Hiking in Nepal: A Guide

Samuel Clennett

There are many hiking trails in Nepal to choose from, including of course the world famous Everest Base Camp trek. However, if you’re looking for a day trip hiking near Kathmandu, there are also alternative trails to choose, which give a different insight into the beauty of this area.

It’s worth knowing that trekking in Nepal can be challenging and dependent on the season and climate. Planning is essential.

Some multi day hikes in Nepal can also become somewhat costly when you factor in accommodation, guides and permits. You might be able to make your money go further while you travel with a free Wise multi-currency account. Hold 50+ currencies, spend easily with a linked multi-currency Mastercard and get currency exchange which uses the mid-market rate. TransferWIse can be up to 10x cheaper than using a regular bank, leaving you more to spend on your trip.

Hiking in Nepal

Hiking in Nepal is popular, and there are well established routes including guiding companies and accommodation. Of course, routes around Everest are the most famous - but there are plenty of other options, too. Most popular treks are multi-day routes, from 3 days to several weeks in duration. Accommodation can be found along the route in teahouses - basic rooms with shared facilities - or you can choose to camp on some treks.

It’s worth noting that some routes are restricted. You may need to buy permits, and you might have to travel with a registered guide for safety. Make sure you check out all the details before you plan your trip¹.

Best Hiking trails in Nepal

Most people headed to Nepal for trekking are looking for multi-day hikes which cover extensive distanes. You may choose a walk for 4 or 5 days, or you may be on the trail for 2 weeks or more. However, it’s also possible to take single day trekking trips from Kathmandu and Pokhara - this round up of the best hiking trails in Nepal will include both local walks accessible from a city, and more challenging multi-day options.

  1. Everest Base Camp Trek

Getting to Everest Base Camp is the reason many travellers head to Nepal. This is a beautiful route but can be busy, particularly as it’s only really easily accessible during March-May and October-November. You’ll need to fly out of Kathmandu first, and can then expect to walk for at least 14 days, depending on pace².

  1. Champadevi Temple

If you’re looking for short day hikes near Kathmandu this is a good option. Only 16 kilometres from the city, this is a pleasant half day route through the forests, which passes religious sites and offers mountain views³.

  1. Chisapani - Nagarkot Trek

If you want more than a day trip but you’re unsure about committing weeks to hiking in Nepal, this 3 day route from Kathmandu is an option. You’ll hike for up to 7 hours a day, so you would require some level of physical fitness, but it’s an accessible way to experience the area, visiting villages and spotting local wildlife⁴.

  1. Rara Lake

Looking for real wilderness? This could be it. You’ll trek for up to 15 days on routes around Rara Lake, which is the highest lake in Nepal. The walk is of moderate difficulty, so the main challenge is the altitude. Most trekkers choose to camp along the route⁵.

  1. Pulchowki Hill Hike

This is another day hike option from Kathmandu. You’ll need to drive from the city, and then can walk the hill in around 4 to 6 hours. You may be able to see interesting birds as you pass through the botanical gardens and tropical forest, and will be rewarded with great views of the valley when you hit the peak³.

  1. Annapurna Circuit

Another classic multi-day trek in Nepal, this route takes from 16 to 20 days depending on the specifics of your itinerary. You can book with an organised group, or arrange permits and guides locally if you prefer. As this is a popular and relatively busy route, walkers do also choose to tackle it solo, staying in teahouses overnight to meet others and swap stories⁶.

  1. Sarangkot Hike

From Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal, there are also accessible day hikes. Try a 3 hour trek to the village of Sarangkot, for great views of the mountains and lakes - especially beautiful if you time your walk to catch sunrise³.

  1. World Peace Stupa

Another simple day trek taking about half a day, and with a short boat ride added in. Start at Fewa Lake and hike up to the World Peace Stupa for great views and a look at this stupa - another perfect location for the sunrise or sunset over the mountains³.

Guided tours

Some of the top trails in Nepal are accessible to independent travellers, although you’ll need to be experienced at hiking in extreme conditions, and will require adequate equipment and supplies. Taking an organised tour, or hiring a guide, and in some cases, a porter, can be helpful - and if you’re walking across restricted areas, if may be mandatory.

You have a couple of options. You can arrange your tour online and pay a package price for everything. Or you can book separate services, either online through independent local guides, or once you arrive and start to meet guides near your chosen route.

Local guides will help with the logistics and safety of your trip, but they can also give a valuable insight into daily life and culture. This can make your trip far more rewarding.

If you book a package with an international provider, you’ll pay extra for the convenience - but you can easily get a clear view of what your trip will involve and cost. Locally, guides are likely to cost from around USD30+ per day, and you’ll need to negotiate and arrange the itinerary yourself.

There are many resources online to help you decide how to arrange your trek, including costings and considerations to help you select routes and options⁷. Do some research to find the right plan for you.

Things to watch out for when hiking in Nepal

There are many treks in Nepal which do not involve technical climbing. This makes them more accessible but you’ll still need to be aware of the potential dangers involved in hiking in a remote area with extreme temperatures, and at high altitude. Here are some pointers.

  • One of the biggest dangers most hikers face is altitude sickness. Make sure you know the symptoms, and seek help if you’re concerned
  • Do not head out alone. Take guide, or buddy up with other solo walkers if you’re unaccompanied, for safety and a more enjoyable trip
  • Pack well, including water and a basic first aid kit
  • Weather conditions can be changeable - be prepared and change your plans if the weather isn’t favourable
  • Use common sense about the routes. If there has been a landslide or avalanche, trails may be damaged. Take local advice if you’re not sure about safety
  • You may meet donkeys and yaks on the route. These can be clumsy so keep away from cliff edges if they’re nearby

Although hiking in Nepal is most famous for routes around Everest, there is a rich tapestry of trails you can consider if you want to see more of the area. You could spend longer than you think exploring.

Make sure you have the funds to cover the cost of your adventure in Nepal. Get a Transferwise account and multi-currency Mastercard, to spend less on currency and foreign exchange fees while you travel.


  1. Trekking in Nepal
  2. Best Treks Nepal
  3. Day Treks Nepal
  4. 3 Day Hike to Sundarijal
  5. Rara Lake Trek
  6. Things to know before hiking the Annapurna Circuit
  7. Trekking in Nepal Costs

All sources accurate as of 20 February 2020

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