For novice trekkers, the thought of the Himalayas can sometimes seem a little daunting. Snow capped peaks and men with snow crusted beards are common images that spring to mind when we think of the rugged mountain region.
However, whilst many of the worlds tallest mountains and toughest mountaineers reside in Nepal, there are many trekking routes that are far easier than the notable ones like Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit. In fact, for the novice trekker, Nepal is a wondrous opportunity to experience a landscape like no other.
There are literally hundreds of treks in Nepal and many of these are short, easy and spectacular. Therefore, we have put together a list below of our favourite easy treks in Nepal that any novice hiker will be able to complete.
Recommended for beginners, the Royal Trek is one the easiest treks in Nepal. The trail winds its way through the foothills of Annapurna, north of the Pokhara valley. The Royal Trek received its name after Prince Charles and his 90 camp followers walked the route in 1981. On top of this, the route is often used by the Nepalese royal family. Although situated close to Pokhara, the Royal Trek is one of the most ‘off-the-beaten-path’ treks in Nepal and really allows trekkers to escape the crowds and to receive an authentic Nepalese experience.
Although short and easy, the Royal Trek provides some incredible mountain scenery. You’ll be able to view stunning hillside rice terraces and the hugely-impressive Annapurna mountain range which includes Langtang Mountain and Machapuchhre (fishtail). If you’re not keen on camping then the Royal trek is ideal as you’ll be staying in tea houses dotted along the route. The trek concludes at the beautiful Begnas lake.
One of the most stunning and relatively easy treks in Nepal, the Langtang Valley trek should be near the top of anyones list, novice or otherwise. The notable British travel writer and mountaineer, Bill Tilman (1898-1977), described the Langtang Valley as “one of the world’s most beautiful valleys”. The Langtang valley trek is also known as the valley of glaciers trek as it’s one of the best treks in Nepal to get close up to snow capped peaks and glaciers. The Langtang valley is located just 19 miles north of Kathmandu, making it one the easiest treks to reach.
The trek has a wilderness feel and the terrain is ever changing. The trail winds through pine forests, mountain streams, lovely meadows and rocky outcrops, all the time dominated by the vast form of Mount Langtang Lirung (7246m). The highlight of the trek is without doubt the view of the Langtang Lirung range, which is simply breathtaking. Being one of the most popular treks in Nepal, the trail can get busy, however, the views more than make up for this. The trek usually takes 10 – 12 days, but if you’re in a rush it can be done in 7.
The Helambu Trek is a great trek for beginners. Located close to Kathmandu, the Helambu region has an extensive trail network that allows you to tailor a circuit trek to suit your needs. Although there is a lot of ups and down on this trek, the highest altitude you’ll reach is roughly 3,000 metres (depending on your route). If you can only trek in winter then this is certainly an option on this particular trek. One of the highlights of the trek is being able to see the peaks of Langtang Himal in the distance.
The area was once considered a sacred and hidden domain and it is still fairly isolated with very few trekkers on the trail each year. The Helambu trek is recommended for families and requires no prior trekking experience. The trek requires no supreme fitness and is ideal for anyone wishing to trek a short, easy distance instead of a long strenuous hike. Helambu locals maintain a very rustic lifestyle and the trek has a strong cultural feel.
The Poon Hill Trek is a stunning short trek that is often stated to be one of the most gorgeous treks in the Annapurna Region of Nepal. Its notoriety as an easy yet beautiful trek means that is also one of the most popular treks and you will definitely see a fair amount of trekkers along the route. A high level fitness is not required as the walking is fairly steady and easy going. In fact, the route is ideal for retiress and children alike. You can stay each night in tea houses to avoid carrying too much gear.
Like other Nepal treks, the scenery is magnificent and constantly changing. The trail takes you through lush green vegetation, alpine areas and large rice fields. The trail is constantly dominated by the beautiful fluted peak of Machhapuchhare (Fishtail Peak). The highlight is of course Poon Hill itself where the view from the top is one of the most spectacular in all of Nepal. From Poon Hill view point you can see two giant Himalaya 8,000 metre peaks – Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I. If you time the climb right, you’ll be able to see the golden sun lighting up the mountain peaks. Poon Hill only stands at 3,210 metres, therefore, altitude sickness is rarely an issue on this trek.
Although generally longer, if you’re a novice trekker, the Jomsom Muktinath Trek can be completed in as little as 5 days without trekking to high altitude. This gorgeous trek is actually part of the larger and much more famous ‘Annapurna Circuit trek’. The trek is notable for its lovely scenery, including dazzling forests of Rhododendrons and other-worldly desert landscapes that resemble the moon! Much of the trek is in a rain shadow area and can therefore be trekked even during the monsoon period.
the trail follows and ancient trade route along the lovely Kali Ghandaki river and you’ll be able to visit caves, Buddhist monasteries and ancient forts. Many local traders have converted their houses into tea hoses and you’ll be able to stay at these if you don’t wish to camp. If you happen to stay at Chez tea house, be sure to have a chat with the sougi (the inn keeper) who will regale you with tales of life in Nepal. The temple at Muktinath (12,464 feet) is without doubt the highlight of this trek. The temple is dedicated to the god Vishnu, one of the three supreme deities. The temple has natural gas fires and 108 waterfalls! People bathe here to wash away their sins.
This is an ideal trek for novice hikers looking to see some of the area around the famous trekking city of Pokhara. On top of this, the views of the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. You’ll also be able to trek through authentic villages and experience real Nepalese village life. The trek begins like no other – with a boat trip across Lake Phewa to arrive at your starting point.
The trek winds its way up through the hills where you get some spectacular views across the Annapurnas, Machhapuchhare (Fishtail), Dhaulagiri and Manaslu. These mountains dominate the majority of the trek. The trek takes you through lush forests and past authentic villages before arriving at the summit of Panchase Hill (2,500 metres). If you get up early enough you’ll see the sun rising over some of the tallest peaks in Nepal. The Panchase trek is ideal for people who want some incredible views for little effort and time.
If you have any further questions about this article or want to know more, please leave a note below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you and happy trekking!
Andrew is one of the senior writers at Mountain IQ. A native of South Africa, Andrew has hiked and climbed all over the world. His favourite destination is Nepal and his most memorable hike was to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!