The Hardest Trek in Nepal: Dhaulagiri Circuit

I’m putting this trek in my “so hard I probably won’t ever do it” basket. But nevertheless, the Dhaulagiri Circuit trek was an interesting one to research and write about. The eighteen-day trek around Dhaulagiri (8167 metres) gets up to some high altitudes (over 5000 metres) and requires trekking through snow, as well as camping in it, even during the warm seasons. Due to its difficulty it’s not an exceptionally popular route. But it does sound like a good challenge for those who are very fit, very experienced trekkers who want to try something different.

I wrote this article recently for Kimkim. Read an extract below, or the full article on Kimkim.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek: One of Nepal’s Most Challenging Treks

The Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is challenging, and a real adventure for experienced trekkers who are looking for an expedition-like experience. From farming villages in the Himalayan foothills to high alpine pastures, uninhabited valleys and close-up views of several peaks over 8,000 meter, this circuit trek is breathtaking and exciting at every stage.

Trek Overview

Starting in Beni (a two-three hour drive from Pokhara), the Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is a rugged, high-altitude camping trek in one of the lesser-visited areas of the Annapurna Himalayas. The first few days follow the Myagdi Khola River to the Chhonbardan Glacier, at the foot of Dhaulagiri. The landscape changes from tended farmland to barren, often snow-covered rocky mountains, all with views of Dhaulagiri and other Himalayan giants ahead. As you get higher, the predominantly Magar villages thin out, until the last few days are spent trekking in areas with no permanent settlements.

After a rest day at Dhaulagiri Base Camp, trek up the side of the glacier, over the French Pass (5,360m) and into the Hidden Valley. At this point, experienced mountaineers will have the chance to summit Dhampus Peak (6,060m). Continue on over the Dhampus Pass, and down to Jomsom, the gateway to Mustang. The descent to Jomsom is very steep, as you will be descending over 2000 meters in two days.

If you have trekking (and even better mountaineering) experience and are up for a challenge, the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is an unforgettable adventure that takes you into the heart of some the highest mountains in the world. With several days and nights spent above 5,000 meters, two 5000 meter-plus passes and snowy conditions, it is one of the most challenging treks in Nepal, but worthwhile for experienced trekkers.

Top image of Dhaulagiri by Neil Young (Creative Commons)