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Gokyo Lakes is one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing regions for trekking in Nepal. The blue and green lakes you will see during your trek will be pristine and memorable. However, trekkers must often research Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty before booking their excursion. So, in this blog, you will get all the highlights, the best places to explore, and the factors raising the trek difficulty, which will help you prepare for your trek.

Gokyo Lakes is about 5000m above sea level, among Nepal’s highest freshwater lakes. The majestic Gokyo Lakes Treks take you through subtropical forests, vast grassy lands, snowy peak alpine valleys, and glacial moraines. From the valley’s top, you will see stunning views of some of the tallest mountains and the beautiful glacial lakes below. The lake is now a Ramsar site since it is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. There are several pros to trekking Gokyo Lakes but also a few difficulties. Let’s get into them.

Highlights 

  • One of the most peaceful off-beaten treks of the Everest region.
  • Stunning mountain views to and from Lukla flight.
  • Climb one of the highest passes in the world with Gokyo Ri.
  • Stroll and explore around Ngozumpa glacier.
  • Majestic views of the mountains, like Makalu, Cho-Oyu, Mt Everest, and Lhotse.

Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty

Gokyo Lakes Trek is one of Nepal’s most fascinating and beautiful treks. It is different from other treks in the Everest region because the entire trek is off-beaten, with few roads or transportation facilities. You will pass through several remote villages in Namche, Dole, Gokyo Valley, and Macchermo, which need more infrastructure and services.

First, this trek’s difficulty ranges from moderate to challenging, which means it is unsuitable for beginners. However, it is still doable if one is physically trained and can trek in the ideal season.

Gokyo Lakes Trek
Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty 5

Some factors include altitude, distance and duration, rugged trails, changing weather and temperature, and natural disasters.

What Makes Everest Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty?

Altitude

Altitude is one of the most common factors that influence the difficulty of the Gokyo Lakes Trek. During this trek, you will be trekking at an altitude higher than 5000m, which means there is a considerable risk of altitude sickness. The trek goes through Namche Bazaar (3,438 m), Dole (3,680 m), Macchermo (4,470 m), Gokyo Valley (4,800 m), and finally to the Gokyo Ri (5,357 m). The altitude gain is high, so getting used to the increasing altitude is essential.

Weather Conditions

Weather in high-altitude trek is very dynamic and unpredictable. There is no warning sign when the weather is going to change. One moment, you are trekking in sunny weather; next, you will face dark clouds with relentless rainfall. You will also suffer from the relentless snowfall. Even during the warmest months, the temperature falls way below freezing. Hence, it is wise to trek in the ideal trekking season for Spring and Autumn if you don’t want to deal with dynamic weather conditions.

Remote and Rugged Trails

You’ll walk on rugged trails and faraway places on the Gokyo Lakes Trek in Nepal. Compared to other treks in the Everest region, few services, infrastructures, etc., make your trek easy and pleasant. 

Lack of Training

The trek to Gokyo Lakes is very off-beaten; if you lack physical training, it will surely take its toll on your body. You have to trek for about 10 to 15 days and six to seven hours per day, so it is essential to focus on physical fitness. Be sure you focus on your cardiovascular and breathing exercises.

Acclimatization

Acclimatization is a fundamental concept you must understand if you plan to trek to an altitude of over 5000m, like Gokyo Lake. Acclimatization is the only way of preventing or minimizing altitude sickness. The best practice of acclimatization is gradually ascending and descending altitude. Furthermore, you must trek high and sleep low to adjust to the weather, temperature, and low oxygen levels.

Hydration and Nutrition

During your high-altitude Gokyo Lakes Trek, it is wise to keep hydrating so that you are not dehydrated, which increases the risk of altitude sickness. Furthermore, eating nutritious and delicious food is essential to getting energy after a long and tiring trek. You should always strive for food and drinks when trekking high altitudes.

Duration of Everest Gokyo Lake Trek

The trek to Gokyo is an ideal choice for those who want to avoid the more crowded trails in the Everest region but still want to enjoy stunning views of Everest. The trek will take you through the Sherpa village and yak pastures and then into the beautiful Gokyo Valley with its shimmering lakes. 

The highlight of the trek is ascending Gokyo Ri, which offers the best views of Everest and surrounding peaks, including Cho Oyu in Tibet. The trek to Gokyo typically takes 13 to 15 days, but you can add more days to explore further.  Although trekking in the Himalayas is always challenging, the breathtaking scenery makes it worthwhile. The trekking experience in the Everest region is undoubtedly exceptional.

Gokyo Lakes Trek View
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The duration of the Gokyo Lakes Trek can be adjusted, but it generally takes about 10 to 14 days to complete. Here is the short-form itinerary detailing the duration of the Gokyo Lakes Trek.

  • Day 1: Fly to Lukla – Trek to Phakding
  • Day 2: Trek to Namche Bazaar
  • Day 3: Acclimatization in Namche Bazzar
  • Day 4: Trek to Dole
  • Day 5: Trek to Gokyo Lake
    Day 6: Gokyo Peak ascent and explore around
  • Day 7: Trek to Dole
  • Day 8: Trek to Namche Bazaar
  • Day 9: Trek to Lukla
  • Day 10: Fly to Kathmandu

Hence, the Gokyo Lakes Trek is 10 days long. The itinerary can be curated by adding and removing the side treks.

Measures to Cope with Trek Difficulty

  • It is wise to trek in the ideal trekking season, like Spring, to cope with the difficulty.
  • Acclimatize during your trek and always stay hydrated.
  • Always pack for every kind of weather, like sunshine, rainfall, snowfall, etc.
  • It is wise to hire guides and porters to make your trek easier.
  • Ascend and descend the altitude gradually, and don’t rush to the higher altitude.
  • Take some essential trekking equipment and gear like trekking poles, sleeping bags, and hiking boots.
  • If you want to cope with the difficulty of trekking, then it is always wise to trek with at least one more partner.
  • Always respect the local people and ask for permission before clicking photos.
  • After camping during your trek, do not leave the camp as it is, nor leave any trace, and contribute to the responsible trekking,

The best time for the Gokyo Lake Trek

The Gokyo Lakes Trek is one of the best trekking regions in Nepal, but it is crucial to determine the best time for the trek. The optimal trekking seasons in Nepal are spring and autumn, while the off-seasons are winter and monsoon.

Spring

Spring, from late March to mid-April, is an excellent time to trek because the weather is warm and there’s lots of daylight. But it can be crowded, especially in May. You’ll see pretty flowers and lakes, and there are places to stay and eat along the way. In March, you might see a special celebration called Gyalpo Lhosar. Spring season is famous for trekking in Gokyo Lakes and other trekking spots like Everest, Annapurna, and Manaslu Circuit Trek. During the Spring season, the trails become overcrowded, and the teahouses and lodges experience a surge in demand for accommodation.

Autumn

Like Spring, the fall season is great for hiking. It begins in September and ends in November. Although Autumn is also the peak season, it is a little less crowded, especially in November, as the days start getting chillier. During the Autumn season, the Gokyo Lakes terk becomes famous for the local Mani Rimdu festival.

Summer/ Monsoon Season

Monsoon season is the off-season and is less ideal for trekking. For about a few days, the summer season is perfect for trekking, but it is hot and humid, which might make trekkers fatigued quickly. As the days pass, the lower region gets intense rainfall, sometimes continuously for a few days. Furthermore, the forests are filled with insects and leeches, which might make the trekkers sick. Trekking in the monsoon season is even more risky as there might be massive potential for natural disasters.

Due to heavy rain at lower altitudes, the river’s level increases, which might lead to a risk of floods. In hilly areas, the soils become loose, resulting in landslides. Avalanches and blizzards are also widespread at higher altitudes.

Winter Season

In November, it gets freezing in the Gokyo region with some snow. December and January are even colder, with lots of snow on the trails. The heavy snow can make it hard to see and move around. Also, it’s often foggy, so seeing the beautiful mountains during winter is harsh. Due to continuous snowfall, blizzards, and snowstorms, the risk of avalanches is exceptionally high at a high altitude of over 5000m.

Essential Tips for Trekkers

Here are some of the vital tips for trekkers who are planning to trek the Gokyo Lakes Trek

  • It is necessary to learn about acclimatization and listen to your body.
  • Before booking your trek, it is wise to train your body and engage in exercises like breathing and cardiovascular.
  • It is wise to trek in the ideal trekking seasons, like Spring and Autumn, and avoid the off-seasons, like Winter and Monsoon.
  • Guides are compulsory to hire, but always hire porters to make your trek even simpler.

Hire a Guide and Porter

Gokyo Lakes Trek is a challenging trek at a high altitude in the Everest region. Hence, hiring guides and porters for your trek is quite beneficial and makes it easy. Before April 1, 2023, there was no rule on hiring guides compulsorily, so trekkers often explored the Gokyo Lakes trek on their own; however, due to security and safety issues, the government of Nepal issued a new rule.

Gokyo Lajes Trek Top view
Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty 6

From April 1, 2023, every trekker in any region of Nepal must hire at least one guide. Guides help you navigate the trails, help your language barrier problem, and take care of your logistics, like food, accommodations, and transportation.

There is no rule of hiring porters compulsorily, but hiring them is a wise choice if you want to make your trek easier. Porters are trained to carry heavy bags in the upper ascent of the trek, which means you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy loads. Usually, porters can easily carry luggage of about 20 kg and have excess to the yaks and mules to carry your baggage.

Conclusion

Hence, if you were wondering about the difficulty of the Gokyo Lakes trek, we hope our guide has helped you gain all the information. Some difficulties, like altitude, remote terrains, meals, and accommodation, influence beginners more than the experienced.

It is recommended that you prepare for your trek even before booking it. You should prepare for your physical fitness and indulge in breathing exercises. If you have doubts about the Gokyo Lakes Trek, we strongly recommend that you proceed with it, but exercise caution regarding its difficulty level.

FAQs

What is the highest elevation of Gokyo Lake Trek?

The highest elevation of the Gokyo Lake Trek is Gokyo Ri, at 5357 meters.

Is there a risk of altitude sickness during your Gokyo Lake Trek?

Yes, as you will be trekking at an altitude of over 5000m, there is a high risk of altitude sickness.

What is the total distance of the Gokyo Lake Trek?

The trek covers a total distance of 92 kilometers. Participants will walk approximately 9 to 10 kilometers daily, which equates to about 5 to 6 hours of walking.

What are the best seasons for Gokyo Lake Trek?

The best seasons for Gokyo Lake Trek are Spring and Autumn.

How to cure altitude sickness?

You have to carry medicine like Diamox, which will help you get some relief and immediately lower your altitude.

Tej Bahadur Gurung

With an experience of almost two decades, founder Mr. Tej Bahadur Gurung has established Nepal Alternative Treks as a widely recognized and reliable tourism operator. His degree in Tourism Studies and devotion to the sector has given him in-depth knowledge about trekking, climbing, cultural, and geological aspects of the country. He is a pioneer in introducing the concept of ‘off-beaten tracks’ and ‘alternative routes’ as well as treks and tour packages surrounding it.

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