• Dec 3, 2019
  • Rupak Parajuli
  • 35

The beautiful Kathmandu valley offers you plenty of hiking routes and day trips. These short hikes around Kathmandu valley will refresh you to the core. The adventurous hilly landscapes and the unique settlements will mesmerize you. 

You can get away from the crowded streets of Kathmandu and spend some quality time in the bliss of nature. The breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayas and the entire Kathmandu valley are the highlight of these hikes. You can reach the hill tops within a single day. 

These hikes generally take 4 to 6 hours of walking to arrive at the destinations. You can either return the same day or stay overnight. The trails pass through the sub-alpine forests and the rural countryside. The Nepalese culture, lifestyle, and food along the trail will amaze you. 

I have listed some of the best short hikes around Kathmandu valley. These hikes are perfect for people of all age groups. You can also take these hikes with your family of small children and seniors. Read further for more information about these short hikes in detail. 

Table of Contents

Phulchowki Hike

#view by Bijen LaL Shrestha on 500px.com

Trip Highlights

  • Maximum Elevation: 2,782m
  • Hike Duration: 6.5 to 7 hours
  • Passing through Subtropical forest of the region
  • Breathtaking views of Annapurna and Gaurishankar mountains 
  • Visiting the Godawari Botanical Garden
  • Variety of wildlife in the region
  • Beautiful view of the entire Kathmandu Valley summit of Phulchowki

Phulchowki is the highest hill in the Kathmandu valley, situated in the south of the city. You can start the hike after a scenic drive to Godawari which is 14 km south of Kathmandu city. After arriving at the Godavari, you can explore the Godavari Botanical garden. The different floral species inside this garden will mesmerize you. 

We start our hike to the Phulchowki hilltop from Godawari. The trails pass through the sub-tropical thick forests covered in rhododendron and oak trees. The region is also inhabited by various species of butterflies, and birds. The hike takes around 3 to 4 hours to arrive at the top of the Phulchowki hill. 

The summit provides majestic views of the eastern part of the Annapurna range and Gaurishankar Himal. We will descend to the Godavari after exploring around the area and drive back to Kathmandu. There are many lodges, hotels, and resorts in the Godawari area. 

There are few camping sites as well. But you need to be more careful and set up camps at a safe location. You can stay overnight or return back to Kathmandu on the same day.

Champadevi Hike

Great landscape in Champadevi by Ishwor Mali on 500px.com

Trip Highlights

  • Maximum Elevation: 2,249m
  • Hike Duration: 3 to 6 hours, depending on the route taken.
  • Multiple scenic routes
  • Passing through the forested trail
  • Visiting the spiritual Stupas and monasteries
  • The aromatic smell of the pine forests 
  • Fresh and clean air 
  • Champa Devi pilgrimage

Champadevi Hill is in the southeast corner of the Kathmandu Valley in Makwanpur District. Many routes lead you up to the Champa Devi. However, the Dollu Valley route passing through pine forests is quite popular and our leads to the grassy ridge top. 

This well-trodden trail starts from the Hattiban Resort. From the resort, the hike takes around three hours for a round trip. You can park your bikes and vehicles at the resort. There are various other alternative routes as well.

The pine forests along the trail provide incredible fresh air. The scenic hiking route makes for a perfect hiking adventure. The Champadevi hill provides you with outstanding views Himalayas including Mt. Everest, Langtang, Gauri Shanker, Annapurna, etc.

Dakshinkali Route

There is a longer route that starts right after the Dakshinkali Temple road, beyond Taudaha Lake. You will be walking along dirt roads through green fields. You will then arrive at the forest from where the trail climbs steeply to reach the ridge above Hattiban Resort. The hike takes about 4 to 6 hours depending upon your pace.

Other Routes 

Besides these, several different routes starting from the Pharping village in the north of the Pharping Valley. This route will lead you to the summit of Champadevi. These routes are difficult to identify, as there are no signposts along the trail. You can get a map and identify the trails in advance before starting the hike.

The shrine of Champa Devi at the hilltop is a pilgrimage site for Hindus, and you can also find a Buddhist monastery. You can also observe the Kathmandu valley and surrounding places, including Dakshinkali Temple, Khokana, Taudaha Lake, and Pharping. We will drive back to Kathmandu from Champadevi after the hike.

There are few lodges and hotels around Dakshinkali if you want to stay overnight. You need to camp with care and check for safety in advance. You can also stay at the Hattiban Resort if you seek some luxury. But be sure to book accommodation in advance.

Nagarkot Hike

Himalaya Forts by Arnab Chowdry on 500px.com

Trip Highlights 

  • Maximum elevation: 2,195m
  • Hike Duration: 4 hours
  • Exploring around Nagarkot and its surrounding area 
  • Mesmerizing views of and Mt. Everest, Annapurna, Ganesh Himal, Langtang 
  • Spectacular Sunrise and sunset view from Nagarkot
  • Exploring the Newari village of Sankhu
  • Pilgrimage of the Changunarayan temple

Nagarkot is a great hiking destination just 32km east of the Kathmandu valley. The sunrise and sunset views from the viewpoint is a highlight of the hike. The hike is a great weekend getaway from the urban lifestyle of the Kathmandu. 

There are many charming resorts and hotels around the area that make for a great short hiking adventure. The one hour drive from the city leads us to Sankhu. The Newari town lies in the northeast part of the Kathmandu. You can start your hike from the pine forests. 

After arriving at Nagarkot, you can observe the beautiful Himalayan peaks. You can also stay overnight or hike down to return to Kathmandu. However, staying overnight will provide you with the greatest sunrise view.

You can find a wide range of accommodation at Nagarkot. Many accommodations facilities from five-star hotels to local lodges are available. You might find a good camping spot too.

Chandragiri Hike

Chandragiri Hill by Kumud Parajuli on 500px.com

Trip Highlights

  • Maximum elevation: 2551 meters 
  • Hike Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Pilgrimage to Bhaleshwor Mahadev Temple
  • Challenging trail with small and big boulders
  • Passing through the lush forests
  • Incredible mountain vista of Annapurna, and Everest range 
  • Opportunity to ride the Cable car ride

Chandragiri Hill hike is a relatively new hike in the southwest to the Kathmandu valley. The scenic destination lies 7 km away from Thankot. The Chandragiri hike begins with a drive to Mata Tirtha.
 
The trail passes through small and big boulders of sedimentary rocks. There are also lush green jungles.around the region. There is also the facility of Chandragiri cable car, which is quite popular among tourists. The incredible mountain vista of Annapurna and Everest range will enthrall you. 

At the top of Chandragiri Hill, you can find a beautiful temple of Lord Shiva. The Bhaleshwor Mahadev Temple is a pilgrimage site for Hindu pilgrims. You can also enjoy the scenic views of the Kathmandu valley. After a wonderful hike of the Chandragiri Hill, you can return back to Kathmandu.

Chisapani Hike

Agriculture by Bidur Shiwakoti on 500px.com

Trip Highlights

  • Maximum Elevation: 2,215m
  • Hike Duration: 4 to 5 hours 
  • Hike through the subtropical forests of Shivapuri National Park 
  • Incredible views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, Jugal Himal, and Gaurishankar Himal ranges
  • Scenic Waterfalls along the hike
  • Opportunity for Canyoning

Chisapani hike is one of the best short hikes around Kathmandu valley. It is a fantastic location with great views and excellent hiking trails. The Brahmin and Sherpa settlements provide a unique cultural tour as well. You can start the hike from Sundarijal, which is an hour's drive from central Kathmandu.

The trail passes through the primary water source for Kathmandu and also to the Shivapuri National Park to finally arrive at Chisapani village. The short hike is pleasant and the beauty around the region will captivate you.

Most of the lodges and tea houses were severely damaged in the earthquake of April 2015. The rebuilding process is ongoing, and you can find some basic accommodation facilities. You can also camp around the region.

Chisapani to Nagarkot Hike

Magic Morning... by Saroj Pandey #CoolClicks on 500px.com

Trip Highlights

  • Maximum Elevation: 2,215m 
  • Hike Duration: 4 to 5 hours 
  • Hike through the sub-tropical forest of Nagarkot
  • Gorgeous sunrise from the top of Nagarkot 
  • Spectacular views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, Jugal Himal, and Gaurishankar Himal ranges
  • Visit the sacred Changu Narayan temple
  • Exploring around the old city of Bhaktapur

You can also expand your trek from Chisapani to Nagarkot. After trekking from Sundarijal to Chisapani, you can stay overnight and then hike further for 7 hours through dense forests towards Nagarkot, where you can stay overnight to observe the beautiful sunrise and drive back to Kathmandu.

There are further side trips from Nagarkot to Changunarayan before heading back to Kathmandu. Nagarkot to Changunarayan trail descends through terraced fields, along a ridge of deciduous forest passing through the Tamang village. The trek from Nagarkot to Changunarayan takes about 4 hours. 

The ancient temple is a World Heritage Site, listed by UNESCO. It was severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake. There have been swift renovations on the initiation of the locals since. You can also observe the exciting museum in the temple premises.

There are bus services available from Changunarayan to Bhaktapur (8km). You can explore the beautiful town of Bhaktapur on your way back to Kathmandu.

Kakani Hike

Sunset View by Abinash Dhungana on 500px.com

Trip Highlights

  • Highest elevation: 2070 meters
  • Hike Duration: 4 to 5 hours
  • Pine forest trails and scenic settlements
  • Tasting the local Hilamayan trout fish and the strawberries 
  • Awe-inspiring views of the Ganesh Himal, Thangshing Valley, Langtang Range, Mt. Gaurishankar, Godatape, Mt. Machapuchare, Rauchuli, and others
  • Walking along the pine forest and scenic settlements
  • Extended tour from Kakani to Surya Chaur

Kakani Danda lies in the north-west of the Kathmandu valley. The hike to Kakani danda starts with a drive from Kathmandu to Rani Pauwa. Rani Pauwa is around 29 kilometers away from Kathmandu valley. You can observe the beautiful views of green paddy fields and rural Nepalese life.

You will be walking along the pine forest and scenic settlements with fresh and clean air. The hilltop of the Kakani hill station provides you with beautiful views of Kathmandu valley on a clear day. The Himalayan panorama of Ganesh Himal ranges, Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Annapurna, Langtang Himal range, Fishtail, Dorje Lakpa, and others will enthrall you.

The region around Kakani is also famous for Himalayan trout fish and strawberry farming. You can even taste local fish and strawberries. We return to Kathmandu after this beautiful experience. You can also stay overnight and extend the hike to Surya Chaur.

Extended Trail to Surya Chaur

The trails from Kakani to Surya Chaur is short and easy and takes nearly two to three hours. The trails pass through the stunning Shivapuri national park. The pleasant hike to Suryachaur will provide you with the view of the entire Thangshing Valley. 

The awe-inspiring views of the Ganesh Himal, Langtang Range, Mt. Gaurishankar, Godatape, Mt. Machapuchare, Rauchuli, and others is the highlight of the trek. After the beautiful trek, we drive back to Kathmandu valley.

One Day Hiking in Kathmandu Review 

There are many beautiful hiking spots around the Kathmandu valley. These best short hikes around Kathmandu valley will refresh you to the core. The hilly green landscapes and the unique settlements make for a perfect hiking trip. 

You can either hike for a day and return or stay overnight in the tranquillity of nature. You can observe the majestic Himalayas and the entire Kathmandu valley from various viewpoints along the hike. It takes about 4 to 6 hours of walking to arrive hiking destinations. 

The trails mostly pass through the sub-alpine forests and the rural countryside. The Nepalese culture, lifestyle, food will amaze you. Overall, the best short hikes around Kathmandu valley listed above are absolutely worth your time. 

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Rupak Parajuli

Rupak Parajuli

He is a Travel Enthusiast and Writer, who mostly covers the guide to outdoor adventure in the Himalayas of Nepal. He can be your friendly trip planner. Feel free to reach out to him.

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