Ensure a remarkable trip by selecting the ideal season and best time for the Upper Dolpo trek. Situated in the remote northern region of western Nepal, between the Tibetan Plateau and the Dhaulagiri Mountains, Upper Dolpo presents trekkers with a distinct and awe-inspiring experience. Traverse fast-flowing rivers, witness breathtaking waterfalls, explore deep gorges, and encounter lush meadows while immersing yourself in the ancient culture of this paradise for trekkers. This comprehensive guide will assist you in determining the optimal time for your Upper Dolpo trekking adventure in Nepal.
Before we get to the best moment of the Upper Dolpo hike, let’s talk briefly about what makes this traverse so special. Upper Dolpo is one of the remotest regions of western Nepal, which has been recognized as a restricted area by the government of Nepal. This area possesses distinctive high wilderness and remote and rare places. The district contains Shey Phoksundo National Park, with wildlife such as Himalayan blue sheep, goral, thar, and Himalayan black bears. Some of the major attractions of the Upper Dolpo Trek include:
Now that you have an idea of what to expect on the Upper Dolpo Trek, let's explore the best time of year to undertake this adventure.
Spring Season (March to May) offers an excellent time to visit Dolpo. The landscapes come to life with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The moderate temperature during the daytime provides good weather for trekking. However, nights in higher altitudes are cold. Expect the trails to be usually clear with relatively stable weather. This is a perfect season for enjoying the breathtaking mountain views. However, it’s not surprising to face occasional rain showers.
During Spring, which typically spans from March to May, Upper Dolpo reveals its enchanting charm. The weather remains amiable, featuring mild temperatures and relatively low precipitation levels. The landscape, adorned with vibrant rhododendron blossoms, exudes unparalleled beauty, creating a picturesque backdrop for trekkers. In addition to the mesmerizing natural scenery, this season offers a plethora of opportunities to witness the local flora and fauna in their full splendor.
In early spring, snow-covered trails can still be found on the upper Dolpo trails. This filling of ice can consume your time and energy. Therefore, you are expected to be prepared to change course if necessary. You’ll also need snow gear when hiking in early March. However, if you want to avoid snowy roads, mid-April to early June is the perfect time for trekking to the Dolpo region of Nepal.
Daytime Temperatures: Temperatures in the Upper Dolpo in summer typically range from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius at low As you climb higher, especially in the mountains, temperatures can drop to degrees 5 to 8 Celsius.
Night-time Temperatures: In the evening and at night, temperatures in the Upper Dolpo can plummet, especially at higher altitudes. Nighttime temperatures can range from 0 to -5 degrees Celsius at low altitudes. Temperatures at high altitudes are below freezing during the night time ranging from -0 to -10 degrees Celsius or even lower in some of the high passes.
Autumn season (September to November) is another good time to trek in Upper Dolpo as it has a dry and stable climate with clear skies and mild temperatures. You can see the warm earth with colorful autumn leaves in the hills. There is nothing that is nestled in the space which you won't find attractive. The views are excellent and the mountain scenery is absolutely stunning. It is also a walkable destination, so you can expect some crowds in this region. We recommend trekking over Upper Dolpo month of September to til Mid November which is the best time to trek in Upper Dolpo.
The time period from September to November makes the Upper Dolpo spectacular. Featuring clear skies, moderate temperatures, and light rainfall, it is stable and enjoyable. Excellent visibility is ensured during this travel period, allowing travelers to feast their eyes on the region’s spectacular scenery.
Late November, December is the arrival month for snow and winter will start approaching. So, it makes the trek difficult when passes are blocked by snow. Even temperatures drop. Again, you may require snow gear if you’re trekking at this time. But you may easily succeed in the trek if you’re trekking in September and October. You need to note that temperatures in the same passes vary in September and November.
The level of difficulty during the autumn season in Upper Dolpo can vary depending on various factors, including the chosen trekking route, altitude, individual fitness levels, and previous trekking experience. However, overall, the autumn season is considered a favorable time for trekking in Upper Dolpo, characterized by relatively stable weather conditions and clear skies.
While the autumn season generally offers stable weather conditions, it is essential to be prepared for potential changes in weather, including cold temperatures, high winds, and occasional snowfall at higher elevations. Trekkers should pack appropriate clothing and equipment to ensure comfort and safety throughout the journey.
Daytime Temperatures: The daytime temperatures during the Autumn months in the Dolpo region range from 5°C to 10°C at the most. As you ascend higher in the stretches of Upper Dolpo the temperature plummets ranging even lower than mentioned here.
Night time Temperatures: Dolpo region is extremely cold owing to its geographical location in the foothills of the high Himalayas. The night temperature in the lower elevations ranges from 0°C to 5°C. Furthermore, at the higher elevated areas, the temperature ranges from 0°C to -15-20 during the night temperature.
You don’t need to be surprised that Monsoon (June to August) is also an excellent time to trek in the Upper Dolpo as this is a rain shadow area. Temperatures are also ideal. You are expected to witness locals collecting Yarshagumba (a caterpillar fungus sold for its aphrodisiac properties).
The Upper Dolpo Trek during the monsoon season presents additional challenges compared to other seasons. The monsoon season in Nepal typically spans from June to August, bringing heavy rainfall and increased risks in mountainous regions. While trekking in Upper Dolpo during this period is possible, it is generally considered more difficult and requires careful consideration and preparation.
Except for the first few days, rain won’t show its face in the rain shadow area. Rain Gear is just required on the trails that are prone to rain. The lower trails may be slippery due to rain. If you’re planning to travel during Monsoon, you need to note that flight cancellations to Jhupal are possible due to weather conditions. Once we are on Jufal with a successful landing there won't be a problem to continue our journey.
The monsoon season also brings with it leeches and an increase in insect activity below 3000 meters. Trekking through the damp and humid conditions may result in encounters with leeches, requiring trekkers to take appropriate precautions and use protective measures such as leech socks or repellents.
Due to the higher precipitation, river crossings and streams along the trekking routes might become more challenging and potentially difficult. It is essential to assess the conditions carefully and follow the guidance of experienced guides and locals.
Daytime Temperatures: During the daytime, temperatures in Upper Dolpo in the monsoon season generally range from around 8 to 12 degrees Celsius at lower elevations. However, due to cloud cover and precipitation, the temperatures are slightly cooler and more moderate in higher elevations.
Night-time Temperatures: In the evenings and nights, temperatures in Upper Dolpo can drop, ranging from 5 to 10 degrees Celsius at lower altitudes. At higher elevations, especially in the mountainous regions, temperatures can drop further, ranging from 5 to 8 degrees.
It’s highly recommended not to make trekking in Upper Dolpo during wintertime. Extreme Cold and Heavy Snowfall makes the trekking trails extremely challenging. You cannot even find the best route to reach your destination due to blocked passes from snow and slippery trails. During the winter time high passes are fully covered by snow and even temporarily shut down excess one village to another village.
Trekking in Upper Dolpo in the winter season, which typically spans from December to February, presents significant challenges and requires careful planning and preparation. Winter in Upper Dolpo brings harsh weather conditions, extremely cold temperatures, and limited accessibility due to heavy snowfall and potential trail closures.
Winter in Upper Dolpo is characterized by freezing temperatures, especially at higher altitudes. The temperatures can drop well below freezing level.
Only professional climbers and alpine traversers with high levels of experience can make successful trekking in this region. For the rest of us, we shouldn’t attempt to put our lives at risk. Trek in Upper Dolpo in winter is pretty much impossible!
Winter in Upper Dolpo brings frigid temperatures, especially at higher altitudes. The temperatures can drop well below freezing, making it essential to have a proper cold.
Daytime Temperatures: During the daytime, temperatures in Upper Dolpo in winter can range from around +5 to -5 degrees Celsius at lower elevations. However, at higher altitudes and in mountainous areas, temperatures can remain below freezing, ranging from -5 to -10 degrees Celsius during the day.
Night-time Temperatures: In the evenings and nights, temperatures drop further, and the cold becomes more intense. Nighttime temperatures in Upper Dolpo during winter can range from -5 to -10 degrees Celsius at lower altitudes. In the high-altitude regions and colder nights, temperatures can plummet to as low as -15 - 20 degrees Celsius or even lower.
After reading and finding all the information about Upper Dolpo Trek, the best time to embark on Upper Dolpo Trek is in April to mid-November. Winter season, December to February is not recommended to trek Upper Dolpo due to heavy snowfall and extremely cold weather in the Dolpo region of Nepal.
Beside learning about the Best Season and time, to make your Upper Dolpo trek truly exceptional, selecting the best trekking agency is crucial. One such agency that stands out is Visit Himalaya Treks. With its impeccable reputation and expertise in organizing trekking expeditions, VHT can be your top choice for the best trekking company for Upper Dolpo Trek. We offer reliable and well-planned itineraries, experienced guides, and a commitment to ensuring a safe and memorable trekking experience in Upper Dolpo. By choosing VHT, you can trust that you'll receive excellent service, professional support, and the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of this remarkable region.
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