Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek: Be up for the real Challenge

Out of several worthy and majestic trekking routes in Nepal, Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is also one of them. This trek can be compared to the popular trekking destinations like Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit trek. Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is wondrous trek that will take you around the base of one of the tallest mountain of the world, Mount Dhaulagiri which stands at an elevation of 8,167 meters/26,795 feet and is ranked in the seventh position of tallest mountains of the world.

About Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is one of the challenging trekking routes of Nepal. This trekking is for those who are looking for a real adventure. The experienced trekkers who are up for the challenge and who are who are looking for an expedition like experience, they should certainly go for Dhaulagiri Circuit trek. You will get past the beautiful villages located in the Himalayan foothills, high alpine pastures, uninhabited valleys and close view of several mountains over the height of 8,000 meters. Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is located in the challenging route of Annapurna region. During the trek, you will walk through the snow-covered slopes, icy glaciers, and lateral moraine. Along with witnessing the stunning Dhaulagiri massif, you will also get the view of mountains.

The name “Dhaulagiri” comes from Sanskrit where dhawala means dazzling, white, beautiful and giri means mountains. Dhaulagiri massif extends 120 kilometers from the Kaligandaki River in the west to the Bheri River. Dhaulagiri I is the seventh tallest mountain of the world, and it lies within the borders of a single country which is Nepal. It is also the highest point of the Gandaki river basin.

Permits in Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Before heading towards the trek, you need to get some paperwork done so that you don’t have to face any problems on the way of trekking. You will need a Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) and an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit. You can obtain both of this permits independently by paying a certain amount of small charge form Kathmandu or Pokhara, whichever place is more accessible for you. Or you are busy with your schedule; your guide company can take care of this matter. The checkpoints of this trek are quite spread out, and most of them appear on the way down once the main Annapurna Circuit route has been joined.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is not within any restricted area so that you can trek independently without any guide. However, as this trek is very challenging and difficult, the weather is quite moody as well, so it is better to trek in a group with a guide with tents and enough foods.

Acclimatization and difficulty of Dhaulagiri Circuit trek

Acclimatization is all about altitude sickness. As you hike towards the higher elevation area, you might face some symptoms like a headache, vomiting, nausea, dizziness and so on. If you are feeling any of those symptoms, then you need to know that you are being affected by the altitude sickness. You must immediately reach for medical help before anything gets any serious. Also, you can acclimatize in the lower elevation area before hiking to the higher zone. It will be unwise and risky to hike for more than 300 meters in height once you are above the height of 3,500 meters. So, you must hike keeping a certain pace. You can acclimatize for more than one day, as per the need till your body adjusts in the new temperature level.

The level of difficulty in Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is high, and it is one of the tough treks in Nepal. It is only recommended to the trekkers with experience of trekking at an altitude above 5,000 meters. In this circuit trek, you can also choose to climb Dhampus peak which is at an elevation of 6,060 meters, and it requires mountaineering skills like the knowledge of the use of ice axes and crampons. You will spend three days in a row over snow above 5,000 meters, and the coldness adds more challenge to it. So, Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is not for the beginner trekkers but for those who have high skills and experience in trekking.

Best time to go for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Autumn (September-November)

Autumn is one of the ideal seasons to go for trekking in Nepal. During this season, the weather is excellent giving you a clear and breathtaking view of the mountains around. The sky is clear with a moderate level of temperature making it perfect season for trekking.

Winter (December-February)

Winter gets very extreme and extra cold in the higher elevation regions. This season is characterized by heavy snowfall in higher regions which sometimes even cause an avalanche. As Dhaulagiri Circuit trek takes place in higher altitude region, winter isn’t the best season to go for trekking. However, you can go for trekking that takes place in lower altitude regions.

Spring (March-May)

Spring is another best to go for trekking. During this season, you can see various wildflowers blooming so beautifully in the way, and the colorful forest of rhododendron is a sight to behold. You will see the clear and excellent view of the mountain, and the temperature is quite as well.

Summer (June-August)

Summer season is noted for hot days and heavy rainfall. This season is characterized by thunder and storm with rain making the trekking trail uncomfortable and extra challenging to hike. The trail might get muddy and slippery and not to mention the leeches on the way, so summer season might not be ideal decision to trek in Dhaulagiri circuit.

Way to Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is a rugged high-altitude camping trek that takes places in the lesser-visited are of the Annapurna Himalayas. As challenging as this trek is, it also constitutes on ecotourism and sustainable tourism of Nepal. The trekking starts from a beautiful town of Beni, which is about 2-3 hour of drive from Pokhara.

During the first few days of trekking, you will follow the Myagdi River to the Chhonbardan Glacier which is at the foot of Dhaulagiri. As you head forward, the landscape takes a change from the tended farmland to barren, often snow-covered rocky mountains, all with a view of Dhaulagiri and other glorious mountains ahead.

Moving further in the higher altitude regions, you will encounter Magar villages. After you reach Italian Base Camp, which is located at the elevation of 3,660 meters, it will be better if you stay for a day or two for acclimatization before moving to a higher region. Then moving forward you will reach Glacier Camp and then to Dhaulagiri Base Camp.

After resting for a day at Dhaulagiri Base Camp, you will trek up the side of the glacier over the French Pass, which is at an elevation of 5,360 meters and is also the highest point of this trek. Then hiking from French Pass, you will trek into Hidden Valley. Reaching this point, you can choose to conquer the summit of Dhampus Peak (6,060 meters) if you have any experience mountaineering. Continuing your hike over Dhampus pass, you will trek to Yak Kharka and then to Jomsom. And reaching almost at the end of this trek, you will take a bus ride to Pokhara from Jomsom and reach Kathmandu.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is one of the unforgettable treks you will ever go through. This trek is full of adventure that takes you to the heart of some of the tallest mountains of the world. You will spend several days and night above the height of 5,000 meters and even get a chance to climb the actual mountain. So Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is one worthy trek for the experienced trekkers who are looking for a real adventure in Nepal.

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