Top 10 treks in Nepal

Nepal is known less for its walks and more for its treks. But although Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit are all well and good (spectacular, in fact), have you ever considered Pikey Peak for the best sunrise over Mount Everest? Seeing the striped coffee hills of the Sailung Valley? Exploring the temple towns of Kathmandu Valley with the family? Read on to find out our top 10 walks in Nepal.

1. Everest Base Camp

Few treks are as wreathed in mountain myth as Everest Base Camp. At 5,362m, the site is just over halfway up the tallest mountain in the world. Consider the legendary climbers who have snuck some Zs here before you (Tenzing Norgay, Sir Edmund Hillary, Junko Tabei…) before venturing to the summit. The best treks last around 15 days, leaving plenty of time for acclimatisation and gawping at the mind-bendingly tall Mahalangur Himal range.

Best time to go: Either side of monsoon, so February to May or late September to November
Our top trip: Everest Base Camp trek
See all our trips: Everest Base Camp holidays
Read more: Everest Base Camp travel guide

2. Annapurna Circuit

The Annapurna Circuit takes on northwest Nepal. Over three weeks, you’ll hike the subtropical lower Marsyangdi Valley, Tibetan Plateau, Kali Gandaki Gorge (the deepest in the world) and through riverside villages like Pisang. The people are as varied as the landscapes. Hindu settlements gradually transform into Buddhist villages and monasteries fluttering with prayer flags. Teahouses are the places to stay – a real window into Himalayan hospitality.

Best time to go: Anytime, although try to avoid the June and September monsoon
Our top trip: Annapurna Circuit trekking holiday
See all our trips: Annapurna Circuit holidays
Read more: Annapurna Circuit travel guide

3. Sailung Valley

Done the big-hitting trails? Sailung Valley is relatively unknown, offering close contact with quiet Himalayan communities. The scenery is spectacular, with coffee terraces and silvery peaks. But it’s the villages that really turn on the charm. Clattering yak herds, coffee farms and persimmon orchards hint at the low-key livelihoods. Sailung Peak is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists, so you’ll find cave temples and 600-year-old monasteries.

Best time to go: Autumn and spring. Rhododendrons blaze down the hills in mid-April and May
Our top trip: Sailung Valley trekking holiday
See all our trips: Nepal walking holidays
Read more: Nepal trekking travel guide

4. Gokyo Lakes

The Gokyo Lakes are a picture of peace less than 20km way from busy Everest Base Camp. You’ll edge past a trio of chalky turquoise lakes that lie beside Gokyo village; watch out for the ruddy Brahminy ducks paddling the bracing waters. Stay in a lakeside lodge and go to the Ngozumpa Glacier, where you’re surrounded by the giants of the world – mountains that reach over 8,000m, including Mount Everest and Makalu.

Best time to go: September to December; February to June – outside of monsoon season.
Our top trip: Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes trek
See all our trips: Nepal walking holidays
Read more: Nepal trekking travel guide

5. Annapurna Sanctuary

The Annapurna Sanctuary is a different beast to the Circuit. This 4,130-metre-high plateau is completely circled by twice-as-high mountains that form the Annapurna Himal, one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. This is the arena for some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets you’ll ever see. The climb up is pretty extraordinary, too, especially when rhododendrons fire up the forests.

Best time to go: Autumn and spring. Early May to catch rhododendrons in bloom
Our top trip: Annapurna Sanctuary trekking holiday
See all our trips: Annapurna Sanctuary walking holidays
Read more: Annapurna region travel guide

6. Family-friendly walks

There’s no reason why adventurous teens can’t join you walking in Nepal. You’ll experience chaotic Kathmandu and gleaming Buddhist temples together, plus the Nepalese have a habit of instantly opening their hearts (and homes) to kids. Even Base Camp is doable (after all – as you can tell any dawdlers – Jordan Romero reached the peak aged 13). Chitwan National Park is a rewarding finish, home to endangered rhinos, tigers and crocs.

The best time to go: You’re probably limited to the school holidays, but luckily that fits in well with the preferred autumn and spring trekking windows.
Our top trip: Nepal family holiday
See all our trips: Family walking holidays in Nepal
Read more: Guide to trekking in Nepal with the family

7. Kathmandu Valley

Thanks to the lower elevations, Kathmandu Valley is a little more lived-in than higher regions. Nepal’s capital city busies itself here, yaks clatter on the slopes, and UNESCO-listed Buddhist and Hindu monuments glitter across the sacred valley. You’ll notice scars from the 2015 earthquake: felled villages and hillsides shorn by landslides. The guesthouse owners and tour guides are slowly but surely rebuilding – another reason to lend your support here.

Best time to go: Autumn and spring
Our top trip: Kathmandu to Langtang trekking holiday
See all our trips: Nepal walking holidays
Read more: Nepal trekking travel guide

8. Everest region

You don’t have to scale Everest to see its awesome beauty. The Everest region provides easier walks for those content to peer up at the 8,850m-high mountain from the forested valleys and wildflower-laden meadows below. Camp along the Dudh Kosi River and stay in Namche Bazaar, at the heart of Sherpa culture. The Imja Khola Valley is one of the highest points (up to 5,156m), and buffered on all sides by some of the world’s tallest mountains.

Best time to go: Autumn and spring
Our top trip: Everest hiking holiday
See all our trips: Walking holidays in Nepal
Read more: Nepal trekking travel guide

9. Manaslu Circuit

You probably haven’t heard of this Circuit – which is a good thing. While other trekkers tackle Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit, you can explore the backcountry around Mount Manaslu (8,163m). Walks ease you from the pine forests and Hindu and Buddhist villages of the foothills, up to the massive glaciers that cork the valleys. Walks occasionally dip into the Annapurna Circuit, where you can swap stories with other trekkers.

Best time to go: October and November for clear skies and autumnal hues
Our top trip: Manaslu Circuit trekking holiday
See all our trips: Nepal walking holidays
Read more: Nepal trekking travel guide

10. Pikey Peak

Pikey Peak (4,065m) is a walk of many talents. One: it reveals some of the best sunrises and sunsets in Nepal. Two: its views of massive Mount Everest are nigh unbeatable. Three: it’s one of Nepal’s shortest treks (from three days; stretch it to seven to wring the most out of the views). Four: it’s one of the easiest, spending time winding through rhododendron forests and orchid valleys. And finally: it’s, bizarrely, one of the least popular. What are you waiting for?

Best time to go: See Sherpa cleansing rituals at the sacred lakes in August. It’s clearer (and drier) at the end of the year, however.
Our top trip: Pikey Peak trekking holiday
See all our trips: Nepal walking holidays
Read more: Nepal trekking travel guide
Photo credits: [Page banner: Olga Danylenko] [1. Everest Base Camp: Christopher Michel] [4. Gokyo Lakes: Peellden] [7. Kathmandu Valley: Uwe Gille] [10. Pikey Peak: Charles Ng]
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