ApproachYou must first reach Pokhara. This is a large city with all kinds of accommodation. Pokhara can be reached by bus or by plane from Kathmandu. Since flights are weather dependent, it really isn’t that advantageous to book in advance. Simply show up at the airport, and if the weather is clear, book a flight. Plan to stay a day in Pokhara to arrange trekking permits (or porters if needed).
To get to the Naya Pul trailhead from Pokhara, take a bus ($.50 and 3 hours) or a taxi ($8 and 1 hour) to Naya Pul. To get to the Beni trailhead, continue on the road beyond Naya Pul by bus ($1 and 5-6 hours) or taxi ($16 and two hours) to Beni.
Route DescriptionThe Beni Route is an optional ascent route to Poon Hill. It can also be used as a descent route from the Naya Pul Route, and that is how it will be described here. It is a long 1700-meter (5577 feet) descent to Tatopani from Ghorapani, and if you climbed Poon Hill that morning, your knees will have a good workout. From Ghorapani, follow the trail down to the north passing through a beautiful rhododendron forest. We saw a few monkeys in the area, so keep your eyes open. The first village you reach is Chitre, and from there you will descend to Sikha. Sikha is where the Paudwar (pronounced “powder” and it has several spellings) route joins the main route to Tatopani. The Paudwar route will be discussed in another section. There is also a great view of the south face of Dhalagiri from Sikha. The trail continues its descent, sometimes using long stone staircases and passes the final village of Ghara before dropping steeply to the confluence of the Ghara Khola and Kali Gendaki (river). There is a national park checkpoint here and everyone must sign in. This is also where the Paudwar route joins the main track once again. A new suspension bridge takes you across the Kali Gendaki. It is a short walk to Tatopani.
Tatopani means “hot water” and there are several swimming pool-sized hot tubs and the place is very popular with trekkers. No one treks through here that doesn’t stop for a soak in the springs! Tatopani is also where the Jomsom Trek splits from the Beni here and will be discussed briefly in another section.
To get to Beni from Tatopani you will follow the Kali Gendaki the entire way. The trail changes often from year to year because of landslides falling off the steep canyon walls. The route can be hot from April through October.
From Tatopani backtrack a short distance, cross the bridge across the Kali Gendaki, and then the Ghara Khola. Continue along the trail that follows the Kali Gendaki down-river. The trail passes some hot springs and in places rises high above the river and along steep cliffs. There are a few small villages and a waterfall along the way to Tiplyang. You cross the river on a bridge here. The trail then goes through many marijuana fields before reaching Baisari (basic lodges only) and then Galeshore. From here it is only an hour or so to Beni, which is at the end of the trek.