Hiking in simple terms can be defined as an outdoor activity where a person goes for a long walk covering long distances on paths and trails which will be short the program compared to trekking; usually for hiking the trail and footpaths are preferred in the countryside. Like other adventure, sports hiking doesn’t bear any kind of risk, in this adventure you will breathe in the fresh breezy air down the countryside, enjoy the stunning view and overall thrive in the natural state of Mother Nature.
Besides the fun-filled adventure hiking also has benefits on health of a person; it is similar to cardio workout which boosts the bone density, improving your blood pressure & sugar level, improve your balancing and making an equal contribution in controlling the weight of your body. From another perspective, it can also be taken as a natural exercise which is convenient and beneficial physically and economically; as this adventure-filled journey doesn’t require any kind of special equipment.
A Brief History
Hiking came into practice for the first time in the 18th century when people developed a passion for walking for pleasure. It was during the romanticism movement (at the end of the 18th century); Thomas West, a British priest popularized the idea of walking for pleasure during 1778 in his “Guide to the Lakes”. The book was based on the vision of the scenery and wilderness in North England
Later, the British and European romanticism reached the United States in 1819 when Abel Crawford cleared the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The trail which he covered is approximately 8.5 mile and to date, it is one of the oldest continuously used hiking routes in the United States.
Hiking In Nepal
The country thriving with Himalayan range and diversified mountains isn’t second to any when it comes to adventure sports. The paradise for hikers offers breathtaking landscapes, fascinating wilderness and simply hypnotizing natural beauty.
The rich- diverse culture, gentle soul and peaceful settlements land the country in a favorite spot as a travel destination among others across the globe.
Here we have listed some of the best-hiking destinations that you can enjoy in the Kathmandu valley.
1. Chandragiri Hiking
Chandragiri is one of the top spots to enjoy hiking to the content of your hearts within the Kathmandu valley. The clean-fresh environment will give you a sense of relaxation in your mind as you hike towards the beautiful green scenery.
The hiking which starts from Thankot takes you to Chhap Bhanjyang which is at 2275m altitude and further one hour hike to Chandragiri Hills at 2729m altitude; traveling through the delightful village inhaling the fresh air of a beautiful forest. This exquisite hiking trail rewards you with the enchanting view of mountain ranges like Everest, Api, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Makalu including Langtang Himal, Ganesh Himal.
In addition to that, you can also experience the wilderness at its best, Chandragiri is a paradise for birdlife where you can witness the diversified species of birds like Steppe Eagle, Kingfishers, Indian Pond Heron, Oriental Turtle Dove, Great Egret, and Red Vented Bulbul and so on. The green-rich scenery, beautiful diverse birdlife will certainly add colors to your hiking adventure.
2. Jamacho Hiking
Jamacho peak which is also known as Nagarjuna hill is one of the hill points surrounding the Kathmandu Valley is quite famous for giving the view of Kathmandu from the top; literally standing on the top of Kathmandu Valley hike.
Located north-west from Kathmandu and located at the altitude of 2095m this place holds a great historic value. According to the myth, at this very location, the Chinese saint Manjushree who is the founder of the Kathmandu valley laid his eyes on the valley which was a massive lake during the period. He cut off the southern rim of the hill making a fertile valley for the people to settle in. So, the mountain was named after the great sage Nagarjuna who also resided in a cave of the hill to meditate.
At the top of the hill, you will have the opportunity to see the beauty of Buddhist stupas and prayer flags welcoming you to the peak. Jamacho also has a view tower so you can take your expedition to further height and grasp the true beauty surrounding the Kathmanding valley--resting on the laps of the Himalayan range.
3. Phulchowki Hiking
The highest hill point in Kathmandu valley which is located at the altitude of 2750m from the sea level provides one of the most beautiful hiking experiences to the adventurers. One of the tallest mountain hills surrounding the capital valley will give you an opportunity to admire the beauty of elegant Mt. Annapurna from the eastern part including the ranges up to the Gauri Shanker range as well as an opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the capital valley literally from the sky.
You will start from the Godavari which is known for its botanical garden and resting firm beneath the protection of the great hills---the majestic green-rich surroundings will just take your breath away. The Godavari is about 14km away from Kathmandu; enjoying the natural beauty of the tourist attraction you will head uphill through the sub-tropical jungles.
4. Champadevi Hiking
The hill point which is located 19km south from Kathmandu is another top-contender in the hiking race. Champadevi holds a lot of religious values so it is quite special among the natives of the country; the temple is at the altitude of 2249m and holds different divine figures and prayer flags.
From the top you can clearly see the Himalayan ranges like Mt Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, and other ranges will add beauty to your expedition. Further, you can clearly enjoy the view of the three major cities in Kathmandu valley; Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, and Kathmandu from the top of the hill adding magical flows like Bugmaati, Khokana, and Bagmati.
Standing amid the Phulchowki Hill on the right and Chandragiri on the left, Champadevi is one of the best regions to relish in the religion and natural beauty of the country.
5. Nagarkot Hiking
Nagarkot is considered one of the best locations in the Kathmandu valley to enjoy the mountain scenery. You will witness the stunning white magic of nature from as far as Mt. Kanchenjunga in the east and as far as Mt. Dhaulagiri in the west including mountain ranges like Everest, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, and Manaslu.
There is also a lookout tower at the south side of the village from where you can enjoy the 360° panorama view of the green rich surrounding and the majestic White Mountains. The tower is also quite famous for catching the glimpse of sunrise and also the sun kissing goodbye to the horizon.
Nagarkot is 32km to the east from Kathmandu and is situated at an altitude of 2175m.The starting point of this hiking will be from the Sankhu village where you can relish the rich Newari culture and traditions.
6. Namobuddha Hiking
This hiking on the religious trail; including Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery and old temples at the tiny village on the top is one of the holiest and spiritually connecting shrines to Buddhists all over the world.
The peaceful Namobuddha hike with the playful nature traveling alongside roaring river banks and beautiful greenery setting will give you a sense of serenity and accomplishment from the refreshing hike.
The hike is at a distance of 43km from Kathmandu and situated at the altitude of 1750m.The expedition through the traditionally rich Newari and Tamang settlements witnessing their norms-lifestyle and getting rewarded with the stunning Himalayan ranges at the top will make your trip worth it.
7. Sundarijal Hiking
In this adventure to the wild terrain you will inhale the fresh air and simply enjoy the beauty of nature at its best. Named after Hindu goddess “Sundari Mai”, this water-rich hiking regions offer the views of major snowy mountain ranges. Hiking through the Shivapuri National Park you will witness the wilderness at its finest. If lucky, maybe you can sight the birds and animals thriving in the region; Sundarjal which is home to the 177 species of the birds and wildlife including jungle cat, leopard, rhesus monkey and also Himalayan Black Bear.
The hiking point for this wilderness packed expedition is from Budhanilkantha; along the hike, you will pass by the beautiful lakes and waterfalls admiring the beauty of Chisapani settlements where you will get to know the lifestyle and culture of the local tribe.
8. Kakani Hiking
Kakani is another astonishing hiking route within the grasp of Kathmandu valley. The beautiful subalpine forest along the trail filled with oak, pine and the national flower of the country Rhododendron is the major attraction of the region.
Kakani hill is at a distance of 25km from Kathmandu and at the altitude of 2000m from the sea level. The view of mountain ranges like Langtang, Shisha Pangma, Mt. Manasalu and Annapurna from the top of the hill will make your journey memorable.
The hiking pathway is easily accessible and gravely providing different picnic spots as well as shops alongside the route in case you need to take a breather.
9. Amitabha Monastery (White Gumba)
The Amitabha monastery which is known as “Seto Gumba” in native language is one of the religious Buddhist monasteries in the country. Situated at the northern side of the famous Swayambhunath temple, this region is at the altitude of 1500m from the sea level.
Offering the serenity added with the solitude at the lap of hills, this religious place is a destination to be to have the peace of the mind and seek yourself. The beauty of massive white monastery infrastructure, panoramic view of the capital valley and the majestic sunset as well as sunrise view sets this place on quite a special spot among the hikers. White Gumba displays the splitting-image of the life of Budhha and depth of Buddhism religion; it is also quite famous for learning meditation and its peaceful aroma.
Hiking is one of the nature-beauty relishing adventure activities which isn’t that much costly compared to other adventure sports. However, you need to be careful and be prepared for the obstacles you might face along the way like getting lost, weather issues, injuries, etc. You have to be extra careful if you are planning a solo hike or a group without any hiking guide or a native in your team.
To enjoy the walking amid the beauty of nature, the best season in the country is from October to late-May which is also known as dry season.
Even if you decide to take a guide, make sure he is certified by the government. You can also choose a travel company in Kathmandu which will pre-plan your hike which is one of the safest and reliable ways of enjoying the adventure in the country without any worries.
Here are some of the best hiking expeditions provided by goGlides, a renowned company in the business. So if any package suits your interest, pick the travel company which is known for its remarkable service at a reasonable price.
- For hiking, make sure you always career first aid box with you or at least with one person in the team including flashlight, rope and knife to stay on the safe side.
- Make sure to hydrate yourself and carry snacks or health bars as the stores might be a few hours apart along the trail.
- Wear comfortable clothes and right footwear for the hike, also carry insect repellant and battery backup calculating the extent of your expedition.
- Enjoy the refreshing adventure but also respect Mother Nature; don’t litter and try to befriend animals you encounter along the route.
- It will be helpful if you carry local currency as the store in hiking trails which are in a remote area might not accept international currency.