Trekking in the Everest Region & Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park offers up some of the highest treks in the world. To help decide which trek is best for you, here's a list of the main trekking routes with the duration and highlights for each. You'll have great views on all these treks, but which one you choose will depend on your time frame, budget, and appetite for challenge.

Highlights

  • Surround yourself by the most iconic mountains in the world
  • Experience Sherpa culture, villages, and climbing culture
  • Stay in Namche Bazaar, the closest you'll get to a Himalayan city
  • Experience the highest national park in the world
  • Ascend 5000m+ passes on the Three Passes trek
  • In Spring, watch as expeditions gear up to climb Everest

Accessing Your Trek

To access the Everest Region, most people take a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, from where you start the climb toward Namche Bazaar (usually done in two days). Alternatively, if you have more time and are interested village life, it's best to start your trek from Jiri or Salleri, four days walk south of Lukla. To reach Salleri, you'll need to take public or private road transport from Kathmandu. Starting your trek from Salleri or Jiri is a great option if you have the time.

Popular Trekking Routes

Everest is the draw card, but once you start trekking you realize that there are multiple valleys that you can go up, there are multiple viewpoints from where you can see Everest, and, in fact, if Everest wasn't here, the trekking would still be fantastic because the people have developed such great infrastructure.

All three routes below start from Lukla (or below) and head north to Namche Bazaar. From there, you can either head directly to Everest Base Camp, or take one of the other two options if you have more time.

Suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi river
One of the many suspension bridges spanning the Dudh Kosi River
Mt. Everest, Nepal's iconic peak
Mt. Everest, Nepal's iconic peak, viewed from Kala Patthar
Gokyo Lake and Village
The beautiful village of Gokyo, a destination in its own right
View from Renjo la pass, looking toward Everest
View from Renjo la pass, looking toward Everest

#1 Week Below Everest — 5 - 10 days

If you're short on time but eager to catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest, the itinieraries listed in our overvoew of shorter treks in the Everest area provide a good feel for what trekking in the Everest region is all about. You'll pass through the famous Himalayan town of Namche Bazaar before reaching Tengboche, which is the farthest you'll go before turning back toward Lukla.

#2 Everest Base Camp — 12-15 days

This is Nepal's most famous trekking route, the Everest Base Camp trek. You'll follow a well-established trail, winding its way up the river valleys, along the glaciers, until finally you reach the foots of Mt. Everest from where all expeditions on the south side of the mountain begin. If you go in the spring, you'll find the glacier buzzing with dozens of expedition camps.

#3 Gokyo Lakes Trek — 12 days

Another popular trek in the Everest Region, the Gokyo Trek takes you up a parallel valley to the village of Gokyo and a series of lakes even farther up the valley. You can either return back to Lukla the same way, or cross over the Cho La pass to join up with the Everest Base Camp trek. A visit to these stunning high-altitude turquoise lakes is well worth the journey.

#4 Three Passes Trek — 14-21 days

If you would like all the highlights trekking has to offer packed into one trek, this is the one for you. The Three Passes Trek (rated #2 on our list of best treks in Nepal) does an entire loop of the Sagarmatha National Park, passing through all the great viewpoints, villages, and highlights along the way. The trails takes you off the beaten path into the more remote valleys adjacent to the main Everest Base Camp trail. Be ready for some serious hiking and high-altitude mountain passes, as you'll be crossing over three passes all above 5000m - Kongma La, Cho La and Renjo La.

Trekking Peaks

Nepal also offers the chance to have the experience of climbing up to 6000m+ in relative safety, on one of Nepal's climbing peaks. There are a number of peaks in the Everest region - most notably, Island Peak, Mera Peak, and Khayu Ri.

How to get to the Everest Region & Sagarmatha National Park

Most trekkers access the Everest region by flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, a 45-minute flight with amazing views. Try to get a seat on the lefthand-side of the plane for your flight to Luka (right-hand side on the flight out) to maximize your views on the Himalayan giants including Mt Everest. The landing on the short airstrip in Lukla makes for a spectular start of your trek. 

Alternatively, you can drive to to Jiri or Phaplu. Both drives take a full day from Kathmandu and cause your trek to start much farther away from the mountains than Lukla. Starting in Jiri adds about 5 days of trekking to your route, while the trailhead in Phaplu is about 3 days from Lukla. 

Planning Your Trek

As with all treks in Nepal, the duration and route can vary depending on what you're looking for, how fast you trek, and the kind of experience you'd like to have. The best guides take these factors into account when planning your trek in advance and making in-trip decisions along the way.