Moderate - Difficult | Level 1
TREK STARTS FROM
An Off-beat Nepal Trek that Takes You Close to 22 Big Mountains
For many decades now, the Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp treks have been the bucket list treks for most trekking. If you think about trekking in Nepal, these are the two treks that come to mind.
But there’s another trek, very close to Annapurna Base Camp and much more rewarding, and that’s the Khopra Ridge Trek. Why is it more rewarding?
You see 22 big mountains from the Khopra Ridge.
Out of which 2 are amongst the 14 highest mountains in the world – Mt Dhaulagiri I (7th highest)! and Mt Annapurna I (10th highest). But that’s not the full picture. You see the Annapurna massif at an arm’s distance (even closer than on the ABC trek). You see the Mt Machapuchare as glorious as ever. You see Mt Nilgiri North and South. There’s Mt Himchuli, Mt Ganga Purna, it’s endless!
Let’s not forget Mt Dhaulagiri. It is right in front of you!
A route map of the Khopra Ridge trek
Reach Pokhara from Kathmandu
Drive distance: 215 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Stay for Indiahikes Trekkers: Hotel Paradise Inn, Pokhara
You will reach Pokhara on your own by either taking a bus or flying in from Kathmandu. You are expected to reach by 4 pm. You will meet the rest of the team at Hotel Paradise Inn. Your stay at Hotel Paradise Inn is taken care of by Indiahikes. You don't need to pay extra for this.
Please note: We will only be serving dinner at Hotel Paradise after trekkers arrive post 4 pm.
Drive from Pokhara to Kimsee. Trek to Ghandruk
Drive Distance: 56 km | Trek Duration: 2.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 2,760 ft to 5,440 ft
Trek Distance: 3.7 km | Trek Duration: 2 hours | Altitude Gain: 5,440 ft to 6,561 ft
Transport will be arranged by Indiahikes, but the trekkers will have to share the cost. Approx Rs 2,500 INR per person including both the drives to the base camp.
Trek from Ghandruk to Tadapani
Trek Distance: 6.4 km | Trek Duration: 4.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,561 ft to 8,705 ft
Trek from Tadapani to Dobato
Trek Distance: 6.2 km | Trek Duration: 6.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 8,705 ft to 11,225 ft
Trek from Dobato to Chhistibang via Muldai Top
Trek Distance: 9.2 km | Trek Duration: 6-7 hours | Altitude Gain & Loss: 11,220 ft to 9,678 ft via 11,811 ft
Trek from Chhistibang to Khopra Ridge
Trek Distance: 3.5 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours | Altitude Gain: 9,678 to 11,975 ft
Trek from Khopra Ridge to Khayar Lake, and back to Khopra Ridge
Trek Distance: 16 km | Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 11,975 ft to 15,300 ft, and back to 11,975 ft
Trek from Khopra Ridge to Paudwar via Gorge Point
Trek Distance: 8.5 km | Trek Duration: 6.5 hours | Altitude Loss: 11,975 ft to 6,561 ft via
Trek from Paudwar to Tatopani | Drive from Tatopani to Pokhra
Trek Distance: 4.7 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,561 ft to 3,871 ft
Bus Drive Distance: 110 km | Drive Duration: 5 hours
You will reach Pokhra by 7pm.
Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.
- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges.
- On the trek, you will be staying in tea houses.
- We do not have a cloakroom facility at Pokhara. Do not carry any excess luggage on the trek.
- We wont be providing accommodation on the last day at Pokhra.
A route map of the Khopra Ridge trek
If you're planning to reach Pokhara, take a bus instead of a flight from Kathmandu on Day 0 of your trek. Buses are a lot more reliable than flights that usually get cancelled in case there is a weather fluctuation.
While returning, you will reach Pokhara between 6.00 - 7.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 9.00 PM from Pokhara.
Picture by: Nitesh Kumar
What I Like About the Khopra Ridge Trek
What I Like About the Khopra Ridge Trek
Know Your Trek
We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.
Use this section to learn about the Khopra Ridge trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.
Day 1: Reach Pokhara from Kathmandu
Drive Duration: 7 hours | Drive Distance: 215 km
Altitude: 2,760 ft
Highlights: The drive through the rolling hills of Nepal. The lakeside near the hotel.
Reach Pokhara on your own before 4.00 PM. You can find different ways to reach Pokhara in the ‘Reaching the Basecamp’ section of the trek page.
Your stay in Hotel Paradise Inn, Pokhara will be booked by Indiahikes. You don’t need to pay extra for this.
You will meet the rest of the team at the hotel. The briefing will be conducted at the hotel at 6.00 PM on Day 1.
Go for a walk by the lakeside after the briefing and retire early after dinner. You’ll need to conserve energy for the long trek ahead!
Day 2: Drive from Pokhara to Kimsee. Trek to Ghandruk
Drive Distance: 56 km | Trek Duration: 2.5 hours
Trek Distance: 3.7 km | Trek Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate. Gradual ascent from Kimsee to Ghandruk.
Highlights: The up close views of majestic mountains.
We’ll leave the hotel at 8.00 AM. The drive from Pokhara to Kimsee will take around 2.5 hours. You cover around 60 km during this time.
Have lunch at Kimsee before you begin the trek to Ghandruk.
The initial trail from Kimsee is narrow and runs through a village. The river to your left is Modi Khola. On the opposite side of the mountain, you can spot the trail for the Mardi Himal trek. Ghandruk becomes visible after 1.5 hours of trekking.
The trail continues to ascend gradually.
As you approach Ghandruk, after about another hour, the view starts opening up. You see Mt Himculi and Mt Annapurna south. This is just the beginning of mountain views. As you ascend some more, Mt Machapuchare (the ‘fishtail’ mountain) welcomes you. This is also an indication that you are very close to your first tea house.
Ghandruk is the largest village in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). You will see old stone and slate-roofed houses lining the slope. You will also find a lot of tea houses spread through the entire village.
Day 3: Trek from Ghandruk to Tadapani
Trek Duration: 4.5 hours | Trek Distance: 6.40 km
Altitude Gain:6,561 ft to 8,705 ft
Difficulty: Moderate. Mix of gradual ascent and level walk on forest trails.
Highlights: Beautiful rhododendron forests.
To go to Tadapani from Ghandruk, begin by walking through the narrow path running through the village. Within 5 minutes, you reach a junction. From here, the ACA is divided into two parts – Central ACA AND Western ACA. Central ACA leads to Kommorong and further ahead to ABC. For Tadapani, proceed on the Western ACA.
The trail here consists of steps cut into the rocks. After climbing for 10 minutes on these steps, you will reach the first viewpoint. This is the “Lovely viewpoint”. From here, you will be able to sight Mt Annapurna South, Mt Himchuli, Mt Ganga Purna, Mt Annapurna III and Mt Machapuchare (fishtail). These mountains stay with you on your right as you move ahead.
As you proceed on the trail, you enter a forest trail dominated by a variety of tall trees. Very soon you hear the faint sounds of a waterfall in the distance. The dense canopy of the trees above coupled with moist air from the flowing stream gives you a fresh respite. Rhododendron trees also make an appearance here. You will see big red flowers on these if you are trekking here in April.
Follow the forest trail till you reach a small bridge. From here you get a perfect view of the source of the stream. Take a break here and refill your water bottles. The next section is a steep ascent for about 45 minutes.
As you climb up along the small waterfall, you will reach Bhaisi Kharka, a small village in the far western region of Nepal. This is 5 km from Ghandruk.
The rest of the day’s hike will take you through similar but denser forest trails. Rhododendrons dominate here. These are unusually high if you have only seen the shorter trees in the Indian Himalayas. At certain places, the branches of the trees intertwine on the top to form a gateway for the trail ahead.
Another 2 hours of trekking brings you to the tea houses at Tadapani. Have lunch here. End the day with a perfect sunset view of Mt Machapuchare.
Day 4: Trek from Tadapani to Dobato
Trek Duration: 6.5 hours | Trek Distance: 6.2 km
Altitude Gain: 8,705 ft to 11,225 ft
Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. Gradual ascent through forest trails, with a short descent towards the beginning. Last one hour of the trail is above the tree line.
Highlights: A series of majestic mountains lined up one after the other.
Similar to the previous day, the trek starts today starts on a forest trail filled with rhododendrons and bamboo. The Annapurna range accompanies you on the right. As you trek further, the trail enters deep forests. Oaks appear here. Now, the trail descends. After about 30 minutes, you again start climbing up. This brings you very close to the tree line. From here, you can see the ridge which is a part of the trail from Dobato to Khopra Ridge.
After an hour’s climb, you reach Meshar. Fill your water bottles here. Straight ahead of you are Mt Annapurna (10th highest mountain in the world) and Mt Annapurna Fang (7,647 m). The 2 mountains remain visible for the next two hours, till you reach Isharu.
From Meshar, the trail gradually ascends till Isharu, the second viewpoint of the day. You are just above the tree line here. The views from Isharu are outstanding – the panorama includes Mt Annapurna II, Mt Annapurna IV, and Mt Ganesha Himal along with other peaks of the Annapurna range.
The next hour till Dobato is a mix of ascent and descent. After reaching Dobato, have lunch at the teahouse.
After a short break, set out for the best place on this trek – the Muldhai peak viewpoint. There is a reason this place has such a reputation among locals. You see twenty-two snow peaks out of which two are among the fourteen highest mountains in the world – Mt Dhaulagiri I (7th highest) and Mt Annapurna I (9th highest). The complete Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range with Mt Tukuche and Mt Nilgiri North and South are a sight to behold, especially at sunset. If you want to witness this magic again, don’t forget to come back for sunrise the next day.
Day 5: Trek from Dobato to Chhiastibang via Muldai Top
Trek Distance: 9.2 km |Trek Duration: 6-7 hours
Altitude Gain & Loss: 11,220 ft to 9,678 ft via 11,811 ft
Difficulty: Difficult. A complete ridge walk with steep ascents till Chhistibang. You can refill your water bottles from streams and tea houses on the way.
Start early from Dobato since it’s a long day today. After 30 minutes of ascent, you will reach a junction. The trail to the right leads to the hidden lake and the one to the left goes to Khopra Ridge. Halt here and capture the last view of all the mountain peaks of the Annapurna range. Don’t worry, these mountain views will soon be replaced by the Dhaulagiri range.
Take the trail leading to Khopra ridge. After 15 minutes, the Dhaulagiri range appears to the left. This is also an indication that you are close to your first rest point, Muldai Top.
From Muldai Top, the trail descends for two hours through a forest. This brings you to Chhistibang, a tea house inside the forest. Have lunch here and rest for the day!
Trek from Chhistibang to Khopra Ridge
Trek Distance: 3.5 km |Trek Duration: 3 hours
Altitude Gain: 9,678 ft to 11,975 ft
From Chhistibang, the trail ascends continuously. There are multiple small streams and small waterfalls all along. On both sides of the ridge, clouds form a small playground and enchant you with their changing forms. From here, every step towards Khopra takes you up close to the Dhaulagiri range. Watch the sun and clouds prepare for a perfect sunset.
On reaching Khopra, you see majestic mountain ranges all around you. Mt Annapurna South, Mt Annapurna Fang, Mt Annapurna I, Mt Nilgiri South and North, Mt Tukuche and the Dhaulagiri range welcome you. The tea house here itself is a viewpoint.
Day 7: Trek from Khopra Ridge to Khayar Lake, and back to Khopra Ridge
Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Trek Distance: 16 km
Altitude Gain and Loss: ⇗ 3,325 ft; ⇘ 3,325 ft (11,975 ft to 15,300 ft, and back to 11,975 ft)
Difficulty: Difficult. Starts with gradual ascent on a ridge and becomes steeper as you proceed. Carry two litres of water. After the first three hours, there are no water sources.
Highlights: The alpine lake at the foothills of Mt Annapurna South
Start early today. It’s the summit day and the longest day of the trek. The initial 45 mins is a level walk with scenic views of the Dhaulagiri range. The trail turns into a ridge walk with multiple climbs and descents for the next two hours. Take a look to your left – in addition to the Dhaulagiri range, you will see the world’s deepest valley, Kaligandaki, between Mt Tukuche and Mt Nilgiri North.
Slowly the trail brings you to an open field surrounded by barren mountains. This is similar to the cold desert landscape of Spiti in the Indian Himalayas. This also means that you are approaching Khayar lake.
A small dhaba at Khayar Ghat welcomes you with some local tea and snacks. From here, it is another 1.5 hours trek to Khayar lake. The trail ascends continuously from here, on steps. All along, there are symbols of a temple and bells clubbed together, which is a sign of khayar lake and mythological stories of the area. Before you see the lake, you see Mt Annapurna South. The lake is at its foothill.
The lake is surrounded by praying flags, bells and alone temple. Sit down here for a while and take in the surroundings. You have reached the highest point of the trek.
In July a yatra (pilgrimage) is undertaken by Nepalis who visit Khayar lake to seek fulfilment of wishes and sacrifice an animal to lord Shiva. They believe that if their wish comes true, they will have to return as a token of thanksgiving.
It will take around 3.5 to reach Khopra Ridge on the same trail. Have lunch at Khayar ghat on the way. Every step on the descent is an ideal spot to view the sunset.
Day 8: Trek from Khopra Ridge to Paudwar via Gorge Point
Trek Distance: 8.5 km |Trek Duration: 6.5 hours
Altitude Loss:11,975 ft to 6,561 ft
Day 9: Trek from Paudwar to Tatopani | Drive from Tatopani to Pokhra
Trek Distance: 4.7 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours
Bus Drive Distance: 110 km | Drive Duration: 5 hours
Altitude Gain: 6,561 ft to 3,871 ft
Difficulty: Easy. Descent through the forests till Tatopani.
Highlights: Descent through the forests and water stream.
The last day of the trek takes you to Tatopani which falls on the old route for Mansarovar lake. Because of this, it is also known as the old pilgrimage route. It’s a completely easy descent through forests for initial 2 hours. Post that you walk along a water stream till the time you reach Tatopani. Your trek ends here. Take a bus and reach Pokhara.
Moderate - Difficult | Level 1
Suitable for Experienced Trekkers
At Indiahikes, while rating a trek difficulty we consider several factors. These include altitude gained every day, length of a trek every day, highest altitude, nature of the terrain, weather etc. Based on this we rate a trek as easy or difficult or somewhere in between.
Khopra Ridge Trek is a moderate-difficult level 1 trek on a difficulty level ranging from easy to difficult.
You start from Pokhara which is at an altitude of 2,760 ft and reach an altitude of 15,300 ft in a matter of 6 days.
For the most part, it is a moderate hike through the villages of Nepal.
However, the terrain becomes difficult as you get closer to Khayar Lake. The summit day is a long walk of almost 9 hours.
This makes the trek a moderate-difficult one. It is a good trek for experienced trekkers.
You will need at least 8 weeks of solid preparation for this trek. You can begin preparation by going for brisk walks and then doing brisk jogs to improve your cardio. Your target should be to cover 10 km in under 60 minutes comfortably by the start of the trek.
The good news is that the terrain at Khopra Ridge trek does not have many sections that pose a major safety challenge.
The Khopra Ridge trek starts at 2,760 ft. During the trek, you climb to 15,300 feet. This low start and a quick climb make you susceptible to altitude sickness in the first couple of days.
Keeping that in mind, we at Indiahikes have planned the route in a way that helps mitigate the risk of AMS:
However, there are still chances of getting hit by AMS.
Trekkers usually complain of a headache or tiredness mixed with perhaps lack of appetite or sleep.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, at any point in the trek, especially around Dobato or Khopra Ridge, inform your Trek Leader about your condition immediately if you feel any symptoms of AMS. All Indiahikes Trek Leaders are trained to take care of your health and safety during medical emergencies of any sort.
In the case of AMS, early detection and treatment can ensure your successful trek completion.
If you are trekking on your own, the immediate step to take would be to start on a curative course of Diamox which is 250 mg every 12 hours followed by ample rest. The earlier you treat these symptoms, the higher the chances of recovering and completing the trek.
If the symptoms don’t alleviate after treatment, it is best to head down to Pokhara immediately. Do not continue the trek if any of the symptoms persist.
You might also notice its symptoms while descending from Khayar Lake if your body hasn’t adjusted to the altitude. In such a case, descend to Pokhara immediately.
Here’s a Complete Guide to Acute Mountains Sickness, HAPE and HACE:
The trek is safe for all the 2 months of the year it is open - in April and October.
However, there are a few times when you need to be careful.
The first is early in the season in April when there is a lot of snow on the trail. It can get slippery. However, this can be managed with the right gear - microspikes, gaiters, etc.
Second, in October, rain is a common occurrence. The rain too makes the trail slippery and tricky. Moreover, the force of water at river crossings can increase making it challenging to cross them.
In both cases make sure to get a firm footing before you take the next step. Follow the instruction of your trek leaders.
Pro Tip: Place your foot firmly on the ground and make sure your feet are not slipping and you’ve got a good grip before you take the next step. Do not be in a hurry to ascend or descend but take a second to be mindful of your steps.
The trek can get extremely cold resulting in cold-related injuries. But this can be tackled with the right winter gear, the right technique of layering and good insulation techniques.
Emergency Exits: Khopra Ridge trek being a summit trek has limited exit points. You need to come down to Pokhara which is about 35 km from Ulleri, the last point of the trek.
Closest Hospital: There are many hospitals in Pokhara town. It is important that you head down to Pokhara as quickly as possible in case of an emergency.
Note: As India’s safest trekking organization, we ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. Here’s how we at Indiahikes are ensuring that we make you trek the safest
There are two distinct seasons for the Khopra Ridge trek – April (Spring) and October (Autumn).
Khopra Ridge in Spring (April)
Day time: Between 20 °C and 24 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 10 °C and 5 °C.
Presence of snow: You may find snow patches on the trail.
No. of warm layers required: 3 warm layers
In Spring, although you will find patches of hard snow at higher altitudes, the temperature during the day will be slightly warmer than that in Autumn, when there won’t be any snow on the trek.
Even the air is different. While Spring is moist, Autumn is dry and crisp.
It’s that time of the year when winter has left the slopes. But, you will still find snow patches on the ground above 12,000 feet.
In Spring, expect pleasant daytime temperatures around 20 °C. But at night it dips to almost zero levels.
During the day if the sun goes behind the clouds and there is about of rain, then the temperature can fall to around 15 °C.
Khopra Ridge in Autumn (October)
Day time: Between 15 °C and 18 °C | Night time: Will drop to temperatures between 5 °C and -5 °C.
Presence of snow: You will not find snow at this time of the year.
No. of warm layers required: 4 warm layers
Autumn is slightly like winter. Colder than Summer, although you won’t find patches of snow.
Nights in Autumn get chilly. In October the temperature dips to 0° C.
During the day, you will experience temperatures around 15° C. But any rain or slight drizzle brings down the temperature by a few degrees. So keep a jacket handy with you always.
Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from India or any other country, book your flight tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 15 September, book your air tickets for 14 September to either Kathmandu/or Gorakhpur.
Option 1: Fly to Kathmandu and then fly to Pokhara
This is the quickest way to reach Pokhara is to reach Kathmandu and we recommend this, although it’s a bit expensive. Take a flight to Kathmandu and then another flight to Pokhara. It is a 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Flights fly daily on this route between 8.00 am and 3.00 pm.
Tip: Here are a couple of websites where you can buy flight tickets. Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air and Simrik Air operate on this stretch. A single person’s return airfare is usually in the range of INR 5,500 – 9,000. This could vary depending on the airline and how early you buy your ticket.
Option 2: Fly to Kathmandu and then by bus/shared cab to Pokhara
Regular buses leave from Kathmandu at 15-minute intervals to Pokhara starting from 7.00 AM. Tourist buses cost between NPR 800-1200 per person and a ticket in local minibus costs between NPR 400-600 per person. The duration of the drive is between 5-and
7 hours. The drive winds through beautiful hillsides and valleys.
Option 3: Travel by land to Nepal – Fly/train to Gorakhpur, a shared cab to Sonauli and then bus to Pokhara
This is the cheapest way to reach Pokhara from India.
We understand that travelling to Kathmandu and then to Pokhara can be expensive. So we found a shorter and more budget-friendly way to travel to Pokhara that most trekkers are unaware of.
- Take a flight or train from your city to Gorakhpur. Reach Gorakhpur before 1 pm on Day Zero.
- Outside the Gorakhpur airport, take a shared cab to Sonauli. Sonauli is at the India-Nepal border. The travel distance from Gorakhpur to Sonauli is about 105 km and takes approximately 3 hrs to cover. It would cost around INR 300 to 500 per person.
- On reaching the Sonauli Border, book your bus ticket for Pokhara. You will find the last buses leaving between 5.30 pm The bus rates vary from NPR 650. You will reach Pokhara the next day before 5.30 am. Or a shared cab to Pokhara costing Rs 800 which is more comfortable.
There are tourist buses that you can book for the morning. Buses ply only from 7 am to 10 am. So you will have to stay at Sonauli a day before the trek for this. Online bookings are not available. After this, you will find buses only during the evening time.
Planning your return flight/train booking
The trek ends at Tatopani at 2 pm, which is the road head.
Indiahikes will arrange transport from Lower Ghandruk to Pokhara. The cost is not included in the trek fee. You are expected to reach Pokhara by around 7-8 pm on day 9.
For your return journey: You can book a bus/ flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu the next day, after taking a night's rest in Pokhara or you can also take a bus the same night (but it might get too hectic). Followed by a Flight from Kathmandu to your respective location.
Planning your hotel/stay
Hotel options in Pokhara
➤ Hotel Paradise Inn
This is centrally located. It is near the main lake road with lots of shops away from the bus stand.
➤ Hotel Lake Tower
This is another hotel close to Riverside. The cost will range from Rs 850 to Rs 1000 based on the season.
Contact Number: +977 061 463611, +977 9856044117
There are many hotels close to Phewa Lake. So it is not difficult to find a place to stay. The cost will range from Rs 850 to Rs 1200
Hotel options in Kathmandu
Alobar1000 is one of the many youth hostels in Kathmandu. It has a good backpacking dorm and also private rooms.
➤ Zostel Kathmandu
Zostel has standardised rooms and dorms all around the region. It’s a reliable place with basic facilities.
➤ Wander Thirst
This is another hostel in Kathmandu which has a mix of hostels with dorms and private rooms.
How to reach Lower Ghandruk on your own
If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Pokhara, here is how you can get to Lower Ghandruk base camp on your own.
Reaching Lower Ghandruk is pretty straightforward. Once you reach Pokhara take a bus or a Shared Cab from Prithavi chowk, it will take 4-5 hrs and cost Rs 500/- to reach Lower Ghandruk/Kimche. The distance is 55 km.
Important Points to Note
Buffer Day: The Khopra Ridge Trek is a very high altitude trek. Situations are dynamic and can change at any moment. Keep a buffer day for emergencies. This is outside the itinerary. You cannot predict bad rain, snowfall, landslides, or even mountain medical emergencies on such treks. Your trek is 9 days long, but keep an extra 10th day as your buffer day. If you don’t use the buffer day on the trek, you can always use it for sightseeing in Nepal.
Always book your return flight/train tickets after including the buffer day in your itinerary.
– The cost of the dorm room per bed is usually priced at around NPR 350-500. For a private room with a shared bathroom, it will cost around NPR 1000-1500.
– Kathmandu again has a wide range of hotels and places to stay. Book your stay close to Thamel which has better access to local food, trekking gears and a nice culture of trekking.
– From Kathmandu airport, if you take a cab to anywhere around a 2 km to 2.5 km radius, it will cost around NPR 600. Airport to Thamel will cost you NPR 700.
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of identity card. In Nepal, only passports or Voter IDs are accepted as valid ID proof.
- 1 passport-size photograph. This is required to obtain the trekking permits
- Medical and Disclaimer certificate. There are two sections to this. One is to be filled by a practicing doctor and the second is filled by you. The disclaimer certificate is a legal requirement.
Download the PDF, read carefully, print it back to back, and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during the registration at the base camp. This is a requirement by both the forest department and Indiahikes – Download the PDF
Note: Please carry the above document with you. The document needs to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed, and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Please print these back-to-back on two sheets. Do not print separately and help in reducing paper usage.
Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
1. Trekking Shoes
Khopra Ridge requires sturdy trekking shoes, has good grip, has ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There isn’t any necessity to buy the higher-priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.
For a trek like Khopra Ridge, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48-litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take off or put on layers as required.
Base Layer: 3 T-shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying Tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends and Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space since you’re already carrying them.
5 Insulation Layers in Winter
The Khopra Ridge trek is primarily a winter trek. If you’re going any time between December and March, you will need at least 5 warm layers.
You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers, 1 light sweater and 1 padded jacket. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
For your outer layer, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.
A minimum of one pair and a maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon even in the cold climate.
| Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trekking pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Khopra Ridge without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a winter trek like Khopra Ridge, expect to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section, you must never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sunstrokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woollen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sunburns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic Hand Gloves
On a trek like Khopra Ridge, you are going to be handling snow quite a bit. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight-fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen Cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. This is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, and a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woollen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. If you get a woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woollen scarf.
5. Socks (4 pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.
As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug at the night. If you cannot get woollen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Khopra Ridge trek, you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
7. Trekking Poles (a pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Khopra Ridge trek, there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High-grade ponchos are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
9. Rain cover for your backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes and your warm gear in your backpack. Your backpack must stay dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain-covers. If your backpack does not have a rain cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover or (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)
In your daypack, you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, a headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 litre capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other Mandatory Requirements
1. A toilet kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro Tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro Tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Khopra Ridge.
| For Women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose of your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leakproof. You are expected to wash your cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, and bacteria to settle on your cutlery. The incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro Tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high-grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at its highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2-litre hydration pack: Khopra Ridge has many hours of trekking every day (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one-litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
3. Plastic Covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet of Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend on the last day. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Khopra Ridge trek.
- Dexamethasone (1 Strip): This is part of the Live Saving Drugs kit. Do not take this on your own. Your trek leader will inform you in case the need arises.
- Nifedipine (5 tablets): Again part of the Live Saving Drugs kit. Do not take this on your own. Your trek leader will inform you in case the need arises.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one-half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually the mid-day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
Pro Tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
The Khopra Ridge is located in the Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal. We combine the Khopra Ridge trek with a visit to Khayar lake, an alpine lake at an altitude of 15,750 ft above MSL.
The base camp of the trek in Pokhara. A drive of 3 hours will take you to Syauli Bazaar. It takes another four days of trekking from Syauli Bazaar to reach Khopra Ridge through Ghandruk, Tadapani and Dobato.
On the way to Khopra Ridge, you cross Muldhai's viewpoint from where you get a panoramic view of the region. The trek ends at Ulleri, from where you exit to Pokhara by road. It’s a 2-3 hour journey to Pokhara from Ulleri.
To know how to reach Pokhara, the base camp of the Khopra Ridge trek, click here for travel details and recommendations.
Khopra Ridge is a teahouse trek. The trail to Khopra ridge is also very prominent, although one needs to be careful about diversions to other villages on the way. We also have a GPX file that you can use to attempt the trek on your own.
However, there are inherent risks associated with trekking to altitudes over 15,000 ft. Substantial experience in mounting Himalayan treks on your own and being successful is very important. You also need to be confident in taking care of any medical emergency on your own.
We would recommend joining one of our teams going to Khopra Ridge if you have the required fitness. You’ll have a good experience with a group of experienced and fit trekkers.
The Khopra Ridge trek covers a distance of almost 70 km over 9 days of trekking. You cover an average of 8 km a day, which is a moderate distance. You usually reach your stay for the day by early evening.
However, what makes the trek challenging is the altitude gain and loss of over 10,000 ft. You start the trek at 6,600 ft and climb to the highest altitude of 15,709 ft. This requires the trekker to have good endurance.
Before you register for the trek, we would like you to understand the challenges, and the fitness required.
On Moderate-Difficult treks, you’ll walk for about 8-12 km each day. Gradual to steep ascents and descents are common on all days. Expect to reach high altitudes of 15,000+ ft. There will also be technical sections (such as rockfall zones, near-vertical sections, glacier walks), which our technical teams will help you navigate.
If you are above the age of 58 years, your Experience Coordinator will need a detailed account of your health. If you have done a Himalayan trek in the past or they have an active fitness lifestyle (marathons/cycling expeditions), we’ll need to see your Treadmill Test and fitness proof (Fitness proof: 5 kms in 38 mins).
But if you do not have any experience, we strongly advise you to start with an easy-moderate trek.
Having more footprints through porters or mules on any trail isn’t good for the ecosystem. Keeping this and the spirit of trekking in mind, there will be no offloading available on this trek.
We recommend jogging as the best routine to get fit for a trek. It works on the same muscles that you use while trekking — your calves, glutes and hamstrings. It helps increase your stamina day by day. It is also an easy routine that does not require any equipment or tools.
To do this trek comfortably, you must be able to cover 5 km in under 35 minutes. This is the minimum fitness required for this trek.
How to achieve this fitness?
- Start jogging at least 4 days a week
- If you cannot run 5 km immediately, start with 2 km and increase to 5 km over 2-3 weeks.
- Once you’re able to run 5 km, increase your pace day by day.
- Gradually increase your pace and bring it down to 5 km in less than 32 mins.
- You must be able to run 5 km in 32 mins consistently for at least 2 weeks before the trek.
This trek requires at least 6-8 weeks of preparation. The longer, the better. So plan your trek soon and start preparing.
Strength training tips
How to get Fitness Approval from the Indiahikes team
Every trekker needs fitness approval from the Indiahikes team 20 days before the trek date. Without this, you will not be allowed on the trek.
What to upload?
- A minimum of 3 screenshots of your runs/jogs/walks/cycling
- Monthly summary of your routine
Why fitness matters:
Every high-altitude trek comes with a set of challenges. Steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, snow walks, stream crossings, pass crossings, and summit climb. Even the easiest of treks have some of these challenges if not all of them. Without fitness, trekkers struggle, get injured easily, lag behind, or simply fail to complete the trek.
At Indiahikes, we take pride in the fact that our trekkers are among the fittest in the country. Those who do not meet the fitness requirements are often sent back. Our philosophy is that trekking and fitness go hand in hand. Without fitness, there’s no trekking.
Things Nobody Tells You About Khopra Ridge
Did you know you are trekking on the Annapurna Circuit trail when you trek to Khopra Ridge?
Khopra Ridge is an extension of the Annapurna Base Camp trek. It also falls in the line of the Annapurna Circuit. From Khopra Ridge, you go to Dobato and then to the Muldhai viewpoint. Kagbeni is a very rarely visited extension of the Annapurna Circuit.
Khopra Ridge gives a glimpse of doing Annapurna Circuit. It takes you to Kagbeni village which is one of the most beautiful villages in Nepal.
You have heard of Khayar Lake, but there is one more lake called the Hidden Lake, at the base of Annapurna South. This is frequented by the locals. You must not miss this lake when you are on the Khopra Ridge trek.
Do you know about the indigenous people of Nepal?
The ruler of the Shah dynasty, Dravya Shah started the Gorkha Kingdom in the 16th Century, and they began ruling the lands in and around Nepal.
It is said that the ruler did not have wealth. But he convinced his people that he will give them a share of the land upon conquering. And hence he began assembling his army.
The result was that everyone was fighting for themselves, and not for the king. This enabled them to expand the Gorkha kingdom rapidly.
This trait of the Gorkhas makes them one of the most fearless warriors in history. Fighting for the land and fearlessness is imbibed in their upbringing.
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