It was in the year 2015 when I first heard of something like camping. I was planning a trip to the mountains of Uttarakhand and was questing for more adventure. I must say, prior to my experience of camping in Chopta valley, I was missing a whole set of thrill and adventure. Since then, I’ve experienced living in many camps here almost every season. And yes, each season has a new story to unveil and new memories to create!
The following blog focuses on everything that comes to your mind as you plan to camp in Chopta. I remember the storm of questions that I encountered in the year 2015 before my camping. I’ve tried penning down this blog from a beginners perspective. Yet, you may always leave me a comment in case of any doubt!
What is a camp or a campsite?
Camps are a type of arrangement used for several purposes. An army may use it for some shelter or a hospital for a medical camp. But, when we talk about camping in Chopta valley, we mainly refer to the swiss tents and the dome tents. These two types of tents are commonly in use by travellers for accommodation purposes. A group of such tents is called a campsite.
As the name suggests, these tents are dome-shaped (or semi-circled.) Usually made of a waterproof/windproof fabric, some tents can even withstand extreme weather conditions. The tents are foldable and portable, weighing between 3-6kgs. One has to carry a sleeping bag with him while camping in dome tents. The capacity of the tent ranges from two to six people/tent. The trekkers usually prefer carrying these tents while on a trek.
Note: The Uttarakhand High Court has banned camping on dome tents in the meadows. However, some of the hotels in Chopta may allow you to pitch the tents on their premises. These hotels are not a part of the meadow area.
Swiss Camps in Chopta
Swiss camps are the most popular camping arrangements in Chopta amongst the visitors. The size of swiss camps is almost equal to the size of a room. The camps are made of water and windproof fabric and are resistant to even heavy snowfall. Nearly all the swiss camps found in Chopta have an organised facility of electricity and proper hygiene.
P.S- We generally mean ‘Swiss Camps’ when we refer to the term ‘camping’ here.
Camping in Chopta Valley- The Ideal Season
Except for the monsoons, Chopta is an ideal destination for camping around the year.
During monsoons, the valley may see heavy rainfall, and most of the camping set-ups remain closed. Based on your convenience, you should pick a suitable time to visit Chopta.
Chopta Camps during winters.
If you are an adventure enthusiast, you must visit Chopta during winters. A thick snow cover surrounds your campsite as you wake up to a fresh morning. It’s safe to camp here in winters despite heavy snowfall. The mornings and the evenings may get cold. However, almost all the campsites I’ve lived in in Chopta may arrange a bonfire for you.
I would not recommend you to stay at dome tents in Chopta during winters if heavy snowfall. Even if these tents are resistant to certain conditions, heavy snowfall can sometimes break them.
Staying at Camps in Chopta during summers.
People usually ask me if it is hot inside the camps during the summers. I would say no. The temperature of Chopta during the summers remains cold, and it feels pleasant to stay at the campsites. If you are camping here during the spring season, you will be awestruck by the beauty of the valley. The red rhododendrons (a species of flower) covers the entire valley and surrounds the campsites here.
I personally find the period after the monsoons one of the best times for camping. The meadows turn green, and the views of the Himalayas are more clearer in Chopta after monsoons. Moreover, the lesser rush during this period may let you save your money too, as the prices of the camps are low during this period.
Can I do Camping in Tungnath-Chandrashila?
Please note that there are no swiss camps neither in Tungnath nor Chandrashila. Also, you are not even allowed to pitch in your dome tents here. The Uttarakhand High Court has banned camping in the meadows.
Note: I’ve come across some articles on the internet that start with the headings “Camping in Tungnath & Chandrashila.” I reiterate that there is no camping or stay arrangement in Chandrashila. You may only find a small dharamshala at Tungnath that generally remains packed. Hence, plan camping in Chopta valley itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to camp in Chopta at night?
Yes. The camps and campsites in Chopta safe at night. However, you should avoid wandering unnecessarily on the roads. Chopta is a wildlife sanctuary area, and you may have an encounter with wild animals sometimes. It’s been more than five years since I’ve stayed in Chopta, and I haven’t faced any safety issues at campsites to date.
Are the camps comfortable?
Yes. The swiss camps are very comfortable. Most of the camps in Chopta consists of king-sized double beds. The mattresses are clean and comfortable. Hygienically, all the tents are kept clean. Some of them may also have a little balcony where you can sit and enjoy yourself with your friends!
Camping in Chopta Valley-Is the facility of Hot-Water available?
Yes. Hot water is available. However, none of the campsites has geysers installed. They may quickly boil the water for you on the stove. Chopta is a part of Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary and has no proper infrastructure for electricity. All the camps above Ushara (a place before Chopta) operate on solar energy. Hence, no geysers while camping in Chopta valley. Moreover, you may plan to stay at some hotels in Chopta (near Ushara) that may have ‘immersion rods’ or heaters available.
Does it feel cold staying inside a camp?
No. Staying at camps is almost similar to staying in some cemented room. The walls of the tents (made of fabric) are wind resistant and do not allow a cool winter breeze to enter. The temperature of Chopta during winters may fall dramatically. Don’t worry. The campsites have suitable arrangements of blankets and quilts to keep you warm!
What is the cost of camping in Chopta valley?
The cost of camping in Chopta varies from season to season. During the peak season as winters, staying at the camp may cost you somewhere between 1200-1500/person with the meals. During summer, the usual prices of Chopta camps are 1000-1200/person. However, the factors like weekends also determine the pricing of the camps. I suggest you take the plan with the meals. A without-meal plan would always cost you more!
Do I need to pre-book my camps?
Yes. You should always pre-book your stays. Due to the limited number of swiss-tents in Chopta, it sometimes becomes difficult to grab a good deal. Booking your stays beforehand will save you money and time.
Chopta Camp Booking
You can book the camps from their respective websites. Generally, you need to pay some amount in advance to confirm your booking.
How many people can fit inside a tent?
On average, four people can easily fit inside a tent. The camps that I’ve seen in Chopta consist of a double bed and two single beds. During the New Year Eve of 2018, we were six people sleeping inside a camp very comfortably.
Self-cooking at Camps- TAR Camps Chopta
I’ve come across some properties at Choptathat allow you to cook your meal. If you are the one who loves cooking (like me), you should try this thing. I’ve always loved staying at camps and cooking my food for the day!
Tents on Rent in Chopta
If you plan to trek further from Chopta and plan to stay at dome tents at night (not at the meadows), you can get tents on rent. Most of the resorts in Chopta also offer trekking equipment for rent.
The thing to remember:
I’ve seen that people often consider Chopta and Tungnath/Chandrashila as the same place. It is to note that Tungnath is at a distance of three kilometres from Chopta. Or you can say that Chopta is the trekking point to Tungnath. One and a half kilometres above Tunganth temple lies the Chandrashila Peak. There are limited stay and accommodation facilities at Tungnath (and none at Chandrashila.)
I am confident enough that you’ve read this article on camping in Chopta valley completely. As I did, I too suggest you visit Chopta in all three seasons and try out camping. Every time you visit here, you take more than what you had brought! Happy Camping! Leave a comment if doubtful on anything!