AdventureNepal

Off-the-Beaten-Path Treks in Nepal

Treks such as the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp are popular for good reason—the views are spectacular, the infrastructure is good and the terrain is varied, meaning that variations can be made to suit many fitness levels. However, if you’re trekking in Nepal for the second, third, or fifteenth time, you might be looking for something rather different. Although Nepal is a geographically small country, there are still so many regions that are underexplored by trekkers. Some are far from the main centres of Kathmandu and Pokhara; others have been restricted, only opening for tourism in recent years; others take a bit of logistical planning because of lack of infrastructure. But that makes these treks all the more rewarding!

Here are a few suggestions for off-the-beaten-path treks in Nepal.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Treks in Nepal

Upper Dolpo. Photo: Lenz

Nar-Phu Valley Trek

The Tibetan culture and colourful prayer stones are two highlights of the Nar-Phu Valley trek, as well as the ancient villages that seem cut off from the modern world. It was closed to trekking until 2002. This is a very rugged trek, and reaching the trailhead requires a long, bumpy jeep ride from Besisahar (the traditional starting point of the Annapurna Circuit). But, the isolation, spectacular views and unique cultures make it worthwhile.

Upper Dolpo

The tourism infrastructure is almost non-existent in the Upper Dolpo region, meaning that you will need to camp as well as take most of your own supplies. But this is one of the most remote areas in the whole Himalayas, so the challenge is worth it. The culture in Upper Dolpo is strongly Tibetan, much like the more popular Mustang region. A costly permit is required, as is the use of a guide.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Treks in Nepal

The Manaslu Circuit. Photo: Roman Korzh

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Although the number of lodges in the Manaslu area have been increasing since 2010, this trek is still far less visited than those in the nearby Annapurna region. This trek is wild and remote, but not too far from Kathmandu or Pokhara, meaning the trailhead can be reached by road. It involves following the Buri Gandaki River for the first section, then circling Manaslu, and includes a 5,100 metre pass. It’s not possible to trek this solo, although a ‘group’ of two is fine.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Treks in Nepal

Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in Nepal. Photo: Andrey Samsonov

Tilicho Lake

Tilicho Lake is the highest lake in Nepal (at 4920 metres). A trek up there can be added to the itineraries of several other treks in the region, as an extension, such as the Nar-Phu Valley trek (above) or certain routes along the Annapurna Circuit. It can be a challenging trek because of the altitude, but the bright blue waters of the lake, surrounded by snowy peaks, are a good reward.

The Annapurna Community Lodge trek

This is the wild card of this list! This trek is situated in a popular area—the Annapurna Himals near Pokhara—but because of the particular route it takes, you will barely see another trekker the whole time. It is a great ‘compromise’ trek—you will feel like you are off the beaten tourist path, yet you won’t be too far from communications or amenities. And the accommodation is quite unique–rather than staying in the typical trekkers’ lodges found elsewhere in Nepal, you will stay in a network of homestays and community guesthouses, designed to help boost the local economies.

Mohare Dnada, highest point on Annapurna Community Trek.

Mohare Dnada, the highest point on Annapurna Community Trek.

Top image: Lenz.

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Elen Turner

Elen Turner

Elen Turner is a Kathmandu-based writer and editor. She has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from the Australian National University (2012). Her travel writing about Nepal and India (as well as other places) has been widely published, and she writes about her travels in South Asia at www.wildernessmetropolis.com

3 Comments

  1. shangrila
    January 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    One of the best place to go is Tilicho lake, scenario is really awesome and weather is absolute cold. trekking there would be adventure.

  2. February 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    It’s good to see that view from Mohare Hill, one of the best view point of this Community trail and nice short article but Khopra is also part of this trail and is 3660m…

    • Elen Turner
      February 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm — Reply

      Khopra Danda can be included, but isn’t necessarily. The version of the trek that I did didn’t go to Khopra. Of course there are endless trekking variations in the Himalayas :)

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