Hiking Routes In Bhutan – A Quick Guide

Updated: April 18, 2023

There are three main Bhutan trekking routes. These are the ‘Snowman Trek‘, the ‘Druk Path Trek‘ and the ‘Chomolhari Trek‘. As with most multi-day treks, there are variations available, particularly in regard to the long Snowman Trek.

Although there are some other lesser-known treks in Bhutan, the three mentioned above are by far and away the most popular and most spectacular Bhutan trekking routes.

Bhutan Hike Routes

Trekking Map

The map below clearly demonstrates the major regions throughout Bhutan and a number of the more notable trekking routes. When trekking in Bhutan, it is always recommended to take a detailed map with you as many trekking paths intersect other routes and it can often be quite easy to get lost.

The three main and best treks are all located in the western part of Bhutan where the majority of its tall mountains lie.


Snowman Trek

The Snowman Trek is undoubtedly one of the world’s great treks! Often described as the most difficult trek on earth, the Snowman Trek winds its way along the mountain border between Bhutan and Tibet.

The trek generally takes 25 days and begins in the airport city of Paro and concludes in Lunana in northern region of Bhutan.

The Snowman Trek is famous for its high mountain passes and trekkers will need to cross 11 of these to complete the grueling journey. Not only this, but 4 of the 11 passes are over 5,000 meters in altitude! The highest of these passes is Rinchenzoe La which stands at 5,332 meters.

The Snowman Trek is famously beautiful, and you’ll be exploring a region unlike any other! Ideally, the Snowman Trek should only be attempted by experienced hikers who want a real challenge.  The trek is both long and often strenuous. You should be well acclimatized to altitude and have a good level of fitness to attempt this trek.

The Snowman Trek can only be attempted in summer as winter snows cover most of the high passes along the route.


Chomolhari Trek

One of the most famous and popular trekking routes in Bhutan, the Chomolhari Trek takes hikers off the beaten path to experience the real authentic side of Bhutan.

Sitting on the border between Bhutan and Tibet, Mount Chomolhari is often referred to as the “Bride of Kangchenjunga”.

Most notable for its huge sheer vertical relief that rises sharply on the mountain for 2700 metres, Mount Chomolhari is one of Bhutan’s most sacred mountains. One of the highlights of the trek is being able to camp the night at Chomolhari’s base camp.

As can be expected in this region, the Chomolhari Trek boasts outstanding views throughout, and hikers cross over several passes over 4,500 meters!


Druk Path Trek

If you’re new to multi-day treks or simply want a nice introductory trek to Bhutan then the Druk Path Trek is for you.

The Druk Path Trek starts in the airport city of Paro and trekkers hike over a small, but beautiful mountain range before descending down into the neighboring valley where the capital city of Thimphu awaits.

Although not difficult, the Druk Path Trek does still reach a fair altitude of 4,200 metres (13776 ft) at Phume La Pass. Although you do not stay at this altitude for long, trekkers must still prepare for high altitude acclimatization. From the pass you get incredible views across the valley towards the highest un-climbed peak on earth – Mount Gangkar Puensum 7570m (24,836 feet). Many pro teams have attempted the peak but none have ever been successful. Climbing is now banned on the mountain.

Alpine forests and dwarf rhododendrons await trekkers high up in the mountain range and in spring the mountain range comes alive in colour! As you descend you come across several idyllic lakes where large trout can often be spotted. You then continue to descend down into Thimphu Valley where your trek ends.

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See more information on Bhutan. Or check out these other Bhutan Hiking articles:


About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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