Khopra Ridge Trek

Khopra Ridge Trek

Text: Dovan Rai

Photographs: Sean P. Grady and Dovan Rai

October 2016: Three of my friends were visiting Nepal for the first time and one of the interesting things they wanted to do in Nepal was trek in the mountains. Considering the tight schedule and their unfamiliarity in the terrain and my own, I picked the famous Poon Hill trek. But my friends wanted to go further and higher. So, we modified our original Poon hill trek itinerary and extended further north to Khopra hill. Khopra trek was not a well-known trekking route and I had my concerns. But I am very glad that we chose this lesser-known route. Within four days, we got to experience varied vistas: beautiful and breathtaking, heart-warming and humbling. Starting with beautiful villages and charming tea-houses, we walked through far-away forests and exhilarating ridges, taking elevation each day and feeling closer to the mountains.

Leaving Pokhara Valley

Leaving Pokhara Valley

Our itinerary

Day 1: Kade (1770 m ) to Ghandruk (1940 m)
Day 2: Ghandruk to Dobato, Muldai Dhanda (3637 m)
Day 3: Dobato to Khopra (3660 m)
Day 4: Khopra to Tatopani

 

Day 1

Our hotel van drove us from Pokhara city and dropped at Kande. We started our trek from there. Since it was a peak trekking season, there were a number of people starting their trek from Kande. We also met a lot of people trekking towards us, probably concluding their trek. We walked through various cute villages. It was already dark when we reached Ghandruk.

Marigolds and bamboo swings; October is the month of festivals

Marigolds and bamboo swings; October is the month of festivals

Day 2

Ghandruk as our starting point, we trekked up to Dobato as our destination for day 2. This was the most strenuous of the four days, as we not only walked the longest but also covered altitude over 1000 m.

Glowing Ghandruk village, as we left in the morning

Glowing Ghandruk village, as we left in the morning

Looking down on the stone steps that we had just climbed

Looking down on the stone steps that we had just climbed

Tea houses along the trekking route

Tea houses along the trekking route

The trail we took is a working trail ; these sheep walked past by us with their shepherd

The trail we took is a working trail; these sheep walked past by us with their shepherd

Day 3

Day 3 was our ridge walk, as our path from Dobato to Khopra was mostly ridges on top of the hills. It was very rewarding walking looking up at mountains on one side and looking down on hills and valleys on the other side.

But before we started our ridge walk, we climbed up in the dawn to see the sunrise at Muldai point.

We enjoyed one of the most amazing sunrises at Muldai Point

We enjoyed one of the most amazing sunrises at Muldai Point

Trekkers capturing their Muldai Point moment

Trekkers capturing their Muldai Point moment

View tower made of wood from where you can have 360 degree view of the mountains and the valleys

View tower made of wood from where you can have 360-degree view of the mountains and the valleys

Time to start to continue our trek and we started to head down to continue the trail

Time to start to continue our trek and we started to head down to continue the trail

Again the trail is a working trail: yak farm on the top of the hill

Again the trail is a working trail: yak farm on the top of the hill

The yak farm is attended by the yak herder

The yak farm is attended by the yak herder

Cute Yaks

Cute Yaks

Yaks Fighting

Yaks Fighting

Calm and Composed

Calm and Composed

Huts along the way

Huts along the way

Most of our route to Khopra hill was along the ridge, where we enjoyed the most expansive views

Most of our route to Khopra hill was along the ridge, where we enjoyed the most expansive views

Majestic clouds on the foothills to Khopra

Majestic clouds on the foothills to Khopra

As the sun began to set, the light became surreal

As the sun began to set, the light became surreal

Clouds were soft and glowing in the evening light

Clouds were soft and glowing in the evening light

It was finally the golden hour and everything looked awe-inspiringly dramatic

It was finally the golden hour and everything looked awe-inspiringly dramatic

We finally reached our destination: the only lodge on Khopra hill

We finally reached our destination: the only lodge on Khopra hill

Day 4:

From Khopra hill, you can go further up to Khayer lake (4500 m). But that was the last day of our trek. While some groups of trekkers headed up to Khayer Lake, we wished we had one more day on our itinerary. With that wishful thinking, we headed down to Tatopani.

After walking uphill for three straight days, we made our descent back

After walking uphill for three straight days, we made our descent back

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