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

trekking-in-nepal-rara

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! 

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Rara Lake Trek

Overview

Many songs and poems speak of the beauty of Rara 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.

Rara-lake-trek-map

Recommended Map

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Recommended Guidebook

Insight Guides Nepal (Travel Guide with Free eBook)

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

Typical Rara Trek Itinerary

trekking-in-nepal-rara

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.

Day 1-2: Arrive Kathmandu

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu  to Negalgunj

Day 4: Fly to Jumla. Hike to Padmara

Day 5: Hike to Bumra

Day 6: Hike to Pine

Day 7: Hike to Rara

Day 8: Acclimatisation Day

Day 9: Hike to Ghorasain

Day 10: Hike to Sinja

Day 11: Hike to Chere Chaur

Day 12: Return to Jumla

Day 13: Fly back to Kathmandu

Video Overview

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

Frequently Asked Questions about Rara Lake Trek

1.

How much does the Rara Lake trek cost?

Prices vary, but range from $2,000 to $3,000 per person, depending on length and the quality of the provider. The price will go down with more trekkers.

2.

Are permits required for this trek?

A Rara National Park permit costs $20 and can be purchased from the immigration office in Kathmandu. Please note that you must trek with a registered guide and that a trekking party must consist of at least two people.

3.

When is the best time to trek Rara Lake?

The best time to undertake the Rara Lake trek is in September and October or April and May. There is little rainfall in summer, making this perfect for trekking, while in winter snow can be heavy, unrelenting and block many passes.

4.

Is altitude sickness a risk?

The Rara Lake trek  ascends to some high altitude points. At its highest point, Diyabala Danda crest, you will reach an altitude of 5,351 meters (17,556 feet).


Fortunately, because of the treks length, the opportunities for appropriate acclimatisation are good, and hence the prevalence of moderate or sever altitude sickness is low.


Regardless of this, it is important to have a clear understanding of the risks associated with high altitude trekking and how the body acclimatises to high altitude. 


We recommend reading our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.

5.

How difficult is the trek?

The Rara Lake trek is considered moderate to easy. It is an ideal trek for beginners as the altitude and length is not extreme.

See more Easy Nepal Treks here.

6.

What gear do I need?

Trekking the Rara Lake National Park requires a number of essential pieces of trekking gear. The Rara Lake trek is long and moderately difficult. It exposes you to a range of altitudes where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between night and day.


Much of your gear can be rented or bought in Kathmandu, but we strongly suggest bringing the most important pieces of gear with you.


To help you plan and prepare for your trek we recommend reading our gear section.

Do I Need Insurance to Trek to Rara Lake?

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.

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