Dhaulagiri Base Camp Trek

Dhaulagiri Base Camp Trek

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A challenging trek around Dhaulagiri the world’s ninth highest mountain involves the crossing of two Himalayan passes.

This is classic trekking in Nepal starting at a low altitude walking through traditional villages with terraced fields then further up Myagdi valley into sub tropical forest. Higher up above the tree line we enter alpine environment with glaciers and high passes with superb views of the Himalayan peaks

Max. Elevation :  5,360m Grade : 
Best season :  Oct-Dec&Mar-May Type of trek :  Camping
Duration :  21 Days Starting point :  Pokhara
Ending point :  Jomsom Highlights :  Nature

The circuit of Dhaulagiri and the crossing of the French Pass take us to the high peaks and remote valleys of the Nepal Himalaya. Beginning at Beni on the Kali Gandaki River, this spectacular trekking route ascends the lovely and unspoiled valley of the Myagdi Khola River which flows southwards from the heart of the Dhaulagiri Himal. After a week of walking, through an ever-changing landscape and numerous picturesque villages, we reach Dhaulagiri Base Camp and prepare ourselves for the crossing of the ‘French Pass' (17,580 feet).This is a straight forward pass crossing lying beneath the northern slopes of Dhaulagiri (8167m), the world’s ninth highest mountain. The views from this perspective are simply sensational.

We will take a day to explore the mysterious ‘Hidden Valley' before crossing the Dhampus Pass and making the long descent to Jomsom in the famous Kali Gandaki Valley. We will fly back to Kathmandu via Pokhara and have two days for sightseeing and wandering the fun and colorful streets of Thamel. This is adventure travel at its best and a fantastic trekking experience in a little-visited region of Nepal.



  • One of Nepal’s toughest and best circuit treks
  • Truly trekking off the beaten track in the Nepal Himalaya
  • Trekking across the French Pass and the spectacular Hidden Valley
  • Superb views of Dhaulagiri and the Annapurnas
  • Brilliant trekking in a remote part of Nepal
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Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu International Airport (1300m/4264ft) and transfer to hotel

Day 02: After breakfast we set out for an extensive guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu valley’s cultural, historical, religious and world heritage sites. During the course, we visit the famous Pashupatinath temple of Lord Shiva situated at the holy bank of River Bagmati where we will also observe the Hindu cremation ritual. We then proceed to the Boudhanath stupa, a major pilgrimage centre for the Buddhist faith which also is the largest of its kind in the world. We then have a short break for lunch followed by a visit to Swoyambhunath stupa also known as the Monkey Temple from where we can have a bird’s eye view of whole of Kathmandu valley. Following this we then proceed for a visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square, the oldest royal palace of Kathmandu and a UNESCO world heritage site.  The whole are of Kathmandu Durbar Square is dotted with numerous fascinating Nepalese architect dating back many centuries. The site is also the home of Nepal’s living Goddess – Kumari, where we will also have the opportunity to experience firsthand this unique Nepali tradition.  In the evening we will attend the welcome dinner hosted by Makalu Adventure.

Day 03: Fly to Pokhara, drive to Beni (850m) and trek to Tatopani (870m) - 2 hours driving & 3 hours walking. On arrival to Pokhara airport we get into a minibus for the short drive to Beni where we meet the rest of our trek crew. After lunch we start walking, from Beni we leave the Kali Gandaki valley and head west along the bank of Myagdi Khola. We camp at Tatopani beyond the hot springs in a grassy area next to the river. Overnight camping.

Day 04: Trek to Dharapani (1,470m) - 6 to 7 hours walking. The trail continues along the Myagdi Khola passing through several villages before reaching Darbang where we stop for lunch. After we cross the suspension bridge and soon after start the climb to Dharapani. This village is mainly Gurung and Chettri and has our first view of Dhaulagiri to the north. Overnight camping.

Day 05: Trek to Muri (1,850m) - 5 hours walking. From Dharapani we walk through Takum and Sibang, these are prosperous villages with many terraced fields mainly growing rice and wheat. Today we pass classic Nepal scenery with traditional villages and mountain views. Many of the men in this area work overseas in the Middle East or in the British and Indian Ghurkas.  There are good views of Gurja Himal and Puta Hiunchuli to the west.  After crossing Dhara Khola on a suspension bridge we continue to Muri, most of the people living in this village are magar.  Overnight camping.

Day 06: Trek to Boghara (2,080m)- 7 hours walking. From Muri we descend steeply to the bridge crossing over the Muri Khola. After passing through dense bamboo stands the trail enters a number of clearings with fields and farmhouses. Further north the valley steepens and the trail is exposed in places. We camp in the grounds of the primary school in this village. Overnight camping.

Day 07: Trek to Dobang (2,350m) - 6 to 7 hours walking. Myagdi valley is usually wet as a result of its north to south orientation, as clouds approach from India they are forced up by Mount Dhaulagiri at the end of the valley causing precipitation.  You should expect to get some rain in the afternoons although usually clears off again in the evening. It is for this reason that there is lush sub tropical forest in Myagdi valley up to Sallighari camp, be careful walking here as it is often slippery especially over tree roots. From Boghara the trail follows the west bank of Myagdi Khola through an undulating trail in forest. Look up to the cliffs high above the trail there are large bee’s nests where villagers collect honey. We stop for lunch at Lipshe at 2,080m then afterwards we continue walking in forest until we get to a clearing in the forest at Dobang with several teahouses and campsite. Overnight camping.

Day 08: Trek to Sallaghari (3,010m) - 5 hours walking. The trail continues through dense, lush vegetation of ferns, bamboo and rhododendrons. We cross to the east bank of the Myagdi Khola on a new cantilever bridge and then camp at a clearing in the forest at Sallaghari. Overnight camping.  
Day 09: Trek to Italian Base Camp (3,660m) - 3 to 4 hours walking. From Sallaghari we walk through pine trees, rhododendron and birch and once above the tree line heather, juniper and azaleas. The trail traverses through forest and then climbs to a grassy area on the lateral moraine where Italian Base Camp is located. High above camp is the impressive west face of Dhaulagiri with Tsaurabong Peak visible on the other side of the valley. Overnight camping.  

Day 10: Rest and acclimatization day. Today we can go for a walk to explore around Italian Base Camp or relax in camp. This day is essential for acclimatization before ascending further in altitude towards main Dhaulagiri Base Camp. Overnight camping.  

Amongst the peaks and high valleys of the Nepal Himalaya there are many long and demanding trekking routes and one of the best and most challenging of these is the circuit of Dhaulagiri via French Pass and the Hidden Valley

Day 11: Trek to Glacier Camp (4,200m) - 4 to 5 hours walking. Today is a shorter walk although essential for acclimatization process unlike most other itineraries we believe in having two nights at Glacier Camp located between Italian Base Camp and main Dhaulagiri Base Camp (otherwise going from 3,660m to 4,740m will result in altitude sickness). From Italian Base Camp the trail descends steeply down lateral moraine to gain the glacier, in the past we have fixed a rope here to help the group and trek crew. e cross the glacier and then traverse along the moraine on the left side of the Chonbarden gorge. We walk along talus in the impressively narrow Chonbarden gorge to the snout of the Chonbarden glacier and then continue for another hour to Glacier camp. There are a number of ledges leveled in the ice of the glacier for our tents. Overnight camping.

Day 12: Rest & acclimatization day at Glacier Camp (4,200m). Today is an essential acclimatization day before walking to Base Camp tomorrow. There is an optional day walk up the glacier towards Base Camp to a large moraine ridge with views of Tukuche, little Eiger and icefall from NE Col plus valley heading towards French Pass. This morning walk takes four hours return. Overnight camping.

Day 13: Trek to Dhaulagiri Base Camp (4,740m) - 4 hours walking. We follow a rough trail along the moraine covered glacier to Dhaulagiri Base Camp. From Base Camp the view is impressive with Dhaulagiri I, Tukuche Peak and Little Eiger and further to the west lies Dhaulagiri II (7,751m) and IV (7,618m). One can also see the start of the climbing route through the icefall. In season there are likely to be expeditions camped on the moraine strip at Base Camp. Overnight camping.

Day 14: Rest & acclimatization day at Dhaulagiri Base Camp. This is another essential day for acclimatization before crossing French pass over to our campsite in Hidden Valley at 5,100m. In the past some in the group have enjoyed going for a short walk towards French Pass in the morning while others relaxing in camp enjoying the views.  At some point today your leader will organize a training session for those in the group who have no prior experience of using ice axe and crampons. These basic mountaineering skills will be required for crossing the high passes to Jomsom. Overnight camping.

Day 15: Trek via French col (5,360m) to above Hidden Valley (5,050m) - 7 hours walking. After an early breakfast we walk out of Base Camp along the moraine strip to cross over to the left hand side of the Upper Chonbarden glacier. A high lateral moraine ridge is visible further up the valley; we gain this by following a steep trail across the scree and talus. Once on the lateral moraine ridge there are superb views back down the valley to Dhaulagiri I and Tukuche Peak.  At a large cairn on the lateral moraine ridge we turn off to make the final ascent to French pass.

The approach to the pass is up easy angled snow slopes and as usual in Nepal the top is marked by Buddhist prayer flags and cairns.  The view from the summit of the pass is superb with  Sita Chuchura, the peaks of the Mukut Himal, Tashi Kang, Tukuche Peak and of course Dhaulagiri I.  The descent from pass is on moderate snow slopes as we enter Hidden Valley. After a long descent you arrive to camp next to the river not far from the base of Dhampus Peak. You will notice once crossing into Hidden Valley there is only sparse vegetation of isolated patches of moss and grass as this area is now in an area affected by the rain shadow affect of Dhaulagiri. Overnight camping.

Day 16: Exploration walk around Hidden Valley. Please note that we will only cross French Pass on Day 16 if everyone in the group is sufficiently acclimatized, if anyone needs more time then we will delay by a day and cross today instead.  There are a number of options for day walks around Hidden Valley; one of the best is to walk up a ridge on western side with views of Dhaulagiri, Nilgiris, Annapurnas and down Hidden Valley.

Day 17: Trek over Dhampus pass (5,240m) to Yak Kharka (3,680m) - 9 to 10 hours trekking. This is a long day and by far the toughest on Dhaulagiri Circuit trek. After an early start from camp we start the climb up a moderate snow slope to gain Dhampus pass. There are fine views of Dhampus Peak to the left of the pass and to the right the beautiful ice flutings of Tukuche Peak.  From the summit of the pass the trail descend pass for about 100m before start to traverse left into Kali Gandaki valley. Depending on the snow and ice conditions crampons may be needed for group & porters at this point. There is a very long traverse on snow usually taking about four hours before starting the steep descent to Yak Kharka. Throughout this traverse there are stunning views of Nilgiri and the western end of the Annapurna Massif. Overnight camping.

 Day 18: Trek to Jomsom (2,670m) - 4 to 5 hours walking. There is a long descent today to the village of Marpha located in the Kali Gandaki valley. Marpha village has a Buddhist monastery, Tibetan whitewashed houses and paved streets. It is also famous for its apple orchards so well worth stopping here to get a glass of apple juice at one of the lodges.  After hot showers you can explore Jomsom, check emails then in the evening the cooks will produce a special last meal together. Overnight teahouse lodge.

Day 19: Fly to Pokhara & Kathmandu. We take an early morning flight to Pokhara then connect onto another flight to Kathmandu. Overnight hotel

Day 20: After breakfast we will set out for a sightseeing tour of Bhaktapur and Patan and return to our hotel at late afternoon.

Day 21: Transfer from hotel to airport, fly home

Trip Cost Includes
  • All domestic flight, hotel / Airport transfer
  • All accommodation in Kathmandu and wherever stated
  • All ground transportation by private vehicles
  • All accommodations in tents and meals during the treks
  • Down jacket, 4 seasonal sleeping bag
  • Welcome and farewell dinner
  • All porterages costs
  • Trek leader, assistant trek leader) Sherpa porters including their salary, insurance, equipment, flight, food and lodging
  • All necessary paper works and permits
  • Travel and Rescue arrangements
  • Exclusive medical Kit Bag
  • Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) for safety measures
  • All government and local taxes whenever applicable
Trip Cost Excludes
  • Nepal visa fee
  • Airport departure tax
  • International airfare to and from Kathmandu
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu and in Pokhara
  • Extra night accommodation
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, showers etc)
  • Tips for guides and porters
  • Optional trips and sightseeing

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