“Explore the northern reaches of the Kathmandu Valley and the lush forest of Shivapuri National Park.”
— Leslie Kehmeier
The Kakani to Kapan via Shivapuri National Park route is a challenging ride featuring a fair amount of climbing and amazing descents. The ride tackles the famous Scar Route along with two other significant technical downhill sections.
Compared to the Nagarkot to Kathmandu via Bhaktapur
route, this ride has a more remote feel with many sections of dense forest and waterfalls. At times you may feel as if you've found Shangri-La.
The ride is as a point-to-point adventure requiring a shuttle.
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 countryside and numerous villages, local knowledge and pre-planned logistics are invaluable.
The route described here is part of Big Mountain Adventures
Himalaya Heights trip.
$15 Entry fee to Shivapuri National Park unless you've already arranged through a guide service.
Starting from the parking area above the Nepal Police Training Center, pedal out across the ridge heading east. It's a short traverse to the boundary of Shivapuri National Park. From here, climb gradually into dense forest. Despite a few short and steep uphill sections, it's the beautiful forest that really takes your breath away. There's one quick descent before another gradual climb to the top of the Scar Route.
The next part of the ride is a thrilling gravity section that starts in the open and quickly descends into thick forest. As much as you can, stay relaxed and ready on your bike. At times the narrow and sometimes rutted singletrack will disappear beneath the vegetation below. The Scar Route ends at a road. Stay left to continue the route.
The next part of the ride is a nice and mellow section that traverses through a wide open forest along a mountainside. The trail is wide through here and more like a doubletrack. You'll notice the slopes below are dotted with terraced fields and villages.
After passing directly above the village of (Mads' village) stay left and start a gradual climb up a more developed road. From here the route covers a shorter gradual climb followed by a long mellow descent that leads to the final big climb of the ride. Along the way you'll experience very thick forest and multiple waterfalls.
Although the last climb will be unwelcome, it leads to another amazing Kathmandu Valley descent.
Drop in off a road to the right down a fall line section reinforced with sandbags. This is the most section of the route so don't be afraid to stop to scout it first. It's steep, lined with tight trees followed by a left turn into a wide open view and sheer drop-off.
Once you're through the hard part, you'll continue down past a Tibetan stupa and a web of prayer flags. This is the transition to the next gravity section, much longer than the previous one. Hold on for the ride as you descend swoopy, rutted and steep trail down a hillside reminiscent of the trails in Santa Barbara. The mountain falls away as the Kathmandu Valley unfolds below you.
The final transition runs across short narrow ridge and drops into the last descent. From here you'll tackle a few more steeps, scream across the contour through tall pines. The finale is a 'pick your own line' in a maze of trails on the last hill. At the bottom bear right and roll out to the town of Kapan.
History & Background
Shivapuri National Park was established in 2002 and serves as an important water catchment area, providing water to the Kathmandu Valley. The park is comprised of diverse broadleaf forests as well as a variety of wildlife including jungle cats, monkeys and bats.