As a country of the Himalayas, Nepal fosters some of the most magnificent mountain ranges stretched all over the country. Often regarded as a paradise for trekkers, Nepal is a country full of nature, wildlife, and adventure. Every year thousands of trekkers and mountaineers enter Nepal with a dream of soaring high up in the mountains. But that's not all that is to this beautiful country, one can get rewarded with Himalaya’s majesty, even from the bustling cities. For the people who are not up for long treks and don't have enough time, Nepal offers you some breathtaking hiking trails around the capital city, Kathmandu. Hikes are comfortable walking trips that usually end in a day or two. If you're in Kathmandu for a short time but still want to get close to nature, witnessing the most talked about Himalayan vistas, Hiking around Kathmandu valley is just what you're looking for. The perfect destination for short hiking tours, Kathmandu valley is encircled by green hills with rich forests. Hiking around Kathmandu is very easily accessible and suitable for everyone from every age range of people. It is a quick, easy, and budget-friendly trip taking you close to nature.
Here, we have compiled the list of the 10 best short hikes in and around Kathmandu valley that you can try out during your visit to Kathmandu.
Starting point: Swayambhu
Ending point: Seto Gumba
Distance covered: 15 kilometres
Duration: 3-4 hours
Highlights:- Stupa and monastery
- Sunset and sunrise view
- A scenic view of Kathmandu valley
Also known as 'White Monastery' or 'Seto Gumba' in the local language, Amitabha Monastery is a Buddhist monastery, situated on top of a hill in the southern part of Kathmandu Valley. A cultural site influenced by Buddhism, the hike to the White Gumba is not only refreshing but also insightful as one gets to witness and learn a part of Buddhism. The monastery is quiet and blissful filled with beautiful paintings, murals, and statues that reflect the Buddhist culture, along with prayer flags. Surrounded by greenery, the hike to the monastery provides you with a stunning view of the entire Kathmandu valley. Also, the Stupa looks breathtaking during sunset. Easy to reach and short, Amitabha monastery is a great option for a quick hike.
Starting point: Kathmandu
Ending point: Kakani
Distance covered: 25 kilometres
Duration: 5-6 hours
Altitude: 2000 m
Highlights:- Walkthrough lush forests
- Stunning views of Kathmandu valley
- Views of Langtang Mountain Range, Shisha Pangma Range, Annapurna Range, and Mt Manaslu
Lying in the valley’s northwest, Kakani is one of the best hiking destinations around Kathmandu for enjoying the vistas of mountains. It is also a famous picnic spot for people around the city. The hike to Kakani takes you through forests and small settlements of Tamang inhabitants where you get to explore the Tamang culture and traditions. An easy trail of duration ranging from 5 to 6 hours, the Kakani Hilltop provides you with incredible views of green paddy fields and tiny settlements at the bottom backdropped by mountain ranges of Langtang, Annapurna, Manaslu, etc. You can also find a Thai Memorial peaceful park at the top, dedicated to the deaths of 113 people during the plane crash of Thai Airways flight no. 311 in 1992, AD.
Ending point: Godawari
Distance covered: 19 kilometres
Altitude: 2782 m
Highlights:- Outstanding views of Kathmandu valley
- Stunning view of Annapurna and Gaurishankar mountain range
- Botanical garden
- Diverse flora and fauna along the way
Phulchowki, situated at an elevation of 2782 M, is the highest hill around Kathmandu valley. Along with being the highest, It is one of the most famous hill points around the valley for its magnificent trail and views. The hike traces through sub-tropical trees and is around 3-4 hours long until you make it to the top of the hill. Once you reach the top, you can see a beautiful shrine of Phulchowki Mai and Buddhist flags fluttering in the wind all around. You can witness the scenic views of the mountain range along with sights of valleys and hills. You can also visit the botanical garden at the top where you can glimpse some captivating plants and flowers.
Starting point: Sankhu
Ending point: Nagarkot
Distance covered: 28 kilometres
Duration: 5 hours
Altitude: 2175 m
Highlights:- Explore the Newari culture and traditions
- Magnificent sunrise and sunset views
- Nagarkot Tower
- Stunning view of Dhaulagiri to Kanchenjunga, Mt Everest, Mt Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang
Nagarkot is another renowned and visited destination for hikes and short getaways. It is famous among both domestic and international travellers. You'll hike up the hill through forests and small settlements starting from the Newari village Of Sankhu. On the way, you get to witness the Newari culture and traditions closely. Once you arrive at the top, you can visit the Nagarkot tower to catch magnificent sunset views over ranges of mountains. Nagarkot is the best viewpoint near the Kathmandu valley to witness the magical sunrise and sunset views along with the vistas of the mountain range. Thus, the hike to Nagarkot is short easy, and very rewarding.
Starting point: Budhanilkantha
Ending point: Sundarijal
Distance covered: 22 kilometres
Duration: 6 hours
Altitude: 1350 m
Highlights:- lakes and waterholes on the way
Views of several mountains
Sundarijal is a hiking destination full of beautiful scenery and wildlife. Starting from Budhanilkantha, the trail goes through Shivapuri National Park, offering you an opportunity to come across a diverse range of flora and faunas. Further, the hike takes you through the steep slopes, Rhododendron trees, green forests, and river dams. After a few hours of walking, you'll reach Sundarijal where you can explore waterfalls and water dams. Unlike other hiking destinations, Sundarijal is more popular for its waterfalls and dams which makes it a perfect choice for a short trip around Kathmandu valley.
Ending point: Shivapuri
Distance covered: 10 Kilometers
Altitude: 2560 m
Highlights:- Shivapuri National Park and conservation area
- Budhanilkantha temple
- Nagi Gompa
Situated inside the Shivapuri National park, in the northeast of Kathmandu, Shivapuri is another perfect choice for a short hike. Leading you to the snow-capped mountains, the hike takes you through lush forests full of diverse flora and fauna. After a few hours of the hike as you enjoy the sound of nature, you'll arrive at the Shivapuri peak at an elevation of 2732 m. You can get some exquisite views of the Langtang Mountain range and Kathmandu valley from the top. There are several other highlights of the hike that will leave you impressed like; Budhanilkantha temple which is the starting point of your hike and Nagi Gompa on the way.
Ending point: Namobuddha
Distance covered: 38 kilometres
Altitude: 1800 m
Highlights:- Trails through rivers and forests
- Buddhist Stupa and shrines
-View of Mt Everest and Langtang Mountain Range
Namobuddha is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. A significant holy place for Buddhists, the site also offers a stunning natural view to visitors. The Stupa at Namobuddha emits peace and serenity and is a must-visit place if you're looking for a short serene getaway from the bustling cities. Starting from Kathmandu, the hike to Namobuddha takes you through the town of Panauti and Dhulikhel. Once you arrive at the stupa, you can witness several monasteries and monks strolling around and meditating. It is a place that will leave an impression on your heart along with the serenity and peacefulness in your mind.
Ending point: Pharping
Distance: 20 kilometres
Duration covered: 4-5 hours
Altitude: 2249 m
Highlights:- Stupas and shrines
- Green hills and forests
- Langtang and Annapurna mountain range views
Champadevi is another peaceful hiking destination situated southwest of Kathmandu Valley. Champadevi hill is the third highest hill in the valley, which provides you with an exotic environment to relax with stunning views of hills and mountains.
You'll pass through forests and open trails offering you views of layers of hills backdropped by mountains and settlements on the bottom. Once you arrive at the top of the hill, there is a small temple dedicated to the goddess Champadevi who is believed to protect the surrounding towns. The trail is connected to several other hiking trails around Kathmandu providing you with an option to extend your hike.
Starting point: Sundarijal
Ending point: Chisapani
Distance covered: 13 kilometres
Altitude: 2215 m
Highlights:- Chisapani village
- Shivapuri National Park
- Views of the sub-tropical forests
- Views of Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal, Gaurishankar Himal ranges
Chisapani is a short yet rewarding hike that provides you with an experience of walking in and around some off-the-beaten tracks around Kathmandu valley. Also, a gateway or the entrance point for the gateway to the Langtang-Gosainkunda trekking region, Chispani is one of the most visited destinations by the locals of Kathmandu. The hike also takes you through the Shivapuri National Park offering you the prospect to witness a diverse range of flora and faunas. Along with the biodiversity, the hike provided you with the magnificent backdrop of the towering snow-capped mountains.
Ending point: Nagarjuna
Distance covered: 20 kilometres
Duration: 4 hours
Altitude: 1950 m
Highlights:- Padmasambhava monastery
- Balaju Water Garden
- Nagarjuna's cave
- Mahasiddha cave
- Manjushree Cave
Also known as Jamacho peak, Nagarjuna is a site that holds great historical significance. It is believed it is the location where Manjushree, a Chinese saint, first laid eyes on what was to become Kathmandu Valley. Full of history, culture, and natural beauty, there are several places you can explore during your hike to the hill. There are several caves, monasteries, and stupas around the area, all of them holding significant importance in Buddhism. Along with getting close to nature, this hike is an opportunity for you to learn and explore more about the history and culture of Kathmandu valley.