Three of Nepal’s must-try hiking trails
According to one American study, over 50% of people cited their top reason for wanting to travel as learning something new about a place, history or culture. So, what better way to tick those boxes than by integrating with the locals on one of Nepal’s many beautiful trekking trails?
Arguably most famed for its imposing mountain ranges, Nepal is a global hiking hotspot. With eight of the world’s ten highest mountains situated in this landlocked South Asian nation, there’s no wonder that Nepal has gained such a positive reputation amongst the hiking community.
If you’re a novice in hiking, don’t let Nepal’s perilous peaks put you off from visiting the country. There are plenty of routes further off the beaten track which can invoke a similarly awe-inspiring reaction as the more gruelling ones throughout the Himalayas’ hotspots. So take a look at three of Nepal’s lesser-known trails – they should certainly feature on your hiking bucket list.
The Panchase trek is the perfect option for the more inexperienced hiker looking to get an authentic feel for Nepal’s culture and lifestyle. This relatively easy 26-mile trek takes around three to four days to complete and passes through traditional Nepali villages, where conveniently situated tea houses can provide some welcome respite. You will also explore the protected forests of Panchase, which contain over 100 species of orchids, so keep an eye out for the beautiful flora in this area.
Experts suggest that the Panchase Trek suits every travelling party, from families with young children to elderly hikers. Whilst other trekking options will take you to far higher altitudes, the views from the summit of Panchase Hill are genuinely spectacular, offering panoramas of the snowy Himalayan peaks.
Upper Dolpo trek
Situated in one of the most remote regions in Nepal, the Upper Dolpo trek is rarely attempted by tourists. This is due to the cost and difficulty attached to getting to the region, but once there, it is widely believed to be one of the country’s most beautiful hiking trails.
Due to a series of steep ascents and a lack of tourist infrastructure. The challenging trail is only made more difficult by the lack of accommodation, meaning any walkers will likely need to camp for the duration of the expedition.
Highlights include views over the spectacular turquoise water of Phoksundo Lake, which will be seen relatively early on in your journey. Another factor making Upper Dolpo unique is the opportunity to spot snow leopards in Shey Phoksundo National Park – one of Nepal’s eight suggested snow leopards.
When you think of the tallest mountains in the world, you will likely think of names like Everest and K2. But did you know that Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas comes in as the world’s third-tallest peak? Being in such proximity to Everest, this 8,586m-high mountain can often be overlooked by tourists. Still, the less frequently trodden Kanchenjunga Circuit offers all the ingredients for a memorable hiking experience. This lengthy walk will test but truly reward any visiting hikers, from stunning vistas to a glaciated base camp on the mountain.
The trail stretches 220km and will take approximately 21 days to complete. As a result, it is recommended that any visitors looking to take on this particular hike have a decent fitness level. In addition, this route will be particularly appealing to nature lovers, as the changing landscapes attract a vast range of flora and fauna for you to appreciate on your travels.
You can have a tailor-made adventure in this region
By Geoff Aldis, Freelance Content producer and Researcher