Great Himalaya Trail | Quick Overview
Starting and ending points: Kanchenjunga on Nepal’s eastern border with India and Humla on its western border with Tibet
Total distance: Nearly 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles)
Number of Sections: 10
Shortest Section: Langtang (18 days)
Longest Section: From Makalu to Everest region (34 days)
Time Allocated: Approximately 150 days for the entire GHT, but most trekkers opt for shorter sections
Best time to embark: September to November and March to May
Difficulty level: Challenging
Accommodations: Basic mountain lodges (teahouses) and camping
For those looking for a flavor of adventure travel, Nepal’s Great Himalaya Trail offers the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s one of the longest and highest natural walks on earth, and likely the most dramatic which aims to reveal the entire landscape of Nepal from east to west along with the shadows of the world’s highest peaks. Literally, one can play hide and seek with nature, its vegetation and towering peaks covered with snowflakes.
For Great Himalaya Trail, no technical climbing is required but obviously, there are numerous high passes above 5,000 meters. And most crucially, the 150-day plus trip is said to be far more difficult than hiking up any single mountain.
The Great Himalaya Trail entails 10 different sections starting from Kanchenjunga on Nepal’s eastern border to Humla on the western with Tibet. It proceeds from subtropical jungles to high altitude alpine ecosystems, through villages of Buddhists, Hindus, Sherpas, Tibetan refugees, Lhomis, and Shamans, among many others.
One true fact yet sad is the lack of development—these are not well-established trekking trails but instead the existing network of primitive trade routes and pilgrimage trails that have/had been extensively used by locals for centuries. In fact, not one new trail was appeared or established.
To perceive the context of the Great Himalaya Trail, we need to know a fact that Nepal had officially opened its border for foreigners in 1950 for the first time. Early hiking pioneers, mostly from western countries, eagerly flew to Kathmandu for the opportunity to face off against the world’s giant mountains. In 1953, the top of the world, Mt. Everest was conquered by Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.
Everything in Nepal was different back then—Hillary’s massive group spent a perilous month hiking from Kathmandu through the jungles and managed just to reach the Solu-Khumbu Region and Everest Base Camp.
By the 1960s the idea was still hatching to be Nepal, a trekking haven and heaven for the rest of the world. What began as a trickle of trekkers gained momentum and the country soon garnered the reputation as the birthplace of adventure tourism. For many years, only the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp treks had dominated the spotlight of trekking and hiking. With the existence of these two-lifetime treks into the lap of the Himalayas, and relatively low figures of people actually willing to travel to Nepal for weeks of mountain walking, as there were no new set of choices for anything else.
The gradual deterioration of the Annapurna Circuit by construction as well as an extension of road networks has really diverted hikers from the mainstream trekking spots based in and around Pokhara. Now. Tourism entrepreneurs, investors, and stakeholders have fully realized that Nepal’s mountains have so much more to offer. Indeed, Nepal always has had thousands of kilometers featuring its trails through far-flung villages that carry a similar aura as its most famous treks.
For the first time in 2009, the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) was born. It is still a rough patchwork of local foot trails, but after five years of research works, documentation, and mapping, the GHT was traversed for the first time in 2008 and 2009 by a team led by Robin Boustead for 162 days. The first commercial trip had embarked from February through August of 2011 and was completed successfully in 157 days. Only a few handfuls of guiding agencies had marketed the GHT, and only two have completed the trail in its entirety.
Regardless of whether or not you walk the full length of the Great Himalaya Trail, it represents the toughest shift in how we think about the trekking scene of Nepal since the concept was ignited here in the 1960s. These two trails have received almost all of the attention to date represents only a small portion of the Great Himalaya Trail, which in turn represents an even smaller section of the trekking opportunities in Nepal.
Furthermore, it is proposed to extend the Great Himalaya Trail more than 4,500 kilometers extending through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet in China. If it can be done, and if the full trail comes to operation, the Nepal section, Nepal’s GHT will still stand out mightily as one of the world’s last great venturesome destination.
If this piece of information brings a curiosity to traverse the GHT, you can simply write to us. We can hike the several sections of the Great Himalaya Trail in several sections. YES! It is not mandatory to complete in a single shot, we can make it in various takes.
For more, visit Trekking Top Nepal.