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“This high altitude trail tour offers the best entry to himalayan mountain biking.”
— Adopt These Trails!
The road connecting the villages Likir, Saspotse, Yangthang and Hemis Shukpanchen offers an easy access to the high passes Lhalung La (3550m a.s), Charatse La (3650m a.s), Tsarmangchan La (3870m a.s). On top of the passes the there is always a trail option to decent. Lot's of fun in amazing landscapes.
Need to Know
This is in high altitude and extreme climate. Local support is strongly advised!
Basic Homestays are available in each village, as well as camping grounds. Do not attempt to camp in the wild, as there will be an unhappy land owner and you'll not find water. A local support crew is cheap and will provide everything you need, including great entertainment.
- Make sure to acclimatize to the high altitude for at least three days after arriving in Leh.
- While riding, take extra care when passing local people or horses, as they are not used to visitors on mountain bikes.
- The eco system is extremely fragile, make sure not to pollute.
Local Tour Operators are experienced with mountain bikers, and are very honest and reliable. More information can be found by following this link
Cycling from Leh to Likir is possible in one day. Cycle along the senic Leh-Srinagar Highway. In villages along the highway you can find refreshments. A local crew with a support jeep is adviseable.
Start out in Likir Village towards Lhalung La. This is a very easy climb and you'll reach the top within 30 minutes. The pass offers singletrack descents to both sides, so it is tempting to ride down into Likir again.
The trail to the west starts right on top beneath the prayer flag. Be very careful, this is the most difficult one of the three trails on this tour. The ground is very sandy and loose, if you are not used to it take your time to get adapted, a broken collar bone is not what you are looking for in the Himalayas.
At the end of the trail take one of the sand-roads back up to the black top road and follow that one towards the west again. The next pass is called Charatse La, the climb will take approx. one hour. Again on Charatse La there are trails to either side. If you have a support jeep consider a shuttle run.
The trail towards the west ends lower than the black top road, so you need to push and walk your bike back up.
The last pass of this day tour is called Tsarmangchan La. Again the climb is approx. one hour. The trail into Hemis Shukpanchen is the easiest of the three and great finale for this epic day of riding.
History & Background
For more history of the Ladakh region, check out the Wikipedia article