As you explore the Khumbu Region of the Himalayas you are sure to come across stunning mountain filled landscapes with glaciers, lakes, and valleys in all directions.
One of the top day hikes to enjoy all of that and more is the Gokyo Ri trek. Not only will you take in the Himalayan landscape, but you also will get one of the best views of Mount Everest that you can ask for.
This guide will go through all you need to know to take part of the hike up Gokyo Ri and how to best prepare for the journey.
1) How to Get to Gokyo
In order to trek up Gokyo Ri, you first must make your way to the small lakeside village of Gokyo.
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 Gokyo lakes further down the valley.
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) Trekking Details
Below are some helpful details about the climb up Gokyo Ri. Note that distance and duration are round trip metrics.
Starting & Ending Point: Gokyo
Mid Point: Gokyo Ri
Gokyo Elevation: 15,584 feet / 4,790 meters
Gokyo Ri Elevation: 17,575 feet / 5,357 meters
Trekking Distance: 2.5 miles / 4 KM
Elevation Gain: 1,965 feet / 599 meters
Duration: 5+ hours (round trip)
The trek up Gokyo Ri is no joke. Over the course of just over a mile you will need to gain nearly 2,000 feet of elevation (and already at a pretty high altitude).
Most people take between 2-3 hours for the climb up as they take their time and enjoy the beautiful landscapes in all directions.
3) Gokyo Ri Trek Map
Below you can see the Google Maps view of the Gokyo Ri hike.
From the town of Gokyo on the bottom right hand side of the screenshot, you will make your way to the base of the mountain before following the zig zagging pathway up to the summit.
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 the Gokyo Ri elevation gain profile so you can get a better understanding of the journey up.
As you can see in the profile below, just the beginning of the hike from Gokyo to the base of the mountain is flat.
However, once at the base, it is a difficult constant uphill climb to the top.
And remember, all that elevation you climbed, you will also need to climb down. And for certain people (like me), you may find the downhills harder than the uphills.
5) The Gokyo Ri Trek
After a hearty breakfast at your teahouse, get your daypack set and get ready for the climb up to one of the top viewpoints in the Khumbu.
The path up Gokyo Ri is impossible to miss. You will simply head out to the village and follow the dirt path to the base of the mountain as you pass around the main Gokyo Lake.
At the base of the mountain you will reach an intersection, with one arrow pointing you up Gokyo Ri and the other to your left pointing you towards the Renjo La Pass (part of the Three Passes trek).
As you can see in the image below there isn’t necessarily just one path to choose from as you begin the climb up Gokyo Ri. I found there to be a few route options all nearby one another that will guide you in the right direction.
You will find the majority of the route to be a mostly sandy path with some rocks on and around the main paths.
Throughout the journey up, you will also be able to follow the rock cairns, which are essentially piles of rocks built up by other trekkers.
Remember, this is a long and strenuous elevation gain climb. There is no need to rush up the mountain. On the contrary, I would advise taking breaks every 20-30 minutes or so, where you can take a seat, turn around and enjoy the views of Gokyo village and Gokyo Lake down below.
Not only will you have views of the village and lake, but you also will be able to take in views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains up above and the Ngozumpa Glacier down below.
As you get higher and higher, the views will just continuously get better and better.
At some point, the one and only Mount Everest will start to peak into view. And once again, as you continue upwards, you should be able to see more and more of the mountain itself.
The landscape will continuously open up as you make the trek towards the summit. Remember to constantly take some breaks, hydrate well, and have some fuel during the duration of the climb.
Once you begin to get closer to the summit, you will see the Sherpa prayer flags come into view. You now will know that you are closing in on Gokyo Ri summit after all of that hard work.
6) View from Gokyo Ri
Congratulations! You have now made it to the top of Gokyo Ri at 17,575 feet. While not as high as a similar climb at Kala Patthar, it is still probably a harder ascent all said and done.
From the summit of Gokyo Ri you truly will have some of the best views of the entire Everest region.
Some of the major peaks that will be in view include Everest, Lhotse, Nupste, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Makalu among plenty of others.
The peak also offers the view of two of the Gokyo Lakes down below, the village of Gokyo itself, and an expansive view of the Ngozumpa Glacier.
While you can just hang out and relax near the main prayer flag area, you can also continue the path down the ridge a bit more to enjoy more angles and views of the surrounding landscape.
Since you will spend quite the amount of energy and time getting up to the peak, you may as well truly enjoy all that it has to offer.
I spent over an hour just sitting back and enjoying the view from the Gokyo Ri summit and would recommend you do the same if the weather allows (it can get quite windy up there!).
After having enough time up top, it is then the same route back down to Gokyo. Like I mentioned, the trek down can be just as strenuous for some. The path is sandy and rocky, so you will need to watch your step and make sure you have good traction all the way down.
It is easy to slip on this type of terrain, so your best bet is to just take things slowly and enjoy your time on the way down.
The trek down also offers the Gokyo Lake view out in front of you during the duration of the trail. So, while you may have seen the best from the summit, the views on the descent are still top notch.
Slowly but surely you will get back to the base of the mountain, where you will then head back to your teahouse for a well deserved lunch and rest.
7) Gokyo Ri Trek Difficulty
By now you can probably tell that the Gokyo Ri trek is quite difficult. Looking back at my time spending nearly three weeks on the Three Passes Trek, this may have been the 2nd or 3rd toughest day.
While not long in distance, it is really the gain and loss of 2,000 feet in elevation that can really make things difficult at such a high altitude.
When you are sitting at your teahouse in Gokyo and staring up at Gokyo Ri, you may think to yourself that it doesn’t look too bad. However, in reality, that hill is much more strenuous and difficult than you may imagine.
Like I said throughout the guide though -> if you take your time, have several rest breaks, and slowly make your way up and down the mountain, then Gokyo Ri should be feasible for you.
Just be sure to come prepared with enough water, fuel, and clothing layers to get you through a day like this.
Now that you have read all about Gokyo Ri, it is time to enjoy it for yourself. If you do have any questions about the climb or questions about the region in general, be sure to write them in below.
Also feel free to check out the other Nepal itineraries and guides up on the site.
Have fun out there and safe travels!