The Trail

"One of the world's greatest walks"

What is the Trans Bhutan Trail?

The Trans Bhutan Trail is a 403km route, spanning from Haa in the West of Bhutan to Trashigang in the East. It is considered one of the world’s greatest walks and one of the best hiking routes in Asia. 

We are the official organisation behind the restoration and sustainability of the Trail and operate itineraries for international travelers where 100% of the profits go back into its development. We welcome all Bhutanese to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and experience the trail. The Trail is a symbol of national unity and a way to connect Bhutan’s past, present and future. 


History of the Trans Bhutan Trail

The Trans Bhutan Trail dates back at least to the 16th century when it connected fortresses called Dzongs and served as the pilgrimage route for Buddhists in the east travelling to the most sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet. Trail runners, or ‘Garps’, worked the Trail and were legendary, travelling with vital messages and mail between Dzongs at great speeds with little food or rest. The Trail came to play a major role in uniting the region’s many provinces, repelling foreign incursions, and fostering the birth of Bhutan as a nation in 1907.

By the 1960s the Trail had fallen into disuse with the construction of a national highway. Bridges, footpaths and stairways collapsed, gewogs (villages) and landholdings were separated, and this traditional pilgrimage route became neglected.

In 2018, with the wisdom and vision of His Majesty, The King, the restoration of the Trail was led by the Bhutan Canada Foundation with the support of the Tourism Council of Bhutan to restore the Trail to make it accessible again for locals, pilgrims, and travellers. During the COVID-19 crisis, with the assistance of the Royal Government of Bhutan more than 900 furloughed workers helped to restore the Trail to its former glory including the rebuilding of 18 bridges, hundreds of kilometres of footpaths and more than 10,000 steps. Today the 403 kilometre (250 mile) Trail, spanning the country from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east, can be walked, run, or biked, in part or in whole.

Places visited on the Trans Bhutan Trail

The Trail visits 27 Gewogs, 4 Dzongs, 21 temples, 12 mountain passes, 5 suspension bridges, 10 cantilever bridges, 77 chortens and 30 stupas. It crosses a variety of terrain, from lush rice paddies, rhododendron forests, thick wilderness, remote villages and bustling towns. It also goes through some of Bhutan’s most major cities including Thimphu the capital and the royal city of Bumthang. 

The Trans Bhutan Trail takes travelers to the East of Bhutan, a region which has seen little tourism compared to the West. The Trail will give you an insight into the communities that live here as well as uniting the neighbouring regions who share similar blood lines and cultures.

Punakha Dzong on the Trans Bhutan Trail

The Route


How to visit the Trans Bhutan Trail

As a gift to Bhutan, the Trans Bhutan Trail is free to visit but international travelers need to be accompanied with a local guide. We operate a number of itineraries which include trekking on the Trail along with accommodation, meals, local guides, visa and a number of unique cultural activities. All of our international itineraries are designed to incorporate the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan along with some days experiencing the Trail, with easy, medium or challenging routes depending on your trekking ability. These itineraries can be taken as a group tour or customised to your own travel requirements. 

100% of the profits from our itineraries goes back into sustaining the Trans Bhutan Trail.

Group on the Trans Bhutan Trail

How difficult is the Trans Bhutan Trail?

It can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be! Whilst we offer the full Trans Bhutan Trail experience, our 36 day End-to-End itinerary, the Trail is also broken down into smaller, accessible routes so you can experience it in a way that suits you.  We even offer an itinerary where you can run sections of the Trans Bhutan Trail. Altitude is generally moderate at most, with the highest point of the Trail between 3,900 and 4,000 meters (12,795 and 13,123 feet) above sea level. Many sections of the Trail are at considerably lower average altitudes.  Please contact one of our travel consultants to discuss your requirements and to have a programme tailored to your particular needs.