Gokyo Valley Lakes
Gokyo Lakes - High Alpine Lakes in Everest

Gokyo Valley and Lakes

The Gokyo region offers picturesque views of the Himalayas and the mindblowing beauty of the natural settlement.

Deepak Raj Bhatta
Author | Deepak Raj Bhatta Date Published:
Gokyo Valley Lakes

Gokyo Valley located in the Khumbu region of Nepal is one of the most fascinating and eye-appealing valleys of Nepal. It is a must place to visit for those adventure lovers who are willing to trek in the less crowded hiking trails of the Everest region. It lies outside the Everest Base Camp Trekking trails and is often less crowded than other trekking trails of the same region. Additional 4-5 days are required to explore the Gokyo Valley from the Everest Base Camp. 

Meanwhile, Gokyo Valley can also be reached after leaving the Everest Base Camp Trail from Khumjung. Mong La Pass situated at an elevation of 3,972 meters above sea level is the pass you will be crossing to reach the Gokyo Valley without reaching Everest Base Camp. Dole situated at an elevation of 4,038 meters above sea level is one of the human settlement areas where you can spend a night before moving towards Machherma village. 

Some of the popular destinations to explore in the Gokyo Valley includes the Gokyo Lakes, Gokyo Ri and many more. Meanwhile, two of the high passes of the Gokyo Valley includes Cho La Pass and Renjo La Pass. Cho La Pass lies at an elevation of 5,420 meters and Lobuche can be reached after crossing this high pass. Similarly, Renjo La Pass situated at an altitude of 5,345 meters joins the trail between Thame and Nagpala La Pass.

Table Of Content

Table Of Content

    Gokyo Lakes

    There are 19 freshwater lakes in the Gokyo Valley. Meanwhile, six of the lakes are comparatively big in size and holds more significance than other lakes of the valley. All of these lakes are situated at an altitude from 4,700 meters to 5,000 meters above sea level. Hindus and Buddhists considered these lakes as holy lakes. Meanwhile, the temple of the god Vishnu and Shiva is situated at the west corner of the lake. Many devotees take a dip in the lakes during the Janai Purnima festival which normally occurs in the month of August.

    Dudh Pokhari is the main lake among all 19 lakes of the Gokyo Valley. The area Dudh Pokhari is 106 acres and Gokyo village is situated on the eastern shore of the lake. Similarly, Thonak Cho is the largest and the deepest lake of the Gokyo Valley with an area of 160.8 acres and 62.4 meters of depth. Freshwater coming from the Ngozumpa glacier, the stream coming from Renjo La Pass etc are the main source of water for the Gokyo Lakes.

    Gokyo Village

    The main village of Gokyo Valley is Gokyo village and it is located in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal at an altitude of 4,750 meters above sea level. It lies on the foot of Gokyo Ri on the eastern shore of the Dudh Pokhari (Third Gokyo Lake). Gokyo Village is also one of the highest human settlement areas in the world. The people living in this village are dependent on the travellers and earn by providing them with accommodation and fooding. Life is very hard in this region and cold winter nights makes it even worse. Because of that, all the people of Gokyo Village move towards Namche Bazaar or other lower places during the winter season. 

    Gokyo valley lies in the Khumjung VDC of the Sagarmatha Zone. Gokyo Village has several stone houses, serving as hotels for trekkers. Most of the people living in this village are sherpas. Meanwhile, the people living in Gokyo Village are Tibetian influenced and follow Buddhism.

    Gokyo Ri

    Located on the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier, Gokyo Ri lies at an elevation of 5,357 meters above sea level. After reaching the top of the Gokyo Peak the trekkers have the option to return back to Gokyo village or to continue the trails towards the Cho La Pass. Cho La Pass lies at an altitude of 5,420 meters above sea level and after crossing this high pass one can join the Everest Base Camp Trekking trail.

    Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse are some of the high mountain ranges that can be seen from the top of the Gokyo Ri. Similarly, the largest glacier of Nepal, Ngozumpa Glacier can also be clearly visible from Gokyo Peak. The walk to Gokyo Ri from the Gokyo village is not an easy task but the view from the top is worth all the difficulties. Gokyo Ri is also the highest point of the Gokyo valley and High altitude sickness may be felt at such a high altitude.

    Lake System in Gokyo

    The Gokyo oligotrophic lakes are situated in the Sagarmatha National Park of Nepal. These lakes are the finest lakes and a beautiful combination of trekking in this region make it more adventurous and fascinating. These lakes are also the world’s highest freshwater lake system which lies in the enigmatic land of Mount Everest region. The five lakes of Gokyo are wonderful.

    And offers an amazing combination of adventure, culture and nature in the Himalayan land. Gokyo and some associated wetlands are the part of the Ramsar site since 2007. The five lakes of Gokyo freshwater lake system comprises Gokyo Cho (Dudh Pokhari), Thonak Cho (the largest), Gyazumpa Cho, Tanjung Cho, Ngozumpa Cho, and Longbanga Cho. However, there are numerous lakes situated in the Khumbu region which is also the part of Gokyo freshwater lake system wetland. 

    Situated in northeastern Nepal, Gokyo lake and associate lakes are popular for trekking in the Everest region. It is 2 days walk uphill from the world popular Namche Bazar. Trekking in Gokyo lake is also a part of the extended Everest Base Camp trek which is known as the EBC trek via Gokyo lakes. The trek extends around 4 days than the standard Everest Base Camp trek facilitating the trekkers with the best mountainous beauty in the Everest region.

    Gokyo lakes also hold a huge religious significance. These lakes are sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. Hindus take holy baths in Gokyo lakes during the Janai Purnima festival. This place is venerated as the residing place of Naga Devata. A small temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva is also situated in the western corner of Gokyo lake. 

    The Gokyo lake system comprises 19 lakes lying between 4600 to 5100 m. The Gokyo lake trekking let you witness the glacial beauty and the Himalayas. The perfect blend of culture, lifestyle, flora and fauna, moreover, the Himalayas make it more wonderful. Gokyo Cho, also popular as Dudh Pokhari is the main lake in the Gokyo freshwater lake system.

    Thonak Cho is the largest lake of Gokyo with an area of 160.8 acres. Another lake, Gyazumpa lake of the same kind, followed by Tanjung Cho lies in the same region. Ngojumba Cho is also a part of the Gokyo freshwater lake system in the wonderful Everest region. The wetland of the Gokyo freshwater lake system sprawls on the crest of Dudhkoshi, which slopes from Cho Oyu. The lake integratively discharges on the Dudhkoshi. 

    Gokyo Ri is another area for climbing in the Khumbu region, west of Ngojumba lake, which is part of Gokyo lakes. It lies at an altitude of 5357 m ASL. and facilitates trekkers with the best Himalayan views making it the best trekking paradise on earth. Least explored yet wonderful trekking to Gokyo lakes is the best trekking with the astounding views of the Himalayas. Also, it is best popular for providing insights into the culture and lifestyle of the locality. 

    From the Gokyo lake system, you can see the spectacular views of the Himalayas including Mount Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Ngojumpa Glacier, Everest, Nuptse Lhotse, and Makalu. The Renjo La Pass trekking itself is a virgin and pristine trekking route. The unspoiled beauty of nature and adventure with the mindblowing glimpses of the Himalayas are astounding in this region.

    Gokyo Valley Trek Itinerary

    Day 01: Fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, Trek to Phakding

    Day 02: Trek to Namche Bazaar

    Day 03: Acclimatization and Exploration Day

    Day 04: Trek to Dhole

    Day 05: Trek to Machherma

    Day 06: Trek to Gokyo

    Day 07: Hike to Gokyo Ri, Exploring Gokyo Lakes

    Day 08: Trek to Dhole

    Day 09: Trek to Namche Bazaar

    Day 10: Trek to Lukla

    Day 11: Fly to Kathmandu

    Gokyo Valley trek is one of the moderate trekking trails of the Everest region of Nepal. Beginners with a normal fitness level can complete the trek with proper training a few weeks before the trek. Similarly, Gokyo valley is different from that of the overcrowded trekking trails of the Everest Base Camp Trek. Fabulous views of the mountain ranges, valleys and lakes make the trek worth it and difficult to forget. Some of the 8,000 meters mountain ranges that can be seen include Everest, Cho Oyu and Lhotse.

    Everest Gokyo Lakes Trekking Itinerary

    The trekking itinerary for Gokyo lake and Everest Base Camp trekking is given below. The flight to Lukla from Kathmandu and onward trek will take you to the wonderful Gokyo lake and further trek ahead will take you to Everest Base Camp.

    Day 01: Kathmandu arrival, transfer to your hotel.

    Your Arrival Time (?) Our office representative will meet and greet you at Kathmandu Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Kathmandu.

    At 06:00 PM: In the evening we will meet for a coffee and will brief you on the details of your trek program.

    Elevation: 1350M

    *Optionally you can add one additional night stay in Kathmandu to cover cultural sightseeing in Kathmandu as well for your trek preparation shopping.

    Kathmandu Full Day Sightseeing: You will visit for a full day sightseeing in Kathmandu of Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Square, Boudhanath and Swayambhunath.

    Day 02: Fly to Lukla (2815M) and Trek to Phakding (2652M)

    At 05:30 AM: We will drive towards the airport for our Lukla flight. The drop to the airport will be according to the flight time. The 30 minutes adventurous flight will land at the Lukla airport and our adventure starts there. Our first-day trek start from Lukla towards Phakding. The amazing sherpaland never fails to surprise the trekkers. The trail then passes through, Chaurikharka, Ghat finally leading to a beautiful Phakding village at the bank of Dudh Koshi river. Overnight at Phakding.

    Elevation: 2652M

    Day 03: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440M) 

    At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, we will start our second-day trek towards the gateway of Everest, Namche Bazaar. For most people, this second day might be the hardest day as you will have to climb steeply before reaching Namche Bazaar. The trail follows upstream of the Dudh Koshi river. The trail passes through the Village of Monjo, Jorsalle, Benkar before reaching Namche Bazaar. From Monjo the world’s highest national park, Sagarmatha national park starts. The trek duration is 7-8 hours. Overnight at Namche Bazaar.

    Elevation: 3440M

    Day 04: Rest day at Namche Bazaar (3440M). Acclimatization hike to Everest Ama Dablam viewpoint (3900M)

    At 07:00 AM: Today is a day of a rest day in Namche Bazaar for acclimatization. After breakfast, we will hike to the viewpoint that is located just above Namche Bazaar. From this viewpoint, the clear view of Everest, Lhotse, Luptse, Amadablam, Thamserku and Kongde Ri can be seen. After spending a few times at the viewpoint we will return back to Namche Bazaar. Overnight at Namche Bazaar.

    Elevation: 3440M

    Day 05: Trek to Tengboche (3860M) 

    At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, we will move towards the village of the monastery. Tengboche has one of the biggest monasteries in the Khumbu region. The trail to Tengboche first starts with the flat surface gradually going into steep down to cross the river at Phunki Tenga and finally starting the steep climb to the Tengboche village.

    At 03:00 PM: Tengboche monastery visit. The trek today is 6-7 hours of walking. Overnight at Tengboche village.

    Elevation: 3860M

    Day 06: Trek to Dingboche (4,250m)

    At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, we will start from the Tengboche Monastery, we take a trail through the rhododendron forest to Deboche and further to Imja Khola. Then we climb to Pangboche village (3930m), a Sherpa village with the oldest monastery in the region. We will then start moving towards another village Somare and reach the beautiful Dingboche village (4250m). Overnight stay in Dingboche village.

    Elevation: 4,250M

    Day 07: Rest day in Dingboche (4,400m)

    At 08:00 AM: Today, we will have another day of acclimatization. You will head to another beautiful part of the Khumbu region, Chhukung offers you a magnificent view of Mt. Makalu, Island Peak, Peak 38 etc. Overnight in Dingboche Village.

    Elevation: 4,400M

    Day 08: Trek to Lobuche (4,950m)

    At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, we will move towards the barren valley vegetation. This is the most important day of the Everest Base Camp trek route. At Thangma Riju one can experience the 360-degree panoramic view of snow-capped mountains. The path joins the trail below Thugla and gives beautiful views of Cholatse (6442.) across the valley. The trail is rocky and icy at some parts. After another steep ascent, Taboche, Pumori, Kalapatthar and Nuptse are particularly spectacular from Lobuche. Overnight at Lobuche teahouse.

    Elevation: 4,950M

    Day 09: Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,150m) to Everest Base Camp (5,364m), back to Gorak Shep

    At 08:00 AM: Today is the most important day of our trek as we will be at the base camp of Everest. The walk towards Everest is along the Khumbu Glacier. We will reach the small village of Gorakshep, where we will have our lunch. After having our lunch the trail will lead you to the Mt. Everest base camp at an altitude of 5,364 meters. Everest base camp gives you an unforgettable view of Khubutse, Mt. Pumori, Changtse and Khumbu icefall instead of Mt. Everest.

    Elevation: 5,150M

    Day 10: Trek to Kala Patthar (5,545m) and Trek to Dzongla (4,740m) 

    At 05:00 AM: Early morning we will climb to Kala Patthar for a sunrise view. From the top, we will see a 360-degree view of some of the highest peaks in the world including Mt. Pumori (7,169m), Mt. Everest (8,848m) and Lhotse (8516m), the Tibetan peak Changtse, Nuptse (7861m), Amadablam and countless other smaller peaks. We will have our breakfast coming back and after breakfast, we will descend down towards Lobuche following the Glacial valley and change the path to Dzongla. Overnight at Dzongla.

    Elevation: 4,740M

    Day 11: Trek to Gokyo Lake (4,790m) 

    At 05:00 AM: Today is the pass day and we start early with a gentle climb at first hours towards the Cho La Pass. The trail crosses the glacier which is marked by cairns. Once we reach Cho La Pass, the trail goes downward to Thangnak. We then continue our trek passing by the lakes at Gokyo which pours down to the western division of the Ngozumpa Glacier. We go diagonally through the three outstanding lakes and traverse the third lake, Dudh Pokhari, and on the East Bank, we can mark the community of Gokyo. Walking along the lake, you can view the splendid summits of Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang.

    Elevation: 4,790M

    Day 12: Exploration day at Gokyo (4,790m) 

    At 05:00 AM: We start early today to Gokyo Ri (5360m) which lies above the village. The steep climb of about four hours to the top is quite strenuous, yet rewards with one of the best views of Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Lhotse. After spending a few times at Gokyo top we will return back to Gokyo. Overnight stay in Gokyo. 

    Elevation: 4,790M

    Day 13: Trek to Dole (4,038m) 

    At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, we will start to descend further down towards  Dole village. Beautiful view of Kusum khangru, Thamserku, Amadablam is just in front of us throughout the trail. Overnight at Dole.

    Elevation: 4,038M

    Day 14: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3,440m) 

    At 08:00 AM: After breakfast, we will further move downwards towards the Namche bazaar via Monga la(4000m). Overnight at Namche Bazaar.

    Elevation: 3,440M

    Day 15: Trek to Lukla (2,815m) 

    At 08:00 AM: Today is the last day of our trek and will further move downwards to reach our final destination of the trek Lukla. Overnight at Lukla.

    Day 16: Fly to Kathmandu / Shopping / Nepali Cultural Dinner

    At 06:00 AM: On this day we are returning to Kathmandu by flight. You will get shopping time in Kathmandu and we will have a farewell Nepali dinner together.  

    Day 17: Departure

    You will be free until your flight time; we will drop you at Kathmandu Airport 3 hour before your flight.

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    Best Time to visit Gokyo Valley

    Gokyo is one of the most beautiful trekking destinations in Nepal. Travelling this amazing place is a lifetime experience for all the trekkers trekking in this region. Similarly, Trekking for Gokyo Valley during its best time of the year will let you witness the true beauty of this place. During the Autumn season of the year, the weather is clear and warm. Amazing views of the mountain ranges can be seen due to the high visibility. September, October and November are marked as the Spring season in Nepal. It is the best time for the Gokyo Valley trek. 

    Another best season to go on a trek for Gokyo Valley is during the Spring season. A clear sky with warm weather during this season of the year makes it an ideal time for the trek. March, April and May are regarded as the Spring season in Nepal and during these months of the year, the blooming wildflowers add extra flavour during the trek.

    Winter and Summer are not the ideal seasons for trekking in the Gokyo Valley of Nepal. During the winter due to the cold weather, it is nearly impossible to trek in this region. Similarly, During the summer, due to the high chances of rainfall, there is the low visibility of the mountain ranges, lakes and valleys. 

    The floral and faunal attractions and wonderful freshwater lake system make it a popular lake in this region. More prominently, this region offers picturesque views of the Himalayas and the mindblowing beauty of the natural settlement. 


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