“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else”- Lawrence Block
Trekking in Nepal? What cross our mind are treacherous trails, responsive locals, and an unusual commotion? Au contraire, Nepal has a handful of peculiar trails traversed by few. These off-the-beaten paths are remote and secluded from popular treks. What is little known of these locales is they guarantee thrilling and trekking worth-while of your time and pleasure. Here’s calling all nomads trotting the globe in search of such isolated treks.
Off-the-beaten-path treks in Nepal offer serenity and seclusion of beautiful landscape at their glory. Most of these treks are North-West of Kathmandu and away from Khumbu region, which is popular among trekkers. These settings have unaltered natural beauty with the trails itself natural tracks used scarcely by locals and inhabitants. Popular treks tend to converge into a persistent and monotonous struggle. These treks, however, will unlock a hidden chest of sumptuous wilderness and introduce us to indigenous tribes chillingly detached from the mainland. Movies try and depict the lives of these remote tribes, yet a first-hand experience is worth the hassle. What’s exciting is not the discreet interactions and time spent with the reserved folks but what we choose to take away as a memory. Along with the heavenly vistas, the best features of these treks are its suitability for all age groups.
Some off-the-beat paths and treks in Nepal shine a light on roads lesser traveled. Take a trek along Dolpa region with Lower Dolpo trek as an example. Feel the Himalayan range with Manaslu Circuit and Mardi Himal trek or opt for the Khopra Danda and Nar Phu Valley trek. A somber Tamang Heritage trek in Rasuwa district is worth a try for those enthusiasts willing to combine heritage with seclusion.
Manaslu Circuit Trek-18 days
Manaslu Circuit runs along the 8th highest peak of the World, Mount Manaslu (8163m). This trek in Annapurna region is secluded from the Annapurna circuit and acclaimed as the best off-the-beaten-path trek in Nepal. With a lower influx of trekkers compared to that in Everest and Annapurna regions, Manaslu Circuit trek introduces some of the deepest ravines as the trail heads along Budhi Gandaki River gorge. This trek will span across subtropical forests of rhododendron and pine, along glacial moraines, buttes of the towering Himalayas and a high pass i.e. the Larkya La pass (5160m).
The journey starts off with a road trip into remote hills, North West of Kathmandu. A grueling trek along the Budhi Gandaki River ensues. Remote settlements of Machhakhola, Jagat, and Philim will be our first taste of tribes cut off from city life. Then, entering the Himalayan region, a scent of Tibetan influence lingers while crossing Deng and Lho villages. Samagaon and Dharmasala, two high points of this trek will entice you with serene views of the Manaslu Himal range with the trek culminating after a hike up to Larkya La pass (5160m). Unlike most off-the-beaten-path treks, it will be a teahouse trek i.e. no camping and cooking required.
Lower Dolpo Trek-18 days
A pristine trekking experience, the Lower Dolpo trek shines with its remote setting along the Shey Phoksundo National Park with the last leg of this journey to an alpine fresh-water lake, Shey Phoksundo. This lake sacred to Tibetan, Buddhist-Bon culture, is renowned for the turquoise hue that makes it a scintillating landmark. And without a hint of snow, the hills encompassing Dolpo and Shey Phoksundo act as a fort for this gem of a place cut off from the lavish settings of cities with a distinct culture and kind locals.
This trek to the far west of Nepal starts from Juphal. Barren beauty of the landscape stretching up slopes of surrounding hills which plays screen to majestic show of clouds playing hide and seek will be a trailer of this trek. Hiking along desolate lands and crossing alpine forests, the trail leads along off-the-beaten-track onto settlements of Tarakot, Laini, and Nawarpani. Tibetan-Bon influence reflects itself as monasteries and Chortens laden with prayer flags introduce themselves. This trek challenges a traveler with two high passes the Numa La (5238m) and Baga La (5070m) before rewarding us with the angelic Shey Phoksundo Lake. The villages of Ringmo and Dho Tarap in similar fashion bring forth the amazing cultural practices prevalent in the Lower Dolpo region. This trek can be undertaken as a camping trek with a chance to base in a camp around the remote Himalayan setting.
Khopra Danda Trek-13 days
The Khopra Danda trek is a relatively new yet off-the-beaten-track adventure in Annapurna region. This trek takes a trail away from the popular Ghorepani Poonhill trek and leads to the magnificent views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna range. Also popular as community-based trek, this teahouse trek is best undertaken during the spring (March-May) or autumn (September-November). Along with great views of the Northern Himalayas, experience scenic landscape- a combination of terraced fields, beautiful villages, and lush green forest- as well as the preserved local culture and warm hospitality.
The trek starts along Ghorepani Poonhill trail but diverts onto an off-the-beaten-trail. An important stop is the Ghandruk village. This magnificent village is popular for its architecture, the Gurung culture, and an unobstructed view of Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) Himal (6997m). Filled with moderate treks, Khopra Danda trek will also lead to Khayer Lake which is a glacial pool at the foot of Annapurna South (7219m). Combine the scenic tour of Dhaulagiri (8167m), Annapurna (8091m), Hiunchuli (6441), Fishtail (6997m), and Lamjung mountains with a cultural twist as the trail leads through a vivid mountainous region. The return trek is equally mesmerizing as you traverse the Annapurna Conservation Area and head through villages like Swanta and Ghorepani.Teahouse treks such as the Khopra Danda Trek is popular amongst adventurous trekkers keen on exploring the world famous Gurung hospitality.
Mardi Himal Trek 11-days
East of Annapurna Base Camp lies the off-the-beaten-track of Mardi trek. This trek to the Mardi Himal base camp is acclaimed for the striking panorama of Mount Machhapuchhre (6997m). The trail winds along a track through sumptuous green rhododendron forest and scenic valleys taking an uphill route to the base camp of Mardi Himal (5553m). With only the final day of ascent hardest of the entire trek, it is a suitable adventure for all age groups with moderate fitness.
The trek starts from Kande with stops at Australian Camp in Deurali, Low camp, and High Camp. The final ascent to Mardi Himal Base Camp follows thereafter. Observe the undulating landscape and surrounding green hills as the traverse lead from lush hills onto gigantic rocky terrain of the Himalayas. The vistas on offer at Mardi Base Camp are worth the toughest of rigors. Striking views of Fishtail, large and white, in front we will be an inspiring moment. The trail heads onto villages of Siding and Lumre before marking the end of our trek. Explore the breathtaking Annapurna region with the Mardi Himal trek.
Nar Phu Valley Trek-12 days
A classic off-the-beaten-path track traveled seldom is the Nar Phu Valley trek. This trek North of Annapurna diverges from the Annapurna Circuit after Besisahar. The track trails along high passes, snow-capped peaks, glacial pools, tribal villages, and sites of religious significance including Gompas and monasteries. A valley hidden amongst the Annapurna and Manaslu range, Nar Phu is a hidden treasure of wilderness and cultural diversity waiting to be explored.
The trek begins from Koto following a rugged drive from Kathmandu. With exceptional views of the valley starting to form, the trail heads past Meta onto Phu Village. Tibetan influence similar to other Himalayan villages lingers as Chortens and prayer flags greet travelers on this trail. A trek up the Himlung base camp on acclimatization day in Phu is a welcome change following 3 days of the grueling trek. The final leg of this trek is to the Nar Village via Nar Phedi. Once there, the highest point of the Trek-Kang La Pass (5322m)- will be a milestone for the consecutive day. Leaving this unique setting behind, we head back to Besisahar on a penultimate day. A special permit is mandatory to visit the Nar Phu Valley. Make sure you enquire in this regard before booking the trek. This trek is a tea house trek and does not require camping.
Additional information on accommodation and meals can be inquired in person or through email. We are available during office hours barring public holidays. While the best time to take on most of these off-the-beaten-path treks is during spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November), you can request for a customized trip to suit your visit. For trek start-dates and cost, please check the availability and book your space. It can be demanding to book trips during peak season.
Revered as the home of majestic treks, the supreme natural wonders allow for a variety of treks all with enchanting traits. Superlatives might begin to run out while describing the natural and cultural greatness of the country. Be it the most popular of treks or ones seldom chosen, each presents Nepal as a country of authentic travel experience. We, at Nepal Ascent Treks and Expedition, look forward to your visit and expect to make your stay a memorable one.