Nagarkot Hiking Guide: View of The Himalayas

Pine trees, the fresh scent of Eucalyptus, calm soothing winds, fallen pine cones and a bunch of scattered leaves on brown mud is the first thing one notices about Nagarkot mountain. But all that doesn’t compare to the spectacular views of the famous snow capped mountains in the world. No trip to Nepal is complete without a glimpse of the earth towering Himalayas standing high above the ground.

Hiking in Nepal is an activity that the country is known for and the reason most of the travelers fly to the famous valleys. Though there aren’t many spots for hiking in Kathmandu in particular, Nagarkot trek is an activity that is pretty popular between travelers who are pressed for time yet wants to witness the grand Himalayan ranges.

Kathmandu to Nagarkot Distance

Himalayan range seen from Nagarkot
Himalayan range seen from Nagarkot

Nagarkot is pretty close to Kathmandu with only 20km between them giving a rough 1 hour or 1.5 hour drive one way. So for those pressed for time, this makes the mountain the perfect spot to see the Himalayas instead of going all the way to Pokhara or Langtang.

The hike can take around 6 hours, lesser or more, depending on your time limit, activity plan and stamina. That said a Nagarkot day hike is very do-able and we recommend booking a tour guide as the mountain is not easy to navigate by yourself.

Hiring a Nagarkot tourist guide ensures that you stay on the trail you plan to take and reach the view tower on time. They will also be able to custom-make a plan with shortcuts or other routes depending on your hiking speed and if there are any slow walkers in your group.

Our purpose for hiking the mountain was to also see the sunset spectacle and our guide was able to plan the day for us in that manner which helped us save time while also getting to enjoy Nagarkot thoroughly. You can also take advantage of this day tour that takes you to the famous Bhaktapur square before making your way to the mountain.

Start of the Hiking Route

A part of the Nagarkot hiking trail
A part of the Nagarkot hiking trail

Nagarkot is filled with trees, refreshing greenery and unpolluted air. There are different start points to the hiking trail and one of the routes is the nature route.

This route starts from the mountain’s village section with mud houses lining up on one side of the mountain while the other side is used for farming. During the March/April times, the start of this trail can be dry and hot with dust flying up whenever a village truck passes through it but bear with it for a few minutes and this dry sand will change into a dense Eucalyptus forest.

The start of this route is a steep slope upwards and for non experienced climbers it can be a bit of a hard-breathing hike. But the village life that you see as you make your way will distract you from any hardships of the hike. The huts built in this terrain is lived by locals, innocent and pure-hearted farmers that are not new to the sight of tourists passing by. They will greet you with a smile and a wave back if you greet them.

Cattle of goats run around and kids run behind them, giggling and laughing in glee. If asked, they will gladly pose to take a picture with you.

Where to Eat

While Nagarkot is not as populated as Kathmandu, it still has its handful selection of restaurants and a lot of them reflect its rural terrain. So if you are someone that enjoys culture and traditions, then you’ll find a couple of restaurants on your hiking path that serves food to travelers and hikers.

Local food served in a restaurant in Nagarkot
Local food served in a restaurant in Nagarkot

Some of them will even serve very local lunches such as the one below. This meal consisted of just beaten rice, some hard meat, boiled potatoes, fried beans and a fried egg. While it might not look like much and the taste might not suite everyone’s buds, its an energy-packed meal that will provide you with some hard core fueling for a good climb. There are other restaurants that serves a bit more of an international cuisine and easy to digest food like noodle soup.

Nagarkot Nature Trail

The Eucalyptus forest in Nagarkot
The Eucalyptus forest in Nagarkot

Once you have finished your wholesome but light-on-the-stomach lunch, the glorious part of the Nagarkot nature trail would be awaiting. As mentioned before a guide is recommended to hike this terrain. The path might look straightforward but there are tons of shortcuts through forests that someone who doesn’t know the landscape in and out will not be able to figure out. A guide ensures you are hiking along the right path and would reach the peak in time to see one of the best sunsets or sunrises in the world.

The forest is filled with pine trees and herbal plants and the scent of Eucalyptus fills your lungs. Eagles soar high above the canopies while a fox might scurry about. In the summer seasons (March-May), Nagarkot mountain can get a little dry with more sand than wet mud. But the evergreen trees ensure a soothing climate that perks you up on your journey.

At World's Origins writer explores the Nagarkot hiking trail with a Nepali guide
At World’s Origins writer explores the Nagarkot hiking trail with a Nepali guide

The terrain divides into easy path and tough ones and having a guide can tell you which path to follow according to your hiking plans. The easy path stretches for a total of 12km and if you don’t want to go into the difficult terrain, you can end it and hop on a car to take you the short way to the view point in time for the sunset/sunrise.

If you want to continue hiking onto the difficult terrain then brace yourself. Make sure you come with the right set of hiking materials like gripping shoes and poles. You will also need to put all your belongings into your bag and make sure its zipped up properly so nothing falls and gets destroyed on rough rocks and steep grounds.

This part is the toughest hike of the entire journey, filled with dense forest and no civilization. But once this part of the hike is over, you will emerge out to the summit and your sight will be filled with miles and miles of the famous, snow covered, white caps of the glorious Himalayas.

Best place to see Himalayas

Himalayan ranges seen from Nagarkot
Himalayan ranges seen from Nagarkot

Once you reach the Nargarkot view tower, you are in for some spectacular sight which Nepal is known for – the majestic Himalayan ranges. Surrounded in a 360 degree view, you’ll be able to see the grand white capped mountains which consists of the Langtang valley to the dangerous Annapurna circuit.

And yes, if you are wondering where to see Mt Everest, then it is here. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the distinguished peak of Everest standing tall and proud. No matter what time of the year you go, Nagarkot’s top tower is always cold as the chilly winds of the Himalayas will make their way to this view point. So remember to grab a jacket or a sweater.

Nagarkot sunset view as seen from the mountain's view point
Nagarkot sunset view as seen from the mountain’s view point

And it’s not just the Himalayas. This view point is also famous for the extraordinary Nagarkot sunset view. Like a stunning performance of nature, the golden ball sinks beyond the white capped mountains and melts into the horizon, taking the golden light with it. It’s a sight that will never fail to amaze.

Once the sun is set, all hikers are ushered into their cars as the hike down would be impossible in the dark. The hike to Nagarkot is an experience in itself. The grandeur of the Himalayan mountains, the 12km trail and the view of the sunset is one that will bring you back to this spot before you know it.


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