Total Distance: 22kms. Duration: 3 Days 2 Nights. Grade: Moderate. Altitude Gain: 970m. Altitude Loss: 770m. The Bumthang Owl Trek offers an invigorating experience of the culture and environment of the country. It is a moderate 3-day hiking route which starts from Menchugang and ends at jakar dzong or Tharpaling.
The trail has an abundance of flora and fauna, and the panoramic views of the valleys beneath the hills. This trek could be a substitute for the Bumthang Cultural Trek that has been deteriorated to a great degree by farm road constructions.
Day 01. Menchugang to Scho-nath. 10kms, 6-7 hours, 550m ascent.
Drive to Menchugang 2,900m and visit the biggest village of Dhur in Bumthang at an elevation of 2,900m. The village consists of about 75 households with a recorded population of around 800 people. The single village has three types of inhabitants, the Kheps (tax payers) having cattle and farmland, Brokpas (nomads) having yaks and a third group having either.
This village has two different dialects, the usual Bumthangkha and Brok ked (nomadic dialect). A walk above the village to get an overall view of the village is interesting. After visiting the village descent down to the river crossing it on a suspension bridge and up to the road where the trail takes a left turn following a stream gradually uphill through pine forest, bamboo, and finally fir trees just below the camp.
Camp altitude 3,450m.
Overnight at camp/tent.
Day 02. Scho-nath to Kitiphu. 8kms, 5-6 hours, 420m ascent. Hardly any descent.
The trail climbs on the other side of the camp on the left making small turns through rhododendrons, fir spruce and hemlock and birch. Bamboos are the main undergrowth of this wild forest. Rhododendrons are in bloom during the months of April and May.
It takes roughly about two hours to the pass at Drangela 3,600m. Then the trail is gradual with little descents till a yak herders camp, where the trail starts to climb to Kitiphu quite steeply. Camp altitude 3,870m.
Overnight at camp/tent.
Day 03. Kitiphu to Tharpaling 5.5kms, 3-4hours, 10m ascent, 770 descent.
After breakfast hike up to the top of the Kitiphu ridge 4,000m to get a glance of the Highest Unclimbed Peak, Gangkar Puensum 7,541. From the top there are great views of the Gyetsa valley under Chumey and Dhur village under the Chokhor valley. After your pictures, descent down to the main trail and then to a pass from where Tharpaling is visible. There is also an image of Longchen Rabjampa, the great Tibetian Dzogchen who meditated and lived at Tharpaling 3,100m. From the pass there is a trail going to Lamey Goemba over the Kikila pass, if you want to end at Jakar.
Overnight either at the Monastery Guest House or Hotel in Bumthang.