Rara Lake Trek – Visit One Of Nepal’s Most Beautiful Lakes - Mountain IQ

Rara Lake Trek – Visit One Of Nepal’s Most Beautiful Lakes


On this page you will find a comprehensive and impartial guide to the Rara Lake Trek.

As this is a very long and detailed article on the Rara Lake Trek, we recommend using the quicklinks below to navigate to the sections that interest you most. Alternatively, bookmark this page for future reference.

Route Overview

The Rara Lake trek, as the name suggests, is famous for the magnificent Rara Lake. The oval shaped lake, which sits at 10,040 feet above sea level, is the largest and deepest lake in Nepal – three miles long, one mile wide and 548 feet deep! The waters are so clear you can almost see the bottom. Many songs and poems speak of the beauty of this lake. One traveller described it as “a shimmering blue jewel set in a ring of snowy peaks”. The clear lake surface perfectly reflects the surrounding mountains and pine covered hillsides.

Around the lake are Malla stones – tall pillars of rock featuring inscriptions of the sun and moon, which are thought to date to the time of the Malla kings who ruled the region in the 12th century. Beyond that are juniper, pine and spruce trees. The snow-capped Himalayas can be seen in the distance, with Dhaulagiri, Dolpo, Kanjirowa and the Tibetan Himalayas predominating. The scenery is starkly different from that of the rest of Nepal. The Rara Lake trek is very much an ‘off the beaten path’ trek that allows for a unique and authentic Nepal trekking experience. Occupants of the area were resettled in 1976 when the Region became a National Park. Therefore, the Rara Lake trek is incredibly quiet as, except for the occasional soldier, no one lives there.

The Rara Lake trek is one of the best places in Nepal to see wildlife. There are potentially 20 species of mammal you could see – these include the ghoral and serow, of which few have heard; The Himalayan black bear; clouded leopard; musk deer and the rare red panda. There are 214 species of bird including the commonly-seen implying pheasant, the national bird of Nepal, and over 500 kinds of flower and herb.

During the winter months you will be able to witness the migratory birds from various countries around the world and during the summer months Himalayan flowers surround the lake, creating a vibrant landscape.

Please Note:

The Rara Lake trek can take anything from 6 days to more than two weeks. There are few facilities for tourists. You will be sleeping in basic beds, most likely in a stark teahouse. Meals are also very basic. Showers and toilets are scarce.

Regional Map

The Rara Lake trek is located in the Rara National Park, the smallest in Nepal and said by some to be the finest in the world. The district is Mugu in the extreme northwest of the country. The surrounding area is relatively unexplored.


Recommended Map

There is a map of Rara Lake called 'Jumla – Rara Lake N 10'.

Tour Recommendation

If you are unsure about how suitable the Rara Lake Trek is for you and your group, please leave a comment below with your enquiry, and we will try to help you choose the most suitable option. 

We always reply within 24 hours!


Below is a detailed Rara Lake Trek itinerary. There are several different itinerary options available for the Rara Lake trek. The trek can start in either Jumla or Nepalgunj, depending upon your operator.

There is a short 1 week itinerary that is popular, however, we have listed below what we think is the best itinerary option – the 13 day return from Kathmandu option. This slightly longer trek gives you the chance to really explore the area.

Click each day to

Day 1-2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11​​​​

Day 12

Day 13


Video Overview

A beautiful video overview of Rara Lake by Onion Films. The video is 02:56 long.

Recommended Guidebook

The lake is mentioned in a number of guidebooks. We recommend Insight Guides: Nepal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the trek cost?

Are permits required for this trek?

When is the best time to trek?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

How difficult is the trek?

What gear do I need?

What travel insurance do I need?

Insurance Information

Trekking insurance is vital in Nepal. This is particularly true on the Rara Lake trek, which is very remote. If an accident should occur that requires medical assistance and evacuation you will certainly want adequate trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.

Make sure to have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, damaged, stolen or delayed baggage; flight delays and interruptions; and tour operators default.

This article on travel and trekking insurance provides great information on what type of insurance you need, as well as provides an easy quote calculator from a leading travel operator.

Other Routes


Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek

The Ghorepani Poon Hill trek (aka the Poon Hill Trek) is generally regarded as one of the best treks in the Annapurna Region of Nepal. The trek is popular as it relatively easy and short, taking only 4-5 days to complete. The scenery along the trek is amazing. Read more about the Poon Hill Trek.


Langtang Valley Trek

The Langtang Valley Trek is a relatively easy trek and is often far less busy than other popular treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. The trek can be done in seven days, however, it usually takes 10 to 12 days. Discover the Langtang Valley Trek.


Manaslu Circuit Trek

Robin Boustead, author of Nepal Trekking & the Great Himalaya Trail: A route and planning guide, pronounced, “Many would argue that the Manaslu Circuit trail is the best general trek in the country.” Discover the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

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Tour Recommendation

If you are unsure about how suitable the Rara Lake Trek is for you and your group, please leave a comment below with your enquiry, and we will try to help you choose the most suitable option. 

We always reply within 24 hours!

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Leave a Comment:

Alba says May 10, 2018

Do you know if it is possible make the trail without guide?
And…it is easy to get lost?

Thanks youso much

    Mark Whitman says May 10, 2018

    Hi Alba, I believe it is possible to trek the Rara Lake trail without a guide, but because it is remote I would recommend taking a guide for safety. Cheers!

Justin says June 27, 2018

I have 16 days total for nepal in July. Would you recommend this as a good trek during that time, or is there another you think would be better?

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