Hikes and treks are probably the best ways to explore new places, people, cultures, landscapes and even yourself. But some of you may have to catch a flight back to your country within a day or two. 

And since you have very little time left in Nepal, you can’t opt for full-fledged trekking packages that usually last for a week or so. 

But do not worry, we are here to rescue you!

A 1-Day Trek can come handy if you wish to make your stay worthwhile while exploring the best trekking destinations in Nepal. These treks will provide you new experiences and also offer you the opportunity of not missing out on anything. 

These treks can include leisure walks around Kathmandu valley or in other regions of Nepal. It is the perfect escape, away from the hustle-bustle of the city to the clean and fresh air. 

These 1-day hikes are easily doable and are suitable for families, beginners, and novice hikers. So rest assured, you wouldn’t need to learn medieval survival skills for this. Just pack your excitement along!

Major destinations for 1-Day Trek

Within and outside Kathmandu valley

Shivapuri Hike

Highest elevation: 2563 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 2-3 hours drive and 3-5 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons 

Shivapuri is popular for its watersheds and wildlife reserve. As it is the second-highest hill wrapping Kathmandu valley, so you’re in for some majestic views of nature.

The trek starts from Sundarijal and winds up around the beautiful villages with people coming from diverse ethnic groups and stunning landscapes. You can also visit Shivapuri National Park, a dense forest rich in various species of flora and fauna.

Major highlights to look out for

  • Baghdwar: The source of the holy Bagmati river and the home of the famous Todke Baba.
  • Budhanilkantha Temple: Home to a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes. This stone sculpture of the Lichchhavi period dates back to the 5th century.
  • Shivapuri Conservation Area: Home to diverse flora and fauna
  • If you love wandering around, you can spot a cave called ‘Aghori Baba Gufa’ that leads you to a huge rock-like structure. From there, you can feel the clouds beneath you and watch the hawks soar. Even the road looks like a mere line from above. 
  • Nagi Gumpa/Gumba: A nunnery situated at an altitude of 2,330 meters north of Kathmandu. You can also visit and explore the nunnery which is also famous as a meditation center.
  • Kapan Monastery, promoting Buddhist traditions and values worldwide through teaching, meditation, and community service

Nagarjuna Hill

A view from Nagarjuna Hill

Highest elevation: 1950m 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 30 mins -1 hour drive and 3-4 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons

Nagarjuna hiking can be completed in a single day and it is one of the finest hiking destinations near Kathmandu valley. Nagarjuna hill (2,128 meters) is located about 7 km west of the capital city, Kathmandu. 

The hill is famous for its dazzling location and the influential Buddhist stupa. The glowing view of Mount Manaslu, Mount Ganesh and Langtang range is also one of the major attractions of the trip.

Major highlights to look out for

  • Nagarjuna’s cave along with other caves used by Buddha and Mahasiddhas.
  • Excellent views of Kathmandu valley and mountain ranges from Jamacho viewpoint
  • Small Buddhist stupa featured by the  Lonely Planet Nepal (largest travel site of the world)
  • Thick woods of rhododendron, oaks, and pines, a great setting in terms of natural and historical perspective.

Phulchowki Hill

Highest elevation: 2,829 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 30-40 minutes drive and 4-6 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons 

The highest hill situated in the south of Kathmandu valley is famous for its vegetation, a Botanical Garden and for bird watching. 

Hike to Phulchowki Hill is one of the most beautiful hiking routes offering magnificent scenery in Kathmandu valley. 

Major highlights to look out for

  • Godavari Botanical Garden: Offers diverse flora and a great place for bird watching, one of the major tourist attractions of Godawari.
  • Dense sub – Tropical forest: Rich in various species of flora and fauna.
  • Beautiful view: Amazing view of the eastern part of the Annapurna range, Mt. Gaurishanker. Settle in for a great view of Kathmandu valley.
  • Champa Devi Hill 

Highest elevation: 2,285 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 30 mins-1 hour drive and 3-4 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons

The Champadevi Hill Day Hike is a short and easy hike in Kathmandu valley. 

On this hike, you will come across lively pine forests, lush vegetation and will experience a breath of fresh air. Add to it the gorgeous views of the Kathmandu valley and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya from Langtang to Gauri Shankar, you’re in for a visual treat.  

Major highlights to look out for

  • Dakshinkali and Champadevi Temple, famous pilgrimages of Kathmandu Valley
  • Majestic panoramic views of mountain peak will be a worthy sight to your sore eyes. If the weather is clear, you can also see Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, Jugal Himal, and Gaurishanker mountain range.

Nagarkot to Changunarayan 

Highest elevation: 1,975 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 1 hour-1.5 hours drive and 4-5 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons

Nagarkot to Changunarayan Hike is a popular hiking trail in Kathmandu valley. 

Nagarkot is a hill station that boasts of an overwhelming view of wonderful landscapes and monuments. Since it is very close to Kathmandu, it is easy to access and is a perfect getaway for novice trekkers and for families as well. 

Major highlights to look out for

  • Views of mountain peaks like Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gang Chenpo, Dorje Lakpa, and Purbi Chyachu. Also, get ready to take in the magnificent views of Mt. Gauri Shankar and even Mt. Everest.
  • Bhaktapur: One of the most well preserved, traditional and cultural districts of Kathmandu Valley. Famous for JuJu Dhau and matka-kulfi.
  • Changu Narayan: Oldest Temple of Kathmandu valley dating back to the 7th century that is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Amazing sunrise and sunset views over the mountains make it look like it came straight out of a movie scene.

Popular Destinations for a 1 Day Trek in Pokhara

World Peace Stupa

Highest elevation: 1,350 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 20-40 minutes boat-ride and one-hour hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons

World Peace Stupa is located on a hill just above the famous Fewa lake facing Mount Fishtail.

The Stupa is a great place to see the sunset over Pokhara and the beautiful views of Annapurna and Fishtail. You can easily reach the destination by hiring a boat and rowing across the lake and climbing up a hill for about half an hour, or by trekking from the road that passes Devi’s Falls.

Major highlights to look out for

  • Crystal clear view of the Himalayan range, Fewa Lake and the mesmerizing Pokhara city.
  • Sunrise and sunset from the viewpoints that soothes your soul
  • World Peace Stupa: Constructed by Japanese Buddhist monks to promote world peace.

Sarangkot

Royal Trek

Highest elevation: 1,700 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 30 minutes drive and 2-3 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons

Sarangkot is one of the most popular hill stations in Pokhara and also the best viewpoint near the Pokhara city. 

The hike to Sarangkot is a 2-3 hour uphill walk. There is a view tower at the top that offers the exceptional view of golden rice terraces along with the vast expanse of the Annapurna Mountain range. 

Also, the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset views and a great paragliding spot make Sarangkot one of the best hiking spots around Pokhara valley.

Major highlights to look out for

  • Panoramic views of mountain ranges like Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Dhaulagiri, and Machhapuchhre. Along with these, you can view 25 other mountain peaks over 6,000 meters. 
  • Magnificent view of the Pokhara Valley, Fewa Lake, the natural beauty of the bustling city.
  • Let the amazing sunrise over the Himalayas be etched in your hearts forever.

Dhampus Village

Dhampus Village Trek

Highest elevation: 1,880 meters 

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: 30 minutes drive from Pokhara and 8-9 hours hiking

Trekking gears: None

Best season: Autumn (September to December) and Spring (February to May)

This is one of the short but classic trekking routes of Nepal. Dhampus isn’t only a viewpoint but it is also a picturesque village inhabited by the Gurung community.  

This trek offers you an amazing opportunity to explore people, culture, and landscapes and leads you to another trekking destination, the Australian Camp. It is even possible to trek with your children. 

Major highlights to look out for

  • Splendid views of the Annapurna range and other mountain peaks like Ganesh Himal.
  • A surreal view of sunrise from the viewpoints.
  • Beautiful villages and friendly locals of Pothana, Dhampus are sure to take your breath away and also make you sociable, if I may add.
  • Lush, green forests and terrace farms, completely different from the hectic city life.
  • A peek at old Nepali architecture and lifestyle in the villages, something you’ve rarely experienced before.

Alternative to the treks: Tour of the Kathmandu city

If you aren’t the kind of person that is excited about intensive trekking or even a short trek, you are in for a surprise. 

Taking a tour around the Kathmandu city isn’t that much of a hassle and is also as effective as a 1-day trek.  So you can rest assured, you will have a good time. 

Highest elevation: 1.400 meters, an exotic setting, and home to uncountable people, culture and historical events

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration: Possible within a day

Trekking gears: None

Best season: All seasons

Tour of the Kathmandu city takes you to the three districts of Kathmandu Valley. They are Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur, having the natural and historical significance of their own. 

During the tour, you will visit some of the famous destinations of the valley including  Basantapur Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, and Pashupatinath.

Major highlights to look out for

Pashupatinath

Visit funeral points (Aryaghat) and many temples with an artistic touch. You can also have your fortune told by one of the pandits. Sounds fun, right?

Swayambhunath

Beautiful temples, monkeys, and panoramic views of Kathmandu valley. On clear days, you can also see mountains. Expect to get away from the hubbub of city life for a while.

Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan Durbar square 

These are ancient abodes of the old kings and queens of the valley. Since these monuments are linked to the great history of Nepal, you can feel that you’re becoming a part of history as well. 

These Durbar Squares are home to many beautiful temples and museums. It also is the perfect place to discover local eateries. You can stick with the staples like Dal-Bhat-Tarkari or try something new like Momo, Choila, Yomari, Sapumicha, and JuJu Dhau among others.

What else can you do in Nepal: Contemporary attractions

Nepal, in the recent context, has been established as a wonderful tourist hub, with lots of activities to choose from. Some of the activities you can indulge in if you are the least interested in the trekking are listed below:

  1. Tandem Paragliding
  2. Parahawking
  3. Jungle Safari, Gharial and Crocodile Breeding (Kasari Breeding Center, budding operation of conservation area and resort)
  4. Mountain Biking
  5. Rock Climbing
  6. Rafting
  7. Canoeing Tours
  8. Kayaking
  9. Mountain Flights

Regardless of any requirements or activities you choose, there is a trek option for everyone in Nepal. With plenty of options to choose from, Nepal is sure to spoil you with choices.

Since most of these 1-day trekking destinations in Nepal are very near to the major cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, you can trek at your own pace and still be able to return to the hotel and relax.

All these one-day treks are convenient and do not entail risks of altitude sickness. So even with less time on your hands, you can enjoy these one-day treks. These are perfect escapades to satisfy your thirst for adventure or leisure-oriented activities. 

So we say, go ahead and chase your dream destination. And yes, it’s possible within a day!

Basu Panday

Basu Panday started his journey in tourism and hospitality as a support staff 17 years ago.

He has travelled all the Himalayan region as trekking staff and trekking guide, and have climbed 6000+ meters several trekking peaks in the Himalaya. He often leads trips in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. He had travelled to many other countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Greece, Denmark Spain, Australia and the USA for promotion of Nepal’s tourism. 

After working as support staff, then tour and trek guide, he eventually fulfilled his desire to start his own company, Nepal Social Treks and Expedition, in 2006.

Basu is friendly and he is the one who answers most of your trip questions. So if you have any inquiry about our trip, don't be shy. Write to us.