Escape the popular trails around Everest and the Annapurnas and see the remotest parts of the Nepalese Himalayas that few visitors get to experience. These include the regions of Dolpo, Manaslu, Lantang, the Tamang Heritage Trail and Rara National Park. Some of these trails have only recently been opened up to hikers and travelling off the beaten path offers pristine, unspoilt natural beauty as well as cultural experiences amongst the diverse peoples of Nepal.
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Travel to Other Nepal Trekking Circuits
Organised group tours: The following tours for Other Nepal Trekking Circuits are available:
Amongst the peaks and high valleys of the Nepal Himalaya there are many long and demanding trekking routes and one of the best and most challenging of these is the circuit of Dhaulagiri via French Pass and the Hidden Valley. This is a classic adventure trekking holiday for those with previous high altitude trekking experience, which includes a taste of all of the trekking environments that Nepal has to offer. Beginning at Beni on the Kali Gandaki River, this superb trekking route ascends the lovely and unspoiled valley of the Myagdi Khola which flows southwards from the heart of the Dhaulagiri Himal. After 8 days of walking, through an ever-changing landscape, with numerous picturesque villages, we reach Dhaulagiri Basecamp and prepare ourselves for the crux of our route - the crossing of the ‘French Pass' (5360m). This tough, but technically straightforward pass lies close beneath the northern slopes of Dhaulagiri (8167m) and the mountain views on our ascent and descent are simply sensational. We have a day to explore the remarkable ‘Hidden Valley' before crossing the Dhampus Pass and making the long descent to Marpha in the Kali Gandaki Valley. Flying back to Pokhara from the airstrip at Jomsom, we have time to enjoy this lakeside town, before returning to Kathmandu. This is adventure travel at its best - a brilliant trek in a rarely-visited part of Nepal.
To the east of Everest, the area between Kangchenjunga and Makalu contains the two most important conservation areas in the Nepal Himalya, home to an amazing variety of birds and to the endangered red panda and snow leopard. Very few trekkers visit this area which is also populated by several of Nepal's ethnic groups including Limbu, Sherpa, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Newar and Thamang peoples. In 2016 we are offering a simply superb trek through this region from Kangchenjunga to Makalu, following part of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) and crossing several high and remote passes. Throughout the trek there is a tremendous variety of spectacular scenery. After a short flight to the plains of the Terai we drive through Himalayan foothills to Surke. Here, we begin trekking through a landscape of deep folded river valleys containing sub tropical forests and hillsides dotted with small villages and emerald lines of rice terracing. Gaining height, we progress through zones of barley and forests of rhododendron, juniper and pines to enter an alpine world of rough yak pastures where we are surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Himalaya. Crossing the Lumba Sumba Himal, the watershed between the major river valleys of the Tamor and Arun, we have sensational mountain views from the several high passes which we must negotiate. We end the trek with a gradual descent of the Arun Valley, returning to warmer climes and an agricultural landscape. Finally, from Tumlingtar, we fly back to Kathmandu. This is an uplifting trek, perfect for those who wonder what trekking in Nepal was like 30 years ago.
Hidden behind high passes, Inner Dolpo is one of the least accessible and yet most alluring corners of Nepal. Few travellers have penetrated to the heart of Dolpo, a region beautifully portrayed in Eric Valli's excellent film - 'Himalaya'. This is very much the land that time forgot, with a mix of ancient Tibetan religions and a hardy people who make their living through farming and through trade with both Tibet and Nepal. Even the Nepalese regard Inner Dolpo as a mysterious, inaccessible land where ancient shamanistic versions of Buddhism still hold sway. The spiritual heart of Inner Dolpo is ‘Shey' - literally the crystal mountain - so called because of its unusual mineral stratifications. At the base of the mountain sits the 11th century Shey Gompa, said to have been constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who arrived here on the back of a flying snow lion. Whatever its origins, Shey Gompa is widely revered and every year hundreds of pilgrims come here to visit the gompa and make a ‘kora' or circuit of the ‘Crystal Peak', Dolpo's own version of Mount Kailas. The region was visited in 1973 by Peter Matthiessen accompanying George Schaller, who had been given special permission to visit Shey during his study of the rare Himalayan blue sheep and the even rarer snow leopard. Matthiessen's subsequent book detailing both his trek and his personal spiritual journey has become a classic of its genre. Dolpo was first opened to trekkers in 1990 and Inner Dolpo only in 1992 but political troubles in and around the southern access towns led to Dolpo being effectively closed from 1999. The historic resignation of the King of Nepal in 2008 and the subsequent accord with the insurgents has seen the return of peace in the lower valleys, and treks into this very special place are once again possible. Flying to Dolpo's only airstrip at Juphal, we trek north along the steep sided Suli Gaad Valley to the lush green fields of Ringmo. Nearby is the stunning blue lake of Phoksumdo which featured so dramatically in Eric Valli's masterful film ‘Himalaya' about the lives of the Dolpopa. We spend a day acclimatising in this beautiful spot before tackling the Kang La to reach Inner Dolpo and Shey Gompa. Beyond Shey our route heads east crossing the Shey La to the major Dolpo settlement of Saldang where we turn south. We cross another high pass, the Jeng La to reach the village of Dho Tarap and descend the impressive rocky gorge of the Tarap Valley to Tarakot. We end the trip with two relatively easy days trekking through the villages of Lower Dolpo back to our starting point at Juphal. For the connoisseur of Himalayan trekking and for anyone who wishes to visit an unspoilt region of near mythical status, this trek is an absolute must.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya
Aug 2009 (9th ed.), 436 pages
Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream
Oct 2008 (1st ed.), 200 pages
Nepal Trekking and the Great Himalaya Trail
Nov 2014 (2nd ed.)