Now formally part of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, Nagarjun Hill, also known as the Rani Ban (Queen’s Forest), is west of the main park, beside the road to Trisuli Bazaar. This protected woodland provides a home for pheasants, deer and monkeys. It’s a peaceful spot, but safety is a consideration. Visitors are discouraged from walking here alone after two foreign tourists were murdered in the reserve in 2005. In 2016 guides were made compulsory.
The 2095m summit of the hill – accessible by the winding unpaved road or a two-hour hike on the footpath leading directly up the hill – is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site and there’s a small shrine to Padmasambhava. The viewing tower offers one of the Kathmandu Valley’s widest mountain panoramas, stretching all the way from the Annapurnas to Langtang Lirung (a plaque identifies the peaks).
Several Kathmandu-based adventure companies run introductory rock-climbing courses here. Astrek Climbing Wall runs guided climbing (Rs 5500) every Saturday, suitable for all levels.