Dhaulagiri Circle - French Col Pass Trek

Dhaulagiri Circle - French Col Pass Trek

TripGrade: Strenuous
Strenuous Trekking Grade is both moderate and difficult. Even in this grade, treks reach around 5000-5500 meters. You will have to walk generally for 6-7 hours each day. Strenuous treks require good physical condition and acclimatization. If some problems seem to appear, you have to walk down and take some hot drinks or soup ( + rest). You may be affected rapidly if you have high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease or complicated medical conditions. Advise is required from your doctor before starting these kinds of treks.

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21 Days

Max Altitude:

French Col (5360 m) / Dhampus Peak (6012 m)

Group Size

Min. 2, Max. 12

Trial Access:

Private Vehicle / Flight

Best Season:

Sept - Dec & Feb - May

    The Dhaulagiri Circle Trek is considered to be one of the toughest and most challenging trekking trails. It is an off beaten trail that goes around Mt. Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world.

    Till 1848, Mt. Dhaulagiri was considered to be the highest mountain in the world. But then from 1848-1852 Kanchenjunga took its place and since 1852 Mt. Everest is renowned as the highest mountain in the world. Now Dhaulagiri stands as the 7th highest mountain at an altitude of 8,167 meters above sea level.

    In comparison, the Dhaulagiri Circle Trek is similar to the Annapurna Circuit but with a lesser crowd.

    The trek begins in a forested and terraced hilly area that is predominantly dominated by the Magar community. This trek is to the west of the Annapurnas and starts from Pokhara and follows the Myagdi Khola to its source at the Chhonbardan Glacier just below Dhaulagiri.

    Moving ahead through the dense forest and the quaint mountain villages, through the vast Dhaulagiri moraine, it's several days till you cross the French Col (5360m) and enter the Hidden Valley. This is an extremely remote hanging valley which gives you a more of an expedition feel when you cross it. After you enter the valley, there is an option for you to take the summit of Dhampus Peak that is at an altitude of 6060 meters. You cross the Dhampus Pass and make a steep descent to Jomsom where you will find trekkers who have come from the Thorung La Pass on the Annapurna Circuit.

    The trek ends here in Kathmandu rather than trekking back to the Pokhara. The Dhaulagiri Circle is a tough trek more suitable for trekkers who have earlier experience of trekking at the altitudes above 5000m.

    Why Dhaulagiri Circle – French Col Pass Trek

    • The most Popular seventh highest mountain in the world.
    • Visit a wild, remote and off-the-beaten-track area of the Nepal Himalaya.
    • The perfect destination for remote and adventurous trekking in Nepal.
    • Mouthwatering and panoramic view of Dhaulagiri I, II, III, IV, and V.

    Trip Outline

    Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m)
    Day 02: Sightseeing of Kathmandu
    Day 03: Fly to Pokhara and Drive to Beni
    Day 04: Trek to Dharapani (1,470m)
    Day 05: Trek to Muri (1,850m)
    Day 06: Trek to Boghara (2,080m)
    Day 07: Trek to Dobang (2,350m)
    Day 08: Trek to Sallaghari (3,010m)
    Day 09: Trek to Italian Base Camp (3,660m)- 3/ 4 hours Walk
    Day 10: Rest and acclimatization day.
    Day 11: Trek to Glacier Camp (4,200m) - 4/5 Hrs Walk
    Day 12: Rest & Acclimatization day at Glacier Camp (4,200m).
    Day 13: Trek to Dhaulagiri Base Camp (4,740m) - 4 hours walking.
    Day 14: Rest & Acclimatization day at Dhaulagiri Base Camp.
    Day 15: Trek to Hidden Valley (5,050m) via French Col (5360m) - 7/8 hours Walk
    Day 16: Option 1: Exploring/ walk around Hidden Valley.
    Day 17: Trek over Dhampus Pass (5,240m) to Yak Kharka (3,680m) - 9 to 10 hours trekking.
    Day 18: Trek to Jomsom (2,670m), 4 to 5 hours walking.
    Day 19: Flight to Pokhara
    Day 20: Fly / Drive to Kathmandu (30Min Flight and 6/7 Hrs Private Drive)
    Day 21: Depart Kathmandu to reach another destination or fly back home with memories of the trek.

    Starting Price

    USD 2375 per person

    Group Discount : Available

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    Arrival on: Kathmandu

    Departure from: Kathmandu

    Day 1

    Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m)

    Arrive at Kathmandu after a scenic flight over the mountains. Meet the representative of Adventure Mission Nepal Treks & Expedition (AMN) and transfer to Hotel.

    Day 2

    Sightseeing of Kathmandu

    You can spend this day exploring some of the World Heritage sites in Kathmandu valley for some time as Kathmandu valley is surrounded by many Temples, palaces and natural beauty and prepare for the trek in the afternoon.

    Day 3

    Fly to Pokhara and Drive to Beni

    We have two options either we fly to Pokhara and drive to Beni or we can drive to Beni from Kathmandu. The drive will be long and hectic as you have a long trip ahead. So, Adventure Mission Nepal suggest you fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and from Pokhara you can drive to Beni and meet all the camping crew members and final check of all the things before we start our memorable trek.

    Day 4

    Trek to Dharapani (1,470m)

    The trail continues along the Myagdi Khola passing through several villages before reaching Darbang where we stop for lunch. After we cross the suspension bridge, we start the climb to Dharapani. This village is mainly inhabited by the Gurung and Chettri communities. Here we have our first view of the Dhaulagiri located to the north. We will be spending our first night of the trek here.

    Day 5

    Trek to Muri (1,850m)

    Today we walk through Takum and Sibang villages. These are the prosperous villages with many terraced fields mainly growing rice and wheat. Today we pass by the classic Nepal scenery with traditional villages and the imposing mountain views. Many of the men in this area work overseas in the Middle East or in the British and Indian Ghurka Regiments. From this village, we can have a good view of Gurja Himal and Putha Hiunchuli located to the west. After crossing Dhara Khola on a suspension bridge we continue to Muri. Most of the people living in this village belong to the Magar community. We will stay here for the night.

    Day 6

    Trek to Boghara (2,080m)

    From Muri, we climb down a steep slope to the bridge crossing over the Muri Khola. After passing through dense bamboo stands the trail opens up into a number of clearings with fields and farmhouses. Further north the valley widens and the trail is exposed in places. We camp in the grounds of the primary school in this village.

    Day 7

    Trek to Dobang (2,350m)

    Myagdi valley is usually wet as a result of its north to south orientation. The clouds that approach from India are pushed higher up by Mount Dhaulagiri at the end of the valley causing precipitation. You can expect some rain in the afternoons although it usually clears off by evening. It is for this reason that there is a lush sub-tropical forest in Myagdi Valley up to Sallighari camp. One has to be very careful while walking here as it is often slippery especially over the tree roots. From Boghara the trail follows the west bank of Myagdi Khola through an undulating trail in the forest. You gaze up the cliffs high above the trail and you can see honeycombs from where the villagers collect honey. We stop for lunch at Lipshe at 2,080m. After a short break, we continue walking through the forest until we get to a clearing in the forest at Dobang with several teahouses and campsite. We will be having an overnight camp here at Dobang.

    Day 8

    Trek to Sallaghari (3,010m)

    The trail continues through the dense, lush vegetation of ferns, bamboo and rhododendrons. We cross over to the east bank of the Myagdi Khola on a new cantilever bridge and then camp at a clearing in the forest at Sallaghari.

    Day 9

    Trek to Italian Base Camp (3,660m)

    From Sallaghari we walk through the forest of pine trees, rhododendron and birch. After some time we will come across heather, juniper and azaleas. The trail traverses through the forest and then climbs to a grassy area on the lateral moraine where Italian Base Camp is located. High above the camp is the impressive west face of Dhaulagiri with Tsaurabong Peak visible on the other side of the valley.

    Day 10

    Rest and acclimatization day.

    After all these days of traversing this one day is kept for a bit of relaxation, exploration and acclimatization. One can easily explore the area around the Italian Basecamp or stay put at the campsite. This test is important because you need to acclimatize with the weather conditions as well as the topography. From here onwards it is a climb to a higher altitude towards the Dhaulagiri Base Camp for which you need to healthy, fit and fine.

    Day 11

    Trek to Glacier Camp (4,200m)

    Today is a shorter walk although essential for acclimatization process. Setting us apart from others is the fact that we believe in having two nights at Glacier Camp located between Italian Base Camp and main Dhaulagiri Base Camp (Otherwise going from 3,660m to 4,740m can result in altitude sickness and difficult health conditions for a few). From the Italian Base Camp the trail descends steeply down lateral moraine to the glacier. There are ropes fixed here to help the group and the trek crew. We cross the glacier with the help of these ropes and then traverse along the moraine on the left side of the Chonbarden gorge. We walk along talus in the remarkably narrow Chonbarden gorge to the snout of the Chonbarden glacier and then continue for another hour to Glacier camp. There are a number of ledges leveled in the ice of the glacier for our tents.

    Day 12

    Rest & Acclimatization day at Glacier Camp (4,200m)

    This day is meant to be used for acclimatization which is very necessary before we proceed forward to the Base Camp tomorrow. There is an optional day walk up the glacier towards the Base Camp to a large moraine ridge from where you can see the Tukuche, Little Eiger and snowfall from NE Col plus the valley heading towards the French Pass. This morning walk takes four hours to and fro.

    Day 13

    Trek to Dhaulagiri Base Camp (4,740m)

    We follow a rough trail along the moraine that is covered by the glacier and heads towards Dhaulagiri Base Camp. From the Base Camp, the view is impressive with Dhaulagiri I, Tukuche Peak and Little Eiger in front of us. Further to the west stands tall Dhaulagiri II (7,751m) and IV (7,618m). One can also see the start of the climbing route through the snowfall. In this season there are likely to be expeditions camped on the moraine strip at the Base Camp.

    Day 14

    Rest & Acclimatization day at Dhaulagiri Base Camp

    This is another necessary day of acclimatization before crossing the French Pass and going over to our campsite in the Hidden Valley at 5,100m. In the past, some in the group have enjoyed going for a short walk towards the French Pass in the morning while others relax at the campsite enjoying the views. At some point today you will be given a preliminary about the use of ice axe and crampons. This is especially for those trekkers who are using it for the first time. These basic mountaineering skills will be required for crossing the high passes to Jomsom.

    Day 15

    Trek to Hidden Valley (5,140m) via French Col (5360m)

    Today we will have an early breakfast and start to walk along the moraine strip to cross over the left of the Upper Chonbarden glacier. A soaring moraine ridge can be seen further up the valley, we climb this by following a sharp trail across the screen and talus. Once you reach the lateral moraine ridge you can see the mouth-watering view of the valley down with the stunning view of Dhaulagiri I and Tukuche Peak. Once you are at the top don’t forget to take out your camera to capture the awe-inspiring views of the valley and Mountains as it is your lifetime memorable experience.

    At a huge cairn on the moraine ridge, we walk to make the final ascent to French pass. The walk to the pass is comparatively easy as we ascend angled snow slopes and as usual in Nepal, the cliff is full of multi-colored prayer flags and Cairns. The picturesque beauty seen from the summit of the pass is stunning with the snow-capped peaks of Mukut Himal, Sita Chuchura, Tukuche Peak, Tashi Kang and massive Dhaulagiri I. The walking down from the pass is on moderate snow slopes as we enter the hidden valley. After a long walk and descent, we arrive at the camp next to the river that is close to the Base of Dhampus Peak. The most important thing you cannot miss in this place is the hidden valley, where we can only see the sparse vegetation, isolated patches of moss and grass as this area is under the rain shadow effect of Dhaulagiri.

    Note: Since we cross the French Col one of the adventurous passes of the world and at least you are here you can extend 2 days to climb the Dhampus peak paying extra cost so that next time if you wish to climb Dhampus peak then your time, energy and money will be saved. Similarly, Oct, Nov is the ideal time to climb and the temperature will be -15 to -25 C. You need crampons, ice axe and camping gears to climb. Please enquire with Adventure Mission Nepal team before confirming the trip.

    Day 16

    Option 1: Exploring/ walk around Hidden Valley

    Please note that we will only cross the French Pass on Day 14 if everyone in the group is sufficiently acclimatized. If anyone needs more time then we will delay by a day. There are a number of options for day walks around Hidden Valley; one of the best is to walk up on a ridge on the western side which gives you a beautiful view of the Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Annapurna and the lower parts of the Hidden Valley.

    Day 17

    Trek over Dhampus Pass (5,244m) to Yak Kharka (3,680m) - 9 to 10 hours trekking

    This is a long day and by far the toughest on Dhaulagiri Circle Trek. After an early start from the camp we start the climb up a moderate snow slope to get to the Dhampus Pass. One can enjoy the beauty of the Dhampus Peak to the left of the pass and to the right are the beautiful ice flutings of Tukuche Peak. From the summit of the pass the trail descends for about 100m before we start to traverse left into Kali Gandaki valley. Depending on the snow and ice conditions crampons may be needed for group & porters at this point. There is a very long traverse across the snow which usually takes about four hours before starting the steep descent to Yak Kharka. Throughout this walk there are stunning views of Nilgiri, Tukuche, Dhaulagiri I, Mukut Himal Tashi Kang, Sita Chuchura and the western end of the Annapurna Massif.

    Day 18

    Trek to Jomsom (2,720m), 4 to 5 hours walking.

    We have to climb down for a long time to reach the village of Marpha located in the Kali Gandaki Valley. Marpha village boasts of a Buddhist monastery, Tibetan whitewashed houses and paved streets. It is also famous for its apple orchards. So one can really take a break here and enjoy a glass of apple juice at one of the lodges. In Jomsom we stay at one of the lodges located near the airport.

    Day 19

    Flight to Pokhara

    Since Jomsom lies at the mountainous region so there is always an early flight to Pokhara as in the morning the days are clear and also the flight duration is about 20 minutes. Similarly, Pokhara is also known as “city of Lake” and is one of the most popular places for the foreigners after Kathmandu. There are lots of interesting things to see in Pokhara. So when you are in Pokhara don’t miss to visit the popular landmarks of Pokhara.

    Note: Those who have limited time one can fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and also can fly to Kathmandu on the same day using connecting flight or can drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Also, this place lies at mountainous region so there is limited flight. In order to skip the bad weather conditions we will take a spare day here.

    Day 20

    Fly / Drive to Kathmandu (30Min Flight and 6/7 Hrs Private Drive)

    Today either you can fly to Kathmandu which will be 30 minutes worthy flight where you can see the changing natural vegetation with Himalayan Range or you can drive from Pokhara. The drive will be scenic and you will get the opportunity to experience the highway of Nepal.

    Day 21

    Depart Kathmandu to reach another destination or fly back home with memories of the trek

    You can depart from Kathmandu to your home country or extend the trip and head for another trip within or outside Nepal.

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    Himalayan Trekkers promises to manage the best, most comfortable and preferable accommodation.

    Generally, in cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, we arrange basic three-star facilities. If available, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option or upgrade to a more luxurious hotel by paying a little extra. 

    Although all the places might not have all the modern facilities, we will make sure to arrange safe and comfortable accommodation. In general, hygienic and safe tea houses/local lodges/ home-stays with all the basic facilities are arranged. But you can, if possible, personalize according to your preference. 

    If your itinerary includes camping or you choose to experience camping during your travel, a proper camping-site will be pre-decided. If required, we also provide the basic equipment which is refundable. Please check the Gear-List and Requirement List for more information.


    Breakfast is usually included with your B&B Accommodation within the cost that is evident.
    For other meals in the city, you would have to pay separately. Often in the cities, you can choose from many different cuisines and varied food services. We can always help you find the right place to fit your taste.

    In more remote areas, usually, there are not many options. But you can always find hygienic and well-prepared food. Moreover, almost all the meals during the trek are included in the cost. We can help you make changes according to your preference and budget, but only if choices are available!

    On top of that, Himalayan Trekkers also organizes Welcome and Farewell Dinners as a symbol of warm greetings.

    Please go through the detailed itinerary for more information. We are always there to help you travel to your heart’s content.


    Whats Included

    • TIMS
    • Permit
    • Entry Fees
    • Airport Pick-up and Drop
    • Transportation as per itinerary
    • Guide, Driver, and Porter
    • Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with Tea)
    • Accommodation
    • First-Aid Kit
    • Welcome/Farewell Dinner
    • All Taxes

    Whats Not Included

    • International airfares and airport tax
    • Nepal Entry Visa Fees (USD 25/40/100- 15/30/100 Days, Cash On Arrival)
    • Trekking Equipment
    • Personal expenses such as laundry, liquor, room service, phone bills, bar bills, etc.
    • Tips to Guide, Porter, and Driver
    • Your Travel Insurance
    • Any cost occurs from any unfavorable condition such as landslide, bad weather, flight cancellation etc.


    Gears required for the trek vary upon destination and season. Trekking shoes, down jacket, sleeping bag, hiking poles are the essential ones. Besides these – the following list is suggested:


    • Sun hat or scarf
    • Sun glasses
    • Sunscream
    • Lip Balm.


    • Thin & Warm Socks - 2 pairs
    • Sandals
    • Trekking Shoes on the trek
    • Comfortable Shoes in cities


    • Warm gloves
    • T-shirts
    • Light jackets and pullovers
    • Wind – stopper jacket
    • Undergarments
    • Hiking shorts
    • Cotton/woolen pants or trousers


    • Earplug
    • Electronics gadgets of your choice
    • Spare Battery
    • Notebook, pen, guidebook and map
    • Tour/Trekking Bag
    • Hiking Poles
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Down jacket
    • Toiletries (toilet paper, toothbrush/paste, nail cutter, anti-bacterial hand wash


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