Dagala Trek

  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber
  • © Stephen Barber

Key information: Dagala Trek

  • A magnificent trek through astonishingly varied landscape, both in the forests and high above the tree line.
  • A delightful, fascinating walk; demanding but doable for the reasonably fit.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating87
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest8
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating87
  • Note: Negs: Altitude

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 39km/4-5 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,530m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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© Stephen Barber

WALK SUMMARY

The Dagala, or 1,000 Lake, Trek is superb, with many of the attributes that make Bhutan so special. Magnificent, untainted forest and thriving wildlife, huge high-Himalayan views, and the (generally) thrillingly intact culture. The landscapes are astonishingly varied, but the overwhelming sense is of the silence and the vastness of this pristine land. Though it is not a huge drive from Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, it is one of the less-walked of the established treks in western Bhutan.

The trek begins at the narrow, swaying suspension bridge at Geynizampa, just below the village of Genekha, at 2820m.

The first day, of 5km, takes around three hours, with stops. Climb steeply through mainly thick oak forest, blue pine, birch and rhododendron undercover. The forest floor is thick with moss, while the oaks drip with Old Man’s Beard. The track is well-worn and a once important trading route. After a viewpoint, looking down over the village of Genekha, the path eases until you attain a ridge in the forest at about 3330m. Descend to the Gur Camp.

The second day heads steeply up above the tree line, 12km to Labatamba (or Labatama) Camp, at 4280m, just below Utsho Lake. Views of Kanchenjunga, India’s highest peak, on the way.  

Day 3: the Labajong Pass (4460m), then the even higher point at Dajatsho (4530m), affording fine views of Bhutan’s highest peaks, including the 7570m Gangkhar Puensum – said to be the highest unclimbed peak in the world – and Jomolhari (7314m). It is then a three-hour walk down to the next camp of Pangkha, through mountainsides carpeted in rhododendrons.

At Pangkha you can spend two nights before the long final trek down to the finish, making side-walks or just relaxing. Pangkha is an enclosed campsite just below Loch Pangkha.

Day 4: The final long hike traverses around and over mountainsides of thick rhododendron, then entering deep forests. The track – frequented by yaks – is steep, strewn with boulders and deeply cut into the rich red soil. The junipers are ancient, stunted. The sliver firs and spruces soar upwards of 30m with girths of 4-5m. Then oaks reappear. There’s a high point at Tale La (4180m), with views of the Dagala range and Thimphu.  Finally you reach a dried up lake at Talakha Camp before the final descent into Chambang at 2640m.       

See Stephen Barber’s detailed account below.

We want to tell more - please send us your ideas, suggestions, experiences and photos.

OUR FRIENDS' EXPERIENCES

Walkopedia friend Stephen Barber says, of his November 2017 expedition:

Our Dagala Trek extended to four nights camping and five days trek. Though it is no more than 40km or two hours’ drive from Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, it is one of the less-walked of the established treks in western Bhutan; it was the high season, but in five days we saw no other walkers. Our trek began at the narrow, swaying suspension bridge at Geynizampa, just below the village of Genekha, at 2820m.

     (A note on altitudes: every guidebook and website gives different altitudes for the various campsites and stopping points; some are wildly inaccurate. The altitudes given here are my own iPhone measurements, corroborated by reliable guidebooks.)

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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© Stephen Barber

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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