Trekking in Nepal is an unforgettable experience: with a guarantee of complete cultural immersion and the opportunity to strike into the heart of the tallest mountains on the planet, every trek in Nepal offers real potential for a genuinely life-changing adventure.
Visitors travel from all over the world to test their mettle against the steep trails of the Annapurna Circuit and the Everest Base Camp Trek. And make no mistake: thanks to their awe-inspiring vistas and thrilling high-altitude climbs, these popular trekking itineraries have become household names for a reason.
But what if you’d prefer to venture into an unexplored corner of the Nepali Himalayas, where crowd-free trails wind through rhododendron forests and rise to magnificent alpine panoramas where comparatively few trekkers have trod?
Enter the Ruby Valley Trek: tucked away in the folds of the Ganesh Himal mountains, this is a weeklong hike that’s only recently been opened for international travelers.
Today, the Ruby Valley Trek offers the prospect of peering back in time. Our trekking itinerary will bring you to remote mountain villages like Gatlang, Tipling, and Chalish Gaon; these vibrant communities are situated in spectacular alpine settings and remain all but unknown to tourists.
The people who live in these traditional villages belong chiefly to the Gurung and Tamang ethnicities, and trekking in the Ruby Valley will reward you with the opportunity to enjoy homestay accommodations where you’ll learn about the distinct languages and customs of these ancient cultures.
And for nature lovers, the Ruby Valley Trek is no slouch, either: everywhere you look, green terraces give way to rugged hills, which are in turn eclipsed by soaring snowcapped peaks like Manaslu and Hiunchuli, as well as the Ganesh Himal and Langtang Himal ranges.
At Alpine Ramble Treks, we’ve carefully developed several itineraries which showcase the best of the Ruby Valley; this guide is meant to help you understand what you can expect on one of the most rewarding treks in Nepal. Read on to discover more.
How Difficult is the Ruby Valley Trek?
The Ruby Valley Trek represents a relatively gentle hike, especially compared with some of the higher-altitude treks in Nepal. Most of the trek remains well below 3,000 meters in elevation, which makes this itinerary especially compelling for newcomers to the Himalayas.
But it’s important to remember that you’ll be hiking for about four or five hours each day, and the terrain in the Ruby Valley is often steep and rocky. Moreover, most treks in the Ruby Valley involve an ascent to the high-altitude mountain pass of Pangsang La, which is situated at a breathless 3,842 meters in elevation.
At these altitudes, it’s possible for hikers to contract altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness (AMS). Symptoms of this condition include headache, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. While certain medications can alleviate the symptoms of AMS, the best remedy is to descend from high elevations.
But when you travel with Alpine Ramble Treks, there’s no need to worry—your experienced guide will keep a careful eye on the condition of everyone in your trekking group, adjusting your pace or rerouting your trek to descend to lower altitudes when necessary.
And while no previous trekking experience is required to successfully complete the Ruby Valley Trek, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself by enjoying regular cardiovascular exercise in the weeks or months leading up to your trek.
With a little planning, you’ll be more than ready to tackle the challenges that await you during your trek in Nepal. For these reasons, the Ruby Valley Trek is an excellent option for new and experienced hikers alike.
Weather on the Ruby Valley Trek
If you’re interested in the Ruby Valley Trek, you’ll want to consider when to visit Nepal. Autumn is generally regarded as one of the best times of the year to go trekking in Nepal, and the Ruby Valley is no exception.
When trekking during the autumn months between September and November, you’ll enjoy clear blue skies with little chance of rain, as well as reasonable temperatures. While autumn is a busy time for trekking elsewhere in Nepal, the trails of the Ruby Valley Trek remain wonderfully uncrowded even during this peak season.
Spring is also a great time to trek in the Ruby Valley; the green hillsides are blanketed with colorful orchids and rhododendron flowers, and the turn of the season banishes the chill of winter with pleasant temperatures.
Spring in Nepal occurs between the months of February and May, although the arrival of the summer monsoon may occasionally cut the season short.
The summer monsoon typically persists through August, and while it’s possible to enjoy trekking in the Ruby Valley during this time of year, heavy rainfall and fog can obscure mountain views and render steep mountain trails slippery with mud.
Likewise, winter is something of an off-season for the Ruby Valley. Nights and mornings are especially cold between the months of December and February, and the risk of snowfall means that you’ll have to pack carefully to meet the demands of the weather.
But trekking in winter comes with its own rewards: there’s nothing quite like seeing the majesty of the Himalayas dusted with the fine powder of fresh snowfall.
If you’re having trouble deciding when to embark upon your own Ruby Valley Trek, don’t worry—just drop us a line, and we’ll be happy to help you work out the details.
Route and Distances on the Ruby Valley Trek
When it comes to trekking in the Ruby Valley, you can actually choose between several different itineraries. The shortest and most accessible option is our seven-day Ruby Valley Trek, which includes round-trip transportation between Kathmandu and the trailhead at Syabrubesi.
For travelers with more time to spend on the trail, our nine-day Ruby Valley Trek offers the added opportunity to further explore the western reaches of the Ganesh Himal while visiting some enchanting and relatively unknown remote mountain villages.
But when you’re trekking in Nepal, you’re limited only by your own imagination; Alpine Ramble Treks is proud to craft customized itineraries for each and every traveler.
We’ll build a Ruby Valley trekking itinerary that answers your budget, timetables, and interests. As an example, a typical Ruby Valley Trek looks something like this:
Day One: Drive from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi
Day Two: Trek from Syabrubesi to Gatlang
Day Three: Trek from Gatlang to Somdang
Day Four: Trek from Somdang to Tipling via Pangsang La
Day Five: Trek From Tipling to Chalish Gaon
Day Six: Trek from Chalish Gaon to Khading
Day Seven: Trek from Khading to Lower Borang
Day Eight: Trek from Lower Borang to Dundure and drive to Kathmandu
Whatever path you follow, you can expect to be on your feet for approximately four or five hours each day. You’ll cover between 10 and 15 kilometers of ground during the course of each day’s hike, with an even longer haul during the scenic stretch between Chalish Gaon and Khading.
Thanks to the crowd-free nature of the Ruby Valley Trek, we can always make adjustments to your itinerary if you need to stop early or if you’d prefer to hike to the next village on any given day.
And regardless of the route you take, travelers on the Ruby Valley Trek are also required to obtain permits for entry into the Langtang National Park, as well as a Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) card. Alpine Ramble Treks will assist you with making these compulsory arrangements.
Accommodations on the Ruby Valley Trek
Accommodations on the Ruby Valley Trek are just one of the many qualities that make it unique among all of the treks in Nepal.
Because this is a relatively new hiking destination, the Ruby Valley has not yet been developed with tourist-oriented trekking lodges and teahouses.
Instead, you’ll be staying with local families in their traditional homes.
This is the most authentic way to experience the remote stretches of the Ganesh Himal. You’ll enjoy famous Nepali hospitality, home-cooked meals, and simple, comfortable dormitory-style rooms.
Many families in this part of Nepal don’t actually charge for accommodations; instead, they’ll expect us to eat with them and pay for our meals. Of course, Alpine Ramble Treks will factor this into the cost of your Ruby Valley trekking package.
Trekking in the Ruby Valley is a real wilderness experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave behind all the comforts of home.
In most villages, it will be possible to charge your mobile phone or the batteries for your camera—just remember to bring any necessary plug adapters. And while you won’t find a Wi-Fi signal on the Ruby Valley Trek, you may be able to access the internet intermittently, as long as you’ve outfitted your mobile phone with a local SIM card. Additionally, you’ll even be able to get a hot bucket shower on most nights.
Overall, your experience will be a little different than what you might expect on a more commercialized trekking route—but that’s exactly what makes the Ruby Valley Trek unforgettable.
What Should You Pack for the Ruby Valley Trek?
Don’t know what to pack for your trek in Nepal? The Himalayan experts at Alpine Ramble Treks have tested every combination of kits out there, and we’ll help you to understand exactly what you need to bring.
For starters, we’ll provide the basic essentials, like sleeping bags, down jackets, duffle bags, trekking poles, and walkie-talkies.
But you’ll need to bring some important personal gear of your own, including weather-appropriate clothing and personal hygiene items. We’ve put together the following list to get you started.
Hiking boots: it’s important to choose durable, waterproof boots that fit well—just make sure they aren’t too heavy. You’ll be hiking for several hours each day, so you’ll want to break in your new boots and make sure they’re comfortable before arriving in Nepal.
Trekking shirts and trousers: Long sleeves are best to protect you from the strong sunlight in the mountains, especially as you reach higher altitudes. Consider lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing that will keep you warm and dry.
Hats and sunglasses: whether you’re trekking in summer or winter, you’ll need a good hat. It’ll keep you shaded during the summer and warm during the winter. Likewise, a good pair of polarized sunglasses will shield your eyes from sunlight and bright snow.
Personal toiletries and first aid: when you’re traveling with Alpine Ramble Treks, your guide will always bring critical first aid supplies in case of injury. But it never hurts to carry a small kit of your own, and you’ll need to bring any important personal medications with you, as well. Consider packing a small stash of toilet paper and any personal hygiene products you might need when you’re out in the wilderness of the Ruby Valley.
These are just a few of the belongings you’ll want to bring on your Ruby Valley Trek. You’ll also want to bring your mobile phone, a camera, a sufficient amount of cash, and anything you need to stay entertained on a long-haul international flight.
Just remember that everything you carry into the mountains needs to be carried back out—when in doubt, pack light. If you have any questions about what you’ll need for your trek, we’d be happy to provide our expert advice.
We’re in the business of putting together unforgettable trekking packages, and we stand firmly behind all of our treks in Nepal. But the Ruby Valley Trek is really something special. Where else in the country can you enjoy classic Himalayan scenery while roaming between villages that most tourists have never heard of?
The Ruby Valley Trek is still something of a hidden gem here in Nepal, and the opportunity to enjoy homestay accommodations with friendly locals is an experience you won’t want to miss.
We trust that this guide to the Ruby Valley Trek has served to introduce you to this exciting itinerary—but there’s so much more to discover. When you’re ready to book your own hiking adventure, contact Alpine Ramble Treks. The scenic trails of the Ruby Valley Trek beckon—will you heed their call?