Trekking

Ghachok Trek

This interesting two-day trek ascends the hills north of Pokhara to the traditional Gurung villages around Ghachok (1260m). It starts from Hyangja, near the Tashi Palkhel Tibetan settlement, and crosses the Mardi Khola to Lhachok before ascending to the stone-walled village of Ghachok, where you can stop overnight in a teahouse before turning south and returning to Pokhara via Batulechaur. With more time, you can extend this walk to visit some even more remote villages in the valley leading north from Ghachok.

Ghandruk Loop

A short but steep three-day trek offering mountain views and Gurung villages, with numerous quality lodges with excellent mountain views at Ghandruk. The trail starts at Phedi and follows Day One of the Annapurna Sanctuary trail to overnight at Tolka (1810m). From Tolka, trek 45 minutes to Landruk (an alternative first-night halt) and then drop steeply down a stone staircase to the Modi Khola at 1315m. It's then a very steep climb up more stone stairs, thankfully via several refreshment stops, to Ghandruk (1970m).

On day three descend to the road at Kimche, where you can catch transport or continue walking back to Birethanti and Naya Pul.

Panchase Trek

Panchase is a region close to Pokhara boasting some great mountain views of Annapurna South and Machhapuchhare peaks, with the added benefits that it is easily accessed from Lakeside and no ACAP or TIMS cards are required. There are several variations of the route focussed around the highpoint of Panchase Danda (2500m) and it can be done in any direction. There are five trekking lodges at Panchase Bhanjyang. Figure on three or four days at a leisurely pace. A guide is useful to follow the trail between Panchase Bhanjyang and Bhumdi.

Trails to Panchase start west of Pokhara, either at Naudanda or Khare on the Baglung Hwy or west of Phewa Tal at Ghatichhina. The trails climb through traditional villages to Panchase Bhanjyang (2030m), where most people overnight. Start early the next morning to trek up to the peak and Hindu temple of Panchase Danda for a sunrise vista of the Himalaya. The trek can then conclude along any of several daylong routes back to Pokhara, including one that routes via a teahouse at Palyam Chauteri (west of Bhumdi) to the Peace Pagoda (hotel accommodation) and Pokhara's Lakeside via a boat ride on Phewa Tal.

Annapurna Panorama Trek

This loop walk features Gurung villages and marvellous views from the popular Poon Hill (3210m) viewpoint and is a good choice in winter. It can also be done in either direction. The overnight stops on this trek are shared with the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary treks and therefore teahouse accommodation is plentiful.

The trail starts at Naya Pul, on the road from Pokhara to Baglung, and follows the Annapurna Circuit trail in reverse for the first two days, with overnight stops in Tikhedhunga and Ghorepani. On day three, most people leave before dawn for the short 1.5km hike to Poon Hill and its fine vista of snowy peaks, including Annapurna South (7273m) and Machhapuchhare (6997m). Relax in Ghorepani for the rest of the day.

Day four involves a gentle descent to Tadapani, and day five continues downhill to Ghandruk, a scenic Gurung village of stone and slate houses with a colourful Buddhist monastery. The final day is an easy descent back to Kimche, Birethanti or Naya Pul, all of which offer jeeps or buses back to Pokhara. Alternatively, head east across the valley to Landruk and stop overnight at Tolka, before continuing to Phedi on the Baglung Hwy.

Khopra Ridge Trek

This trek detours from the more frequented Annapurna trails to take you to several outstanding viewpoints. It can be done in either direction, and via a number of different routes, and be appended to either the Annapurna Circuit or Annapurna Sanctuary treks. Formerly frequented only by camping groups, there are now community-owned lodges and private guesthouses allowing teahouse trekking.

Start trekking from Naya Pul or Kimche (or Phedi) to take one or two days to reach Ghandruk. Day two takes you to Tadapani, with day three detouring north to overnight in Bayeli (3450m); strong acclimatised hikers can do this in one day. From here it's a worthwhile 30-minute detour to Muldai viewpoint. A hard-to-follow direct upper trail runs from Bayeli to the high point of the trek at Khopra Danda (3660m). From Khopra Danda (danda means ridge) here there is an ambitious optional full-day side trek up to the sacred lake Khayer Tal (4830m).

The return route is via the village of Dhan Kharka (Chistibang; 2990m) to Swanta (day six) before the trail joins the Annapurna Circuit near Chitre. Head east to Ulleri (day seven) via Ghorepani, and then to Birethanti or Naya Pul the following day.

A more interesting alternative ending climbs from Swanta to the fabulous lodge and viewpoint at Mohare Danda, before descending over the next two days to Nangi, Banskharka and the roadhead at Galeshwar, not far from Beni. There are community homestays or guesthouses along this route.

Annapurna Skyline Trek

Following a low ridge east of Pokhara, with spine-tingling views of the Annapurna peaks, the four-day Annapurna Skyline Trek (Royal Trek) was famously walked by Prince Charles in 1980. The path is easy to follow but because it lies off the main tourist circuit there’s no teahouse accommodation en route, except at Begnas Tal. Most people bring a stove and camp at basic campsites along the route.

The trail starts near the army camp on the Prithvi Hwy, just east of the Bijayapur Khola, and crosses a flat area of rice fields before climbing the ridge to Kalikathan (1370m), which has two basic campsites with fine views.

On day two follow the forested ridge through Thulokot to teahouses at Mati Thana, before climbing to Naudanda, Lipini and finally Shaklung (1730m), with another simple camping ground.

On day three the trail descends to the valley floor, then rises to the attractive Gurung village of Chisopani (1629m) – the campsite is a short walk beyond the village near a ridge-top temple (the views are sublime). The final day involves a leisurely stroll along the ridge that separates Rupa Tal and Begnas Tal, emerging on the valley floor at Begnas Bazaar, where buses leave regularly for Pokhara.

Mardi Himal Trek

This relatively new weeklong teahouse trek is another fine option from Pokhara. The trail starts at Khare/Kande (1770m), or possibly Dhampus (1650m), and climbs past Australian Camp to lodges at Pothana (1890m) or Deurali (2100m). Day two takes you up the ridgeline of the Gorujure Danda to Forest Camp (2520m) at Kokar. From there are two relatively short days to Low Camp (2970m) and High Camp (3540m).

From High Camp get an early start for the day-return hike to Mardi Himal Base Camp West (4250m), offering wonderful close-up views of Machhapuchhare, Himchuli and the Annapurnas.

You can return the way you came, or descend into the Mardi Khola to roadheads at Sidhing, Ghalel and Lwang, all of which have homestay accommodation. Alternatively head southwest from Forest Camp to Landruk and link up with trails to Ghandruk and the Annapurna Sanctuary trail.