After following the Jomolhari Trek as far as Lingshi, the Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek branches off northeast along the mountainous Bhutan-Tibet border to the remote village of Laya, before curving south to the roadhead at Gasa — tracing the first half of the Snowman Trek.
It is only possible to reach Laya on foot, making it one of Bhutan's most remote villages. At 3,700m (12,139ft), it is also one of the highest. This challenging trail offers good chances of spotting wild takin and blue sheep, as well as blue poppies come summer. The best times of year to tackle this trail are April to June and late September to mid-November.
The trek begins in Sharna Zampa in the Paro Valley and tracks the Paro Chhu upstream through groves of cedar and flower-filled meadows to the camp at Jangothang (4,080m/13,386ft), where most trekkers spend a day acclimatizing and enjoying the views of Jomolhari (7,326m/24,035ft). From Jangothang, the trail continues through glacial valleys to Lingzhi Dzong, built along a key trade route between Punakha and Gyantse in Tibet. The trail gradually ascends into yak pastures, with edelweiss underfoot and Himalayan griffons soaring overhead. It passes through the Jholethang Chhu valley, a national takin sanctuary.
The trek's highest point usually comes on day 8, across the Sinche La pass (5,005m/16,420ft), before its winding descent into Laya, where some groups spend an additional rest day. From the village the trail curves south, following the Mo Chhu to Gasa, where one can revive aching muscles in the Gasa Tsachu hot springs before meeting with a vehicle for the ride home.
Duration: 12-13 days
Maximum altitude: 5,005m (16,415ft)
Includes: Guide, meals, camping equipment and horses/mules