Trekking and Hiking is one of the most sought and picked trail when tourists are in Bhutan for a holiday. The geographical set-up of Bhutan allows the tourists to rush and engage in the favored adventurous activities. The climatic conditions and also the location you are choosing must be very suitable for sports. When it comes to trekking, Bhutan offers both beauty and variety. The kingdom is home to some of the most challenging high-altitude treks in the world, as well as countless easy rambles through the wilderness.
The climate is dominated by the influence of the Indian Monsoon with the best trekking months being from March to May as well as September and October. On every trek in Bhutan you will be accompanied by your own staff consisting guide, cook, camping assistant and a few horsemen and horses to carry your gear.
- The Snowman Trek
This is one of the best treks in Bhutan that is also loved by its visitors who engage in trekking for a long tenure. This trek starts from Paro and continues to Lunana where there are four passes of around 16, 404 ft making this trek ideal as well as challenging.
The Snowman Trek has been called “the hardest trek in the world.” Only a few people attempt it each season. But for fit, determined, and experienced trekkers, there’s hardly another Himalayan trek to match it. It’s best to try this trek from mid-June to mid-November.
This is one of the most famous treks in Bhutan and might be the most difficult trekking route in the world. It crosses 11 passes the tallest of them being Gangla Karchung La at 5230m, Jaze La, 5251m, Loju La, 5155m and Rinchenzoe La, 5332m. One of the challenges of the trek is the isolation of the country being visited as there are few villages and the chances for helicopter evacuation are slim. This is truly one of the few places you are on your for an extended duration while trekking in the Himalayas.
- Duer Hot Springs Trek
This is a challenging 9 day trek which for part of its distance overlaps with the Snowman Trek just mentioned. One of the highlight of the trek is a rest day near the Duer Hotsprings one of the most pristine and beautiful in all the Himalayas. Juli La (4,700m) is the highest point on the trail but be prepared for numerous climbs and subsequent descents as you traverse the mountain valleys. The largely intact forest ecosystem hosts a variety of wildlife including Musk Deer and Black Bear. Unlike the other treks mentioned so far which have different ending and starting points this treks takes you into the hot springs and out along the same route.
- Laya Gasa Trek
The Laya Gasa Trek covers the first twelve days of the Snowman Trek. It includes many of the same experiences, but is less than half the length, doesn’t require camping so high, and doesn’t cross as many high passes. In short, it’s a bit easier!But, the Laya Gasa Trek is still a good challenge. Crossing several high passes, camping at 13,000 feet, and scrambling up to 16,000 feet for views of Mt. Jumolhari are exhilarating challenges that will satisfy experienced trekkers.
A cultural highlight of the Laya Gasa Trek is visiting the Lingshi Dzong, a hilltop fortress that has been a Buddhist sanctuary and protection against invading Tibetans and Mongols for centuries.
- Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek
On the Dagala Thousand Lakes trek, you’ll walk through rhododendron forests that bloom brilliantly in spring, and you’ll camp in yak pastures, in meadows of mountain flowers, and beside lakes. From Pagalabtsa Pass, you can catch incredible views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, sitting on the border of Sikkim (India) and Nepal. Other mountains that you can view along the way include Everest, Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tshenda Gang, and Gangche Ta.
- The Jhomolhari Trek
This trek is one of the most popular in Bhutan. It’s a moderately challenging trek that crosses over both Bhonte La pass 4,890m (16000 feet) and Takhung La pass 4,520m and attracts visitors for its spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari 7,326m (24000 feet). Mount Jomolhari, straddles the border between Bhutan and Tibet, is sometimes known as the “Bride of Kangchenjunga” and is famous for its northern face which juts abruptly from the highlands with a vertical relief of 2700m (9000 feet).
- Druk Path Trek
This trek is fairly short and offers a good introduction to Trekking in Bhutan. The trek starts near Paro and takes you over the mountains to Thimphu which lies in the adjacent valley. The trek ascends nearly 2000m with a high point of 4200m (13776 ft). The trek goes through alpine forests which are a mix of pine and dwarf rhododendrons and crosses passes several alpine lakes famous for their large trout. On the way back down towards Thimphu Valley you can have excellent views of Mount Gangkar Puensum 7570m (24,836 feet) which is Bhutan tallest peak and is likely the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
- Cholohari Trek
Again a relatively short trek. It is a genuine high altitude trekking adventure which takes you deeper into the Bhutanese Himalaya. Starting in Paro, the trek also ends in Thimphu, but follows a more circular northern route. Although not quite reaching into the 8000m class, this section of the Himalaya boasts some real giants, including Mt Chomolhari itself at 7314m and Jichu Drake at 6794m.
- Bumthang Owl Trek
This 3 day is a great option if your short on time and want to get a feel of some local culture and take in some great mountain views on the way. The forests are largely of bamboo and interspersed with a large variety of Rhododendrons that can be seen flowering during April and May. The forest cover makes for excellent bird watching and you might even see a black bear which are common in the region. The trail starts near Dhur village a traditional village with a large population of nomadic herdsmen. The second day brings you to Drangela Pass 3600m (11,800 feet) the high point on the trek from where you can have great views of Gangkar Puensum 7570m (24,836 feet) Bhutan’s tallest peak.
- Owl Trek
Owl Trek is a good short one for travelers without much time in Bhutan — or those who don’t wish to attempt a more strenuous trek.The trail follows the hills around Bumthang, passing through forests of rhododendron, blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper, and bamboo. Unlike many of the longer trekking routes, which are more about the natural wilderness, the Owl Trek passes through some lovely authentic Bhutanese villages, including places inhabited by the nomadic Khep and Brokpa people. You can also visit the monasteries at Zambhalha, Chuedak, and Tharpaling.
- Merak Sakteng Trek
Merak Sakteng Trek offers you an opportunity to have a unique experience unlike any other trek. The Sakteng valley is one of the most picturesque valleys with vast expanse of lush pastoral lands and the trek lies within the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary.The trekker can experience the semi nomadic life and rich traditions and culture navigating through the nomadic villages. Follow the trail along the river bank, enjoy the spectacular view of mountains, with flourishing rhododendron trees, rest in one of the idyllic villages and enjoy the hospitality of the villagers.