Home to peaks that soar into the clouds, Nepal is a haven for mountain lovers. You’ll find some of the world’s highest peaks here. Some of them stand over seven thousand and eight thousand metres, the tallest and most iconic of these is, of course, Everest. There are very few places where you can trek through scenery that inspires explorers to go where no human has been before, but Nepal’s mountainous region is a magnet for the fierce.
You don’t need to be a hardcore climber to experience the county’s breathtaking heights. Granted that as a beginner you won’t be summiting Nepal’s majestic mountains anytime soon, but there’s nothing to stop you from exploring trails that lie in the foothills of these seven and eight-thousanders. With a little determination, you too can follow in the footsteps of mountaineering greats.
Discover the regions where you can find day hikes and easy treks in Nepal that are perfect for beginners:
What do you need for trekking in Nepal?
Nepal is tailor-made for hikers and trekkers, and as such the infrastructure is pretty fantastic, so all you need to do is fly in with your gear, arrange a permit and start walking.
While many of these trails are not difficult, you’re still going to be on your feet, walking for several hours a day at an incline. You don’t need to be in peak condition, but you will need to be relatively fit in order to enjoy yourself and make the most of your trip. You’ll need a consistent training plan prior to your trip.
You’ll need a Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) card. This is a necessary trekking permit required for all treks in Nepal, but some regions may require additional permits for specific areas. These can vary in cost. To get your TIMS and other permits for areas, visit the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu. Alternatively, you can book a hiking or trekking tour; this will take the hassle out of planning your trip, especially if your chosen trail will take several days to complete.
What gear to bring
Another reason to pick a tour when hiking and trekking is because it significantly reduces the number of things you need to bring with to Nepal because the operator company will take care of things like accommodation, tents, food and sleeping bags and provide you with porters. If it is your first time doing something like this, we don’t recommend doing it self-guided, but if you insist on doing so, it’s possible to rent a lot of the equipment required for such a trip!
- Sleeping: Tent (for treks with camping), sleeping bag (–15° bag will suffice on most treks but check the weather conditions), sleeping pad, a liner for your sleeping bag, travel pillow
- Hiking: Backpack, hiking boots that have been broken in, camp shoes, woollen socks, lightweight trekking pants, trekking shorts, dry-fit t-shirts, moisture-wicking underwear
- Cold weather: Thermal layers, sweater, fleece wear, waterproof layers, heavy down layers (pants and jacket), winter hat and gloves
- Accessories: Water purification tablets, water bottle, hat, hiking poles, sunglasses, headlamp, batteries, reading and writing material, camera, daypack (to carry items that you’ll need to access while hiking)
- Toiletries and other supplies: Sunscreen, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, face and body wipes, lip balm, first aid kit and medications
Easy treks in Nepal
This area is best for lower elevations, is easily accessible from Kathmandu and has scenic mountains and monasteries.
Helambu Trek – 5 days
This is a wonderful trek in Nepal for beginners. Not far from Kathmandu, the Helambu area has plenty of trails that will allow trekkers to pick a route that suits them, but the Hemalbu trek, in particular, doesn’t require crazy levels of fitness or experience. This is also a great option for those trekking in the winter. The beauty of this trail is it comes culture courtesy of the Helambu locals and a view of the mountaintops of Langtang Himal in the distance. For accommodation along the trail, look to the local teahouses.
Langtang Valley Trek – 7 days
Although this is a seven-day trek, it’s one of the more easy treks in Nepal and while the brave among you might be looking for something more challenging, walking through this stunning valley should be a priority for any mountain lover no matter what their level of experience is. The Langtang valley trek is one of the best options if you want encounters with snowcapped mountain peaks and glaciers. Just 19-km north of Kathmandu, it’s easily accessible as well. Trekkers will experience plenty of wilderness and an everchanging terrain as the trail cuts across pine forests and runs alongside streams and green pastures. Mount Langtang Lirung (7246m) will astound you as you wind your way through Langtang valley. As it is one of Nepal’s more popular treks, the trail can get quite busy, but it goes without saying that the views are worth it!
This area is best for views, high passes and cozy guesthouses.
Panchase Trek – 4 days
This trail is an excellent option for trekkers looking to discover some of the famous routes around Pokhara, which is a renowned trekking destination in Nepal, the mountain views from the city are breathtaking. The Panchase Trek begins with a boat ride across Lake Phewa to reach the start point, from there the trail spirals through the forests and hills opening out to lookout points from where you can see the Annapurnas, Machhapuchhare (Fishtail), Dhaulagiri and Manaslu. This trail is another great Himalayan trek for beginners, and only requires a few hours of walking each day which will leave you plenty of time to explore the Nepalese way of life in the local villages.
The Royal Trek – 4 days
This trail gots its moniker after Prince Charles trekked along this route when he visited Nepal in the 1980s, it is also often used by Nepalese royalty. This trail snakes through the foothills of Annapurna just north of Pokhara valley and is easily accessible thanks to its proximity to the city. Despite being close to the city, it is still one those routes considered relatively off the beaten path, and perfect for trekkers that are looking to escape the crowds and craving a more local experience. Although it’s short in length, the Royal Trek delivers big time on iconic mountain scenery. You’ll have a clear view of the Annapurna mountain range which includes Langtang Mountain and Machapuchhre. This trail is also perfect for beginners that don’t fancy camping; there are teahouses throughout the trail.
Annapurna Community Eco-Lodge Trek – 5 days
A lot of novice trekkers make the mistake of choosing the popular three to five-day Poon Hill trek, and while it is one of the gentler climbs in the region, there are hundreds of steps to tackle on the first day which can prove to be quite challenging and leave your legs beyond sore for the rest of your trip. A better choice for those without calves of steel is the nearby Annapurna Community Eco-Lodge Trek. You’ll still get incredible views, but you can ditch the crowds and the steps. Some of the peaks you’ll see include Machhapuchchhre, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri. People on the trail usually rest up in homestays or lodges.
Lower Everest region
This area is best for ease of trekking, experiencing Buddhist culture and views.
Solu Trek – 6 days
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing Mount Everest in person, and want to learn about the fascinating Sherpa culture, the Solu trail is perfect. While Mount Everest naturally requires climbers to be in peak shape, this trails falls on a much lower elevation so you can enjoy mountain views and explore monasteries without breaking too much of a sweat. To follow this trail you’ll need to fly to Phaplu from Kathmandu. This trail goes through forests, past Sherpa villages where you can observe their way of life, and there are lots of Buddhist monasteries to see along the way as well.
Day hikes close to Kathmandu
If you love walking but the idea of trekking for several days doesn’t appeal to you, then why not visit Nepal and take advantage of the ample opportunities for day hiking? Here are some trails within easy access of Kathmandu.
About one day trip east of Kathmandu Valley at an elevation of about 1800m you’ll find Nagarkot. It’s a popular place for watching the sunrise and sunset with a view of the mountains. The central Nepalese village offers plenty of trails that are ideal and the Nagarkot Day Hike is one of few ways that you can see Mount Everest from within the Kathmandu Valley
Nagarjun is a hill site close to Kathmandu Valley, part of Shivapuri National Park. Although it is tucked away behind a thick forest, Nagarjuna only takes fifteen minutes to reach by car from the city centre. This short and easy day takes two-and-a-half hours and begins at the Gate of Nagarjuna near the Balaju Bypass. The main attractions on this hike are Buddhist stupas, ancient caves and the beautiful Jamacho Monastery which is situated on the Nagarjun hill, from this viewpoint you will also see panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley.
This is a lovely day hike nearby Kathmandu. Phulchowki means the hill of flowers, and it lives up to its name. Its dotted with gardens of roses, yellow jasmine, iris and other indigenous flowers At the top of the hill, you’ll find vistas of Annapurna, Manaslu, and Langtang as well as a Buddhist shrine.
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