This route traverses the entire northern section of the rim with views of the Himalaya – it is by far the longest segment. It could be a great a single day run if you cut it short and drop down from Shiva Puri to Budhanilkantha or two day hike if you go all the way to Jhule or exit near Sundrajil! See notes below on these alternatives. It is also an interesting way to start a real trek into the Langtang region, but that is outside the scope of this trip report. Let me be clear, Mudkhu is nothing special – really it is just a police checkpoint along a small road. It is incredibly easy to get to, even from Thamel and you can quickly you can get huge views of the Himalaya. A taxi from Thamel should set you back less than $10 and from there you can run north as I did, or south up a an old overgrown road to the backside of Nagarjun and then up to the peak which is called Jamicho. Following the obvious dirt track going north, just past the checkpoint, the path climbs between some houses and quickly becomes trail and within 25 minutes one can reach the Pew observation tower. I had been in this area in 2013 and seen the tower from a distance, but lacked the courage to really explore. Talk about missed opportunity!
From the tower continue to follow the height of land for some time before you drop down to the road. I had to contour to the left along some terraces to find a trail down to the dirt road, the trail exits at a house on the road with a large dog in a crate. Follow the road for a way and then the height of land up and up and up – passing through small communities, along trail, and bits of jeep track. At some point you run into real trail that is well signed and was obviously built with the intention of encouraging hikers. The same signage can be found on the south rim of the valley near Chandra Giri but I didn’t find it anywhere else. Eventually this trail joins a jeep track and I went left up the track instead of right, following a a jungle trail that took me to the northside of the ridges leading to Shiva Puri – there is a small waterfall to cross along the way so watch your footing! You soon connect on the north side with a nice mountain biking trail and peakaboo views of the Himalaya. There are two landslides to cross, no doubt caused by the earthquake, watch your footing! The last hour and a half leading up to Shiva Puri are tough with a lot of stair climbing but worth it. The best views of the big mountains are just before the summit and when you are dropping down the other side.
I tanked up on water and headed west to Chisopani – where I was disheartened to see all the earthquake damage, in my mind the village would be the same as where I had a beer in 2013 while scouting trail for the first Kathmandu 50k, but it was almost entirely destroyed. I still managed a beer.
From there I followed road for a while before dropping down on a smaller track, finally reaching Jhule at dusk. On an earlier scouting trip I also started in Mudkhu but didn’t have the energy to go all the way to Jhule so I dropped down into the city by going almost straight south from Shiva Puri – exiting in Buddhanilkantha which is a big temple. This represents a much easier return to the city than Jhule and tracks for this are also included.