Nature Trail
Jewel of the Annapurna: Conquering the Khopra Ridge Trek (Complete Guide)

Jewel of the Annapurna: Conquering the Khopra Ridge Trek (Complete Guide)

The Khopra Ridge Trek is one of the less-crowded trekking destinations, located 39.8 km northeast of Pokhara. The beauty of the exceptional landscapes of Khopra Danda and Khayer Lake and the amazing views of prominent peaks like Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna, Hiunchuli, and Nilgiri sustain the secluded trekking route in the Annapurna region.

Have you wondered how the elevation of Khopra Ridge unfolds? It takes typically around 3 to 7 days to complete this trek and to relish the views from the Khopra viewpoint at 3660m. But if your heart seeks additional entertainment, the Khayar Lake viewpoint at 4500m is worth it.

Peri Bharani Lake and Temple: Khopra Ridge Trekking Route Highlights

The Khopra Danda Trek is one of the community-focused treks in Nepal, with household-operated lodges and teahouses. Once you start the adventure from Pokhara, you can take an off-road ride to the east to the village of Swatah; that’s where the real adventure begins.

On your drive, you can pause at the beautiful Peri Bharani Lake at Histan on the trekking route from Paudwar to Ghorepani. It is a sacred lake near the Peri Bharani Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Bhagwati.

The local villagers are of major ethnicities like Pun, Magar, and Limbu, and even some are Brahmin and Chhetri. They believe that the lake originated when Bhagwati Devi thrust her trident (trishul) into the ground. It was a great place for various bird-watching activities, but today the concerns are rising as migratory birds stop swimming in the lake., while community efforts to preserve the aquatic life are ongoing.

Swatah village in Khopra Ridge Trek: A Beautiful start

Khopra Ridge in the Myagdi district is a recently discovered trek in the imagination of Mahabir Pun, from the area where he belonged. It is a surprising off-the-beaten-trail trekking destination that starts with a ride to the village of Swotah Gaun.

One of the attractions is the waterfall near Swotah Gaun, which is a short distance trek from the village itself. It lies just to the flipside of the Ghorepani Pun Hill, in the Annapurna rural municipality in the Myagdi district of Nepal.

The trail to Swotah, being a high-altitude village, can be slippery due to the snow. You can also take lunch or stay at different hotels, including the Happy Valley Lodge in Swatah village.

The people of Swotah Gaun (village) have been living here for 300 years until they finally see a spark of development. A local interview with Purvi Blues said that it was difficult until the world caught their eye with the beautiful scenery of Khopra Ridge and local tourism replaced their rural way of life.

The village has a Ganesh Temple (Swotah Mandir), where locals celebrate religious festivals with bhajan and kirtan (devotional songs and chanting). The majority of the local population belongs to the Pun community, and their livelihoods revolve around tourism and agriculture.

They are content while celebrating both Hinduism and Buddhism in this part of the Myagdi district and believe Aari Dewata is their protector. With the rise of tourism in the region, especially as it falls on the trekking route to the Khopra Ridge trek, the local economy has increased.

Expect this on the trekking route to Khopra Ridge

Khopra Hill ( Danda) is situated on the ridge, which is why it's popularly called the ridge by international trekkers. Even with the extreme danger at the cliff, the views of the mountain giants seen from here are worth it.

The Khopra Danda, at an altitude of 3,640 meters (11,942 feet), can be extremely dangerous if you don't prepare well for its difficult landscapes and surprising challenges. Khopra Danda, Dhan Kharka, and Bayeli Hotel are running 50 KW of hydropower on the route, just on the banks of Dhasre Khore Khola.

Until you cross that, the path is straightforward, until you rest at the base of the waterfall and then start uphill until you reach the Khopra Danda. You see an Evergreen cottage on the way (where you can have lunch and even stay to your preference) before you rest your day off at the Khopra, with signs and signals to reach the destination of the day on the midway.

Chhistibang can be your stay spot before you plan a morning hike to Khopra Ridge. Stay with friendly locals and enjoy the Kirati food, hot garlic soups in winter, and instant spicy noodles for a spike in your energy level. The local guesthouse also serves you meat curry, the local staple food, Dal Bhaat, and spicy chutney (achar).

Deep within the mighty Annapurna realm, as you continue the trekking route, you can also find Hunters Hole Cave. The hidden trail unfolds the mystery of the Khopra Ridge Trek, its raw beauty, ancient wisdom, and the whispers of the Himalayas themselves.

Highlights of the Khopra Ridge trek

The evergreen forests of rhododendron and oak embrace you like a long-lost friend and their fragrance just keeps you going. The shy musk deer, the agile langur monkeys, and countless feathered birds can join you on the trekking route.

But it's the towering rock and ice that melt on the way, increasing the tough time, but giving you goosebumps. The mighty Dhaulagiri, standing at a staggering 8,167 meters, the legendary Annapurna South (7,219 m), and the enigmatic Nilgiri (7,061 m) have a plus point over the Annapurna I (8091 m) shadow itself. Other prominent Himalayan giants you can see are,

  • Machhapuchre (6,993 m)
  • Annapurna II (7937 m)
  • Annapurna III (7555m)
  • Gangapurna (7455m)
  • Tukuche peak (6920m)
  • Dhampus Peak (6012m)
  • Hiunchuli (6441m)
  • Gurja Himal (7193m)

Noteworthy, a panorama of over 20 peaks can truly be the best highlight of the Khopra Ridge Trek. Also, you can get a rare glimpse of age-old traditions and know the cultures of Gurung, Magar, and Thakali from the closure of this ridge trek situated at a staggering 4,650 meters (15,091 feet).

Why take a Khopra Ridge trek with Khayer Lake?

The Khopra Ridge trek also takes you through several traditional Nepali villages, with their unique predominant Gurung, Magar, and Thakali cultures. At the same time, Brahmin and Chhetri are also encountered during this trek.

As the name Khopra Ridge Trek suggests, this trek takes you to Khopra Ridge, also known as Khopra Danda, which offers panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. The isolated trail begins as we trek from Tadapani to Dobato, and from here, we can enjoy the tranquil environment up to Khopra Ridge.

At 4,650 meters, you take a morning hike to Khayer Lake, a popular trekking destination, as an optional extension of the Khopra Ridge trek. Interestingly, the high-altitude glacial lake exceeds even the altitude of Mardi Himal Base Camp (4,500 meters/14,800 feet), making the water extremely cold.

Khayer Lake Trek is an auspicious lake where many pilgrims once a year in the Janai Purnima festival take a dip in July-August. The reason is precise, they believe that a dip during the festivities in the holy water can cleanse their souls, remove sins of any kind, and also fulfill their wishes.


In summary, the Khopra Ridge Trek offers a rewarding experience, with the main high point at Khopra Danda. For the more adventurous, the untouched trail to Khayer Lake at an impressive 4,650 meters provides an exceptional side trip, albeit without overnight accommodation at that extreme altitude.

Proper acclimatization and preparation are essential for attempting the strenuous hike to Khopra Ridge and Khayer Lake. Bookings are open for 2024-2025 for the expedition to Khayer Lake. Inquire about the payment and other trekking and Nepal tour that might catch your attention with Nature Trail.

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