Rachela Pass Trek in Neora Valley

Important Note (2024 update): At present, this trek is closed as the forest department is not issuing any permits to camp overnight inside Neora Valley National Park. So, only day trips are possible inside the National Park area at this time. In recent times, camera trap places inside the national park have found a Royal Bengal tiger presence in the trail, and hence it is closed by the Forest Department for a night stay inside the park.

Rachela (La meaning a pass) top is the highest point on the ridge forming the border and is a Tri-junction of West Bengal, Sikkim and Bhutan. The area is pristine forest canopy and protected as Neora Valley National Park. The trekking trail begins just above the foothills of Himalayas (called Dooars region) and reaches a high point above 10000 ft at Rachela (same as Rachela Pass or Rachela top).

Our trail is inside Kalimpong district, an area curved out from Darjeeling district recently and entirely within the state of West Bengal. Below is a map which will give you a clear idea about the trek and the related travel. To check the Google map and details click on the “Highlights” tab.

Rachela Pass Trail Map (Click on the photo to see in high resolution)

Not only the trail is inside untouched and biodiversity rich national park, the summit point on the trail, i.e. Rachela offers exquisite high mountain views with stretching panorama. At lower elevation, we will go inside mixed broadleaf and evergreen forest to finally dense Rhododendron forest. In stretches you don’t have a defined trail inside the forest and at times buried inside the thick undergrowth.

This unique and ecologically important area is home to various rare plant and flower species, birds and mammals. The region is a natural habitat for rare species like Red Panda and Tiger (recorded in 2018). Neora Valley National Park is also in the “tentative UNESCO heritage site.

Kanchenjunga peak panorama from Rachela top (PC – Dominic)
Pristine forest inside Neora Valley National Park
Ruka campsite (PC – Dominic)
Beautiful forest stretches along the trail
A small lake at Rachela Pass, also called Jorepokhri

Our trek base is upper Chisang, a quaint farm area which is opposite valley to Tendu area in Bhutan. On  a clear day you can see the mountains of Dokalam area bordering India/Bhutan/China to the far north. From Chisang we will drive down to the river bed (Chhuman Khola) via small town of Todey and start our trek to Rachela Pass.

A view from the lodge
Mountains on the Dokalam area seen from Chisang

The best part is that hardly people are aware of this trail. Most possibly you won’t come across any other group apart from your team while hiking. This makes it different from common and popular hiking trails.

Alike experienced hikers this trek is also suitable for beginners. Although you need to be in good physical condition to complete the trail comfortably. Here is our complete list of Sikkim and Darjeeling treks to explore in eastern Himalayas.

 Brief Itinerary for Rachela Pass trek: 

DAY 1:  Reach NJP/Bagdogra by noon. Drive to upper Chisang (~ 4950 ft) – 130 Km – 4 to 5 hours. Trekkers Hut/Lodge.

DAY 2: Drive to Chhuman Khola/Tangta – 1 hour – trek to Ruka forest camp (7400 ft) – 10 Km, 5/6 hours. Camp .

DAY 3: Trek to Rachela (10300 ft) – 7 Km – 4/5 hours. Camp

DAY 4: Trek down to Tangta football ground (5600 ft) – 12 Km – 6/7 hours. Camp

DAY 5: From Tangta to Todey by 4X4 vehicle – 45 min and from Todey drive to NJP/Bagdogra – 120 km – 4 hours.


  • You need to reach NJP station/Bagdogra airport latest by 12 noon on Day 1. You will return to NJP/Bagdogra in  on Day 5, i.e. around 2 pm.
  • Last ATM is in Malbajar (New Mal Juntion).
  • It is possible to customise the itinerary and exit through Lava area in Kalimpong, however that is logistically more challenging. Another exit from Rachela Tri-Junction is to Mulkharka lake in Sikkim. This requires additional permits.

 Altitude and distance profile graph: 

Here you will get a pictorial representation of the trail for your understanding.

Best time for Rachela Pass trek in Neora Valley National Park: 

Being in Eastern Himalayas (Sikkim/Darjeeling area) this area observes longer monsoon. Clouds start to hover from April and prolong till October beginning. There are two distinct seasons when this year trek is particularly beautiful:

1) Spring/Summer for Rhododendron season (Mar to May): From mid of March to Mid of May. Flowering starts from early March in the lower elevation, and gradually towards end of spring on higher altitude. Rhododendron and Giant Magnolia are two most famous along with several other wild flower species. Cloudy or misty atmosphere is common during Spring. Though clear mountains views are not uncommon, specially during morning.

2) Fall/Winter for clear weather (Oct to Feb): From mid October to end of February. In the beginning of October clouds start moving out from this region and weather becomes clearer. November is  particularly known for its crystal clear views of the mountains.

From June to September, Neora Valley National Park is closed due to Monsoons.

 Reaching NJP/Bagdogra and to trek base Chisang (Todey-Tangta, Kalimpong) 

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra (IXB), drive to trek base Serene Acres, Chisang, ~ 130 Km and may take 4 to 5 hours.

Nearest Railways station: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) ~ 125 Km; New Mal Junction (NMZ) by Kanchankanya Express (13149) to Chinsang is around 55 Km.

The road is through the outer foothills called Dooars with tea gardens and forests on both the sides.  Finally we will gain elevation following the river Jaldhaka, upstream.

Reaching Rachela Pass trek base: From NJP/Bagdogra to Chisang (click to see the high resolution image)

We will arrange a pickup  from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri to Chisang and a drop to NJP/Bagdogra from todey. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and to be paid directly to the driver. A Tata Sumo/Mahindra Bolero Jeep charges ₹ 4500 one way. One such car can accommodate up to 8 people. This cost is NOT included in the TREK FEE.

Why treks with HT?

Highest Point3150 m/10330 ft
Trail Length32 Km

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