Rara to Lower Dolpo Trek

12th year anniversary
Trip Advisor

This trek is considered popular trekking routes of western Nepal, which offers you excellent view of the mountains after starting the trek form Jumla, beautiful terrains, flora & fauna and valleys, tranquil lakes and adventure pass along with scenic views of the mountains is the trail that adventurous trekkers seek for.
The best highlight of this trek is you will be witnessing 2 beautiful lakes of the country, Rara Lake & Phoksundo lake lie in the same region. The trail is wonderful with walk from grassy alpine pastures to arid barren landscapes and remote beautiful settlements and villages, visiting several old ancient Buddhist monasteries while the magnificent sight of mountains along the trails keeps the feet moving and soul soothing.

Day 1:

Arrival in Kathmandu , transfer to hotel.

Day 2:

Kathmandu Valley tour.

Day 3:

Flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj , transfer to hotel.

Day 4 :Flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla ( 2540 m ). Trek to Chere Chaur ( 3050 m ).

Mornng flight to Jumla, meet the trekkign crew and then leave Jumla. Follow the main road north up the Jugad Khola. You are surrounded by apple trees , abricots , millet , potatoes , wheat , vegetables and the famous red rice growing in paddy fields. Jumla is one of the highest rice-growing areas in the world. The trail to Chere Chaur gains slowly elevation. You pass a collection of Western-style houses and a settlement known as Campus. After a long climb past the school the trail enters a forest of big trees that soon gives way to the meadows of Chere Chaur , our campsite for tonight. There are only a few herders’huts. *Total up : 625 m ; total down 10 m ; 3 hours.

Day 5: Chere Chaur to Nauri Ghat ( 2755 m ) passing the Danphe Lagna ( 3690 m ).

Beyond Chere Chaur the trail becomes steeper and climbs through meadows and short stretches of jungle to the Danphe Lagna , a pass at 3690 meters offering views of Patrasi Himal and Jagdula Himal. You can see orchids , gentians and edelweiss along the trail. Vultures circle high above us. The trail descends gently through forests of spruces , birches and rhododendrons to a place called Khali Goan. Here we enjoy a nourishing lunch. After the settlement of Tharamara the descent becomes steep through a jungle of firs , birches , walnuts and bamboo , following the Garge Khola to Himdhuski ( 2840 m ). After a short level stretch the trail zigzags down to the Lete Gad , crossing this river on a log bridge at the altitude of 2680 meters. Soon you arrive at Nauri Ghat ( also named Bumra ). A good place to camp is near the school. *Total up : 675 m ; total down 975 m , 8 hours.

Day 6:Nauri Ghat to Bulbule.

The trail continues near the riverbed through potato and wheat fields along the river Tali Gad. After a while a serious climb starts, passing through huge marijuana fields , over a ridge into a side valley. You cross a stream near some water-driven mills. A steep climb leads to Kabra. Beyond Kabra the steep climb continues for a while , you may enjoy splendid views. The trail descends to the Tibetan-style village of Bharbare ( 2929 m ). This large village is surrounded by huge fields of wheat. There are a few shops. The trail then passes through the settlement of Chauta and heads north up the Chaura Khola. Local folklore says that Chautha is the halfway point between Jumla and Rara Lake. A rocky trail follows the river uphill , crossing it as the forested valley becomes narrower. After a while this valley widens , you pass the single house of Cante Chaur ( 2940 m ). The climb continues to the village of Bhulbule at an elevation of 3180 meters. Just before Bhulbule you find the Rara National Park entrance station , where you have to show your entry ticket. We make our camp on a small ridge near Bhulbule. In the village many mule-caravans stay for the night. *Total up : 875 m ; total down 345 m , 7.30 hours.  

Day 7: Bhulbule to Jhyari ( 2630 m ) passing the Ghurchi Lagna ( 3450 m ).

Above Bhulbule the trail emerges into a large , treeless meadow. The climb to the Ghurchi Lagna is a gently but steady walk. On the pass there are chortens , cairns and prayerflags. If the weather is clear snowy peaks bordering Tibet can be seen. Flocks of goats accompany you on the trail. From the Ghurchi Lagna the route , at first , descends gently on a broad forrested path and then drops precipitously down a rough , stony trail through spruce forests. It is quite a challenge to take the left side at the junction and follow the trail through the forest all the way down to the Jhyari Khola ( 2500 m ). You cross the river and start to climb to reach the campsite , situated amongst giant cedars on an altitude of 2630 meters. *Total up : 355 m; total down : 1060 m , 5 hours.

Day 8:Jhyari ( 2630 m )-Rara Lake

The trail crosses the river and a short , but steep climb gets you into the village of Jhyari. The trail continues climbing through cedar forests and you pass many meadows with cattle and there are many small lakes. The trail widens out and you may get the impression that it is possible to walk nearly flat in Nepal ! Quite an experience. After descending a short distance you reach Rara Lake ( 2980 m ). The lake is surrounded by many sorts of wild flowers ; the view is superb. There are no camp sites along the southern shore. The national park headquarters and camping ground are on the northern side of the lake. *Total up : 680 m ; total down 680 m , 5 hours.

Day 9: Explore Rara back to Jhyari: 7.30 hrs

Rara Lake is the largest lake in Nepal. It is almost 13 km around and it will take a day to circuit the lake. Designated a national park in 1975 , the region offers remoteness and a wilderniss experience unlike any other in Nepal. The lake is 170 m deep and has otters and fish and is an important resting place for migrating waterfowl. We explore the lake surroudnings for few hours and then get back to Jhyari.

Day 10:Jhyari to Bhulbule via Pina and passing the Ghurchi Lagna ( 3450 m ).

The trail descends gently to the Jhyari Khola and a stretch of easy walking leads to the broad trading route leading to Pina. And again snowy peaks bordering Tibet can be seen on a clear day. There are views of the villages of Balai Bagar , Kotila and Mundu. The trading route was in 2012 still under construction and leads to the restricted area of Mugu in the north. After about one hour trekking , there is a trail to the right ascending via zigzags through pine forests all the way to the Ghurchi Lagna pass. From the pass it is a short , pleasant walk down to our camp-site in Bhulbule. *Total up : 1050 m ; total down : 320 m , 6.30 hours.

Day 11: Bhulbule to a jungle camp near Tharmari ( 3420 m ).

Beyond Bhulbule we follow the trail down to Chauta and Bharbare. It is the same route we took a few days ago , but in the opposite direction. After leaving Bharbare and the short climb up , it is a pleasant walk to Kabra and Nauri Ghat. We pass potato and wheat fields near the river bed and many marijuana fields. Soon after Nauri Ghat the steep climb to Tharmari starts. The trail can be very muddy in places at the end of the monsoon. You are surrounded by noisy cicades and whistling birds. The camp-site is situated in the jungle at an altitude of about 3450 meters. *Total up : 995 m ; total down : 880 m , 8.30 hours.

Day 12:Tharmari to Jumla , passing the Danphe Lagna pass ( 3690 m ).

Leaving our camp-site at Tharmari the trail levels out before Kali Goan and starts climbing towards the Danphe Lagna pass. You are welcomed by fluttering prayerflags. Beyond the pass the stony trail zigzags down to Chere Chaur. From here you follow the route down to Jumla. It is possible to make camp near one of the hotels / guesthouses in the village. There is time to visit Jumla Bazaar and have a look at the Shiva and Hanuman temples dating from the 11-th century. *Total up : 380 m ; total down : 1250 m , 7.30 hours.

Day 13:Jumla to Gothi Chaur passing the Pattyata Lagna (3165 m ).

From Jumla the trail leads pass the airport to the eastern end of the runway and drops to the confluence of the Tila Khola and the Chaudhabise Khola ( also named the Juwa Nadi ) at 2330m. Cross both rivers on cantilever bridges. Unlike most rivers in Nepal , which are filled with silt , both rivers are clear because they are not glacier-fed. The trail climbs gently in a very fertile valley of rice terraces and fruit trees along the southern side of the Tila to the village of Depal Goan. It crisscrosses irrigation canals as it approaches Jharjwala , then leaves the Tila Khola and climbs a ridge to the tiny villlages of Bhajkati , Dugri Lagnu and finally Dochal Ghara. ( 2530 m ). There are many schools along this route. The children welcome you in a friendly way and want to know your name and your place of residence. From Dochal Ghara take the lower trail following a stream through a forest of maples and walnuts to a meadow. In season the wildflowers include cinquefoils , louseworts , scrophs , orchids , forget-me-nots , geraniums , asters , mints , buttercups , impatiens , primulas , edelweiss and gentians. Beyond the meadow the trail climbs to a rock cairn at Pattyata Lagna , then descends into a magnificent alpine amphitheatre. There is a huge government sheep-breeding research project , but there are no villages in this isolated valley. The trail descends to a stream at the bottom of the valley. It is possible to camp near a spring with some 13th-century Malla dynasty stone carvings. *Total up : 735 m ; total down : 315 m , 8.30 hours.

Day 14: Gothi Chaur to Naphukana ( 3080 m ).

Leave the camp and walk downstream through forests to a series of mills at Kuri Sangta. The route has now re-entered the Tila valley and over the next day you will follow the river to it source. The trail crosses to the northern side of the Tila Khola and passes corn and potato fields , then climbs through fields of buckwheat and barley and meadows full of grazing horses and cows. On the way a few houses can be seen. The river forks at Munigoan , a village with a mixture of Chhetri , Thakali and Tibetan inhabitants. There are several houses and shops at the trail junction Muni Sangu. Look both above and behind the houses for some peculiar carved wooden faces. You will see these effigies throughout Dolpo. They are called dok-pa and are supposed to offer protection from evil. The route follows the left fork of the Tila Khola , which from here is named the Churta Khola. The valley narrows and enters a forest of oaks , spruces , poplars and maples. The trail stays on the southern side of the river. A short distance beyond Changrikot ( four houses built into the hillside on the opposite side of the river , 2900 m ) the trail crosses the river and climbs to the grey stone houses of Chotra ( 3010 m ). The inhabitants of Chotra are Khampas , people from eastern Tibet who are Bhuddists by tradition. The village has the typical Tibetan mani walls. Despite their background , these villagers long ago adopted Hindu names , dress and traditions in an effort to integrate themselves into mainstream Nepali society . Their religious practices , however , have very little to do with Hindu-ism. Religious rites are conducted by shamans known as dhamis or jhankris. A short distance beyond Chotra is the settlement of Naphukana .There are places to camp near the village or in a meadow an hour further on at the altitude of 3200 m. The large gompa above Naphukana is Urgen Sanga Chholing . The villagers keep large herds of yaks and horses. *Total up : 440 m ; total down 160 m , 8 hours.

Day 15: Naphukana to Nauli Ghot ( 3670 m ) passing the Maure Lagna ( 3820 m ).

The trail becomes steeper as it climbs past the rocky fields of Rapati Chaur to forests of oaks and birch trees tangled with Spanish moss. After crossing a side stream , the trail crosses the Churta Khola and starts a serious climb through birch , oak and rhododendron forests to the Mauri Lagna , meaning honey pass at 3820 meters. From the pass there are views of the snowy peaks of Gutumba Himal ( 5608 m ) and Matatumba Himal ( 5767 m ) to the north-east and Bhalu Himal ( 5460 M ) to the south. From the pass the the trail descends a bit , then makes a long traverse. At the end of the traverse , marked by cairns of stones , the trail starts a deep descend into a forest of oaks and pines. There is a place to camp near the settlement of Nauli Ghot. *Total up : 840 m ; total down : 390 m , 6.30 hours.

Day 16:Nauli Ghot to Kaigaon ( 2610 m ).

The trail keeps descending through forests of pines and oaks , passing a few herders’ huts before reaching a stream at 3110 meters. The trail makes a few ups and downs , then climbs to a ridge at 3140 meters. The trail turns into the Bheri valley , keeping high on the side of the ridge past scattered houses and fields of corn and potatoes to the large Khampa village of Chaurikot (3060 m ). From here the trail drops to a stream at 2940 meters then climbs back to a ridge at 3080 meters. About 30 minutes beyond this ridge you get at the village of Balasa. You can see Kagmara peak from here. The trail continues through a forest of walnut trees. Local people will occasionaly eat them , but the main value of the walnuts is their source of cooking oil. The trail contours past the corn and potato fields and apple orchards of Jyakot , then descends to Rimi ( 2890 m ). The trail descends ,steeply in places , to the houses of Majagaon , then down a rocky trail to the Bheri River. Soon you will arrive in Kaigoan . There is a good place to camp near the school at the entrance of the village , just before the bridge crossing the Bheri River. Kaigoan boasts a veterinary station for cattle and the first real shop since Jumla. *Total up : 300 m , total down : 1120 m , 7.00 hours.

Day 17: Kaigoan to Toijem ( 2920 m ).

From the camp-site near the school stay on the west bank of the Bheri River. Soon you will reach Duli Gompa , a bon po gompa. You are allowed to enter and admire the interior. The Lamacan give his blessings to cross the Kagmara La , safely. From here the trail continues to Hurikot , you pass the sign proclaiming the entrance to Shey Phoksumdo National Park.You have to show your entrance ticket here. The trail stays high above the river to the confluence where the Jagdula and Garpung Kholas join to form the Bheri Khola. Drop to the Jagdula Khola , crossing it on stones and camp a little bit beyond the army post at Toijum. *Total up : 585 m ; total down : 135 m , 4.00 hours.

Day 18: Toijem to Kagmara Phedi ( 4035 m ).

After leaving the camp site you follow the trail and descend some 150 meters to cross the Jagdula Khola.The trail ascends steeply and stays high above the Garpung Khola ; the wildflowers include edelweiss , blue poppies , buttercups , mint , puffballs and gentians ; there are some ups-and-downs. It is a remote area and you might encounter a herds’ man with his goats. Stay on the western side of the Garpung Khola to about 3650 meters , then cross to the eastern side on a wooden bridge and continue walking upstream. The valley narrows and the river becomes a series of waterfalls as the trail climbs to a moraine at 3900 meters. Before reaching a good place to camp at an elevation of about 4035 meters , you have to cross two rivers on sandals. The panoramic views of the peaks around are stunning. Among the birds you may spot snow pigeons , redstarts , ravens and griffons. This is also a good place to sight blue sheep. *Total up : 1200 m ; total down 305 m , 7.30 hours.

Day 19: Kagmara Phedi to Lasa ( 4060 m ) crossing the Kagmara La ( 5115 m ).

It is a good idea to start early , because it will be a long day trekking. Follow the trail alongside the Kagmara Glacier through the moraine and climb to the Kagmara La. There are some small streams to cross. Stone cairns will show you the way. The views are sensational and will help you to enjoy your long climb to the pass. On the pass prayerflags welcome you. From the Kagmara La descend in the Pungmo valley. On this side of the pass there are sweeping scree slopes and massive rock formations in stacked layers that contrast with the vertical uplifts and thrusts of the southern side. Blue poppies give a nice colour to the remote area. You might encounter some local people herding their yaks. If you are lucky you may sight blue sheep. The trail descends to Lasa. There are a few places to camp near the Yulung Khola. *Total up : 1095 m , total down : 1340 m , 9.30 hours.

Day 20:Lasa to Ringmo / Phoksumdo Lake ( 3640 m ).

Follow the trail that stays high above the Yulung Khola. This river becomes eventually the Pungmo Khola. The trail crosses some side streams ; the Naure Khola and the Chochhulun Khola. The route enters birch and juniper forests , which give way to blue pines as the trail crosses the river on a wooden bridge. There are some chortens and mani stones along the route leading to the village of Pungmo ( 3500 m ) , a fortress-like village surrounded by barley , buckwheat and potato fields. There are views of Kanjeralwa Himal ( 6612 m ). Continue downstream the Pungmo Khola to Sumduwa and descend to the banks of the Phoksumdo Khola. From here the Phoksumdo trail climbs through a forest of big cedars to Palam , a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village. There are some lovely forest sections along the trail. Then the route switchbacks steeply on a sandy trail through open country to an elevation of 3300 meters , then starts up another steep set of dusty switchbacks to a ridge at 3780 meters. From this ridge there are the first distant views of Phoksumdo Lake and a close view of the spectacular 200 meter high waterfall. You can have a rest at the look-out point. The waterfall is the highest one of Nepal and is the source of the river you have been following ( the Phoksumdo Khola ) and will follow all the way down to Shyanta the coming days. The trail makes a steep descent in birch forests to the upper reaches of the brilliantly clear , rushing waters of the Phoksumdo Khola , then climbs gently to the village of Ringmo. Ringmo is a picturesque settlement of flat-roofed stone houses with lots of mud-plastered chortens , mani walls and friendly inhabitants. You can find a few private gompas and some very interesting chortens along the narrow lanes in the village. From Ringmo descent a short stretch to the shores of the Phoksumdo Lake to pitch your tent. It is near the point where the Phoksumdo Khola flows out of the lake. Finally you get to the long awaited beautiful spot of the trekking : Phoksumdo lake , also known as Ringmo lake . All the fatigue of the long walk is wiped away once seeing the pristine and serene beauty of this lake. *Total up : 910 m ; total down : 980 m , 9.00 hours.

Day 21: Explore Ringmo and the surroundings of Phoksumdo Lake.

Today it is time to relax after so many days of long , tiring walks. You witness the surroundings of Ringmo and Phoksumdo Lake and you get a chance to get mingled with the tradition and culture of the people who have been living here for years as they are the identity of Phoksumdo village. The Phoksumdo Lake is within Shey Phoksumdo National Park , which was established in 1981. The national park literature uses the spelling Phoksundo , but the local informants believe the correct name is Phok , sum ( three ) , do ( stones ) relating to the three arms of the lake. The lake is 4.8 km long , 1.8 km wide and said to be 650 m deep ; it is known for its aquamarine colour. There is no aquatic life in the lake , which helps to make the waters clear. The large snow peak above the ridge on the western side of the lake is Kanjeralwa ( 6612 m ) , also known as Kanchen Ruwa. The large peak to the south-east is Sonam Kang ( 5916 m ). The trail along the lake’s western side leads to Shey Gompa . Access to this route is restricted to those with a special permit for Upper Dolpo. You may not be allowed to walk beyond the first wooden bridge. In 2012 there was a Himalayan marter on the trail. Another trail leads from the lakeside through juniper trees to the white Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing gompa, a bon-po gompa overlooking the lake. People tell that it was built 60 generations ago. Inside there are Buddhist paintings and statues. The trappings also reflect the animistic elements of the Bon Po religion.

Day 22:Phoksumdo Lake to Shyangta ( 2520 m ).

The trail down to Sumduwa is the same route as two days ago coming up to Ringmo and the Phoksumdo Lake. The descent is on the Phoksumdo trail , passing the big waterfall and the settlement of Palam , then the trail continues through a forest of big cedars to Samduwa. Beyond Samduwa is the confluence of the river Suli Gaad with the Pungma Khola. From here we enter the Suli Gaad valley. The trail to Rechi ( 2940 m ) is rather steep and narrow in places with many ups and downs. There are some teashops in Rechi ( or Renje ) and good places to camp. The trail crosses the river on a wooden bridge and continues with more ups-and-downs through dense forests of firs and larches. The trail stays near the river. Alongside the river the trail becomes a collection of rocks and sticks forming a dyke along the river bank. The rocky trail follows the Phoksumdo Khola downstream crossing the river a few times on newly built wooden bridges.There are long stretches through the jungle without passing any house or settlement. Finally the trail enters Chepka ( 2670 m ) , a collection of shops and lodges. There is a possibility to camp near one of the lodges. The forested trail continues to the settlement of Syangta ( 2520 m ). Here is a nice spot to camp on green grass near some small houses. *Total up : 485 m ; total down : 1520 m , 8.30 hours.

Day 23:Shyangta to Juphal (2490 m ).

The trail descents through the forest and passes the rough stone houses of Jyalhasa , a wintering spot for the people of Ringmo. Soon the valley widens and the land gets cultivated. The jungle has finished. The trail continues to the village of Raktang ( 2260 m ) and crosses the Suli Gaad. The trail has some ups and downs again and soon reaches the settlement of Kanning. From here it is another hour to the village of Sulighat and the confluence of the Suli Gaad with the Thulo Bheri Nadi river. There is a large army post before crossing the Thulo Bheri Nadi on a big steel suspension bridge , the Bhimbridge , 99 meters long. The trail continues along the river bank to Rugpad and then starts climbing steeply to Juphal , passing the village of Kalakauda. The trail traverses through meadows to the many houses of Dangibanda. There are many fields with rice , potatoes , buckwheat ,corn , millet, vegetables , apple orchards and walnut trees. The trail stays high and climbs around the head of the valley towards Juphal , a collection of houses , offices , a camp site and crummy hotels. *Total up : 605 m ; total down : 610 , 5.45 hours.

Day 24:Jhuppal-Kathmandu

Capturing all the beautiful moments it is time to leave the lakes and the mountains. Flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.

Day 25:Free day in Kathmandu.

Also a safe day to be adjusted if any delay or cancellation of domestic flights due to poor weather before or after the trek might occur.

Day 26:

Free day in kathmandu.

Day 27:Final deaprture.

Transfer to the airport.

  • All transfer in a Non Air conditioned private vehicle
  • 4 night Kathmandu hotel (tourist class) on BB basis
  • Trekking on organized camping trek basis
  • 3 meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) a day during trek
  • Sleeping tent, dining tent, toilet tent, kitchen tents & mattress
  • All necessary Kitchen utensils and the table & chair
  • National park fees & all the permits
  • One English speaking guide (Sirdar)
  • Porters (1 porter for 2 members) one porter is allowed to carry maximum of 25 kg of total weight
  • 1 Sherpa (assistant guide) for every 4 members
  • Daily wages of Nepali staffs, meal and accommodation
  • Insurance of guide & porter
  • One full day sightseeing with English speaking guide with all entrance fees.
  • Flight fare as per the program
  • Domestic flight airport tax
  • Lunch/dinner in Kathmandu & Pokhara
  • Laundry
  • telephone calls
  • emergency evacuation if required
  • Donation
  • tips All personal nature expenses

Please note: Clients are suggested to give maximum of 12 Kg. of personal luggage to the porter. Also, please note that on the domestic flight you are only allowed to carry your luggage of 20 Kg and 5 Kg as a hand carry.

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