13th August 2022

What is Hiking? Top Hiking Trails in Nepal

Nepal is a small southeast country with abundant natural resources, rich culture, and world-renowned cultural and historical heritages. It is the land of mountains or the Himalayas, as eight out of 10 of the World’s Highest Peaks reside in Nepal. About 83 percent of the land of Nepal is covered by small and high hills, dense forests, national parks, fast-flowing rivers, and snow-capped summits other 17 percent is a plain Terai. Thus, Nepal is a perfect gateway for adventures like hiking, trekking, rafting, bungee, and peak climbing. Nepal’s geography and natural beauty attract thousands of hikers, tourists, climbers, and trekkers from all over the globe. Their main motive is to experience and explore Nepal’s tranquil, refreshing, calming, and enchanting regions. 

In this busy and loud world, it’s tough to find peace and silence. Nowadays, people have less time to relax and refresh. They always work, work and work. Being with nature provides refreshment, relaxation, and peace. People must take out some time to heal and re-energize their minds. Therefore, people must do outdoor activities like hiking and trekking. For people who are unaware with hiking, they might ask, What is Hiking? Basically, hiking is a long walk into nature following the hiking trails, completed within a day or overnight.

Differences Between Hiking and Trekking

Those adventurers who prefer outdoor activities must have heard about hiking and trekking. Usually, both of these words are used alternatively as they give similar meanings. However, they are different. Hiking, on the one hand, is an outdoor adventure walking into nature for a single day. In contrast, trekking refers to a long hike into the woods, mountains, and natural environment for several days. 

Hiking is a long day walk, whereas trekking is a long, challenging journey that takes several days. 

Hiking trails are always defined and follow the same pathway. However, trekking trails are not always designated. As a result, Trekkers sometimes have to follow unexplored paths, making it more adventurous. 

Hiking is mainly done within a country. Trekking, by contrast, can be domestic and international. 

As for equipment, hiking requires less equipment as compared to trekking. However, since trekking is for several days, one must pack everything wisely as no one knows when they might need it. 

For overnight hiking, accommodation is usually a single place. However, for trekking, accommodation is different and changes every single day. 

People of any age group can go hiking as it requires less physical effort. However, for trekking, one has to have good physical stamina because there might be days when one must continuously walk for hours. So, trekking is more physically and mentally demanding than hiking. 

Hiking Trails in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires physical and mental preparation, stamina, and several days as trekking lasts for several days. However, there is an exception for visitors who want to chill in nature and experience Nepal’s enchanting and refreshing mountainous region. Hiking packages are the best option for them as hiking in Nepal can take 1 to 3 days and is comfortable and easily accessible. Some of the most popular hiking trails in Nepal are as follows:

Kakani Hike

If you are in Kathmandu, a hike to Kakani Hill is an ideal destination to enjoy the hilly region of Nepal. About a 29 km drive from the central city, Kathmandu, to the Kakani Danda. The hiking trails to Kakani hill follow the same routes as Langtang Region Trekking. The trails pass through spectacular rice fields, terraces, and traditional villages. On the way to the Kakani hilltop, one can enjoy cool, refreshing air, vibrant rhododendrons forest, water springs, and the local lifestyle. From the top of Kakani Danda, you can view wide ranges of snowcapped mountains – Langtang range, Manaslu, Annapurna, Ganesh Himal, Machhapuchhre, and many more. Kakani is famous for local trout fish and strawberries. So, don’t forget to taste organically grown fruits and local foods on your visit to Kakani. 

Phulchowki Hike

Phulchowki hill station is a beautiful hiking destination near the Kathmandu valley, famous for hiking and beautiful flower gardens. It is a one-day hike from Godawari, a 15 km drive from Kathmandu. Traversing through the greenery forest, steep stone stairs, and colorful prayer flags on the way bring your mood to relax and joyful mode. As you reach the top of Phulchowki hill (2,782m), you can see a spectacular broad view of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Lirung, Annapurna, and Gauri Shankar Himal, along with extensive scenery of the Kathmandu valley. While returning, you can visit the Godawari Botanical garden to explore the varieties of flora and fauna of this region. 

Kalinchowk Hike

It is a 3-4 days hike that takes to the beautiful village of Kuri and Kalinchowk hill, passing scenic forest, villages, farmlands, rivers, and springs. The trip starts with a 4-5 hours drive from Kathmandu to Charikot (150 km). From Charikot, the hike begins, and it takes 5 to 6 hours to reach the beautiful Kuri village (3,500 m). During winter, the entire town gets covered with thick snow. On the following day, one can hike to Kalinchowk hill (3,790 m). From this viewpoint, one can view the bird-eye scenery of Himalayan ranges along with magnificent sunrise and sunset. Moreover, one can visit the Kalinchowk Bhagwati temple and get the goddess’s blessings. 

Nagarkot Hike

Nagarkot is one of the most popular tourist destinations for hiking, recreation, honeymoon, nature walk, and sunrise and sunset views. It is a one-day hike that takes you through ethnic Tamang villages, pines and rhododendron forest, springs, and the Nagarkot View Tower. From this viewpoint, you can see a panoramic vista of giant summits, which include Everest, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Number, Jugal, Mahalangur, and more. Apart from that, one can do nature walks and bird watching around Nagarkot. So, if you want to rejuvenate and bring refreshment to your boring life, then Nagarkot Hike is a must-visit destination.

Chisapani Hike

Chisapani village is an ethnic Tamang village located on the hilltop northern to the Kathmandu valley. It is a 1 to 2-day hike that passes through Shivapuri National Park, water springs, local villages, and steep trails that leads to Chisapani village. While crossing Shivapuri National Park, one can see diversities of flora, fauna, and birds. After 4 to 5 hours of hike to Chisapani from Sundarijal, one can experience traditional Tamang culture and their foods. From the Chisapani viewpoint, sunrise and sunset are a moment one should not miss. 

Namo Buddha Hike

Namo Buddha monastery is one of the sacred and oldest monasteries in Nepal. It is situated at an elevation of 1,750 m and 31 km from Kathmandu to the starting point, Dhulikhel. This one day takes you through traditional and remote Newars and Tamangs settlements, dense green forest, vibrant spiritual prayer flags, and beautiful stupas. Moreover, this region is filled with old Hindu shrines and monasteries. So, visiting these religious monuments allows one to learn more about Nepalese Hindu and Buddhist culture. Apart from that, one can enjoy magnificent greenery forests, valleys, villages, and mainly crystal clear mountain views from the hilltop. 

Champa Devi Hike

If you are in Kathmandu, hike to Champa Devi Hill is one of the popular spots for short-day hiking. Champa Devi Hill is the third highest besides Chandragiri and Phulchowki. Thus, views from the hilltop are extravagant as it offers terrific views of the cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. The hike starts in Hattiban, a 30 minutes short drive from Kathmandu. From Hattiban, the trails traverse through the bushy forest and religious shrines until you reach the Champa Devi hilltop. There are scenic views of Kathmandu valley, ancient Pharping village, and many famous high hiking hills and spell-bounded Himalayan ranges. 

Nagarjuna Hike

Nagarjuna is a popular destination for a day of hiking. It is also known as Jamacho hill, is a place from where Buddhist saints Nagarjuna viewed the Kathmandu valley. The trails pass through the lush forest of rhododendrons, pines, chestnuts, Buddhist stupas, ancient meditation caves of Buddhist saints, and many more. Thus, it is the perfect place to relax and meditate. From the Nagarjuna hilltop, the broad view of Kathmandu valley is eye-catching to watch. Moreover, the shining snow-capped mountains add an extra boost while hiking. 

Balthali village hike

Balthali is a traditional village in the Kaprepalanchowk district of Nepal, about 35 km from the central city of Kathmandu. It is a beautiful remote village rich in culture which still follows old customs and lifestyles. So, if you want to explore nature and ancient Nepalese culture, then the Balthali village hike is a perfect place to visit. This 2-3 days hike takes you through deep forest, villages, religious sites, the sacred land of Namo Buddha, ancient Panuati village, and many more, making your entire hiking worthwhile. 

Dhampus Sarangkot Trek

This 3-4 days short trek is a popular hiking package for those who want to explore and experience the Annapurna region in a short period. Dhampus is a beautiful traditional village of Gurung ethnicity. The trip starts from Pokhara to Phedi, which is 30 minutes drive. But, if you are in Kathmandu, you can take a 25 minutes flight or 7-8 hours roadway to Pokhara. From Phedi, the 2-hour hike starts at the Dhampus village. From the town, you can view panoramic summits of Mt.Annapurna, Mt.Dhaulagiri, Mt.Machhapuchhre, Langtang Lirung, and Annapurna II. This Gurung is famous for traditional local foods and as a gateway to the famous Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, and more. From Dhampus, one can hike to Sarangkot hill. From here, one can enjoy mesmerizing sunrise, vast Pokhara valley, and picturesque Fewa lake. 

Hiking Gears

For a single-day hike

  • Backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Hiking boots
  • Water favorable clothes
  • First-aid 
  • Foods
  • Navigation kits
  • Sun protection
  • Knife and a lighter for fire. 

For multi-day hike

Hiking Gears and Equipment

  • Backpack
  • Navigation kits
  • Sun protection creams and glasses
  • Hiking boots
  • Windproof jacket and trousers for higher altitude hiking
  • Mosquitoes and bugs repellent cream and spray
  • Torch and headlight
  • First aid kits
  • Weather-based clothes
  • Small utility tools kit
  • Lighter 
  • Water bottle
  • Foods and snacks
  • Toiletries
  • Hiking or trekking poles
  • Raincoats if necessary
  • Cameras
  • Hiking permits

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