Spring and autumn are considered the best times for trekking in Nepal but we should not overlook the winter trekking season. Most people go to Nepal in the spring and autumn to trek around the higher Himalayan Mountains like Mount Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek. For the winter season, the higher-altitude treks are not recommended as the trails can get blocked with snow and there are chances of avalanches in the higher areas.
It rarely rains in December, January, and February, so the skies are crisp and clear during these months. During this season, the views of the mountains are at their best and you will not be disappointed by your decision to trek in the winter season. As winter is the off-season, you will not face trouble getting a bed at teahouses. Moreover, you will experience fewer crowds on the trails, which means you will not have to compete to get clear and magnificent views and can enjoy it by yourself. Winter is a wonderful season for shorter treks at lower elevations. It is colder, but if you are well prepared for trekking, you can actually enjoy clear skies and fewer crowds.
Here are some of the most popular treks in Nepal for the winter season:
Everest Panorama Trek
Trekking all the way to Everest Base Camp in the winter is possible but the cold weather and high altitude make it more difficult to complete it. But don’t worry, you can get a view of Everest during this season too if you are ready to go on the shorter treks.
You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, and trek to Namche Bazaar, where you can explore the Sherpa culture. Your base will be at Namche, from there you can hike to the village of Thame, which has monastery high up on the cliffs. After this, you can continue on to Tengboche where you can pay a visit to the famous monastery of Dawa Choling Gompa. Here, the climbers and trekkers usually visit the Head Lama to receive his blessings for a successful trip.
Poon Hill Trek
Poon Hill trek is very popular in the peak season, and it becomes difficult to find a place. But you will not face such a problem in the winter. This trek is a popular one as you will pass through local villages, forests with different vegetation, and get to enjoy beautiful sunrise views.
Another advantage of this trek is that it is easily accessible and you get the opportunity to have some close-up views of the Himalayan giants such as Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, without going up too high. This trek is perfect for the winter season.
Khopra Danda Trek
Poon Hill trek can be completed in around three days, but if you do not have a time constraint, you can add the Khopra Danda Trek to your trekking list. It is not a famous trek even in the peak seasons, so if you trek during the winter, you will probably have the trails all to yourself.
The route of this trek follows the same path as the Poon Hill trek for the first few days, after which you will descend into the valley north of Ghorepani and then climb up to Khopra Ridge. You will have beautiful views of some of the peaks such as Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Machhapuchhre on this trek.
Langtang Valley Trekking
Langtang Valley Trek has always been a favorite among travelers. The travelers are astonished to have a close-up view of the snow-capped mountains and glaciers. This trek is 19 miles long and offers breathtaking views of valleys surrounded by mountains and the famous Langtang National Park.
This trek is not visited by many trekkers, even in the summer. If you are looking for peace and solitude, then this is the best place for you. It is known as the ‘valley of glaciers’, and is one of the most beautiful places in Nepal, with majestic views of the Himalayas.
Kathmandu Valley Trek
The Kathmandu Valley is mild throughout the winter, which makes it an ideal place to go on some shorter hikes at a lower altitude. A trek of 2-3 days will take you from Kathmandu to Nagarkot, from where you will go to Dhulikhel and then down to Bhaktapur.
Nagarkot and Dhulikhel are old Newari towns outside the Valley, and when the weather is clear in the winter, it offers spectacular Himalayan views. The Valley’s highest peaks are Phulchoki and Champadevi, which make for good and challenging day hikes with beautiful city and mountain views.
The Kathmandu Valley Rim Trek is a wonderful trek that takes you around the valley and offers you an experience of local culture, beautiful sights, and magnificent panoramic mountain views. You will also be able to hike between the temples of Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath, which are locally known as ‘monkey temples’ for the high numbers of small monkeys that live there. You will also be able to hike to the more natural landscape of the foothills that surround the valley. The trek will offer you a beautiful and constant panoramic view of the Himalayas – from the Annapurna Range to the Everest and passes through the beautiful Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve, where you will be able to see many species of birds and wildlife in their natural habitats.