Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking - 17 Days

Dhaulagiri Treks
Dhaulagiri Mountain
Sunrise
At a Glance
Duration17 Days
Trip GradeModerate
CountryNepal
Maximum Altitude5,240 m at Dhampus Pass
Group Size2-10
StartsKathmandu
EndsKathmandu
Travel StyleTrekking
Best TimeSpring & Autumn

The Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking is one of the most challenging and rewarding Himalayan excursions in Nepal that basically encircles the world’s seventh-highest peak, the Dhaulagiri massif (8,167 m). It is an adventurous alpine jaunt in the Dhaulagiri region of Nepal, offering adventurers a unique opportunity to experience the raw, remote, and unexplored cultural and natural beauty of the country.

Although a high-altitude hike that reaches not only one but three of the base camps: Italian Base Camp, Glacier Camp, and last but not least, Dhaulagiri Base Camp, all elevated above 5,000 m above sea level, crossing the dramatic French Pass (5.360 m) and Dhampus Pass (5,234 m) and providing ethereal panoramic views of the surrounding area is usually not recommended for individuals journeying the higher Himalayas for the first time, with the right gear and adequate preparation, trekking to the Dhaulagiri Circuit can be the greatest adventure of all time for all ages and experience levels who are physically fit and ready for the experience.

This trek to the Dhaulagiri Circuit takes you through diverse landscapes, including thicket forests, traditional villages, high-altitude terrains, alpine meadows, highly elevated glaciers, and high mountain passes. It is a paradise for well-versed trekkers, climbers, mountaineers, and expeditors seeking an extreme level of off-beaten Himalayan experience in solitude and an authentic connection with nature and local culture.

Therefore, trekking to the Dhaulagiri Circuit demands meticulous preparation, including physical conditioning, thorough acclimatization, and appropriate gearing. Due to the high elevation and possible occurrence of acute mountain sickness (AMS), nonetheless crafts an unmatchable adventure blending the Himalayan grandeur with isolated valleys and local culture.

Highlights

  • Discover the essence of a true Himalayan expedition by venturing an almost entirely desolate, off-the-beaten-trail route.
  • Witness the wide array of landscapes, including that of the distinctive Mustang region.
  • Pave the Himalayan way through two of the major high mountain passes French Pass (5,360 m) and Dhampus (5,234 m).
  • An incredibly enriching insight into the local way of life and culture of Nepal, which is far away from modernization.
  • Thrilling hike through the highest gorge in the globe, Kalo Gandaki, along with some of the deepest canyons.
  • Wonderful vistas of the snow-capped peaks, including that of the seventh-tallest peak in the world, Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m).
  • This is an opportunity to get a glimpse of a vast range of flora and fauna, including some of the rarest Himalayan wildlife.
  • Enjoy the first-hand camping experience at several base camps above 5,200 m (17,060 ft), etc.

What to expect during the trekking journey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit?

Trekking on the Dhaulagiri Circuit means being well prepared for both its physical and mental demands, along with its extraordinary rewards that combine the majesty of the Himalayas, the serenity of remote valleys, and the swanky local culture.

With proper preparation and the right mindset, the odyssey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit is a unique and remarkable journey through one of the universe’s most stunning and remote mountain regions, a perfect dreamland for those looking for an unparalleled expedition in Nepal that is made special by several factors. Some of them are, as discussed:

Observe the most unspoiled culture, flora, fauna, and natural beauty of the Annapurna Conservation Area

The Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking is a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime journey in west-central Nepal, showcasing the stunning “White Mountain," the seventh highest mountain globally, Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), that takes you through the Kali Gandaki Gorge, whose outskirts are inhabited largely by the dense population of the Gurungs, Tamangs, and Tibetan sparse all over the area, providing you an opportunity to observe and even participate in the daily lives of locals.

Each group has its unique distinctive culture, traditions, dialects, and festivals while trekkers may encounter many ancient monasteries, mani walls, and chortens along the trekking route to the Dhaulagiri Circuit representing the region's rich cultural heritage. Further, the Odyssey passes through several climatic zones beginning from lowland hills to high alpine terrain and glacial rivers.

Usually, the lower trekking region of the Dhaulagiri Circuit is characterized by lush forests of rhododendron, pine, and bamboo grooves followed by alpine shrubs in high elevations with chances of encountering the elusive Himalayan species of tahr, snow leopard, blue sheep, and avians in the less commercialized Himalayan trail, making it trekkers, climbers, photographers, and expeditors alike with a more authentic experience, intimate cultural interactions, and untainted natural beauty in fewer crowds.

Exceptionally Scenic beauty of the Annapurna region dominated by magical vistas of Dhaulagiri

The Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking is a comparatively lesser-known hiking trail in the Annapurna region that provides trekkers and hikers alike with sweeping views of several snow-capped mountain ranges, such as Tukcuche Nilgiri, Macchapuchare, Annapurna I, and other notable Himalayan giants, while the world’s seventh-highest peak dominates the sky.

You will traverse through the varying landscapes, from lush tropical forests and terraced farms and fields to barren high-altitude rugged terrains, in stark contrast to the awe-inspiring panoramas. At every turn, you will get to experience the best dramatic landscapes of the region that still has not been exposed to the mass tourism that might have been a normal observance on several other trekking trails such as the Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Ghorepani Poon Hill, and others within the Annapurna Trekking region of the Everest Base Camp Trek in the Everest.

Further, the combination of high passes and deep valleys makes the journey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit a visually stunning adventure in the Himalayas, along with the pristine natural environment coming together to form an eccentric and fulfilling Himalayan pilgrimage.

First-hand experience of both: the camp and tea house trekking in the Himalayas

If there is one particular trekking route in the Annapurna region that still consists of the true essence of a high Himalayan voyage, it is definitely the Dhaulagiri Circuit, where you are able to relish both the camp and tea house experience.

As a vastly isolated trek destination located in remote areas at higher altitudes, it might always not be possible to get teahouses at all the stopping places, especially at Italian Base Camp, Dhaulagiri Base Camp, and the Glacier Base Camp areas.

Therefore, the Dhaulagiri Circuit is a golden opportunity to relish both tea house and camping-style hiking, boasting their unique charm and own set of challenges, whether you are looking for the solitude of camping or the cultural engagement and comfort of tea house trekking.

The adventurous passes and the acute mountain sickness (AMS)

The Himalayan odyssey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit includes the crossing of two important passes: French and Dhampus, at an altitude of 5,360 m and 5,234 m above sea level, respectively, making the journey a bit spicier due to the high altitude and terrain that involves steep climbs and descents generally in snowy conditions depending upon the time of the year you are traversing the region.

Making way through these passes during the trekking odyssey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit is going to be an adrenaline-rushing event that is equally stunning, offering an otherworldly look out at the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, where careful navigation of the route is a must, along with altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) concerns.

Usually, the symptoms of AMS include a mild to moderate headache, nausea and vomiting, a sensation of unusual tiredness, dizziness, lightheadedness, a persistent feeling of fatigue and weakness, sudden loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, insomnia, and swelling of hands, feet, and face while you are en route to the Dhaulagiri Circuit. If you have observed any of these symptoms, which in fact are a normal phenomenon, it is advisable not to further ascend or descend.

Rather, you stop hiking until you recover, seek aid from your local guides and porters, and get medical attention immediately to let it not get severe, which nonetheless should not be a concern if you acclimate thoroughly on the way to Dhaulagiri Cicru during the trek.

The three gateway to the heavenly realm: Italian Base Camp, Glacier Camp, and Dhaulagiri Base Camp

During the trek of a lifetime to the Dhaulagiri Circuit, trekkers would make their way through Italian Base Camp, Glacier Camp, and lastly, the base camp of the seventh tallest peak on the planet, Dhaulagiri, at a high altitude of 3,660 m, 4,200 m, and 4,760 m.

The Italian and Glacier Camps serve as critical acclimatization points featuring fascinating natural remote beauty and glacial ice falls and crevasses, along with the jaw-dropping look out at Dhaulagiri massif and surrounding peaks nestled in picturesque valleys, snow-capped peaks, and lush greenery at some point as well, Dhaulagiri Base Camp is where you can get closest to the summit itself.

Each camp is the beginning of a more profound and magnificent realm of the Himalayas in the majestic presence of Dhaulagiri, which grants you the true essence of high-altitude trekking and the pristine beauty of one of the remotest regions in the Nepalese Himalayas within the infamous for trekking, hiking, climbing, and many other adventurous activities, the Annapurna Conservation Area.

The best 17-day itinerary and trekking route to the Dhaulagiri Circuit

The 17-day itinerary to trek the Dhaulagiri Circuit typically begins in the subtropical region of Beni, a small town at the bank of the Kalo Gandaki and Myagdi Khola rivers, gradually winding through the terraced farms and fields, verdant hills, and tiny yet picturesque villages of Babiachaur, Dharapani, Muri Boghara, Dobang, and Choriban Khola, offering impressive glimpses of the daily lives of the Gurun, Magar, and Thakali in the lowly elevated areas and that of Tamang and Tibetans in higher altitudes.

Choriban Khola marks the beginning of the adventurous section of the Dhaulagiri Circuit, which until then was mostly a mesmerizing glimpse into traditional mountain life, leading you to the rigorous Italian Base Camp, Glacier Camp, and the Dhaulagiri Base Camp with the noticeable transformation in the landscapes followed by everlasting views of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak, and the Annapurna ranges.

The ascent to the Dhaulagiri Base Camp rewards you with the ultimate sense of tranquility and achievement, while thereafter trekking is basically a returning trip to Kathmandu, passing by Hidden Valley, Yak Kharka, Marpha, and Pokhara on crossing French Pass and Dhampus Pass. In addition, his 17-day itinerary for an enhanced trekking experience on the Dhaulagiri Circuit has allocated at least two days of acclimatization, one day at the Italian Base Camp and another at the Dhaulagiri Base Camp.

Therefore, the 17-day route is the best route to go for trekking to the Dhaulagiri Circuit, a testament to adventure, endurance, and the spirit of adventure. We at Ammonite Adventures and Treks can meticulously customize the itinerary precisely for you to meet your certain needs and preferences. Contact us now so that we can help you craft your dream journey.

Trekking Cost to the Dhaulagiri Circuit

The alpine rambling to the Dhaulagiri Circuit can be a significant financial investment due to the remote nature and the logistical challenges involved, approximately between USD 2,000 and USD 4,000. In the meantime, travel, trek, and tour operators like Ammonite Adventures and Treks offer to help hands design the best-budgeted journey for you that you can afford and make the best out of the best.

Buying these packages covers most of the expenses of trekking logistics, such as essential permits, guides, the cost of accommodation, and food en route to the trekking destinations, including the Dhaulagiri Circuit.

Itinerary

You will meet your guide early in the morning and be directly driven through scenic Nepal’s country from Kathmandu to Beni, the starting point of the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking, passing by thrilling rivers, beautiful terraced farms and fields, and several small towns.

Max. Altitude: 1,400mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

The journey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit officially begins this day as you walk along the bank of Myagdi Khola past the tiny local settlements, suspension bridges, and lush green landscapes filled with scenically rich terraced farms, calling it a day at Babiachor.

It would be pleasing and, at the same time, enlightening to come across local life and explore the area.

Max. Altitude: 950mMeal: All-Three-MealsAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

The journey to the encircle of Dhaulagiri continues along the Myagdi River with gradual ascents through small farming and traditional dwellings, crossing several suspension bridges; hence, the hiking of the day might be slightly tougher than the day before but still much more comfortable being at the low altitude.

Max. Altitude: 1,560mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

This day of 6-7 hours of alpine rambling leads you to Muri, the destination of the day, inhabited largely by the indigenous community of Magar people, where you can observe and relish their local culture and delicacies.

Situated on a ridge, the village gives you an enthralling look at the Dhaulagiri mountain range and Myadgi Khola, along with the vibrant rhododendron forests during spring.

Max. Altitude: 1,850mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

It will be interesting to cross some of the low passes descending through the Myagdi Khola, cross the river by several suspension bridges, and enter deep into the forests of pine and oak until you ascend to Boghara.

From Boghara, you can view the stunning Dhaulagiri I and Gurja Himal while you spend the night at a locally available tea house.

Max. Altitude: 2,080mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

It is yet another day when you will trek through dense forests, observing a notable change in terrain late on, passing by cultivated fields winding through Lipshe, where you will stop for lunch and continue uphill until you arrive at Dobang after passing through several small streams.

Max. Altitude: 2,520mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

You will begin to notice the change in the air as you are moving forth to the more isolated part of the Annapurna region, alongside the altitude rise following the Myagdi Khola forest path, passing through sparse teashops, and eventually reaching Choriban Khola for camp.

Meal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Local-Tea-House

It is one of the major days as you steeply ascend to one of the Italian Base Camps through forests in the first half and then onward rugged terrain, providing an absolute eye candy of Chhonbarban Glacier, Dhaulagiri, and Tukuche Peak.

One has to be very cautious of loose rocks and scree en route, so make sure you are tracing the footsteps of your Sherpa guide.

Max. Altitude: 3,660mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

Even from the Italian Base Camp, you will hop to higher elevations; therefore, it is necessary to let your body adjust to the mountainous surroundings accordingly. To do so, you will have options to choose from: explore around the base camp, hike nearby, rest, or engage in all activities, and lastly, descend back to the tent for the night at the Italian Base Camp.

Max. Altitude: 3,660mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

On this day, it will be scenically pleasing and physically demanding to come across a glacier, navigate through crevasses, and ascend through rugged mountains, finally to Glacier Camp.

The unique beauty of Chhongarden Glacier, Dhaulagiri, and Manapathi Peak adds much to the enjoyment of traversing narrow canyons, moraine, and the Glacier Camp at last at an altitude of 4,210 m.

Max. Altitude: 4,210mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

This is the day you have been aiming for so long to reach the lap of the seventh highest mountain in the world, Mt. Dhaulagiri, which begins and ends with a steadily climbing climb offering spectacular vistas of Tukcuhe Peak, Dhaulagiri I, II, III, V, and other surrounding peaks.

Max. Altitude: 4,210mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

It is yet another day to prepare yourself for the push into the Hidden Valley in the Annapurna region while enjoying the breathtaking surroundings, discovering the Dhaulagiri base camp’s unique beauty, and capturing some stunning photos and videos.

On an adequate exploration of the base camp area, you should be familiar with the high altitude and the teams who make it all happen for you, working hard in these arduous climatic conditions deserving all the praise.

Max. Altitude: 4,210mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

It is one of the highlighted trek days heading to the Hidden Valley of the Annapurna region via crossing French Pass, which is an uphill climb offering expanded views of Tukuche Peak, Dhaulagiri I, Tsahi Kang, Sita Chuchura, and others.

The pass, adorned with prayer flags, is a slight descent to the high-altitude Hidden Valley for the night.

Max. Altitude: 5,360mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

You will exist in the Hidden Valley this day and cross one of the major high mountain passes of the region, Dhampus, with stunning glaciers, and then descend through the rugged terrain until you drive to Yak Kharka with yak pastureland.

The altitude drop is significant today; hence, you will be able to notice some warmth in the weather and ease in breathing.

Max. Altitude: 5,240mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Camp

The downhill hike leads you to one of the famous stopping places for trekkers and travelers moving forth to the classic Annapurna Circuit Trek, Marpha, with a gradual descent through alpine meadows, forests, and lastly, the apple orchids and monastery.

Although Marpha is also a mountain village, situated on the bank of the Kali Gandaki River, it does offer wifi in teahouses, along with the local apple bread to try.

Max. Altitude: 3,680mMeal: Breakfast-Lunch-DinnerAccommodation: Tea-House-in-Marpha

The long drive away awaits you today, taking you to the beautiful town also known as the city of lakes of Nepal, Pokhara, and celebrating the achievement of successfully conquering the Dhaulagiri Circuit with beer, wine, cocktails, or strolling around the lakeside after a peaceful shower.

Max. Altitude: 2,670mMeal: BreakfastAccommodation: Three-Star-Hotel

The 17th day denotes the end of your Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking Package with Adventure Himalayan Travels and Treks, which concludes with the drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu. The journey is as scenic as it gets on the first day of the joyous ride from Kathmandu through the Prithvi Highway, passing by several beautiful waterfalls, hills, forests, and dwellings.

You will begin the ride early in the morning after breakfast so that you get to explore the vibrant tourist hub of Kathmandu and Thamel in the afternoon and prepare for the final departure in the evening.

Max. Altitude: 1,400mMeal: BreakfastAccommodation: Three-Star-Hotel
Customize Trip
Trip Service Details
Included
  • Three-star standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
  • Camping and lodging during your hiking days on the Dhaulagiri Circuit.
  • Tourists or local bus, private jeep, or car fare.
  • Meals are provided on the trekking routes.
  • Fluently English-speaking government-authorized professional trekking guide and map.
  • Travel insurance, trekking gear and equipment, and everyday salary, along with other necessary equipment for all the Nepalese staff.
  • Garbage deposit and other necessary fees.
  • All necessary permit documents, such as Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card fees and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP).
Excluded
  • International flight tickets and visa fees to and from the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu.
  • Travel insurance for clients that must provide high-altitude coverage and emergency evacuation.
  • Lunch, dinner, or extra-night accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara outside of the itinerary.
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, snacks, personal shopping, phone calls, internet data, or souvenirs during your stay in Kathmandu.
  • Porter carries a maximum weight of 25 kg shared between two trekkers.
  • Guide and Porter's gratitude are expected.
Additional Info

What sort of food and accommodation are available en route to the Dhaulagiri Circuit?

Along the trekking route to the Dhaulagiri Circuit, trekkers can stay in teahouses and lodges in the village at lower elevations such as Beni, Babichaur, Muri, Dobang, and Boghara. Although the accommodations are often very basic, with shared twin bedrooms and limited facilities, they are reliable enough for a comfortable night.

As you ascend to a higher altitude area, the options become more primitive, where camping is the only option in that remote high altitude where you will get to spend nights on base camps and beyond up at French and Dhampus at already set tents when choosing our service at Ammonite Adventures and Treks Pvt. Ltd.

Trekkers will get to savor the freshly cooked meals in these teahouses, lodges, or tents, usually consisting of typical Nepali-Tibetan dishes and some international cuisines in the lower elevation, which also provides warm, boiled water refillable at various stopping places. Modern facilities such as the charging of electronic devices, internet connections, and hot showers can be very limited and are usually available at some additional cost.

Visitors hence visiting the Dhaulagiri Circuit are advised to have some spare batteries, a high-storage power bank, local SIM cards, and a water purification system for a more embellished experience while we provide you with the best of the best services available on the way to conquer the Dhaulagiri Circuit.

When is the best time to visit the Dhaulagiri Circuit?

Generally, considering the stable weather conditions, comparatively safer and more scenic route, mild temperature, and unobstructed visibility, spring from March to May and autumn from September to November are considered the best times for trekking the Dhaulagiri Circuit.

Packing appropriately and keeping yourself up to date mentally and physically, trekking to the Dhaulagiri Circuit is possible even in the winter and monsoon, which may require extra consideration of hiking equipment and gear, which overall does provide a unique experience that you could be one of the first ones to relish.

Where can you get trekking permits for the voyage to the Dhaulagiri Circuit?

To trek the Dhaulagiri Circuit, you’ll need two specific permits, which are the Trekkers Information Management System Card (TIMS) and the Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP), that you can get from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the office of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

Generally, when you choose the package service from one of the local tour, travel, and trek operators like Ammonite Adventures and Treks, they will have these necessary permits prearranged for you even before the start of your journey to the Dhaulagiri Circuit, which saves you from the hassle of visiting authorities by yourself, while solo trekkers without a guide are completely banned and not recommended from April 1st, 2023.

Why is the trek to Dhaulagiri Circuit considered moderate to strenuous difficult?

The odyssey to Dhaulagiri Circuit is regarded as moderately to strenuously demanding for a high Himalayan expedition due to several factors, such as the rough, uneven, and less frequented trails, steep ascents and descents, rocky paths, and loose gravel requiring good balance and physical strength.

At certain points, the jaunting to the Dhaulagiri Circuit also includes navigating across glaciers at extreme elevations, requiring the use of crampons and ice axes afar from everyday modern amenities, while the rapidly varying weather adds much to the difficulty level that can be tacked easily with some advanced physical preparation, proper acclimatization, and guidance from one of the professional guides from any trustworthy travel or trekking agencies in Nepal, like Ammonite Adventures and Treks Pvt. Ltd.

Must you get trekking guides, porters, and insurance to embark on the Dhaulagiri Circuit Hike?

Yes, absolutely. Given the remoteness, demanding nature of the trekking trail, and high altitude of the Dhaulagiri Circuit, it is wise to hire government-authorized guides and porters, along with purchasing travel insurance covering emergency helicopter evacuation from higher elevations from locally based agents.

Trekking guides help a lot in navigating this remote, less trodden, and difficult terrain safely, having collected years of extensive knowledge of local culture, geography, and wildlife. They also aid you during emergency assistance such as altitude sickness or injuries, where the porters lift up the weight from your shoulder so you get to experience what the Dhaulagiri Circuit has to offer to its fullest.

Similarly, travel insurance covering high-altitude trekking and emergency evacuation, medical emergencies, and trip cancellations and delays provides you with financial protection. That is why getting trustworthy guides, porters, and travel insurance for the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking is crucial.

FAQs

Yes, however, it is important to understand that the meaning of solo trekking since April 1st, 2023, in Nepal, has been updated as a trip with at least two members where the hiring of a professional guide is mandatory for off-beaten remote Himalayan routes like the Dhaulagiri Circuit.

Yes, if you are concerned about your safety and security with the male guides, which usually you don't have to be, but for your convenience, you can hire female guides as well for various Himalayan journeys such as the Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, or peak climbing to Mera Peak, including venturing to the Dhaulagiri Circuit.

Well, it depends. If you are a group of trekkers hopping for the circuit trek to Dhaulagiri independently without hiring any mountain guides or taking service from reputed travel and trekking agencies, you are bound to have your own camping gear, while it is a better alternative to join organized treks with operators who provide necessary gear and logistical support, ensuring a safer and more comfortable option.

The highest altitude you will reach during the alpine rambling to Dhaulagiri Circuit is Dhapmpus Pass after Hidden Valley at an altitude of 5,240 m (17,192 ft) before descending steeply to the Kali Gandaki Valley passing through, which is a major achievement for sure.

Yes, you can summit to the top of the Dhaulagiri mountain range, which, however, is not for faint hearts with significant technical challenges and risks. Although there is no blanket restriction to prevent climbing in the region, it is considered extremely sacred for the locals.