Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek Complete Guideline

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is one of the most demanding and challenging treks which requires previous experience of alpine altitude trekking. At some part ice axe and crampons are required and you might even need to wear a helmet as some stretches of path are prone to small rock falls.

Some trekkers dubbed it as the best remote and wilderness three-week+ trek in Nepal which requires both teahouse and camping mode. Dhaulagiri round trek can be extended by adding the side trips like summiting the Dhampus peak (6,060m), non-technical trekking peak. Since it is less-trodden and the approaches are very misleading (paths are often covered by snows), trekking guide is highly recommended.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking follows the less-trodden trail and takes you to the wild vicinity of Mount Dhaulagiri (26,795ft). It is the seventh-highest mountain on Earth and regarded as one of the deadliest mountain to climb. Dhaulagiri was believed to be the highest mountain from 1808 – 1848.

In Sanskrit (ancient Hindu Dialects), “Dhaula” means “White” and “Giri” means “Mountain”. The most of ascend to this “White Mountain” was made following the northeast ridge but the climbs have been made from most directions. In 2007, there had been 358 successful summit and 58 fatalities – make it 16.2% fatality rate.


Dhaulagiri lies to the north-west of Pokhara in Dhaulagiri region.

Regional Map

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking Map

Where do Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek starts from?

Trekking to Dhaulagiri Circuit starts from Darbang some 6 – 7 north-west drive from Pokhara.  It is also possible to start the trek from Beni or Dharapani.

Highest Point of Dhaulagiri Round Trek

5,360m at French Pass marks the highest point of the trek.

How long people have been trekking to Dhaulagiri Circuit?

Dhaulagiri has always been there. The Dhaulagiri Circuit Route has been popular with campers over the decades. Over the past five years, new teahouses were built along the trail to accommodate the need of those who didn’t want to camp. But the teahouse is not available at the highest part of the trek.

What Mountains are seen during the trek?

The Dhaulagiri rage is on full show; while the view of Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Annapurna and 20+ neighboring peaks are incredible.

How to Arrange Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?

Arranging a regular Dhaulagiri Trek

There are many option to trek Dhaulagiri ranging from Package tour to independently. Online booking can be quite expensive than independent trekking but we suggest you to trek via registered trekking agency. Trekking agency concerns safety and personalized.

Packaged tour bought online

Packaged tour bought online offers fixed itinerary that is often extended unnecessarily. But it flexible – you can spend more time exploring forest, villages and mountains.

Online package tour usually covers food, accommodation, permits, tax and transportation used during the trek.

Everything from the fight tickets to food and accommodation, is arranged beforehand so it would be fare hassle free journey that trekking independently.

Independent Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

If you have high mountain experience, you can go for the trek hiring an experienced guide. The Dhaulagiri Circuit Trail are not well-marked so there is high risk of “Misleading” chance. Better to hire Dhaulagiri Circuit Specialized Guide.

Best time of the year to go for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

The weather along the Dhaulagiri trail is subject to change shortly. However there are some high time which an expert guide marked as the best season to trek.

September – November (autumn) – fall is considered as the best season to trek Dhaulagiri. The weather is excellent with clear blue sky and outstanding views.

Spring (March – May) – Best for naturalist. Apart for tantalizing views, the blooming wild flowers and lush vegetation along the trail make it really unforgettable.

Summer (Jun – Aug) – Best for keen botanist as the entire country is filled with greenery. As it is monsoon in Nepal, the continuous rainfall might create the chance of landslide and flood. Leeches are everywhere. Better not head for journey.

Winter (December – February) – Mountains are said to be at its best outfit in winter. But the extreme height of Dhaulagiri trekking trail is risky to travel. Snows often covers the trail and teahouses remain closed due to heavy snow-fall.

How fit do I need to be for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?

A high level of fitness, stamina and determination is required for the trek. You will need to walk over the high pass (5,000+) and trek along the remote terrain for several days.

What the food like on Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?

The food offered along the trail is typical Nepali food. There is no high range of food selection option; better buy your favorite snacks in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Daal Bhaat is stable food followed by pasta, Momo and pancakes.

Great thing is that the food served here are produced on farmland right there.

Do note that you will burning excess calories, drink enough water and energy bars. Food like Daal Bhaat and Tarkari is full of good calories which lasts long and keep you fueled up. Bring some Yak Cheep to supply sufficient protein and carry some candy bars for your treat.

Beer, Soda, Coffee, tea and lemon water are available on almost every teahouse. But just the food price rise up as the altitude rises.

Many people use flirted water to reduce extra expenses.

As the camping trek starts, all the foods are pre-arranged. You can ask for your favorite food to be cooked by expert cook. But do notify about the food you need to your trekking agency before the commencement of the trip.

What is accommodation like in Dhaulagiri Round Trek?

Accommodation in Round Dhaulagiri Trek is done in combined teahouse and camping trek. The villages have not felt the impact of mass tourism; thus there are basic teahouses offering limited services. But the accommodation is clean and offers cozy bed for the night. Better take sleeping bag with liner for extra comfort.

As the camping trek starts, we will be sleeping on sleeping bags which were being carried by the porters from the starting of the trip.

How difficult is the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek?

Dhaulagiri Trek is rated as challenging high altitude treks in Nepal. Trekkers have to cross 5,000m+ high passes and walk along the remote high altitude trail for several days. Altitude is major problem in Dhaulagiri Circuit trail. Tourism infrastructure is almost in zero condition above Italian Base Camp. The misleading trail often covered with snows makes it very difficult to point out the right trail.

Some of the location have no water source (if available not healthy to drink), it better to carry enough water and water purifier. As there are no teahouse above Italian Base Camp, trekkers have camp for 4 days in remote region which might not be suitable for every trekkers.

How much the does the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek Cost?

Trekking agency charges anywhere between USD 2,800 – USD 3,500.

The Costing of Dhaulagiri trek is subject to many things:

Firstly you need to obtain ACAP and TIMS to legally enter the region. Both the ACAP and TIMS cost USD 20 per person.

The Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking Route?

Many trekking agency suggests Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking itinerary from Beni, 4 – 5 drive north from Pokhara. But it is also possible to trek Dhaulagiri from different other location. You can start the trek from Darbang, the best location to start the trek. There are two option from Darbang; you can walk alongside the river or climb high above the ridge to Dharapani. Though the ridge route is tough, the views are way more rewarding than the river route.

We walk through Darbang, Takum, Muri, Bhogara, Doan and Italian Base Camp to reach Dhaulagiri Base Camp. We continue further and walk through highly elevated trail passing multiple high passes (French pass and Thapa Pass) via hidden valley, Yak Kharka, Muktinath, Jomsom to Pokhara and Kathmandu.

If you have less time; you can drive to Dharapani and start the trek from there.

Altitude Sickness during Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Altitude Sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is negative health effect caused of high altitude; with less amount of oxygen. It brings a collection of non-specific symptoms, acquired at high altitude or in low air pressure.

Although, you might encounter minor symptoms like breathlessness at an altitude of 1,500, (5,000 ft), AMS typically occurs above 2,400m (8,000ft).

Acute Mountain Sickness can go worse to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), both of which are fatal and even led to death. This can only be cure by immediate descent to lower altitude or oxygen administration.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is prone in Dhaulagiri region trek as there is sudden gain in altitude which cannot be avoided on this trek. Proper acclimatization and hydration is must. Walk on a gradual pace and take rest if needed before stepping your foot forward. An experienced guide knows exactly when your needs to acclimatization, so better accompany a professional Dhaulagiri trekking guide. Also listen to your guide and follow his footsteps strictly.


  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Rapid pulse (heart rate)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion

You trekking guide will immediately notice the symptoms of altitude sickness. Descend down to the lower elevation and use necessary medicines that your trekking guide suggests.

Essential pack list for Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Dhaulagiri Circuit demands numbers of trekking gears. It is long and challenging high altitude trek in Nepal. Though technical skills is required, you might sometime have to use crampons and helmets. The Dhaulagiri Round Trek takes you to a range of altitude when temperature drops dramatically between night and day.

You can buy or rent the trekking gear from Kathmandu or Pokhara. We suggest you to rent the gear which you will find much cheaper than buying it. But if you are regular trekkers, better to buy it as you will find it cheaper in Kathmandu.

Choosing the right clothes and gear according to the weather and climate is important to avoid complications during the trek. You have to pack according the hotter temperature at lower altitude and colder temperature at high altitude.

Here is the list of recommended packing list of items that you need to pack during the trek. This list will help you for the safe and easier journey.


  • Insulated Jacket
  • Water and wind proof Jacket (breathable)
  • Down Jacket
  • Thermal tops
  • Trekking shirts
  • Trekking trousers or shorts
  • Breathable underwears
  • Rain gears
  • Lightweight thermal trousers

Head and Hand

  • Lightweight gloves
  • Bandana or head scarf
  • Warm woolen hat
  • Sun hat
  • Buff, Balaclava or Neck Band
  • Headlamp with extra batteries and bulbs
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Prescription sunglasses (if required)


  • Good pair of hiking socks
  • Woolen socks
  • Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Hiking sandals
  • Cotton socks (optional)
  • Gaiters


  • Quick drying towel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Deodorants
  • Nail Clippers
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Sunscreen Cream
  • Lip Balm
  • Foot Powder
  • Female hygiene products
  • Personal hygiene
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissue/ toilet roll

Important Accessories:

  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Backpack
  • Daypack for carrying your valuables
  • Personal first-aid kit (light)
  • Medicines – Aspirin, anti-diarrhea pills, Anti-headache pills, cough and cold medicines, stomach ache and medicines for high altitude sickness
  • Camera with extra batteries and memories


  • Books
  • Trekking route map
  • Playing cards, chess, scrabble etc. for leisure
  • Binoculars
  • Lightweight pillow case
  • Valid passport with at least 6 months of validity dare
  • Passport photocopies
  • 2 extra pp size photo ( you can get it quickly in Kathmandu)
  • Insurance Proof
  • Cash

Insurance Info

Insurance is vital for Dhaulagiri Trek. In case of unforeseen incident or accident, you might require medical assistance and evacuation which might be expensive; it is wise to get insured that covers the costs of air ambulance and treatment.

Make sure you insurance covers all the travel related risks – like stolen, damaged or delayed baggage, interruptions and flight delays.