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Top 6 Most Restricted and Challenging Treks In Nepal

Hidden in the Himalayas, there are many challenging treks in Nepal. The country is world-renowned for its beautiful and adventurous trekking destinations. Whatever kind of trek you seek, you will find one in Nepal.

In this blog, we will discuss the six most challenging treks in Nepal in detail. The difficulty of the trek is determined by several factors, including the route’s trail, weather conditions, and landscapes. The intensity and duration also influence the difficulty level. 

Nepal has diverse geographical regions and terrains. While some trek destinations have relatively easy terrains, some are incredibly challenging. Every trekkers have their preference. Some may want a relaxing trek journey, while others prefer an adventurous one. Whatever your preference, Nepal offers a wide range of selections. 

This blog is for those looking to challenge themselves with a thrilling trek experience. However, be warned that you will need good physical fitness and determination to complete these treks successfully. You must also be physically and mentally prepared to walk 6 to 8 hours a day while on the trek. 

List of Most Challenging Treks In Nepal

Everest Three High Passes Trek – 18 Days

everest three high passes trek

The Everest region is Nepal’s most popular trekking destination. It is home to the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. But it is also home to some of the most challenging and difficult treks in the country. The Everest Three High Passes Trek covers the entire Everest region, including the Everest Base Camp Trek. It is more difficult than the EBC Trek. 

The Everest three passes trek takes you across the three highest passes of the eastern region: Renjo La Pass (5360 m), Cho La Pass (5420 m), and Kongma La Pass (5535 m). You will also get to join the classic Everest Base Camp Trek route. The high altitude and rugged terrain make it an arduous journey. Likewise, it is one of the longest treks in Nepal which takes around 18 days. 

The trek is best suited for trekkers looking for adventure and excitement. It offers an excellent opportunity to explore the entire Everest region, not just the Everest Base Camp. Additionally, you can witness the surreal, pristine blue Gokyo Lakes. 

Annapurna Circuit Trek – 14 Days

The Annapurna Circuit Trek with Tilicho Lake takes you to Lake Tilicho, one of the world’s highest lakes. It is a popular trek in the Annapurna region. The trek starts from Jagat and heads north towards Chame, Pisang, and Manang. Then, it diverges from the classic Annapurna Circuit Trek route. You will head towards Siri Kharka and reach Tilicho Lake. Later, the trail once again rejoins the Annapurna Circuit at the Yak Kharka. 

From here onwards, you will head to Thorung Phedi before crossing the Thorung La Pass (5416 m). Then, you will reach the Muktinath temple, a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists. From Muktinath, you will head towards Tatopani and then to Gorepani. 

En route, you will witness the diverse flora and fauna, cascading waterfalls, charming settlements, and deep gorges while crossing the high passes. Due to high altitude, there is a risk of altitude sickness.

Manaslu Circuit Trek – 13 Days

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is also on the list of the most challenging trek in Nepal. The trails are rugged and physically demanding, but you can experience Nepal’s raw natural beauty on this trek. It lies in one of the remote parts of Nepal and is one of the most difficult treks.

The journey begins with a drive from Kathmandu to Soti Khola. From Soti Khola, your trek begins towards Machha Khola, Doban, Phillim, Ghap, Namrung, and finally to Samagaun. The village of Samagaun serves as an acclimatization stop for most trekkers. You can explore renowned places like Birendra Lake, Pungyen Monastery, and Manaslu Base Camp here.  

From Samagaun, you will head towards Samdo and then Dharmsala. The highest pass of the Manaslu region, the Larkya La Pass (5160 m) lies between Bhimtang and Dharmasala. The climb to Larkya La is as challenging as it sounds. But the climb will be worthwhile as breathtaking mountain vistas like Annapurna II, Cheo Himal, Himlung Himal, and more will greet you. 

From Bhimtang, you will continue trekking until you reach Dharapani. Trekkers often choose Dharapani as the endpoint of this strenuous trek. 

Upper Mustang Trek – 15 Days

upper mustang

The Upper Mustang Trek is one of the toughest treks in Nepal. It falls in the rainshadow region of the Himalayas. The terrain is desert-like and rocky. The region was restricted to outsiders until 1992, so its distinct culture, traditions, and historical monuments remain preserved.

Jomson serves as the starting point for the trek. You can reach Jomsom by flight or bus. From Jomsom, you will begin your trek and head towards Kagbeni, Chele, Ghami, Samir, Tsarang, and Lo Manthang. 

The trek offers gorgeous mountain views of Mt. Annapurna, Thorung Nilgiri, Lamjung Hila, Dhaulagiri, Chulu East, and several other peaks. Its unique landscape makes it one of the most unique experiences in Nepal. However, its remoteness and demanding terrain make it a physically demanding trek destination.  

Nar Phu Valley Trek – 14 Days

Nar Phu Valley Trek is also one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. The off-beat trails that lead to remote valleys and landscapes with raw nature appeal to many adventure-seeking trekkers. There is also a lack of proper infrastructure and amenities on this route.  It lies in the Manang region of Nepal. 

As you can see above, a beautiful and remote trekking area in the Annapurna region has also made our list. Add Tilicho Lake and Mesokanta Lo to your itinerary to challenge yourself further. 

The trek requires crossing two high mountain passes. Its starting point is Besisahar, also the starting point for Annapurna Base Camp. The trail up to Koto follows the same route as Annapurna Base Camp. Then, the trail for Nar Phu Valley turns east. En route to Phu Gaon, you will pass the Nar Khola River. Then, you will cross the two passes to enter Naar. 

From Naar, you will pass Kang La Pass before reaching Ngwala. From there, you will head towards Manang and join the Annapurna Circuit route. You will pass the Yak Kharka and Tharung Phedi before crossing the Thorung La Pass. After you reach the holy Muktinath temple, you will head towards Jomsom, Tatopani, and then return to Pokhara.  

Tsum Valley Trek – 16 Days

Mountains of tsum valley in nepal

Tsum Valley is a sacred Himalayan Buddhist pilgrimage and a hidden gem of northern Gorkha, Nepal, near the Tibetan border. It is one of Nepal’s most secluded valleys. Most residents are of Tibetan origin, so they speak a distinct dialect. Thus, Tibetan Buddhism has a strong influence in the region. 

This pristine Himalayan valley has a rich cultural heritage, arts, and traditions. The Tsum Valley trekking trails are adorned with prayer flags, chortens, and drawings of deities inscribed with sacred prayers. Although the trek’s highest point is relatively lower than others on the list, its remoteness and demanding trails still qualify it as a physically demanding trek destination in Nepal. 

The off-the-beaten-track trails of Tsum Valley Trek are scenic and adventurous at the same time. While on the trek, you can witness splendid vistas of majestic mountains like Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal, Himalchuli, and more. It will undoubtedly test your physical stamina, strength, and endurance, but the rewarding experience makes up for it. 

Other Challenging Treks To Explore In Nepal

  • Upper Dolpo Trek
  • Rolwaling With The Tashi Lapcha Pass
  • Poon Hill Trek
  • Ganja La Pass Trekking
  • Henjo La Pass To Cho Oyu Trek
  • Upper Dolpo Trek
  • Simikot Hilsa Limi Circuit Trekking
  • Everest Amphu Lapcha Pass Trekking
  • Kanchenjunga Trek
  • Makalu Serpani Col Amphu Lapcha Pass Trek
  • Sherpani Col Pass Trek
  • Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

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Top 10 Best Treks in Nepal


These were the six most challenging treks in Nepal. Due to the harsh weather conditions, some treks mentioned above are not doable during the monsoon and winter seasons, making the already strenuous trek more demanding. 

You must prepare thoroughly and undergo proper training to complete these treks on the list. If you need further information or want to embark on a trekking journey in Nepal, you can contact us here at Hillary Step Treks


What is Nepal’s most challenging trek? 

The Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek is known as Nepal’s most challenging trek. It takes you into remote regions with very limited infrastructure and teahouses. It is physically strenuous with a high risk of altitude sickness. Additionally, the long duration also makes it a difficult trek in Nepal. 

Which is most challenging, hiking or trekking? 

Trekking is more challenging than hiking. While on a trek, you must walk longer durations and cover greater distances. There is more possibility of encountering rough and demanding terrains while trekking. On the other hand, hiking is a short and relatively easy walk. 

How difficult is the Everest Base Camp Trek? 

Everest Base Camp Trek is moderately difficult. However, the trails of the EBC route require you to ascend and descend on diverse terrains, including steep and narrow sections. Likewise, there is a risk of altitude sickness due to high altitude. 

What factors influence the trek difficult? 

The trek’s difficulty depends on various factors. It includes trek duration, terrain, altitude, and weather conditions. Proper physical, mental, and equipment preparation can help make the trek experience more comfortable. Likewise, experienced guides and porters also provide valuable support. 

Is trekking in Nepal safe? 

Trekking in Nepal is safe. The routes are well-marked and in good condition. But for precaution, it is best to trek during spring and autumn. These seasons have the most favorable weather and temperature with minimum rainfall. 

Hillary Treks

My name is Hillary. Since completing the Government Guide Training from Nepal's Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (KEEP and HRA), I have been a specialist in mountain trekking and peak climbing. With specific expertise in the Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan regions, I have now been a trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal, and across the Himalayas, since 2012.

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