On a very auspicious day, 5/5/2555, ie. the 5th of May 2012 we went out to explore a new trail that we had spotted on a previous expeditionary trip.

I had spotted a rather steep trail heading down from the peak I had been up previously which is just South of the highest point on route 1252, 6 km on from the turning down to Baan Mae Dtoon Luang. I figured that this trail probably continued along the Chiang Mai Lampang border, along the ridge on top of this wonderful range of mountains running from North South to the East of Chiang Mai.

We had previously found, and hiked many times, the trail that follows the border from route 118 that goes out to Chiang Rai which crosses the Doi Langka Luang mountain range and comes down to Doi Langka Noi. We had recently found that we could follow this trail from Doi Langka Noi up to the highest point on the 1252 instead of going down to Baan Mae Dtoon Luang. This new trail that we explored on the 5th continues along the border, making it possible to walk all the way from the 118 down to Flight of the Gibbons along mountain ridges! This would be around a 20+16 km = 36 km walk and could not be done in one day but would make a great multi day hike.

Anyway back to the trail that we explored on the 5th. We were very glad to find that there is a well defined trail all the way across the mountain range following various ridges across the top of the mountain. Including getting lost a couple of times it was a 16 km trail. Probably would be more like 14.5 km without the detours we made. See the screen shot below from Google Earth showing the trail across the top of the mountains. There were some fabulous views along the way of the untouched forest all around us. Both across into the Jae Son National Park in Lampang and back looking down at the forest towards Chiang Mai there is very little human impact, we spotted a few hill tribe villages from the distance but apart from that there was no evidence of farming or habitations in the forest around us. We could see waves of mountain ridges going off into the distances, which are in fact distant foot hills of the Himalayas.

 

Screen shot from Google Earth of Trail Following on Top of Mountain Ridge

Screen shot from Google Earth of Trail Following on Top of Mountain Ridge

The trail climbed steeply up to a 1680 m peak (which seems to have shrunk since the military maps were created which have this peak marked as 1719 m) and then steeply down from there down a small trail that switches back and forth downwards. Then the trail alternates between not too steep ups and downs and some flat sections.

Comparison of Length and Elevation Gains of This Trail Compared To Other Trails

By comparing distance travelled and elevation gain and loss over that distance we can get an idea of the difficulty of a trail compared to other trails. This is certainly one of the longer hikes I have done and it was quite hard work.

Overall including all up and down we climbed 1177m and walked down 1128m, over 16 km. A little of that up and down was us getting lost and heading off the ridge. The max slope was 44.6% up, average slope 14%. Compare this too :

  • The trail along Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai Provincial Border, 3 peaks hike. From Peak of Radar Mountain via Unnamed Peak to Doi Pa Ngom and back again 930 m altitude gain over 9.4 km. Max slope 54.6 %, average slope 20.3 %.
  • The trail up to Doi Langka Noi – 598 m altitude gain over 3.15 km. Max slope 48.5 %, average slope 21 %.
  • The trail up the back of the peak of Doi Pui – 340 m altitude gain over 1.64 km. Max slope 35.7 %, average slope 20.5 %.
  • The Palaad Trail from the start of the Palaad Nature Trail (which is near the radio antenna) to Wat Palaad – 278 m altitude gain over 2.4 km. Max slope 26.3 %, average slope 12.8 %.
  • Start of the Galare Loop up from the Galare Restaurant to the sala on the road to Doi Suthep where there is a view point, and some times a coffee van – 342 m altitude gain over 2.14 km. Max slope 33.3%, average slope 16.9%.
  • Start of the Chiang Kian Waterfall Loop – 223 m altitude gain over 2.01 km. Max slope 27.8 %, average slope 11.3%.

Pictures

We didn’t take many pictures but here are some we did take.

GPS Stuff

And here is a gpx trail and Google Earth trail showing where we went. Notice there were some detours from the trail proper so if you follow this trail be wary when the trail starts heading off the ridge.