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10 off the beaten path treks in Nepal

by James William

Nepal is a stunning country with a lot to explore. It is a place where you can find adventure, from enjoying breathtaking natural sights to experiencing the rich history and culture.

Nepal offers so much more than meets the eye.

One of the main attractions in Nepal is trekking.

The country boasts some of the most incredible landscapes and mountains on Earth.

From the famous Everest base camp trek, where you can get up close to the world’s tallest mountain, to lesser-known routes like the Manaslu circuit trek, there’s a trek for everyone.

Each year, thousands of travelers’ flock to Nepal from all corners of the globe to discover its diverse landscapes and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.

In addition to the well-known treks, Nepal also has hidden gems – lesser-explored routes that have become increasingly popular over the years.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at 10 of these off-the-beaten-path treks.

These treks are perfect for adventurers who want to avoid the crowds and experience the authentic charm of trekking amidst the majestic Himalayas.

Manaslu Circuit Trek-

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a multi day journey through a relatively untouched part of Nepal’s trekking landscape.

It is a beautiful trail that sees fewer crowds compared to other routes.

Located in the heart of Gorkha, Manaslu Circuit trek offers breathtaking views of Mount Manaslu and its neighboring peaks.

During this adventure, you will trek along the Nepal-Tibet border, reaching heights of around 5,215 meters at the Larkya La pass.

From here, you will have close-up views of Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain globally, as well as other impressive peaks like Kanguru, Himlung, Cheo, Lamjung, and Annapurna II.

Throughout the Manaslu region, you will encounter awe-inspiring vistas of peaks like Shringi Himal, Naike Peak, Larke, Simnang, Ganesh Himal, and Ngadi Chuli.

Since the Manaslu Circuit Trek is less traveled, amenities along the trail are limited.

However, you’ll have the chance to experience local eateries serving authentic Nepali and Tibetan cuisine. Accommodations are basic, providing a glimpse into the traditional village life of Nepal.

It is important to note that trekkers must obtain a special entry permit to trek the Manaslu Circuit, adding an extra layer of adventure and preparation to the journey.

Upper Dolpo Trek-

The Upper Dolpo Trek is an adventurous journey lasting 25 days, taking you through the rugged and remote regions of Nepal.

Along the way, you’ll encounter ancient monasteries, trek past towering Himalayan peaks, and immerse yourself in the mountain lifestyle.

The Upper Dolpo trek is situated within the Shey Phoksundo National Park, known for its pristine wilderness.

The Upper Dolpo route typically reaches altitudes above 4,000 meters, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

A highlight of the Upper Dolpo Trek is the opportunity to visit Shey Phoksundo Lake, renowned for its crystal-clear waters and stunning turquoise hue.

This lake holds significant cultural and ecological importance in the region.

The Upper Dolpo area was opened for tourism relatively recently, in 1989, and remains one of the most remote parts of Nepal.

Due to its isolation, tourism infrastructure is minimal, and organized tours are often necessary for a smooth experience.

During your trek, you may encounter mystical monasteries, elusive snow leopards, and herds of blue sheep.

The Dolpo region has been off-limits to outsiders until recent times, preserving its ancient traditions and way of life.

The trek offers panoramic views of several towering mountain ranges, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Kanjirowa.

The wild remoteness, stunning mountain scenery, and untouched landscapes make the Upper Dolpo Trek an unforgettable adventure for those seeking a true wilderness experience

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek-

The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek offers a unique journey through the eastern border of Nepal, providing adventurers with an opportunity to explore remote areas, breathtaking mountain vistas, diverse wildlife, and vibrant local cultures distinct from other regions.

Lasting 29 days, this trek leads you to the base of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak at 8,585 meters, revered by locals as a sacred symbol of prosperity and goodwill.

Mountaineers don’t step on the very top of the mountain because of local traditions. This shows how important the mountain is to the local people.

Situated on Nepal’s eastern border, the Kanchenjunga region offers a distinct experience, characterized by its remoteness, stunning mountain panoramas, rich biodiversity, and unique cultural heritage, unlike the more frequented western regions.

Less visited by tourists, the trek encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, from lush tropical jungles to rhododendron, chestnut, and oak forests, culminating in the glaciated base camp of Kanchenjunga.

The route traverses the Arun valley, renowned as one of Nepal’s most picturesque trekking areas, and features highlights such as the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, spanning an expansive 2035 square kilometers, showcasing the region’s rich natural heritage and biodiversity.

Makalu Base Camp Trek-

The Makalu Base Camp Trek offers an off-the-beaten-path adventure in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is a 13 days trek.

It takes trekkers to the base of the fifth tallest mountain in the world.

Unlike more popular trekking routes in Nepal, this journey is longer, rougher, and demands a higher level of physical endurance.

Reaching a maximum altitude of 5,050 meters, the trek culminates at the base of Makalu, providing a clear and unobstructed view of the mountain.

Unlike Everest Base Camp, where the mountain may be partially hidden, here you get a direct view.

A short walk up the slopes from the base camp offers breathtaking vistas of Everest and Lhotse.

The Makalu Base Camp Trek is ideal for adventurers seeking solitude away from the crowded trails of Nepal.

It offers an authentic experience of trekking amidst the majestic giants of the Himalayas, providing a sense of remoteness and tranquility amidst the rugged beauty of nature.

Tsum Valley Trek-

Tsum Valley is nestled in the Manaslu region near the Tibetan border and stands out as one of Nepal’s most secluded valleys which offers breathtaking views of towering mountains.

It is a perfect choice for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

This hidden gem remains untouched by modern civilization, making it a pilgrimage to an unexplored sanctuary far from the more conventional trails.

The Tsum Valley trek spans 13 days and is surrounded by majestic peaks like Himal Chuli, Ganesh Himal, and Siring Himal.

Along the trail, you will encounter two significant villages: Chumling (Lower Tsum) and Chhaikampar (Upper Tsum). These settlements provide insights into the local way of life and culture.

Rich in Tibetan heritage, Tsum Valley is adorned with numerous mani walls, chortens, and prayer flags, adding to its spiritual ambiance.

It is also home to some of the most sacred Tibetan monasteries, offering trekkers a glimpse into centuries-old traditions and practices.

Rara Lake Trek-

The Rara Lake trek may not be difficult or lengthy, but it promises an incredibly rewarding and secluded experience, leaving you with cherished memories for a lifetime.

Rara lake trek is situated within the stunning Rara National Park, renowned as one of Nepal’s most picturesque areas, the trek leads you to the highest lake in the country, affectionately known as the Queen of Lakes by locals.

Lasting two weeks, the Rara Lake Trek offers a unique and captivating journey, focusing more on immersing oneself in the tranquil forests and serene lakeside scenery of Nepal rather than the usual mountainous terrain.

Rolwaling Valley Trek-

The Rolwaling Valley trek offers a quieter and less-traveled path, running alongside Tibet.

Nestled within the Gauri Shanker Conservation Area, between the Langtang and Everest ranges, this untouched valley provides a close encounter with Sherpa culture.

Lasting 12 days, it is a moderately difficult trek with basic teahouse accommodations.

Despite its scenic beauty and cultural richness, Rolwaling is often overshadowed by more popular trekking destinations.

The name “Rolwaling” translates to “valley carved by a plow,” and indeed, its steep cliffs resemble furrowed fields.

Along the trail, you will pass through rhododendron and magnolia forests, quaint villages, farmlands, and small mountain passes.

The Rolwaling Valley Trek offers solitude amidst pristine nature, providing an opportunity to immerse oneself in the diverse culture of the Himalayan foothills.

Lower Mustang Trek-

The Lower Mustang trek takes you through semi-desert terrain, offering an easy, scenic journey suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers alike.

Positioned between the Tibetan Plateau to the north and the towering Himalayan mountains to the south, the lower Mustang region boasts the most comprehensive protected biodiversity in Nepal.

The trek route leads you past the oldest monastery in the area, allowing you to witness the unique lifestyle of the local people, making it a distinctive experience.

Lower Mustang is renowned for its strong cultural ties to Tibet, dating back to ancient times, making it the perfect trek to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture.

One of the highlights of Lower Mustang is the revered Muktinath temple, a highly praised Hindu pilgrimage site.

This sacred place holds significance not only for Hindus but also for Buddhists, adding to its cultural richness and appeal.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek-

The Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is renowned as one of the toughest and least-traveled routes in Nepal.

This trek takes you to the remote areas of central Nepal, providing a unique and challenging adventure.

Beginning in villages with stunning views of the Dhaulagiri range, the trek offers an opportunity to explore the seventh highest mountain in the world, Mount Dhaulagiri, standing tall at 8,167 meters.

The Dhaulagiri Circuit is a long trek that traverses high alpine pastures, uninhabited valleys, windy mountain passes, forests, and terraced hills.

Along the way, you will be treated to breathtaking views of peaks like Tukuche Peak (6,920m), Dhaulagiri I (8,167m), Dhaulagiri II (7,751m), Dhaulagiri III (7,715m), and Dhaulagiri V (7,618m).

Nar Phu Valley Trek-

The Nar Phu Valley trek spans 16 days, offering an exhilarating journey through diverse landscapes and remote villages near the Tibetan border.

This trek takes you across high passes, charming villages, dense forests, ancient monasteries, and narrow canyons, leading to the secluded Nar and Phu villages.

Situated near Chame in the Annapurna region, Nar and Phu are among Nepal’s most pristine and captivating areas.

Inhabited by the Khampas, Tibetan refugees, these villages offer a unique insight into their traditional lifestyle.

Throughout the trek, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of snow-capped mountains, encounter yaks, navigate deep gorges and narrow canyons, traverse beautiful forests, and witness stunning glaciers.

Highlights include crossing the Kang la (5,200m) and Thorong la (5,416m) high passes, providing breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding landscapes.

After the challenging trek, you’ll have the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs at Tatopani, concluding your adventure on a soothing note.

The Nar Phu Valley trek promises an unforgettable experience, blending cultural immersion with natural beauty in one of Nepal’s most remote and untouched regions.