The Upper Dolpo Trek

The Upper Dolpo Trek: A Clockwise Conquering Adventure Awaits

Unfurl your map, adventurer, for this is your invitation to a clockwise odyssey: The Upper Dolpo Trek. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking splendor of Phoksundo Lake, its turquoise waters mirroring the towering Himalayas. Conquer the mighty Kang La Pass, a 5,290m sentinel guarding your path. Descend to the historic Shey Monastery, where whispers of ancient prayers linger in the air.


But your journey doesn’t end there. Prepare to ascend the challenging Sela La pass (5,094m) and delve into the timeworn village of Saldang, its traditional charm carrying echoes of bygone eras. Brace yourself for the final hurdle, the Jyanta La pass (5,221m), before your southward descent to Dho Trap.

This is no ordinary trek. Embrace the spirit of wild exploration as you embark on a two-day descent through the awe-inspiring Tarap Khola Gorge. Laisicap awaits your gateway back to Dunai and the Juphal airstrip. Remember, this is a camping adventure, and specific locations may vary based on the season’s whims. Be prepared for river crossings that add a touch of untamed excitement to your journey.

Upper Dolpo Trek
Upper Dolpo Trek

While snow-capped peaks may not be your constant companions, several days will test your mettle above 4,500m in challenging conditions. Excellent preparation is essential, for this is a trek that demands respect.

But the rewards are immeasurable. This exceptional trail boasts three high passes, with most paths exceeding 3,500m and many days spent above 4,000m. Nestled on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, Dolpo exists in a rain shadow, receiving less monsoon rain than other regions. However, expect higher river levels and multiple crossings – consider them badges of honor earned in the embrace of nature’s raw beauty.

This is more than just a trek; it’s an immersion into a unique cultural tapestry. The absence of crowds allows you to truly connect with the warm hospitality of the Dolpo-Pa people and experience the captivating Tibetan way of life. This unforgettable encounter will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Daily trekking times may not be explicitly listed, but be prepared for longer and more demanding challenges compared to lower-graded treks. Yet, for the fit and adventurous spirit, the rewards are immeasurable. The sense of accomplishment upon reaching each pass, the breathtaking panoramas, and the cultural immersion will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

So, are you ready to embark on this clockwise adventure? The Upper Dolpo Trek awaits, beckoning you to conquer its passes, embrace its wilderness, and delve into its cultural heart. Pack your bags, adventurer, and get ready to write your own story on this unforgettable path.


Trip Highlights:

Region: Dolpo, Nepal
Grade: Challenging (Grade 5)
Time: 26 days (shorter options available)
Height: Maximum 5120m, several days above 4000m
Style: Camping
Cultural Immersion: Experience the unique Dolpo-Pa people and the Tibetan way of life
Unforgettable Landscapes: Trek past turquoise lakes, traverse high passes, and witness breathtaking Himalayan panoramas

Itinerary for The Upper Dolpo Trek:

Days 1-2: Arrive in Kathmandu, immerse yourself in the vibrant city, and prepare for your trek.

Day 3: Fly to Juphal Airport and begin your trek, descending to the charming village of Dunai.

Days 4-5: Embark on a gradual ascent through diverse landscapes, reaching Shyanta and then Rechi, nestled amidst pine forests.

Day 6: Ascend through rhododendron forests to reach the stunning Phoksundo Lake, a jewel suspended at 3733m.

Days 7-8: Explore the serene beauty of Phoksundo Lake, hike to breathtaking viewpoints, and soak in tranquility.

Day 9: Challenge yourself with a steep climb to Mandala, offering panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.

Day 10: Conquer the formidable Nangdalo Pass (5110m), the highest point of the trek, and descend to the historic Shey Gompa.

Day 11: Cross the scenic Saldang Pass (5010m) and reach Namgung, a village rich in Tibetan culture.

Day 12: Visit the ancient Rapa Gompa and learn about the local way of life in Chagaon.

Day 13: Set camp amidst stunning scenery at the Lake Campsite, offering mesmerizing views.

Day 14: Traverse the Shimen Pass (4260m) and descend to the traditional village of Shimen Gaon.

Day 15: Hike through fertile valleys and reach Tinjegaon, surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

Day 16: Camp amidst scenic meadows at a high altitude of 4210m.

Day 17: Cross the challenging Mola Bhanjyang Pass (5027m) and reach Charka Bhot, a remote settlement.

Day 18: Ascend the breathtaking Niwal Pass (5120m), the trek’s second highest point, and descend to Sangdok.

Day 19: Enjoy a relaxed descent through picturesque villages and reach Santo.

Day 20: Trek through the Kali Gandaki Valley, renowned for its dramatic landscapes, and arrive in Kagbeni.

Day 21: Visit the sacred Muktinath temple and experience the confluence of Hindu and Buddhist cultures.

Day 22: Descend through diverse terrain and reach the bustling town of Jomsom.

Day 23: Enjoy a scenic flight back to Pokhara, marveling at the Himalayan panorama.

Day 24: Depart from Pokhara, carrying memories of your unforgettable adventure.

This is just a sample itinerary, and the actual route may vary depending on weather conditions and group preferences. Remember, this is a challenging trek, so ensure you are well-prepared physically and mentally.

Additional Notes:

  • Be prepared for several river crossings throughout the trek.
  • Camping sites may vary depending on the season and availability.
  • Acclimatization is crucial due to the high altitude.
  • Respect the local culture and traditions.

I hope this detailed itinerary provides a clearer picture of the Upper Dolpo Trek and inspires you to embark on this remarkable adventure!


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