Draped along the greatest heights of the Himalaya, Nepal is where the cold of the mountains meets the steamy heat of the Indian Plains. It’s a thoroughly colourful slice of Asia — a land of yaks and yetis, Stupas and Sherpas, and some of the most epic mountain biking on Earth.
Soaring snow-capped mountains shimmer with rainbows of prayer flags, while the intense streets of Kathmandu become a ceaseless frenzy of chattering vendors and garish signs. Nepal’s craggy chunk of the Himalayas offers world-class terrain, peppered with rustic mountain villages, and hundreds of undulating trails that have been trodden upon for centuries.
This Ride is a tale of two valleys. The first half is spent riding on the breathtaking singletrack of the lush hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. At the center of this valley lies Kathmandu City — a UNESCO world heritage site that is almost entirely an open-air museum, with hundreds of medieval temples, palaces, shrines and statues dotted around the narrow streets. On the second half, we travel to the contrasting arid Kali Gandaki valley in the remote Lower Mustang region. Following an ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet, we will ride through the world’s deepest valley on the foothills of some of the tallest mountains on Earth.
Is This Ride For You?
You are an experienced, skilled mountain biker with very solid mountain bike handling skills. You have a strong fitness level and can handle long, strenuous climbs. You have advanced-level technical skills and experience in a variety of different terrain, and you have no problems descending a set of stairs, for example. You don’t have a fear of flying (there are two flights in small planes on this trip). You are excited to explore what the locals ride on a combination of singletrack, old mule trails and dirt tracks among some of the most magnificent mountain ranges on planet earth! You have a solid, well-maintained do-it-all trail bike (with roughly 130–160mm of travel, dropper post and beefy tires. Rentals also available).
Day 1. Arrive in Kathmandu
Welcome to Nepal! We will meet you at the Tribhuvan International Airport and transfer you over to our picturesque hotel in Nagarkot, located about 1.5 hours outside of Kathmandu City. We’ll build our bikes in the evening and get to meet our fellow travellers over some local beer.
Note: We recommend riders travelling from anywhere outside of Asia to arrive in Nepal a day or two early to allow your body to adjust and to ensure you leave some time for any delayed baggages / flights. For riders arriving early, Hotel Ambassador is our recommended hotel in Kathmandu, and also the meeting point on Day 1.
Important: Our van leaves Kathmandu at mid-day, so riders should either get on flights landing before 12 PM, or arrive a day prior.
Day 2. The Shooting Stars
After catching up on some needed rest after the long flights, we’ll have a relaxed breakfast and pre-trip meeting.
We will start the ride by climbing towards the summit of Nagarkot Hill — one of the highest points in the Kathmandu Valley. From there, we’ll descend to Nala on a fast and flowy forest trail losing about 2,000 feet in elevation.
At the end of the descent, we will be transferred to lunch back at our accommodation before venturing out for some more trail fun in the afternoon.
Day 3. Bhaktapur Village Trails
Today we’ll ride on a wide array of village trails, crossing through wooded forests and rice paddies and ending in the walled-city of Bhaktapur (literal translation: city of devotees), a medieval town where we’ll find more temples than houses.
A local guide will give us a tour of this breathtaking World Heritage Site, allowing us to explore the beautiful palaces and temples before enjoying dinner at a traditional pagoda style restaurant.
Day 4. Flight to Pokhara
We’ll set off early morning to Kathmandu’s airport to catch our plane to Pokhara. After the 30-minute flight, we will transfer over to our hotel in the Lakeside district of Pokhara.
While the bikes are being transferred to Mustang, you can explore the area as you wish for the rest of the afternoon; you can plan an excursion to the nearby hills, go for a pedal-boat ride on Fewa Lake, get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful lake city and the gorgeous Macchapuchare mountain on a paraglider, or simply relax at the hotel while enjoying a well-deserved massage.
Day 5. Flight to Jomson/Kagbeni Exploration
Rise and shine for another early morning flight, albeit an incredibly spectacular one. The 20-minute flight from Jomsom is one of the most breathtaking flights in the world, and will take us straight into the heart of the Mustang Valley — deep in the Himalayas — as we spot the 7th and 10th highest peaks in the world on either side.
Once we arrive in Jomsom, we’ll unpack our bikes and start riding towards Kagbeni, an ancient village on the banks of the Kali Gandaki river.
Day 6. The Twin Descents of Lupra
A massive day with over 6,000 feet of descending awaits. We’ll ride along the Muktinath ridge and climb towards the scenic Lupra Pass before following a trail down towards the village of Lupra, riding over narrow and technical singletrack.
Once we arrive in Lupra, we’ll continue descending down the Panda Khola to head back to Kagbeni for lunch. Post-lunch, we will shuttle back to Muktinath and climb up to Lupra pass a second time, to ride another amazing fast descent down to the Kali Gandaki Valley.
Day 7. Thorung High Camp
Today, we’ll reach the highest point of our entire trip — a monstrous elevation of 4,300 meters above sea level.
The air will get thinner and the trail will get steeper as we shuttle to the holy town of Muktinath where the bike ascent begins.
It will be a challenging day, but we’ll be rewarded with a 5,000 feet descent through flowy, high Himalayan landscape, breathtaking views and no shortage of picture-perfect vistas.
Day 8. Traverse The World’s Deepest Valley
Today may be our most epic day yet. We’ll descend from the high altitudes of Mustang to the pine forests of Kalopani following the old trail along the river, all the while staring up at the two 8000 meter peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
Day 9. Chicken Run/Drive To Pokhara
Another day of diversity as we descend from the alpine Kalopani village to the subtropic jungles of Tatopani on a 15 mile descent.
A quick lunch break at Tatopani, and we’ll continue riding towards Beni where our van to Pokhara awaits.
Day 10. Pokhara Quickie
After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel in Pokhara, we’ll shuttle up to the World Peace Pagoda to ride a quick but fun forest descent finishing at our lakeside lunch restaurant.
Day 11. Flight to Kathmandu & Closing Dinner
After breakfast, we’ll make our way to the airport, catch our return flight to Kathmandu airport and shuttle to our hotel.
The rest of the afternoon will be spent exploring and indulging once more in this faraway land and culture. We will converge in the evening for a celebratory dinner to mark the end of our epic journey.
Day 12. Departure Day
We’ll have shuttles departing all day to take you back to Kathmandu for your flight home.