Best Trekking in Nepal: Ultimate Guide to the Top Treks

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Heading to Nepal but unsure which trek to take on? We’ve compiled a list of the best treks in the region which all vary in difficulty, length, and budget. Choosing the right trek usually depends on how many days you want to be trekking and what type of budget you have. Some treks you can do by yourself just as long as you have good organization skills, while some you would need to do with the help of professionals.

Whatever your choice is, trekking in Nepal is one of the best things that you can do in all of Asia. So in no particular order, here are a few of the best and most famous treks in Nepal known for their jaw-dropping scenery and challenging peaks.

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in any of the treks below, inquire directly at the bottom of this post or from our sidebar for exclusive discounts.

Everest Base Camp

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 14 days

Difficulty: Challenging

Elevation: 5,364 m / 17,598 ft (base camp)

Naturally, Everest Base Camp makes the list as one of the best treks in Nepal. Due to its popularity, the trail can get a bit crowded during the peak climbing seasons, nonetheless, it is still rather magnificent to conquer as you stand face to face with the world’s tallest mountain. The Sherpa culture is one of the highlights of this trek, making the whole thing a cultural experience.

Apart from the grandiose experience of seeing Mt. Everest, the other peaks along the way make the climb very scenic and unforgettable. If you want a bit more remote trekking, you might want to consider taking on other routes but if you want a bit more of a social atmosphere, the tea houses along the way are great places to meet other trekking buddies. If you are planning to do this trek, make sure you check out our EBC trek packing list.

Everest Base Camp Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May; October-November

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: 30-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla

Read about our experience here: Everest Base Camp Trek Review | Cost of Trekking Up Everest Basecamp nepal-ebc2

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Manaslu Circuit Trek

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 15 days

Difficulty: Challenging

Elevation: 5,106 m / 16,752 ft (Larkya La pass)

If you’re looking for something more remote, consider the Manaslu Circuit Trek which was dubbed as the “New Annapurna”. Before teahouses opened in 2010, trekkers would have to camp their way through this rigorous 15-day trek. Apart from the very diverse topography which varies in altitude, you walk in a circuit which means the trail before you keeps changing and is never the same.

The route circumnavigates Mt. Manaslu (8,156 m), which is the 8th highest mountain in the world right before reaching its highest point, Larkya Pass. The entire trail is challenging and heaps of fun for avid trekkers who enjoy various types of terrain. If you plan on doing this trail, it’s best to book ahead of time as accommodation can get scarce during peak season. Due to the variety of scenery and remoteness, the Manaslu Circuit is one of our top picks for trekking trails in Nepal.

Manaslu Circuit Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May; October-November

Restricted Permits: Yes (minimum of 2 trekkers / Nepali guide or porter)

Guide: Mandatory

Trailhead Accessibility: 8 hours away from Kathmandu. Starts at Aurughat or Gorkha and ends in Besisahar


Annapurna Circuit

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 10-14 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation: 5,416 m / 17,769 ft. (Thorong La Pass)

After Everest, one of the most popular treks to take on in Nepal is the Annapurna Circuit which includes a 100-mile circumnavigation of the Annapurna mountain range. From jungles, high mountains, and ethnic villages, the Annapurna Circuit is a great trail to take on! As with Everest Base Camp, the popularity of this trail equates to crowded trails so if you want this place all to yourself, you might want to go there during shoulder season.

For those who are looking to add some variety to their trail, you can also consider doing a side detour to Tilicho Lake, a pristine alpine lake which is a day-trip away around the halfway mark. This side trip is highly recommended and is worth the detour! The highlight of this circuit is crossing the world’s widest pass, the Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters which can give some people massive bouts of altitude sickness.

Annapurna Circuit Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May; October-November

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: Starts at Besisahar and ends in Pokhara. You can reach Besisahar by a tourist bus from Kathmandu or Pokhara. nepal-trekking

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Annapurna Base Camp

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 10 days

Difficulty: Moderate-Challenging (due to inclines)

Elevation: 4,320 m / 14,173 ft.

While the Annapurna Circuit is a much more cultural experience, the trek up to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is a lot more physically demanding. Unlike the other treks in the region of Nepal, the ABC is very steep and vertical. The entire trail has very little flat terrain so make sure you’re quite fit when attempting to do this trek. Reaching the Annapurna Base Camp (4,320m) will allow you to stand by the foot of one of the most dangerous mountains to climb. Being the 10th highest in the world, many attempt to summit this mountain but end up failing due to the avalanche-prone peaks.

Generally speaking, the Annapurna Circuit is much more scenic and culturally rich so weigh out your options in regards to which one to do. A lot of people combine the Annapurna Circuit with the Annapurna Base Camp if you have an extra 5-7 days.

Annapurna Basecamp Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: Mid-September to November (autumn) and March to May (spring)

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: Nayapul and ends in Kande nepal-abc

Three Passes Trek

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 18-22 days

Difficulty: Challenging

Elevation: 5,535 m / 18,159 ft (Kongma La pass)

Trekking the Three Passes through the Sargamartha National Park Region is one of the best trekking routes in Nepal. The three passes which are Kongma La, Cho La, and Renjo La is the ultimate tour of the Everest Region, showcasing some of the best highlights and features of Nepal. The best part about the three passes is being able to conquer the challenging 5000m passes which spans out for a total of 3 weeks. As the passes are all rather high in elevation so altitude sickness can be a real issue here as acclimatization is slow. This trek can often be combined with variations of Everest Base Camp Trek.

Three Passes Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: Spring (March – May) and Autumn (October – November)

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: Jiri/Lukla

nepal-three passes

Upper Mustang Trek

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 12 days

Difficulty: Moderate-Hard

Elevation: 3810 m / 12,500 ft

If you’re looking for something a little more unusual, the arid desert valley in the Upper Mustang Trek is your best bet. Unlike the usual snowcapped mountain peaks, this trekking trail shows off sandstone cliffs and barren landscapes. What makes this trek interesting is the heavy Tibetan culture as it was once the former Himalayan Kingdom.

However, due to the desert-like atmosphere, trekking through the afternoon winds can be a bit tricky. Like other restricted permit trekking trails, don’t expect to see a lot of people due to the high trekking costs. However, if remote is what you want, this trek is a good option as the scenery is stunning.

Related: Planning to travel to Tibet? Check out this guide on how to do it.

Upper Mustang Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May and October-November

Permits: Restricted permits (minimum of 2 trekkers / Nepali guide or porter)

Guide: Mandatory

Trailhead Accessibility: Jomsom


Kanchenjunga Base Camp

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 12-20 days

Difficulty: Hard-Challenging

Elevation: 5,160 m. / 16,929 ft. Lapsang Pass

If you want to catch a glimpse of some of the most stunning landscapes that Nepal can offer, consider trekking to Kanchenjunga Base Camp. From this trek, you can see the beautiful Mt. Kanchenjunga as well as Mt. Makalu, the world’s 3rd and 5th highest mountains. As a guide is needed to navigate through the area, fully organized camping trips are advisable.

There are also a few remote teahouses available along the way. The travel time to the trailhead is quite tedious often taking 3-4 days itself. But those that do go will be rewarded with remote trails and stunning wildlife. Lucky trekkers sometimes even spot Tibetan wolves, and snow leopards as you go through various mountain slopes, pine and bamboo jungle forests showcasing a rich and varied landscape.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May and October-November. Not recommended during winter

Permits: Restricted permits (minimum of 2 trekkers / Nepali guide or porter)

Guide: Mandatory

Trailhead Accessibility: Jomsom nepal-kachenjunga

Gokyo Lakes Trek

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 12 days

Difficulty: Hard-Challenging

Elevation: 5,357m /17,575 ft (Gokyo Ri)

The Gokyo Lakes Trek shares similar paths to the Everest Base Camp Trek but it takes you into the West side of Everest. The highlight? The six beautiful lakes at Gokyo whose emerald green color glimmers in the sun. If you want to take in the beauty of Everest, climb up Gokyo Ri which is a rocky peak which gives you an incredible vantage point of the Himalayas. If you don’t want to walk back where you just came from, consider going down via Renjo La pass. This trek is ideal for those who don’t deal with altitude well as the inclines are a lot more gentle.

Gokyo Lakes Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May and October-November

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: 30-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla


Upper Dolpo

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 21 days

Difficulty: Very Challenging

Elevation: 5350 m / 17,552 ft (Nagdalo La pass)

For those with incredible stamina and fitness, consider conquering the Upper Dolpo, a place with three 5000 m+ passes following century old trading routes. The landscape is beyond fascinating and visiting this part of the Himalayas is a real treat. Full of Tibetan style villages, stunning mountainous peaks, rice terraces and barren scenery. The place is so remote that you might even chance upon nomadic yak herders going about their own way, oblivious to the development of life around them.

While you’re there, a visit to the Shey Phoksundo Lake and Shey Gomba monasteries are a must! The fascinating thing about this trek is similar to Mount Kailash in Tibet, you might find hundreds of pilgrims who visit Crystal Mountain each year to circumnavigate the mountain in act of prayer.

Upper Dolpo Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May and October-November

Permits: Restricted permits (minimum of 2 trekkers / Nepali guide or porter)

Guide: Mandatory

Trailhead Accessibility: Juphal nepal-dolpo-trek

Langtang Valley Trek

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 7 days

Difficulty: Moderate-Hard

Elevation: 4,984 m./ 16,351 ft. Tserko Ri 

For those who are short on time, this trek is one of your best options! Located in the North towards Tibet, the Langtang Valley takes you through monasteries and local villages full of rich Tibetan culture.  From this trail, you will see stunning views of Annapurna and Makalu. This short and low altitude trek will take you through some pretty diverse landscape. If you want to make this trek a little bit longer, you can combine it with treks to Gosainkund lake as well as Helambu Valley stretching out your trek to over 21 days.

Langtang Valley Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May and October-November

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: Syaphru Besi nepal-langtang-valley

Poonhill Trek

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 5-7 days

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Elevation: 3,210 m/ 10,531 ft.

Again, if you’re looking for a short and relatively easy trek, the Poonhill trail is a good option. This train takes you through a stunning scenery showcasing stellar views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountain Ranges. Although the trail has quite a few number of stairs, getting to the top is worth the uphill inclines. Sunrise at the top of Poonhill shows off a panoramic view of the Himalayas that is pretty out of this world.

Poonhill Trekking Details:

Best Season to Trek: March-May and October-November

Guide: Optional

Trailhead Accessibility: Nayapul nepal-poonhill

Dhaulagiri Circuit

Quick Facts

Min. Length: 14 days

Difficulty: Very Challenging

Elevation: 5,360 m / 17,585 ft

For those hardcore trekkers, you can opt to take on the Dhaulagiri Circuit which is one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. What makes this circuit so intense is the three days spent at over 5,000 m. which often gets snowed out. Altitude sickness is something that trekkers often battle with due to the high altitudes during the entire circuit. Although a guide isn’t necessary, those that do go are encouraged to have good mountaineering skills as you might encounter glacier crossings. Those that do brave this trek are rewarded with nothing less than unobstructed views of the Annapurna mountain range as well as close range views of 7,000 m + peaks.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Details:

Best Season to Trek: Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November)

Guide: Optional but encouraged due to the remoteness and wilderness camping.

Trailhead Accessibility: Beni (2-hour drive from Pokhara) nepal-dhauligiri

Top Tips for Trekking in Nepal

1. Guide vs. Independent Trekking

A common question when trekking is Nepal is if you should do it independently or through a trekking company. Our advice is to go with your gut. Common trails like Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp always has loads of other trekkers so doing it independently won’t be too much of an issue. However, if you are planning to take on more remote treks, we strongly advice going with a trekking company who can help you with all the logistics and give you an insider’s glimpse into the Nepali way of life.

2. Research Your Trekking Company

If you do decide to go with a trekking company, while it’s easy to go with the cheapest company you find, it pays off to go with a reputable company. Reputable companies more often than not have a good online presence where you can easily check on reviews of previous climbers so you know exactly what you’re getting. A little researching can go a long way! Don’t be afraid to ask what you’re getting with your tour. Will there be an English speaking guide? a porter? Will they provide more advanced equipment like tents, crampons, ice picks, sleeping bags, etc.

3. Pack Accordingly

Rather than bringing bulky coats, packing loads of layers is the best way to deal with the extreme weather conditions in the Himalayas. Pack light and smart as remember, you will have to carry all your items at one point (unless you have a porter all throughout). For those who live in tropical climates and won’t have much use for heavy-duty items, there are loads of shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara where you can rent cold weather gear so there is no need to buy everything.

4. Don’t Ignore Your Body

One of the worst things that can happen during your trek is bouts of altitude sickness. Listen to your body, don’t get frustrated. Loads of the multi-day treks do acclimatization hikes to help you get used to the environment. Remember to rehydrate (bring aqua tabs!) and to rest whenever you need to. If you’re not used to trekking, bring snacks and small doses of sugar can be helpful to give you bursts of energy. Just make sure you take it back with you to the main cities for proper disposal as up in the Himalayas garbage is either burned or buried.

There you have it folks! At the end of the day, trekking in the Himalayas is one of the best things you can do in all of Asia. It is a thriving industry that is growing every year. Whatever trek you choose, remember to have fun and take it all in. Apart from the stunning views, getting to know the locals, the sherpas, and your trekking guides is what makes hiking in the Himalayas so special. Happy trails!

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Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out a few of our other articles on Nepal

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4 thoughts on “Best Trekking in Nepal: Ultimate Guide to the Top Treks”

  1. Such a wonderful compiled up list. After reading this, I felt all these treks need good stamina and they are medium to advance level treks. I surely wanna do Everest Base camp and Annapurna circuit. Hopefully some day for sure.

  2. Nepal is such a haven for trekkers. The majestic Himalayas is the magnet that draws people like pins to its fold. These treks are really out of the world and you have done a wonderful job compiling this list. Hope to get there some day.

  3. Anna, what a great post! We made it to Everest Base Camp….Independently, last November and it was phenomenal! Looking back we wish we would have done more trekking, as there are so many beautiful treks in Nepal! Maybe next time we will try the Annarpurna 🙂


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