Hiking the Dolpa Circuit is an experience you’ll never forget. You’ll have the opportunity to experience life in the remote highlands.
The trail passes through a variety of landscapes ranging from green pastures (in some ways resemblant of the European Alps), to barren rocks that extend into the Tibetan plateau. The Phoksundo Lake is of an incomparable beauty, with its deep blue and emerald colors surrounded by steep bold rocks.
On the way you’ll encounter small authentic villages steeped in Tibetan culture and tradition. Buddhism and Bonpo are very important for the people living in these villages and interwoven in everyday life. Bonpo religion is the oldest spiritual tradition of Tibet. It is very closely related to Buddhism but has more shamanistic and animistic influences contributing much to the region’s mythical appeal.
Due to its remote location, Dolpa is still an “off the beaten track destination”. Tourists are few and far between, especially in the summer months.
The Dolpa Circuit is a quite strenuous trekking with some steep climbs. The trail ascends to two high passes, Numa La (5318 m) and Baga La (5190 m). These crossings involve long climbs and long descents. That being said, the scenery on the way , the views from the passes and the encounters you will have with the Dolpa people will make it all worth it.
Leaving from Kathmandu it’s a 14 day trip, but it can be shortened or extended, depending on how many hours of walking you put in each day.
Camping is recommended for this trek. There are basic guesthouses in Juphal, Dunai, Lingdo, Dho Tarap, Ringmo, close to Sanduwa (next to the Amchi Hospital), Chhepka and Kageni. At the other places you will have to camp.
The preferred seasons to complete the Dolpa Circuit is April to November. However, please check with a local tour operator if lodges are open in April and if passes are open in November as this will depend on prevailing weather conditions. This is a recommended trek to do in monsoon season as the Upper Dolpo region lies in the rain shadow. However keep in mind that travel to and from the trailhead can be interrupted by bad weather in the lowlands so give yourself an extra day or two on both ends of your trip to accommodate flight cancellations and road blockage.
April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
Level of Difficulty
Restricted Area Trekking Permit (Lower Dolpo Permit). Issued by Immigration office in Kathmandu (www.immi.gov.np).
Shey-Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit. Issued by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu. Also available at the National Park entry point for a fee of NRP 3390. (Fee is subject to change).
- Day 1 Flight Kathmandu - Nepalganj
- Day 2 Flight Nepalgunj - Juphal (2475 m), trek to Dunai (2140 m) 3 hrs
- Day 3 Dunai (2140 m) - Lingdo (2391 m) 5-6 hrs
- Day 4 Lingdo (2391 m) - Lahini Odar (3370 m) 7 hrs
- Day 5 Lahini Odar (3370 m) - Toltol (3523 m) 6-7 hrs
- Day 6 Toltol (3523 m) - Dho Tarap (4080 m) 6 hrs
- Day 7 Dho Tarap (4080 m) - Numa-La Phedi Base Camp (4440 m) 4-5 hrs
- Day 8 Numa-La Phedi Base Camp (4440 m) - Danigar (4631 m) via Numa-La pass (5238 m) 7 hrs
- Day 9 Danigar (4631 m) - Yak Kharka (3860 m) via Baga-La (5190 m) 7 hrs
- Day 10 Yak Kharka (3860 m) - Ringmo village near Phoksundo Lake (3641 m) 4 hrs
- Day 11 Ringmo village near Phoksundo Lake (3641 m). Rest day. Visit to Bon Gompa.
- Day 12 Ringmo village near Phoksundo Lake (3641 m) - Chhepka (2838 m) via Rechi (2940 m) 7-8 hrs
- Day 13 Chhepka (2838 m) - Juphal (2475 m) 6 hrs
- Day 14 Flight Juphal - Nepalgunj - Kathmandu
- The Muddy Mayhem of Ropain Jul 08, 2015
- Speaking like a local – useful lingo for the trail Nov 12, 2015
- A guide to Teahouse Trekking in Nepal Jun 30, 2017