Avoid Road and Get Sync with Nature
Escape the Wheels
If you want to escape from the wheels, take a break from driving through the meandering Himalayan road, and want to sync with nature of broad leaved forest and enjoy the fresh fragrance from exotic Himalayan flowers, Escape the Wheels is the right hiking trail as you travel from Thimphu to Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Gangtey and further East
A 45 minutes drive from the Capital Thimphu will bring you to the scenic Dochula Pass (3,150 meters) and the beautiful 108 stupas. The start point of this Trail is from the Pass and there is a short trail and an extended trail for those wishing to escape the wheels longer. This is a leisurely hike recommended for all ages as it is mostly downhill without any steep climbs or cliffs. The full length of the Trail is 5.4 kilometers and takes about approximately 3.5 hours along well maintained pathways.
From the Dochula Pass, leave the highway and hike downhill for about 45 minutes through Rhododendron flower trees till you reach the road at Lamperi. If you are tired you can get into the car and continue drive towards Punkaha.
From the endpoint of Trail 1 continue for another 4 kilometers downhill which will take approximately 2.5 hours till you reach the small highway settlement of Thinleygang. From Thinleygang you can drive till Punakha; however if you are still up for more hiking then you can continue onto The Divine Madman’s Trail.
Escape the Wheels is actually an ancient popular trail used before the 1970s when there were no motorable roads in Bhutan, and apart from the local people it was mostly frequented by messengers, merchants and semi nomads. As with most of the Trails, this was also used by our Central Monastic Body as they migrated between their summer and winter residences of Thimphu and Punakha respectively. Earlier it used to take about 3 days to walk from Thimphu to Punkaha and now it is only a 2.5 hours drive.
All along the Trail the vegetation is a mixture of alpine and broad leaved forests with spotting of Himalayan wild strawberries, monkshood (Aconitum) and with possibility of sighting the Red Panda. During the ancient times, people extracted poison from the roots of the Monkshood plants, applied on the arrowheads or darts for the purpose of hunting and warfare.