hikes in Kathmandu
Gateway to the Himalayas, the intoxicating city of Kathmandu has been attracting hikers for centuries. This chaotic, dusty city might not appear to be the ideal hiking location at first glance, but it sits in a beautiful valley with many fabulous trails opportunities for trekking. You’ll find gentle routes that climb through terraced rice fields, past Hindu shrines and colorful Buddhist monasteries, visible for miles with their fluttering prayer flags. This is a region that will capture your heart and soul.
The city of Kathmandu is ringed by tall hills and national parks, filled with beautiful peaks that offer epic views over the nearby mountains. The valley offers some wonderful trails for keen hikers, with lots of moderate routes suitable for beginners. You don’t need to venture far from the city to find some epic views of the snow-capped peaks of the Langtang Range and the towering Himalayan mountains.
The Kathmandu Valley is the ideal place to explore Nepal’s rich cultural heritage, with many beautiful medieval villages and religious shrines. Although the region bore the brunt of the 2015 earthquake, it is slowly rebuilding itself, and remains one of the most fascinating and beautiful parts of the country for visitors to explore.
If you have your sights set on Nepal, why not start planning a trip to Kathmandu today? We’ve put together all of the information you’ll need to organize your stay, including lists of our favorite hikes, and tips for traveling in the region. Grab your hiking boots and head for the hills!
Types Of Hiking In Kathmandu
The Kathmandu Valley offers hikes for all fitness and experience levels, and there are many trails throughout the region to suit all visitors. If you’re short on time, or prefer easy, low-level routes, the Kathmandu Valley is the place for you, with lush, enjoyable trails, and epic views over the nearby mountains. The Kathmandu Valley is also an ideal place to combine a hiking trip with a cultural tour, as many of these routes pass through important religious sites and peaceful monasteries. However, if you’re looking for a more challenging hike, the hills and national parks to the north of Kathmandu also have plenty to offer. Here you’ll find steep, strenuous trails that will give you a good workout, and as a reward, you’ll enjoy remarkable mountain views. Wherever you go, there’s always a teashop or a trailside restaurant to provide you with sustenance as you hike!
Easy Hikes In Kathmandu
The truth is that there aren’t many easy hikes around Kathmandu. With the steep inclines many hikes will have over 3281ft of elevation gain. One of the easier ones is the Bosan Hike. If you’re looking for a fun, relatively easy hike in the Kathmandu Valley, then this route to Bosan Danda is one of our favorites, passing through lush forests and medieval villages. The view from the top offers a spectacular panorama over the Kathmandu Valley, and older kids will love exploring the traditional villages along the way.
Day Hikes In Kathmandu
Chisapani to Nagarkot Hike: This route from Chisapani to Nagarkot is one of the best day hikes in Nepal, stretching 22km through some of the finest scenery in the Kathmandu Valley. You’ll enjoy lush forests, tranquil lakes and terraced rice fields, together with some spectacular views out over the mountains and the valley itself.
Challenging Hikes In Kathmandu
Champadevi Hike: The Champadevi hilltop is an important site of local pilgrimage and provides one of the best easy hikes in Kathmandu. The route passes through dense forests, alongside flower-strewn fields and Buddhist monasteries, providing plenty of variety and interest along the way. The fantastic view from the top of the hill stretches all the way to the Langtang and Ganesh ranges, and the dramatic vista will take your breath away.
Shivapuri Hike: The view from the top of Shivapuri Peak offers some of the best views over the Langtang Range in the whole of the Kathmandu Valley, making this challenging hike well worth the effort! The trail winds steeply up the slopes of the Shivapuri Nagajun National Park, past several important religious sites, including the convent at Nagi Gumba. This is one of the best challenging hikes in Kathmandu Valley.
Best Hikes In Kathmandu
Dahachowk Hike: The Kathmandu Valley is known for its traditional medieval villages and important pilgrimage sites, and this moderate trail will take you past some fascinating sacred monuments. The trail rises steeply, offering fabulous views over the Chandragiri forest, and if you visit in spring, you’ll be treated to an incredible array of wild flowers. On a clear day, the panoramic views over the Himalayas are second to none.
Phulchowki Hike: Known as the ‘hill of flowers’, the route up Phulchowki Hill is one of the prettiest in the Kathmandu Valley. Expect to be surrounded by colorful flowers, lush forests, and plenty of chirruping birds, which provide a welcome distraction from the strenuous climb. The views from the top are simply exceptional, extending over the Kathmandu Valley to the mountains beyond. Visit in March and April and you may witness the annual festival celebrated at the shrine on top of the hill.
Chisapani Hike: Just north of Kathmandu, the small hill station of Chisapani is the destination on this moderate hike. If you can, plan to stay the night at Chisapani so you can take in the beautiful sunset and sunrise over the mountains. The route itself is steep but magnificent, passing through atmospheric villages with wonderful views.
Panauti to Namobuddha Hike: The hike from Panauti to Namobuddha offers hikers the opportunity to connect with Nepal’s fascinating Buddhist culture. Namobuddha is home to Thrangu Tashi Yangtse monastery, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Kathmandu Valley. The monastery itself is a wonderful, picturesque sight, its colorful walls offset perfectly by the green hills and snow-capped mountains in the distance. This moderate route is one of our favorite hikes in Kathmandu.
Sankhu to Nagarkot Hike: The relatively short trail from the ancient town of Sankhu to Nagarkot will take you up a steep path through lush vegetation, passing plenty of fascinating shrines and Hindu temples along the way. The route offers plenty of variety passing through dense forest and open country above the tree line. You’ll enjoy a fabulous view over the valley, and a slap up meal at your destination – Nagarkot has plenty of excellent restaurants where you can reward yourself for the day’s exertions.
Pilot Baba Ashram Hike: ‘Pilot Baba’ was a former pilot who earned a reputation as a local sage, when he abandoned his life and career to seek spiritual enlightenment in the hills of the Kathmandu Valley. This easy trail follows the path up to the ashram itself, passing through dense forests and alongside terraced rice fields. The views from the ashram itself are simply beautiful – Pilot Baba certainly chose his spot well!
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Kathmandu?
The best time to visit the Kathmandu Valley is between September and December. At this time, the weather will be mild and dry, and the hills and valleys will be at their most verdant after the annual monsoon rains have watered the forests and fields! You can expect clear views over the mountains and glaciers, and there are many festivals and local celebrations at this time of year, which will add a little excitement and local flavor to your trip!
The winter months tend to be very cold, but by March and April, the spring flowers are in bloom, making it another wonderful time to hike in Kathmandu. Although the weather can be somewhat sticky, the flowering rhododendrons create lots of fantastic photo opportunities. Summer is best avoided, as the annual monsoon makes many trails inaccessible, the weather is humid, and the countryside is plagued by insects.
Best Regions For Hiking in Kathmandu
The rich, fertile, rolling Kathmandu Valley stretches for 25 km, and is packed with important sacred sites and wonderful areas for hiking. The southern and eastern parts of the valley offer some picturesque trails in lush, green countryside, and east of the Bagmati River you’ll find many perfectly preserved medieval villages, with traditional wooden houses. The north and western parts of the valley, however, offer the most spectacular views and highest peaks. Head to the Shivapuri National Park for epic views over the Himalayas and some truly memorable hiking trails.
Other Outdoor Activities in Kathmandu
As Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu is the place to come if you want to organize outdoor activities anywhere in the country. In addition to hiking, there are plenty of other outdoor activities in Kathmandu, including mountain biking. Biking has really taken off as a popular sport in the area in recent years, and we’ve got plenty of recommendations for all the best routes in the Kathmandu Valley. It’s also possible to organize horseback riding, river rafting, and city walks.Read More
The best hikes in Kathmandu
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