- Watch the sun set on Mt. Everest & Lhotse from Kala Patthar viewpoint
- Experience and learn about Sherpa culture, who have made this region their home
- Sip tea or coffee at one of the world's highest markets, Namche Bazaar
- Experience ground zero for all Everest expeditions at the foot of the Khumbu Ice Fall
This classic trek takes you up and down the main trekking route in the heart of the Solu Khumbu. While there are many other stunning areas in the Khumbu, if your main goal is to reach Everest Base Camp, this is the trek for you. You'll get amazing mountains views and a great experience of being high up in the Himalaya. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire—and if there's a good reason why this trek is so popular.
That said, this trek is not for everyone. If you're looking for a remote, undisturbed, away-from-it-all trek, you may want to consider longer versions of this trek (see below) or another region entirely. Especially during the spring and the fall, the Everest Base Camp route is busy, crowded, and comes with many of the modern amenities of back home, like WIFI, which you may be hoping to get away from.
Accessing This TrekMost people opt to fly into Lukla, which is the starting point for most Everest base camp treks, including this one. But if you have the time and are looking for a challenge, you can trek in from Salleri. The scenic hub—headquarters of the Solu Khumbu region—can be reached by flight, bus, or jeep from Kathmandu, although accessibility depends on road conditions. Adding another four days to your trip, the extra trek guarantees a peaceful prelude to the more strenuous climb that awaits.
Best Time To Go
The Everest region can be visited year-round, although the spring (March to May) and the fall (late September to early November) are the best time for clear skies and comfortable temperatures. The winter (late November to February) can be quite cold with below-freezing temperatures—especially above Namche Bazaar and the summer (late June to early September) comes with clouds and potential flight delays out of Lukla.
Still, these offseasons are a great opportunity to have a more unique experience of the Everest Base Camp trek. Even during the monsoon, the sky often clears up once you ascend above Namche Bazaar. And during winter, you'll encounter very few people on the trail and see the villages and valley covered in a light dusting of snow. Teahouses will also be more available and accommodating and you'll have more time to interact with the local people (although many will have left for Kathmandu for the winter).
If you would like to catch a glimpse of Everest expeditions in action and see their base camps. the spring is the best time to go. The population of camps at Base Camp surges with dozens of expedition groups. You may not exactly experience the serenity of nature, but it's exciting to rub shoulders with soon-to-be Everest summiteers.
For more information about when to go, check out our article on the best time to visit Nepal.
Accommodation During the Trek
The Everest Base Camp route is dotted with local teahouses where most trekkers spend the night. For more information on what these local teahouses are like, check out our article on Teahouse Trekking in Nepal. There are also luxury lodges, like Yeti Mountain Home and Everest Summit Lodges, available during the first 5-6 days of the trek. A great option we often recommend is to have a mixture of luxury lodges and local teahouses during your trek.
Unique Ways To Do This Trek
For a more unique experience, consider doing this trek during the monsoon season (June to September) when you'll have fewer crowds with still the potential of great views, especially at higher elevations. Or, if you have more time, you can start your trek from Salleri, in the Lower Everest region, and avoid the possibility of flight delays from Kathmandu to Lukla. You'll also be fitter and more acclimatized by the time you reach the upper Everest region, allowing you to enjoy this part of the trek even more. Best of all, there are hardly any people, lots of wildflowers out, the locals have time to talk to you and you will still see plenty of mountains views in the early mornings.
For more ways to get off the beaten path, check out our article on Getting Off the Beaten Path to Everest Base Camp.
Shortening Your Trek
Return by Helicopter (9-10 Days)
If you're short on time, you can arrange to take a helicopter back to Kathmandu from either Namche Bazaar or Gorak Shep, saving you the extra time it takes to trek back to Lukla. You'll still need at least 9-10 days, however, to ensure proper acclimatization on your way up to base camp. A more budget-friendly alternative is to take a helicopter only down to Lukla, stay overnight in Lukla, then catch a flight back to Kathmandu the next morning.
Short Treks with Views of Mt. Everest
If you only have 5-7 days, you can still see Everest from a distance (which you could argue is the better view!). Instead of trekking all the way to Everest Base Camp, you can turn around at Namche Bazaar or Tengboche, which both offer great views of Mt. Everest. For more details about these treks, check out the Best Short Treks in the Everest Region.
Extending Your Trek
Sagarmatha National Park (the Everest region) is composed of four glacial valleys spilling down from the Himalayan range that borders Tibet. The Sherpa people have settled these valleys over the centuries, cultivating a great network of trails that run along the valley floor as well as up and over the ridge lines that separate them. The result—a number of great trekking routes that can be combined with Everest Base Camp.
Gokyo Lakes & Everest Base Camp Trek (16 Days)
This route combines a visit to Everest Base Camp with the Gokyo Lakes trek which takes you up a parallel valley to the little village of Gokyo. This is a great option for a slightly longer trek which has another beautiful viewpoint — Gokyo Ri (17,575 ft / 5357 m). From Gokyo Ri, you'll have a great view of Everest as well as Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. To extend this trek even longer, you can trek farther up the valley above Gokyo to a string of remote alpine lakes.
Three Passes Trek (19 Days)
If you would like to extend your trek, consider the challenging Three Passes trek. This is the most challenging trek in the Everest region and ranges from 19-20 days, taking you counter-clockwise through the entire Sagarmatha National Park. The trek combines all the highlights of the Everest region into one challenging adventure: three 5,000 m. passes and three 5,000 m. viewpoints that overlook their respective valleys.
|Day 1||Welcome to Kathmandu!||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Explore Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 3||Flight to Lukla and Trek to Phakding||Phakding|
|Day 4||Trek to Namche||Namche|
|Day 5||Rest day||Namche|
|Day 6||Trek to Tengboche||Tengboche|
|Day 7||Trek to Dingboche||Dingboche|
|Day 8||Acclimatization day||Dingboche|
|Day 9||Trek to Lobuche||Lobuche|
|Day 10||Trek to Everest Base Camp||Everest Base Camp|
|Day 11||Climb Kala Patthar||Lobuche|
|Day 12||Trek to Tengboche||Tengboche|
|Day 13||Trek to Namche||Namche|
|Day 14||Trek to Lukla||Lukla|
|Day 15||Fly to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 16||Depart Kathmandu|
Detailed Itinerary for Everest Base Camp (16 Days)
Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!
As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll have beautiful views over the valley, the Himalaya, and of the terraced fields below. After going through customs, a representative will be waiting to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets and get you settled into your hotel. Once you've settled in, head out and visit one of Kathmandu's cultural highlights. In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.
Day 2: Explore Kathmandu
Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares. There are a number of ways you can spend the day given the many incredible sights around the Kathmandu Valley. Later in the evening, head out for dinner at one of the city's great eateries, or your specialist can arrange a home-cooked dinner with a local family.
Day 3: Flight to Lukla and Trek to Phakding
Your flight from Kathmandu to Lukla only lasts 40 minutes, and you'll enjoy Nepal's iconic mountain views throughout. Touch down on the narrow mountaintop runway, and your adventure begins.
After your whirlwind arrival, head out on a half-day trek. You'll follow a riverside trail downhill through the Dudh Koshi Valley, passing farms, stone villages, and snow-topped mountains toward your first overnight in Phakding.
Day 4: Trek to Namche
From Phakding, the route crisscrosses the pine-flanked Dudh Koshi river on a steel cable suspension bridge. Keep an eye out for yaks and other local wildlife that amble along the same route.
From there, the trekking path leads into Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO-listed nature reserve that is home to snow leopards and red pandas. After passing a checkpoint in Monjo to register your trekking permits, you'll begin a steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. If the weather is clear, you may just catch a glimpse of Mount Everest in the distance.
After a strenuous uphill hike, you'll arrive for your overnight stop with time to shop for souvenirs or any extra gear you may need. Namche, the main trading village in the Khumbu region, is the historic meeting point for Hindu traders from the lowlands and Tibetan yak caravans. It remains a global melting-pot (and now even boasts an Irish pub!).
Day 5: Rest Day in Namche
After yesterday's significant gain in altitude, you'll take today off to relax and acclimatize.
Hit up the market's souvenir shops before visiting the Sherpa Culture Museum, filled with displays of cultural artifacts from the Sherpa people. You can also pay your respects to Tenzing Norgay, the first person to summit Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary, at a nearby memorial.
To help your body adjust to the higher altitude, it's a good idea to take a short acclimatization walk. You can make your way over to Khunde Hospital, a health clinic that was set up by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1966, or head higher above Namche on a one-hour climb to the Everest View Hotel. Time your walk for sunset views over the great peaks of the Khumbu, including Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest. There is also a spectacular panorama from the National Park Center, where you'll find a free exhibit on the history and culture of the Khumbu region.
Day 6: Trek to Tengboche
From Namche, the trail follows the valley, high above the Dudh Koshi River. After a day and a half spent resting up in Namche, you'll be ready to hit the road again. The views are another serious motivator. As you leave Namche, you'll catch an unobstructed glimpse of the Himalaya, marking the world's highest elevations.
You'll continue along the trail, passing through Sherpa villages among locals going about their daily routines. There are numerous tea shops along the way, so you can stop for a piping cup of Nepali chiya for a caffeinated pick-me-up.
Finally, you'll make a steep descent over the river along yet another suspension bridge. The village of Phunki Tenga awaits, along with a much-needed pit stop. Load up on carbs over lunch as you enjoy the scenery. From there, you'll face another steep climb. The shady path zigzags through rhododendron forests and high-altitude vistas—keep your eyes peeled for the region's colorful mountain bird species. Finally, you'll arrive at Tengboche, home to a legendary Buddhist monastery, the largest in the Khumbu.
Day 7: Trek to Dingboche
After climbing to cold, stark Tengboche, you'll now descend steeply through thick forest. You'll cross over the Imja Khola River, part of the Dudh Khosi tributary. From there, you'll arrive at the village of Pangboche, which is situated directly opposite Ama Dablam, one of the region's landmark summits. Because of the village's unique location, you'll be able to admire stunning and immersive views of the mountain. You'll also be able to see a gompa, or Tibetan monastery, along with sacred Buddhist mani walls.
While Dingboche's monastery has the honor of being Khumbu's largest, the gompa of Pangboche is the region's oldest. You'll want to take a peek inside. Founded in 1667, the monastery houses a few unusual relics—namely the skull and hand of a rumored yeti. After another few hours of trekking, you'll arrive at Dingboche, where you'll be spending the night.
Day 8: Acclimatization Day in Dingboche
After a strenuous few days of continuous climbing, your body is likely ready for a rest. Luckily, you'll have the whole day in Dingboche to relax—or if you're up for it, try an acclimatization hike.
Head up to higher elevations along upper Dingboche, where you'll find a more traditional feel than the lower, trekker-oriented part of town, which is mostly made up of guesthouses and tea lodges. If you're up for a small day hike, you can head to an old Buddhist hermitage, known as Nangar Dzong. There's also a peak along the ridgeline called Dolma Ri which you can easily reach on foot. There, you'll find strings of bright prayer flags and a scenic viewpoint.
Day 9: Trek to Lobuche
After resting up, or going on a few shorter day hikes, you'll head out again on the main path. Continue to climb the wide valley, just beneath the snow-capped peaks of Cholatse and Tawache, which loom impressively on your left. You'll notice that the landscape becomes more icy and remote, with sparser habitation.
Another turn brings you to a steep ascent at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier, the highest glacier in the world. Though it's one of the most photographed sights along the route, nothing can prepare you for a face-to-face view. The glacier is toppled with rippled islands of debris from avalanches, with melting snows etching stunning patterns into the ice.
As you continue climbing, you'll find many stone cairns along the top of the path. These have been built as memorials to the Sherpas who have died while leading Everest expeditions. The route continues gently along the slope of the glacier, eventually reaching the small cluster of houses known as Lobuche.
Day 10: Trek to Everest Base Camp
Today begins with a buzz of pre-expedition energy. After an early wake-up, you'll leave Lobuche at the crack of dawn, just in time to catch the sun as it reaches the summits of the Himalayan peaks. You'll see the entire valley slowly light up with golden light as the morning sun illuminates the base, then gradually works its way up.
From there, you'll traverse the Khumbu Glacier on your way to Gorak Shep, a dry, sandy lakebed that sports an ominous moniker (the name means "Graveyard of Crows.") It's a simple, rustic setting, with a few basic lodges scattered along breathtakingly harsh and treeless mountain scenery.
But you're not stopping yet. Continue on, climbing along the Khumbu Glacier at a slow but steady pace in your bid to reach Everest Base Camp. Finally, after a long day at high altitudes, the payoff arrives. Stop to take photos and relax in the world-famous threshold for all summit expeditions. After some time to admire your surroundings and wander around the camps—in springtime, you'll see up to 75 expedition teams—you'll make your way back down to Gorak Shep, where you'll spend the night.
Day 11: Climb Kala Patthar
You might not have gotten to climb to the top of Everest, but today marks your very own summit bid. Meaning "black rock" in Nepali, Kala Pathar is a relatively small peak that can be climbed in a single day. All experience levels can attempt the trek, but you'll want to make sure you're feeling well enough acclimatized before setting off since it's known to be a pretty tough high-altitude climb.
For those that brave the climb to the peak, you'll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the entire Khumbu Glacier below you. And above you? You'll be face-to-face with the highest mountaintop in the world. From the top, you'll descend back to Lubuche, ready to rest after a long but unforgettable day. If you've opted not to climb Kala Pathar, you can descend directly to Periche.
Day 12: Trek to Tengboche
Passing back along familiar ground, you'll head to the twin villages of Pangboche. New Pangboche is where most of the guesthouses are located, but Old Pangboche is where you'll find the Khumbu's oldest monastery. If you didn't get a chance to see the yeti's skull and hand before, now is your chance to admire the curious relics first-hand.
From there, you'll continue to follow the river, finally crossing back over it. Pass through birch and rhododendron forests to Tengboche, where you'll catch more panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks.
Day 13: Trek to Namche
After an overnight in Tengboche, you'll descend the bridge over the Dudh Koshi to Phunki Tenga, where you can check out the Buddhist prayer wheels powered by water. You'll head down to the base of the valley before another climb to Namche.
Day 14: Trek to Lukla
Today marks your final day of trekking. The route follows the Dudhi Koshi River all the way back down to Lukla, where you'll spend your last night in the mountains. It's time for a farewell party: sample some regional chang (home-brewed rice beer) and learn some Sherpa dance steps. You have a successful trek to celebrate.
Day 15: Fly to Kathmandu
On your last morning in the mountains, you'll wake up early to catch a morning flight back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is at your disposal. If you didn't get a chance to see the city's main sights, you'll have a chance to now. You also might want to unwind with a massage or spa treatment in Thamel. Otherwise, you have the entire capital at your fingertips for sightseeing before you depart tomorrow.
Day 16: Depart Kathmandu
Time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. It's good to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.