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Gokyo Lakes Trek

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18 days, 17 nights
Availability : March - June and October - December
Min Age : 12+

GOKYO LAKES TREK

The Gokyo Lakes trek is a great alternative for those who wish to avoid the popular (and busy) trail to Everest Base Camp. Moreover, the views from Gokyo Ri (5,357m/17,575ft.) and Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft) are arguably better than those from Kalapathar. A little above Namche, the trail to Gokyo splits from the trail to the Everest Base Camp. Head North, following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Ngozumpa glacier. Trekking to the Gokyo Lakes allows you to enjoy views of giants such as Everest, Cho-Oyu, Makalu, Pumori, Amadablam, Thamserku, Tarboche, Cholatse etc.

Mountain view from Renjo La pass
Mountain view from Renjo La pass just above Gokyo Lake

THE TREK

From Namche, head north west following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Gokyo Lakes.  The Gokyo Lakes trek culminates at Gokyo on the banks of the third lake. Here, we will spend three nights exploring the area. On our second day at Gokyo, hike to either Gokyo Ri or Renjo La pass for views of the lakes and the mountains (see photo above). On the third day, hike to the 5th lakes for up-close views of Cho Oyu and other mountains.

It is possible to combine trekking to the Gokyo Lake with the Everest Base Camp trek. Check out our 19-day Everest Base Camp Trek or the 15-day Everest Base Camp – fast paced trek. Also, if you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out the Ultimate Everest Trek. This involves crossing two passes: the Cho La pass (Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake) and the Renjo La pass (from Gokyo lake to Thame). Furthermore, an even more physically challenging trek is the Everest Three Passes Trek. No climbing skills are required for these treks. We are also happy to customize any of these treks for you. Click on the options tab to check out more options.

ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS

The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The quality of the lodges on this trek are quite comparable to those on the Everest Base Camp Trek. And quite a few of them have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.

BEST SEASON

Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the trekking to the Gokyo Lakes are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to do this trek in Winter months of December, January and February if you do not intend to cross the passes. While it will obviously be very cold (upto -20 C/, -4 F), it will be less crowded and there aren’t as many trekkers in the area.

TREK RATING

The Gokyo Lakes trek is rated “STRENUOUS”. It is rated 4 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While the highest altitude reached is at Gokyo Ri (5,357 meters), the highest overnight elevation is at Gokyo Lakes (4,750m/15,500 feet) which is much lower than on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Average daily hiking times is 5 to 6 hours with one long day of around 7 hours on the day hike to the 5th lakes. It is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.

WHY TREK WITH US?

All our Gokyo Lakes Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants for a date of your choosing. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff.

We are also proud to give back to our community through 3 Summits For Nepal managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight
Altitude
1 Arrival in Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
2 Exploring Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
3 Kathmandu to Phakding 2,651m/8,700ft
4 Phakding to Namche 3,435m/11,270ft
5 Acclimatization day at Namche 3,435m/11,270ft
6 Namche to Khumjung 3,790m/12,430ft
7 Khumjung to Dole 4,040m/13,255ft
8 Dole to Macchermo 4,470m/14,500ft
9 Machhermo to Gokyo 4,750m/15,500ft
10 Explore Gokyo 4,750m/15,500ft
11 Hike to 5th Lakes 4,750m/15,500ft
12 Descend to Phanga 4,400m/14,430ft
13 Trek to Kyangjuma 3,600m/11,800ft
14 Kyangjuma to Monjo 2,835m/9,300ft
15 Monjo to Lukla 2,835m/9,300ft
16 Fly Lukla to Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
17 Explore Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
18 Final Departure  
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Arrival in Kathmandu

Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner.

MEALS: D

Day 2Exploring Kathmandu

Visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Here, you’ll probably witness a Hindu cremation along the banks of the Bagmati River.

Then drive to Bhaktapur, the City of Devotees, for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square. Bhaktapur is a medieval city in the Kathmandu valley and is least disturbed by modern life. Here, you can absorb the architectural splendor of the five-storied Nyatapola temple, or the sculptural delight of the Peacock Window.

In the afternoon, make final preparations for your Gokyo Lakes Trek.

Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 3Fly to Lukla. Trek to Phakding (2,651m/8,700ft.)

Your day starts early today as most flights to Lukla are scheduled for the morning hours. Be ready for a wait at the airport as your flight can be delayed due to weather. The flight is approximately 25 – 30 minutes and the landing at Lukla airport is very dramatic. After a brief stop at Lukla, set off on your Everest trek. Past Lukla, descend to Chaurikharka and continue on a fairly level trail to Choplung. Continue on a level trail to Ghat. There is a monastery, numerous prayer wheels, mani stones and a chhorten at Ghat. Whenever possible, please remember to turn all prayer wheels in a clock-wise direction and to walk on the left side of shrines and manes (i.e. keeping these sacred objects to your right. From Ghat, it is approximately 20 minutes to Phakding.

DISTANCE: 8.11 kilometers/5.04 miles approximately
Ascent: 836 feet/255 meters
Descent: 1,424 feet/435 meters
ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 4Phakding to Namche (3,435m/11,270ft.)

The day’s trail follows the Dudh Koshi until you begin your ascent to Namche. Before reaching Monju is the village of Chumoa where in the 1970’s, an eccentric but creative Mr Hagayuki lived without a visa for almost 10 years – farming and running the Hatago Lodge – before being deported. Just beyond Monju is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park where your park permit will be checked. Depending on the time you reach this point, lunch will be either at Monju or the village of Jorsalle inside the park.

Past Jorsalle, the trail follows the Dudh Koshi and crosses it only to recross it at the base of the hill from where begins a long and steep climb to Namche. The switchback trail is well-worn and wide through a pleasant pine forest.

TOTAL DISTANCE: 16.72 kilometers/10.39 miles approximately
ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 5Namche (3,435m/11,270ft.)

Today is an acclimatization day. You are free to visit the National Park Museum for great views of Everest and Amadablam or just wander around Namche town.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 6Namche to Khumjung (3,790m/12,430ft)

Today is a short day to aid with acclimatization. Ascend steeply to Syangboche. From the air-strip, you can take the slightly longer route to Khumjung via the Everest View Hotel for great views of Everest and Amadablam. The hike from Namche to Khumjung (3,790m/12,430ft.) is only around 2-3 hours but this short day will allow for better acclimatization. After lunch, visit the Khunde hospital and the Khumjung school – both established by Sir Edmund Hillary.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 7Khumjung to Dole (4,040m/13,255ft)

From Khumjung make a short descent to join with the main Everest Base Camp trail near Sanasa. This is a great view point for Lhotse, with Everest peeking over its left. Also visible are Ama Dablam, Kangtega and Thamserku.

A short distance from Sanasa, take a left leaving the main trail which continues to Tyangboche and Everest Base Camp. This trail contours around the east side of Khumbila following the Dudh Kosi river that originates from the Ngozumpa Glacier near Gokyo. The trail does not drop right down to the river, but remains high above it on the western side. You will immediately notice that there are relatively few trekkers on this route in comparison to the main trail to Everest.

After lunch enroute, continue to the small village of Dole.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 8Dole to Macchermo (4,470m/14,500ft)

Today is an easy day of walking – around 3 miles/5 kilometers – with a net altitude gain of around 1,250 feet. While it is mostly a gentle incline, it is nothing like the previous day of steep ascents on staircases. Regardless, as you are now at altitude above the tree-line, the hiking is still challenging. Cholatse looms over the village of Macchermo which was essentially a pasture and summer farm. Now, quite a few lodges have been built in the area. Cho Oyu is also visible in the distance.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 9Machhermo to Gokyo Lakes (4,750m/15,500ft)

Today is another easy day of walking – around 3.5 miles/5.6 kilometers – with a net altitude gain of around 1,000 feet. Regardless, the hiking is still challenging. The valley opens up only to narrow near the outlet of the first lake. After you ascend to the first lake, the third lake and the settlement of Gokyo comes into view with Cho Oyu looming in the back-ground (See photo above).

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

DAY 10 Explore Gokyo Lake (4,750m/15,500ft)

You have a couple of options for today. The guide will make an assessment of your ability and advise on whether you should do the slightly easier hike to Gokyo Ri (5,357m/17,575ft.) or the strenuous hike to Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft). The hike from Gokyo to Renjo La pass is around 2.98 miles/4.79 kilometers (one way) with an ascent of 2,400 feet. This should take a total of around 6-8 hours depending on your pace. The hike to Gokyo Ri is around 2.1 miles/3.5 kilometers with an ascent of 2,000 feet and should take around 4-5 hours. It can be argued that the views from both vantage points is better than that from Kalapathar albeit from a further distance. They include four of the 8,000’ers including Everest, Makalu, ChoOyu and Lhotse besides other lesser peaks. Return to Gokyo for the evening.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

DAY 11 Hike to 5th Lakes. Return to Gokyo (4,750m/15,500ft)

Today’s hike is fairly gradual with around 800 feet of elevation gain. But it is long – 8 miles/13 kilometers round trip – and should take around 6 hours. Follow the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpa glacier and a little past the 4th lake Mt. Everest comes into view. This only gets better as you approach the 5th lake. Return to Gokyo for the evening.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

Day 12Descend to Phanga (4,400m/14,430ft)

Retrace trail back towards Macchermo. We then take the trail across the Dudh Koshi and stay at Phanga for the night (across the valley from Macchermo)

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

DAY 13 Descend to Kyangjuma (3,600m/11,800ft)

Continue descent to Sanasa and stop-over at Kyangjuma for the night. This is a great view point for mountains east of the Gokyo valley (see photo above).

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

DAY 14Descend to Monjo (2,835m/9,300ft)

Descend to Namche and onward to Monjo. We exit the national park at Jorsalle just before Monjo.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

NAMCHE TO MONJO
DISTANCE: 6.17 kilometers/3.84 miles approximately
ASCENT: 350 feet/106 meters
DESCENT: 2,279 feet/695 meters
APPROXIMATE TIME: 3 hours

Day 15Trek end at Lukla (2,800m/8,700ft)

Retrace trail to Lukla. A contingency day is included for possible health or weather delays.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Local lodge.
MEALS: B,L,D

MONJO TO PHAKDING
DISTANCE: 4.82 kilometers/3 miles approximately
ASCENT: 436 feet/133 meters
DESCENT: 1,034 feet/315 meters
APPROXIMATE TIME: 2 hours

PHAKDING TO LUKLA
DISTANCE: 8.11 kilometers/5.04 miles approximately
ASCENT: 1,424 feet/434 meters
DESCENT: 836 feet/254 meters
APPROXIMATE TIME: 3.5 hours

DAY 16Fly to Kathmandu (1,340m/4,300ft)

Fly Lukla to Kathmandu. Day free in Kathmandu.
Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar.

MEALS: B

DAY 17Sightseeing in Kathmandu (1,340m/4,300ft)

Full day of sightseeing in Kathmandu: visit Swayambhunath, the monkey temple. Then drive to Bhaktapur, the city of Devotees, for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square.

Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar.

MEALS: B,L,D

Day 18Final departure

Transfer to airport for departure. (B)

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Price (valid until Dec 31, 2023)

2 – 4 persons: US$2,550 per person

5 or more persons: US$2,250 per person

Single supplement: US$200

Please inquire for quote in GB£ or Euros.

  • Book this trek for any date in 2022 or 2023 by Dec 31, 2022 and get US$ 350 per person discount. All our treks are private treks for two or more participants and can be arranged for a date of your choosing.
  • From October 2022, all fixed-wing flights to/from Lukla are required to operate from Ramechhap airport. You must either drive to Ramechhap (5-6 hours) a day prior to your flight and spend the night at Ramechhap or leave Kathmandu around mid-night to board the morning flight. Alternatively, if you choose to fly to Lukla and back to Kathmandu on a helicopter (foregoing the drive to Ramechhap), a US$ 500 surcharge will apply. You may also opt to fly one way only (Kathmandu to Lukla) on a helicopter for a surcharge of US$250 per person. Click Lukla flights for a detailed explanation.

Payment policy:

  • A 20% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking.
  • Balance is payable a week prior to departure or on arrival in Kathmandu.

Cancellation policy:

  • Deposit is non-refundable. But if you cancel a month prior to trek start date, your deposit will be applied to any trek you undertake with us anytime in the future.
  • No refunds for unused services once trek begins.

 

 

Price Includes

  • All airport transfers
  • One full day sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments
  • Three nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu
  • Round trip airfare: Kathmandu to Lukla
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Lodge trekking as indicated in the Everest Base Camp Trek itinerary
  • Three meals a day on the trek
  • Boiled water for your bottles two times a day
  • Use of Steripen to sterilize water
  • Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals
  • Guide and staff insurance
  • Sagarmatha National Park Fee
  • Solukhumbu Community Fee
  • Gamow Bag (High altitude pressure chamber) and oxygen cylinder depending on group size

Price Excludes

  • Your international airfare
  • Nepal Visa
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you)
  • Travel insurance (Required)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature
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Map
Photos

Options

If you don’t have 18 days to spare, we can shorten the trip by 3 or 4 days by arranging a helicopter to fly from Gokyo to Lukla. This would be an additional $1,200 and would be a viable option if there are 4 or 5 participants in the group.

If you’re short on time but don’t wish to do a fast paced trek to high altitude, check out our Everest – Tengboche Monastery trek. This trek goes up to Tengboche Monastery with excellent views of Everest.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious trek with en suite rooms, Western toilets and daily showers, our Luxury Everest Trek is a good option for you. We use Everest Summit Lodges and Yeti Mountain Homes which are at a far superior standard than other lodges on the trail with a garden area, comfortable lounge and a professional staff.

You can combine the Gokyo Lakes trek with the Everest Base Camp Trek by crossing the Cho La pass. Or you could cross the Renjo La pass and exit the Khumbu via the Thame valley. If you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out our Ultimate Everest Trek that crosses the Cho La pass taking you from the Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake and the Renjo La pass taking you from Gokyo lake to Thame. Both passes do not require any climbing skills though they can be icy at times. An even more physically challenging trek is the Everest Three Passes Trek which involves crossing the Kongma La pass from Chukkung to Lobuche, the Cho La pass crossing from Dzongla to Thagnag and the Renjo La pass crossing from Gokyo to Lungden.

If you’re looking to climb a Himalayan 20’er (first or otherwise), check out out our Island Peak climb. We can also organize climbs of Mera Peak (6,476m/21,240 feet) and Lobuche East (6,119m/20,070 feet).

And, YES, we would be happy to custom-design any of our program for you for a minimum of two participants.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

When is the best time to do the Gokyo Lakes Trek?

There are two preferred seasons for the Gokyo Lakes Trek: Spring (March through May) and Fall (October through December). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect night time temperatures of below Freezing near the Base Camp. Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.

We highly encourage you to trek in the winter months of December, January and February when days can be quite sunny and warm (40F – 5 Centigrade) although you should expect temperatures below freezing on most nights starting from Namche (11,300 ft.). But the trails and lodges aren’t as crowded. We offer a $150 per person discount for treks in the Winter.

How fit do I need to be to do the Gokyo Lakes Trek?

Anyone who is reasonably fit and can hike 10-12 miles a day can sign up for the fast-paced Everest Base Camp Trek. Allowing for optimal acclimatization is the key. Most of the trek is on relatively level trail with some steep ascents and descents. That said, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. Children as young as six and adults over seventy have walked to Everest Base Camp. It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
We rate the Everest Base Camp Trek a 5 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

Can I drink tap water on the Gokyo Lakes Trek? How can I get water that is safe to drink?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.

Do read our blog on safe drinking water options: Hydration on treks in Nepal

What kind of food should I expect on the trek?

Meals on the Everest Base Camp trek start out being quite varied especially at the beginning of the trek in Lukla. But it becomes sparser as you ascend to the Everest Base Camp. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.

Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

Check out our article on food options for vegetarians.

Is there mobile signal on the trek? Is there wi-fi?

Some of the places on the Gokyo trail now have cell coverage. N-cell coverage is available in most places; more so than NTC. But once you get off the main trail, coverage may not be available. Some lodges will offer wi-fi for between $5 to $10 per day. The most popular wi-fi provider in the Everest region is Everest Link with relatively good coverage and speed. It should cost you around $20 for 10 GB and around $30 for 20 GB package.

How should I prepare for the trek?

The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek.

1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning.

2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.

3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.

In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.

Check out our article on training for treks.

Are there ATM's in the Everest region?

There are ATM’s in Lukla and Namche. But they may not always be working. So don’t rely on them. Bring cash for expenses en route.

What are the toilet facilities like on the trek? Will I have a chance to take a shower?

Most tea houses have a common toilet. Some tea houses, especially those at the beginning of the trek, have en suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.

It is possible to shower in almost all the lodges. And hot shower usually means a bucket of boiled water. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $2-$5 for this service.

What gear do I need for the Everest Trek? Can I purchase/rent some in Kathmandu?

Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.

if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.

It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.

There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.

Is it possible to store extra gear in Kathmandu that I will not need on the trek?

Yes. Most hotels do have a storage room where you can store your bags. Remember to ask for a token identifying your bags. For valuables, ask for a locker. But not all hotels will have this facility.

What vaccinations are required for travel to Nepal?

No vaccinations are REQUIRED. There are some that are recommended. Check out websites of the following for immunization that are recommended:

1) CIWEC hospital in Nepal

2) CDC (Center for Disease Control)