This is one of the most challenging treks available in Bhutan and route partially overlaps with the trail of the legendary Snowman Trek, the most difficult trek in the world. This grueling nine day journey will take you up to the Duer Hotsprings, arguably the most beautiful hot springs in the Himalayas.
The trail has numerous steep ascents and descents and ranges from altitudes between 3000-4700m. However despite the difficulty this trek is well worth the effort as it will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Bhutan. You’ll journey through forests of spruce, hemlock, juniper and maple, through regions populated by herds of Blue Sheep, Musk Deer and even Himalayan Black Bears.
An entire day will be dedicated to resting in the hotsprings. The periods between March to April and September to November are the best times to take on this challenging route.
DAY 1: DUER – GORSUM
Distance 18 km, six to seven hours, 380m ascent, camp altitude 3,120m The trek route follows the Yoleng Chhu, a river known for its abundance of trout. The trail from Bumthang to Gorsum is a gradual climb.
DAY 2: GORSUM – LUNGSUM
Distance 12 km, five hours, 40m ascent, camp altitude 3,160m The trail leads through a dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple. It ascends gradually to the campsite.
DAY 3: LUNGSUM – TSOCHENCHEN
Distance 15 km, -six to seven hours, 620 m ascent camp altitude 3,780m The vegetation along the route is similar to places crossed the previous day. Near the campsite the vegetation thins out and the camp is made above tree line.
DAY 4: TSOCHENCHEN – DUER TSACHU
Distance 18 km, eight to nine hours, 1,340m ascent, 1,530m descent, camp altitude 3,590m The trek from Tsochenchen is uphill all the way until Juli La (4,700m). If the day is clear, you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains from the pass. After crossing the pass, the trail descends to a lake at 4,220m, then climbs again to Gokthong La (4,640m). From here the path is steep descent until the campsite. Musk deer, herds of blue sheep and Himalayan bears are sometimes seen along the route.
DAY 5: DUER TSACHU
As the highlight of the trek, today will be spent resting at the Duer Tsachu. After a late breakfast, relax in the rejuvenating hot springs or take a leisurely hike around surrounding areas.
DAY 6: DUER TSACHU – TSOCHENCHEN
Distance 18km, eight to nine hours, 1,530m ascent, 1,340m descent, camp altitude 3,780m Return by the same route taken on day four. The journey will be even tougher than before as there is slightly more climbing than descending.
DAY 7: TSOCHENCHEN – LUNGSUM
Distance 15 km, five hours, 620 m descent, camp altitude 3,160m Return by the route taken on day three.
DAY 8: LUNGSUM – GORSUMDistance 12 km, four hours, 40m descent, camp altitude 3,120m The trail descends gradually from the campsite. It leads through dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple.
DAY 9: GORSUM – DUER VILLAGE
Distance 18km, six hours, 380m descent From Gorsum the trail descends gradually until the bridge near Duer village, where you reach the road head.