Best Time to Trek Gokyo Lakes

Best Time to Trek Gokyo Lakes

Gokyo Lakes Trek is the second most beloved trekking adventure in the Everest region, which is the number one trekking destination in the Himalayas. Diverting from the mainstream Everest Base Camp Trek route that leads to the foothills of the highest snow-clad peak in the world, Mt. Everest, at an elevation of 8848.86 meters (29,031 feet), this trekking journey takes you to the world’s highest freshwater lake system, Gokyo Lake at the altitude of 4,790 meters (15,715 feet). Exploring the Everest region this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting adventure opportunities in the region, but what is the best time to trek Gokyo Lakes?

Generally, in the Nepali Himalayas, the high or peak seasons like autumn (September, October, and November) and spring (March, April, and May) are considered to be the ultimate timeframe to make the best out of the Himalayan odyssey. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t explore the iconic trails of these glacial lakes in other seasons. Although the high seasons do offer an unforgettable experience with their enchanting natural allurements, cultural experience, and ideal climatic conditions, the off seasons like monsoon (June, July, and August) and winter (December, February, and January) add their own unique perspectives to your exploration.

Thus, the best time to trek Gokyo Lakes mostly depends on what kind of experience you are looking for in your Himalayan odyssey. Keep following the article to find out more about what you can expect from your adventure during different seasons and understand other aspects of the journey to turn it into an unforgettable experience.

Best Time to Trek Gokyo Lakes: Gokyo Lakes Trek in Different Seasons

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Gokyo Lakes Trek, which takes place in the mainstream Everest region in the eastern Himalayas, can be done throughout the year. You can participate in these iconic trekking routes to the pristine glacial routes throughout every season in the year, both high seasons and low seasons. However, the attractions and allurements of the region differ depending on the seasons of your visit. Thus, you can check out the following list to see what each of the seasons has to offer and what might be your best time to trek Gokyo Lakes.

Gokyo Lakes Trek in Spring (March, April and May)

The spring season is considered the season of nature; thus, the country abundant in natural beauty doesn’t disappoint you when it comes to any kind of adventure in this season. This peak point of nature invites trekkers with a lush landscape adorned with dotted bright flowers. Similarly, as the winter landscapes slowly fade away, the melting ice adds momentum to the cascading rivers, waterfalls, and springs. The climatic conditions in the spring season are favorable, and days are mostly accompanied by clear skies.

You can expect the temperatures to be even warmer in the alpine zones, which is one of the major reasons why most trekkers prefer this season for their glacial lake exploration. On top of that, spring provides the perfect window frame to explore the endangered flora and fauna of the Sagarmatha National Park that are much more active during this nature’s peak point.

Temperature of Gokyo Lakes Region During Spring: 4°C to 28°C (lower regiond), -2°C to -7°C (higher regions)

Highlights of Gokyo Lakes Trek in Spring

  • Blooming rhododendrons and wildflowers that cover the landscapes
  • Perfect climatic conditions and mild temperatures
  • Unique festivals like Holi, Chaitar Dashain (small Dashain), Bisket Jatra, etc
  • Well-maintained and comfortable trekking trails
  • Abundant wildlife exploration prospects of the Sagarmatha National Park
  • Breathtaking views of Himalayan vistas across the stunning landscapes

Gokyo Lakes Trek in Autumn (September, October and November)

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Even though the spring season sees a large surge in the number of trekkers, unlike any other seasons throughout the year, autumn is still considered the number one season for trekking in Nepal. During this season, the weather conditions are quite stable, and there are rarely any weather obstructions that can affect your itinerary plans. Similarly, due to the low precipitation rate, the walking trails are at their optimum conditions, and you will be able to easily move along the routes without any worries.

Also, as the days are clear and mostly cloudless, the epic views of the pristine Himalayas vistas till the end of the horizon will be something you will treasure forever. Distinct from the lush greenery and stunning visual of the spring, the autumn season’s foliage color of green, grey, yellow, crimson, and brown will add a unique perspective to your experience of witnessing the epic cycle of nature.

Moreover, the autumn season is also popular for its incredible cultural celebrations, which is why it is a top candidate for the best time to trek the Gokyo Lakes category. If you will schedule your trekking adventure right, you will get the chance to immerse in some of the most incredible festivals in the country, like Dashain, Tihar, Chhath, Gai Jatra, Mani Rimdu, Indra Jatra, etc.

Temperature of Gokyo Lakes Region During Autumn: 1°C to 27°C (lower region), -2°C to -13°C (higher regions)

Highlights of Gokyo Lakes Trek in Autumn

  • Clear and crisp mountain views
  • Lower precipitation rate and dry walking trails
  • Favorable climate and ideal temperature (neither too cold nor too hot)
  • Foliage of the fall season and the golden texture of the harvest season
  • Less crowded trekking trials
  • Incredible festival atmosphere (celebration of grand festivals like Dashain, Tihar, Chhath, and Mani Rimdu)

Gokyo Lakes Trek in Monsoon (June, July, and August)

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Monsoon season, which is at the peak point of the summer season, is not that much of a favorite period for Himalayan trekking adventures. The continuous downpour of this rainy season creates many obstacles and challenges that can affect the overall experience. Due to the bad weather conditions, the itinerary plans for the trek need to be flexible, as the weather conditions can disrupt the transportation service.

Similarly, due to continuous downpours, the lower trekking trails are mostly muddy and can be slipper. The continuous rainfall also increases the risk of natural disasters like landslides and flood. You will need to be experienced in high-altitude trekking and following safety protocols if you are planning to do the Gokyo Lakes Trek in the monsoon season.

Although, the trail is challenging in this rainy season, and you will need the right gear to move along the trail safely, the experience is simply outstanding. The freshness in the air, cool breezes, and lush terrains nourished by the rain and the water-puddle landscapes show a different side of the Himalayan region.

Temperature of Gokyo Lakes Region During Monsoon: 9°C to 28°C (lower regions), -2°C to -6°C (higher regions)

Highlights of Gokyo Lakes Trek in Monsoon

  • Lush landscapes nourished by rain
  • Fewer crowds
  • Impressive cascading rivers and waterfalls
  • Unique perspectives of the misty and fresh atmosphere
  • Opportunity to explore the rich flora and fauna of Sagarmatha National Park\
  • Rainbows and water puddle-strewn landscapes
  • Fresh mountain views
  • Celebrations of festivals like Buddha Jayanti, Naga Panchaami

Gokyo Lakes Trek in Winter (December, January, and February)

Spring is the high time to explore the peak period of nature, but did you ever get curios about what the mystical Himalayan region looks like during its pinnacle period? Yes, during the winter season, the entire Himalayan region turns into a winter wonderland. Although, due to the extreme cold, trekking in this season can be quite a bit of a challenge, the experience is certainly unparalleled.

The entire landscape of the Himalayan region is covered with a thick fur of snow, and pristine snow that covers everything to the summit of the glorious peaks showcases the true magnificence of the Himalayas. However, to cope with the coldest season in the Himalayas, you will need to pack heavy layers and gear to keep yourself warm. As the trekking trails are mostly covered by snow, you will need to traverse across the thick snow, which can make the journey physically demanding.

Temperature of Gokyo Lakes Region During Winter: 1°C to 14°C (lower regions), -2°C to -20°C (alpine zones)

Highlights of Gokyo Lakes Trek in Winter

  • Snow-covered landscapes that sum up a winter wonderland
  • Thrilling trekking routes covered with fur of snow
  • Less crowded route
  • Snow sports prospects
  • A unique sense of serenity and solitude
  • Fascinating cultural celebrations like Maghe Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, Maha Shivaratri, Losar

So, What is the Ideal Period for You to Trek?

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As we already discussed, the ideal period for your trekking adventure depends on what kind of perspective you are looking for. If you want to enjoy a comfortable experience and a seamless journey, you should go for the high seasons like spring and autumn. As the weather challenges are non-existent during these peak seasons, thus the overall difficulty level of the Gokyo Lakes Trek is also on the lower scale.

However, as the peak seasons are the most favorable period of trekking adventures in Nepal, the trekking crowd on the route is also higher compared to other seasons. On the other hand, the low seasons, like winter and monsoon, do have less crowded trails, but the unfavorable climatic conditions elevate the difficulty scale of the adventure. Thus, if you are a trekking beginner who doesn’t have much experience in high-altitude adventures, we recommend the high seasons for you.

What is the Difficulty Level of the Gokyo Lakes Trek?

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The Gokyo Lakes Trek has been categorized as a moderate-level Himalayan trekking exploration. This journey to the pristine glacial lakes doesn’t take you across any technical section or high Himalayan passes; thus, this trek is also considered suitable for beginner trekkers. Although the high-altitude trekking experience will be helpful, it is not a mandatory necessity for this Himalayan exploration.

However, even if this is a moderate level of trekking adventure in the eastern Himalayas, there are several aspects of this journey that you have to prepare for. Overcoming these obstacles with right preparation will ensure a blissful journey.

Altitude Gain

After ascending over an altitude of 2,500-3,000 meters, the human body starts to show the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) if a proper acclimatization process is not followed. In the Gokyo Lakes trek, you will reach the maximum elevation point at Gokyo Ri, which is situated at an elevation of 5,340 meters (17,519 feet) from sea level; thus, proper acclimatization is absolutely necessary for this journey.

Trekking Distance

The overall trekking distance of the Gokyo Lakes Trek is roughly around 93 km (57 miles). The total distance covered in your Himalayan journey may vary depending on the route take and side highlight exploration. For the standard trekking adventure, you will have to walk for around 5 to 6 hours every day on average. The long hours of the trek can be physically exhausting for those who have not trained for the trek.

Climatic Conditions

Depending on the season of your visit, you will have to deal with different climatic conditions. Although the statistics of different seasons can be taken as a reference to expect specific climatic conditions during your trip, it is only limited to the lower region. The high alpine zones have their own climatic conditions, and although they are favoring during the high seasons, you still need to be prepared for the unexpected.

Remoteness

Compared to the second mainstream trekking region in the country, the Everest region is considered somewhat more in touch with the wilderness. Although the lower regions do offer services close to establishments of urban civilization, the services are more limited as you keep ascending to high altitudes. If you have high expectations and are not used to leaving your comfort zone, then it can be hard for you to maximize the experience.

How to Prepare for Gokyo Lakes Trek?

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Learning the best time to trek Gokyo Lakes is not just quite enough if you want to create fond memories. You should also be physically capable of meeting the physical demands of the overall adventure so you can actually enjoy the experience without feeling exhausted all the time. If you make an adequate amount of physical preparation for the trek, you will easily overcome more than 80% of the hurdles in any Himalayan trekking adventure.

It is recommended that you train for at least 3 to 6 weeks for any high-altitude treks in Nepal, as you will have to take on the remote-rugged route that gradually climbs to significant altitudes. If you are not that physically active, you can adjust the duration of your training according to your needs; your main focus should be getting your body accustomed to the physical activities. Your primary focus should be on strength and endurance training as well as extending your stamina reserve.

Your strength level will determine how well you will be able to handle the physical demands of the trekking trail, and the stamina/cardiovascular exercises will make every day’s trekking adventure a seamless journey. The cardiovascular exercises also develop your body’s overall oxygen-delivering capacity, which will make it easier for you to acclimatize to the new altitudes along the way.

Strength Exercises: Plank, Squat, Hammer Curl, Pull Up, Push Up, Weightlift, Overhead Press, Step Up, Deadlift, Leg Press, Step Up, etc

Stamina Exercises: Jogging, Cycling, Dancing, Swimming, Jumping Jack, Mountain Climber, Kick Boxing, etc

Note: Practise hiking is also one of the efficient ways to prepare for treks in Nepal. You can hike to nearby hills carrying your backpack; it will give you some insights into what you can expect during your actual trek and the physical aspects that you need to work on.

Food and Accomodation

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The best time to trek Gokyo Lakes, i.e., the high seasons (autumn and spring), also offer incredible food exploration prospects. Especially, the autumn season, which is known as the harvest season for the grain crops, offers an extensive range of exquisite traditional delicacies to the trekkers. As the Everest Base Camp Trek places in the mainstream region, you can expect a wide variety of menus at the teahouses along the route. The food menu at the teahouses in the trekking route generally comprises traditional dishes, regional dishes of the country, western menus, as well as Indian and other Asian culture-influenced dishes.

Breakfast Menu

The breakfast menus at the teahouses generally consist of light, tasty, and rich-in-fiber dishes. You can enjoy the popular breakfast options in the Himalayas, like Tibetan Bread, Tsampa Porridge, Chapati, Buckwheat Bread, Sel Roti, etc. The Western variant of breakfast includes menus like Pancake, Egg Items, Toast, Jam, Butter, Honey, Muesli, Juice, Tea/Coffee, etc.

Lunch and Dinner Menu

Like the breakfast options, the lunch and dinner menus are also quite extensive and diverse in this mainstream trekking region. You can enjoy a variety of traditional dishes like Dal Bhat, Dhindo Gundruk, Momo, Chowmein, Thukpa, Shyaphale, Sherpa Stew, Tingmo, Aloo Tama, etc. As for the Western option, you can enjoy menus like Pizza, Pasta, Fries, Steak, Macarons, Sandwich, Salad, etc.

Note: If you are curious about whether the vegetarian and vegan options are available at the teahouses or not, they are available at all teahouses throughout the trekking route. You can even make a personalized request to the chef to remove the ingredients you don’t want in your meal.

Accommodation Options

The primary accommodation options in the Himalayas are teahouses/lodges. Depending on what kind of package you are trekking with, you will spend a few nights at the star hotel in Kathmandu as well. In a standard 11 Days Gokyo Lake Trek, you will spend 10 nights on the mountain. As the Everest region is a mainstream trekking destination, the accommodation facilities here are quite more advanced than in other parts of the country. You also have the option to choose luxury trekking packages and custom-tailored packages, which will get you more luxurious accommodation facilities as per your preference.

However, the accommodation facilities in the standard trekking packages are also very comfortable. During your trek, you will rest inside warm private rooms that have two to three beds. All the basic amenities like mattresses, pillows, and blankets are provided, and like the room, the bathroom has a shared arrangement. You can easily take hot showers in the lower region as the teahouses have bathrooms equipped with modern facilities. However, as you ascend higher due to the remoteness, you will have to buy a hot water bucket for a bath.

Note: Even though the teahouses provide blankets, pillows, and mattresses to every trekker, we still recommend you bring your sleeping bag. It is a very convenient gear for high-altitude treks.

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Trekking Equipment for Gokyo Lakes Trek

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After discussing the best time to trek Gokyo Lakes, it is also important to understand what kind of trekking equipment/gear, clothes, and hygiene products you should bring along with you in your trekking adventure. During your Gokyo Lakes, you will traverse across a total of six climatic zones: tropical, sub-tropical, temperate, sub-alpine, alpine, and trans-Himalayan zones. As the conditions in these different climatic zones are different depending on the season of your visit, you need to be fully prepared for your exhilarating exploration.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to carry all your luggage by yourself; you can get a helpful porter to assist you with carry-ons to travel light. You should emphasize on making your packing list as light as possible, but don’t leave out the essentials just to make your luggage light and avoid hiring a porter for the trek.

Here are some of our recommended pack lists that you can use as a reference to make efficient packing for your trip.

Head and Body

  • Sunnrim hat or sports hat
  • Head scarf or handkerchief
  • Warm hat (woolen or beanie)
  • Neck cowl or gaiter
  • Lightweight t-shirt
  • Cotton shirt
  • Warm thermals
  • Fleece breathable jacket
  • Waterproof hooded jacket
  • Warm insulated jacket
  • Down jacket
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Woolen or insulated gloves
  • Several pairs of undergarments

Feet

  • Trekking boot (break-in first)
  • Flexible sports shoes
  • Lightweight socks
  • Insulated warm socks
  • Flexible sandals or crocks
  • Waterproof gaiter

Personal Hygiene/Toiletries

  • Bar soap and shampoo
  • Facewash
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Sunscreen cream
  • Body lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Deodorant
  • Small mirror
  • Nail clipper and razor
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Foot powder
  • Insect repellent
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissue paper and toilet paper
  • Personal medication
  • Female hygiene products

Trekking Gear/Equipment

  • UV protection sunglasses
  • Trekking pole
  • Backpack
  • Duffle bag
  • Sleeping bag
  • Packing sack
  • Headlamp (don’t forget extra batteries)
  • Multi-tool knife
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Camera and binoculars
  • Water bottles and thermos flask
  • Board games and card games
  • Map, guidebook, and GPS device
  • Books and magazines
  • Pen and journals

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