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Top 10 Short Day Hiking Trails In Kathmandu That You Must Try Out!

Nepal is a magical country which is a heady mix of beauty, nature and wildlife. The breathtaking views of the high Himalayas are indeed a sight to behold. Clearly, they are also an adventurer's dream, and you can always find hopeful trekkers and mountaineers waiting to scale the tall peaks. However, the sight of the high and mighty summits may be a bit daunting for some - trekking in Nepal is not for the weak-hearted. Some feisty tourists may not have the time to spare as well. This is where hikes come in! Hikes are comfortable walking or climbing trips, usually ending in a day or two. If you're in Kathmandu for a short while but still want to get a whiff of pristine mountain air, a hike is your best bet - they're cheap, noteworthy, gorgeous and do wonders for your health as well! Discover the 10 best trails for hiking in Kathmandu, and choose the one you like the most. Strap those hiking boots on!

Hiking in Nepal
Hiking in Kathmandu (Source)

1. Amitabha Monastery Hike

Amitabha Monastery is also called Seto Gumba, which means 'White Monastery' in the local language. The breathtaking monastery is made of white stones, giving it a pristine fa├žade. The walls are decked with local murals and frescoes that depict the life of the Buddha and the Buddhist culture. The monument is also home to sacred statues made of medicinal clay. The Stupa looks breathtaking during sunset! The route is much-frequented, so you are bound to find some trusty hiking companions as well.

Starting point:
Swayambhu

Ending point:
Seto Gumba

Distance:
15 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 3.5 hours

Altitude:
1500m/4920 ft

Highlights:

  • Stupa and murals
  • Sunset and sunrise view
  • A panoramic vista of Kathmandu valley
  • Clay statues
Amitabha Monastery, Hiking in Nepal
White Monastery (Source)

2. Kakani Hike

This gorgeous route takes you right through the alpine forests, to Kakani - a small village near Kathmandu. The trail is easy, gravely and has a very slight incline, making it easy to hike. If you want to rest, there are numerous picnic spots and roadside shops to take a quick break. Don't forget to try the local cuisine at Kakani!

Starting point:
Kathmandu

Ending point:
Kakani

Distance:
25 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 5 hours

Altitude:
2000 m/6560 ft

Highlights:

  • A trek through sub-alpine forests
  • Astounding views of Kathmandu valley
  • Forests full of oak, pine and rhododendron trees
  • Views of Langtang Mountain Range, Shisha Pangma Range, Annapurna Range, Mt Manaslu
Kakani, Hiking in Nepal
Kakani (Source)

3. Phulchowki Hike

Phulchowki is the highest hill in Kathmandu valley, which means that the views from the top are sure to be astounding! You are bound to find hikers with you as you try to scale this hill. Your hike is punctuated by snow-capped mountains, exotic birds and towering mountains on all sides. Once you reach the village, spare a visit to the Botanic Garden to spy some colourful, eclectic plants. You can also stay in hotels or camp at designated locations.

Starting point:
Kathmandu

Ending point:
Godawari

Distance:
19 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 3.5 hours

Altitude:
2782 m/9130 ft

Highlights:

  • Outstanding views of Kathmandu valley
  • Vista of Annapurna and Gaurishankar mountains, Mt Everest, Mt Manaslu
  • Botanical garden
  • Diverse flora and fauna, especially birds, orchids, butterflies and rhododendrons
Phulchowki, Hiking in Nepal
View from Phulchowki (Source)

4. Nagarkot Hike

This hiking trail is preferred by enthusiasts because of the scintillating views of the Himalayas at Nagarkot. The Newari village Of Sankhu is the starting point of the trek. Feel free to explore the culture and cuisine before you head out to Nagarkot. You also have the option of camping out at night. What more do you need?!

Starting point:
Sankhu

Ending point:
Nagarkot

Distance:
28 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 5 hours

Altitude:
2175 m/7135 ft

Highlights:

  • A taste of Newari culture at Sankhu
  • Sunrise and sunset points
  • Nagarkot Tower
  • View from Dhaulagiri to Kanchenjunga, Mt Everest, Mt Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang
Nagarkot, Hiking in Nepal
Nagarkot (Source)

5. Sundarijal Hike

This trek is the easier option to explore some wild terrain, simple inclines and beautiful scenery. The path goes through Shivapuri National Park, which makes for some amazing views. If luck favours you, you may spot some animals as well! You can extend your walk to the Chisapani settlement, to get a feel of the local tribal culture.

Starting point:
Budhanilkantha

Ending point:
Sundarijal

Distance:
22 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 6 hours

Altitude:
100 m/4930 ft

Highlights:

  • Passing by lakes and waterholes
  • Shivapuri National Park
  • Chisapani settlement
  • Views of all major mountains
  • Waterfalls
Sundarijal, Hiking in Nepal
Sundarijal (Source)

6. Shivapuri Hike

This is the first phase of the previous trek that you can either drive over or choose to walk. This trail has a steeper incline, but is totally worth it, for the sights that await you on this hike are truly one-in-a-million. If you tire out too soon, you can always hitch a ride on a pony or a jeep. The Budhanilkantha temple is said to possess great power and has wish-granting abilities, while the Nagi Gompa is a centre of quiet reflection.

Starting point:
Kathmandu

Ending point:
Shivapuri

Distance:
10 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 5 hours

Altitude:
2560 m/8400 ft

Highlights:

  • Shivapuri National Park and conservation area
  • Budhanilkantha temple
  • Nagi Gompa
Shivapuri, Hiking in Nepal
Shivpuri (Source)

7. Namobuddha Hike

This Buddhist shrine holds high significance for tourists and devotees alike, as it depicts the story of Mahasatta, a prince who fed himself to a tigress and her cubs. The Stupa at Namobuddha radiates peace and calm and is a must-visit. You can follow a small river from the town of Panauti, which looks breathtaking. If you're lucky, you'll find Nepali farmers in action and maybe help them out too!

Starting point:
Kathmandu

Ending point:
Namobuddha

Distance:
38 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 6 hours

Altitude:
1800 m/5900 ft

Highlights:

  • River trail
  • The quaint town of Panauti
  • Suspension bridge
  • Buddhist Stupa and shrines
  • View of Mt Everest and Langtang Mountain Range
Namobuddha, Hiking in Nepal
Namobuddha (Source)

8. Champadevi Hike

The Champadevi trek is super famous because it is equal parts adventurous and rewarding. This takes you through a dense pine forest with stunning views. You will reach a quaint monastery at the end, where you can sip on hot milky tea. Don't forget to take a map along!

Starting point:
Kathmandu

Ending point:
Pharping

Distance:
20 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 4.5 hours

Altitude:
2249 m/7380 ft

Highlights:

  • Stupas and shrines
  • Monastery
  • Pine forests
  • Langtang and Annapurna range views
Champadevi, Hiking in Nepal
Champadevi (Source)

9. Chisapani Hike

The Chisapani hike is a local favourite because it takes you through the Shivapuri National Park, Chisapani village and dense forests, all under four hours. You are sure to fall in love with the simple village, which is set against the magnificent backdrop of the towering snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. You may even be able to spot animals in the forest!

Starting point:
Sundarijal

Ending point:
Chisapani

Distance:
13 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 3 hours

Altitude:
2215 m/7270 ft

Highlights:

  • Chisapani village
  • Shivapuri National Park trek
  • Views of the sub-tropical forests
  • Views of Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal, Gaurishankar Himal ranges
Chisapani Lake, Hiking in Nepal
Chisapani Lake (Source)

10. Nagarjuna Hike

This location holds great historical significance because this is the location that Manjushree, a Chinese saint, first laid eyes on what was to become Kathmandu Valley. An earlier record shows that the Buddha also came to Nagarjuna cave. The Water Garden, a little south of Nagarjuna, is also a must-visit. This exquisite location offers a great range of history, nature and aesthetic beauty! The Padmasambhava Monastery is a small den where hikers can rest and speak to the monks on a wide variety of topics.

Starting point: Kathmandu

Ending point:
Nagarjuna

Distance:
20 kilometres

Duration:
Minimum 4 hours

Altitude:
1950 m/6400 ft

Highlights:

  • Padmasambhava monastery
  • Viewpoint
  • Balaju Water Garden
  • Nagarjuna's cave
  • Mahasiddha cave
  • Manjushree Cave
Nagarjuna, Hiking in Nepal
Source

Things to Know While Hiking in Kathmandu

  • Always carry travel essentials on your person - a first-aid kit, water, health bars, flashlight, knife and rope

  • If you plan on staying over, carry camping gear as well

  • Carry insect repellant, sunglasses, comfortable clothing, a lighter, matches, portable charger and other toiletries as well

  • Take care to not litter. Do not throw waste or plastics around, and dispose of responsibly. Remember that you are hiking in the wild

  • Do not attempt to feed or befriend any animals you may encounter

  • Carry necessary permits

  • Carry local currency as small shops may not accept international currencies. In this case, keep coins and notes of the Nepali Rupee - NPR

  • Plan your trip ahead of time - keep the weather in mind

  • If this is your first time hiking in Nepal, going with a group is advisable

  • Always carry a local map with you, with detailed trails. Map your entire journey out before you start

  • Be considerate to locals, and respect their culture when it comes to attire, etiquette and cuisine

  • Beware of misleading guides - always hire a guide who is certified by the government. Ask for identification
Hiking in Nepal
Source

The best way to fall in love with Nepal is to experience it in all its glory. Hiking gives you that opportunity, as it is cheaper, easier, quicker and sometimes even more rewarding than trekking. Next time you're in Nepal, take a day off and embark on an adventure. Explore Kathmandu on your feet for some unforgettable memories! Which trail calls out to you? Which path do you plan on treading? Let us know! Take the road less taken!

This post was published by Nivedha Narayanaswamy