. Chandratal, or the lake of the moon, is famous for its views of the night sky that reflect on the lake. The moon seems so close to this place that its reflection is clearly seen in the water.
Situated at approximately 14,000 feet above sea level, this lake is right in the middle of a rather famous trekking spot - the Spiti Valley. You can opt for a trekking package that allows you to camp at Chandratal or you can book yourself into one of the few camping sites here if you want to stay for a longer time.
If you choose to get yourself a trekking expedition around Spiti, like the one offered by Spiti Holiday Adventure, you will camp at a few other places along with Chandratal. However, that will set you back by approximately INR 10,000.
On the other hand, if you choose to camp at a campsite like Chandrataal Lake Camping or The Chandratal Lake Camp Retreat, you’ll get to soak in the beauty of the lake and the tiny settlements around it to the fullest. This fulfilling experience will leave your wallet a little empty than before with a price tag of anywhere between INR 7,200 and INR 9,000.
Bijli Mahadev is one of the most revered temples in the country. The legendary shrine of Lord Vishnu is situated at the height of 8070 feet sea level and is surrounded by myths and legends that go back a few thousand years where Lord Vishnu himself had traveled to this part of Kullu to meditate.
While there is no actual accommodation of any sort near the temple, there are multiple organizers who will readily take you camping at the base camp for the trek to Bijli Mahadev. You can look for packages that start in and around Himachal itself or choose one that starts in Delhi or Chandigarh. Then, you can also look for activities like white water rafting and paragliding that some of these organizers might offer as a part of their packages.
One such package sold by Weekend Thrill begins at the base camp in Haripur and takes you straight to the temple either by foot or by a 4X4. We recommend this 1 night- 2 day package as it gives you the opportunity to club it with other plans and destinations that you might have in mind. You can expect to spend around INR 3,000 to INR 5,000 for camping around Bijli Mahadev.
Hampta Pass is one of the craziest, most exciting and extreme treks that you can undertake. This small corridor between Spiti and Kullu is a place where you will stop at multiple campsites through the trek but never, ever experience one thing, or even similar ones, twice. While the Spiti-Lahaul side of the pass is arid, dry and almost monotone, it gets progressively livelier and colorful as you cross over to Kullu.
At 14,000 feet, it’s also extreme in terms of the weather and the availability of amenities. When we speak of the availability of amenities, we mean that there are none. Everything you get is carried by the locals by hand. So, you only get things that are necessary for survival. Other than that, you don’t even get cellphone network!
Hampta Pass takes you through five campsites. Namely, Jobra, Jwara, Balu Ka Ghera, Shea Goru and Chhatru, after which it descends down into Kullu-Manali and other human civilizations.
There are multiple organizers selling Hampta Pass trekking and camping as a package. The two that we like the most are India Hikes and Trek The Himalayas. Both these organizations offer similar services and at almost INR 10,000, are priced similarly too.
Himachal Pradesh is a state that is full of surprises. With the changing terrain and culture throughout the state, there is no way we could’ve jotted down these best places for camping in Himachal that are out of the ordinary. If you think we missed out on one that you think fits the bill, do let us know!
If you’re planning on camping in Himachal Pradesh, please do your research properly. Some of the areas are quite harsh in terms of the weather and others follow a few rules very adherently. While free camping is not banned at a lot of places in this state, it is best to research that beforehand, too.
Most importantly, make sure you go out there and do something that is going to make the seven-year-old in you think you’ve become superhuman. Stay safe, keep traveling and have fun!
Can I Camp Anywhere In Himachal Pradesh?
Himachal Pradesh is probably the only place where a person can set up camp anywhere their heart pleases.
Are Tourists Allowed In Himachal Pradesh?
Yes. However, the government has issued a few rules and regulations that need to be followed when in the state. You can easily find them online or at your trip organizers’ office. Download the Aarogya Setu App for the convenience of accessing your COVID-related documents.
What Is The Best Time For Camping In Himachal Pradesh?
The state is a traveler’s treat year-round. However, avoid monsoons if possible and if you plan on visiting some of the places at higher elevations, take note of the weather forecast and possibly avoid going there in the winters as well.
What Is The Famous Food Of Himachal Pradesh?
Dham is a dish that's famous in Himachal Pradesh.