Rara lake is one of the most incredible and fascinating treks in all the Himalayan range lies northwest of Kathmandu in the remote area of Karnali. If you are looking of wilderness and solitude travel, this trek is an ideal choice. The route is very much ‘off the beaten track‘ and affords glimpses of cultures and scenery very different from the rest of Nepal. The clear, high altitude lake of Rara, which mirrors the snow capped Himalayas is ringed with blue pine, black juniper forest and Lake Rara is a popular serenity pilgrimage for Nepalese. In summer rainfall is low, and ideal for trekking. In the winter there is often snow on the ridge surrounding the lake, in the autumn season trekkers are rewarded with a profusion of alpine flowers. Rara Lake is five kilometers long and two kilometers wide and is the largest lake in Nepal. The national Park is one of the best places in Nepal to see wildlife: musk deer, leopards, ghorals, tahr, Himalayan black beer, and the rare red panda are all native. The park is also a bird watcher’s delight, especially during November and April when many species of birds visit during their seasonal migration.
Khaptad National Park is nowadays in Nepal’s far western region and covers 225 km2 of rich forest. In the lower ranges of the park, 1,000 to 2,000m, the forest is mainly a tropical dense jungle; however as it ascends into the foothills, the forest becomes mainly dominated by tall alpine trees. Conservationists have catalogued over 150 species of wild grassland flowers and berries and over 200 species of medicinal herbs unique to the Himalayas – perhaps the very same Khaptad Baba used to cure the sick child many years ago. There are also over 300 species of birds that visit the park year round on top of a variety of other wild animals: musk deer, black bears, barking deer, Himalayan large cats, langur monkey and many others.
The best time to visit is from March-May and October-November when the flowers are in bloom and the climate is mild. There are no guesthouses or lodges in the park; however, camping is allowed and is an ideal way to experience the beauty of the park up close. Remember to bring everything you need with you and clean up after you’re gone!