The Upper Dolpo to Rara Traverse trek highlights two of the most beautiful high altitude lakes in Nepal. Starting in the barren yet stunningly beautiful landscape of Dolpo, and ending in the equally beautiful Mugu district, one of the poorest areas of the country, this trek is as challenging as it is enthralling. Spread over three weeks, there are four high passes to cross as well as high, steep, narrow and rocky trails to negotiate. A good deal of this trek is done at over 4,000m with the passes being between 5,000 to 5,500m. The lakes themselves Phoksundo (3,641m) in Dolpo and Rara (2,980m) in Mugu are both turquoise jewels set in a craggy, rocky landscape, and in pine forests, respectively. On the way the route, part of the newly opened east to west Great Himalayan Trail (GHT), passes through interesting villages with a Buddhist culture closely linked to Tibet, monasteries and gompa, and the quartz studded Crystal Mountain.
Dolpo is an area where the Bon Po religion (similar but different to Tibetan Buddhism) is still practiced and the majority of the people are more closely tied to Tibet than Nepal. Trade routes along which yaks and mules pass still run from Tibet to the lower parts of Nepal. Shey Gompa, a 12th century monastery, is often referred to as the spiritual heart of Dolpo, and is situated at the base of the Crystal Mountain, a long-standing pilgrimage area.
Mugu is the least developed district of Nepal, where its rugged landscape has meant it remains pretty much as it was in the past. With the opening of the GHT and a push towards local tourism, the beautiful Rara Lake, Nepal’s largest, is making its way onto the map. Rara National Park is the smallest national park in Nepal at only 106 square kilometers. As in the Shey Phoksundo National Park (3,55km2) which covers a large portion of Dolpo, there are several interesting mammal species in Rara National Park including the snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, Langur and rhesus monkeys, among others.
Stark landscapes, alpine forests, green meadows, craggy rock faces, tricky trails, high passes, beautiful people and completely stunning lakes await those with the time and willingness to try out this section of the Great Himalayan Trail.
|Day 1||Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (Flight)||150 m||1 hr|
|Day 2||Nepalgunj to Jhupal (Flight) to Chhepak||2830m||5 - 6 hr|
|Day 3||Chhepak to Chunuwar||3130 m||6 hr|
|Day 4||Chunuwar to Ringmo||3612 m||3 hr|
|Day 5||Acclimatization Day||3612 m||3 hr|
|Day 6||Ringmo to Chunemba||3639 m||5 hr|
|Day 7||Chunemba to Snowfield Camp||4400 m||7 hr|
|Day 8||Snowfield Camp to Shey Gompa||4310m||6 hr|
|Day 9||Shey Gompa to Bhijer||3850 m||7 hr|
|Day 10||Bhijer to Pho||4087 m||8 - 9 hr|
|Day 11||Pho to Pung Kharka||4650 m||8 hr|
|Day 12||Pung Kharka to Chyandi Khola||4830 m||6 hr|
|Day 13||Chyandi Khola to Takla Khola||3785 m||7 hr|
|Day 14||Takla Khola to Thaju Chaur||4050 m||7 hr|
|Day 15||Thaju Chaur to Shilen Chaur Kharka||2945 m||6 hr|
|Day 16||Shilen Chaur Kharka to Tiyar||2418 m||3 hr|
|Day 17||Tiyar to Mangri||1950 m||4 hr|
|Day 18||Mangri to Gamgadi||2095 m||4 hr|
|Day 19||Gamgadi to Rara Lake||2980 m||4 hr|
|Day 20||Day trip to Muldi View Point||3410 m||3 hr|
|Day 21||Rara Lake to Talcha||2990 m||3 hr|
|Day 22||Talcha to Nepalgunj (Flight) to Kathmandu (Flight)||1380 m||1 hr|