It comes as no surprise that Nepal is one (if not the) best trekking destination in the world. Towering mountains defy gravity as they reach impossibly high towards the sky. Tiny villages sprinkle the hillside. Locals greet you with smiling faces and there is a deep connection to the land. It’s a mountain lover’s paradise with excellent food, ancient culture, and unbeatable hospitality.
When it comes to trekking in Nepal, there are countless options to explore this jaw-dropping landscape. From the famous Annapurna Base Camp to the Gokyo Ri’s famous sunrise over Everest, there are endless trekking trails in Nepal. Let’s dive into the best treks in Nepal and what it takes to experience this stunning country.
When is the Best Time to Visit Nepal?
Although it is possible to visit year-round, there two distinct seasons for trekking in Nepal; spring and fall.
March to May is known as the climbing season. This is when mountaineers show up to make a summit bid. Temperatures during the spring are cooler, but the visibility is generally great in mornings, becoming cloudy in the evenings. There is a chance for snow, but the trails are generally less busy this time of year.
The fall, from September through November, offers the best visitability throughout the day and warmer temperatures. However, some of Nepal’s best trekking routes will be extremely crowded. Tea houses will be full, prices will be higher, and seclusion is hard to come by.
Should I Hire a Trekking Guide?
Yes. Listen, I hike for a living and I can easily handle navigating the treks in Nepal on my own, but I hired a guide. Trekking guides are an essential part of the Nepalese economy. Many locals consider it rude and unthoughtful to trek on your own. A guide brings a lot of added value to your trek. In fact, I still speak with my guide even years after my trek.
If you do opt to head out by yourself, expect to pay higher prices and be treated differently. You’ll get the worst room (or be turned away) and you won’t be greeted with a warm welcome.
What Physical Shape Should I be in when I Visit Nepal?
Your level of fitness largely depends on which trek you would like to do. Nepal offers some amazing trekking opportunities, from easy three day treks all the way to a month-long trek over high altitude passes. Either way, be comfortable leaving some of your creature comforts at home and expect to walk at least three hours each day.
Trekking and Traveler’s Insurance for Nepal
If you plan on trekking in Nepal it is absolutely essential that you carry traveler’s insurance. In fact, almost every guide service requires you to have traveler’s insurance. This is because medical evacuations are often only possible by helicopter and it’s extremely expensive – like 10’s of thousands of dollars expensive (yikes!).
World Nomads offers top-notch coverage for adventure travel, including trekking. We even had to use our insurance when our bags got lost, and World Nomads made the process quick and easy. Be sure to select a plan that covers you for your maximum altitude to ensure you are covered in the rare event of a medical emergency.
The Best Treks in Nepal
There are so many treks to choose from when visiting Nepal, it can be hard to choose. The best trek in Nepal is the one that gets you excited. There are several trekking options for beginner trekkers and advanced mountain hikers alike. Each of these treks explores a different region of Nepal and offers something for every kind of trekking. When choosing a Nepal trek think about the following:
- How much time do you have? This will dictate which trek you can do.
- What type of traveler are you? If you like more rest and relaxation, consider going on a shorter trek and enjoying the cultural and historical sites. Or going on a longer trek that doesn’t ascend as much elevation.
- Do crowds bother you? The trek to Everest Base Camp is mega-popular. In fact, the trek feels more like a road than a trail. Don’t expect to find solitude on the most popular treks in Nepal such as Annapurna Base Camp, Everest Base Camp or Poon Hill.
- How hard do you want to train or what type of hiker are you? You likely don’t want to tackle the Three Passes Loop if you don’t think you can handle glacier travel at 15,000 feet high.
- What time of year are you planning to visit? A lot of areas are inaccessible during parts of the year, but there is always a trekking destination in Nepal no matter what time of year it is.
Get Off the Beaten Path on the Mohare Danda Trek in Nepal
by Inma at A World of Travel
Although somewhat eclipsed by the fame of trekking to Mount Everest Basecamp, the Annapurnas (a Himalayas section towards center-north of Nepal) also has much to offer those who dare to trek in its vicinity.
In fact, the Annapurna Massif and its surroundings – a protected area of 7,629 square kilometers – were the first conservation areas in the country. The Annapurna region is also home to some of the best treks in Nepal.
There, one can engage in some well-known treks as Jomson Trek, the circuit of the Annapurnas, Ghorepani, and Ghandruk. Alternatively, there are other off-the-beaten-path treks worth your sweat such as the recently opened Annapurna Community Trek to Mohare Hill (aka. Mohare Danda).
Duration: 5 days
Maximum Elevation: 10,886 feet or 3,300m
Enjoy the Classic Everest Base Camp Trek
by Bridget at Impulse 4 Adventure
Tucked away in the Sagarmatha National Park of Nepal lies one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Mount Everest. Standing at 29,029 feet above sea level, this colossal mountain challenges even the most experienced mountaineers. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert mountain climber to lay eyes on this towering peak.
The Everest Base Camp trek is one of the premier trekking routes in Nepal. Known as the EBC, this trek is a much more realistic adventure for the average hiker. At the end of the trail, you are rewarded by standing a the base of the world’s tallest mountain. The 38.5-mile journey begins in Lukla, the gateway to the Himalayas, and will take between 10 to14 days, depending on how well you acclimate to the altitude.
With proper training prior to departure and choosing a professional Nepalese Sherpa to guide you, this trek will not be difficult but does require a fair amount of fitness. The trail is well worn with only a few steep climbs and the only real challenge will be the altitude.
As you ascend deep into the Himalayas, you will also be completely immersed into the rich culture of each village along the way. As one of the best treks in Nepal, the EBC is truly a life-changing experience with incredible panoramic views and a sense of extreme accomplishment as you reach Everest Base Camp.
Duration: 10 to 15 days
Maximum Elevation: 17,600 feet (5,364 m)
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Short on time? Trek to The Ghorepani and Poon Hill
By Dave from Dave’s Travel Pages
Nepal has a number of treks to choose from, and the Ghorepani – Poon HIll trek is one of the most accessible for people of all fitness levels and abilities. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no stroll in the park, but with a bit of determination and perseverance, it’s an enjoyable and rewarding trekking route in the Himalaya.
The exact length, route and stopping points of the Ghorepani – Poon Hill trek can vary. I’ve actually walked this route twice, and believe that 4 nights and 5 days is about the best amount of time. The rough route would be:
Nayapul – Tirkhedhunga – Ghorepani – Hike to Poonhill – Trek to Tadapani – Ghandruk – Kimche – Drive to Pokhara
The starting point for the trek is at Nayapul, about an hour’s drive away from Pokhara. From there, the non-technical route can be followed using a reasonably well-signposted trail. Whilst it’s perfectly possible to do the hike yourself carrying your own gear, most people choose to use the services of a porter and/or guide. These can be arranged in either Pokhara or Kathmandu before beginning
The walking route has many highlights, with the main one being the 4 am hike up to the top of Poon Hill for the sunrise. There’s no guarantee of a clear day, but when the weather is right, there’s an almost spiritual feeling as the sun rises over the Annapurna range.
Duration: 4 to 5 days
Maximum Elevation: 10,531 feet or 3210m
For more incredible trekking routes in Nepal, check out the Tilicho Lake Trek.
Lay Eyes on an 8,000m Peak on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
By Taryn of Happiest Outdoors
The Annapurna Base Camp trek climbs part way up the Annapurna Massif to a climbers base camp. It is also sometimes called the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek since it ends an area that is sacred to the local Gurung people. They believe that it is home to several deities. For many trekkers, the highlight of their hike is witnessing the magical glow of sunrise on Annapurna.
The trek starts just outside Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city. For the first few days, you trek steadily uphill through the jungle. At the lower elevations, there are multiple route options and you pass through many Gurung villages. As you approach Annapurna Base Camp, you’ll spend two days trekking through the protected Annapurna Conservation Area. This area has much wilder scenery with jagged peaks and the rushing Modi Khola River. Eventually, you’ll emerge above treeline and reach Annapurna Base Camp, surrounded by high peaks and tumbling glaciers.
With a variety of possible routes, the Annapurna Base Camp trek can take anywhere from 7 to 12 days. I recommend a slightly longer itinerary so you can visit Jhinu Danda hot springs and add on the Poon Hill trek. As one of the best treks in Nepal, Annapurna Base Camp has a lot of climbing, much of it on stone staircases, which can be exhausting. Be sure to bring the proper gear for your Annapurna trek in order to make the hiking a bit less cumbersome. But since it tops out at 4,100m elevation, it’s not as difficult as many of the other high elevation treks in Nepal.
Duration: 7 to 12 days
Maximum Elevation: 13,451 feet or 4,100m
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Hike to Australian Base Camp, the Best Day Trek in Nepal
By Adriana of Travepreneur
If trekking Mount Everest seems terrifying, I suggest a much easier route: Australian Base Camp (ABC) via Dhampus. A simple two to three-hour adventure, trekking to ABC gives you one of the best views of the Annapurna Mountain range.
To reach Dhampus, drive for an hour (by bus or Jeep) outside of the Pokhara Valley. Be prepared for narrow, ill-maintained roads and a bumpy ride to the start of this Nepal trek. Once you arrive, either to start your trek or to find nearby lodging and start the following day.
The base of the trek gives you stunning views of the Fish Tail Mountain, Machapuchhare. It’s also known as the mountain no human has ever set foot on. While that’s a daunting thought, your trek to ABC is obtainable. Not to mention, you’ll feel like a trekking warrior for reaching an altitude of almost 2,300 m.
Once you make it through the villages, countless step, and past a small temple, you may think, “that’s all?” But, don’t be fooled. There’s more. Now the true fun begins. For the final hour of the trek be prepared for steep trails and endless stairs. Take your time and acclimatize slowly. The stone stairway to heaven is the last big challenge until you finally top out and reach the Australian Base Camp.
Duration: 1 to 2 days
Maximum Elevation: 7,545 feet or 2,300 m
Watch the Sunrise Over Mount Everest at the Summit of Gokyo Ri
This classic route offers an iconic experience trekking in Nepal. Follow the Everest Base Camp trail until just past Namche. Turn off the pedestrian highway to Mount Everest onto a tiny trail that winds its way up the steep valley to the tiny town of Gokyo.
Nestled high up in the Himalaya, spend the night in Gokyo. The town is surrounded by seven sacred lakes. From here, you can walk up a small hill to catch a view of the Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest in the Himalaya.
Wake up well before dawn and make your way up to Gokyo Ri, a large, 17,000-plus foot hill along the edges of Gokyo. From the summit of this (comparable) hill, you can see four 8,000m peaks: Cho Oyo, Lhotse Makalu, and Mount Everest herself. The sun rises just over Mount Everest, creating a dramatic view and making the journey one of the best treks in Nepal.
Duration: 10 to 12 days
Maximum Elevation: 17,575 feet or 2,300 m
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the most magnificent treks in Nepal. With plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and more, there’s plenty of reasons to visit Nepal. However, no trip to Nepal is complete without trekking to one of these fantastic Himalayan destinations.