This is one of the most popular treks in Sikkim Dzongri-Geochala Trek that is 103 km long and takes 7 days to complete.
Day 1– Yuksom to Baktim
The first day’s trek is 16 km long ascent to Baktim and takes 5-6 hours to complete. En route one will pass through forests of ancient oak, conifer, and bamboo with ferns and delicate orchids lining the trail. One the way up, one has remarkable views of Yuksom and its position on a plateau above the Rathong River. Yuksom, situated at 1760m, marks the entrance to the Khanchendzonga National Park. The trail heads north through conifer and bamboo forest about 1000m above the Rathong River.
Day 2– Baktim to Phedong
An extra day for acclimatization allows more time to visit Tsokha, a village which was established in the early 1960s when a tract of land was granted to Tibetans who had recently escaped from Tibet. Beyond Tsokha, there is abundance and variety of rhododendrons that burst into flower in late spring. The trail from Baktim heads up past rhododendron and magnolia trees to the Tibetan village of Tsokha, which is located at 3050m. In the village, you have your first views of the high mountains, with the peak of Pandim (6691m) rising above the nearby forests.
Day 3– Phedong to Dzongri
One has a clear view of Khanchendzonga, located at 8586 m as well as the impressive peaks of Kokthang, with an altitude of 6147 m and Rathong at an altitude of 6679 m above the Rathong Valley. One can also see the Kabru Dome and Forked Peak (6108m) that rise above the extensive alpine meadows of Dzongri. One is treated to a complete panorama of snow-capped peaks. The route is lined with dwarf rhododendron bushes and leads to the open, grazing meadows at Dzongri. Dzongri is a vast, windswept area where yaks from Yuksom and the surrounding villages graze from late March until early October. From Dzongri, one can view the nearby Dzongri Peak.
Day 4– Dzongri to Samiti Lake
Beyond Dzongri, one can see the peak of Pandim rise high above the Prek Valley. Below the impressive peaks, there are countless hanging glaciers and snowfields. The trail to Goecha La leads to the meadows at Thangsing, located at 3930 m. From Thangsing, it is a two-hour climb up the valley to Samiti Lake. The trail passes through grazing meadows lined with wildflowers that burst into a riot of color in the pre-monsoon season. Zemathang and the range of the Onglakhing Glacier are the base for people attempting to ascent Pandim. It also marks the beginning of the climb up the range to Samiti Lake, which is the sacred source of the Prek River.
Day 5– Samiti Lake to Goecha La; Return to Thangsing
The trek to Goecha La offers views of the massive East Ridge of Khanchendzonga high above the Talung Glacier as well as views of the high ridges and peaks that enclose the upper Prek Valley. From Samiti Lake, it will take three to four hours to reach the Goecha La, located at 4940m. The Goecha La is marked with fluttering, colorful prayer flags. The return trek via Samiti Lake to Thangsing will take three to four hours.
Day 6– Thangsing to Tsokha
There is a beautiful rhododendron forest between the Prek Valley and the ridge at Pethang. The trail from Thansing to Dzongri divides into two different trails- the upper trail leads to Dzongri, and the lower trail, which is the main route, heads directly to Phedong. From Phedong, the descent to Tsokha is through the rhododendron and magnolia forest and will take around two to three hours.
Day 7– Tsokha to Yuksom
It is a 20 km trek down from the heights of the Goecha La to the sub-tropical Yuksom and will take 5-6 hours to complete.
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