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The Kanchenjunga Goecha La Trek
Season :- March/April and October / November
The trek goes through moss-laden forests, abounding in a variety of flora and fauna, through scenarios of grazing yaks, mountain sheep and Tibetan resettlement villages. The trail leads through some of the most spectacular forested areas of Sikkim particularly beautiful during the spring when the rhododendrons, giant magnolias and a profusion of other wildflowers are in full bloom. At Dzongri one comes face to face with a magnificent view of Mount Kanchenjunga, which, to the Sikkimese, is an all-powerful God. A rugged terrain from Zemathang leads to Goecha La, the highest point on the trek. The top of the pass places you at the foot of Kangchenjunga, as close to the mountain as possible. On the return journey from Zemathang one can keep a look out for rare high altitude birds and the Blue Sheep. Gradually rise along the east ridge of Dzongri till Phitang and from there descend to Bakhim and on to Yuksom, from where you can drive to Darjeeling.
Nearest airport is Bagdogra which is approx 90 kms from Darjeeling. New Jalpaigudi is the nearest railway station situated at an approx 80 kms or 3-4 hours drive to Darjeleing.
Day 01 : Drive Darjeeling - Yuksom (5 - 6 hours)
Depart for Yuksom, a 5 to 6-hour drive away. Prepare for the trek starting the next day. Overnight camping.
Day 02 : Trek Yuksom - Bakhim (5 - 6 hours)
Bakhim lies 14 km from Yuksom. A tough day's climb through dense vegetation and across two clear mountain streams brings us to the campsite in a meadow. In the forest along the trail grow several varieties of flowers such as magnolia, rhododendron, blue poppies and orchids. Wildlife in the area includes black and brown Himalayan bear, barking deer and sambar.
Day 03 : Trek Bakhim - Jamlinghang (5 hours)
A steady and moderately demanding climb goes through gullies laid by grazing yaks and mountain sheep thorough Choka, a resettlement for Tibetans. From here onwards the route passes through one of the most spectacular forested areas of Sikkim. Camp is set at Jamlinghang, a small shepherds' settlement named after Tenzing Norgay's son.
Day 04 : Trek Jamlinghang - Dzongri
A steady climb of about six hours takes you to Dzongri. On one side stands the Holy Kabur Rock, where Lama Lhatsun Chembo rested during his flight to the southern valleys. The ridge top offers some of the most fascinating views of the Sikkim peaks. A short downhill walk gets you to the campsite at Dzongri.
Day 05 : At Dzongri
Day 06 : Trek Dzongri - Thangsing
A 4-hour walk to Thangsing brings us to the base of the Jopin peak. An interesting wooden bridge and little mountain streams gurgling through the forest lend a quaint charm to the area.
Day 07 : Trek Thangsing - Zimathang
The trek involves 8 km of mainly uphill walking to Zimathang, situated at the base of Mt. Pandim. The initial phase of the 6-hour trek is relatively easy. The climb begins after the Samati lake with its backdrop of Kanchenjunga, Pandim and Jopin peaks. The vegetation in the area includes cryptomaria japanica bushes, the dried leaves of which are used by Buddhists as incense. Marble cats, blue sheep, Tibetan antelope, red panda and musk deer are often sighted.
Day 08 : Trek Zimathang - Goecha La and back to ZIMATHANG
A 10-km round-trip walk to Goecha La provides spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga massif as well as mountains in Nepal and Tibet.
Day 09 : Trek Zimathang - Thangsing
Retrace the route to Thansing.
Day 10 : Trek Thangsing - Choka (4 hours)
From Thangsing, you cross the Prekchu and gradually rise along the east ridge of Dzongri until you reach Phitang. From here you descend to Choka, where camp is set for the night.
Day 11 : Trek Choka - Yuksom (5 hours)
A leisurely walk brings you back to camp at Yuksom.
Day 12 : Drive Yuksom to Darjeeling (6 hours)
Vehicles await for the drive to Darjeeling.