Difficulty

Moderate-Difficult | Level 3

Duration

10 Days

Highest Altitude

15,100 ft

Age

13 to 62 years

Duration

10 Days

Age

13 to 62 years

Difficulty

Moderate-Difficult | Level 3

Highest Altitude

15,100 ft

Dates Full? Check out the Kedartal Trek!

This trek is perfect for adventure lovers taking you to the glacial Kedartal Lake sitting amid the couldron of one of the most famous mountains of our country. Check it out here!

Goechala Trek

The Best Trek in India for Big Mountains Views

The biggest reason to do the Goechala trek is the grand views of the big mountains you see. You don’t just see one summit — the Kanchenjunga — but 14 other big summits. That’s a lot for any trek — especially as close to the eyes as on the Goechala trek. It is no wonder that trekkers consider Goechala to be the closest to the big mountain treks of Nepal.

Before we dive into the details about the Goechala trek, here is a little backdrop of why Goechala is well-known among trekkers all over the world:

While the trail to Goechala is old, it wasn’t always so famous. The change that occurred during the Nepalese Civil War lasted from 1996 to 2006.

Disturbances in Nepal during this time shut the country to trekkers. Suddenly trekking to the highest mountains of the world was out of bounds. It was a massive blow to the trekkers, who frantically started looking for alternatives.

At that time, Goechala emerged as the closest solace. The trail promised a brilliant close-up of the third highest mountain in the world and offered breathtaking views of the Singalila range from Dzongri Top.

Sunrise on the Kanchenjunga Range

One of the biggest highlights of the Goechala trek is the sunrise scene on the Kanchenjunga range. Even though trekkers are not allowed to the actual Goecha Pass, the view from ViewPoint 1 and Dzongri is worth an arm and a leg!

Rhododendrons in April and May

The trail to Goechala is blessed with rhododendron forests. And come spring-summer months of April and May, they burst to life with pink and red flowers! It’s an enormously pleasant walk through the wooden-log trails of these jungles!

The Samiti Lake

Samiti Lake is another big attraction on the Goechala trek. The view of the still waters, and the reflection of Mt Pandim in the lake, especially in the early hours, is a visual treat.

Goechala Videos

Watch these videos to plan and prepare for your trek.

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Quick Itinerary

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Goechala trek.

Day 1

Drive from NJP / Bagdogra to Yuksom

Drive Distance: 140 km | Drive Duration: 6-7 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: 2 Mile Check Post, Bhakti Nagar Police Station

Transport will be arranged at 10.30 AM. This cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of the cab – Rs 7,000 per vehicle, shared among 5-6 trekkers.

Day 2

Trek from Yuksom to Sachen

Trek Distance: 7.50 km | Trek Duration: 5.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 5,840 ft to 7,400 ft

Trek gradient is moderate-difficult. Gradual climb for 2.5 hours after which the trail becomes steeper up to Sachen. Carry 2 litres of water from Yuksom. You will cross streams intermittently where you can refill your water bottles.

Day 3

Sachen to Tshoka via Bakhim

Trek Distance: 6.50 km | Trek Duration: 5.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,400 ft to 9,790 ft via 8,640 ft

Moderate gradient with initial rolling terrain through the forests and 40 minutes of ascent from Bakhim in a series of long switchbacks after which the trail eases off into a gradual climb. Carry sufficient water from Sachen.

Day 4

Tshoka to Dzongri via Phedang

Trek Distance: 8.40 km | Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Altitude Gain: 9,790 ft to 13,190 ft via 12,105 ft

Today is going to be a difficult day. It starts with 30 minutes of steep climb followed by a gradual ascent, after which the trail again climbs steeply for 20 minutes to reach Phedang. 1-hour ascent from here followed by a gentle descent brings you to Dzongri.

Day 5

Dzongri to Dzongri Top and back. Acclimatization day at Dzongri

Trek Distance: 2 km | Trek Duration: 2.5-3 hour | Altitude Gain and Loss: 13,190 ft to 13,670 ft and back to 13,190 ft

The day starts with a climb to Dzongri Top. Dzongri Top at 13,670 ft, is the highest point from where you get 180-degree panoramic view of the mighty peaks such as Kakthong, Rothang, Kabru South, Kabru North, Kabru Dome, Kanchenjunga, Pandim, and the Lama Lamini peaks.

Day 6

Dzongri to Thansing via Kokchurang

Trek Distance: 6.55 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Loss and Gain: 13,190 ft to 12,910 ft via 12,090 ft

Gentle descent for about 2 hours followed by a steep descent to Kokchurang. Continuous ascent from here to Thansing. Carry 2 litres of water from Dzongri. The only water source on the way where you can refill your water bottles will be at Kokchurang.

Day 7

Thansing to View Point 1 via Samiti Lake; and back to Thansing

Trek Distance: 16 km | Trek Duration: 12-14 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 12,910 ft to 15,100 ft via 14,120 ft; and back to 12,910 ft

The longest day of your trek. The distance is long, followed by continuous ascent to reach View Point 1. Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water before beginning the summit climb as well as before the descent to Thansing. There will be no water source on either stretch.

Day 8

Thansing to Tshoka via Kokchurang and Phedang

Trek Distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 9 hours | Altitude Loss: 12,910 ft to 9,790 ft via 12,090 ft and 12,105 ft

Continuous ascent till Kokchurang, followed by relatively flat trail to Phedang for about 4 hours, and a steep descent to Tshoka. Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water from Thansing since there is no water source on the trail today.

Day 9

Tshoka to Yuksom via Bakhim and Sachen

Trek Distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Loss: 9,790 ft to 5,840 ft via 8,640 ft and 7,400 ft

Continuous descent to Sachen, followed by an undulating trail to Yuksom. Carry sufficient water from Tshoka. You will cross a few streams where you can refill your water bottles.

Day 10

Drive back from Yuksom to NJP / Bagdogra

Drive Distance: 170 km | Drive Duration: 7-8 hours | Drop off point Indiahikes trekkers: NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport

This transport cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of cab – Rs 7,500 per vehicle, shared among 5-6 trekkers.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges

- On the trek, you will be staying 3 in a tent

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.

Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.

Study this chart to know how much altitude you would gain/lose every day on the Goechala trek.

PRO-TIPS

Onward Travel

There are two ways to reach your pick-up point -- reach NJP railway station by taking a train, or reach Bagdogra airport by taking a plane. If you cannot reach the pick-up point before 10.30 AM on Day 1 of the trek, plan your travel in such a way that you reach NJP / Bagdogra the previous day (Day 0) and stay for the night.

Return Travel

While returning, you will reach NJP / Bagdogra by 5.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 8.00 PM from NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport.

Day 1

Drive from NJP / Bagdogra to Yuksom

Drive Distance: 140 km | Drive Duration: 6-7 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: 2 Mile Check Post, Bhakti Nagar Police Station

Transport will be arranged at 10.30 AM. This cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of the cab – Rs 7,000 per vehicle, shared among 5-6 trekkers.

Day 2

Trek from Yuksom to Sachen

Trek Distance: 7.50 km | Trek Duration: 5.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 5,840 ft to 7,400 ft

Trek gradient is moderate-difficult. Gradual climb for 2.5 hours after which the trail becomes steeper up to Sachen. Carry 2 litres of water from Yuksom. You will cross streams intermittently where you can refill your water bottles.

Day 3

Sachen to Tshoka via Bakhim

Trek Distance: 6.50 km | Trek Duration: 5.5 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,400 ft to 9,790 ft via 8,640 ft

Moderate gradient with initial rolling terrain through the forests and 40 minutes of ascent from Bakhim in a series of long switchbacks after which the trail eases off into a gradual climb. Carry sufficient water from Sachen.

Day 4

Tshoka to Dzongri via Phedang

Trek Distance: 8.40 km | Trek Duration: 8-9 hours | Altitude Gain: 9,790 ft to 13,190 ft via 12,105 ft

Today is going to be a difficult day. It starts with 30 minutes of steep climb followed by a gradual ascent, after which the trail again climbs steeply for 20 minutes to reach Phedang. 1-hour ascent from here followed by a gentle descent brings you to Dzongri.

Day 5

Dzongri to Dzongri Top and back. Acclimatization day at Dzongri

Trek Distance: 2 km | Trek Duration: 2.5-3 hour | Altitude Gain and Loss: 13,190 ft to 13,670 ft and back to 13,190 ft

The day starts with a climb to Dzongri Top. Dzongri Top at 13,670 ft, is the highest point from where you get 180-degree panoramic view of the mighty peaks such as Kakthong, Rothang, Kabru South, Kabru North, Kabru Dome, Kanchenjunga, Pandim, and the Lama Lamini peaks.

Day 6

Dzongri to Thansing via Kokchurang

Trek Distance: 6.55 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Loss and Gain: 13,190 ft to 12,910 ft via 12,090 ft

Gentle descent for about 2 hours followed by a steep descent to Kokchurang. Continuous ascent from here to Thansing. Carry 2 litres of water from Dzongri. The only water source on the way where you can refill your water bottles will be at Kokchurang.

Day 7

Thansing to View Point 1 via Samiti Lake; and back to Thansing

Trek Distance: 16 km | Trek Duration: 12-14 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 12,910 ft to 15,100 ft via 14,120 ft; and back to 12,910 ft

The longest day of your trek. The distance is long, followed by continuous ascent to reach View Point 1. Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water before beginning the summit climb as well as before the descent to Thansing. There will be no water source on either stretch.

Day 8

Thansing to Tshoka via Kokchurang and Phedang

Trek Distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 9 hours | Altitude Loss: 12,910 ft to 9,790 ft via 12,090 ft and 12,105 ft

Continuous ascent till Kokchurang, followed by relatively flat trail to Phedang for about 4 hours, and a steep descent to Tshoka. Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water from Thansing since there is no water source on the trail today.

Day 9

Tshoka to Yuksom via Bakhim and Sachen

Trek Distance: 13 km | Trek Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Loss: 9,790 ft to 5,840 ft via 8,640 ft and 7,400 ft

Continuous descent to Sachen, followed by an undulating trail to Yuksom. Carry sufficient water from Tshoka. You will cross a few streams where you can refill your water bottles.

Day 10

Drive back from Yuksom to NJP / Bagdogra

Drive Distance: 170 km | Drive Duration: 7-8 hours | Drop off point Indiahikes trekkers: NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport

This transport cost has to be borne by trekkers and paid directly to the driver. Cost of cab – Rs 7,500 per vehicle, shared among 5-6 trekkers.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges

- On the trek, you will be staying 3 in a tent

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.

Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.

PRO-TIPS

Onward Travel

There are two ways to reach your pick-up point -- reach NJP railway station by taking a train, or reach Bagdogra airport by taking a plane. If you cannot reach the pick-up point before 10.30 AM on Day 1 of the trek, plan your travel in such a way that you reach NJP / Bagdogra the previous day (Day 0) and stay for the night.

Return Travel

While returning, you will reach NJP / Bagdogra by 5.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 8.00 PM from NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport.

A family of yaks cuts across the meadows at Thansing campsite. You can see Mt Pandim from the base to the summit right from your tent.

Picture by: Anoop Desai

Thansing Campsite

Campsites at a Glance

At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Goechala trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.

The Dzongri campsite is the first open campsite on your entire trek. Keep an eye out for big mountain views to the Northeast. You will see Mt Pandim to the far left, followed by Lama Lamini peaks and Mt Simvo far behind. Picture by Krupa Vyas

Lama Lamini peaks play peek-a-boo from Tshoka campsite. Picture by Krupa Vyas

A white-washed Dzongri campsite after a snowstorm. Picture by Abhijit Pan

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking.

Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the well-known treks in our country.

What I Like and Don’t Like About the Goechala Trek

What I Like About the Goechala Trek

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking. Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the well-known treks in our country.

1. Dense jungle at 12,000 feet

There are very few treks with tree lines at such a high altitude. If you compare it with treks from Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh, the tree line skirts around 10,000 ft. But not on this trek which snakes through the Kanchenjunga National Park. And I found that exceptional. This is also one of the Best Himalayan treks for Bird Watching

Especially the thick canopy of Rhododendron trees which flower during the misty spring and are dark and cold during autumn.

Trekking through thick rhododendron forests is a walk you will remember for a long time. Picture taken by Vishal Gupta

2. Three suspension bridges

You will cross these suspension bridges over three deep gorges – Pha Khola, Tshushay Khola and Mentogang Khola –  through which the Prekchu river flows. I was taken aback by how suddenly the bridges appeared. And the experience of staring into the deep gorge from these suspension bridges is rare.

Kanchenjunga National Park is blessed with dense jungles, through which you trek the initial 3 days. You will also cross suspension bridges on your first day of the trek. Picture by Sarth Rastogi

3. A monastery at Tshoka

This happens on the second day. Now you are almost at 9,500 ft and there is a monastery here! Can you believe that?

The monastery is not exactly at Tsokha. You will need to take a trail that goes out of the campsite and cross a wooden bridge over a pond. It’s such a peaceful setting. I’ve always seen mountains as a place where you can meditate. And so I was elated to find this monastery plonked into the Goechala trek.

Tshoka is a unique campsite with a monastery at almost 10,000 ft, and a small pond close by. Picture by the Indiahikes team

4. Dramatic changes in scene

The first one is from Tsokha to Dzongri. Initially, the trail meanders through rhododendron and pine trees. But on reaching Phedang, the dense forest cover suddenly gives way to a barren terrain. The change is startling.

Another dramatic change in scenery is from Kokchurang to Thansing. Here the Prekchu river, which you had seen flowing deep in the gorges, suddenly cuts through the jungle. Yes, now you are with the river.

And it lends such a mystical ambience to the setting. The shift in scene, with a wooden bridge going over the river, was surprising.

The wooden bridge that connects the trail from Kokchurang over the Prek Chu river gives you an eerie feeling when the clouds sweep low. Picture by Bhaskar Debnath

5. First sunrise on Kanchenjunga from Dzongri Top

This is the acclimatization day where you stay at Dzongri. Early morning, wake up at 4.30 am and head to Dzongri top at 13,670 ft. It is a steep climb. But worth it.

I still remember the first time I saw the morning rays lighting up Mt. Kanchenjunga. The mountain changes colour as the morning progresses. And you get a panoramic view from the Dzongri top. It was a different feeling altogether. An unforgettable sight that has stayed with me.

The first light of the sun on Kanchenjunga makes it up for all the hard work you have done to reach Dzongri Top Picture by Prasath

6. Camping at the foot of Mt Pandim

Thansing is the most picturesque campsite on the trek. It is a stark meadow on the riverbed of Prekchu. And it lends itself to a unique experience. At Thansing, I pitched my tent just at the foot of Mt. Pandim, right next to Prekchu. Sitting next to the river, watching Mt Pandim for long moments was a magical experience for me altogether.

Thansing campsite lies right at the foot of Mt Pandim, with the view of Mt Kanchenjunga far ahead in the valley. Picture by Sourav Mukherjee

7. A perfect challenge for endurance

I have always leaned towards treks that test my endurance. And Goechala does that beautifully. On this trek, you cover 65.7 km in 10 days. And that too with a considerable ascent. Here, although the trails are well-laid, the altitude gain and long days put your endurance to the test.

The approach to Viewpoint 1 is one of the longest and hardest of all our treks. Doing the trek requires solid physical preparation. Picture by Nikhil Agarwal

8. The sunrise on Kanchenjunga from View Point 1

Finally, my favourite memory of the treks begins with waking up at 1 am for ViewPoint 1. Initially, I was grumpy about the unearthly hour start. But once we got to ViewPoint 1, everything changed.

Watching the first rays fall on Kanchenjunga is an ethereal experience. It lights up the world’s third-highest mountain along with others with a magical light. I was spellbound. My eyes welled up with tears, just watching the magnificent sight.

And then, on the way back I saw the beautiful Samiti lake. That lake, with its deep turquoise waters, was the perfect finish to the summit day.

The view of sunrise on Kanchenjunga stays with you for a very long time. Picture by Ashish Bhatt

What I Don't Like About the Goechala Trek

1. The cramped campsite at Sachen

The campsite on Day 1 of the trek, Sachen is a really small flat land in the middle of the forest inside the Khangchendzonga National Park. There is enough space for just 5-6 tents at a time.

This makes it extremely cramped when compared to the campsites on our other Himalayan treks.

While the lush green atmosphere gives you a feeling that you're somewhere inside a thick rainforest, the lack of space can be a bummer at times.

Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Goechala trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

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PRO TIPS

Why Fitness Matters on Goechala Trek

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On Moderate-Difficult treks, you’ll walk for about 8-12 km each day. Gradual to steep ascents and descents are common on all days. Expect to reach high altitudes of 15,000+ ft. There will also be technical sections (such as rockfall zones, near-vertical sections, glacier walks), which our technical teams will help you navigate.

Your goal is to comfortably run 5 km within 32 minutes.

Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll need to submit a Treadmill Test report within 7 days of registration.

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Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Goechala

Did You Know about the Chogyal Community of Sikkim?

Yuksom is known as the meeting place of three monks. A long time ago, three monks travelled down here from Tibet. They crowned the first king of that region and named the community ‘Chogyal’. Since then, all those who were crowned kings belonged to the Chogyal community. In 1642, the first Chogyal king, Phuntsog Namgyal established Yuksom as the first capital of Sikkim. The Chogyal dynasty ruled there for over 300 years.

The Chogyal community, today too, plays an important role in their society. They banned any expedition in the mountains in the region from the Sikkim side. They considered it a dishonour to their Gods. After putting pressure on the government for some time, the central and state government both finally banned climbing from Sikkim in the early 2000s. That's why Kanchenjunga cannot be climbed from Sikkim and has to be climbed from Nepal.

Kanchenjunga, a Treasure Trove

Kanchenjunga in Nepali translates to ‘five treasures of snow, as it has five peaks in total. Three of them can be seen from India and two from Nepal.

The Goechala trek takes us through the Kanchenjunga National Park. The significance of this is that it is the first and one of the rarest UNESCO World Heritage Sites which is selected under the Mixed Category (Cultural and Environmental Significance). It has high cultural as well as environmental importance.

Some communities here, like the Lepchas, have traditional practices which are still maintained. The indigenous community of the Lepchas have deep knowledge of medicinal plants. They, along with many other local communities, consider mountains to be their gods. These mountains are seen as sacred and are worshipped. Dense vegetation and myriad flora and fauna can be found here. It is also the home of snow leopards.

The Myths of Kanchenjunga

A myth of this region is that there is supposed to be a valley to paradise somewhere in the lower reaches of Kanchenjunga. Once, a monk in Sikkim took many followers down this valley, and the whole lot of them were never found again.

Another story from local mythology tells us how Kanchenjunga is said to be the home of Yeti. It is a mythical creature that has never been seen. But folklore has identified massive footprints seen in the Himalayas as those of Yeti. This Yeti is said to be found in the lower reaches of the mountain.

There are stories of the war between the Lepcha community and Yetis too. If you catch hold of people from the Lepcha community, don't forget to ask them about this mythical war.

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too. You can buy it here.

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