Feast your eyes the grandeur of Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters/26,795 feet). The seventh highest mountain in the world, Dhaulagiri boasts has an indescribable presence that only those who have been lucky enough to visit can understand. Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is one of the most exciting treks in Nepal. The path makes a part circumnavigation around the majestic mountain. During the process, trekkers have priceless views of several other 8000+ meter peaks.
It must be noted though, that this trek is not for the faint of heart. It is an extremely strenuous 19-day excursion on an off-the-beaten-path trail. Most nights are spent inside of a tent, reminding trekkers that they are on a true Himalayan expedition. For those who find pleasure in being physically and mentally challenged, this is perfect for you. Or, if you simply have a desire to push yourself and are willing to work for that strong sense of accomplishment upon finishing, then give this trek a try! For these people, there is a great reward – experiencing the hidden treasures of the world’s greatest mountain range.
From Beni, at the very beginning of the trek, beauty is immediately seen. We climb along the banks of the Myagdi Khola River and along the Chhonbardan Glacier while passing precious Magar villages. Experience and learn about the quintessential mountain village lifestyle as we traverse over and around various terraced hillsides. The trail hugs the side of glaciers up to challenging, yet thrilling mountain passes. These passes are the most difficult part of our trek, especially walking on the icy glaciers, but our guides will make you feel comfortable, prepared, and at ease.
In this high alpine terrain, it becomes real to us that we are high in the sky – near the top of the world. The colossal Dhaulagiri mountain range consists of fifteen 7000+ meter peaks. As our trek winds to a close, the trail coincides with that of the Annapurna Circuit. This is in the Mustang region, along the Kali Gandaki river gorge. We find ourselves in a completely different landscape, characterized by desolate hills, red-orange rock structures, and caves embedded into high cliffs. People living in the area are ethnically Tibetan.
What is the Best season for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?
The best season for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is the second week of September- October-November, and March-April-May. From the second week of September, the monsoon will be very less and trekkers can enjoy the green grassland, Rice paddy, rare alpine flowers, and the snow-capped mountains. September is beginning season for trekking in Nepal so this time would be very peaceful in the Himalaya. If you are looking for a peaceful trek into the Dhaulagiri The region of September month is the best month. Also if you can’t handle the cold this month is best for those. Because September month is a warm month in the Himalaya. October and November is the most popular month for trekking in Nepal. Because these two month offers awesome views of the Himalaya, clear skies, golden rice paddy and some flowers in the mountain.
March, April, and May months are also a very good time for trekking in Nepal and good for Dhaulagiri Round Trek. These months are very popular for the expedition and high passes trekking in Nepal. Because this month offers an awesome view of the mountain, clear weather, and safe to climb the Himalayas right after winter. Also, the alpine land will be colorful with rare alpine flowers. Lots of people choose this month for trekking into the Dhaulagiri region. For the flowers, lovers, September, Half October, and March and Half April month are the best.
How Difficult is Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?
Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is an old trekking trail but very few peoples go for this trek because of its remoteness and difficulty. But nowadays with the satellite phone, we can minimize the high risks for this trek. The trail is upgrading by our Nepal government so it is becoming easier. People must have previous high altitude trekking experience and the strong inner power to finish this trek. For successful trekking, just a strong body doesn't help so you must have to be strong from your inner heart. This is also hiking on the trail but this trail leads into the Himalayas on the glacier and rough trails.
The trail up to French Camp is normal as another trekking trail. At the beginning of the season, you might have to cross a few landslides. But after French camp, the trail leads into the glacier, and the trail changes every year due to the glacier melting. Walking in the high altitude on the rocky trail would be difficult for the trekkers. Some parts of the trail are very narrow so we highly recommend walking very carefully on this part. Also while passing other trekkers on that part always be careful and stay at the wider and safe spot.
Every day walking up and down in the Himalaya is the difficulty of the trek. After Dhaulagiri Base Camp, the trail leads on the rocky glacier and up and down to the Hidden Valley via French Pass. This is the dangerous part of the trek. Once we get any problems in this place going forward and backward we must climb up so we must listen to our body before the start in this part. The trail from Hidden valley also up and deep down so trekkers have to be very careful on this part too.
Unbelievable mountain views including some of the Dhaulagiri ranges fifteen 7000+ meter peaks, and several 8000+ meter peaks
Vast array of landscapes – including the unique Mustang region
Thrilling high mountain passes: French Pass (5360 meters) and the Dhampus Pass (5234 meters)
An almost completely empty, off-the-beaten-path trail – peaceful vibes
Camping trek, giving an experience that brings trekkers closer to nature
- Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu airport and transfer to hotel.
- Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Day 03: Drive to Beni (850 meters), 8 hours.
- Day 04: Beni to Babiyachaur (950 meters), 6 hours.
- Day 05: Babiyachaur to Dharapani (1400 meters), 6 hours.
- Day 06: Dharapani to Muri (1850 meters), 6 hours.
- Day 07: Muri to Boghara (2080 meters), 7 hours.
- Day 08: Boghara to Dobang (2520 meters), 6 hours.
- Day 09: Dobang to Sallaghari (3110 meters), 5 hours.
- Day 10: Sallaghari to Italian Base Camp (3660 meters), 5 hours.
- Day 11: Rest day for acclimatization
- Day 12: Italian Base Camp to Glacier Camp(Japanese Camp) (4210 meters), 4 hours.
- Day 13: Glacier Camp(Japanese Camp) to Dhaulagiri Base Camp (4740 meters), 5 hours.
- Day 14: Dhaulagiri Base Camp to Hidden Valley (5110 meters) via French Pass (5360 meters), 6 hours.
- Day 15: Hidden Valley to Yak Kharka (3680 meters) via Dhampus Pass (5200 Meters), 7 hours.
- Day 16: Yak Kharka to Marpha and Jomsom (2710meters), 6 hours.
- Day 17: Fly back to Pokhara from Jomson.
- Day 18: Drive back to Kathmandu, 6 hours.
- Day 19: Transfer to airport for your final departure from Nepal.
How is the Trekking Trail and Walking Distance?
Dhaulagiri Circuit trekking trail is very old but very few people go to this trekking so the trail is not well maintained. Some part of the trail has been changed due to the landslide. The lower part trekking trail is well maintained because the local people also have to walk through the trail while they come up and down to Baglung Bazaar. After the villages, the trail is not well maintained. Now Nepal Government and the Nepal tourism board are rebuilding the trail and building the bridges on the rivers. The trail up to Dhaulagiri Base Camp from Japanese camp is rocky and has to walk on the glacier and moving little rocks.
Then the trail leads onto the glacier and rocks until to the hidden valley. The trail from Dhaulagiri Base Camp to the Hidden Valley is up and down with a narrow trail. Then the trail leads all the way down to Yak Kharka and Marpha village. Marpha village is connected with the road and popular as the Apple garden.
The walking distance up to Italian Camp is about 5-6 hours and about 16 Km per day on the normal trail but after Italian Camp, the trail becomes a bit difficult and due to the high altitude trekkers need to walk slowly. Then the duration goes high but the walking distance will be shorter. Trekkers walk about 5-6 hours per day but the distance will be about 6-9 km per day until Hidden Valley. Then walk 15+ km down to Yak Kharka and Marpha village.
Fitness level for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek
Dhaulagiri circuit trek is difficult to trek in Nepal. The trail and the walking on the high Himalayas make this trek difficult. This trek is mostly camping in the high Himalaya and there are two high passes that make this trek more difficult. But if you are a regular hiker and you have previous altitude trekking experience this trek can be done easily. This trek is still very peaceful and wild. This is a difficult trek so you must be strong physically and mentally. When you are strong physically then you would be mentally strong. This trek required a level of fitness to complete successfully. 3-5 weeks of practice will make this trek easier.
Before starting this trek we highly recommend to do pre-practice at home. If there is any hill around your place you could walk and run on it 1-2 hours every day and do some exercise to build your stamina. Also, climb stairs or the uphills to make a habit to walk on the uphills. You have to walk up and down every day to make your leg muscles strong.
Or if there is not any place to hike near your place you can join the gym and start a daily routine fitness practice. You could walk on the trade meal and walk on the house stairs up and down for your legs. Please use your new hiking boots before you come to Nepal for trekking because if your boot is not fit or make blister on the trek it will hurt and you couldn’t enjoy the trek properly. Please council to your doctor before you start the pre practices for the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek. Your doctor will advise you as your body for the fitness classes.
How many Passes are there in Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?
Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is a unique trek in the western part of Nepal. Which offers an awesome and wild view of the Himalayas and Nature. This trek leads into the high Himalaya in the remote places. On this trek, there are two popular passes, French Pass (5563m) and Dhampus Pass (5235m). These two high passes come after the Dhaulagiri Base camp. After the Dhaulagiri base camp, the trail leads to the north side of Chhondarban Glacier, then the trail gradually climbs the steep hillside above the glacier. After that we follow the zig-zag trail and across moraines, then we make our way up to French Pass which offers a 360-degree view of surrounding mountain ranges. Then the trail gently descends through snow slopes to finally reach the Hidden Valley.
Then the trail leads towards Yak Kharka crossing over Dhampus Pass (5244m). THe dhampus pass offers an awesome view of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna range, and also we can see the mustang valley. The trail is easier than the French pass. Then the trail descends steeply to Yak Kharka through avalanche-prone slopes.
Culture and Life Style in Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek
The Himalayas and the mountain are very peaceful and the people from this region also very peaceful, friendly and helpful. Mostly we find Sherpa people in the Himalayas but we find Magar, Gurung, and Thakali ethnic groups in this region. On the low land, there is a mixed culture with the Hindu and Buddhist. And in the higher place, there are Magar people. Magar people are known as very innocent, helpful and strong. Nirmal Purja Magar is also from this region who climbed the 14 top mountains in 6 months without any problem!
As they very strong and helpful people they have been selecting as British Gurkhas so most of the people from this place are involved in the Military . And some of them are handling the farm in the village so we can see very beautiful farmland along the way. Their main religion is Buddhist and some of them are Hindu. And some people celebrate both festivals, the Buddhist and Hindu.
They always respect the guest as the god. It’s their culture. While you walk on the trail, they always pass with a beautiful smile which gives us energy. The people from this region celebrate the Maghi festival which is in Magh month in the Nepali calendar and January in the English calendar.
At this festival, they all gather with family and celebrate in the village with sharing love and with every respect for the elders. They also celebrate the Dashain festival. Which is known as the biggest festival in Nepal.