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West Himalaya Treks

Dhorpatan-Dolpa Trek

Trip Length: 16 Days
Highest Point: 4,535 meters (Jang La Pass)
Trek Grade: Moderate
Accommodation: Teahouse/Tent
Starting Point: Durbang (Myagdi)
Ending Point: Juphal (Dolpa)
Walking Time: Approx 6 hrs per day
Region: Dhorpatan/Dolpo

Trip Highlights

  • A section of the trail used by Peter Matthiessen of The Snow Leopard fame
  • Trek through two protected areas of the country
  • Watch locals harvest Yarsabumba dubbed the Himalayan gold
  • Experience and absorb Magar culture and lifestyle
  • Off-the-beaten trail passing through terraced fields, lush forests and alpine grasslands


Dhorpatan-Dolpo Trek is on a section of the trail used by Peter Matthiessen and his team during their trek to the Dolpo region in the late 1970s. It connects Nepal's two distinct protected areas – Dhorpatan National Park and Shey Phoksundo National Park. While the former is the only protected area in the country where licensed hunting of Blue Sheep and Himalayan Tahr is allowed, the latter hides vast wilderness of dry and rugged alpine landscape housing sparsely populated settlements practicing Bon and Tibetan Buddhism in its purest form. As the trek doesn't involve crossing of high passes – the maximum altitude is only 4535 meters, trekkers don’t need to be super-fit to enjoy this area. However, the trek packs various attractions like interesting Magar culture, ample animal and bird life, and excelled views of Dhaulagiri and other peaks. One can encounter elusive wildlife species like red panda and snow leopard on this trek. Trekkers also get opportunity to enjoy magnificent views of peaks in the Dhaulagiri massif like Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Gurja Himal (7,193m), Churen Himal (7,385m) and Putha Hiunchuli (7,246 m) as well as Kanjiroba (6883m) to the north. Before Juphal airstrip was built, this used to be the only way to enter the Dolpo region. The trek can also be used as an acclimatization walk before continuing to the Upper Dolpo region.
Trip Inquiry

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Kathmandu

Welcome to Nepal. You will meet our representative once you step out of the airport after completing immigration formalities. After the customary welcome, our representative will transfer you to hour hotel. Remaining time is free for individual activities. In the evening, attend a trip briefing session where you will get to meet your guide.

O/N: Hotel
Day 2
Trek Preparation and Sightseeing

Today, enjoy a guided tour of Kathmandu Valley as we take care of your permits and other stuffs. Our experienced guide will take you on a tour of 17th century palace square, and 5th century temple and stupa. After completing the tour, the guide will drive you back to your hotel. Spend the remaining time in your hotel as your pleasing and adventurous and pleasing trek begins tomorrow.

O/N: Hotel
Day 3
Fly to Pokhara and drive to Durbang via Beni

After early, breakfast your guide will collect you from the hotel and drive you to the airport for a short flight to Pokhara. The flight offers you wonderful vista of a diverse landscaped topped by snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Upon arrival in Pokhara, board a waiting car and start driving toward Beni. Beni is about two hours’ drive west of Pokhara. It is a beautiful town seated near the confluence of Kali Gandaki and Myagdi River. In Beni, you will meet your support staff. After lunch, a drive on dirt road for a couple of hours will take us Durbang. Durbang is a beautiful settlement of Magars located on the banks of Myagdi River.

Day 4
Trek to Phaliyagaun

Our trek begins in earnest today. Cross the Myagdi Khola on a large suspension bridge and start climbing up before descending to Danyga Khola. After crossing the river, a climb of 300 meters will take you to a viewpoint offering glorious view of Dhaulagiri, among other peaks. Continue your walk to Dharapani. This section of the trail passes through beautiful terraced fields. Walk above the village to Takam which offer views of mountains of Nilgiri and Annapurna, among others. Continuing further, we will reach the settlement of Sibang. After a short walk, make a small descent to Ghattekhola stream and walk to Phaliyagaun.

O/N: Tent
Day 5
Trek to Jaljala Pass – Approx 7 hrs

We will start early in the morning. From Phaliyagaun, the trail drops to Dharakhola. Cross the river on a suspension bridge and continue walking toward the Magar settlement of Lumsum (2150m). Continuing further, cross the Dharakhola River again and start climbing toward the small settlement of Mareni. Unlike other villages in the mid-hills, Mareni is a scattered settlement. There are many houses scattered along the terraced fields of rice and wheat in lower areas and maize and millet in upper areas. We will enter a dense forest of rhododendron after leaving Moreni. Red Panda sightings have been reported in the area. The woods open into a beautiful pastureland of Jaljala Pass (3510m). There are few teahouses at the top which offer food and accommodation. Jaljala top offers sweeping views of the entire Dhaulagiri massif – ranging from Putha Himal (7246m) to the left to Nilgiri and the Annapurna range on the right.

O/N: Tent
Day 6
Trek to Dhorpatan (2860m) – Approx 6 hrs

Continue further, it’s initially an easy walk through the second meadow going by the name Lower Jaljala. From here, the walk is mostly downhill. After a short walk, the trail turns slightly right to Simudar Khola which we cross on a suspension ridge. We continue our walk staying on the right bank of the river to Gurjakot (3010m). It’s a perfect spot for lunch. After lunch, a walk of some two hours along the river will take us to Chhyantu. Chhyantu is a settlement of Tibetan refugees. Before Chhyantu, we can see a Bon monastery high on the plateau to your right. The Dhorpatan region begins from Chhyantu. The river, which we have been following since the morning, opens into a vast grassland of Dhorpatan a little below Chhyantu. Dhorpatan is the only hunting reserve in the country. The government allows controlled hunting of Blue Sheep and Himalayan Tahr. Hunters are designated certain blocks so that they can hunt only in areas where the population of the two species is high.

O/N: Tent
Day 7
Trek to Bozekum

We will spend a leisurely morning today. We can also do laundry today as we will be leaving for Bozekum later in the afternoon. The day will also serve as a rest day for us. You can explore the village, visit the reserve office and interact with the locals. After lunch, we will begin our slow walk toward Bozekum. We leave the expansive plains of Dhorpatan and gradually climb through beautiful meadows and forest of spurce, jniper hemlock, firs and pines to Bozekum. Bozekum is a small settlement with few houses.

O/N: Tent
Day 8
Trek to Thakur (3190m) via Phalgune Pass (4061m) – Approx 6 hrs

We will start early in the morning as we will be crossing a small pass today. From Bozekum, the trail climbs gradually initially through thick woods. After crossing the river originating from Phalgune Pass, trees give away to small shrubs and the trail enters into a gully along the river. The trail is steep in this section. Once you reach the top, it opens into a beautiful pastureland. You can see different varieties of wildflower in full bloom if you happen to trek in the area in the spring. The pass offers excellent view of Dhaulagiri massif, Putha Himchuli and Churen Himal, among others. After spending sometime at the pass, we start descending toward Thakur. The walk is easy as you walk through endless pastures before the trail enters into thick rhododendron forest. The trail opens into small settlement of Thakur.

O/N: Tent
Day 9
Trek to Tatopani

From Thakur, the trail drops through the thick woods of deodar, spruce to Ghusun Khola. We will cross the river on a suspension bridge and climb to Ghusung. From here, the trail progresses to Khaim which sits on a ridge commanding excellent views on both sides. From there, the trail splits into two. The one on the left contours below the ridge and makes a sharp turn to descend to the village of Pelma. While the one on the right, falls to a small settlement having a government school and continues further to a valley junction of Tatopani with a small hot spring.

O/N: Tent
Day 10
Trek to Dule (3340m) – Approx 6 hrs

After crossing the river, the trail gradually climbs up and meets the trails coming from Pelma and Yamarkhar, which sits on a ledge across Pelma, described in Peter Matthiessen’s ‘The Snow Leopard’. It then enters thick forest which opens into a small oasis of Himgaun. Going further, we reach the village of Guiban where we will stop for lunch. After Guiban, the trail climbs to a small ridge which commands beautiful views either side. The small settlement of Dule sits just below the ridge.

O/N: Tent
Day 11
Trek to Seng Khola (3820m) – Approx 6 hrs

We will leave this bowl-shaped settlement after early breakfast. After a walk of about 15 minutes, the trail splits into two. The lower one on the right contours the lower part of the ridge and makes a sharp turn where it ends and gradually descends to Seng Khola. The one of the right climbs high up Nautake Pass where you can enjoy breathtaking view all around. After a short downhill, the upper trail meets the lower trail and gradually descends to the river. You can find makeshift tented lodges that offer food and accommodation.

O/N: Tent
Day 12
Trek to Purbang (4020m) – Approx 6 hrs

We will hit the trail early in the morning. The trail leaves the Seng Khola valley and start climbing up a ridge to Pupal Lake. The trail is steep and eroded at places due to strong wind in the Seng Khola valley as well as the movement of people as the grasslands around the lake are considered the best habitat of yarsagumba which has earned the adage Himalayan Viagra. A walk of about two hours will take us to the lake area. After a brief rest, we will continue walking to a pass Panidhal Pass (4530m). From the pass, the trail gradually drops to Saure Khola. A short climb up Saure Khola will take us to Purbang and further higher to a small pass called Majela (4350m). You can find makeshift lodges offering food and accommodation at the pass. During April-June period, hundreds of people throng to nearby villages to the area to harvest yarsagumba.

O/N: Tent
Day 13
Trek to Tarakot via Jang La Pass

This is going to be our last day in wilderness. After early breakfast in the camp, we will start walking toward the pass. The trail through the grassy plains is pleasing. A walk of about an hour will take us to the pass. The pass offers breathtaking view of the Dolpo region with the view dominated by Kanjirowa Himal. Jang La is considered one of the entry points to the Dolpo region. After spending sometime at the pass, we will start making descent to the Bheri River. The trail is through rocky surface initially. Very soon the trail enters the grassy region and we make a climb to Dhuri Danda hill. There is a lesser used trail to Dunai itself from Dhuri Danda. But we will descend to Samtalin village and then through Tarakot to reach Lingdo on the banks of Bheri River. There is a police post where we will have to show our permits. If you feel the walk is rather long, we will spend the night in Tarakot itself.

O/N: Tent
Day 14
Trek to Juphal

Last walking day of the trip! We will resume the walk after having breakfast at our camp. The trail follows Bheri River till Dunai - the administrative headquarter of Dolpa district. After a short walk from Dunai, the trail climbs above Bheri River valley to a small ledge where Juphal - the only airport serving the district - is located. We will stay in one of the teahouses here. In the evening, we will organized a small gettogether in honor of our amazing crew.

O/N: Teahouse
Day 15
Fly to Nepalgunj and further to Kathmandu

Today, we will leave the mountains and fly to the lowlands of Tarai. The flight offers you one last opportunity to enjoy the Himalayan landscape before we descend to Nepalgunj. After lunch, we will take another flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu airport, we will transfer you to your hotel. In the evening, we will organize a dinner in your honor to celebrate the success of your trek. Share your trek experiences over a glass of beer or two.

O/N: Teahouse
Day 16

Our representative will drive you to the airport for your return flight. While returning home, you have ample time to reflect on the amazing time that you had during your trek and plan your next holiday.

Trip Map

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Dhorpatan-Dolpa Trek

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Bishnu Bhattarai
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West Himalaya Treks & Expeditions
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