Jumolhari Trek - The Mesmerizing High Altitude Trek

Jumolhari trek in Bhutan is an exhilarating adventure in the Himalayas. First, you will take an acclimatization hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery  in Paro and then you will start the trek from the historic Drugyal Dzong. For the first three days of the trek you will be following the Pachhu (Paro river) valley to Jangothang base camp. The walk is through country side of Paro through scattered farmhouses, orchards and rice fields.  From the base camp you will see the stunning view of Mount Jumolhari (7315m). Jumolhari is the second highest unclimbed peak in the world. The trail takes you through high pastures which are used by yak herders as grazing land for their  their animals. As you trek you will also come across Lingzhi, the highest settlement in the north with a unique mountain culture. En route you will have spectacular views of Mount Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tshrim Gang (6789m). From Lingzhi, you will descend to the lower valleys of Thimphu through varied vegetation and gorges formed by unique rock canyons.  You will finally end your trek in the north of Thimphu valley.

The Trek starts from Drugyl Dzong in Paro, traverses along Tibet border and ends at Dodena in Thimphu.

We cross two high passes: Neylela Pass 4700m and Yelela Pass at 4820m in between Lingzhi and Shodu.

The highest camp altitude is 4100m, Average walking distance 18 km and Average walking time 8 hours.

Mountains seen are: Mount Jumolhari 7314m, Jichu Drake 6989m and Tsherimgang 6789m.

Other attractions: Rich forests and vegetation, yak herders, grazing land, Himalayan marmots and blue sheep.

FULL ITINERARY

17KM | 5-6 HOURS | 230M ASCENT | DESCENT 60M | CAMP ALT 2870M

Your trek starts from the historic Drugyel Dzong (2,580m). The Dzong is a 12km drive to the north of Paro valley from the hotel. You will meet your trekking crew here. After a short while you will start walking on a wide trail that tracks along the Pa Chhu (Paro river). The trail will slowly ascend where you will be walking through the countryside with views of rice paddies and fields of millet. As the valley widens you will find apple orchards, traditional Bhutanese farmhouses and a few small settlements of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. Following the route through blue pine forest you will be brought to the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m where your trekking permits will be checked and stamped. You will then climb towards Sharna Zampa (2,870m) after crossing Pa Chhu on a wooden bridge. You will be camping at Sharna Zampa in the meadows among the trees for the night.

22KM | 7-8 HOURS | 690M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 3750M

Just like the previous day, we will be following the trail following the Pachhu (Paro river). We will be ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. You will reach at Shingkharap after 2 hours of hiking and crossing several streams. This is a stone house at 3110m. You will then cross the bridge towards the left side of the river where you will be served a hot lunch. A little walk ahead is the trail junction. The left road is an old trade route to Tibet and the right route leads to the wooden bridge. We will be taking the latter route. After climbing through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3750m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.

19KM | 5-6 HOURS | 290M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4040M

Today is not a long trekking day but it will involve a significant gain in altitude as your trail goes above tree line. As you take the path that ascends from our camp you will be brought to an army camp. Then you will follow the river above the tree line as well as enjoying the spectacular view of the surrounding mountain peaks. After walking through a very muddy section and passing a mani wall you will enter yak country. Inside a yak herder’ camp you will be served a hot filling lunch. After lunch, we walk past yak herder settlements of Soe and Takethang. Some common crops that people grow here are barley, potatoes and turnips. After your lunch, you will walk across a plateau and up a stream bed. You will pass Dangochang village to the beautiful campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake will take your breath away.

Today, you will do a four hours long acclimatization hike to the north of your camp. There isn’t really a trail but you will climb on an open and endless slope till you see the view of Mt Jichu Drakye (6989m). You can hike further up to 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see the amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the our national flower – the blue poppy. In the foreground below the colossal Mount Jumolhari and its neighboring mountain, Jichu Drake is the Jangothang base. It is a flat grassy land with the ruins of an old fortress on a hillock. It is highly recommended for all trekkers to halt here as most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude. You will have the option to hike or to simply rest in camp. Both ways, it will be a very memorable day.

18KM | 6-7 HOURS | 660M ASCENT | 660M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4010M

Today’s trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. You will then start to climb up to the first ridge where you will be greeted by a breathtaking view of Jumolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tshering Gang (6789m). You will then be walking on an almost flat track for sometime towards the valley and then you will have to climb to Ngye La pass at 4,700m. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the camp. You will get to enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the peaks here and the Lingshi Dzong. If time permits, you can take a detour to this tiny fortress that is sits on a hilltop overlooking Lingzhi village. For centuries, Lingzhi Dzong was a way station for weary Buddhist pilgrims and was a defense fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. You will camp today at an altitude of 4010m.

22KM | 7-8 HOURS | 780M ASCENT | 720M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4100M

The Laya-Gasa route leaves the Jumolhari trek here. This trek route ascends towards a small white Chorten on a ridge above the camp, it then turns south, up the deep Mo Chhu valley. The trail remains on the west side of the large treeless valley and you will be climbing steadily above Mo Chhu for a short distance. The trail then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yele La pass (4,820m). If it is a clear day you will be able to see Jumolhari, Gangchen Ta, Tshering Gang and Masang Gang Mountains from this pass. You will then make a descent alongside a stream to a shelter. Walking further downstream you will reach the campsite at Shodu (4,100m), a meadow with a Chorten.

23KM | 7-8 HOURS | 400M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3400M

Today you will come back to tree line. The path follows Thimphu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. You will be able to see stunning views of rocky cliffs and waterfalls. You can rest by the riverside and enjoy a hot meal. After lunch you will gradually ascend to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Continue to your campsite near a river, Domshisa which is at 3,400m.

17KM | 4-5 HOURS | 200M ACSENT | 100M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3600M

The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, and then ascends till you meet the dirt road. Walk along the dirt road for awhile and then descend keeping Thimchu River on the left. You will be picked up by a car for transfer to Thimphu for a night halt. Relax in hotel after a nice warm shower. 

Per Person

$1895

Trek Grading

Moderate - Hard

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