Kakani Scar Mountain Biking Trail
This is a massive day, biking one of the less-frequented routes around the Kathmandu Valley. You’ll get an authentic feel of the Nepali countryside as you mountain bike the Scar Route in Shivapuri National Park. This remote route features a fair amount of climbing followed by exhilarating descents with many sections leading you through dense forest to dazzling waterfalls all along the way.
Reach Balaju Chowk by riding northwest from the centre of Kathmandu.
|When to do|
March to May and September to October
Route Description for Kakani Scar
Starting from Balaju Chowk, the first section of the ride sees you pedaling your bike on the busy black-topped roads navigating the vehicle-filled streets to reach the junction at Bypass Chowk of Balaju, where the crowds begin to lessen and you get to ride without being disturbed. Turn left at Bypass Chowk to be on the Trishuli Highway, following the route onto a quiet road amid the forest. Along the way, you’ll ride through army checkpoints where you’ll provide your name to enter Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park.
The trail is straightforward, winding your way as you pedal on the main road. After riding for close to 3.1mi, you’ll reach Mudkhu, a small village with several tiny tea shops—the perfect spot to take a short break and hydrate the body. Take advantage of your location and climb the small viewing tower for sweeping vistas of the Kathmandu Valley. Note that this tower does not lie on the main trail. It’s about 0.9mi northeast from Mudkhu. When it’s time, pick up the isolated and sandy trail from Mudkhu.
After covering approximately 2.7mi, you will reach a fork in the trail at Tinpiple. Take a left to follow the Trishuli Highway and spend the next 8.1mi challenging the legs on a mostly uphill ascent gaining 3281ft in elevation (with a loss of 1312ft) until you arrive in Kakani. Conserve your energy as you ride slowly and steadily, taking the occasional break to catch your breath.
Set atop a ridge at 6726ft, Kakani is a lesser-known hill station that provides magnificent views of the Himalayas stretching from Annapurna to Everest. The main bazaar of Kakani hosts many hotels, lodges, restaurants, and shops. A memorial park dedicated to the people who died in the 1992 Thai Airways plane crash can also be found in the bazaar. Stop in at one of the restaurants for lunch, choosing from a plethora of food options. When you are done eating, continue east from the bazaar. The trail hereafter is a mixture of downhill, single-track, and uphill and is arguably the best section of the day’s ride.
You’ll come across the Kakani Scouting Center, where you can enjoy clear views of the Nuwakot and Langtang valleys before finding yourself pedaling amid thick forest with the occasional series of downhill switchbacks. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the ride as the trail weaves its way down, rewarding you with some technical fun. After riding for nearly 3.7mi, you’ll arrive in Gurje Bhanjyang at 6214ft.
Head southeast after leaving Gurje Bhanjyang and be sure to take the narrow path to reach a single track lined with huge trees on either side. The ride is quite easy as you lose more elevation than you gain. Here you’ll likely have the chance to see different kinds of birds and beautiful waterfalls as you work your way to Dada Gaun. Opt to make a stop for a quick bite and a cup of tea at a local restaurant. From here, you’ll cross black-topped roads and through another army checkpoint to show your park permit.
Descend the main road and avoid making any turns where you will finally cross a small bridge to reach Budhanilkantha. Ride southwest for another 3.7mi passing through places like Chapali, Hattigauda, Golfutar, and Narayan Gopal Chowk (a major junction on the ring road). Continue riding along the main road until you end the long ride in Thamel where you can indulge in a much-deserved hearty meal accompanied by drinks.
Enjoy refreshments at a local teashop and make the short detour to climb Mudkhu’s viewing tower for sweeping vistas over the Kathmandu Valley.
Pace yourself as you make the 8.1mi ascent from Tinpiple to Kakani, gaining an elevation of close to 3281ft.
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