Shey Phoksundo National Park

Shey-Phoksundo National Park

Established: 1984

Type: National Park

Area (sq. km): 3,555.00

Buffer Zone (sq. km.): 1,349.00

Shey-Phoksundo National Park, located in the Trans-Himalayan region of northwest Nepal, holds the distinction of being Nepal’s largest national park, covering an expansive area of 3,555 square kilometers. Established in 1984, its primary objective is the preservation of a unique Trans-Himalayan ecosystem boasting a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The park’s varied climatic conditions, altitude gradients, and distinct zoo-geographical regions contribute to a wide range of biotic systems.

In 1998, a buffer zone of 1,349 square kilometers surrounding the park was designated, comprising forests and private lands. This buffer zone is collaboratively managed by the park authorities and local communities, fostering community development initiatives and sustainable management of natural and cultural resources.


Shey-Phoksundo National Park showcases a myriad of breathtaking landscapes, with elevations ranging from 2,130 meters in Ankhe to the towering 6,883 meters at the summit of Kanjiroba Himal. The park predominantly lies north of the Himalayan crest, encompassing notable features such as Nepal’s deepest and second-largest lake, Phoksundo Lake, renowned for its mesmerizing turquoise color. The park is also home to the country’s highest waterfall, near the outlet of Phoksundo Lake.

Major rivers within the park include Khung, Nmajung, and Panjang, alongside the Suligad and Jugdual Rivers, serving as significant tributaries to the Thuli Bheri River. The region surrounding Phoksundo Lake hosts many beautiful glaciers. Noteworthy cultural sites include the ancient Shey Gompa, established in the 11th century, and Thashung Gompa near Phoksundo Lake, built around 900 years ago for wildlife conservation.


Due to its location spanning both northern and southern aspects of the Himalayan crest, the park experiences a broad climatic range. Monsoon season (July-September) brings most of the precipitation, with the Dhaulagari and Kanjiroba Ranges acting as barriers, limiting rain in the Trans-Himalayan area. The park transitions from a monsoon-dominated climate in the south (Suligad) to an arid climate in the northern slopes, with severe winters featuring frequent snowfall above 2,500 meters.

Flora & Fauna:

The park hosts an incredibly diverse flora, including barren upper Himalayan areas, Trans-Himalayan slope lands, and forested regions in the south. Wildlife abounds, with endangered species like the snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, blue sheep, goral, great Tibetan sheep, Himalayan tahr, leopard, jackal, and Himalayan black bear. Over 200 species of birds, six reptiles, and 29 butterfly species, including the highest-flying butterfly globally, add to the park’s ecological richness.


Local accommodations are available in Dunai, Sangta, Chhepka, and Ringmo. Throughout the park, campsites equipped with rubbish pits, toilets, and shelters provide facilities for trekkers. Trekking lodges in Dunai, Chhepka, and Ringmo offer food and limited supplies, while park offices are strategically located at Suligad, Chhepka, Palam Ringmo, and Toijem. The headquarters in Palam includes a small visitor center.

How to get there:

The most convenient route to the park is by air from Nepalgunj to the Juphal airstrip in Dolpa, followed by a half-day walk to the park entrance at Suligad.


Home to more than 9,000 people, the park’s villages are among the highest settlements on Earth. The majority practice Bon Buddhism, an ancient religion with roots in Animism and Buddhism. Sacred monasteries, thangka paintings, and chortens dot the landscape, reflecting the rich cultural heritage. The local community relies heavily on trade with Tibet and agriculture, with the area renowned for its historic salt trade caravans.


Individual trekking is permitted to Ringmo or Phoksundo Lake, while the inner Dolpa region, part of the Tran-Himalayan area, requires group trekking with permits arranged through recognized trekking agencies in Nepal.

Some related links:

Upper Dolpo Trek

Inner Dolpo Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

Langtang Valley Trek

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