How Long & When to Trek

Posted by Andy on Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Suggested Itineraries

Trekking in Nepal involves many days of walking and unless you have a month or more at your disposal, you’ll probably manage only one trek during your visit. In any event. you’ll want to spend a few days in Kathmandu and possibly visit Pokhara and a jungle lodge in Chitwan while you are in Nepal.

One week
You could do a short walk on the Kathmandu valley rim, head to Pokhara and do some day hikes, or a three- or four-day trek to Ghorapani or Ghandruk.

Two weeks
With two weeks you can trek to Annapurna base camp, Langtang valley, or trek into the Everest region for views of Mt. Everest. If you’re prepared to spend an additional US$ 700 for a special permit, you could fly to Jomsom and trek into the remote northern kingdom of Mustang.

Three weeks
Three weeks will allow you the opportunity for an extended treks such as the Everest Base Camp or a trek around the Annapurna Circuit, and still spend a few days in Kathmandu. Another great itinerary is our Best of Nepal tour that includes a short trek, river rafting, jungle safari, Mt. Everest View flight, and visits to several of the most interesting cultural sites in Nepal.

One month
With a month, you have enough time to trek all the way to the base camp of Kanchenjunga or Makalu. You could also experience the tremendous variety in Nepal by trekking to Everest or Langtang, and then do a second trek in the Annapurna region.

Customize your Trek
Should you not see a trek that fits your schedule exactly or you really want to include some other location or activity, let us know and we will do our best to accomadate your request. Read more.

When to trek

Treks can last from two days to a month or more, and the first consideration will be to choose a trek that fits into your available time and physical condition. You’ll also need to strike a balance between trekking in the best weather for the area you wish to trek in and avoiding the crowds the good weather attracts.

The traditional trekking season is October to May, although some treks in high areas will be closed from mid December to the end of January.

During the trekking season the nights can be very cold in the mountains, but the bright sun makes for pleasant daytime temperatures up to about 30 Cº, falling to 5 Cº, at night, between 1000m and 3500m. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 20 Cº down to -10 Cº. Mornings are usually clear, then clouds canbuild up during the afternoon, disappearing at night to reveal spectacular starry skies. During winter it is about 10 Cº colder.

Because most of the precipitation in the Himalayas occurs during the summer monsoon there is less snow on the mountains and many high trails during winter. Everest itself is mostly a mass of black rock during the trekking season, becoming snow-covered only during summer. There are always exceptions to this weather pattern, so be prepared for extremes. Winter snowstorms in December and January may make an early-spring pass crossing difficult and can often present an avalanche danger, especially on the approach to the Annapurna Sanctuary.

The Middle Hills, especially around Pokhara, are dusty and hazy in April and May, but the high country is usually clear. Trekking tapers off in the heat of May, except at high elevations. A monsoon (summer) trek can be a great experience if you don’t mind the rain, leeches and slippery trails.

During spring, there can be sudden violent thunderstorms accompanied by high winds that blow down trees and tents and cause streams to swell, though spring has usually fair weather and beautiful flowers in bloom.


Highlights

The world’s highest mountain range abounds in trekking highlights, from views of famous peaks to deep valleys and gorges. Here are just a few:

Classic treks
If you’re making your first trek in Nepal, it is likely you will choose the Annapurna or Everest regions. These are not only the best known treks, but also the most attractive. Trekking through Sherpa villages for a close-up view of Everest, or to be surrounded by towering peaks in the Annapurna Sanctuary, is a special experience.

Trek to Himalayan glaciers
The Langtang region is almost within sight of Kathmandu, yet a trek of only four days leads to the foot of a number of glaciers in a remote valley rich in wildlife.

Challenging and remote treks
To see the parts of Nepal rarely visited by other travelers you should consider trekking in the eastern or western regions of the country . Dolpo and Humla, as well as the base camps of the eastern Nepal’s 8000m peaks, Makalu and Kanchenjunga, offer outstanding mountain views and physical challenges.

Villages with a Tibetan flavor
Many regions of Nepal offer an opportunity to visit Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries. The Sherpas, as well as the people of Mustang, Tarap, Humla and Nupri are of Tibetan Origin and actively follow the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.

The trek less traveled
Because many people now fly in and out of Lukla to start their treks to Everest, the classic trek from Jiri to Lukla has been almost totally abandoned. This is a trek route where you can find excellent lodges every night and will still often be the only Westerner in a village. There are some long, steep hills butut this route passes through great trekking country. The Gokyo area to the west of the Everest base camp trail is another less-traveled route that offers spectacular scenery.