Trek off-the-beaten path to Khopra Ridge in the remote hills of western Annapurna. The beautiful Khopra Ridge Trek takes you to a rarely-visited trail in the Annapurna Region. Unlike its famous cousins like the Ghorepani Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp, the Khopra Ridge receives fewer trekkers and is thus less crowded.
The Khopra Ridge Trek is one of the newer treks in Nepal. Its trail is located between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges and connects with other popular treks like the Mardi Himal Trek, Annapurna Base Camp, and Ghorepani Poon Hill. A 360-degree panorama of the Annapurna giants from Muldai viewpoint and Poon Hill and close-up views of Dhaulagiri from Khopra Ridge are some of the highlights of this trek. The trail also takes you past some unspoiled Magar and Gurung villages and pristine forests.
The Khopra Ridge Trek begins from Kimche and weaves through the Gurung villages of Ghandruk, Tadapani, and Dobato. From Dobato you hike to the Muldai viewpoint and enjoy a mesmerizing sunrise over the Himalayan peaks. Later you continue along the lonely trail and cross the small villages of Bayeli and Chistibung. From Chisitibung it's a steep hike to Khopra Ridge or Khopra Danda. Khopra Danda has only one community-run lodge where you will spend the night. If you want you can add an extra day to your itinerary and hike to Khayer Lake from Khopra Ridge. This sacred mountain lake is located close to Annapurna South and is an important pilgrimage site.
On your return trek, you will walk past Magar villages and enter the Ghorepani Poon Hill trail. Spend a night at Ghorepani and enjoy a sunrise hike to the viewpoint of Poon Hill. Take a leisurely descent to Banthanti via Nange Thanti and end your trek. From Banthanti you board a vehicle and return to Pokhara. Your trip ends once you finally get back to Kathmandu.
The trail to Khopra Ridge is well-marked. Altitude sickness is not much of an issue as you will be sleeping well below 4,000 meters. The absence of large villages on the way to Khopra Danda makes the route relatively secluded and peaceful. You will be trekking on a remote corner of the Annapurna Region where few trekkers or locals venture.
While the trail is not too difficult to walk, there are sections en route that are steep, narrow, and exposed. Some steep inclines could leave you breathless and exhausted. The Khopra Ridge Trek is highly recommended for those looking for a short and adventurous hike in Nepal. This is an amazing trek for those who have already done the popular treks and are looking for a fresh option. You can always combine some of the Annapurna treks like ABC and Mardi Himal with the Khopra Ridge Trek for a thrilling Nepal trekking adventure.
Khopra Ridge Trek Highlights
- The Khopra trail lies off-the-beaten-path
- Less crowded and less commercialized
- Sunrise hikes to Muldai Viewpoint and Poon Hill
- 360-degree panorama of Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna Fang, Gurja Himal, Hiunchuli, and other mountains
- Close-up view of Dhaulagiri(8,167m), the seventh-highest mountain in the world, from Khopra Ridge
- Stay at community-run lodges and help boost the local economy
- Visit Magar and Gurung villages and experience their unique culture
How hard is it to trek to Khopra Ridge?
The Khopra Rdige Trek is easy to moderately difficult. Depending on your experience you may find the trek either easy or strenuous. There are some steep sections on the way to Chistibung and Khopra Ridge which novice trekkers may find a bit challenging.
Each day you will be walking for 4-5 hours. The foot trails are well-marked and well-trodden. Being a relatively new route, the teahouses along the Khopra Ridge trail are pretty basic. There are not many villages on the way and sometimes you will have to walk for many hours before reaching a village.
There is only one lodge at Khopra Danda. During high season the rooms fill up fast. Those who don't get rooms have to camp outside in tents.
Can beginners trek to Khopra Ridge?
Yes, the Khopra Ridge Trek is recommended for beginners who want to try out Himalayan trekking. However, one needs to have some experience in hill hiking as the trail has some steep and narrow sections with sheer drops. No technical climbing is required and one can easily walk to the Khopra Ridge.
When is the best time to trek to Khopra Ridge?
The best seasons to trek to Khopra Ridge are spring, autumn, and early winter. The temperatures during spring and autumn remain fairly warm. Nights can be a bit cold as the mercury dips after sundown. Late autumn and early winter are best for stellar views of the mountains. There are no lingering monsoon clouds and the skies remain clear. You can enjoy crystal clear views of the mountains during this time. However, you will have to endure extreme cold if you want to trek in winter.
Trekking in summer or monsoon season is not recommended as there is incessant rainfall and the trail gets muddy. With overcast skies, it will be nearly impossible to get good views of the Himalayan Mountains.
Your trip begins in Kathmandu, the chaotic and colorful capital of Nepal. Leaving Kathmandu, you take a scenic drive to Pokhara via the Prithvi Highway. After spending a night at the lakeside city you will be driven to Kimche, the trailhead of your trek. Depending on the weather and the condition of the road you can reach the trailhead in 4 or 6 hours. While the road out of the city is pitched and smooth, once you go further to the rural areas the condition of the road deteriorates.
From Kimche, you start your trek towards Ghandruk village, a picturesque Gurung heritage village. At Ghandruk, you can explore the village and visit the Gurung Cultural Museum. On day 2 you will walk through the lush rhododendron forests to Tadapani.
Leaving Tadapani you walk on an up-and-down trail to the Gurung village of Isharu, where you stop for rest and lunch. From Isharu it's a steep hike to Dobato, along paths carved on the side of hills covered with stubby grasses. Dobato is located just below the Muldai Viewpoint, one of the best viewpoints in the Annapurna Region.
You can enjoy a Sunrise hike to the Muldai Danda and savor 360-degree views of Annapurna South, Machhapuchre or Fishtail Peak, Annapurna Fang, Dhaulagiri, Hiunchuli, Gurja Himal, and Tukuche Peak.
Leaving Dobato you head to the village of Chistibung via Bayeli. The trail at this point gets pretty secluded and lonely. Not many locals or trekkers use this route. To reach Chistibung, you make a steep descent to a dense forest. After spending a night at the small hamlet of Chsitibung you continue your ascent to Khopra Ridge. It's a short but tiring hike. The trail is steep and narrow with a sheer drop.
There's only one community-run lodge at Khopra Danda. The lodge is pretty basic but the wi-fi reception is perfect. Wake up early in the morning to catch breathtaking views of Dhaulagiri, the seventh-highest mountain in the world. After a hearty breakfast, you trek down to Swanta village and later hike to Ghorepani.
Before leaving Ghorepani, you take a sunrise hike to Poon Hill which lies right above the village. The viewpoint at Poon Hill offers mesmerizing views of the Annapurna Range, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Hiunchuli, and a host of other snow-covered peaks. Your trek ends once you reach Banthanti. From Banthanti you take a vehicle bound for Pokhara. Your trip ends once you arrive in Kathmandu from Pokhara.
If you wish you can add an extra day in Khopra Danda and hike to the beautiful Khayer Lake. The lake which is situated at an altitude of 4500 meters offers a close-up view of Annapurna South's summit. The hike to the lake is quite difficult as you gain a lot of altitude. It takes about 7 hours to hike to the lake and return to Khopra Danda.
Alternative treks you can consider
The popularity of the Annapurna Region among trekkers is rivaled only by the Everest Region. The region offers a variety of routes that one can choose from according to one’s experience, fitness level and needs. There are short treks like the Mardi Himal Trek, Annapurna Panorama Trek, and the Short Annapurna Trek. Longer treks like the Classic Annapurna Circuit Trek and the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek take you deeper into the region and allow you to experience the region's rich and diverse landscape and culture.
The villages along the middle hills offer some of the perfect trails for families and student groups seeking an easy but enriching walking adventure. Hikes to the villages of Landruk, Ghandruk, Dhampus, Ghorepani, etc., take you past a typical Nepalese landscape filled with terraced fields, rhododendron forests, river gorges, streams, and waterfalls. You can gaze at some of the highest mountains in the world from the trail and interact with locals. Nepalese are by nature friendly and kind and you can always find someone willing to chat with you on the trail even though they may not know your language.
If you feel the need to explore trails off-the-beaten paths like Khopra, you can try out our Mohare Danda Trek and the Tilicho Lake Trek. For those who want to hike in comfort and luxury, the Annapurna Luxury Trek is a great package. In Kathmandu and Pokhara, your stay will be arranged at 5-star hotels and on the trail at the comfortable Mountain Lodges of Nepal. While trekking you won't have to rough it out at local teahouses, as your stay will be booked at some of the best luxury mountain lodges in the Annapurna Region.
For a more enriching trekking experience, you can combine your Khopra Ridge Trek with the Mardi Himal Trek and the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. You can also join the popular Annapurna Circuit trail at Tatopani after descending from Khopra Ridge.