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Trails around Langtang Region

Abhishek Subedi July 25, 2020

Langtang is situated towards the north of the Kathmandu Valley. It is also known as the valley of glaciers. Moreover, resting amid the emerald hills with the backdrop of the magnificent Mount Langtang.  This trek includes the spectacular views of the Dorje Lakpa 6990m, Langtang Ri 6370m and Langtang Lirung 7245. The Langtang Valley Trek goes through the rugged terrain that is adorned by the majestic glaciers and snow clad mountains. Although the Langtang valley can be reached by a day drive from the Kathmandu valley. Moreover, this trekking area is still unknown to the majority of trekkers. Confined within the territory of Langtang National Park, it also comprises the tranquil lakes of Gosainkunda. As much as it is blessed with its impressive landscapes. Likewise, one can find joy in nature that houses various species of rare floras and faunas as well.

Trails around Langtang Region

About the Langtang Trek

Langtang Trek introduces you to the Buddhist culture of the Tamangs and Sherpas and the ancient monastery of Kyanjin Gompa, situated near Tserko upholds this tradition. The trek passes through the Langtang National Park, a pristine countryside with majestic flora and fauna, yak pastures and local cheese factories. It is dominated by the Langtang Himalayas, this valley trek is relatively short but runs through rhododendron and bamboo forests, alongside thundering waterfalls and snow capped mountains. It offers you an exclusive picture of Himalayan Pheasants, Himalayan Deers, Himalayan bears, monkeys and the elusive red panda. Langtang village was massively destroyed during the 2015 earthquake. The villagers have been busy rebuilding the area. Although it might not be as famous as the Annapurna or Everest treks, the Langtang Valley Trek can still be an outstanding choice for trekking.  

The Langtang area has it all. Start walking from Kathmandu and before you know it, find yourself in a tranquil mountain village, breezing through flower meadows, picnicking in the shade of pine trees, crossing rushing rivers, and a snowbound pass, and standing atop a minor Himalayan peak. The best time to trek the Langtang trails is from October to April. It can get very cold in December and January but lodges remain open and the trails are quiet. In April, flowering rhododendrons add a palette of red and orange to the slopes. Few people trek here in the monsoon but during the Janai Purnima festival during the August full moon, thousands of Hindu pilgrims (including lots of sadhus and other holy people) make their way to the holy Gosaikunda lakes to bathe. This makes for an interesting experience for those who aren’t bothered by the lack of mountain views.

1. Langtang Valley

Before the earthquake, this was one of Nepal’s most popular trekking routes. The trails have been repaired or re-routed and trekking lodges reconstructed. And despite the obvious damage this is still one of the most delightful walks in Nepal. The basic trek takes eight days including travel time from Kathmandu, but add in another couple of days for side trips from Kanjin Gompa. The standard route follows the Langtang river up a steep and narrow valley. On day two the trail passes over the rubble fields under which Langtang village is buried and on day three the valley opens out to arrive at Kyanjin Gompa and big views of Langtang Lirung (7,246m), Langtang II (6,581m) and, perhaps the most distinctive mountain in the valley, the pyramid shaped Mt Gangchempo (6,387m). Kanjin Gompa can be a base for many different day and overnight side trips.

Most people go back the way they came but with more time it’s possible to link up with the Gosainkunda and Helambu treks.

2. Gosainkunda

The most popular add-on to a Langtang Valley trek, and a fantastic short trek in its own right, is this haul up through pine forests where red pandas live to the Hindu holy lakes of Gosainkunda. Although you don’t come face-to-face with the high mountains, you do get grandstand views of the Langtang and Ganesh ranges. As well as crossing the often snowbound and challenging Laurebina La (4,610m). There are a number of different approach routes to Gosainkund, but to acclimatize it’s best to do the Langtang Valley trek first. Then, from close to the tea houses of Doman, cut across to Gosainkunda and descend back to Kathmandu via the Helambu Circuit. Some people go directly to Gosaikunda from Dhunche but the elevation gain is great and altitude sickness is common. Starting from Helambu and walking to Gosainkunda is a long uphill drag that also invites altitude problems.

Trails around Langtang Region

3. Tamang Heritage Trail

This route aims to highlight the culture of the Tamang people as much as the mountain scenery. It’s a real community project with money generated from trekkers going into local development projects and trekkers being hosted at night by families in their village houses. The trail starts from Syabrubesi and is a five to six-day loop close to the border of Tibet. Highlights are the pretty Tamang village of Gatlang, the hot springs at Tatopani. Moreover, the fine mountain views over the Ganesh and Langtang range from Nagthali Ghyang. The highest point is 3,300m, so this is a good mid-winter trek when higher routes might be snowed in and it also suits those with limited time.

The Tamang Heritage Trail is very easily combined with the classic Langtang Valley trek. For those with more time, it’s possible to add in Gosainkunda and the Helambu treks to make for three weeks of hiking.

4. Ganj La

The most challenging and dangerous trek in the Langtang region is the crossing of the high (5,106m) Ganja La pass, which links Kyanjin Gompa at the head of the Langtang Valley with Tarke Ghyang on the Helambu Circuit. This should only be attempted by very experienced trekkers with a good support team. You will need camping equipment, a guide who knows the route well, ropes, ice-axes and crampons. There are no facilities along the route. Note that the pass is, at best, only open between October and November and March to May. But even during these months it’s often snowbound and impassable. Make sure you have a back-up plan in case the pass is closed. Avalanches are a very serious risk on the approach to and from the pass.

5. Helambu

The closest trek to Kathmandu — it starts from the northern outskirts of the city — takes you on a fairly gentle amble through terraced fields, wild forests, flower meadows and through lots of little villages with views of the mountains. The highest point reached on this trek is 3,640m. So,it can be done as a mid-winter trek when higher routes might be snowed in. You can make an enjoyable week-long circuit (a good option for those with little time and/or trekking experience), but most people choose to use Helambu either as a walk in or out route to Gosaikunda and the Langtang Valley.However, be aware that doing this will involve crossing into Helambu via high-altitude passes at either Laurebina La (4,610m) or Ganja La (5,106m). Trekking on these routes involves steep climbs and big changes in altitude, posing a real risk of AMS.

Trails around Langtang Region

6. Ganesh Himal

Named after Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of fortune, Ganesh Himal lies directly between the Manaslu and Langtang ranges. Similarly, it is one of the great unknowns of Nepalese trekking. With stunning mountain scenery, attractive and welcoming villages, hot springs, waterfalls and a genuine sense of being well off the beaten track. Moreover, the Ganesh region really has a bit of everything — except crowds of other trekkers. A handful of home stays and trekking lodges have started to open up. But for now the trails are still largely empty. Because formal accommodation is still so scarce, an organised camping trip is the best way to tackle this trek.

There are a couple of different trekking routes in the Ganesh region which you can access from Manaslu and the Tsum Valley in the west. But the standard trail starts from Syabrubesi and follows the Tamang Heritage Trail. Moreover, to the gorgeous village of Gatlang before crossing the Pansang La pass (3,842m).

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