Gokyo Lake Trek

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Starts at: Lukla Ends at: Lukla
Trek Region: Everest Transport: Flight
Duration: 12 Days Trip Grade: Moderate
Max Altitude: 5,357 m/ 1632 ft (Gokyo Ri) Accommodation: Teahouse

Gokyo Lake Trek Highlights

The Gokyo Lake Trek is an alternative to the traditional Everest Base Camp trek while still providing the trekker with plenty of stunning views of Everest and overnight stays in the iconic town of Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu Region.

The route to the Gokyo Lakes is less busy but still affords the trekker an insight into local village life, impressive views of icy rivers and stony, glacier debris, snow-capped mountains, and of course, the dazzling turquoise waters of Gokyo Lakes themselves.

The Gokyo Lakes are actually made up of six bodies of water, or lakes, located at an altitude of 4700 to 5000m in the Gokyo Valley. Gokyo Valley falls within the Sagarmatha National Park area.

The lakes are the world’s highest freshwater lake system and have been designated as a Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance) and sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. And if you need any more testaments to the beauty and importance of this area, Lonely Planet states, “for our money, the Gokyo Valley is the most spectacular in the Khumbu.”

By spending an extra day in the Gokyo Valley, you can visit the 5th and 6th lakes in a high alpine bowl at the foot of Cho Oyu, the world’s 6th highest mountain.

You should expect to walk around 5 hours a day, with one of the highlights being a steep climb up to Gokyo RI (5,357m) to view Mount Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, and Makalu. Also on display is the largest glacier in Nepal, Ngozumpa, and ice ridges. If walking 5 hours a day is not an option for you and you still want to see the pristine beauty of Gokyo lake, consider a helicopter tour.

To acclimatize before setting off for the Gokyo Ri and Gokyo Valley, time spent in Namche Bazaar offers you the opportunity to trek to nearby Khumjung Village to visit the school set up by Sir Edmund Hillary, who, along with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, was the first person to successfully summit Mount Everest.

Since that time, dozens of climbing expeditions and thousands of trekkers have made Namche Bazaar a vibrant, bustling market town where it is possible to swap trekking stories with members of other groups.


Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

Kathmandu – 1,300 m / 4,265 ft

Day 2: Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) to Phakding

Phakding – 2,651 m / 8,697 ft – 3 hrs

Day 3: Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar – 3,438 m / 11,279 ft – 5 to 6 hrs

Day 4: Acclimatization day

Namche Bazaar – 3,438 m / 11,279 ft – 5 to 6 hrs

Day 5: Namche Bazaar to Dole

Dole – 3,680 m / 12,073 ft – 6 hrs

Day 6: Dole to Machhermo

Machhermo – 3,870 m / 12,696 ft – 4 hrs

Day 7: Machhermo to Gokyo (Afternoon hike to Gokyo RI)

Gokyo – 4,800 m / 15,748 ft – 4 hrs

Day 8: Gokyo to Machhermo (Morning hike to Gokyo 4th Lake)

Gokyo Ri – 5,357 m / 17,575 ft – 4 hrs

Day 9: Machhermo to Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar – 3,438 m / 11,279 ft- 8 hrs

Day 10: Namche Bazaar to Lukla

Lukla – 2,860 m / 93,83 ft – 7 hrs

Day 11: Lukla to Kathmandu flight

Kathmandu – 1,300 m / 42,65 ft – 35 minute

Day 12: Final Departure


Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

  • Accommodation: Hotel

On your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.

Your hotel is in the center of the city, in the vibrant and colourful area known as Thamel. With its restaurants, bars, and shops with unique Nepali handcrafted items and trekking gear, this is an interesting place to spend the afternoon.

There will be the opportunity to meet your guide today and ask any questions you may still have about your trip to Everest Base Camp.

Day 2: Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) to Phakding

  • Flight time: 35 to 40 minutes
  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 6.2 km/3.8 miles

It is an early morning start to fly into Lukla, one of the highest airports in the world.  The views are stunning, particularly as you are flying directly into the land of the Sherpas. The clean, fresh air hits you on arrival – even as the views take your breath away.

There is an approximately 3-hour hike from Lukla to Phakding, where we stop for our first night in the mountains.  Crossing a suspension bridge, passing a monastery, and seeing perhaps your first mani (prayer) wall are some of the highlights of the day. 

Day 3: Phakding to Namche Bazaar

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 7.4 km/4.6 miles

After breakfast, set off for a day of ups and downs to reach the market town of Namche Bazaar.  On the way, you enter Sagarmatha National Park proper, cross a few more suspension bridges over the Dudh Koshi River, and walk through rhododendron forests.

Excitement is building as you approach Namche, where dozens of trekkers and climbing expeditions have gathered before heading out on their respective adventures.

Day 4: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar 

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 7.4 km/4.6 miles

Today is a day to let the body acclimatize to the high altitude – and it will get even higher!  But we suggest you stay active as that is the best way to acclimate.  There are several walks around Namche – you could head for the Everest View Hotel, which has the finest views of Everest.  So good, in fact, that some people helicopter in for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast with the best view in the world!  From the hotel, continue on to Khumjung village. 

Here there are a number of interesting things.  Khunde Hospital was built in 1966 by Sir Edmund Hillary and is funded today by the Himalayan Trust. Even older is the Khumjung School, which Sir Edmund also set up.  Starting with two classrooms, the school today has more than 350 students in attendance. 

Finally, there is Khumjung Monastery which dates back hundreds of years, although it was reconstructed after the 2015 earthquake.  This center of Sherpa religion and culture was rebuilt with the help of all community members.  You might be interested to see a Yeti scalp (okay, not scientifically proven!) inside the monastery.

After a day of exploring around Namche, don’t forget to stock up on any goodies in the abundant shops before heading out on the next leg of your trek. 

Day 5: Namche Bazaar to Dole

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 7.4 km/4.6 miles

Leaving Namche, the route is incredibly scenic as you hike up the Dudh Koshi valley, passing stupas and views of Ama Dablam, Everest, Thamserku, and many more on the way.  Descending into pine and rhododendron forests, the trail divides. 

The route to Gokyo Lakes is to the left.  On the way, we reach Mong village – a very small village but very scenic as well.  Sitting on a ridge, the views from here reach Tengboche and beyond.  Enjoy waterfalls and rhododendrons on this trail, and perhaps not so much, enjoy the stone stairs you will encounter! 

Finally reaching the village of Dole, we stop for the night here, enjoying the surrounding views.

Day 6: Dole to Machhermo

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 7 km/4.3 miles

This beautiful scenic trail is a steep climb taking you through scrub juniper.  Leaving Dole, there is an uphill gradient for around half an hour, then a more gentle uphill the rest of the way. 

The Dudh Koshi River lies far below. Hiking on towards the tiny teahouse settlement of Machhermo, the trail comes to a ridge above the village with stunning views of Thamserku.

Day 7: Machhermo to Gokyo (Afternoon hike to Gokyo, RI)

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 7.4 km/4.6 miles

Leaving Machhermo, the trail heads up to another scenic ridge with views of Kangtega before heading through a narrow valley that leads into a wider valley.  Overall the trail today is not too tiring, with only one or two short steep sections. The trail descends to the Dudh Koshi River.  It is a steep climb to the Ngozumpa Glacier and the first Gokyo lake.

As you continue north, the second lake appears.  Unlike the small first lake, this lake is quite long and runs parallel to the hiking trail.  Further on, we come to the 3rd lake and some teahouses (yes, there are 6 lakes in total, all falling under the name Gokyo Lake).

Here we stop for lunch and then climb up to Gokyo Ri.  This takes 2.5 to 3 hours to climb up. The viewpoint at Gokyo Ri is a high 5,357 meters, with a great panorama of mountains above and lakes and glaciers below.  Sunset is spectacular and highly recommended.

Day 8: Gokyo to Machhermo (Morning hike to Gokyo 4th Lake)

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 5.7 km/3.7 miles

This morning hike to the 4th Gokyo Lake is mostly a flat trail and will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour.  After viewing the lake for some time, return to Gokyo for breakfast, then to Machhermo.

Day 9: Machhermo to Namche Bazaar

  • Trek time: 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 21 km/13 miles

After an early breakfast, head on towards Namche Bazaar.

Namche feels quite lively and busy after the quiet of smaller villages, and we spend our final night of the trek here.

Day 10: Namche Bazaar to Lukla

  • Trek time: 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House
  • Trek Distance: 13.5 km/8.3 miles

Follow the Dudh Koshi River, crossing the suspension bridges you crossed at the beginning of your trek, and once again, you are in Lukla, where we overnight, waiting for our flight back to Kathmandu early the next morning.

Day 11: Lukla to Kathmandu flight

  • Flight time: 35 to 40 minutes
  • Accommodation: Hotel

A short flight brings us back to the country’s capital.  Your hotel awaits, and there is time to explore a little of the city or do some gift shopping.

Day 12: Departure

We will escort you to the airport for your departure.  If you are staying longer in Nepal, we will wish you a great continued stay – and can arrange your next adventure too!

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Plan Your Trip


  • Local transfers for your international flight x 2 (arrival/departure)
  • Local transfers for your domestic flight x 2
  • Kathmandu Lukla Kathmandu Flight
  • Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit and Local Entry Permits
  • Guide for 11 days
  • Porter for 10 days
  • 2 nights accommodation in a Kathmandu hotel (Bodhi Boutique or similar)
  • 10 night accommodation in mountain teahouses
  • Staff insurance and necessary ground transport for support staff
  • 11 x set breakfast, 10 x set lunch and 10 x set dinner while on trek.
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
  • Personnel expenses of any kind and travel insurance

Gokyo Lake Trek Map

Gokyo Lake Trek Map

General Information

What is the Gokyo Lake Trek?

The Gokyo Lake Trek is a popular trekking route in Nepal that takes you to the Gokyo Lakes, the highest freshwater lake system in the world, situated in the Sagarmatha National Park. The trek offers stunning views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest.

How long does the Gokyo Lake Trek take?

The trek typically takes about 12-16 days, depending on the specific route and itinerary chosen.

When is the best time to go on the Gokyo Lake Trek?

The best times to trek are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons, when the weather is stable and the skies are clear.

What is the altitude of Gokyo Ri?

Gokyo Ri, one of the highlights of the trek, stands at 5,357 meters (17,575 feet).

What are the main attractions of the Gokyo Lake Trek?

Key attractions include the Gokyo Lakes, Gokyo Ri, views of Everest and other Himalayan peaks, the Ngozumpa Glacier, and the traditional Sherpa villages.

How difficult is the Gokyo Lake Trek?

The trek is considered moderate to challenging, mainly due to the high altitudes and steep ascents.

Do I need a guide for the Gokyo Lake Trek?

While it’s possible to trek independently, hiring a guide is recommended for safety, local knowledge, and assistance with logistics.

What permits are required for the Gokyo Lake Trek?

You need a Sagarmatha National Park permit and a Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality permit.

What is the Gokyo Lakes system?

The Gokyo Lakes system comprises six main lakes, with Thonak Lake being the largest and Gokyo Cho (Dudh Pokhari) the most popular.

Can I combine the Gokyo Lake Trek with other treks?

Yes, the Gokyo Lake Trek can be combined with the Everest Base Camp Trek or the Three Passes Trek for a longer adventure.

Preparation and Packing

What fitness level is required for the Gokyo Lake Trek?

A good level of fitness is required, with cardio exercises such as hiking, jogging, and cycling recommended for preparation.

What should I pack for the Gokyo Lake Trek?

Essential items include a comfortable backpack, warm and waterproof clothing, trekking shoes, a first aid kit, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sleeping bag.

How much water should I carry each day?

It’s recommended to carry at least 3-4 liters of water each day to stay hydrated.

Are there any health risks on the trek?

Altitude sickness is a significant risk, so proper acclimatization and awareness of symptoms are crucial.

What kind of food is available on the trek?

Teahouses offer a variety of Nepali and Western dishes, including dal bhat, noodles, pasta, and momos.

Are there charging facilities along the trek?

Some teahouses offer charging facilities for a small fee. It’s advisable to bring a power bank or solar charger.

What type of accommodation is available?

Accommodation is primarily in teahouses, ranging from basic lodges to more comfortable options with hot showers.

How do I handle waste on the trek?

Follow the Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all non-biodegradable waste and use designated toilets at teahouses.

Is it necessary to have travel insurance?

Yes, travel insurance covering high-altitude trekking and emergency evacuation is strongly recommended.

What is the weather like during the trek?

Weather can vary; it is generally cold at higher altitudes, with temperatures dropping significantly at night.

Itinerary and Route

What is a typical itinerary for the Gokyo Lake Trek?

A typical itinerary starts with a flight to Lukla, followed by trekking to Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Dole, Machermo, Gokyo, and Gokyo Ri, before returning via the same or an alternative route.

Can the trek be customized?

Yes, itineraries can be customized based on your fitness level, interests, and available time.

What are the alternative routes for the Gokyo Lake Trek?

Alternatives include returning via the Renjo La Pass or combining the trek with the Everest Base Camp or Three Passes Trek.

How much time should be allocated for acclimatization?

At least two acclimatization days are recommended, typically in Namche Bazaar and Gokyo.

What are the highlights of each trekking day?

Highlights include the flight to Lukla, crossing suspension bridges, the bustling Namche Bazaar, panoramic views from Gokyo Ri, and the serene Gokyo Lakes.

How many hours will I trek each day?

Daily trekking hours range from 3 to 7 hours, depending on the day’s destination and altitude.

What is the terrain like on the Gokyo Lake Trek?

The terrain includes steep ascents, rocky paths, and glacier crossings, with some sections more challenging than others.

Can I do a shorter version of the trek?

Yes, shorter versions are available, but they might skip some acclimatization days or secondary destinations.

Is it possible to start the trek from Jiri?

Yes, starting from Jiri adds several days to the trek and offers a more gradual ascent, which can aid acclimatization.

What should I expect on the Renjo La Pass route?

The Renjo La Pass route is more challenging but offers unique views and passes through less-trodden Sherpa villages.

Costs and Budgeting

How much does the Gokyo Lake Trek cost?

Costs range from $1,250 to $2,400 depending on the itinerary, services included, and duration.

What is included in the trek cost?

Typical inclusions are permits, accommodation, meals, guide and porter services, and transportation.

Are there any additional costs to consider?

Additional costs may include tips for guides and porters, personal expenses, and optional activities or upgrades.

How much should I budget for meals and drinks?

Budget around $25-$30 per day for meals and drinks if not included in the trek package.

What are the permit fees for the trek?

Permit fees include approximately $30 for Sagarmatha National Park and $18 for the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality.

Is it cheaper to organize the trek independently?

Organizing independently can be cheaper but requires more planning and responsibility. Hiring a trekking agency offers convenience and support.

How much should I tip the guide and porter?

Tipping is customary, with an average of $5-10 per day for guides and $3-5 per day for porters.

Are there any discounts available?

Some trekking agencies offer group discounts or off-season rates. It’s worth inquiring directly with providers.

How can I save money on the trek?

To save money, consider trekking in a group, bringing your own snacks, and choosing budget accommodations.

What is the cost of equipment rental in Nepal?

Equipment rental costs vary, with items like sleeping bags and down jackets available for around $1-3 per day.

Safety and Health

What are the common health issues during the trek?

Common issues include altitude sickness, dehydration, and blisters. Preventive measures and proper acclimatization are key.

How can I prevent altitude sickness?

Prevent altitude sickness by ascending gradually, staying hydrated, and taking acclimatization days.

What should I do in case of altitude sickness?

If symptoms occur, descend immediately and seek medical attention if necessary. Medications like Diamox can help but consult a doctor first.

Are there medical facilities along the trek?

Basic medical facilities are available in Namche Bazaar and some larger villages, but major medical issues require evacuation to Kathmandu.

What should be included in my first aid kit?

Include items like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, altitude sickness medication, and blister treatment.

How can I stay safe on the trail?

Stay safe by following your guide’s advice, staying on marked trails, and avoiding risky shortcuts.

What are the risks of wildlife encounters?

Risks from wildlife are minimal but include encounters with yaks or stray dogs. Maintain a safe distance and follow your guide’s instructions.

How can I ensure my gear is secure?

Keep your gear secure by using locks on your backpack and staying in reputable lodges. Consider using a money belt for valuables.

Is travel insurance necessary for the trek?

Yes, travel insurance covering high-altitude trekking and emergency evacuation is essential.

How can I stay warm at high altitudes?

Stay warm by layering clothing, using a good quality sleeping bag, and staying in lodges that offer heated common areas.

Everest View Trek | Everest Base Camp Trek | Gokyo Chola Pass EBC Trek | Everest Three Pass Trek | Jiri To Everest Base Camp Trek | Island Peak Climbing | Lobuche Peak Climbing | Mera And Island Peak Climbing | Mera Peak Climbing | Baruntse Expedition | Everest Helicopter Tour

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