This is our favourite day walk in the entire Nepal Himalayas. When we say “day walk” we mean just that…not a continuous trek, a walk that you start and finish from the same place.
This short and straightforward day walk up to sacred Sekong Lake beneath the behemoth of Dhaulagiri (26,795 feet) affords unimaginably breathtaking views across the amazing Kali Gandaki Valley to Annapurna and the Nilgiri peaks as well as Dhaulagiri and its dramatic ice fall.
When we walked this trail, it certainly felt like a “discovery” as we didn’t encounter anyone on the trail, except for a lonely Yak herder….and even then he was far higher up in the valley too, so we only saw him and his Yak herd from a distance.
We first “discovered” the circular walk up to Sekong Lake by accident. At the time we were “researching in the field” what became our Ultimate Annapurna Adventure and having hiked over the Thorung La we were actually mountain biking our way down the Kali Gandaki Valley from Jomsom, considering the support logistics, as well as looking for an ideal overnight halt and to be honest a rest day too.
So, that’s how we ended up in Thasang. Liked it and decided it was a good place to take a rest break.
However, chatting with the lodge owner that evening (trying out his buckwheat brandy!), he mentioned this relatively new trail, so we decided to check it out the next morning.
As for Thasang, well, there used to be a time when the traditional village of Thasang could only be reached on foot and thus required continuous days of trekking up the Kali Gandaki Valley, or by flying up to Jomsom and then trekking down.
Not any more. The good news is that Thasang can be reached in just a days drive from Pokhara in a jeep. And what a drive it is up to Thasang too as you climb up through the awesome Kali Gandaki Valley and into the heart of the Himalayas.
Thasang itself couldn’t be more spectacular location wise. It sits on a hill, perched high above the valley below. An eagles nest location right under Dhaulagiri.
Even better, there’s a really cool place to stay in Thasang too. A luxury lodge affording proper bedrooms, proper beds, en-suite western style bathrooms and absolutely superlative Himalayan views that make coming here more than worth it alone.
Back to the walk. The lodge will usually let you ‘borrow’ one of their staff if you want someone to accompany you. Certainly get the lodge to knock you up a tasty picnic to take with you.
It begins with a descent from the village, through terraced fields and back down to the floor of the flat Kali Gandaki River Valley.
Upon reaching the jeep road you turn right and follow the road across a small bridge. Pretty soon after crossing the bridge, still following the jeep track you’ll come across a big sign “Dhaulagiri Icefall & Sekong Lake”.
Join the trail that the sign is pointing too and basically that’s it……keep following the trail in a clockwise direction.
The trail itself rises steadily up through fragrant pine forests, but soon gives way to a more open landscape. The gradient eases as you pass through fields of ….er….wild marijuana and then begins to climb once again up to the small mountain lake of Sekong (a tarn we’d call it Cumbria). Walk for a few minutes more above the lake for the idyllic picnic site.
Right above you towers Dhaulagiri and across the valley the peaks of the Annapurna range and the omnipresent Nilgiris. If you’re lucky you may see a Yak herder with his valuable (and increasingly rare) Yaks.
You can walk higher up on the flanks of Dhaulagiri towards it’s incredible icefall. Just allow yourself enough time to come back down again. Reaching the icefall itself is an altogether longer and different proposition entirely.
Picnic time and usually at this relatively modest altitude of around 2600m it’s quite mild and often sunny.
Such a beautiful location with outstanding views all around you is no place to leave in a hurry. But, when you do decide to move on follow the trail heading clockwise along the lake shore (saves going down back the same way) and soon the path heads back into the forests, passing another small lake, before finally bringing you back out on the jeep road.
Turn left, back across the bridge and then follow the trail back up to Thasang.
You could probably complete this circuit walk in 3-4hrs, but as there’s so much to ‘soak up’ making a leisurely day of it is best.
This beautiful walk now features in our “Mustang Magic Luxury Lodge Trek”, although several Snow Cat Travel clients have asked us to include it in their custom Nepal tour, either as part of a longer Jeep Adventure to Lo Manthang, or simply as a couple of days excursion from Pokhara on a tailor made cultural tour of Nepal.
Here’s Google map of the walk that we made!