Kathmandu is surrounded by traditional villages, comely hills and relatively low-altitude mountains that are perfect for shorter treks. Hiking around the Kathmandu valley gives you the opportunity to experience some terrific mountain vistas and rural Nepali villages without having to venture too far from the capital or deal with the altitude sickness that plague other treks in the country.
Hiking excursions nearby Kathmandu include:
A trek to Champadevi (7,473 feet), found on the southern rim of Kathmandu valley, makes an enjoyable day hike. The hill overlooks the historic Kirtipur settlement and gives a spectacular view over the valley. It can be reached via several routes. Allow two hours to get to the top, longer if you pause frequently for pictures.
Nagarjun hill overlooks the famous Swyambhunath stupa, the hilltop shrine that commemorates the spot thought to be the meditation place of the Buddhist sage Nagarjun. The trail starts about a half mile from Balaju, on the road to Trisuli. Allow at least a half-day and be sure to pack a lunch.
Nagarkot (5,905 feet) is a hill station situated east of the Kathmandu valley. A popular destination for many visitors to Nepal, it offers excellent views of the surrounding mountains and plenty of comfortable accommodation should you choose to stay the night. You can take a bus here from Kathmandu and trek back, or walk both ways. There are number of trails between Nagarkot and Kathmandu, but the easiest and the best known is the route via Changunarayan, an ancient temple site near Bhaktapur. The hike takes about three hours.
Godavari to Pulchowki
The highest point in the Kathmandu valley rim is the hill-top at Pulchowki (9,061 feet). The trail starts form Godavari, the national botanical garden, and leads up forested slopes known for their large variety of birds and native flowers, including wild rose, yellow jasmine, iris and others. Carry your own food and drink, as there are no facilities along the way.
North of Kathmandu, Shivapuri (8,963 feet) offers stunning views of the Kathmandu valley. Much of the trek is through the unspoiled dense oak forest, and you may spot spotted dear, monkeys and jackals along the trail. From Shivapuri National Park you can hike to Nagi Gompa, a hilltop Buddhist monastery where panoramic views abound.
Within an hour’s walk of Kathmandu, the Helambu trek offers a number of advantages to those short on time and money. The return trek last 6-7 days and keeps under the relatively low altitude of 11,942 feet, which means there’s no need to worry about the altitude sickness. The trail begins in Sundarijal at the east end of the Kathmandu Valley, traverses the lush vegetation typical of the midlands and winds through the Sherpa-populated Helambu region.