challenging hikes in nepal

Top Ten Challenging Hikes to try in Nepal for Adventure Seekers

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A trek is an adventure in itself, not only for the epic scenery it provides but also for the superhuman effort and endurance levels needed in order to make it a complete success.

For tough trekkers, the destination counts the most and Nepal is one country with hikes that transform the simple act of trekking into a life-affirming expedition. We promise you that these ten holidays in Nepal are surely the talking points for adventure enthusiasts. 

Everest Base Camp

Maximum elevation: 5,140m

Best season: Mar-May, Sept-Dec 

Trek duration: 12 days

Winding past river valleys and over the creaking mass of glaciers, the Everest base camp trek has to be the best loved for adventure seekers in the world. With Mt Everest, at 8849m standing tall in all its glory, this moderate to grueling hike traverses high mountain monasteries, with their precariously perched sherpa abodes and asks for a stern test of your mind and muscles over a period of twelve days for the round trip from Lukla.

Annapurna Circuit 

Maximum elevation: 4,210m

Best season: Mar-May, Sept-Dec 

Trek duration: 14 days

Trekking around the base of the tenth-highest mountain in the world, Mt Annapurna, is the dream of every hiker. This long-time favorite trek in the Annapurna region begins from the lakeside town of Pokhara to Dhampus, a one-hour bus ride away. A unique feature of this trek is the changing landscape from rocks to vertical snow-covered peaks across moorlands and glaciers of the Annapurna ranges.

Kanchenjunga Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,388m

Best season: Mar-May and Sept-Nov 

Trek duration: three weeks

Another all-time favorite with extreme trekkers, the Kanchenjunga circular trek, which at one time had lost a lot of following due to the Maoist insurgency, is now back on track. The challenging hike begins and ends at Lukla, and government rules insist that trekking permits only be issued when accompanied by a registered guide as there are very few options for stay and limited options for food.

Three Passes Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,555m

Best season: Feb-May and Sept-Dec 

Trek duration: 17 days 

To add some more flair and adventure to your Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek, try the Three Passes Trek which covers high-altitude passes like Kongma La, Cho La, and Renjo La, all above 5000m. Follow the EBC trek halfway where it goes past Gokyo Lakes before meeting with the EBC again at Lobuche. From Gokyo, where trekkers will be rewarded with views of four of the six highest mountain peaks in the world namely Mt Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. The Three Passes trail has steep ascents and descents and involves glacier crossings in certain places.

Rolwaling Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,755m

Best season: Mar-May, Sept-Oct

Trek duration: 18 days

Rolwaling is a hidden gem of the Everest region, and the strenuous hike involves steep rock climbing, tons of patience, and a bit of technical knowledge, especially when traversing the Tashi Lapcha Pass at 5750m. No doubt, your lungs would be pumped up most of the time, but the amazing glacier lakes, remote monasteries, and homes of the sherpa climbers in this trekking zone are ample rewards. The trek begins from Lukla, past Namche Bazar to the Gonggar village in the picturesque Dolakha district of Nepal.

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,220m

Best season: May, Sept-Dec 

Trek duration: 16 days

You will see few trekkers on this trail, but those who undertake this arduous hike will be taken well off the beaten path into a land of utmost beauty. The Manaslu circuit is a gem of a hike, comparable to the more popular Annapurna trek, but without the crowds. Travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara to begin your trip around the eighth-highest mountain peak in the world.

Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,360m

Best season: April, May, Sept-Nov 

Trek duration: three weeks

This difficult trek needs to be well planned and organized in advance as there are no facilities for food and lodging en route and everything needs to be carried from the base starting point. Standing at 8167m, Dhaulagiri is the sixth tallest peak in the world and involves strenuous walking for three days in a row. The circuit trek begins from the village of Beni and ends at the holy town of Jomsom Muktinath before heading back to Pokhara. The trekking route is characterized by rocks, lateral moraines, glaciers, and steep ascents and descents. Acclaimitasion is extremely important as a majority of the trekking days are spent at an average altitude of 3500m.

Upper Dolpo Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,350m

Best season: March to November 

Trek duration: 27 days

Restricted to a minimum of two trekkers with a government-registered guide, the Upper Dolpo trek covers the country’s only trans-Himalayan national park, namely Shey Phoksundo. The isolated region has no settlements and involves long hours of hiking each day. The trek begins from the village of Juphal, before progressing to the Upper Dolpo region and back via Dho Tarap valley to the village of Dunai lying on the ancient trade route. Crossing the high passes is the most challenging part of the journey and is recommended only for those with previous experience of high altitude trekking.

Ganja La Pass Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,033m

Best season: March-May, Sept-Nov

Trek duration: 17 days

The sherpa guides will warn you that the days will be hard and the nights even tougher, but despite these hurdles, the Ganja La Pass trek from the village of Syabrubesi Langtang is a must-do in every trekker’s lifetime at least once. The trek passes through Langtang Valley, Kyanjin Gompa, and Chord Ari Ri at ends at Helambu Melamchi Bazar. The trek goes through traditional Tibetan villages but requires climbing equipment and special training in high-mountain climbing.

Makalu Base Camp Trek

Maximum elevation: 5,320m

Best season: Mar-May and Sept-Nov

Trek duration: 24 days

This adventure-filled hike is another which is not permitted solo as it is undertaken in the wilds of the Makalu Barun National Park on the base of Mt Makalu, the fifth highest in the world. The trek involves the crossing of three high mountain passes, Shipton La, Keke La, and Khongmalai. The descent is of moderate difficulty via the same route but still involves traveling over rugged paths with many ups and downs, most of them isolated. The trek is physically demanding and requires a high level of fitness to undertake at least six hours of high-altitude walking on all days. While previous high altitude experience is positive, it is not mandatory.


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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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