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Hidden Lake and Glacier Trek

Abhishek Subedi August 8, 2020

Hidden Lake and Glacier trek is an exciting and demanding hidden trek in the heart of Annapurna sanctuary. Hidden lake and Glacier Trek cover a Hidden Holy Lake (Khaire) in Annapurna area which is a moderate to challenging trek in wilderness area. Below Annapurna South where few trekkers have gone before. Hidden lake and glacier trek cover some of very popular trekking area of Annapurna Sanctuary. Such as GhandrukVillage, Tadapani, chhomrong from where you could see panoramic views. Of Annapurna south, himchuli, fishtail and some other mountains in Annapurna region. The rest of the trek areas, we will visit are more wilderness and very remote, however the trail will take you to the base camp of Annapurna south base camp through off the beaten track trail and the areas only few people travel before such as Kopra danda, Khaire Lake which are hidden trail of Annapurna region. 

Hidden Lake and Glacier Trek

About the Trek

Hidden lake and Glacier trek is one of great contrast, encompassing all the features of the area from the terraced village lowlands, through the forests and agricultural areas of the middle hill country, to the glacial basins of the Annapurna Mountains. Hidden lake trek starts from the subtropical Pokhara Valley and passes through paddy fields before gradually ascending through terraced hillsides of wheat and barley. At each of the villages along the way we are warmly received by the local Gurung and Magar people.

This trek is sensibly paced so we have ample opportunity to experience and absorb local lifestyles that have changed little over centuries. From the start of trekking, we enjoy ever-changing views of the stunning, snow-covered Annapurna Mountains. Halfway through the trek we leave habitation behind and walk through rhododendron and oak forests, alive with exotic birds and beautiful flowers, to finally emerge above the tree line at Kopra Danda. 

Here we experience the stunning wilderness scenery beneath the towering peaks of Annapurna; to the west lies Dhaulagiri and far below lies the Kali Gandaki River Valley, which is the world’s deepest George. As we climb higher above the tree line we enter a fantastic mountain wilderness visited only by local shepherds during the monsoon months. The truly spectacular vista is dominated by Annapurna I (8091m) and Dhaulagiri (8167m), the highest peaks in the region. However this unique trek concentrates on the unexplored wilderness around Annapurna South (7237m), a remote and magnificent area that is rarely visited. An exploration of the rugged area below Annapurna South is sure to be the highlight of our journey.

Day 1 Drive to Pokhara

The journey starts from the Kathmandu valley from where the bus ride of about 5 to 6 hours will take you to the beautiful city of Pokhara. Through this ride travellers can enjoy the scenic views of beautiful river valleys, alongside terraced fields of barley and rice and over green hills blanketed with lush vegetation. When you arrive at the Pokhara valley there you will witness the beautiful lakes, hills and mountain ranges. The travellers will enjoy the evening here and stay here for a night. 

Hidden Lake and Glacier Trek

 Day 2 Drive to Nayapul and Trek to Ghandruk

We begin our trekking holiday from Pokhara to Nayapul (1050m) which is a 01 hour drive, from Nayapul; our trek begins as the trail ascends slightly through forests to Ghandruk, a bustling village of the ethnic Gurung community who has their own dialect, culture, dress and traditions. Ghandruk is also home to many Gurkha soldiers. It is a well known destination for trekkers as it is known for its beautiful mountain views and also because it’s just a stone’s throw from Pokhara and Kathmandu. The afternoon is ours to visit the Annapurna Conservation Office, museums and explore the interesting village. 

Day 3 Trek to Tadapani

We first descend further along the trail showcasing rich rhododendron forests, splendidly cascading sparkling mountain streams and other magical vistas of nature that surprise us. After continuously climbing for 3 hours, we step on the territory of Tadapani at an altitude of 2590m. Tadapani offers the most awesome mountain views of the overpowering peaks of Annapurna South. 

Day 4 Trek to Bayeli Kharka

We move off the main trail that leads to Ghorepani and follow a seldom used trail – that first starts through a thick rhododendron forest – leading to water outlets for buffalo pastures. The climb is steady and we will soon emerge above the tree line to wonderful views of the Annapurna range. We will haul up for lunch by a small stream and then continue to climb gradually through open land to reach a small pass, where the trail descends through rhododendron forest to an open clearing known as Bayeli Kharka, where there’s a lodge. From the lodge there are lovely views of Dhaulagiri Himal. 

Day 5 Trek to Khopra Ridge

After a warm hearty breakfast, we set out on a steady climb above the tree line through alpine meadows and pastures to reach Khopra.On nearing the Khopra Ridge; we see the tip of Annapurna South. Upon reaching Khopra we go for a brief hike down Khopra Ridge to a viewpoint overlooking Kali Gandaki river far below in this deep valley. From Khopra we also approve of the stunning mountain panorama including Mt. Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and Annapurna South.

Day 6 Trek to Khaire Khola

To assist our acclimatisation efforts, we will remain at Kaire Khola for another day and night. During the day we will take packed lunches and follow a pretty comfy trail up a stone staircase to a lake known as Pautarko Kaire. This lake is the site of the Badau Purnima Festival, held once a year in August and September. Villagers from the surrounding area congregate here to pray to Lord Shiva, bathe in the icy-cold waters of the lake and make animal sacrifices. Though it’s pretty close to the camp, the walk to this glacial lake will be tiring due to the higher elevations. Ascending the hill behind the lake is also advised as it allows for superb views of Annapurna I. In the afternoon we will revert back to the same route to get back to the camp. 

Day 7 Acclimatization day at Khaire Khola

We haul up here to rest our bodies without remaining idle. We can explore the area and do our own things; this can include some washing or reading our favorite novels. We also explore the hill behind the lake and revel in the beautiful landscapes that surround us.

Day 8 Trek to Celli Kharka

From the campsite we will hike into a zone only frequented by local shepherds. Besides our own groups, experience tells us that no other trekkers will have visited this region. The climb out of Tiboche Basin looks virtually impossible from the camp; however, a well-defined trail, marked by stone cairns and prayer flags, winds its way unbelievably to the top, where a regal panorama will greet us. This high altitude plateau affords beautiful views of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhare and Annapurna South. From the saddle we will negotiate across the hillside to camp near a small stream and stone huts at Celli Kharka. 

Day 9 Trek to Hidden Lake

Today will be a unique part of our trek, as we reach an infrequently visited lake set among sharp, rocky spires. The scenery is truly overwhelming and is known only to a few shepherds and hunters. During our study of this area, it took many days to locate the exact position of this hidden lake. Some villagers knew of the area, but had never visited it and this led to many conflicting stories as to where we should look for it. We will camp a short distance from the lake itself and take pleasure in a full day exploring this far-flung place where we will shockingly find some of the most splendid scenery in all of Nepal.

Day 10 Trek to Annapurna South Base Camp

As we hike the Annapurna circuit trail for 2 hours, we descend a small ridge branching out from the mountain pass to mountainside with widespread green terraced fields displaying serene meadows and lush abundant farming land. As we reach Annapurna South Base Camp, we begin to eyewitness awe-inspiring pictorial landscapes, grandiose panoramic views of snow-capped mountain peaks and varied Himalayan cultural settings tucked beneath the southern slopes of the Annapurna massif. From the lake we will slowly hike up to a small pass that leads to a steep descent past Annapurna South Base Camp. The scene is just awesome, with dipping glaciers and large moraine walls.

We will set up camp at Annapurna South Base Camp and may even meet a climbing expedition, as our arrival may bump into the climbing season. We will enjoy a complete extra day of exploration at Base Camp, where we’ll have a chance to head up to the main glacier of this fantastic peak. This dazzling display of sweet nature is something we’ll never forget.

Day 11 Trek to Chhomrong

From Annapurna SBC, we hike along the mountain path of stone steps, pass through a pretty hamlet, cross a suspension bridge and then we walk through a dense forest of bamboo. Finding ourselves in complete isolation amidst the serenity of nature can be quite an experience. Our trek does not stop here. After trekking for a while, we approach teahouses at Jhinu where we can relax and enjoy a drink or snacks. We then resume our trek to the north, descending Daaulu and after having walked for five hours, we soon find ourselves at Chhomrong. From Chhomrong we can get gripping views of Machhapuchhare.

Day 12 Trek to Shyauli

Today morning after breakfast, we’ll drop down to Modi Khola Valley and to the hot springs at Jhinudanda. The revert route then goes by the river past a small bunch of lodges at New Bridge before a very pretty trail takes you to Kalchane and on to an airy suspension bridge that leads steeply up to the village of Ghandruk. We will haul up for lunch and in the afternoon continue to follow the river to Kilyu, where we will rejoin the main trail for the short walk to our lodge at Shyauli Bazaar. 

Shyauli

Day 13 Trek to Nayapul and Drive to Pokhara

Today we wrapped up our trek at Nayapul followed by a short drive back to Pokhara. After reaching Pokhara, we check into our hotel, refresh with some drinks and snacks, maybe even have a bath; if we wish so, we can also do some boating on the tranquil Fewa Lake. We then will have a relaxing afternoon where we can simply chill out with some cold beers and reflect on a wonderful outdoor trip we just returned from. 

Day 14 Drive Back to Kathmandu Valley

It is time to bid farewell to the Pokhara valley and take a bus ride back to the Kathmandu valley. You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, river valleys and clear sky through the window of the bus before reaching the city.   

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