One can’t expect that out of over 200 treks, each and every one of them will be equally frequented. Thus, there are some treks out there in Nepal that are located in quite accessible areas, but are not frequently visited by trekkers. This can be because they haven’t received the advertising that they deserve and people have no way of finding out about them. Here is our list of suggestions of treks that are equally good as their famous counterparts, but haven’t received the glory that they deserve. Yet.
The Mardi Himal trek is a newly opened trekking route and a hidden gem in the Annapurna region. It is certainly a splendid alternative to escape the crowds in the other Annapurna routes during the trekking season. The duration of this trek can go up to one week, but it is really up to the visitors in terms of how and if they want to combine it with some other trails in the region. The destination of this trek is the Mardi Himal base camp, located right under the mighty Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) peak. The views along the way are impressive. The first stage of the trek involves climbing through lush forest ornamented with rhododendron flower bushes that bloom during March and April. The second stage involves trekking on pastures and ridges with some of the most spectacular views of the whole Annapurna range.
For the travelers interested in making their trekking trip a rural experience as well, the Sikles village trail offers both spectacular mountain views and an intimate dive into the lives and culture of the people living on the foothills of the Annapurna mountain range. This short, scenic trek is usually done in 7 days, although it can be extended or shortened according to the trekkers’ time and interest. The highlights of this route are the unique views of Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal and Fish Tail among many others and the village of Sikles – the biggest Gurung settlement in Nepal. Sikles, apart from its charming houses and beautifully terraced rice fields, is also known for the last Himalayan honey hunters in Nepal’s mid-western region. The trek begins in Pokhara and takes you to the northern side of the valley, before you start climbing up the foothills of the Himalayan range.
Even though it is possibly the best short trekking route in the Annapurna area, the Mohare Danda trekking route remains unknown to many. The Mohare ridge (3300m) is basically a hill station situated 100-200 meters above the popular Poonhill station and offers stunning clear views from Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and Annapurna I, among many others. The huge crowd on a clear morning on Poonhill has become a real problem for some trekkers in the past few years and the Mohare Danda trek is the perfect alternative. A virgin trek in the true sense of the word, the route takes you from thick forests to steep ridge trails and high pastures. There are two possible starting points for this trek: Beni and Nayapul (near Pokhara). The route from Beni (4-5 hour drive from Pokhara) is by far more unexplored and interesting, with hardly any other people on the trails except the villagers who live in the area. The route from Nayapul follows the commercial trail to Poonhill and then disconnects from it and connects to a trail that takes you directly to Mohare. Either route will take you less than a week to complete, with the possibility of many side treks and detours.
The Kopra Danda trek is a fairly new trekking route in the Annapurna area, previously only possible to do as an organized camping trek. The newly opened community lodges on the trail enabled trekkers to visit this area without the need for camping. The Khopra ridge is situated on a top of a hill (3660m) overlooking the whole Annapurna range, including Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I. It is possible to disconnect from the main trail after reaching Poonhill (a popular hill station) and continue on to Khopra Danda and even further on to the sacred Khayer lake situated on around 4400 meters above sea level. The trail takes you through thick forests, rhododendron bushes, rivers, waterfalls, high pastures and alpine meadows. The view from Khopra Danda is said to be way better than from the commercial Poonhill station, with clearer views of the range and with much less people around. This trek takes about 8-14 days (depending on whether you will take the detour to the Khayer lake or not) and is perfect for those trekkers who want a more intimate experience in the Annapurna area.
The Panch Pokhari trek is a less-followed camping trek above the Indrawati valley. The route climbs through a very remote region to the Hindu pilgrimage site of Panch Pokhari (4100m). The name, Panch Pokhri, suggests that the site has 5 small lakes surrounded by the Jugal Himalayan range. It offers a pristine atmosphere and splendid view of the Himalayas. Perhaps the reason behind this trek being left out of the list of more commercial routes is because the trail does not include any lodges and requires organized camping. It usually takes around 7 days to reach the lakes, which makes 10-12 days to complete the whole trek. The starting point for the route is Chautara, which is easily reachable by bus from Kathmandu.
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