Gokyo Ri and Gokyo Lakes Trekking: Off the Beaten Trek in the Everest Region

By Sierd van der Bij

Find that one special trekking

Do you want to climb Gokyo Ri and do the Gokyo Trek? This jewel of a trek will take you to the Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Valley, away from the crowds on their way to Everest Base Camp, in Sagarmatha National Park. The Gokyo Ri Trek in Nepal was once considered the best place to take a look at the Everest mountain ranges. Read this blog post about the best season, the best itinerary, packing lists, a map and make the most of your Gokyo trek.

Where is Gokyo Ri and Sagarmatha National Park?

The Gokyo Ri, or Gokyo Peak, is a 5,357-meter (17,576-feet) peak in the Khumbu region of the Nepalese Himalayas. It is located on the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier, which is the largest glacier in Nepal and is considered the largest in the entire Himalayas. Gokyo (4,750 m / 15,584 ft), at the foot of Gokyo Ri, is a small hamlet with some stone houses and one of the highest settlements in the world. From Gokyo Ri you can see four 8,000-meter peaks: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu, and the Gokyo Lakes are in the area.

Where is The Gokyo Lakes Trek?

The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a good alternative to the Everest Base Camp Trek. It leads up the valley west of Everest to the village of Gokyo and to the five sacred lakes on the moraine next to the Ngozumpa glacier. This spectacular two-week climb, which is almost as high as the Everest Base Camp Trek, offers breathtaking views of Everest, but the trails are less crowded and quieter. You will pass traditional Sherpa villages where you will be served local food. The trail follows the Dudhkoshi River to its source - a series of emerald green lakes. Gokyo is a Sherpa village located next to the largest of these lakes. From Gokyo, we ascend to Gokyo Ri (5360 m / 17,585 ft) from where we have a magnificent view of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu, Cholatse and Taboche.

While the Everest Base Camp Trek includes Kala Patthar at 5545 m (18,192 ft), the Gokyo Valley Trek offers Gokyo Ri at 5360 m (17,585 ft). Here there is an epic viewpoint that offers the kind of view over Everest normally reserved for balloonists or mountaineers.

What is so Special about The Gokyo Lakes?

The Gokyo Lakes are oligotrophic lakes in the Nepalese Sagarmatha National Park, located at an altitude of 4,700-5,000 m above sea level. These lakes are part of the highest freshwater lake system in the world and comprise six main lakes, of which Lake Thonak is the largest. The Gokyo Lakes are considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. About 500 Hindus take a sacred bath in the lakes during the Janai Purnima Festival, which is usually held in August.

An average of 7,000 tourists visit Gokyo Lakes annually, which is worshipped as the home of the snake god Nag Devata; on the western shore of the lake is a temple of the Hindu deities Vishnu and Shiva. The belief that birds and wildlife in this area should not be harmed has traditionally protected the fauna. The village of Gokyo at 4,790 meters (15,715 feet) above sea level is an important center in the region. The site is a two days' hike uphill from Namche Bazaar.

Do you have this adventure on your bucket list and are you curious about the possibilities? Check out all our offers here!

Which treks lead me to Gokyo Ri, to the Gokyo Lakes and into the Gokyo Valley?

There are several different ways to see the highlights of the Gokyo region. You can do a specific Gokyo Ri Trek or Gokyo Lakes Trek, but you can also do the Everest Base Camp Trek in combination with the Three High Passes. Or you can simply make an extension of the Everest Base Camp Trek and add the Gokyo Lakes to the mix.

What is the Best Season for Gokyo Ri in Sagarmatha National Park?

The Everest region, like the rest of Nepal, has 4 different seasons. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. The months from February to May, before the monsoon, and from October to December, after the monsoon, are the most popular for trekking tours to Everest base camp and the Gokyo Lakes.

What needs to be said is that each trekking season has its own excitement and atmosphere for trekkers, but if you want some assurance about weather conditions during the trek, make sure you stick to the high season. You can also hike to Gokyo in the winter months, but you will need to revise your packing list and prepare for temperatures well below -15 Celsius.

What is a Good Itinerary for the Gokyo Ri Trek?

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are several ways to see Gokyo Ri and the Gokyo Lakes. In this blog post, we will only focus on everything Gokyo, so we will share with you a program that does the same thing. This Gokyo Valley Trek offers enough time to acclimatize and enjoy the highlights of Gokyo Ri and its surroundings.


Fly to Lukla , trek to Phakding

Duration: 02:30 h
Distance: 7.3 km
Ascent: 160 m
Descent: 370 m
We’ll board a flight to Lukla (2810m). You will be able to enjoy the beauty of splendid hills, rivers and mountains during the 30 minute flight. On reaching Lukla airport, you’ll be introduced to your porter, and served a wholesome breakfast. After that, we will head north to Phakding (2620m). It is an easy 3 hour hike through the Dudhkoshi valley. We will head north from the airstrip to Chheplung (2700m) and cross the crystal clear Thadokoshi on a locally built suspension bridge. Past the bridge, you can witness KusamKanggru (6367m), which is one of the toughest mountains to conquer. Away from the ThadoKoshi, the trail continues towards the Ghat (2590m) and we will cross a ridge marked with painted Mani stones. We will reach the beautiful tribal village of Phakding where you will stay overnight.



Trek to Namche Bazaar

Duration: 04:30 h
Distance: 10.5 km
Ascent: 910 m
Descent: 150 m
Heading for the Namche Bazar, we cross through the hamlet of Zamphute and Tok Tok to see dazzling Thamserku glistening in the sun that stays all the way with us in most of our trek. Passing through the scenic Sherpa villages of Benkar, Chumoa and Monjo, we reach Utche Choling Gompa on a bluff abutting the Dudhkoshi river and further we make our way between the bluff to the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO declared world heritage site. Completing halfway to Namche Bazar, we head for the second half of the march that would likely to take more time due to steep climb at the end. Crossing through the last village of Jorsale, a steep stepped path leads us to an amazing high bridge over the Dudhkoshi River gorge and just before this bridge, the Dudhkoshi is met by its tributary, the BhoteKoshi.

Namche Bazaar


Acclimatize at Namche Bazaar

We have an acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar. To help our body better adapt to the high altitude, we can take short walks or climb few hundred feet during the day to have a look in the villages, houses, terraced fields and snowy mountains of Kwangde, Khumbu peak, Thamserku, Kusum Kanguru and the village’s big weekly event, the Saturday market to have fun mingling with the crowds and watching men and women in traditional attire.

Namche Bazaar


Hike to Dole

Duration: 07:00 h
Distance: 11.7 km
Ascent: 1010 m
Descent: 410 m
A little climb to the ridge top out of Namche will grant us a glorious view of Everest and Lhotse. From there, we will continue the mainstream trail. All through the trail, you will witness vendors selling Tibetan handiworks. After we arrive at the crossroad, which lies considerably high all above the DudhKoshi, the trail is divided. The upward trail, which we will follow stretches to Mon La Pass. The downhill trail leads to Everest base camp. We will follow the pass to reach Phortse Tanga and trail steeply to rhododendron jungles. After that, we will arrive at Dole, where you will admire Khumbila and Tawache (6,542m). We will explore around Dole, and stay overnight.



Trek to Machhermo

Duration: 03:00 h
Distance: 5.1 km
Ascent: 400 m
Descent: 50 m
It’s a short trek of only 1-2 hours to limit the rate of vertical gain. From Dole it’s a steep climb out of the forest to an increasingly barren hillside. We pass through many summer settlements which are used when yaks are taken here to graze in the summer months. Continuing past the village of Lhabarma the trail climbs gently past a large chorten to Luza and the trail continues to climb to reach a chorten and fluttering prayer flags on the outskirts of Machhermo tucked into a wide flat bottomed valley below the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpa glacier.



Trek to Gokyo

Duration: 03:45 h
Distance: 7.3 km
Ascent: 400 m
Descent: 20 m
Climbing steeply up a scrubby slope to a collection of chortens on the hilltop and passing by the good views of Kantega and Cho Oyu we soon reach a tiny settlement of Pangka village at the end of the Ngozumpa glacier. Wedged between the mountain wall and the crumbling mound of sand and gravel are the six sacred lakes which reflect the peaks in their calm mirrored surfaces. Immediately after crossing the bridge we reach the first lake and crossing through the barren landscapes pass through the second lake and finally we reach the village of Gokyo on the shores of the third lake known as Dudh Pokhari.



Trek to Dole

Duration: 06:00 h
Distance: 12.4 km
Ascent: 80 m
Descent: 800 m
Following the same trail down, we make a descent to Dole.



Trek to Namche Bazaar via Khumjung

Duration: 06:30 h
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 410 m
Descent: 1020 m
Descend to Namche Bazaar via typical Sherpa village of Khumjung. Leaving the mountains behind our descent continues back to the town of Namche Bazaar.

Namche Bazaar


Trek to Lukla

Duration: 07:00 h
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 530 m
Descent: 1080 m
Finally we return to Lukla following the Dudhkoshi River, where the trek ends.



Fly back Kathmandu

Early morning air trip from Lukla to Kathmandu. Don’t forget to pick a seat on the right side, to see the insatiable mountains again. On reaching Kathmandu, we will be time to say goodbye! May you enjoy the rest of your journey here in Nepal.
Hide entire itinerary

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Gokyo Valley Trek with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

What Permits Do I Need For Gokyo Ri and Sagarmatha?

For trekking to Gokyo Ri and the Gokyo Lakes in Sagarmatha National park, you need the following permits:

TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System)

This permit is important for every trekker wishing to trek in Nepal. From theAnnapurna Circuit to the trek to Poon Hill, all trekking routes require this permit. This costs NRS 2000 per person. This equals about 17 USD or 15 EUR. Alternatively, your trekking company arranges you a location permit in Lukla which costs around 20 USD.

Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit

For entering the Sagarmatha National Park, the park that is home to Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri, you need to obtain an entry permit. This permit costs 30 USD + government tax.

All permits are arranged by your trekking provider.

Training for the Gokyo Ri Trek

If you live anywhere else other than the Himalayas, it will be hard to get your legs ready for higher altitudes. After all, it doesn’t get much higher than Nepal. This is why we have to be clear upfront: Unless you have hiked at a higher altitude before, it will be difficult to get a 100% ready for your adventure. If that sounds bad to you, then comfort yourself with the fact that there is absolutely no need to be 100% ready.

You are not climbing K2 or Mount Everest and not running a mountain race. This is trekking. In fact, you are actually supposed to take it easy. Taking it easy is a rule of thumb when you want to prevent altitude sickness while out in Nepal. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, once you are out there on the trails, you have to stick to your own pace. But of course, the fitter you are, the more you can enjoy your days. Get fit!

Should I Hike More?

One solid approach to get the hang of what you do is to rehearse. The best practice for climbing is climbing. Seeing that you are keen on a multi-day trekking experience, we accept that you enjoy walking. Awesome, do it more. If you are fortunate to be encompassed by some hills or even mountains, the time has come to see them all the more frequently. When? In the event that you are new to this, we recommend beginning a half year the start of your trek, essentially going for 60 minutes (or two) climb seven days. When you get the hang of it, after around three weeks, you will have an ideal opportunity to reinforce your power. Convey a pack of 10 to 15kg and include a more drawn out climb of three hours to your week. On the off chance that this way of life is different to you, you will before long receive the rewards of this moderate exercise.

What Are The Health Benefits of Gokyo Treks?

Some of thehealth benefits of trekking and hikinginclude a lower risk of heart disease, improved blood pressure and sugar levels and of course it helps to control your weight. Once you are ready for the hills, it only gets better. According to Gregory Miller, president of the American Hiking Society, ”a 5% to 10% incline equals a 30% to 40% increase in calorie burn.” Our personal health benefits are a clearer mind and an elevated mood. Trekking keeps us sane. After a good few months of solid hiking, it is time to put your endurance to the test. Do back to back long hikes. You can simulate a few days of constant trekking by going hiking for a few days. Easy at that. Plan a smaller trekking holiday or keep it simple by hiking your favorite route on repeat. If you are comfortable hiking for 4 hours a day, 3 days in a row while carrying a 10kg to 15kg backpack, you will be fine.

There is more you can do to get ready for your Everest Base Camp Trek but the above basics will definitely help you on your way. You can focus on strength exercise, you can simulate altitude with altitude masks. There's a lot you can do.

How to identify and prevent AMS on the Gokyo Valley Trek?

Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the health effect that kicks in when exposed to low amounts of oxygen at high altitudes. It is a thing and it must be taken seriously when visiting high altitude destinations. Its dangers should not be taken lightly, they can ruin your trip or, in the most extreme scenario, even kill you. Although many people will experience some symptoms of altitude sickness, it doesn’t have to escalate when you are aware of them and you can have them under control. AMS can occur when trekking the Gokyo Valley Trek so here below you can find some relevant information related to it:

  • AMS symptoms

    It is key to know how to identify altitude illness so here is a series of symptoms that you may experience due to the lack of oxygen in your body: headaches, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and vomiting. The intensity and severity of these symptoms may increase with altitude but an overall feeling of fatigue will take all your joy away. At intermediate altitudes (1,500 to 2,500 masl / 5,000 to 8,200 fasl) it is unlikely but possible. However, ascending to heights greater than 2,500 m / 8,200 fasl can trigger them and you may lose your sense of coordination. If things progress to HAPE (High-altitude pulmonary edema: it produces excess fluid in the lungs, causing weakness and breathlessness, making you feel like you're suffocating, even when resting) or HACE (High-altitude cerebral edema: involving excess fluid on the brain, causing brain swelling), you might get confused and be unable to walk at all.

    Once aware of the symptoms, you can do a lot to make sure you stay healthy. That is why for trekking in high-altitude destinations, you should always inform yourself about how to prevent the risks of AMS. Our Bookatrekking.com experts, based on their previous experiences, wrote down a few rules of thumb that apply while trekking at altitude:

    • Listen to your body

      When your body needs rest, your body will tell you, listen carefully. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and let your friends, your guide or your porters know how you feel. There are several scoring systems for determining AMS and guides are well-trained and are experienced in immediate treatment. Don't let that get worse and take a break. FYI, it normally takes from 6 to 24 hours before you start feeling altitude sickness symptoms. However, acute AMS can arise after having spent at least 4 hours at an altitude above 2,000 m / 6,500 ft.

    • Eat as much as you can

      Don’t skip your meals, even if you don’t like what you have on your plate. But, believe us, you will enjoy the local food. Your body works hard and needs a lot of carbohydrates to make more distance and to be able to bridge more altitude. Trekking is hard work and can easily burn more than 4,000 calories a day. Eat, and your body will thank you.

    • Avoid alcohol intake

      Let's be clear, alcohol stimulates mountain sickness and that’s not just because alcohol dehydrates you. However, if you drink alcohol, you may also be able to do so during your hike. In some destinations, some trekking companies make it a ritual once you reach a particular stage of the route. Be careful though, it won’t help your acclimatization and you will have to increase your water intake. This is even more common when it’s hot and you’re sweating. At high altitudes you need to be disciplined so drink 3 to 5 liters of water per day and some tea as well. You’re hiking, not partying, so leave (most of) the alcohol for after the trip.

    • Check what comes out

      One way to measure your fluid intake is to check your urine. Do you have to take a wee break more often than usual? Great. Keep up the hydration game. Not really? Then drink more.

    • Choose a longer itinerary

      Our trekking experts are well aware of the hazards of Altitude Sickness and they know that you shouldn’t rush your way up. You can do a trek in fewer days but it will not only make you enjoy your hike less, but it will also be detrimental to your acclimatization. AMS is mainly caused by a rapid increase in altitude, so the faster you ascend, the greater the risk. Try to choose a longer route to make the most of your tour. Longer is always better.

    • Climb high, sleep low

      An unwritten law for trekkers and climbers: at high altitudes, mountaineers may take longer to get to the peak because they go up and down a few times before reaching the top. If you see a descent in the middle of your itinerary it is to ensure that you acclimatize carefully after having tackled elevation. Therefore, if you climb to a certain altitude in one day and you stay there, your body may have difficulties adapting. But if you descend as well, the chances of getting altitude sickness are significantly lower. The many ascending and descending causes the body to acclimatize. That means that the following day will be relatively easier to stay at a higher altitude.

What About The Flight From Kathmandu to Lukla for my Gokyo Trek?

A 25-minute flight from Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) takes you to Tenzing-Hillary Airport (LUA), named after the famous pioneers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The airport is known to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world. That fact makes the flight particularly interesting. In the past flights were irregular and flight schedules were when the weather was rough, hard to count on. However, as more airlines are no offering flights on this exciting route, things have improved a lot compared to the days in the 90s and 00s.

What Are The Teahouses on the Gokyo Ri Trek Like?

Tea houses are small hotels known as Bhatti. Them being small hotels, you can expect a certain level of comfort. Yes, you can, but just know that comfort is a relative concept. They are comfortable to the extent that you have a place to sleep and that you can enjoy home-cooked meals. That’s right, tea houses are run by local families who have opened their houses to trekkers passing by.

Because trekking in Nepal has become so popular in recent years, more and more tea houses have opened their doors and the concept has improved over the years. The more popular your route, the better the quality of your tea house is. Hence, the teahouses on the Everest Base Camp Trek are of good quality. Quality meaning that you can expect flush toilets, hot showers and in some cases wireless internet. The use of these amenities is at an extra charge. On popular routes, it is even likely that you will stay in a building that has been built with the sole purpose of serving as a tea house.

Packing List for the Gokyo Valley Trek

Trekking in Nepal requires decent gear. Especially the basics like an 80-90 L backpack and quality trekking socks. We highly recommend that you read our suggestted packing list to hike in Nepal.

  • Documents

  • Sleep

  • Footwear

  • Clothing

  • Accessories

A professional guide and the logistics, accommodation, food and even equipment for your route are organized from start to end. Everything is under control when you do one of our guided tours. Check it out right here!

Where Can I Book the Gokyo Valley Trek?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book this trek and many others. Our guided options come with experts on the ground, and offer you a convenient, stress-free, safe, and educational way to explore the outdoors. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is this not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our blog posts:

About Us

At Bookatrekking.com, you will find the trek that will make your life unforgettable. Whether you want to explore the Inca Trail or climb Kilimanjaro. Bookatrekking.com has a wide and varied range of first-class treks. No false promises are made here. Transparent prices and bookings are fixed instantly. Find, compare, book and trek!
Read more about us

Also Interesting

Read More