Best Short Hikes Near Kathmandu

  • Rana Bahadur Khadka
  • Last Updated on Jul 24, 2023

Explore the natural treasures near Kathmandu with this list of the best short hikes around Kathmandu Valley, and give yourself a chance for rejuvenation.

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Traversing through some of the most popular short hikes near Kathmandu is the best way to unveil the natural wonder and captivating vistas around the valley. Kathmandu Valley, recognized for its cultural and historical richness and countless temples and stupas, is also known for its captivating surrounding natural beauty. If you are looking for a quick escape from the bustling city, the short day hikes near Kathmandu offer a gateway to tranquil forests with alluring mountain sights.

As you embark on these short hikes, allow yourself to get soaked by the lush greenery and the freshness of the air. From the rejuvenating ambiance of the trails to the astounding views of the surrounding snow-clad peaks, each hike has distinct elements to offer. Whether you are an avid hiker or a beginner, this well-curated list of the best hiking trails around Kathmandu Valley encapsulates a diverse range of experiences.

Discover the Best Short Hikes Near Kathmandu

Kathmandu Valley has plenty of natural escapes to allow you a complete immersion into the serene outdoors. Out of the several such astounding destinations around the Valley, we present you with some of the best destinations for a worthy outdoor adventure. These day hikes near Kathmandu will provide a refreshing break from the urban hustle and bustle.

1. Nagarkot Hiking Trail

Situated 32 km (20 miles) east of Kathmandu, Nagarkot is a hill station nestled on the Kathmandu Valley Rim. The sight of majestic sunrise and sunset makes it one of the most scenic destinations in Bhaktapur district. The Nagarkot hiking trail opens up to a magnificent view of stunning mountains, including Mount Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang. 

The hike typically begins from the town of Sankhu situated in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley. The trail takes you through a distance of 14 to 16 km (8 to 9 miles), which takes around 6 to 8 hours to finish. After the hike ends, you will drive back to Kathmandu. Although the trail has human settlements and eateries, it’s still advisable to carry some light snacks and water for the hike.

Highlights of the Nagarkot hiking trail:

  • Panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayas, including Mount Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang Peak.

  • The spectacular sight of sunrise and sunset.

  • Explore Gurung and Tamang villages along the way.

  • Abode of a variety of wildlife and birds, including Himalayan monals, deer, and foxes.

  • Witness vibrant rhododendron forest during its blooming season.

  • Explore a variety of local cuisines and experience the warm hospitality of the locals.

  • Tranquil exploration of forest that provides a peaceful escape from the city. 

2. Shivapuri National Park Hike

Shivapuri National Park hike is one of the most accessible day hikes near Kathmandu, which offers an instant escape into the peaceful forest. There are different hiking trails in the National Park with different distances and duration. Each trail leads to different endpoints, mainly Shivapuri Peak, Bishnudwar and Bagdwar. Shivapuri Peak trail is of the longest duration with around 20 km (12 miles) of distance requiring 6 to 8 hours of hike.  

The hike begins at the checkpoint of Shivapuri National Park in Budhanilkantha and ends at the same checkpoint. As there are no human settlements beyond the checkpoint, it's recommended that you bring some snacks and water for the hike.

Highlights of Shivapuri National Park hike:

  • Rich biodiversity with a wide range of wildlife and birds such as langurs, Himalayan black bears, leopards, Himalayan monal, sunbirds, Himalayan griffon vultures, and so on.

  • Witness abundant flora, including majestic rhododendron forests, oak trees, and various species of orchids.

  • Catch glimpses of Langtang, Ganesh Himal, and Mount Everest on a clear day.

  • Come across several water streams and a few waterfalls along the trail.

  • Traverse through a peaceful ambiance, enjoying the tranquil sound of nature.

  • Explore sacred sites such as Bagdwar and Bishnudwar.

3. Champadevi Hiking Trail

Champadevi, one of the most popular hiking destinations near Kathmandu, is situated on the southeast hill of the Valley. Locator at an elevation of 2,285 m (7,496 ft), the trail offers a spectacular sight of the Valley and surrounding greenery. The location is famous for its revered Hindu shrine and Buddhist Gompa, which is visited by several Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. The place is named after the goddess Champadevi, whose shrine sits at the top of the hill.

The hike to Champadevi begins from the trailhead in Dakshinkali. The walk is 6 to 8 hours long and is considered one of the most enjoyable short hikes near Kathmandu. Before you begin the hike, you can have a good meal at Hattiban Resort, and carry on with the exciting journey into the wild.

Highlights of the Champadevi hiking trail:

  • Hike through the lush green forest with a wide range of flora, including pine, rhododendron, and oak.

  • Panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley, Taudaha Lake, and Kirtipur area.

  • Off-the-beaten route with considerably less crowd.

  • Amazing mountain view, including the sights of Gaurishanker, Langtang, Annapurna, Everest, and Ganesh Himal.

  • Birdwatchers’ paradise with potential sightings of flycatchers, Himalayan bulbuls, Eurasian jays, Asian barbets, and so on. 

  • Visit the famous Champadevi temple.

 4. Chandragiri Hill Hike

This is another one of the most popular short hikes near Kathmandu, located at the southwest rim of the Valley. It is most known for its refreshing lush forests and diverse terrain with steep inclines. The Chandragiri Hill hike has multiple trails. The longer one starts from Hattiban Resort in Dakshinkali, while the shorter route begins from Machhegaun. 

Depending upon your choice of hiking duration, you can pick the longer or the shorter route. The Machhegaun trail requires around 3 hours of walking, whereas the Dakshinkali route takes around 6 hours. The hiking trails gradually take you to an elevation of 2,551 m (8,369 ft). As you will traverse through a remote forest path, make sure to pack a lunch or snack and sufficient water for the hike.

Highlights of Chandragiri Hill hike:

  • The trail passes through dense forest regions with rejuvenating ambiance.

  • A stunning hill station location for sunrise and sunset view.

  • Catch a glimpse of Shivapuri National Park and mountain ranges, including Annapurna and Everest.

  • Panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley and surrounding landscape.

  • The Changiri region is home to a diverse flora and fauna including rhododendron, oak and pine trees, wildflowers, Himalayan birds, langurs, and species of colorful butterflies.

  • Witness the 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long Chandragiri cable car that extends from Thankot to Chandragiri Hill Station.  

5. Nagarjun Forest Reserve Hike

Nagarjun Forest Reserve is an extended section of Shivapuri National Park and the hiking trail is among the easy hikes in Kathmandu Valley. This lush forest reserve offers a peaceful hiking experience with sweeping vistas. The 3 to 4-hour long hike begins from Fulbari Gate in Balaju and takes you to the elevation of 2,128 m (6,981 ft).

You can start the hike after getting an entry permit which is easily accessible at the start point of the trail. As the trail follows the path of a reserved area, you will not find any eateries or tea houses along the path. Therefore, make sure to bring snacks and water for the hike.

Highlights of Nagarjun Forest Reserve hike:

  • Experience a tranquil atmosphere throughout the trail which takes you through a dense forest region.

  • Witness the snow peaks of Jugal Himal, Ganesh Himal, Annapurna, and Langtang on a clear day.

  • Home to a wide range of birds and wildlife such as rufous sibia, spotted forktail, Himalayan bulbul, Himalayan monkeys, Himalayan striped squirrels, and so on.

  • Get an eagle-eye view of Kathmandu Valley and surrounding vistas.

  • Visit Jamacho Gumba, a sacred Buddhist site, at the top of the hill.

Do you want to explore more of what Nepal has to offer? Make sure to check out the best short treks in Nepal for more bucket list entries!

6. Phulchowki Hill Hiking Trail

Phulchowki is the highest hill in the valley and offers a mesmerizing hiking experience through the serene natural landscape. Located in the southeastern rim of the valley, the Phulchowki hiking trail is one of the toughest short hikes near Kathmandu. The hike starts from Godawari, around 16 km (10 miles) away from Kathmandu city. 

The trail covers a  round distance of around 12 km (7.5 miles) and takes around 6 to 8 hours to finish. As the trail lies in an unspoiled natural environment, there are no human settlements on the way. Therefore, you have to carry your lunch or snacks and water. 

Highlights of Phulchowki Hill hiking trail:

  • As the name Phulchowki refers to “Hills of Flowers,’ the forest displays a vibrant blossom of rhododendron during the spring season.

  • It is famous for birdwatching where you might witness Himalayan monals, grey-headed woodpeckers, and so on.

  • Witness the sub-tropical forest ecosystem with versatile flora and fauna.

  • Stunning panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley and surrounding mountain ranges such as Annapurna and Gaurishankar. 

  • Hike to Phulchowki temple, dedicated to Goddess Phulchowki Mai, near the summit of the hill.

  • Visit the famous Godawari Botanical Garden near the hill.

7. Kakani Hiking Trail

Located in the northwest part of the valley, the Kakani hiking trail is one of the most popular short hikes near Kathmandu. Situated around 29 km (18 miles) away from Kathmandu, this trail covers 8 to 10 km (5 to 6.2 miles) of hiking distance and takes you through mesmerizing Kakani village.

Traversing through this scenic landscape can take you around 4, depending upon the pace of your walk and the stop duration in between. It is a wonderful way to explore the natural vistas while also exploring the local communities. Once you reach the top, you will be greeted with phenomenal sights of mountain ranges.

Highlights of the Kakani hiking trail:

  • At Kakani village, you can explore the lifestyle and culture of the local Tamang community.

  • Visit agricultural farms and try locally produced organic strawberries and rhododendron-flavored liquor.

  • Explore the newly flourishing Trout farming in Kakani.

  • Scenic mountain views with glimpses of the Annapurna range, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal, Rolwaling peaks, and so on.

  • The peaceful ambiance makes for a perfect spot for yoga and meditation practices.

8. Chisapani-Nagarkot Hike

If you are looking for an extended experience in nature, this is one of the best trekking options near Kathmandu city. This generally requires 2 to 3 days, with around 8 to 11 hours of hiking distance. The starting point of the hike is Chisapani, about 31 km (19 miles) northeast of Kathmandu. 

You will drive from Kathmandu to Chisapani early and make your way to Nagarkot through the hiking trail. But, if you choose to hike to Chisapani from Sundarijal, you will have to stay there overnight. There are plenty of well-facilitated restaurants and guesthouses for the night stay. From Nagarkot, you will further hike to Changunarayan in Bhaktapur, which marks the end of the hike. 

Highlights of Chisapani-Nagarkot hike:

  • Chisapani is located within the Shivapuri National Park, which means you can explore the national park as well.

  • Offers a secluded and peaceful hiking experience with total immersion in nature.

  • Get to see the popular sunrise/sunset view from Nagarkot Hill Station.

  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Changunarayan Temple.

  • Panoramic view of the entire Kathmandu Valley and surrounding mountains, including Annapurna, Manaslu, Everest, Langtang, and Ganesh Himal.

  • Witness several water streams and small waterfalls along the way.

  • Come across diverse local communities, including Tamang, Gurung, Sherpa, and Bhramin communities, and explore their lifestyle. 

Kathmandu can surprise you with a variety of astounding places to visit for a rich cultural experience. So, take this opportunity to explore some of the best places to visit in Kathmandu and plan your trip right away!

Through this Kathmandu Valley hiking guide, we aim to familiarize you with some of the most exciting hiking destinations around the Valley. Make us your companion on this guided adventure, and we will help you create memories of a lifetime. The professional guides at Adventure Himalayan Travels have decades of experience and a deep understanding of the local terrain, culture, and safety guidelines. With their expertise, you can embark on a trip around the valley hassle-free.

Rana Bahadur Khadka

Rana Bahadur Khadka

In the world of outdoor adventure and exploration, only passionate individuals immersed in the wilderness can be travel guides in Nepal! My name is Rana Bahadur Khadka, and I am from Taplejing, Nepal. Born in 1971, I have collected 20 years of extensive knowledge in travel and tourism as a mountain guide and trip organizer. I have always been fond of exploring and navigating various gorgeous corners of the world and the challenges offered by nature.   

I hope that my over two decades of honed skills in mastering the art of leading treks safely, ensuring the participant's memorable and transformative travel experience, and my vivid insight into the world of adventure, nature, and self-discovery help you bridge the gap between the pristine Himalayan grace and the human spirit as an ambassador of the wilderness.