Gokyo Lakes Trek: A Complete Guide For Your Next Expedition
Gokyo Lakes Trek

The Gokyo Ri aka Gokyo Lakes Trek is one of the most spectacular treks in the Everest region. From the Sherpa homeland to the Gokyo valley, this trek follows the Dudh Koshi and Khumbu valleys, providing breathtaking views of four 8,000m peaks: Everest, Cho Oyu, Makalu. You’ll also have the chance to climb Gokyo Ri, a mountain that overlooks the tiny Gokyo village, and Nepal’s largest glacier, the Ngozumpa glacier. You once knew the Gokyo Ri Trek in Nepal to be the best place to get a view of the Everest ranges.  

Gokyo Trek starts from Kathmandu on a scenic flight to Lukla, the world’s scariest airport. The trail passes through well-known Sherpa villages such as Phakding, Namche, and Dole on its way to Gokyo Valley. We explore the turquoise Gokyo lakes before ascending to the high-route pass of Cho La (5330m) which connects Khumbu valley and Mount Everest Base camp. If you have a few extra days, you may also encompass both in a single excursion. 

The trek follows a well-trodden route the entire way, although it can be rugged in places. It is not precipitous so no climbing or mountaineering experience is required. A complete trip is a walk, but some hills can be steep and seemingly endless! 

The Gokyo Ri Trek, the best alternative trail to the Everest Base Camp Trek, provides breathtaking views of Himalayan peaks, lakes, and glaciers. Today, we’ll talk about the Gokyo Ri Trek and how adventurous it is! 

Gokyo Lakes Trek Outline Itinerary

Highlights of Gokyo Lakes Trek

  • Take a scenic flight to Lukla airport to begin your adventure.
  • Explore the Everest region’s less-traveled, off-the-beaten-path trails.
  • Hike to Gokyo Ri (5,357m) for a spectacular view of Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu.
  • Experience the pristine ambiance of the turquoise Gokyo Lakes.
  • Lodge-based accommodation. 

Gokyo Lake Trek Trip Facts

Trip Duration11 Days
Trip DifficultyStrenuous
Maximum Altitude5375 Meters
Accommodation Lodges/Tea-houses
Best Time to TrekAutumn/Spring
Walking Duration 5-7 hours
Group SizeMinimum 1 Person
Day ItineraryAltitude in MetersTrekking Distance
1.Fly to Lukla then trek to phakding2600 3h00
2. Trek to Namche Bazaar3440 6h00
3. Acclimatization Day!
4.Trek to Dole 3680 5-6h00
5.Trek to Machhermo 44704h00
6.Trek to Gokyo Lakes4800 4h00
7.Hike to Gokyo Ri (5357 m) and back to Gokyo Valley48004h00
8.Trek to Dole36807h00
9.Trek to Namche34406h00
10.Trek to Lukla28007h00
11.Fly back to Kathmandu13500h40
Everest Base Camp Trek guide
Namche Bazaar

When is the best time to go trek to Gokyo Ri?

Autumn (September to November) and Spring (March to May) are by far the best seasons for trekking in Nepal, and the Gokyo Ri Trek is no exception. The weather in Autumn and Spring is moderately warm and stable, making it ideal for trekking. During these seasons, the skies seem to remain clear, providing stunning views of the mountains.

The average temperature in Nepal during the autumn season ranges from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius. Similarly, in the spring, the average temperature in Nepal ranges from 15 to 23 degrees Celsius.

Cholatse from Gokyo Lake

It completely covered the trail with snow during winter (December to February). Excess snow can also interrupt the route in extreme conditions. The Gokyo Lakes can be fully frozen while you visit in late February or early March. Similarly, the trail can challenge and block walking in winter.

Unlike most of the treks in Nepal, Gokyo Ri is not a year-long trekking destination. The trails are slippery during the Monsoon (June-August), so we do not recommend it to walk this season.

Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty

The Gokyo Lakes Trek is moderately difficult but it does not involve any technical skills. The whole circuit from Lukla to Gokyo Ri and back takes 10 days for this itinerary. On average, the trek will need you to walk 5 to 6 hours a day. 

Despite being less traveled than Everest Base Camp, the trail is well-marked and easily navigable. The most important thing to remember while trekking to Gokyo Ri is altitude. On this trek, you will spend a few nights above 4,000 meters, therefore, you will need to be aware of the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).

Although the Gokyo Ri Trek is considered a moderate trek, it allows you to walk through steep uphills and downhills in the rugged terrains of the Himalayas. In addition, some trails on the steep slopes are physically demanding. As a result, you must approach these routes with adequate planning and physical fitness. To prepare for the trek, engage in cardio exercises such as hiking, jogging, cycling, and swimming.

Permits & Regulations

The local government of the Khumbu region has implemented a new permit that replaces the TIMS Card since 2018. As a result, a TIMS Card is no longer needed for trekking in the Khumbu region; instead, you require getting a Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Permit.

This permit is not available in Kathmandu. So, you get this permit only in either Lukla or Monjo. The Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Permit cost is approximately US$18 per individual. This permit is valid for the entire Everest region.

You’ll also need a Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project (GCAP) Permit if you want to start the Gokyo Ri Trek from the classic Jiri route. The permit cost is similar to the Sagarmatha National Park fee and is available from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu.

Necessary PermitsPrices
Pasang Lhamu Rural MunicipalityNPR 2000/US$18
Sagarmatha National Park NPR 3000/US$28
Gauri Shankar Conservation Area (Only applicable if a trek starts from Jiri)NPR 3000/US$28

Keep in mind that all permit fees are payable in Nepalese rupees. Before trekking in this region, make sure you exchange sufficient local money.

Lukla Airport Everest
Lukla Airport, the gateway of the Everest region

Food and Accommodation

Most of the teahouses on the Gokyo Ri Trek are relatively comfortable and well-developed since they are elsewhere in the Khumbu region. There are many teahouses enroute to Gokyo Ri, ranging from cheap hotels with basic amenities to luxury hotels with hot showers.

Most teahouses, though not luxurious, will provide the requisite amenities such as rooms, food, charging stations, Wi-Fi, and a hot shower. It furnished the rooms with twin beds, a thin mattress, a pillow, and a set of bedsheets. Most teahouses do not generally have attached bathrooms. Keep in mind that if you choose to use services such as Wi-Fi, charging stations, and a hot shower, the teahouse will charge you an additional fee!

The teahouses of Gokyo Ri offer both Nepali and Western cuisines on their menus. Despite the minimal food choices, the portion of the meal is so very substantial.

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Some Frequently Asked Questions

To help you plan your trip, here are some frequently asked questions about the trek to Gokyo Lakes.

What exactly are the Gokyo Lakes?

Gokyo Lakes is a set of six stunning glacial lakes. The lakes are among the world’s highest freshwater lakes, with altitudes ranging from 4,700m to 5,000m. The lakes lie in the stunning Sagarmatha National Park, which also is homes to Mount Everest. Trekkers often visit Gokyo Lakes as a side trip on their way to Mount Everest Base Camp. 

Why Should I Go to the Gokyo Lakes?

The Gokyo Lakes are breathtakingly beautiful. This expedition provides some of the most breathtaking views of Mount Everest and Cho Oyu. The views are unquestionably even better than Kalapathar, the most prominent viewpoint along the classic EBC trek route.

How Do I Get to the Gokyo Lakes? 

Your adventure will begin with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. You should also suppose significant delays at the Kathmandu airport. If you have more time or wish to explore Lower Khumbu, then you may start your expedition either Jiri or Salleri.

Final words

The Gokyo Ri Trek is a perfect alternative to the Everest Base Camp trek. This 11-day itinerary includes everything from spectacular mountain scenery to high-altitude turquoise lakes to the immense Ngozumpa glacier.

While this trek is considered a moderate trek in difficulty, some hard places are in the higher reaches of the trek. As a result, you need physical fitness and mental preparation for trekking in this region.

About Author

Kumar Lama
Kumar Lama is a founder of Himalayan Exploration Treks Pvt. Ltd. He is leading a team of travel professional offering tailor made travel services across Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.