“Super fast descending with an out and back to Gyu La Pass.”
— Leslie Kehmeier
A travel permit is required to travel and stay within the Lower Mustang Region.
The Muktinath to Kagbeni ride takes you through a high-altitude landscape in the Annupaurna region. Cradled in a valley below a section of the Himalayan mountain range, you'll be exposed to awesome singletrack, endless views and sometimes harsh elements.
The route takes you out and back to Gyu La pass where you can experience iconic Buddhist prayer flags while peering into the mysterious Upper Mustang region.
This is a point-to-point ride with a shuttle drop point near the village of Ranipauwa.
Need to Know
Nepal is the kind of mountain bike destination that is best experienced with a tour company and guide. With routes and trails that interconnect through remote mountains and numerous villages, local knowledge and pre-planned logistics are invaluable.
The Annapurna Region is a high-altitude, exposed environment. Be prepared with extra layers, food and plenty of water.
The route described here is part of Big Mountain Adventures
Himalaya Heights trip.
Start by pedaling from your shuttle vehicle towards the village of Ranipauwa. Pass the stairs leading up to the Muktinath temple and then dive down singletrack going off the left side of the road.
Keep your balance and speed in check while you descend steep narrow trail towards a suspension bridge. Cross the bridge and then scramble up the opposite side. It's short and short and may require pushing.
From here descend a brief section of road that crosses a small draining via bridge. The route begins transitioning into trail of sorts. It's more of a network of human and animal trails that make a singletrack web.
Push and pedal your way north passing a major trail intersection on a large shallow hillside. You'll be turning this way on the return trip from the pass.
Continue grinding up the trail towards the high point and highlight of the ride.
Once you reach a large stack of rocks hosting a post of faded prayers flags, you've come to Gyu La pass, the turn-around point for the ride. Throw on a jacket (it's most likely windy and cold here) and spend some time taking in the 360 views of the highest mountains in the world. To the north lies the Upper Mustang region and to the south you'll be looking up at peaks in the Annapurna Range.
Retrace your steps on a screamin' downhill to that major intersection you pass on the climb. Turn right and continue descending into a valley. The soil is powdery and hides some rocks, so be alert. As your approach the outlet at a village, the trail dives into a steep and rocky gully.
Continue through a small village that includes a Buddhist monastery on the ridge above. You'll ride through a few narrow passages above cobblestone before exiting onto a doubletrack heading down the valley.
With big mountains ahead and behind you, the fast descent is still remarkable even on a dirt road. It's a very idyllic setting with the contrasting colors of terraces, village buildings, peaks and the sky.
Strong winds and local villagers and their herds are certain to greet you somewhere along the way. Be prepared to stop quick despite being in a very remote location.
There are a few tight turns just outside of Kagbeni before pedaling past the prayer wheels as you enter the village and finish the ride.
History & Background
Rides in this area start near the Muktinath temple, a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists.