Dhaulagiri Trek 20 Days / 19 Nights
Nepal Challenging Treks
October to May
Best Time For Travel:
Trip Over View
Trekking around the giant Himalayan peak Dhaulagiri (7th highest peak in the world) is one of the most challenging and remote treks Nepal has to offer. Trekking off the main paths is not only possible, but can be immensely rewarding, though you do need a sense of adventure and an increased ability to deal with the unexpected.
Geographically, the Dhaulagiri region is a land of dramatic contrast. This is a trek into the wild which contains the world’s deepest river gorge, unparalleled scenery and, as you might expect, in such remote country, some very interesting indigenous people. The vast massif screens the hidden land of Dolpo to its' northwest. Following the river upstream you can observe ferns and forests of oak and other deciduous trees. Mountain sides of rhododendron blaze with color in the spring, and other flowers are abundant on the trail. Even on the high mountain passes above the tree line tiny alpine flowers can be found dotting the windswept ground. This is an adventure that walks the fine line between trekking and mountaineering and is ideal for those that thrive on rugged and remote trails that see only a handful of trekkers each season.
A standard Dhaulagiri Trek begins from Baglung, accessible after a 3 hour drive from Pokhara, and goes via Darbang and Muri or Khibang to Boghara (the last village). The wilderness begins here with a small difficult trail, set in a beautiful virgin forest and then becomes very rough as it proceeds to the alpine grasses of Italy Base Camp. We will need to use a fixed rope to cross the difficult rubble-covered glacier, remaining aware of potential rock fall danger. From here the trail climbs onto the main glacier. The trails are ill defined and traverse knife-edged ridges on loose rock where a slip means loss of life. The trail becomes easier past Army Base Camp heading up French Col and then drops into Hidden Valley, broad and open with rich hued rocks and barely a blade of grass. Here, at 5000m it is perpetually cold, at least -15C° in October and -20C° in November at night.
The most important concern in this trek is the risk of acute mountain sickness. This itinerary goes in a clockwise direction and is good for very experienced and confident parties only. Others are encouraged to begin with other treks such as; Annapurna Basecamp or Annapurna Circuit for proper acclimatization before attempting the main trail of Dhaulagiri. We can begin with Annapurna Circuit from Besi Sahar via Manang and the 5416m Thorung La (12-14 days) then trek around Dhaulagiri in the counter clockwise direction - If starting from Pokhara, we can start with the Annapurna Sanctuary trek (10-12 days). The clockwise Dhaulagiri trek also can be started from Thamgas, via Dhorpatan and the Jaljala (8-9 days to Bagaraha) or, starting from Baglung, there are routes via Asnam Dhuri from the Rahughat Khola or Marang Khola that allows for enough acclimatization. Remember, all treks can be adapted accordingly to suit your needs.
Day 01: Drive to Baglung (970m).
Day 02: Tatopani (970m).
Day 03: Darbang (1120m).
Day 04: Trek to Kamlo (1610m).
Day 05: Trek to Baghara (2060m).
Day 06: To Doban (2490m).
Day 07: Doban-Upper Bungini (Italian Base Camp).
Day 08: Rest at Upper Vungini.
Day 09: Upper Vungini (Italian Base Camp)–Glacier Camp.
Day 10: Glacier Camp–Dhaulagiri Base Camp.
Day 11: Dhaulagiri Base Camp French Col-Hidden Valley.
Day 12: Hidden Valley camp (5000m).
Day 13: Hidden Valley–Yak Kharka.
Day 14: Yak Kharka–Marfa.
Day 15: Marfa-Lete (2650m).
Day 16: Lete-Tatopani (1300m).
Day 17: Tatopani-Rest Day
Day 18: Tatopani-Ghorepani (2810m)
Day 19: Tadapani–Ghandruk.
Day 20: Ghandruk–Pokhara.
Day 01: Drive to Baglung (970m)
Drive to the trail head town of Baglung (74km) which takes about 3 hrs. On arrival there is a short walk from the road to our camp close to the village.
Day 02: Tatopani (970m)
Take an early morning start, following the bank of the Kali Gandaki River. We follow the western bank of the Kali Ghandaki River valley to Beni (870m). Following the Myagdi Khola River, we pass through several small villages, a hot spring and cultivated lands to Tatopani and then cross a suspension bridge and camp. Total walking 7 hours.
Day 03: Darbang (1120m)
Continue following the the Myagdi Khola and the Newale Khola, walking through terraced fields to Babichor where we have lunch. In the afternoon, we ascend gradually through paddies to reach the DukKhola and the small settlements of Ratorunga, Bodeni and Chachare, before reaching the large village of Darbang with its rows of shops where we camp in the school grounds. 6 hrs trekking.
Day 04: Trek to Kamlo (1610m)
The trail crosses the Myagdi Khola River by suspension bridges quite a few times. After crossing the Marang Khola (1,270m), the trail descends for a while and soon takes a steep ascent but you will be rewarded with the great views of Churen Himal (7,371m) and Gurja Himal (7,193m) at the ridge. We descend again to reach the camp among terraced fields, high above the valley, at Kamlo. 6 hrs trekking
Day 05: Trek to Baghara (2060m)
We have a tough day today. The trail passes through terraced fields as we follow the river bank and walk along the ridge forested with bamboo and rhododendron. 7-8 hrs walking.
Day 06: To Doban (2490m)
Today, we have a relatively short day. The trail goes through a village followed by a bamboo forest. Along the way we may have the opportunity to take advantage of the hot springs. The trail is scenic with beautiful waterfalls, towering cliffs and delightful rhododendron forests. 6 hrs trekking.
Day 07: Doban-Upper Bungini (Italian Base Camp)
Passing through beautiful forests we rapidly gain altitude and mountains burst out all around us.
Day 08: Rest at Upper Bungini
Today is a rest day for acclimatization. Since there is little exploring to be done, this is a day to relax and accumulate energy to take on the following tough day.
Day 09: Uppper Vungini (Italian Base Camp)–Glacier Camp
After crossing the first glacier, probably using a rope in a couple of tricky spots, we climb onto the main glacier. The surroundings are spectacular, which makes up for the rough and dangerous trail. We may also use a rope on this section. This is a particularly tough day. We camp on the glacier rubble.
Day 10: Glacier Camp–Dhaulagiri Base Camp
Soon the rough rubble gives way to the smooth ice of the white part of the glacier. We climb steadily to the rough and chilling but spectacular Dhaulagiri Base Camp.
Day 11: Dhaulagiri Base Camp–French Col-Hidden Valley
Getting to Hidden Valley in glacier above the base camp often requires a rope, but once over the steep moraine walls we are in safer and gentle country. After a breathless climb to the top of French Col (5300m,) the views of Hidden Valley open out. The broad valley is reminiscent of Tibet and Ladakh and so are the temperatures, at least -20ºC at night.
Day 12: Hidden Valley camp (5000m)
Today is a rest day to admire the surrounding peaks and perhaps do some exploring.
Day 13: Hidden Valley–Yak Kharka
After climbing over the 5200m Dhampus Pass, we traverse avalanche-prone slopes and then descend steeply to Yak Kharka.
Day 14: Yak Kharka–Marfa
Today we continue on to Marfa.
Day 15: Marfa-Lete (2650m)
We join the valley of Kaligandaki and the Japanese friendship village rich with Thakali culture. (6hrs) Overnight at Lodge.
Day 16: Lete - Tatopani (1300m)
Under the beautiful Dhaulagiri, we cross the river and proceed through the forest towards the highly anticipated hot springs of Tatopani (7hrs). Overnight in lodge
Day 17: Tatopani-Rest Day
Tatopani consists of several clusters of building with excellent food, hot springs and a nice view of Nilgiri Mountain. You can enjoy the day sipping your beer as you enjoy your soak, drinking in the lovely atmosphere and surroundings of the riverside.
Day 18: Tatopani-Ghorepani (2810m)
We will wake up at 5 am to hike up to the famed vantage point of Poon Hill (2,590m). We then climb the Deorali (2855m) and then descent through the rhododendron forest until Tadapani (6hrs). Overnight in Lodge.
Day 19: Tadapani–Ghandruk
Today we continue our descent through the forest until Gandrung, a Gurung community village. (6hrs) Overnight in hotel.
Day 20: Ghandruk–Pokhara
Today is an easy ascent to Birethati and then we cross the Modi River. And finally an uphill climb to catch a bus to our hotel in Pokhara.
- Transportation to trailhead and return.
- All camping gears, kitchen gears and supplies.
- 3 meals a day.
- English speaking Trekking Guide.
- Porters, Sherpas and Pack animals.
- Trekking crew insurance.
- Drinks, tip and expenses of personal nature.
- Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
- Travel Insurance.
- Accommodation/services in Pokhara.