Far-Western Region (Rara National Park and Khaptad National Park)

The Far-Western Region of Nepal is a hidden gem that beckons to adventurous souls seeking untouched wilderness, tranquil lakes, and serene forests. This region is home to two of Nepal’s most pristine national parks: Rara National Park and Khaptad National Park. Both parks offer trekkers an opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of more popular trekking routes.

Rara National Park

Location: Rara National Park is situated in the remote northwest of Nepal, encompassing the pristine Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal.

Popular Trekking Route:

  • Rara Lake Trek
  • Duration: 7-10 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Best Time: March to May, September to November
  • Highlights: The Rara Lake Trek is a journey into the heart of one of Nepal’s most beautiful and least visited regions. Starting from Jumla, the trek follows a scenic trail through dense forests, picturesque villages, and alpine meadows, culminating at the breathtaking Rara Lake. Trekkers can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks, including Chuchemara Peak (4,087 meters), and explore the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

Unique Features:

  • Rara Lake: The centerpiece of the national park, Rara Lake is a serene and pristine alpine lake surrounded by dense forests and snow-capped mountains. Trekkers can camp by the lakeshore, go boating on the crystal-clear waters, and witness stunning sunsets and sunrises over the tranquil lake.
  • Biodiversity: Rara National Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including Himalayan black bears, musk deer, red pandas, and over 200 species of birds. The park’s varied ecosystems, from subtropical forests to alpine meadows, provide habitats for a wide array of wildlife.

Khaptad National Park

Location: Khaptad National Park is located in the far-western region of Nepal, near the border with India, and is renowned for its pristine forests, rolling meadows, and religious significance.

Popular Trekking Route:

  • Khaptad National Park Trek
  • Duration: 5-7 days
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Best Time: March to May, September to November
  • Highlights: The Khaptad National Park Trek offers trekkers a chance to explore the serene beauty and cultural heritage of the park. Starting from Silgadhi or Chainpur, the trek follows gentle trails through lush forests, rhododendron groves, and rolling meadows dotted with wildflowers. Trekkers can visit the sacred Khaptad Baba Ashram, a religious site dedicated to the revered sage Khaptad Baba, and enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayan range from vantage points like Khaptad Daha.

Unique Features:

  • Religious Sites: Khaptad National Park is dotted with sacred sites, including temples, shrines, and ashrams, which are revered by Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. The Khaptad Baba Ashram, situated at an altitude of 3,100 meters, is a major pilgrimage destination and offers trekkers a glimpse into the spiritual heritage of the region.
  • Natural Beauty: The park is characterized by its pristine forests, rolling meadows, and crystal-clear streams, which provide habitats for a variety of wildlife, including Himalayan black bears, leopards, deer, and numerous bird species. Trekkers can enjoy the tranquility of the park and immerse themselves in its natural beauty.

Practical Information

Permits: Trekkers visiting Rara National Park and Khaptad National Park require entry permits, which can be obtained at the respective park entrances or in Kathmandu.

Accommodation: Accommodation options in Rara National Park and Khaptad National Park range from basic teahouses and lodges to camping grounds. Trekkers should be prepared for rustic accommodations and carry necessary camping gear if planning to camp.

Getting There: The trek to Rara National Park typically starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, followed by a scenic flight to Jumla or a drive to the trailhead. The trek to Khaptad National Park usually begins with a drive from Kathmandu to Silgadhi or Chainpur, followed by a trek into the park.

The Far-Western Region of Nepal, with its pristine national parks and serene landscapes, offers trekkers a chance to explore some of the most remote and untouched areas of the Himalayas. Whether trekking to the tranquil shores of Rara Lake or exploring the sacred meadows of Khaptad, adventurers are sure to be captivated by the natural beauty and cultural heritage of this remote corner of Nepal.