Popular Trekking Trails to the Base Camp of Mount Everest

Popular Trekking Trails to the Base Camp of Mount Everest

The appeal of Mount Everest is one that, at one point or the other, all travel and trekking enthusiasts have thought about. The world’s tallest mountain peak is an ultimate trekking destination that is guaranteed to provide one of the most unique and spectacular experiences that are unlike anything else on the planet. The popularity of Mount Everest trekking has been on a rapid rise since its first summit by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary and in 1953.

Since then, traveler from all over the world has visited Nepal to get the same taste of adventure and awe as they head up towards this colossal Himalaya base camp. Situated in the Khumbu region in the northernmost part of the country, Mount Everest is a part of the Mahalangur Himalayan range.

The giant mountain peak is also called “Sagarmatha” in Nepali; its translation means “the Head of the Sky,” while in Tibet- it is known as “Chomolungma”- a word which in translation means “the Mother Goddess of the World.” Named after Sir Gorge Everest, the climbing trails to the peak’s base camp consist of two major routes- Nepal and Tibet. It is also responsible for the country’s large proportion of tourism revenue. Nepal is visited by travelers and trekkers from all parts of the world in hundreds and thousands every year who visit the Khumbu region for trekking journeys. Due to the commercialization of trekking in the country, the Khumbu region has also risen in popularity for its many attributes and features, with the highlight being the Everest Himal.

The Khumbu is a prime settlement and home of the legendary Sherpas of the Himalayas, a rich cornucopia of Buddhist Sherpa culture and traditions. Lying entirely in the mountainous landscape with a significant portion of the land under the protection of the Sagarmatha National Park- the Khumbu region is a beautiful destination that is brimming with many diverse hallmarks like great river valleys, glacial rivers, ethnic villages and settlements, low-lying alpine woods and forests home to many endangered species of plants and animals, wide open pasturelands and terrace-farms, the snowy vastness of ice, mountain glaciers and sapphire Himalayan lakes along with a fantastic Himalayan tapestry.

Trekking in the Khumbu is experiencing the best mountainous terrains and unique Sherpa culture and customs nearby. Journeying to the base camp of Mount Everest is also a journey of many natural and cultural wonders, along with being a challenge that takes one out of one’s comfort zone.

With ranging elevations from 3,300 meters to the 8,848.86 meter summit of the Everest Peak, the Khumbu is one of the most unique and diversified regions on Earth for trekking. Views of cerulean mountain peaks forming beautiful backgrounds to the villages and the valleys are a common sight in the Khumbu; the refreshing mountain atmosphere with the constant presence of small chortens and gumbas along the trekking trail marked with colorful prayer flags makes it one of the most beautiful destinations for trekking in the country. Several trekking trails lead to the base camp of Mount Everest that all vary in duration and difficulty. Here discover some of the most popular trekking routes to the Mount Everest Base Camp.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

One of the most popular and sought-after trekking journeys in the Khumbu- the Everest Base Camp Trek is the first choice of many trekkers of this destination. A moderate trekking trip, the trekking trails of this journey start with a flight to Lukla from the capital. It is the most convenient way of doing the treks in the Khumbu and the fastest as well.

About most of all, trekking journeys in the Khumbu usually start this way. The short 35 to 40-minute flight is one of the most scenic flights in the world as the plane flies around amazing tall green hills and mountains to land at the airstrip at Lukla- dubbed the most extreme airport in the world. The reason for this is that the airstrip at Lukla is located on top of a cliff and contains only one runway that drops off to the gaping valley below towards one end. It is surrounded by beautiful hills on all sides and is considered the only functioning commercial airstrip of the region.

From Lukla, the trekking trail then follows a steady elevation rise and fall through many famous ethnic villages like Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche, Lobuche, and Gorakshep until finally reaching the base camp of Mount Everest. The vantage point of Kalapatthar is also included along the journey, along with a visit to the famed Everest View Hotel, the highest-located hotel in the world. Generally, the duration of the Everest Base Camp Trek lasts for about 16 days, but the duration is adjustable. It is neither a challenging trekking journey nor straightforward ex one; it is a moderate trek that people of all demographics can do at all times of the year. Although the hike is available throughout the year, the best months of doing the Everest Base Camp trek would be the seasons of spring that lasts from March to May, and autumn, which lasts from September to September December.

Trekking in the winter and the summer seasons can also be done. Still, generally, they aren’t highly recommended because of unfavorable weather conditions. This journey is the most standard trekking journey in the Khumbu, leading to the Mount Everest base camp. It is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich journeys. Both qualities make the Everest Base Camp Trek the most popular trekking trail in the region of Everest.

Everest High Passes Trek

Everest Chola Pass Trek

The Khumbu is dotted and scattered with many high and low mountain passes throughout the region. The Everest High Mountain Passes Trek is a journey that involves the three major high mountain passes of the Kongma La, the Cho La, and the Renjo La of the Khumbu. It is a relatively strenuous trekking journey as well and requires a lot of physical endurance capacity.

The trekking trail of this journey to the base camp of Mount Everest includes the ethnic Sherpa villages of Chhukung, Lobuche, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Gorakshep, Dragnak/Thangna, Lunden, and Thame, among others. Apart from the high mountain passes, other trek highlights include the Gokyo Lakes and the Gokyo RI. Starting the trek from Lukla, the trekking trail follows the path to the initial villages of the region like Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, and Dingboche. It then veers off to the high mountain passes through Chhukung. A hike to the Chhukung RI is also included in the journey. The Kongma La Mountain Pass is the first mountain pass of the trip.

After visiting the Mount Everest base camp, the mountain passes of Cho La and the Renjo La make their appearance. Along the path, the sights and views of Himalayas like the Ama Dablam, the Nuptse, Lhotse, Changtse, Thamserku, the Kongdi RI, and many others are seen spectacularly. The duration of the Everest High Passes Trek usually lasts for about three weeks, and it requires a lot of physical strain. The best time for making this trekking journey would be the months of April to May in the springtime and the months of September to November in the autumn. This hike is not advised during the winter because extreme weather and heavy snowfall sometimes block mountain passes. While relatively strenuous, it is one of the most beautiful and extensive trekking journeys in the Khumbu that incorporates the region’s highlights ideally in its schedule and then some.

Mount Everest Base Camp Heli Trek

Everest Base Camp heli Trek

For the initial part of the journey, Everest Base Camp Heli Trek follows the same trekking path as the famous Everest Base Camp Trek. The added highlight of this journey is the experience of a fantastic helicopter ride back to the capital from the mountains at the end of the trip. Starting from the flight to Lukla, the trekking trail of the Heli Trek follows similar paths to reach the Everest Base Camp, going through the famous villages and mountain town of Namche Bazaar Tengboche, Dingboche, Lobuche, and Gorakshep.

After the visit to the base camp, a hike to Kalapatthar is done, from where a fantastic helicopter ride is taken back to reach Kathmandu. The lively Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar, the holy Tengboche monastery at Tengboche, the unique rhododendron forests and alpine woodlands of the Sagarmatha National Park and other highlights like the Khumbu Glacier and Icefall, the vantage point at Nagerjun, and rich ethnic Sherpa prominence of the Khumbu can all be experienced first-hand while trekking.

Finally, after enjoying the trek, Kalapatthar presents impressive panoramic views of the entire Mount Everest Massif for viewing pleasure. Usually, trekkers visit the vantage point early in the morning to witness the sunrise from amidst the Himalayas. For the final part of the journey, a mesmerizing helicopter ride is taken. The views and sights of the landscape from an aerial perspective are utterly beguiling, and the presence of the snowy mountain peaks even more so. The changing landscape can be witnessed from a bird’s-eye view, and nothing beats the thrill of this ordeal! It is an easy trekking journey and can be done by everyone.

The best months for doing the Heli Trek are March to May in the spring and September to December in the autumn. Summer and winter are not convenient for the Heli Trek because the weather can cause hindrance to the helicopter flight. Spring and autumn have the best, most-favorable weather conditions for the helicopter flight. Thus, it is highly recommended to be done during the peak trekking seasons.

Everest Base Camp Luxury Trek

Everest Base Camp Luxury Trek

Generally, the accommodations during the regular trekking journeys to the Mount Everest Base Camp at Khumbu tend to be primarily because of the remoteness and isolation of many locations and villages in the area. But the Everest Base Camp Luxury Trek ups that aspect of service and provides accommodations at Yeti Mountain Homes at places like Lukla, Phakding, and Namche Bazaar. It is much the same as the regular Everest Base Camp Trek as well, in that it follows the same trekking trail to the base camp and has much the same highlights and featured attributes. Still, the significant difference is the level of comfort at the provided accommodation. It is rather expensive as well, but the services provided during this journey are worth the while.

When the early morning sunlight dawns upon the land, and you wake up and open the curtains, the majestic sight of Mount Everest and the Himalayas grace your window. Everest Luxury Trek is the ultimate luxury experience in the lap of the silver mountain peaks of the Khumbu. It also has the same duration as the regular base camp trekking journey, with adjustable days. It is moderate to do and can be done at all times of the year. Still, the best seasons for trekking would be spring and autumn for a good experience without weather hindrances and clear views and sights of the mountains.

Classic Everest Base Camp Trek 

Everest High Passes Trek

A relatively less traveled journey, the Classic Everest Base Camp Trek follows the same trekking trail taken by the first summiteers of Mount Everest- Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. It is a strenuous and challenging trekking journey that requires an excellent physical endurance capacity to complete. Unlike the traditional and most convenient way to reach the Khumbu via a flight to Lukla, the Classic Trek follows Jiri’s more unconventional way. Hiking for about seven days from Jiri through villages like Bhandar, Sete, Junbesi, Nuntala, Khari Khola, and Puiyan, the trekking trail finally joins the more popular villages of Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche as one ascends to the base camp.

The initial trekking trail from Jiri is strenuous and contains a lot of uphill and downhill trekking. This also increases the length of the trekking duration. After reaching Namche Bazaar, the trekking trail follows the same conventional path to the base camp. It includes a visit to the vantage point of Kalapatthar. Returning back to Kathmandu is done via a flight from Lukla. This hike usually lasts for more than three weeks, and the best time for making this journey would be the spring and the autumn seasons. It is more suited towards trekkers who want a more adventurous approach to travel and want to experience the classic route that was first taken to the summit of Mount Everest that started the popularity of base camp trekking in Nepal.

Everest Chola Pass Trek

One of the moderately strenuous trekking journeys to the base camp of Mount Everest, the Chola Pass Trek, has trekking trails that include the thrilling mountain pass of Chola and the beautiful mountain lakes of the Gokyo. The journey starts from Lukla and then traverses through the mountain villages of Dingboche, Namche, Tengboche, and Gorakshep to reach the base camp and then continues off the journey further into the heart of the region by including settlements like Dzongla, Dragnak/Thangna, and Dole.

The Chola Pass is crossed, and the sapphire Gokyo lakes are reached. It is a journey that combines the best features of the Khumbu along with the trip to the base camp. It usually lasts for more than two weeks and can be done during the best trekking seasons of March to May and September to December. Since it is a moderately strenuous trekking journey, a particular physical endurance capacity can be developed beforehand for making the trip. Building up the body’s stamina helps overcome the difficulty of crossing a mountain pass in the Himalayas. One can prepare for that by regularly taking up cardio exercises like running, jogging, swimming, or short hikes. The Chola Pass Trek presents a combination of amazing sights and experiences while trekking. With proper preparation for the trek, it can be done by all experienced and novice trekkers.

Everest Panorama Trek

Evereest Panorama trek

As the name itself suggests, the Everest Panoramic Trek is a short trekking journey that is most suitable for people short on time but still wants to experience the Khumbu region’s beauty and excellent qualities. It lasts for 10 days and contains the trekking trail that circumambulates the famous highlights of the area like the town of Namche, Phakding, Monjo, and Tengboche.

The trekking trail does not go to the base camp itself but instead stays to the relatively lower altitude destinations. Thus, it is suitable for people who do not want an extensive trek in the Khumbu but rather a relaxing hike at the region’s best locations while enjoying amazing Himalayan views and alpine woodlands. It goes through the national park and crosses two river valleys- the Imja and the Dudh Koshi- and then returns to Lukla and Kathmandu.

Unlike most treks, it can be done in the early months of January and February, as the winters do not affect the trekking trail. Autumn trekking of the Everest Panorama is also quite suitable. Views and sights of Mount Everest and several other peaks of the Mahalangur Himalayan range while trekking is spectacular!

There are many more trekking trips in the Khumbu with trails that take different routes to reach the base camp of Mount Everest, like the trekking trail specifically designed for seniors and kids. Short trekking trips in the Khumbu can also be made, like the Everest View Trek or the Short Everest Trek11-day Everest Luxury Trek suitable for people who have a limited or short amount of time to spend in the country. However, the short treks in the Khumbu, more often than not, do not include the base camp itself but rather the famous villages like Namche Bazaar and Tengboche.

Base Camp trekking in the Everest region is filled with grand moments and countless instances of beautiful experiences throughout the journey, from the natural beauty of the landscapes and of the Himalayas to the unique cultural and traditional aspects of the region not found anywhere else in the country.

About Author

Balaram Thapa

Balaram Thapa, an executive director at Nepal Hiking Team had a long journey before making NHT one of the revolutionary tour operators in this competitive field of Tourism. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Tribhuwan University in the year 2000.


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