Difficulty in Oct:
River Days :
From Kathmandu:
Av. Gradient:
Volume in Nov:
Best Season: 
62 km / 38 miles

2 days
2 days

A challenging and exhilarating high volume run, the Kali Gandaki between Tatopani and Beni is a great one or two day descent for an experienced group. Your group must be comfortable to read-and-run big water. The main thing is to dodge the big holes – there are some juicy ones out there. Our group encountered two portages on the first day. The first is a mangy rapid with big holes and boulders scattered across the river. Runnable, perhaps, but not very appealing. The road (at this point on river left), is accessible here and makes for a moderate portage.

Kayaker on the Upper Kali Gandaki

Darragh on the Upper Kali Gandaki, 2014

Several miles further downstream (the road is now on river right), watch out for a large boulder/rock wall blocking the main channel on river right. Get left well upstream of this obstacle: it is a huge undercut with all the current from river middle/right flowing underneath it. Keep far left, negotiating the narrow slot on river left.

The big eddy on the back side of the wall makes a good stopping point if you plan to do the run in two days. About .5 km upstream, a friendly, comfortable guest house with excellent dahlbat is a good place to regroup for the next day.

Whether or not you plan to stop for the night, you must scout, and may choose to portage, the rapid directly downstream of the undercut wall. The portage is not bad using the road on river right. A path leading back to the river, about .5 km downstream, offers a good re-entry point. From here, the river will have much the same character as above, but without the big portages, though you may want to scout some of the bigger rapids.

Local bus from Pokhara to Beni, then another local bus from Beni to Tatopani. You can catch a local bus back to Pokhara from Beni, or make your way across town to the eastern bus park and catch a local bus up the Myagdi Khola valley for a seldom-run gem of a river-run.

A permit is required to access the put-in town of Tatopani, just inside the boundary of the Annapurna Conservation Area. If you’re going to spend the $20 on the permit, you may want to plan for an extra day of soaking in the hotsprings and enjoying the sights. If you’d rather save your $20, get off the bus at Pakhare Bagar, just before the road crosses back to river right. But honestly, you’re on vacation, and it’s worth the $20.

river updated in 2015 by: Zuzana Montagne