When visiting the Gokyo region of the Himalayas, one of the top highlights to take part of is the trek to the 4th and 5th Gokyo Lakes.
This day trek will have you going along the Ngozumpa Glacier, taking in views of the surrounding mountains as you reach these beautiful turquoise lakes. Not only that but you also will be able to enjoy one of the best views of Mount Everest in the region.
This guide will go into detail about the Gokyo Lakes trek to the 4th and 5th lakes and help answer any of you questions along the way.
1) How to Get to Gokyo
To be clear, this guide will not go over the trek to Gokyo village itself. Instead it will go into detail about the hike to the 4th and 5th Gokyo Lakes. This day hike is a popular option for those spending some extra days in Gokyo.
Below is some more detail on how to add Gokyo into your overall Himalayan trekking itinerary.
For those visiting the region, I am sure the trek to Everest Base Camp is the main reason for visiting. Unfortunately, Gokyo is not on that main Everest Base Camp route.
Although Gokyo is not on the standard 11-day Everest Base Camp trek, by adding more days onto your journey, you can easily include Gokyo on your longer trekking itinerary.
There is not just one option to get Gokyo onto your route. Rather, you can choose from a few different options here:
Three Passes Trek (~18+ days) – the Three Passes Trek is a circular loop about the region, while visiting Everest Base Camp along the way. The trek includes the Kongma La Pass, Cho La Pass, and Renjo La Pass. The Gokyo region lays between the Cho La Pass and Renjo La Pass.
Everest Base Camp Trek + Gokyo (~14+ Days) – the second main option here is to just take part of the main Everest Base Camp route while also adding in Gokyo. You basically need to include the Cho La Pass here, which connects the main EBC route with the Gokyo Lakes. From Gokyo you can decide to head straight back down to Namche (red route below) or continue on the Renjo La Pass towards Namche.
The reason I don’t give an exact number of days for these options is because you may have additional rest days + additional day hike options that you want to include on your trip.
When I visited the Gokyo region, I did so as part of the Three Passes Trek and spent 2 days / 3 nights in Gokyo. One day I headed up Gokyo Ri and the second day I visited the 4th and 5th lakes.
Below is a map of the region showing the standard Everest Base Camp trek (blue), Three Passes Trek (green), and just the option to do Everest Base Camp trek + Cho La Pass + Gokyo (red).
2) 4th & 5th Gokyo Lakes Trek Details
As a quick background, the Gokyo Lakes area comprises of 6 main lakes. The village itself is built on the 3rd lake (Dudh Pokhari) with the first two smaller lakes a short hike away (Lake I Longponga Tsho and Lake II Taboche Tsho).
If you continue further up the valley you will reach lakes IV, V, & VI. This guide will go over the trek from Gokyo to the 4th and 5th lakes only. Lake #6 adds another several hours of round trip hiking so it is usually left off of most day treks up to the further lakes.
Note that this is an out and back hike on the same path. You will begin in Gokyo, head out towards the 4th and 5th lakes, take in some views along the way, and then turn back around in the same direction you came.
Below are some helpful trekking details to note about your day trek from the village of Gokyo to the 4th and 5th lakes.
Starting & Ending Point: Gokyo Village
Stop #1: Gokyo Lake IV (Tonak Pokhari)
Stop #2: Gokyo Lake V (Ngozumpa Tso)
Gokyo Elevation: 15,584 feet / 4,790 meters
Gokyo Lake IV Elevation: 15,859 feet / 4,834 meters
Gokyo Lake V Elevation: 16,322 feet / 4,975 meters
Length: 8 miles / 13 kilometers (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 950 feet / 290 meters
Duration: ~5 hours
3) Gokyo Lakes Trek Map
Below is a visual view of what the trek from Gokyo to the 4th an 5th lakes looks like. The red pin is the village of Gokyo located right alongside the main Gokyo Lake. Directly next to village (on the map’s right hand side) you can see the massive Ngozumpa Glacier.
You will essentially be following this glacier for the duration of the trail there and back. Along the way though you will pass the 4th lake and the 5th lake (blue pin) as well as take in some stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Don’t Forget to Purchase Travel Insurance for Your Trek!
Before reading on – do not forget to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance package for your trekking experience in Nepal. Travel insurance covers so many different aspects of a trip, and is even more so vital for hiking in the Himalayas.
While there are many travel insurance companies out there, I believe that World Nomads is the best option for adventure travelers. Not only does it cover the basics such as flight delays, lost baggage, and trip cancellations, but it also has emergency medical coverage for high altitude activities such as trekking in the Himalayas.
The offerings from World Nomads include extensive coverage for all type of adventures, and I would highly recommend purchasing one of the World Nomads Travel Insurance Plans for your trip.
4) Elevation Gain Profile
I also wanted to include an elevation gain profile of what to expect on the trek itself. While the profile itself may seem a bit daunting, in reality it is not so bad whatsoever.
You will be starting around 15,600 feet and heading up to 16,300 feet. With some ups and downs along the way, the total gain is around 950 feet round trip.
So, from an elevation gain perspective this is actually one of the easier days of trekking that you will take part of during your time in the region.
5) 4th and 5th Gokyo Lakes Trek
Since this is a day trek from Gokyo, all you need for your hike today is a small daypack with your essentials. I would advise leaving early in the morning (I started around 7:30AM), so you then have the morning and early afternoon to hike before getting back to Gokyo for lunch.
Once you have had a healthy and hearty breakfast, it is time to leave the teahouse behind and start the trek out to the lakes. You will simply head to the northern part of town (towards Gokyo Ri), where you should see a path towards the right hand side pointing you to the lakes.
To your left will be Gokyo Ri, to your right the Ngozumpa Glacier, and straight ahead the pathway towards the lakes with Cho Oyu out in the distance (6th highest peak in the world).
The trail itself is pretty simple to follow as it is carved into the ground out in front of you. There will be plenty of rocks to maneuver your way around but nothing too bad out there.
After around 45 minutes or so you will approach the 4th lake from above. The main trail itself does not go directly next to the lake, but rather you will get the vantage point from up top. You could head down there if you would like to get an up close and personal view.
The trail by now will also have gained some elevation. So, you should also have some fantastic views of the Ngozumpa Glacier surrounded by the various mountain peaks in all directions.
Now the longer portion of trail towards the 5th lake begins as you continue along the pathway. The exciting part of this next section of the hike is the views of Mount Everest will slowly appear.
You will simply continue on the rocky and dirt filled path all the way through as the Ngozumpa Glacier begins to open up more. Mount Everest will come into view here but the best it yet to come for the main viewpoint.
After some more time hiking, you will also slowly begin to see the 5th lake come into view as well. Once again, you can decide to take in the view from up top or head down to the lake itself.
Before or after heading down to the lake itself (if you choose to do so), you will have a perfectly aligned shot of Mount Everest from atop the Ngozumpa Glacier wall. Be careful not to get close to the edge as you are dealing with a glacier here. As long as you steer clear of the edge, you will still have some beautiful shots down towards Everest.
While it is a bit farther away, this very may well be the best view of Mount Everest when it comes to the amount of mountain you get to see. I spent most of my time around the 5th lake heading up and down the pathway taking in the views of the lake itself, Mount Everest, and the seemingly never-ending glacier.
Once you believe you have had enough time enjoying your time by the 5th lake, it is then turning around and heading back in the same direction you came. This will be mostly downhill now, so it should be a bit easier on you.
You will slowly lose those Everest views, as you get closer to the 4th lake and then continue to head down the trail back to Gokyo village.
6) Gokyo Ri
I did not want to forget to mention here the other highly popular and must do day hike in my book. The trek up Gokyo Ri is truly one of my favorite hikes I have ever taken part of.
While the hike up the mountain is a tough one, you will be rewarded will unbelievable views of the Himalayas and the other three Gokyo Lakes. Not only that but you also will get another perfect viewpoint of Mount Everest along the way.
I put together a complete guide to Gokyo Ri that will go into detail about what this day hike entails. If spending time near Gokyo, then you need to add this peak to your overall itinerary.
When I visited the region, I ended up staying three nights in Gokyo. I arrived over the Cho La Pass, spent two days then hiking Gokyo Ri and the 4th & 5th Lakes, and then headed out over the Renjo La Pass back to Namche.
That about does it for a guide to the 4th and 5th Gokyo Lakes. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in below. Also don’t forget to check out the other Nepal itineraries and guides up on the site.
Have fun out there and safe travels!