The Marijuana Loop Mountain Biking Trail
Developed by a rock star and mountain biking enthusiast, the Marijuana Loop is a trail within Kathmandu Valley. It has a bit of everything, from single tracks, cross-country, and suburban trails, as well as a few downhill options that start from Chobhar and end in Khokana.
From Thamel, head toward Dhalku via Sorahkhutte and continue along the main road until you reach Balkhu.
|When to do|
March to May and September to October
The Marijuana Loop
Route Description for The Marijuana Loop
The Marijuana Loop starts from Balkhu, situated south of Kathmandu inside the ring road. If you are starting from Thamel, head toward Dhalku via Sorahkhutte and continue along the main road. Cross the Dallu Bridge and continue riding to Kalimati Bazaar where you’ll then pass through Kuleshwor to Balkhu. Here, you’ll take a left turn to pick up Dakshinkali Road. All these are urban trails. The flow of vehicles begins to noticeably to slow down as you continue along this road. You’ll soon arrive at Chobhar Gate, stay on this tree-lined road.
Take a small break at Chobhar to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire Kathmandu Valley. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see superb mountain views of the Himalayas. Look for the massive rock naturally carved in the shape of Lord Ganesh and check out one of the local tea shops or restaurants and visit Manjushree Park.
After leaving Chobhar behind, the track takes you on a gradual incline to Lake Taudaha, a small, but culturally significant lake for its rich diversity in flora and fauna. You can easily recognize the lake with an iconic solitary tree in the middle of the. The name taudaha is of Newari origin and comes from Newari words ta, meaning snake and daha, meaning lake. It is believed that numerous nagas live underneath the lake. It is a perfect spot to enjoy a peaceful environment.
Carry on for another 1.2mi, until you arrive at a fork in the trail at the Chalnakhel Bus Stop. Taking a right will lead you to Dakshinkali Temple while a left will take you to Khokana. Take a left. This is where the cross-country trail begins and where you start to test your mountain biking skills.
Ride another 0.9mi to reach the unmissable bodhi tree where you’ll take a left at the tree and follow the main trail to arrive at a small suspension bridge that divides Chalnakhel from Khokana. Cross the bridge and ride on the grassy single track along the lush green fields. You will see a lot of happy farmers stopping their fieldwork to wave at you as you ride past.
Brace yourself for the steep incline that leads into Khokana, the highest elevation of this ride is at 4495ft. Khokana, a medieval Newari town with rich cultural traditions, is home to Shree Rudrayani, a small temple in its main square. Though most of the town was damaged by the 2015 earthquake, much of Khokana has undergone significant renovations. Take a small tour of Khokana and be sure to sample the local authentic Newari food like choyela (spicy roasted meat) and chatamari (rice crepe).
From Khokana, head back uphill toward Bhainsepati where you’ll get back onto the paved track and continue for close to 1.9mi to reach Ekantakuna Chowk where you’ll pick up the road to Sanepa. The traffic at this point begins to steadily increase as you work your way back to Thamel. Reward your efforts with drinks and a satisfying meal.
This is a perfect and easy warm-up ride within the Kathmandu Valley and gives a taste of what Nepal has to offer: culture, local food, and great riding.
Get an early start if you want to avoid the morning traffic that will likely slow down the first leg of the circuit.
Pace yourself as you make the steep climb into Khokana and reward your efforts with an authentic Newari meal.
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