Jomolhari Trek II / Max. Elevation: 4,890m
Duration: Eight days
Highest Camp: 4,080m
Best Seasons: April to June, September to November
Start: Drukgyel Dzong (Paro)
Finish: Drukgyel Dzong (Paro)
Summary: Jomolhari Trek – Jomolhari Trek II is the shorter one of the two Jomolhari routes and the most popular trek in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2,500m and nearly 5,000m (lowest and highest point of the route) it offers a wide range of landscape and fauna and flora. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Basecamp in Jangothang. Trekkers who want to avoid high passes and high altitude can chose an easier version of the Jomolhari Trek II by going back the same way down from Jangothang (see days 1-3), while still having the majestic impressions of Mount Jomolhari.
Day 1: Drukgyel Dzong – Sharna Zampa (Distance 17km, four to five hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2,850m).
Drive up to Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begins with a gradual climb the trail follows the Paro Chhu passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army check post your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
Day 2: Sharna Zampa- Thangthangkha (Distance 22km, seven to eight hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m).
On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path, which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mount Jomolhari.
Day 3: Thangthangkha – Jangothang (Distance 19km, five to six hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m).
If you did not see Mount Jomolhari last evening, you will have a great chance to get a great view this early morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley, which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. Cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. Reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.
Day 4: Jangothang Halt.
The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. Trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and it’s subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.
Day 5: Jangothang to Dhumzo (Distance 16km, six to seven hours, 810m ascent, 1,090m descent, camp altitude 3,800m)
The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890 m, the highest point of this trek route. Reaching the Dhumzo Chhu river, you trek downstream passing the few houses of Dhumzo to arrive at your camp soon after.
Day 6: Dhumzo to Thombu Shong (Distance 11km, four to five hours, 720m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 4,180m).
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then. After crossing the Takhung La pass (4,520m) you descent to Thombu Shong, three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them.
Day 7: Thombu Shong to Sharna Zampa (Distance 13km, four to five hours, 200m ascent, 1,650m descent, camp altitude 2,850m)
Crossing Thombu La pass (4,380m) you will finally reach Gunitsawa and the campsite of your first night of this trek.
Day 8: Sharna Zampa to Drukgyel Dzong (Distance 17km, four to six hours, 80m ascent, 360m descent).
Coming across the primary school and shop the valley opens. From Mitshi Zampa you can see how the dzong is positioned and where the path takes you finally to Drugyel Dzong.