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12 Best Short Hiking Destinations Near Kathmandu Valley

Looking for a short hiking getaway near Kathmandu Valley? Check out our guide to the 12 best short hiking destinations, including Nagarkot, Phulchoki, and Shivapuri. Learn about trek distance, duration, and difficulty level, as well as the stunning views and highlights of each trail.

14/04/2023 7:28 AM

Looking for a short hiking getaway near Kathmandu Valley? Check out our guide to the 12 best short hiking destinations, including Nagarkot, Phulchoki, and Shivapuri. Learn about trek distance, duration, and difficulty level, as well as the stunning views and highlights of each trail.

Are you looking for some short and refreshing hiking destinations near Kathmandu Valley? Look no further!

In this article, we will discuss the 12 best short hiking destinations in and around Kathmandu. These hiking trails are perfect for beginners, families, or those who want to take a break from their busy schedules and enjoy nature's beauty. 

A short one day hike with your friends or loved ones is one of the best ways to clear up your mind and involve yourself in nature. Hiking also brings added health benefits and keeps you fit.

Before heading for a longer and more popular trek in Nepal, opting for a short hike around Kathmandu would be a better thing to do. These brief trekking locations offer not only a rejuvenating experience but also serve as a training ground for more extensive multi-day treks, which is on your wishlist.

These day hikes around Kathmandu are easily accessible (a couple of hours' drive from Kathmandu) and beginner-friendly so people of any age can opt for any one of these destinations. It's a quick and cheap way to dive into nature and get rewarded with mesmerizing views.

 

1. Changu Narayan Hiking



Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  12 km
  Starting Point:  Nagarkot
  Ending Point:  Changu Narayan Temple
  Highest Altitude:  2,175m
  Difficulty Level:  Easy to Moderate
  Trek Duration: 3-4 hours


Highlights:

  • Stunning sunrise and sunset views over the Himalayas.
  • Changu Narayan Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest Hindu temples in Nepal.
  • Scenic hike through small villages and terraced fields, offering a glimpse of traditional Nepalese culture.
  • Rural countryside landscape and lifestyle.


Description:

Nagarkot is a popular tourist destination located 32 km east of Kathmandu. It is famous for its breathtaking views of the Himalayan range, including Mount Everest on a clear day. The Nagarkot - Changu Narayan hiking trail is a perfect way to enjoy nature's beauty while getting some exercise.

The highlight of the trek is the visit to the historic Changu Narayan temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is believed to date back to the 4th century AD. The temple boasts of intricate carvings, statues, and a rich cultural heritage that makes it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Nepalese history and culture.

The Changu Narayan day hike is a great way to experience the beauty and spirituality of Nepal in a single day. The trail is approximately 12 km long and takes about 3-4 hours to complete. You will pass through beautiful villages, forests, and temples, making it an unforgettable experience.

 

2. Kakani Hiking

 

Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  8 km
  Starting Point:  Kakani
  Ending Point:  Bhanjyang
  Highest Altitude:  2,073m
  Difficulty Level:  Easy
  Trek Duration:  4-5 hours


Highlights:

  • Spectacular views of the Langtang and Ganesh Himalayan ranges.
  • Diverse birdlife, with over 200 species of birds found in the area.
  • Beautiful apple orchards.
  • Pine and rhododendron forest
  • Opportunity to witness the traditional lifestyle and culture of the Gurung community.


Description:

Kakani is another popular hiking destination located 23 km northwest of Kathmandu. It is known for its stunning views of the Himalayan range, including Annapurna, Manaslu, and Ganesh Himal. The hiking trail from Kakani to Bhanjyang is approximately 8 km long and takes about 4 hours to complete. You will pass through beautiful forests, rhododendron trees, and traditional villages, making it a memorable experience.

The highlight of this hike is the opportunity to witness the stunning sunrise and sunset views over the snow-capped peaks of the Langtang and Ganesh Himal ranges. The Kakani day hike is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse oneself in the natural beauty of Nepal.

 

3. Phulchoki Hiking


Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  14 km
  Starting Point:  Godavari
  Ending Point:  Phulchoki Hill
  Highest Altitude:  2,782m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate to Difficult
  Trek Duration:  5-6 hours


Highlights:

  • Phulchoki Hill, the highest peak in the Kathmandu Valley.
  • Beautiful landscapes, including lush forests and terraced fields.
  • Panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges, Kathmandu Valley, and the surrounding hills.
  • An abundance of bird species, including the endangered spiny babbler.


Description:

Phulchoki is a popular day hiking destination in Nepal that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experience. Located 18 km southeast of Kathmandu, It is the highest hill around the Kathmandu Valley, standing at an altitude of 2,762 meters. You will pass through beautiful forests, traditional villages, and religious sites, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.

The highlight of the trek is reaching the summit, which offers stunning views of the Himalayan range and the valley below. The Phulchoki hike is also a great opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of Nepal's forested hills, including rare bird species such as the Himalayan Monal and the Satyr Tragopan. For those interested in culture, the hike also passes by several religious sites, including the Kali Temple and the Tibetan Monastery

 

4. Nagarkot Sanga Hiking


Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  16 km
  Starting Point:  Nagarkot
  Ending Point:  Sanga
  Highest Altitude:  2,175m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate
  Trek Duration:  5-6 hours


Highlights:

  • Nagarkot Hill station, known for its panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges and sunrise/sunset views.
  • Changu Narayan Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Sanga Mahadev, a popular Hindu pilgrimage site with a 143-foot-tall statue of Lord Shiva.
  • Rural countryside landscape and lifestyle.


Description:

The Nagarkot Sanga hiking trail is a perfect way to explore the beauty of nature while getting some exercise. The trail is approximately 16 km long and takes about 5 hours to complete. You will pass through beautiful forests, traditional villages, and temples, making it an unforgettable experience. The highlight of this hiking trail is the Sanga Mahadev temple, which is one of the tallest Shiva statues in the world.

The highlight of the trek is the breathtaking sunrise and sunset views over the Himalayan range, including Mount Everest, and the panoramic views of the valley below. The Nagarkot Sanga Hiking is a perfect escape from the city and offers a unique opportunity to witness the natural beauty and cultural richness of Nepal.

 

5. Nagarjuna Hiking (Jamacho)

 

Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  7 km
  Starting Point:  Balaju Bypass
  Ending Point:  Nagarjuna Hill
  Highest Altitude:  2,100m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate
  Trek Duration:  3-4 hours


Highlights:

  • Nagarjuna Hill, a popular retreat for Buddhist meditation and study.
  • Jamacho Gompa, a Buddhist monastery.
  • Breathtaking views of the Kathmandu valley and the surrounding hills.
  • Dense forest with rich flora and fauna.
  • Opportunity to spot wild animals, including deer and monkeys.


Description:

Nagarjuna, also known as Jamacho Hiking, is a popular hiking destination which is located 5 km northwest of Kathmandu. It is known for its stunning views of the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding hills. The Nagarjuna hiking trail is approximately 7 km long and takes about 3 hours to complete. You will pass through beautiful forests, traditional villages, and religious sites, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers. The highlight of this hiking trail is Jamacho Peak which stands at an elevation of 2,135 meters. , which offers breathtaking views of the Kathmandu Valley.

The highlight of the trek is the stunning panoramic views of the valley and the Himalayan range from the summit. The Nagarjuna Hiking is also an excellent opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of the region, including various bird species such as the Spiny Babbler  and the Red-headed Trogon. The hike is perfect for those looking for a short but challenging trek that is easily accessible from the city.

 

6. Sundarijal Hiking

 


Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  15 km
  Starting Point:  Sundarijal
  Ending Point:  Chisapani
  Highest Altitude:  2,165m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate
  Trek Duration:  4-5 hours


Highlights:

  • Beautiful waterfalls and streams along the trail.
  • Peaceful hike through forests and small villages, offering a glimpse of traditional Nepalese culture.
  • The starting point for the Langtang Trek, one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal.


Description:

Sundarijal is a popular hiking destination around Kathmandu that offers a mix of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Located 15 km northeast of Kathmandu. It is known for its stunning waterfalls, beautiful forests, and traditional villages. The Sundarijal hiking trail is approximately 15 km long and takes about 6 hours to complete. The hike starts from the village of Sundarijal, The trail follows the Shivapuri National Park, which is home to various wildlife, waterfalls, and lush forests.

The highlight of the trek is reaching the summit of Shivapuri Peak, which stands at an elevation of 2,732 meters and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan range and the valley below. The hike also passes by several religious sites, including the Boudhanath Stupa and the Buddhist monastery of Kopan.  You will pass through beautiful forests, waterfalls, and traditional villages, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.

 

7. Shivapuri Hiking

 

Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  14 km
  Starting Point:  Budhanilkantha
  Ending Point:  Baghdwar
  Highest Altitude:  2,732m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate
  Trek Duration:  5-6 hours


Highlights:

  • Home to the Shivapuri National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife including leopards, deer, and bears.
  • Stunning views of the Himalayas and Kathmandu Valley.
  • Peaceful hike through forests and along ridges, offering a chance to see traditional Nepalese villages and lifestyle.
  • Rhododendron and Pine forests.


Description:

Shivapuri is the second-highest hill located 12 km north of Kathmandu Valley, and it offers a great hiking experience for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The hiking trail starts from Budhanilkantha and leads up to the Shivapuri peak. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the beautiful views of the Kathmandu Valley, lush forests, and wildlife. The trail is moderate and takes around 6 hours to complete. Hikers can also enjoy the stunning views of the Himalayan range and the Kathmandu Valley from the hiking trails.

The highlight of the trek is the stunning panoramic views of the Himalayan range and the valley below from the summit. The Shivapuri Hiking is also an excellent opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of the region, including various bird species. The hike also passes by several religious sites, including the sacred temple of Budhanilkantha, which houses a magnificent statue of Lord Vishnu.

The Shivapuri Hiking is perfect for those looking for a challenging yet rewarding trek that offers a unique mix of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

 

8. Namobuddha Panauti Hiking


Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance: 18 km
  Starting Point:  Namobuddha Monastery
  Ending Point:  Panauti
  Highest Altitude:  1,750m
  Difficulty Level:  Easy
  Trek Duration:  6-7 hours


Highlights:

  • Scenic hike through rice paddies and small villages, offering a glimpse of traditional Nepalese culture.
  • Namobuddha Monastery, a sacred site for Buddhists and is known for its beautiful architecture.
  • Panauti Bazaar, a historic market town that is famous for its temples and traditional Newari architecture.


Description:

Namobuddha Hiking is a one-day hike to a monastery named Namobuddha which is a sacred Buddhist site located on a hilltop near Panauti. The hiking trail to Namobuddha starts from Dhulikhel and leads up to the hilltop where the Namobuddha Stupa is situated. The trail passes through beautiful terraced fields, small villages, and lush forests. The hike takes around 7 hours to complete, and the views from the hilltop are breathtaking.

The highlight of the trek is the Namobuddha stupa, which is considered one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. The stupa is believed to have been built on the site where Lord Buddha, in one of his previous lives, gave his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. The hike offers stunning views of the Himalayan range and the valley below and is perfect for those looking for a moderate but rewarding trek that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

 

9. Panch Pokhari Hiking

 

Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  40 km
  Starting Point:  Chautara
  Ending Point:  Chautara
   Highest Altitude:  4,100m
   Difficulty Level:  Difficult
  Trek Duration:  2 nights 3 days


Highlights:

  • Panch Pokhari, a group of five sacred alpine lakes, which are considered to be one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists.
  • Spectacular views of the Langtang and Jugal Himalayan ranges.
  • Peaceful hike through forests and along ridges, offering a chance to see traditional Nepalese villages and lifestyle.


Description:

Panch Pokhari is a cluster of five holy lakes situated at the base of the Jugal Himal in the Sindhupalchowk district. These five glacial lakes are considered sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus, and the area is believed to have strong religious and cultural significance.  The hiking trail starts from Chautara and leads up to the Panch Pokhari lakes. The trail passes through beautiful forests, traditional villages, and rugged terrain. The hike takes around 3 days to complete, and the views of the Jugal Himal are stunning.

The highlight of the trek is the stunning views of the Himalayan range, including Dorje Lakpa, Langtang, Jugal Himal, and Gaurishanker. The trek is also an opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of the region, including various bird species and wildlife such as musk deer and Himalayan that.

The Panch Pokhari Hiking is perfect for those looking for a challenging and off-the-beaten-path trek that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

 

 

10. Champadevi Hiking


Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  16 km
  Starting Point:  Pharping
  Ending Point:  Pharping
  Highest Altitude:  2,250m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate
  Trek Duration:  5-6 hours


Highlights:

  • Champadevi Hill, a popular spot for meditation and offering panoramic views of the Himalayas including Gaurishanker, Langtang, Annapurna and Ganesh Himal.
  • Amazing view of Kathmandu Valley, Taudaha Lake and Kritpur.
  • Peaceful hike through forests and small villages, offering a glimpse of traditional Nepalese culture.
  • Home to Champadevi Temple, a sacred site for Buddhists and Hindus.


Description:

Champadevi is a popular short hiking destination located on the southern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. The hiking trail starts from Pharping and leads up to Champadevi Peak. The trail passes through beautiful forests, and traditional villages, and offers panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley. The hike takes around 6 hours to complete.

The highlight of the trek is the breathtaking views of the Himalayan range, including Mount Everest, and the Kathmandu Valley. The hike is also an opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of the region, including various bird species and wildlife such as barking deer and wild boar.

The Champadevi Hiking is perfect for those looking for a moderate but rewarding trek that is easily accessible from the city and offers stunning views of the Himalayan range and the valley below.

 

11. Chisapani Nagarkot Hiking

 

Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  40km
  Starting Point:  Sundarijal
  Ending Point:  Changu Narayan
  Highest Altitude:  2,165m
  Difficulty Level:  Moderate
  Trek Duration:  2 nights, 3 days


Highlights:

  • Spectacular views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest on a clear day.
  • Peaceful hike through forests and along ridges, offering a chance to see traditional Nepalese villages and lifestyle.
  • Home to Chisapani village, a small community known for its hospitality and traditional Nepalese culture.


Description:

Chisapani is a beautiful hill station located at an altitude of 2,195 meters above sea level, It's a multi-day hike. The hiking trail to Chisapani starts from Sundarijal and leads up to the hill station. Chisapani is also the entrance point for the gateway to the Langtang-Gosainkunda trekking region.  The trail passes through beautiful forests, small villages, and offers panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley and the Langtang mountain range. The hike takes around 3 days to complete. If someone is looking for a short day hike you can start from Sundari Jal and end in Chisapani as well.

The highlight of the trek is the spectacular sunrise and sunset views over the Himalayan range from Nagarkot, which stands at an elevation of 2,175 meters. The hike is also an opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of the region, including various bird species and wildlife such as barking deer and wild boar.

The Chisapani Nagarkot Hiking is perfect for those looking for a multi-day hike that offers stunning views of the Himalayan range and the culture of  Kathmandu Valley and is easily accessible from the city.

 

12. Chandragiri Hiking

 

Quick Insights:

  Trek Distance:  3 km
  Starting Point:  Thankot
  Ending Point:  Chandragiri Hill
  Highest Altitude:  2,551m
  Difficulty Level:  Easy to Moderate
  Trek Duration:  2-3 hours


Highlights:

  • Enjoy panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayas.
  • Take a cable car ride to the top of the hill and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
  • Diverse flora and fauna along the trail.
  • Visit the historical Bhaleshwor Mahadev Temple, located on the top of the hill.
  • 2.5km long Cable Car that extends from the base of the temple to the top of the hill.


Description:

Chandragiri is a new hiking destination located on the western edge of the Kathmandu Valley. The hiking trail starts from Thankot(the base station of the Chandragiri Cable Car) and leads up to Chandragiri Hill. The trail passes through beautiful forests, and small villages, and offers panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayas. The hike takes around 2-3 hours to complete if you choose the Machhegaun Trail.

You also have an option to choose a longer route for this hike, where you start your hiking from Dakshinkali and the hike takes about 6 hours to complete.

The hike is also an opportunity to witness the unique flora and fauna of the region, including various bird species and wildlife such as Himalayan monal and musk deer. The Chandragiri Hiking is perfect for those looking for a short but rewarding trek that offers stunning views of the Himalayan range and the valley below and is easily accessible from the city.

 

Conclusion

Kathmandu is not just a city full of temples and monuments, but it also offers some of the best short hiking destinations in Nepal. The day hike destinations mentioned above are perfect for those who want to explore the natural beauty of Nepal and escape the busy city life. It's also better for warming up for longer multi-day trekking in the Himalayas. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a beginner, there is a hiking destination in Kathmandu for everyone.

If hiking isn't your thing, don't worry, as we still have plenty of options for day tours. From exploring cultural sites to taking scenic drives through the countryside.

 

Tips for Hiking in Kathmandu

  1. Research the trail: There are several short hiking trails around Kathmandu, so it's important to do your research and choose the one that suits your fitness level and preferences. Some popular trails include Shivapuri National Park, Nagarjun Forest Reserve, and Chisapani Nagarkot Trek.

  2. Get a guide: If you're not familiar with the area, it's a good idea to hire a guide who knows the trail and can help you navigate. You can find guides through trekking agencies or by asking at your hotel or hostel.

  3. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy hiking shoes. Bring layers as the temperature can vary throughout the day. It's also a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

  4. Stay hydrated: Bring plenty of water and drink frequently to stay hydrated. You can also bring electrolyte tablets to add to your water to help replenish your body's salts. Hiking Bees recommends you to during at least 4 liters of water per day during the hike.

  5. Bring snacks: Pack some snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike. Trail mix, energy bars, and fruit are all good options.

  6. Respect nature: Remember to respect the environment and leave no trace. Don't litter and avoid damaging plants or wildlife. If you have plastic wrappers and bottles keep it inside your bag and later you can dispose of them in the dustbin which is present along the trail.

  7. Be aware of altitude sickness: Some trails around Kathmandu can reach high elevations, which can cause altitude sickness. So you need to be aware of the symptoms and descend if you experience any severe symptoms.

  8. Stay safe: Let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return. Stay on the trail and avoid hiking alone, especially in unfamiliar areas. If you're unsure about a trail or feel uncomfortable, turn back.

 

FAQs:

What is the best time to go hiking in Kathmandu?

The best time to go hiking in Kathmandu is from September to November and from March to May when the weather is dry and clear.

Are these hiking destinations suitable for beginners?

Most of the hiking destinations mentioned in the above article are suitable for beginners. However, it is important to check the difficulty level of the trail before starting the hike.

What is the difference between hiking and trekking?

Hiking and trekking are similar outdoor activities but with slight differences. Hiking is usually a shorter and less strenuous walk on well-defined trails, often completed within a day. Trekking, on the other hand, involves multi-day journeys through challenging terrains, including higher altitudes and remote areas. Some of the popular treks include EBC Trek, ABC Trek, Manaslu Trek, etc.

Is it safe to hike in Kathmandu?

Yes, it is generally safe to hike in Kathmandu. However, it is important to take necessary precautions and follow the safety guidelines provided by the local authorities.

Are these short hiking trails suitable for beginners?

Yes, these short hiking trails are generally suitable for beginners. However, it's important to choose a trail that matches your fitness level and experience. Trails like Nagarkot and Kakani offer relatively easier terrains, while Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and Chandragiri Hill may have some moderate sections.

Which is the nearest trekking area from the Kathmandu Valley?

The nearest trekking area from the Kathmandu Valley is Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, located just north of Kathmandu. It offers various trekking trails for different durations.

What are the best short hikes from Pokhara?

If you are looking for a multi-day hike then the Poonhill trek will be best for you, for day hikes you can try the Sarangkot hike, World Peace Pagoda Hike, and Naundanda Hike. 

For more details, you can check out a detailed article on the best short hikes in and around  Pokhara.

 

 

 

 

 

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visit guide
hiking
short hike
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Panchanga Adhikari

Senior Travel Consultant at Hiking Bees

Panchanga is a crucial team member in Hiking Bees, as he oversees the company's digital operations and agency execution. With a robust background in tech, travel, and tourism. He is an avid travel enthusiast. Currently, Panchanga serves as the Travel Consultant at Hiking Bees.

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