Just back from a few days in glorious Dhorpatan in Baglung district. The name comes from the flat meadows above the ~4000m high tree-line, which are locally known as patans, and the marshy flat open valley next to which the village itself sits called dhor. If you are a slightly adventurous trekker, trail runner or mountain biker, I can highly recommend visiting Dhorpatan. And by adventurous, I really only mean ready to take things as they come, with simple food and accommodation, and just be ready to direct your trip rather than be led.

dhorpatan trek mountain view jaljala

The trek you’ve never heard of – not new, but in it’s early days: The Dhorpatan trek. Here’s a view of the Himalayas from Jalja La. Samir Jung Thapa / GHTDP.

Where is Dhorpatan!?

Here it is at a glance. It’s west of Pokhara and the Annapurna region, about a day’s travel by jeep.

dhorpatan-map-from-pokhara

Location of Dhorpatan in Nepal – west of Pokhara… click for Google Map.

Here is a Google Earth representation to show proximity to the mountains.

dhorpatan west dhaulagiri trekking routes

Dhorpatan Valley and the Himalayas. Here’s a Google Earth file for a couple of the trails in Dhorpatan.

Why Dhorpatan?

Why the recommendation? Well, it is just beautiful. Our recce trip lasted just a few days. I was with two mountain bikers who wanted to assess the trails for mountain biking trips in Dhorpatan. You’ll find extremely friendly people, wide, well-made trails, pristine forest and meadows, sparkling rivers, and experience a kind of way-out-there remote feeling.

Additionally, tourists don’t really go there, it is very seldom visited. In 2013 just 88 visited! (Source.) Many of those will be doing a camping trek into Dolpa, from Beni to Dunai, which is part of the Great Himalaya Trail lower route. Some more still we be private hunting parties coming to shoot Blue Sheep and similar for a fat dollar-per-head fee (which then goes to aid conservation efforts). And the rest will be adventurous people like you looking to explore.

You might have heard of the Guerilla Trek. While the name is catchy and stays in the mind, it does not reflect the experience of being there, which is tranquility, peace, friendliness, and an almost complete feeling of detachment from the busy modern world.

“While visiting this otherworldly area, another name may come to mind: The Shangrila Trek…follow it and be transported to a timeless land, … of legendary hospitality.” – Guerilla Trek.org

Man Bahadur who has promoted this area for a long time suggested the name “West Dhaulagiri Trek.” This is nice and locates the area with reference to a well known mountain.

Why is Dhorpatan ‘undiscovered’?

It’s silly to call it undiscovered, but that is often the tourism marketing language used. There are many fabulous places to visit in Nepal but access is, and long has, been an issue. Older webpages talk about three or four-days to hike in or out. There has been a lot of road building in Nepal and so access has changed a lot.

Our trip started in Pokhara and we took a jeep to Baglung, then Burtibang. There the jeep gave up – 2WD was not enough for a river crossing and the poor road conditions. So from here we walked the 6 or so hours to Dhorpatan and it was also a very pleasant walk. We spent a night in a tiny hotel in Bobang and set off early the next morning. So, just one to one and a half days to reach Dhorpatan.

Accommodation around Dhorpatan

Around 4 or 5 years ago the UN Medep programme helped communities build tea-house accommodation. For instance the Dhorpatan tea-house is simple but comfortable. Dal bhat, potatoes, omelettes and the kind of things you can expect to eat. The manager rents the place of the community for a fixed fee per year, so everyone benefits from it. Other simple tea-houses are spaced regularly. If you are a small group or 2 or 3 with guide, then I think you could very easily find accommodation in people’s houses.

Itineraries for Dhorpatan

Our recce itinerary was:

  1. Drive Pokhara Burtibang, walk Bobang (9 hours)
  2. Walk Bobang > Dhorpatan (3 hours)
  3. Return trip to Phalgune pass (~4000 m, 6 hours)
  4. Loop west in the morning, then walk to Gurjaghat (3 hours)
  5. Gurjaghat to Jaljala > Darbang (8 hours, hiking, running – long day)
  6. Jeep from Darbang to Pokhara (5.5 hours)

This below is one itinerary for the Great Himalaya Trail lower route to Dunai, but it requires some camping. If you want other suggestions, please add a comment below. 

See also these (very slow, relaxed) itineraries which go much further west http://www.guerrillatrek.org/itineraries/

trail running dhorpatan trek west dhalagiri

Running along great trails in Nepal – Dhorpatan, a great trek for the adventurous!

Map

Here is a map with a growing amount of information.

Link to this Dhorpatan map in a new window.

Useful links about Dhorpatan

978-99375-77-29-8_Dhorpatan_Hunting_Reserve-142x272

Any questions, please add a comment below.

  1. Samuel says:

    Hi

    Nice article.
    Is this a restricted area (with guide needed) or individual trekkers/trailers are free to go there (just with a TIMS card) ?

    Regards,
    Samuel

    • thehalfhog says:

      Free to go, not even TIMS card. When you get to Dhorpatan then you must spend Rs 3000+VAT(13%) for a ticket for the conservation area. Trying to update the map this week with accommodation options. Roughing it all the way north to Phoksundo lake would be an amazing trip.

  2. Alonzo Lyons says:

    Great site for rugged runners. Keep up the good work Mr. Ball!

    One bone of contention. there is no Lower GHT (nor an upper one for that matter), just a line on a map, and I personally know the two guys who randomly placed that line on a map far away from any trains in their office in Kathmandu. one of them has never trekked in his life, the other runs a company that specializes in taking foreigners to Annapurna, Langtang and Everest and did not recce whatsoever…unless you know someone who has hiked this so called route (and not the group who simply hiked border to border following a myriad of trails v — not on this ‘advertised’ route), then with all due respect, please reconsider referring to it as anything but a fictitious trail.

    Additionally, just so you know, Map House appropriated my information from my Guerrilla Trek map for the Dhorpatan Map that you mention without acknowledgement and without payment. They did not ask for permission and therefore, I humbly request that this site does not promote it until they make good on due acknowledgement and payment.

    My apologies for raising these issues on this public forum but in my humble opinion, the truth needs to trump all else now more than ever as Nepal re-builds and organizations like SNV and Map House might do well to consider a new, more transparent paradigm. Cheers for your patience and consideration regarding my requests.

  3. Sahasi Yatri says:

    Namastee to Everyone,
    Dhorpatan has been one of my favorite place to visit in summer. But through the route i access hasn’t been mention thus only upgrading information. I live in Bhalubang, Dang, Rapti Zone assessed through east west highway. and it’s a day off road biking to reach dhorpatan valley via pyuthan, gulmi to baglung . I have several time hiked around dhorpatan valley in old days and modern days. You can reach dhorpatan mainly from four places, From East Baglung via Baglung Bazzar-burtibang.From South Butwal via Palpa, Waling, Gulmi, Burtibang Beside there is a track from salghandi to dhorpatan via gulmi about 25 km ahead from Butwal. From west, Dang via pyuthan and gulmi, a track from pyuthan to baglung is on progress. If it is finished it will be the shortest route to reach the main pitched highway. I know about the route mentioned above but had never gone through.
    All of the routes are just a track which can be accessed only in summer, and winter never ever try on monsoon. Cause i had a bad monsoon experience. it is good to hike on summer late march and early April if going by vehicle. Burtibang is the last junction of bazzar and any facilities. You can buy food or medicine. As far i know a bus from Burtibang, Baglung to Kathmandu runs every day. And from Butwal to via palpa, and Syanga, Waling.Except from Beni we need to reach Burtibang from any tracks.

    Dhorpatan is famous for it’s Moorland and plain land. I love hiking in moorlands with sheep heard and accommodating in their little hut. searching herbs, drinking milk of cattle grazed in patan’s rare herbs even yarsagumba too. But i suggest you to take your own food. You can get shelter in wild homes of shepherd if you can request. if cant then take your camping gears.
    Plan on visiting some places behind mountains like sahartara, Mukot, Gurajkhani and Churen Himal, Putthahimalchuli peaks. You can experience Tibet, language, culture and lifestyle.

  4. UNESEEN says:

    The UNESEEN organisation aims to develop the Greater Gaumukhi Area (GGA) of Pyuthan, Baglung and Gulmi into “Dhorpatan extreme adventure cluster” with most activities in Dhorpatan but also mountain-biking, rafting and bunzee jumping. If you can help them, that would be great. [UNESEEN and four other members of UnitedNETWORK are based in GGA]

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