One Day Hiking around Kathmandu
Nepal is home to thousands of peaks which results in people to think that Nepal is all about conquering the mountains, which is not entirely true. Nepal has many hills along with white mountains and flat land. Though the country is very small, landscape and topography are varied. Hiking routes in Nepal are full of beautiful valleys, small villages on the lap of the mountains, high flowing rivers, diverse flora and fauna, and above all helpful local people. Starting from 1310 meters above sea level, you will be able to go as high as 2750m in 4 hours near Kathmandu valley. Also, you’ll be mesmerized with a panoramic view of the valley and beyond, and if the weather is clear you may also get slight glimpses of Mount Everest. Most of the hiking destinations mentioned here can be completed in a single day, and are suitable for children, adults and even for 70+ people.
1) Jamacho Day Hiking
One of the best places for hiking near Kathmandu Valley is Jamacho Gumba. Located just 2100m above sea level, you will get to experience the wonders of nature in a short period of time en route Jamacho Gumba. Since this route falls under the Shivapuri Nagarjun National park, you need to get out tickets in the Fulbari gate, the entrance to the National park. Our hiking starts as soon as we enter the Park.
This National Park also has the summer house of the royal family of Nepal. However, after the end of the monarch, this summer house has been their residing house. This national park serves best for nature lovers and bird lovers. You can hear the chirps of the bird as soon as you enter the forest. Stoned steps make it easy to walk in this place. The total distance from fulbari gate to Jamacho Gumba is about 5km. One can reach the top in around 3-4 hours, according to the walking speed. There is also a motorable road to reach the top of the hill.
Jamacho is one of the best places to meditate to heighten your spiritual knowledge. Near Gumba there is a view tower. The tower offers the best view of the Kathmandu valley and glorious mountains. One can see stunning views of Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Jugal and Langtang to the North on a clear day. Also, the Gumba only opens for the public once a year, in the birth anniversary of Lord Gautam Buddha. However, this place can be visited throughout the year and throughout all seasons.
2) Phulchowki Hike
Phulchowki literally means “Hills of Flowers”. Phulchowki is a paradise for bird lovers and one of the most beautiful hiking trails. Situated at the elevation of 2750m, Phulchowki is the highest hill of Kathmandu Valley. Our hike starts from Godavari Botanical garden all the way through the lush green forest. If gotten lucky you’ll be able to see different kinds of birds such as Rufous-gorget, Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Yellow-browed Tit, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Red-billed Leiothrix, Whiskered Yuhina, Besra, Bronzed and Racket-tailed Drongos, Greater Yellow nape, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Nepal Cutia, Ultramarine Flycatcher, and Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike in the forest area.
The Temple of Phulchowki Goddess is situated at the top of the hill. Prayer flags and tridents cover the revered area. Serene environment at the top will make you forget all your weariness from walking. You’ll be left smitten with the majestic view Gaurishanker Himal, Langtang Himal, Ganesh Himal to Annapurna range towards the eastern part. Breathtaking view of Kathmandu valley from the hilltop is another highlight of the Hike. One can reach the hilltop from Godavari Botanical Garden in around 3-4 hour and downhill takes around 2 hours.
3) Shivapuri National Park
Hiking in Shivapuri starts from Budhanilkantha, a Hindu temple of Lord Bishnu. This is the closest you can get to nature near Kathmandu Valley. This route is famous for bird watching. This forest is protected by Nepal armies as a national treasure. The National Park is home to 30 different species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 124 species of butterflies, and more than 1402 species of plants. You’ll walk through the cemented stairs to reach bagdwar. Bagdwar is the starting point of the river Bagmati, a revered river. From Bagdwar the way is quite exhausting as you have to ascend a narrow steep hill for about an hour more.
Upon your arrival on the top, you’ll be rewarded with glorious views of Langtang ranges, Rolwaling, Ganesh Himal, Langtang-Lirung, Dorji Lhakpa Kathmandu valley, Budhanilkantha temple, Nangi Gompa, green forest, mixed culture, and nice terrace, etc. One can relax in this place enjoying the view.
4) Champadevi Hike
Champadevi is one of the nearest and best places for one day hiking in Kathmandu. Standing in the elevation of 2285m, Champadevi Hill is the third highest hill of Kathmandu Valley. The hike starts from Pharping, almost 20 km away from the main city area. Pharping is a revered site for Buddhism. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche attained enlightenment in this place. Champadevi hill gives you a real chance to envision the whole Kathmandu Valley with a panoramic view. You’ll walk on a well-developed trail through lush pine forest. The trail goes uphill gradually for about half an hour towards the north ridge and then ascends further through the forest to Champadevi. It will approximately take about 2 hours to reach the top of the ridge. As we move further towards the top of Champadevi hill, the trail clears up with beautiful stone trails and with the sight of major mountains like Mt. Everest, Ganesh Himal, Annapurna, Langtang, Jugal, Gaurishanker, etc. all around.
The hiking trail is full of diverse floras and faunas and never-ending chirps of birds. Being in a tranquil environment will put your heart at ease. While returning, you’ll descend down the hattiban through dense forest. Overall, Champadevi is an easy and perfect one day hike in Kathmandu.
5) Namo Budhha Hike
Namo Budhha is one of the most revered sites for Buddhism. We started our hike from a small village panauti. Panauti is about 40 minutes’ drive away from the main city. It is a small town which was given by King Bhupatindra Malla to his sister as a gift. This town is dominated by Newari inhabitants. However, Tamang, Gurung, Magar and few Aryan communities also have been residing harmoniously in Panauti. From panauti, it takes about 2 and a half hours to reach Namo Budhha Stupa. The stupa stands on the elevation of 1750m.
This stupa is said to have been built on the remains of a prince of Panauti, Mahasattva. According to folklore, the prince sacrificed his life to save the life of starving tigress and her cubs. Also, it is believed that the prince was the incarnation of Shakyamuni Gautam Budhha. Upon the visit of Budhha in the village of Sange da Fyafulsa some 3500 years later, he renamed the village to Namo Budhha which literally means Homage to Buddha.
The monastery has been preserved by the monks and other local people. This place is the true definition of tranquility and positive vibes can be felt in the air. You can even practice mediation here. You can take pictures on the outskirts of the monastery but not inside. You will be able to hear the chants and prayers dedicated to Lord Buddha. You can also spend the night in Monastery but you’ll have to have a pre-booking. After resting, we will head towards Dhulikhel. And from Dhulikhel, we drive back to Kathmandu. The hike is almost 20km and takes almost 6 hours to complete.