Taking you deep into the Arun Valley, the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek is a one-of-a-kind trekking adventure in untouched parts of the Eastern Himalayas of Nepal. This tranquil walking trail is home to a variety of rare plants and animals, verdant hills embellished with numerous waterfalls and water streams in the lower part, and steep mountains covered with snow in the upper region, which provides a striking contrast to the blue sky above. Come join us on this 16-day journey to the never-ending landscapes, cultures, and panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Mount Kanchenjunga is situated in the northeastern part of Nepal near the border with India in the east and Tibet in the north. Kanchenjunga was thought to be the highest mountain in the world until the middle of the 19th century, but it is really the third-highest peak in the globe and the second-highest summit in Nepal. Mountaineers also often avoid standing atop the Kanchenjunga Peak as it is considered a sacred peak by the locals.
The English translation of the name Kanchenjunga is "Five Great Treasures in the Snow". Five peaks make up the Kanchenjunga range, and the locals believe that each one is a vault containing a variety of treasures, including grains, holy texts, gold, silver, and gemstones. There are five significant glacier systems on this vast cluster of mountains, three of which—the Zumu, Talung, and Rathong—flow into Sikkim to the east. The Yalung and Kanchenjunga glaciers flow into Nepal's Tamor River on the western side of the mountain range.
The Kanchenjunga North Base Camp trekking trail was only made accessible to trekkers in 1988 AD. The government has designated the area as a restricted area, thus trekkers need a special permit and must be in groups of at least 2, excluding a mandatory licensed trekking guide. These factors account for why so few hikers choose to go over this untamed, difficult terrain. The smaller number of visitors each year has helped to keep this area's natural beauty and unique culture intact. Therefore, visitors can enjoy the region's pristine natural beauty and authentic culture.
However, getting the most authentic trekking experience is not easy. This is a long, difficult hike in an area with little to no infrastructure. There aren't as many amenities as in Nepal's well-known hiking locations like Annapurna and Everest. You may even have to spend some nights in tents. There are landslides to worry about throughout the way, and the trails are rocky, swooping, and occasionally exposed. The region's isolation exacerbates its difficulties. You must therefore be a fairly skilled high-altitude hiker and mentally prepared for continuous days of arduous hiking in some incredibly lonely regions of the Himalayas.
Our trekking specialists at Outfitter Nepal have carefully constructed this 16 days Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trekking Itinerary for you to successfully complete the trek with minimal challenges. Please read along for all the necessary details regarding the trek before booking it. You can contact us at any time for any queries.
Best Features of the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek
- Trekking through East Nepal's pristine and off-the-beaten Himalayan landscape
- Standing tall at Mt. Kanchenjunga's North Base Camp (5140 m), the third-highest mountain peak in the world
- Awe-inspiring views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the Makalu mountain range, and other nearby summits including Jannu, Kabru, Jongsong, Tent Peak, etc.
- Passing through the local Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Gurung, Bhote, and Sherpa communities' ethnic villages
- Getting to the Tamar and Ghunsa Rivers' sources at the Kanchenjunga Himal's northwest face
- Enjoying the sight of magnificent natural sites like glacial lakes and ponds
- Exploring the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area's diverse flora and fauna (red pandas, musk dear, etc.)
Why Trek to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp instead of other popular trekking regions?
The spectacular natural surroundings of the Kanchenjunga region are well-known. You must go through some stunning, unexplored terrain to reach the mountain's base camp. These hiking routes are different from the more well-known treks in the Everest and Annapurna ranges since they are mostly unexplored. As you hike across the mountain foothills, you'll pass through some breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery. Natural paths come in numerous forms, including those found next to rivers, streams, glaciers, hills, settlements, waterfalls, and woods. Trekkers will follow the quiet paths in the middle of the woods.
Another aspect that sets this Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek apart is its remote Himalayan setting. Away from the chaos, you will have the chance to explore the breathtaking location in all its beauty. You will be able to see the majority of the biggest Himalayan peaks, including Mt. Kanchenjunga, in their most spectacular panoramas. The villagers will welcome you with open arms and exceptional hospitality. On the stroll, you come across several unique practices and traditions that aren't common elsewhere in the nation. All these reasons are good enough to go on the remote Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek.
What mountains are visible from the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trekking trail?
The Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek is considered the most beautiful trekking route among many other treks in the Kanchenjunga region by many. The route to the North Base Camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga offers the magnificent mountain views of Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 m/28,169 ft), Janu Himal (7,710 m/25,300 ft), Everest (8,849 m/29,032 ft), Makalu (8,463 m/26,247 ft), Tharpu Chuli (5,695 m/18,684 ft), Kabru (7,412 m/24,318 ft), etc.
Similarly, you get to witness stunning scenery full of natural beauty on the way. Yaks can be seen grazing on grasslands and waterways that are surrounded by snow-capped mountains. You generally see landscapes of heavily forested hills and rivers with a few glimpses of mountains in the lower section of the trail, but the upper sections are dominated by the mountainous landscape covered by snow.
What kind of landscape can we anticipate during the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp trek?
The Kanchenjunga North Base Camp is a magical location for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path adventure because it is secluded and less traveled by trekkers. The walk starts on the lower slopes, where hikers are surrounded by luxuriant rhododendron, oak, and bamboo woods. The colorful vegetation and lovely bird sounds create an environment of calmness and tranquillity. As the terrain rises and vegetation changes, you will pass through picturesque high-altitude pastures and alpine meadows. When the season is right, these areas are covered in vibrant wildflowers, making the journey a treat for nature lovers.
As the trek continues, hikers traverse a number of raging rivers and streams that are connected by strong suspension bridges that swing slightly with each step. The river crossings provide the walk with an element of adventure, and the bridges provide breathtaking vantage points to view the surrounding scenery.
The terrain gets rougher and more difficult as the walk moves closer to the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. Trekkers will come across rugged terrain, moraines, and the majestic Kanchenjunga glaciers. Higher elevations offer breathtaking vistas of the towering peaks, including Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, which proudly stands at 8,586 meters (28,169 feet) above sea level. The splendor of the walk is further enhanced by views of nearby mountain peaks.
How is the cultural exposure of the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek?
During the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp trip, trekkers can engage in a unique and illuminating cultural encounter with the locals. As you pass through the gorgeous villages and remote communities along the trail, you get the opportunity to interact with indigenous ethnic groups like the Tamang, Gurung, Limbu, Rai, Sherpa, and Bhote. These ethnic groups have a rich cultural history that is intricately linked to the mountains and surrounding nature. You can observe their distinctive habits, age-old ceremonies, and ancient practices that have been handed down through the years. The villagers' wonderful hospitality is evident as they invite trekkers into their homes and guest houses and provide insights into their daily lives.
If the schedule of the trek coincides with any regional celebrations or events, hikers may take part in them. Festivals frequently feature dance performances, music, and traditional ceremonies, giving hikers an unforgettable look at the vibrant local culture. Likewise, you have the chance to sample genuine Nepali cuisine and regional specialties while staying in teahouses and lodges managed by local families, further allowing you to become immersed in the community. In the communal dining spaces, conversations with the hosts and other trekkers foster a sense of friendship and allow trekkers to share stories and learn from one another's experiences.
Furthermore, trekkers also get an opportunity to experience the spiritual side of the area by stopping at historic monasteries and stupas along the route. For the indigenous populations, these sacred sites play a significant role as centers of religion and culture. Trekkers can see religious rituals and the harmonious cohabitation of local Bon tradition and Buddhism.
Major Attractions of the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek
Heavenly journey to the North Base Camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga
The trek to the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp is truly exceptional as you move through tropical lowlands to the magnificent Rhododendron woods, chocolate box towns, glaciers, and astounding views of the Himalayas. The region's grandeur, highlighted by some of the world's tallest mountain peaks, mesmerizes you with an unparalleled sense of joy. You have the impression of being in a storybook. While being in close proximity to the mountains inspires your mind, eating locally-produced food and living in local lodges and tents humbles you.
Comparatively fresh and unexplored trekking route
The Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek is one of the newest high-altitude hiking trails in Nepal; it was only opened for trekkers in 1988, which is why the trek is little known. Although the walking trail's amenities may not be the best, you will still have access to a decent selection of dining and hotel options. Sometimes, you may be required to spend the night in a tent. It is one of the few trekking paths that calls for specialized trekking permits. The 30-minute flight and lengthy 10-hour drive are needed to reach the trailhead for this remote path from Kathmandu.
Physically and mentally demanding trek, giving a true sense of adventure
The hiking route involves multiple steep climbs, slick terrain, landslides, and other difficult terrain in the Kanchenjunga Region. The 16 days Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek will put your physical stamina to the test as you make your way up the steep, uneven trail of the Himalayas. Experience with high-altitude hiking is always helpful, but being in good physical shape before embarking on a tour is also acceptable. In addition to physical fitness, mental endurance is equally important for this trek. You can enjoy the off-the-beaten-path walking experience that ardent hikers long for on this route.
Trekking through lush forests and charming Himalayan villages
It goes without saying that while hiking in the Nepalese Himalayas, especially in the spring, you'll travel through lush green woods adorned with beautiful wildflower blossoms. If you're lucky, you might have the opportunity to see the Nepalese national flower, the rhododendron, turn the entire forest crimson red.
Additionally, you would travel by picturesque settlements on the foothills of the enormous Himalayas. Depending on the ethnicity, the houses are constructed in a style that varies from the standard Nepali design. It is astonishing that Nepal, although being a small country, is home to more than 100 distinct ethnic groups. It illustrates a sense of unity in diversity to see these people coexist peacefully in these isolated villages in Nepal.
Hiking in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, rich in flora and fauna
The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is a huge protected region of 2,035 square Kilometers in area. The extremely lush trees of this protected area are home to more than 250 birds and other endangered species. Its diverse biodiversity includes snow leopards, red pandas, musk deer, Himalayan black bears, and other fascinating creatures. Some of the most attractive bird species seen in this area include the Amphibian pheasant and the red-billed blue robin. You may reach high-elevation pastures where yaks graze and colorful alpine flowers bloom in just a few days of climbing.
Learning about the locals' distinctive culture
The people that live there are what set this voyage apart from others. In addition to the Gurung, Magar, and Sherpa people you often encounter while trekking in the western or central regions of Nepal, you may also encounter Tamang, Rai, Limbu, and Bhote groups in this trek, which are native to East Nepal. They follow their own traditions, customs, cuisine, and culture. These communities in the Kanchenjunga region are primarily populated by locals who work in agriculture and animal husbandry. To help support their families, some women from the local communities work as weavers.