Nepal Beginner Trekking
First things first. In Nepal—or anywhere else, for that matter—a trek, by its very definition, isn't exactly "easy." Hiking is a physical activity that requires some level of exertion, of course. In Nepal, famous for its mountainous landscapes, an "easy" hike is relative. All treks in Nepal feature some kind of a climb, ranging from slight to steep.
So what are local guides talking about when they refer to a beginner's trek? What makes a trek easy?
It may have to do with altitude. If a trek is at a higher altitude, it must be shorter in length, or relatively flat, in order to be considered appropriate for beginners. A hike that is not too long, not too steep, not at a very high altitude—or some combination of these factors—is what earns it a position on the list. Here are the best treks for beginners in Nepal.
Balthali Village Trek (3 Days)
On the edge of the Kathmandu Valley rim, this has been rated one of Nepal’s best short treks. It’s low in altitude, it takes just three days of walking, it features amazing views out to the Himalaya Range in the distance, and the trailhead is just an hour’s drive from central Kathmandu.
The first day’s hike takes about three hours at a moderate pace. On day two, you’ll reach Balthali and its beautiful Namo Buddha stupa. The final day’s trek will take you along a dirt road, through little hamlets and past terraced fields, to the Newari town of Panauti, all pink bricks and curved wooden temples. From here, you can join a 4x4 ride back to Kathmandu having experienced one of the best short treks in the country.
Here are some useful details and a full itinerary for the Balthali Village Trek.
Ghandruk Trek (3-4 Days)
At only three to four days long, this is one of the shorter treks you can do in the lower Annapurna. You’ll enjoy views of the Himalayas and visits to pretty mountain villages full of tea houses, but you won’t be using up your whole Nepal vacation to see and experience those sights.
The trailhead starts in Phedi, which is less than an hour’s drive from Pokhara. From there, you’ll get to experience the vibrant and friendly heritage village of Ghandruk, and you may get to know the Gurung people who live there. The village is also known for its views out to some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Hiunchuli and Machapuchare (also known as Fishtail). Each day will involve between two and a half and four hours of trekking, and you won’t go higher than beyond 6,365 feet above sea level.
For more information on the Ghandruk Trek, here’s a detailed article all about the trip.
Pikey Peak Trek (7 Days)
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing the world's tallest mountain but you're short on time, the Pikey Peak Trek is for you. In fact, famed mountaineer and explorer Edmund Hillary reportedly said that that the view from Pikey Peak out to Everest was his all-time favorite.
You can take a leisurely seven days to go from Dhap to Phaplu. You’ll still need to be in good shape though, as you’ll be doing between four and nine hours of hiking every day.
Aside from seeing Everest and the impressive Numbur Himal range, on this trek you’ll get to visit important Buddhist monasteries, gompas (Buddhist fortifications), and stupas (mound-like constructions that serve as places of meditation). You’ll hike up to Pikey Peak for sunrise, and among the tangle of prayer flags at the summit, you'll take in 360-degree views from the Annapurna to Kanchenjunga. As an added perk, you’ll be able to stop in Ringmo, a place known for apple orchards and apple pie.
To reach the start and end points of the trek, you can either take a 30-minute flight or a seven- to eight-hour jeep ride each way.
Panchase Trek (4 Days)
Taking about four days, the Panchase Trek is great for families and travelers who don't have enough time for a longer trek. Starting near Pokhara, each day of this trek involves three to four hours of trekking through a protected forest that’s filled with over a hundred kinds of orchids. The schedule means you can dedicate the rest of your time to enjoying the views of epic mountains that reach more than 26,000 feet into the sky, like Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri. You’ll also have plenty of time to take National Geographic-worthy photographs and to enjoy time in the local villages like Bumdi, Panchase Bhanjyang, and Bhadaure, which is also where you'll spend your nights.
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek (5 Days)
This is one of Nepal’s most popular short treks for good reason. Over five days, you’ll get to experience the iconic viewpoint at Poon Hill and the heritage village of Ghandruk—known for its commanding views of Annapurna South and Fishtail—as you hike through local villages and rhododendron forest through the lower Annapurna region.
This is a relatively easy trek compared to Nepal’s higher-altitude options. That said, you should be in good shape to really enjoy this adventure: the second day involves a four- to five-hour hike and a steep climb up a stone staircase made up of 3,381 steps. As you go from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani, you'll be gaining 4,550 feet of altitude, which is also something to consider.
One of the nice things about this trek is that the gateway city is Pokhara, a half-hour flight or a six-hour drive from Kathmandu. Pokhara, a trekkers’ hub that’s set on Phewa Lake, is an ideal jumping-off point. From Pokhara, you’ll be dropped off at nearby Nayapul, where the journey officially begins.
Solu Trek (6 Days)
The excellent Solu trek takes you into the lower Everest region. The trek takes six days, and it takes place at a relatively low elevation, so you don't have to be at peak fitness for this adventure. Along the way, you'll spot monasteries, take in incredible views of Everest, and get to know a thing or two about the local Sherpa culture.
Langtang Trek (8 Days)
With its relatively relaxed pace, easy access from the capital, and magnificent views out to the Langtang Himalaya and across to Tibet, the Langtang Valley trek is a favorite for many. On this eight-day route, you’ll trek through deep forests, alpine meadows, and yak pastures before heading up, up, up for views of the surrounding mountains. You’ll also get to experience local Tamang culture, and you’ll be helping support the local communities who have been working hard to rebuild in the valley following the devastating 2015 earthquake.