9 best treks in Bhutan

Bhutan is a trekker’s paradise and a lavish treat for nature enthusiasts. 

The trekking trails in this small kingdom will treat you with the picturesque alpine lakes, gleaming glaciers, breathtaking floral decorations, and some of the world’s most endangered animals.

Easy trails cutting through the countryside will lead you through the lush green paddy field and give you a vivid picture of the unique Bhutanese lifestyle while challenging trails through the hills will take you up to the summit of snow capped mountains. 

Whether you are searching for a day’s expedition or a challenging 26 days hike, Bhutan has it all! 

The small country is connected with hundreds of trekking and hiking trails, but we have only picked 9 of the most grueling and exhilarating trails in this article.

These 9 trekking trails are the most sapping yet mind-blowing ones that you will ever conquer in 2022.

1: Snowman Trek – 26 Days

Snowmen trekkers resting near a glacial lake

Bhutan’s Snowman Trek is unquestionably one of the best and most challenging in the country. Beginning in Paro and ending in Lunana, the trail typically takes 26 days. 

The trail runs along the Himalayan spine between Bhutan and Tibet, passing through 11 mountain passes with elevations of over 4,500 meters.

You can spot the second-highest unclimbed mountain of Bhutan, Mt. Jumolhari (7326 meters), and even the mountains of Tibet and India.

River valleys, glacial lakes, waterfalls, alpine meadows, pastures, orchards, and rhododendron forests are all part of the walk. 

Note: The trek is difficult; only about half of the hikers complete the challenge. The only option to forfeit the challenge is by a rescue helicopter, at your own expense. 

So, we would recommend you attempt the snowmen trek only if you are an experienced high-altitude trekker. 

You may also need to consider your physical fitness. The weather and altitude could be a big problem.

Duration: 26 Days

Distance: 347km/215miles

Maximum Elevation: 5320 meters

Best Months: June, July, August, September, October

Difficulty Level: Hard

2: Laya Gasa Trek – 13 Days

Laya Gasa Trek

The first thirteen days of Snowman Trek are popularly known as Laya Gasa Trek. The experience is almost similar, but this one is much easier than the snowmen trek. 

Since the trail is half the length of the snowmen trek, it does not require as much altitude camping and does not cross as many high passes. 

However, the Laya Gasa Trek remains a worthwhile challenge. The exhilarating challenge awaits trekkers with multiple high peaks, camping at 3900 meters and ascending to 4800 meters for vistas of Mt. Jumolhari.

The trek also has a cultural treat like Lingshi Dzong, a hilltop stronghold that has served as a Buddhist shrine and a defense against invading Tibetans and Mongols for centuries. 

Duration: 13 Days

Distance: 201.5km/125miles

Maximum Elevation: 5005 meters

Best Months: May, June, September, October, November

Difficulty Level: Hard

3: Jumolhari Trek – 10 Days

Jhomolhari trekkers’ campsite

This moderately difficult ten-day journey starts at the Drugyal Dzong ruins, follows the Paro River Valley, and takes you to the Jangothang Base Camp. 

The trail takes you past Bhonte La pass (4900 meters) and Tak-hung La pass (4500 meters) and gives you perfect views of Mt. Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tshrim Khang. 

If you are intrigued, plan your trip around October, during the Jhomolhari Mountain Festival, an annual celebration of the local culture.

Jhomolhari Mountain Festival: The Jomolhari Mountain Festival is a two-day festival (14th and 15th October) with an exquisite theme held at the base of Mt. Jomolhari by communities.

The festival honors the local people who coexist harmoniously with nature. It also creates awareness to preserve and protect one of the endangered beauties, “snow leopard.” 

October is the best month to grasp both the trekking experience and the Jhomolhari Mountain Festival. 

Duration: 10 Days

Distance: 133km/82.5miles

Maximum Elevation: 5000 meters

Best Months: September, October, November

Difficulty Level: Hard

4: Merak Sakteng Trek – 7 Days

Brokpas performing traditional dance for guests

The Merak and Sakteng trek in Eastern Bhutan is a fantastic week-long cultural journey.

It’s a moderate hike that passes through Gengu (3400m), Merak (3500m), Sakteng (2800m), Thakthi (2200m), and Joenkhar (1700m).

It gives trekkers a distinct semi-nomadic lifestyle, culture, and accent, unlike anywhere else in the country. 

The region’s semi-nomadic people migrate with their yaks through the seasons – going between the mountains in summer and the lowlands in winter.

The campgrounds have been created to blend in with the surrounding architecture and environment. The campsite, surrounded by a stonewall, is provided with tenting sheds, bathrooms, kitchens, a dining area, and water supplies. 

This journey will provide you with an exciting adventure and give you a better idea of the semi-nomadic lifestyle and culture.  

Duration: 7 Days

Distance: 63km/39miles

Maximum Elevation: 4100 meters

Best Months: March, April, May, September, October, November

Difficulty Level: Moderate

5: Druk Path Trek – 6 Days

Druk Path Trek

This trek is an excellent option for Bhutan hiking tours because it provides a decent taste of a trekking journey in Bhutan. It starts in Paro and brings you to the majestic mountains in  Thimphu.

The Druk Path Trek offers far mountain views, including the highest unclimbed peak in the world, Gangar Puensum (7571.2 meters). 

The route makes up for its lack of close-up vistas with lovely lakes. Large trout swim in the beautiful waters of Jimiling Lake.

The trail runs through pine and rhododendron forests, villages, and several historic fortresses.

Duration: 7 Days

Distance: 48km/30miles

Maximum Elevation: 4200 meters

Best Months: March, April, May, June, September, October, November

Difficulty Level: Moderate

6: Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek – 6 Days 

Yaks carrying trekkers luggage

Dagala Thousand Lakes is a moderate 6-day trip that takes you into the Himalayas and provides breathtaking views of Kangchenjunga (the world’s third tallest peak) and Mount Everest. 

Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tshenda Gang, and Gangche Ta are some of the other mountains you can see along the trip.

The trail will take you through rhododendron forests, mountain flower meadows, and stunning glacial lakes. 

You will also come across traditional towns and yak herder camps. You might also go trout fishing if you got the time.

Duration: 6 Days

Distance: 37km/23miles

Maximum Elevation: 4720 meters

Best Months: April, May, June, September, October

Difficulty Level: Moderate

7: Nabji Korphu Trek – 6 Days

Pasture land in Nabji valley

This 6-day trek takes you through stunning landscapes and vegetation of the Trongsa Dzongkhag (district). The environment is warm and pleasant, and the trail is fairly easy for trekking experts.

You will spend nights in Nabji, Korphu, and Nyimshong, giving you opportunities to experience traditional rural life. 

The residents of Korphu are known for their kindness, and Nabji is a lovely village surrounded by verdant paddy fields. 

Nyimshong is a fantastic place to visit, with women greeting visitors with cultural presentations, including singing and dance.

Apart from the villages and their hospitality, the route is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the rare Golden Langur, Red Pandas, Himalayan Black Bears, Rhesus Monkeys, Rufous-necked Hornbills, and Clouded Leopards.

Duration: 6 Days

Distance: 61km/38miles

Maximum Elevation: 1500 meters

Best Months: January, February, March, April, October, November, December

Difficulty Level: Moderate

8: Sinchula Trek – 4 Days

Punakha Dzong at the end of the SInchula trek 

The Sinchula Trek is the best beginner-friendly one in Bhutan, with breathtaking views of the iconic Phajoding Monastery and Sinchula Pass.

You may love this trekking route if you are a beginner. It’s a fairly easy trail.

The four-day trek passes through picturesque valleys, evergreen landscapes and woods, and golden rice fields on its way from Thimphu to the beautiful Punakha valley.

The trail connects two of Western Bhutan’s most important valleys, Thimphu and Punakha. 

The lords, the monk body, and the local peasants of Kabjisa used this path to travel back and forth from Punakha to Thimphu in the past. Now, people prefer buses and cabs to travel back and forth.

Duration: 4 Days

Distance: 35km/21miles

Maximum Elevation: 3600 meters

Best Seasons: March, May, September, November

Difficulty Level: Easy

9: Bumthang Owl Trek – 3 Days

Bumthang Owl Trek

Bumthang Owl Trek is an easy trek in Bhutan that offers a view of the country’s unique culture and environment. The trail is located in the beautiful Choekhor Valley in the Bhuthang district.

This trekking trail is a wonderful option for visitors who want a pleasant, short trip. Unlike other hiking routes that focus on nature, the Owl Trek travels through several traditional Bhutanese villages. 

The trail winds through rhododendron, blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper, and bamboo forests as it winds its way around Bumthang’s hills. 

It is one of Bhutan’s most scenic and diverse trekking paths.

Duration: 3 Days

Distance: 33km/20.5miles

Maximum Elevation: 4000 meters

Best Seasons: March, April, May, June, November, December

Difficulty Level: Easy

Final Thoughts

It would be a huge bummer if you missed the chance to step your foot on any of these 9 trails while visiting Bhutan. 

You should at least try any of the 9 trails to understand what it’s like to be in a remote land of the Himalayas. 

These trekking routes are not just for a walk; they offer a clear picture of the country’s pristine environment, rich biodiversity, and cultural uniqueness.

Check out Norbu Bhutan’s Trekking Itinerary and book your next trekking tour with us.

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