What To Expect on a Camping Trek
Camping is a great way to get off the beaten path (even along popular teahouse trekking routes) as well as access more remote parts of Nepal where there isn't any infrastructure. You'll have a more unique experience and enjoy vantage points and trails that few trekkers get to see. This is the closest you'll get to most peoples’ idea of a wilderness adventure. (You can also combine teahouses with camping, as well.)
Keep in mind is that camping treks are often more expensive than teahouse treks as more staff is required to carry the tents, food, cooking fuel, and your personal gear. Some treks also take place in more remote areas, requiring flights and raising logistical costs of access. Still, camping is the best way to experience the Himalaya if you're looking for a remote and wilderness-based experience.
#1 Upper Dolpo Treks (8 to 24 Days)
Have your pick of routes in this remote, little-visited region, which was immortalized in Peter Matthiessen’s classic book The Snow Leopard. Located in the far west of Nepal, the Upper Dolpo trek contains the 800-year-old Shey Gompa at the base of Crystal Mountain and the glistening Phoksundo lake, which sits at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. If you’re very lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the incredibly rare snow leopard in Shey Phoksundo National Park.
#2 Dudh Kunda Trek (13 Days)
The focal point of the Dudh Kunda trek is the glorious high-altitude Dudh Kunda Lake: Buddhists and Hindus believe a dip in its ice-cold waters will absolve them of their sins. Assessed via a short flight from Kathmandu to the Phaplu airstrip, the trek showcases the best of the lower Everest region, including traditional Sherpa villages, remote Buddhist monasteries, epic peaks and passes, and, of course, superlative vistas of the world’s tallest mountain.
#3 Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek (18 Days)
Suitable only for fit and experienced trekkers, the 18-day Dhaulagiri Circuit is a real wilderness adventure. It is one of the most physically challenging treks in Nepal, taking in a wide range of landscapes, including glaciers, lush fields, snow-covered slopes and rugged valleys, as well as offering views of a succession of peaks over 22,000 ft. Those with mountaineering experience can add in an ascent of Dhampus Peak.
#4 Limi Valley Trek (18 Days)
The Limi Valley trek takes you through the highest, most isolated and culturally rich region in Nepal. After a flight from the Terai town of Nepalgunj to the Simikot airstrip in northern Nepal, you trek along the churning Karnali River, past lonely villages and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and through pine forests, desolate plains, and rocky gorges. The eighth day is one of the toughest, but also most rewarding: after an exhausting climb, you eventually reach the Nara La, a 14,100 ft pass that offers stupendous views of Tibet.
#5 Lumba Sumba Pass (18 Days)
Lumba Sumba Pass is a variant on the classic Kanchenjunga routes and usually lasts around 18 days. It partially retraces the original trail to Everest used by mountaineers in the early twentieth century, visits the sculpted tea gardens of the hilly Ilam region, and passes through traditional Rai, Limbu, Tibetan and Sherpa villages. The trek is named for the Lumba Sumba Pass (16,884 ft), where you'll take in sweeping views of Kanchenjunga and Makalu, the third and fifth highest mountains on earth.
#6 Makalu Base Camp Trek (21 Days)
Trek through the wild Makalu Barun National Park and Conservation Area in the far east of Nepal on this three-week trek. It starts from the Tumlingtar airstrip and encompasses some of the most wildlife-rich and botanically diverse sections of the Himalayas. Highlights include an unusual view of the eastern face of Everest, gorgeous rhododendron forests (they flower spectacularly in the spring), and the chance to spot the endangered red panda. This is a tough trek unsuitable for novices.