Great Himalaya Trail

great himalaya trail
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“Space, the final frontier…. “ any Trekkie will know that is the opening line to the Star Trek TV series and movies. Now for you trekkers we bring you “GHT, the final frontier…”

The Great Himalayan Trails (GHT) is the ultimate in treks and as such you need to be the ultimate you can be a high level of fitness combined with hiking and climbing experience is required if you want to complete all 1,700 km of this high altitude network of trails crossing the Nepali Himalaya from east to west.

For those of us not up for the whole 1,770 km/ 148+ day trek, the trail is basically split into 10 sections of various degrees of hardship, some of which are suitable for those of good (but not superhuman) ability.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Nepal

ght trek nepal

Nepal sits to the north of India just on the verge of what is the Tibetan Plateau. Up here the air is rarefied, crisp and dry. The people are hardy; Tibetan by origin and Buddhist by lifestyle.

In the east towers the largest mountain in the world, Everest. Here too live the Sherpa people; generations of high altitude dwellers and climbers. Over the in west the edge of Nepal is a stone’s throw and ancient trading trail away from Mount Kailash, revered by Buddhists and Hindus alike, attracting thousands of pilgrims every year.

In the south of Nepal sits steaming hot jungles full of wildlife and conservation success stories. The land in between is home to hill peoples of different ethnic groups, raging glacier rivers, deep gorges tunneling high winds, long mani walls, temples, and fluttering prayer flags.

History of the GHT

The history of the Great Himalayan Trails starts in the 1980 and imagines a future when the trails will open up over approx 4,500 km running from Namche Barwa in Tibet to Nanga Parbat in Jammu & Kashmir. This would pass through India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. But currently this remains a concept only.

Meantime in 2012 record holding Apa Sherpa led the first expedition to complete the Great Himalaya Trails through the Nepali Himalaya range. Apa and his astoundingly fit companions took only 99 days to complete this, one of the world’s most difficult treks.

Today the GHT can be broken down into very doable sections for those with less stamina or time.

What you need to know

The whole trail will take 148 days. That sentence alone is an indication of the level of fitness anyone undertaking the whole trail requires. Ice climbing is involved at the eastern end of the trail.

This remains an exploratory trek and is classified as an Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition. Some trails are not well defined so, in addition to having a high level of fitness and stamina, you are expected to be flexible and adaptable to change of route, weather and other conditions. They are also expected to have extensive trekking and mountaineering experience.

The trail can be broken down into smaller chunks. For those who don’t have the ability or time, the GHT can be broken down into 10 sections.

These sections can be broken down into treks between 1 and 4 weeks. From moderate to the extreme they suit a variety of trekkers with different fitness levels, purpose, budget and time restraints. It is also possible to complete more than one section without doing the whole trail. Contact us for more information.

Trip highlights of the whole GHT trek

  • See all 8 of Nepal’s 8,000+m mountains
  • Cross high altitude passes: Sherpani Col (6,135 m) and Ama Lapcha (5,800 m)
  • Be among the very few who have trekked the GHT in its entirety
  • Fully supported camping trek
  • Pass through 8 of Nepal’s National Parks and Conservation Areas
  • Trek through ice and snow, dry plateaus, lush vegetation, and farmlands
  • Meet peoples of several ethnic groups, including Sherpa

Permits required

As with all trekking areas in Nepal, permits are required. Please see the individual sections to see what permits are required. We will take care of obtaining the permits for you.

GHT Regions

Kanchenjunga region

ght kanchenjunga trek

Lush rhododendron forests, dramatic mountain views, traditional communities steeped in local folklore and traditions await you at the beginning of your GHT adventure. This is a less trekked region of Nepal, partly because the trails are longer and harder. High trail communities live isolated from the lower valleys by a maze of ridges and summits.

Highlights

  • The starting point of the GHT
  • Home to Mt Kanchenjunga (8,568 m), the third highest mountain in the world
  • Borders with Sikkim, India
  • Kanchenjunga Conservation Area – Snow Leopard territory

How to get there

Fly Kathmandu to Bhadrapur or Taplejung, trek to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp at Pangpema

Permits

  • Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Entry Permit (KCAP)
  • Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Entry Permit (RAP)

Map NP 101 Kanchenjunga Region

This is a GHT Special Map for the Kanchenjunga Region linking to Makalu Region.
See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Kanchenjunga Region

Treks in this area include the following treks. Please click on the trek for full details.

Makalu region

ght makalu trek

Lying just 22 km east of Mt Everest, Mt Makalu at 8,485 m is the fifth highest mountain in the world. The area is mainly untouched wilderness of sub-alpine forests, waterfalls and cliffs. This is a tough trek through remote countryside with no facilities to hand. You will pass through the Makalu Barun National Park, home to 75 species of mammals including the Snow Leopard and red panda.

Highlights

Second section of the GHT
Mt Makalu (8,463 m) is the fifth highest mountain in the world
Cross the Sherpa Col (at 6,200 m) to Swiss Base Camp
Pass through Makalu Barun National Park with amazing flora and fauna

How to get there

From Pangpema (in the Kanchenjunga Region) cross the Nango La Pass to Olangchung Gola and Lumba Sumba Pass, thus entering the Makalu region.

Permits

  • Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card
  • Makalu Barun National Park Entry Permit

Map NP 102 Makalu Region

This is a GHT Special Map for the Makalu Region linking to the Kanchenjunga Region and Solu Khumbu (Everest) Region. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Makalu Region

Treks in this area include the following treks. Please click on the trek for full details.

Solu Khumbu (Everest Region)

ght everest region solu khumbu trek

This region probably needs no introduction. Home to the highest mountain in the world, as well as the fourth highest (Lhotse at 8,516 m) and the sixth (Cho Oyu at 8,188 m), the Solu Khumbu is also home to the Sherpa people, high altitude monasteries, the fabled Yeti and stunning scenery ranging from the inevitable high peaks to lush forests and fast running rivers.

Highlights

  • The third section of the GHT
  • See stunning up-close views of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world
  • Visit the high altitude lake system of Gokyo
  • Visit Everest Base Camp
  • Summit high passes
  • Pass through Sagarmatha National Park

How to get there

Enter the Everest Region from Ama Lapcha via Chukung. The high pass between Makalu Base Camp and Chukung are considered the toughest section of the Great Himalaya Trail.

Permits

  • Sagarmatha National Park Entrance Fee
  • Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Local Entry Permit

Map NP 103 Solu Khumbu (Everest) Region

This is a GHT Special Map for the Everest Region linking to the Makalu Region and the Rolwaling Region. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Everest Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Rolwaling region

ght rolwaling region trek

The Rolwaling Region is another area which is off the beaten track as far as trekkers are concerned. Because of this, the Sherpa and Tamang villages retain their traditional ways of life. The Rolwaling Valley is one of the seven hidden valleys of the Himalayas with thick rhododendron forests and views of the summit of Gauri Shankar (7,146 m). Interestingly, Gauri Shankar was once thought to be the highest mountain in the world.

Highlights

  • Fourth section of the GHT
  • View Tsho Rolpa Glacier Lake
  • Visit traditional villages

How to get there

From the Gokyo Valley in the Everest Region, cross the Renjo La Pass towards Thame Base Camp to Tashi Lapcha Pa to enter Rolwaling.

Permits

  • Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project Entry Permit
  • Dolakha Lama Bagar Restricted Area Entry Permit

Map NP 104 Rolwaling region

This is a GHT Special Map for the Rolwaling Region linking to Everest Region and Langtang and Ganesh Himal Region. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Rolwaling region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Langtang and Helambu region

ght langtang trek

Although only a short distance from Kathmandu, Langtang is a world away! Passing through the Langtang National Park, the countryside is pristine with both wonderful flora and fauna and yak pastures.

As you might expect, the Langtang Mountain Range dominates this area. Dorje Lhakpa (6,990 m), Langtang RI (6,370 m) and Langtang Lirung (7,245 m) are just some of the peaks on display.

Note: The Langtang Village was completely destroyed during the April 2015 earthquake. The resilient locals have been busy rebuilding and teahouses and lodges are open.

Highlights

  • Fifth section of the GHT
  • The Langtang Range is the Himalayan Range closest to Kathmandu
  • Cross the Tilman Pass, one of the least trekked passes in Nepal
  • Trek through Langtang National Park – red panda country
  • Visit the high altitude and religiously significant Gosaikunda Lake

How to get there

From Rolwaling pass Na and Beding down to the tourist resort of The Last Resort where the trail goes northwest to Tilman Pass.

Permits

  • Langtang National Park Entry Permit
  • Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card

Map NP 105 Langtang and Helambu Region

This is a GHT Special Map for the Langtang and Helambu Region linking the Rolwaling Region and Manaslu and Ganesh Himal Region. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Langtang and Helambu Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Manaslu & Ganesh Himal region

ght manaslu trek

This stunning home to Manaslu, considered the most graceful of the 8,000m giants, was only opened to trekkers in the early 1990s, and then to a limited number. This area is surrounded by the Annapurna range to the west and Ganesh Himal in the east, and lies close to the Tibetan border. You will witness a glacial cirque and stupendous views, among many other wonders.

Highlights

  • Sixth section of the GHT
  • Home to Mt. Manaslu (8,163 m) the eighth highest mountain in the world
  • Ganesh Himal is a holy mountain as it resembles the shape of the elephant headed god, Lord Ganesh
  • This area is less visited by trekkers
  • Explore Manaslu Base Camp, with an optional trek to the Tibetan border from Samdo

How to get there

From Langtang (Langtang and Helambu Region) enter Ganesh Himal by crossing the Pangsang Pass and pass through the village of Tipling.

You are now entering the start of the Manaslu and Ganesh Himal Region from the east the via Kerauja. Previously (directly after the 2015 earthquake), trekkers on the Manaslu Trek followed the route via Kerauja when starting from Soti Khola (river).

Permits

  • Manaslu Restricted Area Entry Permit
  • Manaslu Conservation Area Project Entry Permit

Map NP 106 Manaslu & Ganesh Himal

This is a GHT Special Map for the Manaslu and Ganesh Himal Region linking to Langtang and Helambu and to Annapurna, Naar and Phu. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Manaslu & Ganesh Himal Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Annapurna, Naar and Phu region

ght annapurna region trek

The Annapurna Region has always been the most popular trekking area of Nepal. With good reason. The majority of the trails here take you through vastly different landscapes, from pine forests and raging rivers to dry Tibetan landscapes of rock caves and ancient history. In between there are snow covered mountains, some of the most majestic in the Region, and high mountain passes. For example, at 8,091 m Mt Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world.

Highlights

  • Seventh section of the GHT
  • Mt Annapurna dominates the skyline
  • Explore the fascinating villages of Naar and Phu
  • Two routes to leave the Annapurna Region – one to upper and one to lower Mustang making this a natural ending point for those doing the first seven sections of the GHT only. Or for those joining for the final stages

How to get there

Cross the Larkya La Pass from Dharapani in the Manaslu & Ganesh Himal Region. Contact us if you would like to join the GHT at this point from either Lower Mustang or Manang.

Permits

  • Annapurna Conservation Area Project Entry Permit
  • Trekker’s Information Management System (TIMS) Card
  • Restricted Area Entry Permit for Naar & Phu

Map NP 107 Annapurna, Naar & Phu

This is a GHT Special Map for Annapurna, Naar and Phu Region linking to Manaslu & Ganesh Himal Region and Mustang Region. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Annapurna, Naar and Phu Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Mustang Region

ght upper mustang trek

The landscape in this remote trans-Himalayan mountain area is dry, rocky, with high cliffs, just like its neighbor, Tibet. There is a distinct Tibetan feel in the landscape, culture and people of the region. With its high cliff caves, cave paintings and other-world scenery towered over by panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, among others this hidden Kingdom, once know as Lo, is a magical place.

Highlights

  • Eighth section of the GHT
  • The dry landscape is in the rain shadow zone
  • Visit the old kings palace in Lho Manthang
  • See Tibetan culture in an authentic setting
  • Two routes to reach the next part of the GHT

How to get there

From Phu in the Annapurna, Naar and Phu Region, cross the Teri La Pass to enter Upper Mustang. Alternatively cross the Thorong La Pass and descent to Kagbeni and enter Upper Mustang directly north of the village. It is also possible to join the last sections of the GHT from Kagbeni. Contact us if you would like to join the GHT from this point onward.

Permits

  • Annapurna Conservation Area Project Entry Permit
  • Restricted Area Entry Permit for Upper Mustang

Map NP 108 Mustang

This is a GHT Special Map for the Mustang Region, linking the Annapurna, Naar and Phu Region and the Dolpo and Mugu Region. See here for full screen map.

Trekking in the Mustang Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Dolpo & Mugu Region

ght dolpo region trek

Upper Dolpo is in the rain shadow zone of Dhaulagiri and consists of dry landscape, high passes and also of lush forests surrounding two important high altitude lakes, namely, Phoksundo and Rara.

This area is only beginning to open up to trekkers so its culture and Bon religion (similar to Tibetan Buddhism) remain intact. There are several routes in Dolpo and Mugu that can be taken along the GHT.

Highlights

  • See the two most beautiful lakes in Nepal
  • This is Snow Leopard country with possible sightings
  • Traditional ways of life persist in this remote area

How to get there

Enter into Upper Dolpo through one of several routes. From Ghami or Lho Manthang in Upper Mustang or from Kagbeni in Lower Mustang.

Permits

  • Shey Phoksundo National Park Entry Permit
  • Rara National Park Entry Permit
  • Restricted Area Entry Permit for Lower and Upper Dolpo
  • Restricted Area Entry Permit for Mugu

Map NP 109 A and NP 109 B Dolpo and Mugu

This is a GHT Special map for the Dolpo and Mugu Region linking to Mustang and the Far West Region. See here for full screen map a and map b.

Trekking in the Dolpo & Mugu Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

Far West Region (Humla)

ght far west region trek

Humla is one of the least developed areas of Nepal. Still on the trading route with Tibet this used to be a thriving area but now restrictions make it harder for traders to enter China in the west of the region. This high altitude area sees both Hindu and Buddhist settlements. In fact many of the settlers in the western part of the region originally passed through from Tibet one or two generations ago. This is still the route pilgrims take to reach Mount Kailash, revered mountain in Tibet which attracts both Hindus and Buddhists.

Highlights

  • This is the 10th and final section of the GHT
  • Look across the border at Hilsa into Tibet.
  • Meet pilgrims and traders on their way to and from Tibet
  • From Simikot fly to Nepalgunj and back to Kathmandu at the end of the trek

Permits

  • Restricted Area Entry Permit for Simikot

How to Get There

From Rara Lake in the Dolpo and Mugu Region, continue toward the Karnali Riverside Camp, cross Apsia Lekh Pass then enter Simikot. The trail takes you across the Nara La Pass to enter Hilsa, a border town with Tibet, and return the same way back from Hilsa to Simikot, the ending point of the GHT.

Map NP 110 A and NP 110 B Far West

These are GHT Special Maps for the Far West linking to Dolpo and Mugu. See here for full-screen map a and map b.

Trek in the Far West Region

Treks in this area include the following. Please click on the trek for more information.

For further information about the Great Himalayan Trails, any part of the GHT, or any trek mentioned here, contact us at info@magicalnepal.com

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

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