Jomolhari Trek: 9 days
Jomolhari Trek is longer than the Jomolhari Loop – the most popular trekking routes in Bhutan. It offers a wide range of landscapes, fauna and flora. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Basecamp (Jangothang).
Day 1: Drugyal dzong to Sharna zam
Distance 17 kms, 5-6hrs
The trek starts from Drugyel Dzong at 2580m with a short down hill walk on a wide trail. The trail climbs very gently, traveling through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Soon the valley widens and you reach the army post of Gunyitsawa. Just below the shop at Gunyitsawa the trial crosses the Paro chu to river right on a wooden cantilever bridge. It then climbs a little to the village of Sharna Zampa at 2870m, just beyond Sharna Zampa, are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.
Day 2: Sharna zam to Thangthangkha
Distance 22 kms, 6-7 hrs
The trail continues its gradual climb through conifers and rhododendrons. About 2 hrs from camp is Shing Karap, a stone house and clearing at 3110m. Lunch can be served here. Tree species along the trail are blue pine, maple and larch. Finally there is a bridge back to river right of Paro chu at 3560m. A short walk from the bridge is a lovely meadow with Jhomolhari looming at the head of the valley. This is Thangthangkha, elevation 3630m, the camp site.
Day 3: Thangthangkha to Jangothang
Distance 19kms,5-6hrs. This is not a long day, but there is a 450m elevation gain, and you will be comfortably worn out when you reach camp. At 3770m, about an hour from camp, the trail turns sharply at a white-washed maniwall you are now entering yak country and you will see these huge beasts numbering across the hill site and lazing about in meadows alongside the trail, it is slow going uphill beside a side stream to the camp at Jangothang, 4090m and a spectacular view of Jomolhari.
Day 4: Jangothang Halt
This is a very good place for views and there are lots of day hikes that you can make or you can go on a fishing expedition to Tshophu, a high altitude lake.
Day 5: Jangothang to Lingshi
The remainder of this trek crosses two high passes. At 4470m the trail traverses under big rocks and leads to the left and enters a large east-west glacial valley with numerous moraines. The trees have been left far behind, only a few gentians, but otherwise it’s just grass, tundra and small juniper bushes. As the trail approaches the bridge you can see the snow peak of Tserim kang, elevation 678m, to the north. The camp is at 4010m, near a large stone community hall used by both Bhutanese travelers and trekking groups.
Day 6: Lingshi to Shodu
Distance 22km, 8-9hrs
Camp altitude 4,080m
The trail climbs up to the Yelila pass at an altitude of 4,930m. From the pass, on a clear day you will get an excellent view of Jumolhari, Tserimgang and Masanggang. The trek from the pass to the campsite at Shodu is a steep downhill.
Day 7: Shodu to Barshong
Distacne 16kms, 5-6hrs
The trail winds up and down gently, along the Thimphu Chu through a steep walled canyon with cliffs to the north and a cypress forest to the south. It makes a gradual climb for one hour to Barshong, where there is a community hall and the ruins of a small dzong. The camp is at 3680m.
Day 8: Barshong to Dolam Kencho
Distance 15kms, 4-6hrs
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet the Thimphu chu. It stays on river left climbing over ridges and descending to side streams. It traverses steep cliffs to Dolam Kencho, a camp among pasture land at 3430m.
Day 9: Dolam Kencho to Dodina (Thimphu)
The trail goes in and out of side valleys above the Thimphu Chu, making a long ascent through a forest of conifers and high altitude broad leaf species to a pass at 3510m. The trail then drops steeply to the river and follows it southward to the road head at Dodina, elevation 2600m, just opposite the bridge that leads to Chari Goemba. Night halt in the hotel,Thimphu.
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