7 Best Hiking Trails In & Around Kathmandu
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7 Best Hiking Trails In & Around Kathmandu

  • 24/05/2021

Kathmandu is a very unique geographic location, surrounded by hills from all sides. This small valley has been one of the main tourist locations for ages. It's not just because of the international airport and for being the country’s capital, it's also famous for its rich natural delights. So, there are different routes for hiking near Kathmandu. On completing a day hike, all travelers get to see beautiful mountains, various birds, and animals along with wildflowers.

Numerous difficult to easy hiking trails are abundant in Kathmandu, so in this article, we will be talking about the hiking trails famous among backpackers in Kathmandu.

Here is the list of the 7 best hiking trails In & around Kathmandu valley.

  1. Godawari-Phulchowki Hike
  2. Champadevi Hike
  3. Hikes around Nagarkot
  4. Thankot - Chitlang Hike
  5. Panauti - Namo Buddha Hike
  6. Hikes around Shivapuri
  7. Kakani Day Hike

1. Godawari - Phulchowki Hike

Start to end, the Godawari-Phulchowki hike gives you a memorable experience. Phulchoki in local language means “Junction filled with flowers''. The place is literally filled with flowers like Rhododendrons, and roses from mid-March till late April. It's the tallest hill station near Kathmandu, so people who love snow can also hike to Phulchoki from October till early December.

What do you need in Phulchowki Hike?

As Phulchoki’s hiking route doesn't have any food stalls or hotels; you should carry a sufficient amount of water, packed lunch, sunscreen, and motivation to keep walking because the view you’d get at the end of the day is simply exceptional.

How long does it take to Hike to Phulchoki from Godawari?

Godawari - Phulchoki road is only 5.1 Kilometers, but as the road is black tarred only some 1 kilometers you will have to walk uphill on a graveled and dusty road for the next 4.1 Kilometers.

Overview:

Firstly, you should take a bus ride from Satdobato Chowk towards Godawari via Thaiba Road, and then you’d reach the Godavari. Once you reach the Godawari bus stop; walk south of the bus station, which is the beginning of your trail.

The trail is black tarred for the first 1.0 km, after which it is largely a gravel track. As previously mentioned, there are no restaurants or eateries along the trails, you must be self-sufficient and carry your own food while hiking the Phulchowki trails. With the rise in elevation and alleviation as you hike towards Phulchoki through tropical forests, you will see Kathmandu shrinking.

This trail is a series of tight switchbacks that will put your stamina to the test. Following the gravel path through the dense woods, you'll come across a small area festooned with prayer flags that will instantly lift your spirits. The final segment of the climb is about 600 meters long and spans nearly 5.0 kilometers. Since this portion of the Phulchowki Hike is among the most demanding ascents, walking at a slow but steady pace is advised.

As you near the summit, you'll come to a small checkpoint where you'll have to provide your identification to the army members tasked with protecting Phulchowki Hill. If the weather is clear, you can see Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, and Gaurishankar Himal to the east. There is a small temple dedicated to Hindu pilgrims on top of the hill, which is decorated with prayer flags.

2. Champadevi Hike (Hattiban - Champadevi)

Champadevi hiking is among the most well-known hikes in Kathmandu. Champadevi is actually the third highest hill in the Kathmandu valley, standing at 2278 meters. If you want to see the beautiful Kathmandu valley from the top, along with various clouds changing their shape then the Champadevi day hike is one of the top locations for your hiking day.

You can see Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur as well as gorgeous vistas such as Mt. Everest, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Gaurishanker, and Annapurna series lined up for you. Likewise, you can clearly locate historically important sites such as Bagmati River, Bagmati, Khokana, and Pharping.

What do you need in Champadevi Hike?
Hattiban has a beautiful resort at its base, and the ground outside Hattiban is best for various activities but after you cross Hattiban Resort, there isn’t any shop, fooderies, or even stalls, which means you need to carry an adequate amount of water, and your lunch.

Overview:

If you want to see the view of various mountains from desolated highlands, Champa Devi can be the best destination for you. Champadevi features the highest peak of Kathmandu valley - Phulchoki hill on its right, and the second-highest - Chandragiri on its left.

You have to get to a place called Bhanjyang, located in Kathmandu - Dakshinkali road, via a personal vehicle or via any public transport which routes from Old Buspark Kathmandu.

Then a half an hour walk from Bhanjyang you’d reach Hattiban resort in around 45 minutes. Once you cross the Hattiban resort, The top of Champadevi is around 3 hours. The place features an open shrine of Champadevi and a Buddhist monastery named Kasung Gumbo. Further, if you don’t have to return to Bhanjyang to get your bicycle or any other belongings, you can further climb up to Bhasmasur Hill which is even higher than Chapma Devi, and follow its trail till you reach Balkhu via the Bhasmasur hill route.

Its 7.5 Kilometers of gravel road from Bhanjyang, where people mostly take a bicycle, motorbike but it's an easy warmup for Champadevi hike, so I personally suggest you start hiking right from the Bhanjyang Bus stand.

3. Hikes around Nagarkot

Beautiful Nagarkot is another hill station near Kathmandu. Nagarkot has been a major tourist location for foreigners as well as Nepalese people of all ages. A spectacular view of the rising sun, various waterfalls, and adventure sports make your Nagarkot hike even more memorable.

Birdwatching and mountain views from the hilltop of Nagarkot make the hike worth the walk. As Nagarkot is considered one of the easier hikes, you can go on a hiking trip to or around Nagarkot along with your family.

You can start your Nagarkot hike from Chisapani, Sankhu, Changu Narayan, or start hiking from Nagarkot to Telkot via Kalamashi Damsite. Chisapani is also a starting point to Mount Everest Trekking. Likewise, Sankhu’s route is famous for various wildflowers and for bird watching. Whereas Changu Narayan is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site and if you are not satisfied with Nagarkot and want to explore its lifestyle, Telkot can be another option. So, if you want to explore an easy trail or you are planning a hike with your children, Nagarkot can be the best hiking option for you.

4. Thankot - Chitlang Hike

The Thankot-Chitlang hike isn’t the most talked-about route among the famous hikes around Kathmandu but it's one of the most appealing day hikes from Kathmandu. Hiking through Chandragiri which alleviates to 2,551 meters on its top, featuring a newly built temple, you will see Champadevi Hill on the southeast of Chandragiri and Nagarjuna hill at its northwest.

While hiking uphill, you will see Kathmandu Valley along with a panoramic view of the Everest range, Langtang range, and Mahalangur range in a 180-degree view.

What do you need in the Chitlang hike via Chandragiri?

You will see small stalls and houses while hiking from Godam till Panighat but after you start hiking uphill, you will not see any shop or eateries till you reach Chandragiri's top. Hence, you are suggested to carry your day-lunch, water, and a small medical kit while hiking from Thankot to Chitlang.

Overview:

See over three majestic mountain ranges from Chandragiri, which is the highest point from Kathmandu. Chandragiri features Phulchoki on its east and Champadevi on its left.

The trip begins after you get off the bus at Godam and then you’d have to walk till Panighat. Once you reach Panighat, please check all the essentials as it's basically an uphill hike from this point.

Within two hours walk from Panighat, you will reach a place famously called Chandragiri pass which has two routes, if you go further uphill then you’d reach the famous tourist destination of Chandragiri, however, if you decide to take a route downhill, you would be on your way to ditch Chandragiri hill station and reach Chitlang two hours earlier than those who chose to visit Chandragiri hill station.

Once you cross the path, you are officially in Makwanpur district but you are 2 hours away from  Chitlang Village. However, once the route takes a small uphill, you’d start seeing small villages with colorful roofs surrounded by several hilltops, and if you can guess, you are in Chitlang village.

The place popularly flaunts a famous pear garden, a historic Chaitya at Majhagau built by famous Indian emperor Ashoka. Further, Chitlang features Newari and Tamang settlements, a famous temple named Swachchhanda Bhairav Temple, Sat Dhara, Sheep farms, an Organic village resort, a goat cheese factory, and several resorts. Likewise, the place is equally famous for Hiking and sightseeing.

5. Panauti - Namo Buddha Hike

Panauti-Namobuddha hike maneuvers you from a culturally rich town of Panauti then takes you to a religious Indrasarovar Temple and then you will visit the historic Panauti Durbar built in the Malla period. The town and its palace, as per its residents were settled by King Bhupatindra Malla as a gift to his sister. Moving on, after crossing the Roshi River you will hike further up to 1750 meters elevation to reach the beautiful Buddhist monastery in Dhulikhel municipality situated in the Kavrepalanchok district.

What do you need in Panauti - Namo Buddha hike?

It's a moderately difficult five hours long trek where you will come across places with no human settlements, so we suggest you carry an adequate amount of drinking water. There are several hotels along the way, but if you want to make your day hike look like a picnic, you can also take packed food and light snacks with you.

What is the best season for doing this hike?

Panauti-Namo Buddha hike is a year-round hike. However, spring (March till early April) and the autumn season from September and lasts till December is considered the best.

Overview:

Hike through a beautiful trail alongside the verdant forest of Dadagaun till you reach a beautiful Balthali valley between the uplands of Indra Sarovar hill. Then you will reach another famous stop which joins Lapsibot and Roshi Khola. Cross the Roshi River and you will see a non-residential agricultural plain land termed Eklekhet. Finally, follow the Asphalt road that takes you to the hilltop Monastery famous as Namobuddha Gumba.

6. Hikes around Shivapuri

Shivapuri is the closest National Park to Kathmandu and hiking around Shivapuri is the best hiking activity anyone can join while he or she is in Kathmandu as Shivapuri hiking routes are among the most well-known in the valley.

The amazing landscape of Shivapuri National Park, along with a  180 degrees panoramic mountain view and numerous adventure sports like climbing and cycling make the hike even more enjoyable. Also, Shivapuri is a natural water catchment which makes the place an ideal bird-watching destination. The hike is largely within the range of the Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park spread around Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, and Dhading.

Schima, Pines, Oaks, and various flowering plants are found in and around the Shivapuri region, Its highest point is at 2700 meters. If you are lucky, you might glimpse an Indian leopard or a rare jungle cat. Places like Bagh Dwar, Vishnu Dwar, Budhanilkantha, Nagi Gumba, are a few attractions scattered around the Shivpuri area.

You can also read 4 Best Short Hikes Around Shivapuri to know all about hiking routes around Shivapuri.

7. Kakani Day Hike

Kakani is another beautiful hill station famous for its spectacular view of Sagarmatha, Annapurna, Langtang, and the Mahalangur range. Though the place is accessible via bus, people usually start this hiking trip via Dharmasthali road or Jitpurphedi via Trishuli Highway.

If you take the Dharmasthali route, you will walk through Kavresthali, then reach Okharpauwa and then the hill station of Kakani. However, if you choose to take the Jitpur Phedi’s route you will reach Kakani via Okharpauwa and slowly cross Kakani Gumba, Taragaon Village without touching Kavresthali.

What do you need in the Kakani hike?

It's a moderately difficult five hours long trek where you will come across places with no human settlements, so we suggest you carry an adequate amount of drinking water. There are several hotels along the way, but if you want to make your day hike look like a picnic, you can also take packed food and light snacks with you.

What is the best season for doing this tour?
Panauti-Namo Buddha hike is a year-round hike. However, spring (March till early April) and the autumn season from September and lasts till December is considered the best.

Overview:

The whole trek is mostly traveling in the foothills of Nagarjuna Hill and Kakani itself lies in 2070 meters elevation. The starting point of this hike can be fairly user-dependent, some hikers choose to walk right from Balaju Machapokhari, and some choose to start hiking from Dharmasthali or Jitpurphedi. Visitors will see various settlements along the way and will see organic farms, mushroom farms, and Trout fish farms on their way to Kakani. While you reach Kakani, you can see the botanical garden, hike to the viewpoint and stay at various available jungle resorts available there.

Hiking is fun but many people make some small mistakes while they hike. If you are thinking to go on a hike, do not forget to read these 9 tips to make your Hiking experience better.

These are the hiking routes around Kathmandu ideal for hiking, site seeing, bird watching activities. Hiking around these places will also give you an epic view of the Mountains of Kathmandu valley. Hiking is a beautiful experience for people who wish to go trekking but have a very limited amount of time. For more on travel talks, keep up with our blogs.

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