A beautiful city woven around an alpine lake picturesquely set against the backdrop of distant snows, Pokhara is an unmissable stop for backpackers in Nepal. Offering innumerable short and long treks in the depths of the Himalayas, Pokhara deserves to be marked in red on the map of any mountain loving itinerant coming to Nepal. There are several opportunities for making amazing day trips from Pokhara to the surrounding valleys, high mountain passes and glacial lakes. The best thing about finding trekking around Pokhara is the availability of several teahouse itineraries to ambitious heights, of treks that are famed for brilliant peak views, proximity to glacial heights and exotic culture of the Himalayan people. Comfortable stays in teahouse lodges and homestays, good connectivity to locality, availability of utilities and emergency medical care etc. are counted among the pluses of trek Pokhara, on routes such as the famed Annapurna Circuit Trek or the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the Manaslu Circuit Trek and several others.
Recent advancements in Nepal trekking have opened reliable foreign traveler’s access opportunities from Pokhara to new destinations, accessing which was unimaginable only half a decade ago, for example, the remote and absolutely exquisite province of Upper and Lower Mustang. Arid cold desert fragments, seats of ancient Tibetan cultures and civilizations cut off from the ravages of modernity, these expeditions made available by Pokhara trekking company redefine the essence of adventure!
Why Should You Go For Trekking in Pokhara
Whether you are a busybee with only a week at hand or one on a spiritual break with an eternity dedicated to exploring the beautiful folds of the Himalayas, Pokhara is a one-stop destination that should be on the top of your travel bucket list. Whether you wish to explore deep within the heart of the Himalayas or spend some leisure time with your family in a peaceful atmosphere, Pokhara has everything to offer to all types of travelers. From idling besides the Phewa Lake to trying your hands at various adventure activities to satiating the foodie inside you with tasty Nepali dishes, Pokhara has it all and will welcome you open arms.
Which are the Best Treks in Pokhara?
Here are some of the most well-known treks around Pokhara that will mesmerize you with captivating natural beauties and calm, serene environment. Almost every trekking agency in Pokhara will have some sort of trekking program for the below mentioned treks.
An easily-level Pokhara short trek, the Sarangkot trek is only a three hour climb from lakeside Pokhara and regarded as one the best day treks from Pokhara. A popular one night stop, Sarangkot boasts of magnificent sunrises and sunsets over the snowline, splashing the white hillscape in vermillion. Enjoy Pokhara in the resplendence of her lakes, the sea of undulating hills rising like waves, the chain of snow-capped peaks and the thrill of paragliding over lush valleys and forests.
Ghorepani Poonhill Trek
Another pick for a short burst of joy on traveling into the highlands from Pokhara, Ghorepani-Poonhill offers exotic views of the Annapurna region. The trail snakes through charming villages inhabited by the Gurung and Tamang ethnic Nepali communities. Rhododendron and oak forests mark the trail. Diversified valleys, winsome opportunities for bird sightings and serenity filled lush valleys are the highlights of this hike. Also interestingly, Ghorepani-Poonhill marks the ancient ‘salt-trade route’ which still reserves its ways from the ancient past.
Dhampus Sarangkot Trek (Short-Annapurna Trek)
This is another lovely trekking around Pokhara featuring Sarangkot but, with the bonus of the Dhampus pass. This 3-day trek follows a route starting from Phedi, after a breezy ride from Pokhara and takes you winding to the little village of Dhampus. The next day’s trek is around to Sarangkot view point from where Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhare look tantalizingly close. The way back is alluring, weaving through terraced hill farmlands and snow peaks beckoning from beyond. The walk ends by the banks of the beautiful Phewa Lake, Pokhara.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Among moderate to difficult level treks, Annapurna Base Camp hike is awesome for bringing the eight-thousander giant peak face to face in close quarters with the onlooker. The world’s tenth highest peak, Annapurna I (8,091 m) looms gradually larger as we progress from Pokhara through the little charming villages of Chomrong, Dovan, Komrung, Syauli Bazaar and other ethnic Nepali settlement villages. One of the trek highlights is night stay at Machhapuchhare base camp and close look of the beautiful ‘fishtail’ mountain up close.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
The classic circuit trek around the Annapurna massif available with any reputed trekking agency in Pokhara, this one is famous for all good reasons. Dramatic deep ravines, dark forests along the foothills, a long stretch of thrilling walk through the narrow river gorge of Kali Kandaki, bleak high passes where snow is overwhelming, beautiful monasteries like a splash of color in the canvas of white and slow pace of life in the ethnic Nepali villages make this trek so very memorable in the experience and imagination of trekkers for decades.
Ghandruk Village Trek
Typically concluded within 6-7 days, Ghandruk Village is a perfect destination for Pokhara short treks suiting the causes of those who are in Nepal only for a short while and mean to combine the grandeur of mountain vistas and cultural living in the mountains all in a crisp trekking tour. The highlights of this trek are -- rhododendron spring forests, epic Himalayan views, and Nepali village stay.
When to Visit?
Treks available from Pokhara can be divided into four distinct seasons, each with its own attractions--
Spring (April to May)
Blooming flora like rhododendron and magnolia make spring time extremely cherishable in the slopes around Pokhara. The warm and salubrious weather make this time especially welcoming though from April to mid-May the wintry nip in the air can still be felt. Great visibility, un-frozen crystal lakes, no predictable rainfall and less number of trekkers in the region compared to autumn makes this period good for treks from Pokhara.
Summer months are associated with torrential showers in this region every once in a while. Though, temperatures are high in the daytime, continuous rain gives rise to several inconveniences. Dampness, leeches, muddy roads etc are only a few to tell. Peak visibility is not good as well. However, rains in the hills have their own charm and experimental photographers would love the soft light.
The most popular of trekking season in Pokhara, autumn promises great peak visibility, clean air with minimum dust and pollutants, low chances of rain and bearable weather.
Not a lot of mountain enthusiasts brave trekking in the region in the harsh winters of Nepal. Temperatures usually vary between 9-12 degrees during the day but dips to subzero in the night. The high passes remain clogged with snow making them inaccessible. The teahouse accommodations are also not likely to remain open. However, if you can manage to take the brave step, there are dazzling views waiting!
What Are The Essential Items To Pack For Trekking In Pokhara, Nepal?
Large or medium size backpack, and a duffle side bag for extras
Rain jacket (essential for the monsoon months)
Sturdy trekking shoes and a pair of floaters
Trekking pants, several pairs
How to Reach to Pokhara for Trekking?
Pokhara treks can be accessed by reaching the region through Kathmandu International Airport and taking a drive from there to Pokhara. If you are already in Nepal, you can look for domestic flights to Pokhara Airport.
The nearest rail head to Pokhara is Jainagar or Gorakhpur or New Jalpaiguri in India. Car rides can be arranged from these rail stations to eithter Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Buses are easily available to Pokhra from the capital, Kathmandu. It would take around 7 hours to reach.