This is one of the most challenging treks available in Bhutan and route partially overlaps with the trail of the legendary Snowman Trek, the most difficult trek in the world. This grueling nine day journey will take you up to the Duer Hotsprings, arguably the most beautiful hot springs in the Himalayas.
The trail has numerous steep ascents and descents and ranges from altitudes between 3000-4700m. However despite the difficulty this trek is well worth the effort as it will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Bhutan. You’ll journey through forests of spruce, hemlock, juniper and maple, through regions populated by herds of Blue Sheep, Musk Deer and even Himalayan Black Bears.
An entire day will be dedicated to resting in the hotsprings. The periods between March to April and September to November are the best times to take on this challenging route.
Duer Hot Spring Trek/ Max. Elevation: 4,700m
Duration: Nine Days
Highest Camp: 3,400m
Standard: Medium to hard, Best Seasons: March to April & September to November
Day 1: Duer – Gorsum (Distance 18 km, six to seven hours, 380m ascent, camp altitude 3,120m)
The trek route follows the Yoleng Chhu, a river known for its abundance of trout. The trail from Bumthang to Gorsum is a gradual climb.
Day 2: Gorsum – Lungsum (Distance 12 km, five hours, 40m ascent, camp altitude 3,160m)
The trail leads through a dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple. The trail ascends gradually to the campsite.
Day 3: Lungsum – Tsochenchen (Distance 15 km, -six to seven hours, 620 m ascent camp altitude 3,780m)
The vegetation along the trekking route is similar to places crossed the previous day. Near the campsite the vegetation thins out and the camp is made above tree line.
Day 4: Tsochenchen – Duer Tsachu (Distance 18 km, eight to nine hours, 1,340m ascent, 1,530m descent, camp altitude 3,590m)
The trek from Tsochenchen is uphill all the way till Juli La (4,700m). If the day is clear, you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains from the pass. After crossing the pass, the trail descends to a lake at 4,220m, and climb again to Gokthong La (4,640m). From here it is a steep way down till the campsite. Musk deer, herds of blue sheep and Himalayan bear is sometimes seen along the route.
Day 5: Halt at Duer Tsachu
After a late breakfast, relax in the hot spring or hike the surrounding areas.
Day 6: Duer Tsachu – Tsochenchen (Distance 18km, eight to nine hours, 1,530m ascent, 1,340m descent, camp altitude 3,780m)
Return on the route taken on day 4. The day is even tougher than on the way up as there is slightly more climbing than descending.
Day 7: Tsochenchen – Lungsum (Distance 15 km, five hours, 620 m descent, camp altitude 3,160m)
Return on the route taken on day 3
Day 8: Lungsum – Gorsum (Distance 12 km, four hours, 40m descent, camp altitude 3,120m)
The trail descends gradually from the campsite. The trail leads through dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple.
Day 9: Gorsum – Duer Village (Distance 18km, six hours, 380m descent)
From Gorsum the trail descends gradually till the bridge near Duer village, where you reach the road head.