• Nepal: Nar & Phu - The Forbidden Valleys of Annapurna Range with Cathy Ann Taylor

    Our first ever trans-Himalayan trek to Nar Phu Valley and Thorong La Pass

    Situated just north of the Annapurna circuit route, the Nar & Phu Valleys beckon the most dedicated high-altitude trekkers. Join MTS favorite guide Cathy Ann Taylor on this rugged journey to a region of Nepal long isolated from the outside world.

    best times to go: October

    departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

    pricing: from $5,995 see detailed pricing

    The Himalaya

    Ultimate Challenge
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Our first ever trans-Himalayan trek to Nar Phu Valley and Thorong La Pass

North of the Annapurna Circuit, the Nar and Phu Valley (13,600') beckon the most dedicated high-altitude trekkers. Trip leader Cathy Ann Taylor heads up this first-ever MTS journey though the remote Nar Phu Valley region, which is as rugged and isolated as when it first opened to outsiders nine years ago. We’ll hike at a challenging pace, traversing the region’s high peaks and passes, forest cover, and alpine pastures, experience mountain life through encounters with the people of its virtually undisturbed villages, and camp in lofty alpine settlements at night. We’ll take the added challenge of ascending Kang La (17,200') and Thorong La (17,771') passes, where panoramic views of Annapurna II, Gangapurna, and Tilicho peaks will reward us.

This trek is high, tough, and 18 days long. The trail follows routes over high passes and steep valleys, and through remote villages. We’ll use porters on the terrain. Only those people with proven high altitude trekking experience should participate. We have planned this trip at what is usually the time of best weather in this region, but in the event of unseasonable snow, we may have to severely alter our program and possibly even change our destination.

This unique departure is a true exploration. Aside from being in excellent physical shape with experience trekking at high altitude, participants should also be mentally prepared to adjust to any necessary changes, and enjoy this journey with a spirit of adventure. Cathy Ann Taylor has extensive experience leading the most challenging treks all around the world. You’ll be in incredibly capable hands with her all along the way.


18 days strenuous hiking at high elevation (maximum 17,771')


  • Visit the remote valleys of Nar and Phu in the Manang region—a pristine little-visited area of farm terrace villages and chortens
  • Journey through ancient Nepali villages and soak up the diverse culture of the country’s people and religious traditions
  • MTS exclusive journey—our first exploration into the Nar Phu region!

Duration: 23 days Start Location: Kathmandu End Location: Kathmandu

Download Detailed Itinerary
  • Anl_day1
    Day 1 : Kathmandu

    Arrive in Kathmandu.

  • Anl_day2
    Day 2 : Kathmandu

    Explore UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kathmandu Valley. We'll catch Bhaktapur's dazzling "Golden Gate" and ancient ruins, and explore Durbar Square and the breathtaking "Monkey Temple" in Kathmandu.

  • Day 3 : Drive to Beshisahar (2,700') and begin trek

    Drive to bustling Beshisahar, the starting point for our mountain trek.

  • Anl_day3
    Day 4 : Bahundana (4,300')

    Our hiking begins! Our six-hour journey takes us through the Marshyangdi river, several Gurung villages, and steeply up to Bahundanda, where a stunning panoramic landscape view awaits us.

  • Anl_day5
    Day 5 : Chamje (4,692')

    We ascend to Lali Gaon village and follow Mashyangdi valley along the river, reaching breathtaking Syange waterfall, and the stone village of Jagat, just short of our arrival in Chamje village.

  • Day 6 : Dharapani (6,200')

    The dramatic climb to the town of Tal, with its welcoming tea houses, is the highlight of our six-hour hike to Dharapani.

  • Day 7 : Koto (8,800')

    We'll set off in quest of the captivating views of towering Annapurna II and Manaslu mountain range on this five hour trek off the main Annapurna trail to the Nar Phu Valley, where we camp in Koto.

  • Day 8 : Dharamsala (11,000')

    A long day of trekking takes us above the Phu Khola river to a spectacular mountain waterfall and a good night's sleep at Dharamsala, a welcome "pilgrim's resting place."

  • Day 9 : Kayang (13,050')

    The views of a towering glacier, the colorful wildlife, and the seasonal settlement villages of Meta, Junam, and Chako, make today one of the most visually stunning hikes of our journey to Kayang

  • Days 10 - 11 : Phu Village (13,050')

    We trek today to Phu Village, navigating glacial terrain, rugged bridges, and some fascinating gorges on the way. Our rewarding final ascent brings us to the Phu gate and two ancient nearby forts.

    Next day, we have full day to explore this village

  • Day 12 : Mahendrapul (11,808')

    Descending again through Phu gate, we follow the riverbed, past Kayang and back to Mahendrapul. We stay overnight at Mahendrapu, taking in the experience of the settlement life on the plateau.

  • Day 13 : Nar (13,600')

    Our hike to the Nar gates takes us across a deep gorge, in view of ancient monasteries Gyalbu Kumbu and Satte Gompa, and up the ascent colored with the region's characteristic chortens.

  • Day 14 : Kangla Phedi (14,800')

    We spend the morning exploring the lively town of Nar, where the villagers are bustling with their wool spinning and weaving, oil pressing, and yak herding. After lunch, we hike up to Kangla Phedi (base of Kang La Pass) for overnight.

  • Nar_day15
    Day 15 : Cross Kang La Pass (17,200') and trek to Ngwal (12,050')

    Across Kang La Pass! Besides catching breathtaking views of Annapurna II, Gangapurna, Tilicho and surrounding peaks, we'll venture off the beaten path, taking the Pisang route to Ngwal.

  • Day 16 : Manang (11,600')

    We recover from yesterday's strenuous hike with a three-hour jaunt along the Marshyangdi to Manang, catching some great views of Tilicho mountain and Annapurna range along the way.

  • Day 17 : Letdar (12,776')

    Walk to the village of Thankay, past Manang, and continue up past yak huts to Letdar.

  • Day 18 : Thorong Phedi (15,100')

    Continue through alpine country to a high camp either below or above Phedi, just at the foot of the Thorong La, the pass we cross tomorrow.

  • Nar_day19
    Day 19 : Over Thorong La (17,771') to Muktinath (12,467')

    We make a very early start to cross Thorong La (highest point of the trek) to hike down to Muktinath

  • Day 20 : Jomsom (8,888')

    Descend about 3,500 feet down the Jhong Khola Canyon, passing the fortress?like villages of Zarkot, Khingar. And Kagbeni to our camp in Jomsom. 

  • Day 21 : Fly to Pokhara (2,690')

    Morning flight to Pokhara. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore the town on your own.  

  • Day 22 : Fly to Kathmandu

    Late morning flight to Kathmandu

  • Day 23 : Fly home

    Transfer to the airport and depart Kathmandu on homeward-bound flights. Most flights require an overnight en route.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: October Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.


2012 Prices
$5,995 (10-12 members)
$6,995 (6-9 members)
$175 internal airfare – Jomsom/Pokhara/Kathmandu - subject to change
$700 single supplement

$180 - Special permit fee

  • Shangri La Village

    Shangri~La Village, Pokhara is a discreet, compact resort which is a 5 minute drive from the airport and 3km from the Phewa lake, with 65 meticulously designed rooms surrounded by spacious landscaped gardens and a panoramic view from every room.

  • Shangri-La Hotel

    Shangri-La is a premier five-star deluxe hotel. It is centrally located and within a short walking distance to the former Royal Palace and the bustling Thamel market. The hotel has pool & gardens and three restaurants, several shops, and a bookstore.

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

  • Cathy Ann Taylor

    Cathy Ann Taylor, a high altitude trekking guide for Mountain Travel Sobek for the last 20 years. Cathy Ann has trekked all over Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan, with well over 150 trips in the Himalayas (she still considers the Himalayas her “second home”)! A devout hiker and mountain biker, she leaves no trail undiscovered, and her passion for the mountains, caring nature, and boundless energy are renowned. Her experience, knowledge, positive attitude (she can find the good in anything!), and her wonderful rapport with the local staff will enhance your experience. With the help of caring and like-minded individuals she has been able to manage the sponsorship of ten remote village children, all of whom are in boarding school and one who is about to graduate from University in Australia. She consistently gets rave reviews from members of her groups and has quite a following. Cathy Ann is active in the Breast Cancer Fund and has participated in eleven expeditions, including Mount McKinley, Cho Oyu, Mount Fuji, Mount Shasta, and Mount Rainier, which helped increase awareness of breast cancer (she alone has raised over $350,000 for the cause!). She has also reached the summit of Ama Dablam (22,500') in Nepal and Argentina's Aconcagua (22,834'), the highest peak in South America. Cathy Ann received an honorable mention in Hooked on the Outdoors magazine's Outdoor Person of the Year Awards, January 2006, and also received a letter of recognition for her fundraising and environmental work from Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

photo credits: ©MTS Photo File


Itinerary for Nepal: Nar & Phu - The Forbidden Valleys of Annapurna Range with Cathy Ann Taylor

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Activity Ratings


Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.


More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.


Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.


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Emeryville, California 94608

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