Trekking in Nepal
Trekking in Nepal is the top tourist activity. Nepal is one of the best trekking destinations in the world. This is because Nepal offers the ability to trek in the lap of giant Himalayan peaks. Nepal is home to eight of the 14 highest peaks in the world which are over 8,000 m in altitude. Stunning mountains, glaciers, dense forests thriving with endangered flora and fauna, swirling rivers, elaborate valleys, deep gorges and ravines, picturesque farmlands and beautiful typical villages make Nepal a great destination to trek in.
Nepal is divided into three regions. The northern belt is called the Himalayan belt and it is home to some of the most stunning mountains. The lap of these mountains like Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri form great trekking routes. These trekking routes often take us to the base camp of nearby mountains and beyond. The middle belt is the hill belt. This belt is dominated by the Mahabharata range which extends up to the Elevation of 4,500 m. Numerous trekking routes like Langtang Trek and Annapurna Sanctuary Trek lie on this belt. The southern belt is the plain terai belt with no option of trekking. You can go jungle safari in the forests of Terai.
Best Season to Trek in Nepal
Autumn and Spring are the two best seasons to trek in Nepal. Nepal is located in the northern hemisphere and falls under the subtropical belt. Autumn lasts from September to November. This is also a festive period of Nepalese. The weather is cool and pleasant to walk through as summer has just subsided and winter is yet to come. Spring lasts from March to May and it is another great alternative season to plan your trekking. New foliage and flowers make trekking during springtime spectacularly beautiful. You will also see rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal, in full bloom if you happen to be trekking during spring.
The winter season lasts from December to February and it is considered the worst season to trek in Nepal. Most of Nepal is situated at a high altitude. This makes Nepal significantly colder despite being on the subtropical belt. Thus winters are harsh. Snow covers most of the trekking route. It is hard to conduct rescue when needed. We must avoid trekking in the high Himalayas during winter. We can plan short winter treks in the hilly region. It rains during the summer season (June to August) in Nepal. This makes trekking difficult.
Best Treks in Nepal
Trekking in Nepal falls under two broad categories. The first is the long trekking options. These are also usually the hardest ones. The second trekking options are short trekking options. These are easier and shorter trekking alternatives.
Best Long Treks in Nepal
Some of the best long treks in Nepal are:
Everest Three Passes Trek: This trek takes us to the famed three passes of the Everest Region. These passes are the Renjo La Pass (5,360 m), KongMa La Pass (5,528 m) and Cho La Pass (5,420 m). We will also visit the Everest Base Camp (EBC), Kalapatthar and the picturesque Gokyo lakes.
Manaslu Circuit Trek: Manaslu (8,146 m) is the eighth highest mountain in the world. It lies in the northern part of the Gorkha and Dhading district. Manaslu trek is one of the nearest long treks from Kathmandu. It is also one of the most challenging ones. We can also pay a visit to the breathtaking Tsum Valley if we wish.
Annapurna Circuit Trek: Annapurna region treks are the second most popular trek in Nepal after treks to Everest Region. Annapurna I (8,091 m) is the tenth highest mountain in the world. The oldest and the most popular route in the Annapurna region is the Annapurna Circuit Trek. We will go full circle around the Annapurna Massif during this trek.
Everest Base Camp and Kalapatthar: This is without a doubt the best trek in Nepal. Everest (8,848 m) is the highest altitude point on earth. The mountain is the ultimate dream of many trekkers and climbers. Everest Base Camp provides a wonderful view of mountains like Everest, Lhotse, Pumori, Changtse and other peaks. Equally breathtaking is the visit to Kalapathar. The view of the Khumbu icefall from Kalapatthar is astounding.
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) is the third-highest altitude mountain in the world. The foothills of the Kanchenjunga mountain is protected as the Kanchenjunga National Park. The mountain lies on the eastern border between Nepal and Tibet. The region is one of the most virgin locations in Nepal. This makes the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trip one of the best experiences in Nepal.
Best Short Treks in Nepal
Some of the best short treks in Nepal are as follows:
Annapurna Base Camp Trek: This is one of the most glorious treks in Nepal. You can visit the Base Camp of Annapurna and come back to Kathmandu within a week of travel. The trek takes us along beautiful Rhododendron and bamboo forests of the Annapurna Sanctuary. The trek route snakes uphill along the banks of the Modi River. The Annapurna Base Camp is also the foot of other peaks like Himchuli, Gangapurna, and Machhapuchhre mountain.
Langtang Valley Trek: Langtang valley lies directly north of Kathmandu Valley. In fact, the two valleys are adjacent to one another. Langtang Valley is a beautiful glacial valley. It was listed among 52 places you must visit by the New York Times in 2017. The valley lies south of the Langtang mountain range. The range boasts of spectacular mountains like Langshisha Ri, Lakpa Dorje, and other mountains.
Mardi Himal Trek: Mardi Mountain (5,587 m) is an unexplored gem in the Annapurna Region. This mountain lies slightly south-east of the Machhapuchhre. Despite being on the Annapurna Sanctuary, Mardi Himal receives fewer visitors in comparison. This trek can be completed within five days. If we are willing, then we can also add Khayar Lake as our destination.
Panchase Trek: Panchase is a beautiful village located on the outskirts of the Pokhara Valley. It is adjacent to the village of Sarangkot. Sarangkot is a famous tourist viewpoint located on the rim of Pokhara. Panchase trek provides us a spectacular view of the Phewa lake. It also allows us to spend a wonderful time in the typical Nepali villages. This trek can be accomplished in a couple of days.
Things to remember during treks in Nepal
A little bit of extra preparation never goes out of the way. If you are traveling to Nepal for trekking, please keep in mind the following:
- Sometimes helicopter rescue is the only option if you get stuck in remote places. Please make sure your insurance covers helicopter rescue.
- Winters in the high mountains are harsh. If you are planning treks during winter, please check with your travel agency if the situation is favorable or not.
- There is a chance of rain during the middle of January in Nepal. This rain is very rare as June-July is the regular rainy season. However, this rain can disturb your short treks by making the road slippery.
- Please make sure you have equipment like a walking stick, bandana, headscarf, goggles and trekking grade clothes before starting the trek.
- You will get continental, Asian and other flavors of food throughout Nepal. However, you might need to make do with local cuisine in some tea houses during the trek. The local cuisine – dal, bhat, tarkari – is also exquisite.
- As most of the trekking takes place inside National Parks and Reserves, we will need special permits to carry out these treks.