March is the beginning of spring, one of Nepal's two peak seasons of the year. While temperatures in the mountains are still likely to be cold, and snow may still be a problem in some places, routes will begin thawing out. Trekkers hit the trails in larger numbers again in March, and there are many good reasons to do so. Here's what you need to know about trekking to Everest Base Camp in March.

Weather

Rain is rare in March, meaning the chance of clear mountain views in the Everest Region is good. However, as temperatures rise throughout Nepal, especially in the second half of the month, humidity increases. You're still likely to get good clear views, but they may not be as crisp or as reliable as in the winter.

The advantage is, of course, warmer temperatures in March than in January or February. While snow may stick around at higher altitudes, and surprise snowfall can disrupt plans at any time, many trails will be thawing out by this time. You'll still need to pack well for cold weather—the temperatures in Namche Bazaar, for example, can be as low as 27°F (-3°C). But they can also be as high as 49°F (9°C).

Crowds & Costs

While March isn't as busy as April, accommodation on the standard Everest Base Camp (EBC) route fills up quickly at this time. Trekking with a good guide is one way of mitigating this, as they will book you into a decent lodge, although the choices they have available to them will be restricted by how busy the trails are. Alternatively, you can opt for an off-shoot of the EBC trek, which visits the same region but follows a less common route. See below for some ideas.

Recommended Routes

The classic Everest Base Camp trek is a popular classic for a good reason—but it is very popular. If you'd prefer quieter trails and views unobstructed by other trekkers' heads, there are many alternative routes in the Everest area that overlap with EBC but take you along quieter paths.

Some of the more off-the-beaten-path camping treks are not a great idea in March, as temperatures at higher altitudes will still be cold, especially at night, and snow could be a problem. But, as March is the beginning of the spring trekking season, many teahouses will be reopening after their winter break, meaning there will be better accommodation options than in January or February.

The Gokyo Lakes trek diverges towards the turquoise waters of the route's namesake glacial lakes. The Tengboche Monastery trek takes you to one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, from where there are incredible views of the distinctive Ama Dablam. The Dingboche trek is similar but continues a little further to the small settlement of Dingboche. The Ama Dablam Base Camp trek is also a great way to visit a place that most people miss when trekking in this region.

Trekking peaks are generally accessible again in March, so if you want a greater challenge than a simple trek and have high-altitude climbing experience, a trekking peak is a good introduction to Himalayan climbing. Island Peak (20,305 feet/6,189 m) is a challenging climb, but not too technical. The trek to get there follows much of the traditional EBC trek, so if this is your first time in the region you can get the best of both worlds—following a popular route and going somewhere less explored.

What to Bring

While the better teahouses usually provide blankets, it's always a good idea to bring your own sleeping bag. Blankets at teahouses aren't washed very often, so are better used as a top layer, above your own cozy sleeping bag. While a winter-weight sleeping bag will probably be welcome, these tend to be quite bulky. Combining a three-season sleeping bag with woolen blankets from a teahouse should be adequate, as long as you have appropriate clothing, too.

Down jackets are ideal because they're light and easily packed away in the daytime if you get too warm walking. Also bring good merino and synthetic fiber clothing to keep you warm in the evenings and nights, as well as woolen hats, gloves, socks, and scarves. Sunscreen is also a must.

Getting There & Away

The quickest way of getting to the Everest region in March (as in any season) is to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla. Although rainfall is typically low in March, Kathmandu is especially smoggy and dusty leading up to the monsoon in June, so atmospheric conditions could cause flight delays.

Domestic flights between Kathmandu and Lukla will also fill up quite quickly in March, so it's important to book as far ahead as possible. Read more in this article about getting from Kathmandu to Lukla.

If you're up for a greater adventure and want to walk (almost) the whole way, take the trail from Jiri to Lukla. This is called the 'Pioneers' Route' because it was the trekking trail that early Western mountaineers took to access the Everest region, before Lukla's airport was built. Jiri is about day's drive from Kathmandu.

Similarly, it's also possible to fly from Kathmandu to Phaplu and trek to Lukla through the Solukhumbu region. Few trekkers these days take either of these trails as you need to have a bit more time, but those who do tend to appreciate the more gradual ascent to the high altitudes of the Khumbu, and also enjoy seeing the landscape and cultures change every day. These treks add 4-7 days to more standard itineraries in the Everest region. 

Events in March

The Everest region is primarily Tibetan Buddhist in culture and religion, and many of Nepal's most interesting March festivals come from Hindu traditions, so are not widely celebrated in the mountains. However, by planning a trek in Nepal in March, you can experience one of the following festivals in Kathmandu before or after your trek. Traditional Nepali festivals, usually follow a lunar calendar, so some festivals that fall in March one year may be in February or April the next. Festivals that often fall in March are:

Ghode Jatra, a Kathmandu-specific festival where the Nepal Army performs horse races at the parade ground (Tundhikhel) to ward off the demon Gurumapa.

Maha Shivaratri, particularly lively at Kathmandu's Pashupatinath Temple, where thousands of sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather to worship Lord Shiva.

Holi, the festival of spring, where water and colored powders are thrown around in celebration. 

Our favorite EBC itineraries in March

Namche Bazaar Trek - 8 Days
Tengboche Monastery Trek - 10 Days
Gokyo Lakes Trek - 16 Days
Trekking in the Khumbu - 19 Days
Climb Island Peak - 24 Days

More Helpful Information

Everest Base Camp in February
Everest Base Camp in April
Nepal in March: Travel Tips, Weather, and More
Best Time to Visit Nepal