Khopra Ridge and Poon Hill

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Annapurna's Uncharted Beauty
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Max Elevation

4,600 m / 15091 ft

BEST SEASON

March-May / August-November

DURATION

7 days

START/FINISH

Pokhara

DIFFICULTY

medium-hard
Tour Details

The Khopra Ridge Trek, also locally known as the Khopra Danda Trek, is a hidden gem in the Annapurna region of Nepal. This trek offers a unique and less crowded experience compared to some of the more popular trails in the area. Along this journey, trekkers are treated to breathtaking views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Himchuli, Machhapuchhre, Nilgiri, and Lamjung Himal. The trek’s landscapes are diverse and picturesque, with lush green forests, vibrant rhododendron blooms in spring, fast-flowing rivers, and serene farmlands adding to the natural beauty.

A highlight of the Khopra Ridge Trek is the visit to Khayer Lake, also known as Khopra Danda Khayer Lake, a sacred destination where pilgrims come for an annual dip during festivals. Additionally, the trek provides a rich cultural experience as it passes through traditional Nepali villages inhabited by Gurung, Magar, Thakali, Brahmin, and Chhetri communities, allowing trekkers to immerse themselves in local culture.

The trail leads to Khopra Ridge (Khopra Danda), which offers panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges. Walking along these ridges, nestled between two massive mountain ranges, is a truly unforgettable experience. While the initial stretch from Pokhara to Ghandruk and Tadapani can be crowded, the trail becomes more isolated as you continue towards Dobato and Khopra Ridge, providing a sense of tranquility and serenity.

Wildlife and bird enthusiasts will also find opportunities to spot rare species along the pristine forests of the trek. During spring, the rhododendron blooms create a vibrant spectacle. Moreover, Khopra Ridge serves as a gateway to some of the most iconic Himalayan peaks, including Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Machhapuchre, and others. In summary, the Khopra Ridge Trek offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and adventure, making it an immensely rewarding choice for trekkers seeking to explore the less-traveled paths in the Annapurna region of Nepal.

Price Includes

  • Pre-trek online personal advice
  • Round trip vehicle from Pokhara to Annapurna Region
  • All permits
  • Bedroom in teahouse lodges during trek
  • Three meals per day during trek
  • Government registered, well experienced, English speaker and friendly local trekking guide
  • Staff fees with all their expenses and necessary insurance
  • Welcome dinner

Price Excludes

  • Nepal visa fee
  • Health insurance with heli-rescue up to 4,000m (compulsory)
  • Any expenses which arise due to a change of the itinerary, because of landslides, political trouble, and strikes etc.
  • Personal expenses (phone charging, WiFi, hot shower, laundry...)
  • Drinks and Bar Menu
  • Breakfast on the first day, dinner on the last day
  • Gratuity (optinal)

You can add to your pack

  • Guide in your own language
  • Porter (20kg max)
  • Private room during trek
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Three meals per day in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Round trip vehicle or flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara
  • Private vehicle during trek
  • Taxi service
  • International flight

Complementaries

  • Firante's gift
  • Combine several treks and extend your trip
What to Expect

The Khopra Ridge Trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal is a remarkable adventure that promises a multitude of unforgettable experiences. This trek unveils the grandeur of the Himalayas, with breathtaking views of over 20 peaks, including Annapurna South, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri, creating a majestic backdrop for your journey. Each day begins with an enchanting sunrise over snow-covered mountains, painting the sky with hues of gold and pink. As you trek through charming villages like Ghandruk, you’ll immerse yourself in the local culture, discovering the traditions of the warm-hearted residents. The trail leads you along the Khopra Ridge, nestled between the colossal Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges, providing a truly immersive Himalayan experience. Along the way, pristine forests filled with rhododendrons, oaks, and pines offer a serene connection with nature, and you might even spot rare wildlife like Himalayan Thar, Musk deer, and Langur monkeys. A highlight of the trek is the visit to the holy Khayer Lake, a place of exquisite beauty and spirituality. Authentic teahouse stays and cultural encounters in rural villages enrich your journey, while the sunrise views from Poon Hill will remain etched in your memory. What makes the Khopra Ridge Trek even more special is its isolated and pristine trekking route, offering a peaceful and introspective Himalayan adventure amidst untouched natural beauty.

  • Daily awe-inspiring views of over 20 Himalayan peaks, including Annapurna South, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri, creating a captivating mountain panorama.
  • Mesmerizing sunrises over snow-clad mountains, painting the peaks in brilliant hues of gold and pink.
  • Immersion in the vibrant culture of charming villages like Ghandruk, offering interactions with friendly locals and authentic Nepali experiences.
  • Trekking along the thrilling Khopra Ridge, sandwiched between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.
  • Serene moments in pristine forests with vibrant rhododendron blooms and chances to spot elusive wildlife like Himalayan Thar, Musk deer, and Langur monkeys.
  • A visit to the sacred Khayer Lake, renowned for its ethereal beauty and spiritual significance.
  • Authentic teahouse stays and cultural exchanges with villagers, providing insight into local life.
  • Captivating sunrise views from Poon Hill, illuminating the entire landscape with a golden glow.
  • Tranquil and isolated trekking routes, offering a peaceful Himalayan adventure amidst untouched natural beauty.
Itinerary

Day beforeWelcome Dinner

The day before our trekking expedition begins, we’ll gather for a memorable welcome dinner. It’s a perfect occasion for us to connect and become acquainted with one another before we set off on our exciting adventure. This dinner also provides a valuable opportunity for you to approach your guide with any final questions or concerns you may have.

Day 1 Drive from Pokhara to Ghandruk and Trek to Tadapani

On the first day of our Khopra Ridge Trek adventure, we begin with a drive from Pokhara to the traditional Gurung village of Ghandruk. This scenic journey takes approximately 2.5 hours, offering captivating views, including the glistening Seti River. Upon our arrival in Nayapul, we diligently complete the permit check-in process, ensuring everything is in order for our trek. From there, our drive continues, leading us to the charming village of Ghandruk. After a brief but delightful exploration and a satisfying lunch, our trek officially commences, and our destination for the day is Tadapani.

The trail during this initial leg of the Khopra Ridge Trek is enveloped by lush forests and offers awe-inspiring glimpses of Annapurna South, Machhapuchre, and Hiunchuli. Although the path is steep, our determination carries us forward, and in 4-5 hours, depending on our pace, we reach the tranquil haven of Tadapani. Here, nestled in the heart of the mountains, we find respite for the night in a cozy teahouse, ready for the adventures that lie ahead.

Day 2 Tadapani to Dobato

Our second day on the Khopra Ridge Trek begins with a satisfying breakfast at the teahouse in Tadapani. After fueling up, we eagerly set out for our next destination, Dobato. The trek takes us through enchanting forests, and as we ascend steep trails, the chances of encountering wildlife heighten, adding an element of excitement to our journey. Though the day’s terrain presents some challenging uphill climbs, the stunning natural surroundings make every effort worthwhile. Along the way, we take well-deserved breaks and savor a delicious lunch at a seasonal tea house nestled along the trail.

Approximately six hours of trekking lead us to Dobato, where we check in at a cozy teahouse. But our adventure doesn’t conclude just yet. We embark on a short 15-20 minute uphill trek to reach the Muldae Viewpoint. Here, the views of the Annapurna range during both sunset and sunrise are truly mesmerizing, painting the sky and mountains with surreal hues. While many travelers trek to Muldae Peak specifically for these celestial moments, we are fortunate to experience these magical vistas as part of our Khopra Ridge Trek. We can choose to witness the sunset or bask in the Annapurna range’s awe-inspiring beauty while awaiting the evening’s celestial spectacle. Our overnight stay is at a lodge in Dobato, where we rest and prepare for the adventures of the days ahead.

Day 3Dobato to Chistibung

Our third day of the Khopra Ridge Trek begins with a remarkable sunrise trek to Muldae Peak, where we are treated to the mesmerizing sight of the Annapurna range bathed in the soft hues of the morning sun. Following this awe-inspiring experience, we return to the lodge for a nourishing breakfast, preparing ourselves for the day’s adventure ahead.

Our journey leads us towards Chistibung, a path marked by a series of ridges that we gracefully descend and ascend. Enveloped by the lush embrace of the rhododendron forest, this segment of the trek presents opportunities to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. Along the way, we also encounter scattered houses, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of the local residents.

We pause for a well-deserved lunch at one of the charming tea houses that grace our route. The day’s trek to Chistibung offers a more manageable terrain, blending descents and ascents harmoniously. After approximately 6-7 hours of trekking, we arrive at Chistibung, a quaint village inhabited by Gurung and Magar communities. Here, we find comfortable teahouse accommodations, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of local culture, traditions, and warm hospitality. It’s an opportunity to connect with the heart of the Himalayas and its people as we prepare for the adventures that await in the days to come.

Day 4 Chistibung to Khopra Ridge

Our fourth day on the Khopra Danda Trek unfolds with ambitious plans as we set our sights on Khopra Ridge. A pre-dawn start is essential, given the day’s ambitious itinerary, which includes a visit to Khayer Lake and a return to Khopra Ridge, promising an extended but highly rewarding day ahead.

Our journey from Chistibung to Khopra Ridge traces picturesque ridges, making for a relatively short yet challenging uphill climb. After approximately 2.5 hours of trekking, we reach the vantage point of Khopra Danda. Here, a remarkable transformation takes place as the weariness of the trek melts away, replaced by the sheer awe of panoramic mountain vistas. Annapurna South and Nilgiri, two of the world’s highest peaks, dominate the horizon, while the imposing Dhaulagiri mountain stands within our reach.

Our path continues toward Khayer Lake, treating us to breathtaking views of the Dhaulagiri mountain range during the initial leg of our journey. As we progress, the trail undulates with numerous ascents and descents along the ridge, affording glimpses of the world’s deepest valley, Kaligandaki, nestled between Mt. Tukuche and Mt. Nilgiri North. The terrain gradually transitions to a chilly, open field flanked by barren mountains, signaling our approach to Khayer Lake.

Here, a humble teahouse provides welcome respite, offering a spot to savor lunch, accompanied by tea and snacks. The trail then ascends via well-constructed steps, leading us to Khayer Lake. Along the way, symbols of temples and bells narrate mythological stories interwoven with the region. Upon reaching the lake, Annapurna South graces us with its majestic presence.

Khayer Lake holds profound religious significance, encircled by fluttering prayer flags, resonant bells, and a serene temple. The month of July sees the arrival of many pilgrims, seeking the fulfillment of their heartfelt wishes. They pay homage to Lord Shiva through animal sacrifices, expressing gratitude for answered prayers.

Our journey subsequently takes us back to Khopra Ridge, as no lodges are available near Khayer Lake. The descent consumes approximately 3.5 hours of trekking, with each step revealing breathtaking sunset views—a fitting conclusion to a day brimming with natural beauty and cultural significance.

Day 5Khopra Ridge to Swanta Village

On the fifth day of our Khopra Danda Trek, we rise refreshed and refueled from yesterday’s exertions, savoring a satisfying breakfast complemented by the invigorating aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Today’s trek promises a more leisurely pace as we embark on a predominantly downhill journey towards the charming Swanta Village, covering a distance of approximately 9.6 kilometers (5.9 miles). This segment of our adventure unfolds gracefully over 5 to 6 hours, allowing us to savor the beauty of the landscape at a relaxed rhythm.

Our midday interlude brings us to Kharka, a tranquil haven located just an hour’s walk from the village of Chistibung. Here, we pause for lunch, replenishing our energy stores for the journey ahead. The trail initially ascends briefly before descending once more, leading us on a scenic path that culminates in the welcoming embrace of Swanta Village. Nestled amidst the stunning Himalayan backdrop, Swanta is a lesser-known treasure, its picturesque landscape adorned with the gracious presence of its Magar majority residents. As we traverse these lesser-trodden paths, we continue to be enchanted by Nepal’s authentic beauty and vibrant cultural tapestry, making our Khopra Danda Trek an unforgettable odyssey of discovery and wonder.

Day 6 Swanta Village to Ghorepani

Our journey on the sixth day of the Khopra Danda Trek unfolds with a diverse and captivating trail that leads us through a terrain of contrasts. We begin by traversing flat lands, where terraced fields paint the landscape in vibrant hues. The next chapter of our adventure involves crossing a river via a swaying suspension bridge, adding an element of excitement to our day. Over the course of approximately 6 hours, we undertake a predominantly uphill trek, a journey that carries us through the enchanting embrace of dense rhododendron forests.

As we press onward, our destination comes into view: Ghorepani. This charming settlement is renowned not only for its warm hospitality but also for the awe-inspiring panoramic vistas it offers. Here, against the backdrop of the star-studded Himalayan sky, we find a tranquil haven, a place of solace and respite after a day of invigorating trekking. Ghorepani, nestled amidst the grandeur of nature, becomes our refuge, preparing us for the adventures that lie ahead in this remarkable odyssey.

Day 7Ghorepani to Pokhara, with a Trek to Poonhill

Our seventh day begins early, with breakfast on hold as we set out on an exciting journey to catch the sunrise from Poonhill. The hike to Poonhill takes around 45 minutes to an hour, climbing a stone staircase to reach this amazing viewpoint. At Poonhill, we’re treated to a stunning sunrise that bathes Fishtail Mountain, Annapurna Mountain, Nilgiri Mountain, and the towering Dhaulagiri in a golden morning light. This sunrise is so incredible that there’s a special trek just for witnessing it, and it’s a must-do on our Khopra Ridge Trek itinerary.

After enjoying the sunrise, we head back to our lodge for a well-deserved breakfast. Then, we start our descent towards Hile. This part of the trek mostly goes downhill and includes both forested paths and stone stairs. After about four to five hours of hiking, we reach Hile, where a hearty lunch awaits, giving us the energy we need for the next part of our adventure.

After lunch, we switch to a vehicle, and it’s a 2.5-hour drive from Hile to Pokhara. The first part of the journey is along rough, off-road terrain until we reach Nayapul, where our permits are checked. Beyond Nayapul, the road becomes smooth, making for a comfortable and scenic drive to our final destination, Pokhara. As we leave the trekking trails behind, we reflect on the incredible experiences of the Khopra Ridge Trek, now firmly etched in our memories, while the stunning landscapes of Nepal continue to unfold before us.

Photos
Information
What is the best time to trek?

Spring (March to May): This season offers the ideal conditions for most trekkers. The weather is mild, visibility is excellent, and the trekking paths are comfortable. Spring brings vibrant rhododendron blooms, adding a colorful touch to the lush forests.

Autumn (September to November): Another excellent time for the Khopra Ridge Trek, with clear skies, pleasant temperatures, and comfortable weather. The autumn season provides breathtaking mountain views and an enjoyable trek along the ridge.

Monsoon (June to August): While it may not be the most popular choice, the monsoon season has its own allure. The lush evergreen forests come alive with rhododendrons and wildflowers. Trekking during this time offers a more isolated experience, but it comes with muddy and slippery paths, so good trekking gear and crampons are essential.

Winter (December to February): Winter transforms the region into a snowy wonderland. The trekking paths may be snowbound, so it’s crucial to have experienced guides and the right equipment. If you’re well-prepared and experienced, the Khopra Ridge Trek in winter rewards you with pristine white landscapes and a unique snowy paradise.

In summary, the best time for the Khopra Ridge Trek depends on your preferences and the type of experience you seek. Spring and autumn are the most comfortable seasons, while the monsoon and winter offer more challenging and unique trekking experiences. Regardless of the season, it’s essential to be well-prepared and, if needed, have the guidance of experienced guides.

Trek travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for the trek. All the trekkers must provide a copy of their comprehensive travel insurance policy certificate. The policy must cover medical and emergency repatriation – including helicopter rescue and evacuation expenses at high altitudes (up to 4,000m).

Trekking members are kindly requested to send their detailed insurance information after trek booking. In case of emergencies, we will be using the insurance policy and informational documents you sent us. It will help us arrange a quick and effective rescue operation, transfer for emergency medical help, etc. Please ensure that your insurance covers all costs incurred during mountain rescue service.

Before buying travel insurance, make sure to call the insurance company and recheck if they have heli-rescue up to 4,000m.

Acclimatization

Acclimatization is a crucial aspect of the Khopra Ridge Trek, and our itinerary is thoughtfully designed to prioritize your safety and well-being. As you ascend through the stunning Annapurna region, you’ll have several acclimatization days built into the trek. These strategically placed rest days allow your body to gradually adjust to the increasing altitudes, reducing the risk of altitude-related issues.

One key acclimatization point is Dobato, where you can soak in breathtaking views and prepare for the higher elevations to come. Additionally, our trek includes a visit to Khayer Lake, which reaches an impressive altitude of 4,500 meters (14,764 feet). The journey to Khayer Lake provides an excellent opportunity for acclimatization, as you gradually ascend while surrounded by the stunning Himalayan landscape.

Throughout the trek, we also provide Diamox tablets, a medication known to help alleviate altitude sickness symptoms, from the beginning of the journey. This proactive measure further enhances your safety and ensures that you can fully enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of the Khopra Ridge while staying healthy and acclimatized. Your safety and comfort are our top priorities, and our acclimatization strategy reflects our commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable trekking experience.

Drinking water

We recommend you bring a container for one liter of water. In the teahouses we can buy boiled water suitable for drinking with which to fill our bottles. Another option is to refill the water from the fountains that we find along the way or from the tap of the teahouses themselves, for this we have to count on water disinfectant tablets that we can find in pharmacies.

Is the Khopra Ridge trek worth it?

Undoubtedly, the Khopra Ridge Trek is well worth the adventure, and here’s why. While it may not have the same level of fame as some other treks in the Annapurna region, such as the Mardi Himal Trek or Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the Khopra Danda Trek offers a unique and unexplored experience. It’s a hidden gem that remains off the beaten path, even for seasoned trekkers.

If you’re seeking a change of pace and a more secluded trekking experience, the Khopra Ridge Trek is an excellent choice. Some even liken it to the Manaslu Circuit Trek in terms of remoteness, isolation, and pristine trails. In fact, you can capture much of what the popular Poonhill trek has to offer during the Khopra Ridge trek. With stunning vistas, panoramic Himalayan views, cultural immersion in rural Nepal, untouched paths, and an ascent to the breathtaking Khayer Lake at 4,650 meters (15,091 feet), this trek has it all.

The highest point of the Khopra Ridge Trek is Khorpa Danda, standing at 3,640 meters (11,942 feet), which surpasses the altitude of Mardi Himal Base Camp. If you choose to extend your journey to Khayer Lake, located at an impressive altitude of 4,600 meters (15,091 feet), you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience, even though accommodations are limited, with the highest overnight stay at Khopra Ridge Phedi at 3,640 meters (11,942 feet) in a community lodge.

While the isolated and enchanting Khopra Ridge Trek is a journey through Annapurna’s hidden and lesser-traveled regions, it culminates as you rejoin the popular trekking routes in the Annapurna region, leading to Ghorepani. Here, you can take a short trek to Poonhill for a spectacular sunrise view, a highlight reminiscent of the Poonhill trek itself.

In the eyes of those who have ventured along the Khopra Danda Trek, it holds its own against, if not surpasses, treks like the Annapurna Base Camp trek, offering more Himalayan wonders, with the majestic Dhaulagiri mountain standing prominently before you. If you’re ready to break away from the crowds and explore a hidden treasure of the Annapurna region, then the Khopra Ridge Trek beckons as the perfect choice for your next adventure.

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Alex W.

Solo Traveller

Khopra Ridge with Firantes = Nature’s Paradise! 🏞️✨

September 11, 2023
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