Rara Lake Trek

Posted by Andy on Friday, September 3, 2010

Rara Lake lies in the remote far northwest of Nepal. The lake is beautiful and tranquil. The region around Jumla and Rara Lake is still relatively unexplored.
Our trek starts from Jumla, the largest upland hill town in west Nepal. Rara is Nepal’s largest lake and lies at an altitude of 2980m. An outstanding snow-capped panorama of Dolpo and Tibetan mountains overshadows the scene across the deep clear waters of the lake. The National park consists of Himalayan black bear, leopard, black panther, musk deer, red panda, wild boar, Rhesus and languor monkeys and numerous species of birds.

The final four days of the trek offer superb views over Mugu, the southern mountains of Humla and the border ranges of Tibet. The trail takes us through grassy alpine pastures and remote villages, before descending steeply off the second pass to Jumla. From here, we fly back to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj.

 Highlights of the trek
Unsurpassed views of Rara Lake and mountain scenery, chance of spotting wildlife such as musk deer and black bear, ruins of the Malla dynasty’s old palace.

 Trek dates
August to late November and late February to late June

 Pricing

Click here for a pricing request for this trek

Click here for a comparison of pricing for all treks

Detailed itinerary
Itinerary can be customized according to your needs and length of stay. For fit, experienced trekkers it is possible to do this trek in 6 days hiking from Jumla (11 day itinerary).

 Day 01 – Arrival in kathmandu
Upon arrival at Kathmandu International Airport we will transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. A short briefing will follow concerning the necessary formalities and your trekking itinerary. Depending upon your arrival time you may spend free time visiting nearby sanctuaries or resting.

Terai region

Day 02 – Trek Preparations and Cultural Day in Kathmandu Valley
Half day sightseeing around UNESCO Bhaktapur / Kathmandu where your guide will escort you on a tour of Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines reflecting ancient local traditions. There is time to explore the city’s many places of interest on your own or take a rest while trekking permits are finalised. In the evening sample a delicious traditional Nepali dinner. 

Day 03 – Kathmandu to Nepalgunj to Jumla (2370 m)
Fly to Nepalgunj, near the Indian border in the Terai region of Nepal, then transfer to an afternoon flight  north to Jumla (30 min). Jumla town is in the delightful Tila river valley and here are the highest limits of rice cultivation in the world, growing a special variety of red rice. 

Pine forest

Day 04 -Jumla to Uthugaon (2530m)
We start our trek by following the north bank of the Tila Khola river and then turn north following the Chaudhabise Khola passing through fields and pine forests. We will ascent up the Padmara valley. Our trail keeps following the river until we arrive at the small village of Uthugaon, where we will have a good campsite close to the school on the opposite site of the river (4 hrs).

Day 05 – Uthugaon to Danphe Lagna (3500m)
After our breakfast we will follow the trail through this narrow canyon to the village of Padmara at 2900 m. Our path then climbs to the Khali Lagna pass at 3550 m through a deep forest of pines, spurches and firs. Shortly after this pass both routes come together and the trail then descends gently through mixed forest of spruces, birches and rhododendrons to arrive at our campsite at Danphe Lagna. Here the colourful national bird of Nepal (the Himalayan monal, or impeyan peasant) has been spotted many times at the edge of our campsite (4 hrs).

Day 06 –Danphe Lagna to Chautha (2770m)
The trails descend gently alongside the stream to two bhattis (teashops) ath Tharamara (3280m) and the descending more steep passing through fir, birch, and walnut and bamboo forests. After crossing a bridge at 2680 meter we follow the river downstream before starting a serious climb passing some water-driven mills to Kabra. Here is a huge overhanging rock which is the source of silaji, a mineral which is believed to have “healing” properties. It is exported to India and it is believed by people that ‘there is hardly any curable disease which cannot be controlled or cured with the aid of silaji……’ Our steep climb continues for a while and then levels out before Bhara (classic Tibetan style village). After this village we then descend to the Chauro Khola river to the village of Chautha (6 hrs).

Day 07 -Chautha to Rara Lake (2980m)
Our trail continues to follow the stream uphill to Bhulbule, the Rara National Park entrance station at 3130 meter. Our path continues climbing sharply to Ghurchi Lagna pass (3450m) which offers the first, and very spectacular, views of Rara lake and the western Himalayas. From the pass the route descends gently along a narrow ridge at first before dropping down precipitously through spruce forests. The path levels at about 2900 meter and continues more or less level to the small settlement of Dhotu with fine views to the north. From Dhotu, we traverse a steep north facing slope and cross a series of fields down to a small stream. Crossing the bridge, we climb up to the Thakuri village of Jhyari (2630m). From Jhyari, we climb steadily up through cedar forest to a huge meadow atop a 3050 meter ridge with great overhead views of Rara Lake. We will follow the trail along to the northern side of the Lake, where the park headquarters and overnight facilities are situated (8 hrs).

Rara Lake

Day 08 – Rara Lake
Rara Lake is the largest lake in Nepal. It is almost 13 km around the lake and a day devoted to walk around is well spent. Designated a national park in 1975, this region offers remoteness and a wilderness experience unlike any other region of Nepal, where birds, flowers and wildlife thrive. Among the mammals in this region are Himalayan bears, serows, gorals, musk deer, red pandas and both rhesus and langur monkeys. The 170 meter deep lake is a habitat for otters and an important resting place for migrating water fowl.

Day 09 – Rara Lake to Bota (2800m)
From the bridge at the western end of Rara lake the trail will follow the Khatyar Khola river. We will keep following this river slowly descending before we climb out following a small trail surrounded by pine, spruce and rhododendron forests. We follow our path dropping into the Ghatta valley heading towards the small settlement of Gorosingha, then continue down the valley to Bota where there are both guest houses and campsites to choose from (8 hrs)

Day 10 – Bota to Jaljala Chaur (3270m)
The route follows a new road along the northern wall of the valley toward Sinjha. From the 12th to 14th century, Sinjha was the capital of the Malla dynasty that ruled western Nepal. The ruins of the old palace can be seen across the river. There is an interesting temple here dedicated to Bhagwati, the goddess of justice who rides atop a tiger.
From Sinja, the trail crosses the Sinja Khola on a wooden cantilever bridge. After passing a few small villages, the trail crosses back and forth across the river on a series of quaint log bridges. Most of the trek is through forest of pine, birch and oak and fields of barley and corn. Then the trail makes a steep climb to Jaljala Chaur, a gigantic high meadow full of grazing horses (7 hrs).

Langur Monkeys

Day 11 – Jaljal Chaur to Jumla (2370m)
Keep climbing through forest to yet another meadow, just below the ridge at 3510m, then a long descent on mostly steep but very pleasant forest trails to Jumla (4 hrs).

Day 12 – Jumla to Kathmandu via Nepalgunj
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 13 – Kathmandu
Departure from Kathmandu.

The trek program is – because of weather or unforeseen events – subject to change.

Services and costs included in the price

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Three nights hotel accommodation and breakfast in Kathmandu
  • Licensed and trained trekking guides
  • Porters for carrying goods and supplies
  • All accommodation during trek
  • All meals and hot beverages whilst trekking
  • Transportation to and from trailhead
  • All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
  • National Park/Conservation Area entry permit
  • Equipment such as sleeping bag, tents, mattresses
  • Cooking equipment
  • Camp-site charges
  • Insurance, medication, and equipment for staff
  • Coordination of Quick Rescue service (costs covered by your insurance plan)

Services and costs NOT included in price

  • International airfares
  • Travel/trekking insurance
  • Excess baggage charges more than 16kg and hand bag more than 5kg in domestic flights
  • Visa fees
  • Airport departure tax
  • Rescue charge
  • Drinks (cold and alcoholic)
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Permit and liaison officer fee (where applicable)
  • Lunches and dinners whilst not trekking